Fantasy Inspirational Thriller
“Couldn’t make it. I know dad will keep yelling at me. He will hate me. How could I lose my only chance of making it to the Under 19 team?” Aarav threw his kit away.
“All that dad had asked of me was a place in the U-19 squad and I couldn’t qualify. Maybe I am not made for it. Maybe I should just quit. It’s better than disappointing dad again.” He was close to crying. Knowing his dad might be home anytime soon, he preferred sleeping.
His body was tired of the rigorous training sessions and he slept instantly. He woke up only to find himself in a strange place. He looked around to find something that would help him relate to this place. He couldn’t find any.
Far away, he could see some people. Blurry images of people. He went closer only to find some of them identical. He could see his mom and dad among them. It was as if they were floating.
“Mom, Dad,” he shouted.
“They can’t listen to you,” said an unknown figure.
Aarav hadn’t seen him earlier. He looked weird. Somehow like a cowboy or a pirate. Actually a mixture of both. He had this strange large hat and was smoking a cigar.
“Who are you?”, asked Aarav.
“How about I don’t answer that?”, he smiled in a mysterious way.
Aarav didn’t know how to respond.
Looking at Aarav’s confused look, he said “Take it, easy buddy. You can call me someone who runs this place. Let’s just say I rule you. I am one of the lords of this region.”
That was unusual and got Aarav more chaotic.
“Well, Aarav. Welcome to — Loser's Land. And by the way, I am what you people call 'fear'!”,said Fear with a grin.
Aarav was stunned.
“You are now part of this horde,” said Fear as if reading his mind.
He could see a lot of people floating around him. He realized that even he was floating.
“My parents never told me about such a place. Why can’t they hear me?” Aarav said.
“Well, it’s because they are in another region,” Fear said. “Your dad is in my buddy Pain’s region and your mom is an active visitor of Miss Sacrifice’s region.”
“Is there any way out?” Aarav asked.
Fear laughed and said, “Yeah, there is a way out. You see, all these regions lead to a common way, which is connected to a door. It opens once in a while. That’s the only way out that I am aware of.”
“Then why don’t people just leave?”, asked Aarav.
“Because they don’t know how to open the door,” Fear flashed another smile.
“Do you know about it?”, asked Aarav.
“All I know is it’s the same way you get in,” Fear replied.
This got Aarav puzzled. ‘There must be something’, he kept on thinking.
After a while, Fear said,“Your dad also wanted to get out of this land the moment he got here but even after 21 years, he is still stuck here.”
“When did he get here?” asked Aarav.
“Well, after the last domestic cricket match he played. He was pretty sure he would make it to the national side. It was his dream. But failure broke him down. Good for my buddy Pain. More food for him.” Fear said.
Aarav’s eyes widened. “Food?”
“Yeah. That is what we feed ourselves with. Your weakness strengthens us. Some of you even pass us on like belongings. It just ensures our survival in the coming future,” Fear said.
“When did my mom come here?” Aarav asked.
“Soon after you were born. She gave up on her career to raise you. She has made a lot of sacrifices,” Fear said.
Aarav felt terrible. He knew he had to look for a way out. His parents deserved so much better.
“Please tell me how can one make that door open?” Aarav asked.
“All I know is the same way you get in,” Fear said.
‘The same way that you get in. The same way that you get in. The same way that you get in.’
Something struck him. “On my own,” he said. “The only way out is the same way I entered. On my own.”
“I took to you, so I am here. If I leave you, I can leave,” Aarav said.
“It’s not so easy to get rid of me. Why do you think people hold on me longer? It’s the easiest way out,” Fear said.
“You are right. I was doing the same. I thought giving up on my dream was the way out. But I was wrong and selfish. Only after coming here did I realize how much my success means to my parents. It was my dad’s dream to play for this country and he has passed it on to me. We share a dream and I can die for it. I wouldn’t let go of mom’s sacrifices in waste and I won’t certainly disappoint dad again. I will try harder.”
He could see a light. He had opened the door.
“Get out of this land faster. Light pricks us all,” Fear said, turning the opposite side.
“Sure. By the way, mom and dad will be leaving soon. I promise you that” Aarav said while leaving.
“Whatever!,” said Fear.
Floating toward the door, Aarav knew exactly what he needed to do.