Fiction Fantasy Drama

Write about a character coming out of hibernation (either literal or metaphorical)

Time seemed to stand frozen for residents of a small village, Maana. It was at the highest altitude where human life was medically possible to survive. Due to heavy snowfall for almost six months, the residents had to shift base to plains approximately fifty kilometers downhill. For them, it was a routine year after year. There was loss of human life as well as of animals. The scenic beauty was divine, which attracted tourists for the six months when it was summers. Main source of income was from tourists. Over the years, residents converted their homes into home stay and rented out rooms or houses for tourists. 

A young couple- Shaun and Lea from Athens, Greece came to celebrate their first anniversary. Lea was seven months pregnant. They had rented home stay of the local villager, Lhasa for a month. Shaun, the husband wanted their unborn daughter to be a mountaineer and thought this would be the best way he could connect to mothernature. Post dinner, Shaun and Lea were sitting in the patio enjoying hot coffee. Their trance was shattered by impatient call from Lhasa. He was urging them to go to their rooms as there was forecast of bad weather with rain and thunderstorm. Lea got up to go to their room, Shaun requested her to stay for a while as it was a starry night. They sat with eyes locked in gaze. Neither of them realized when the sky became overcast and black. They did not see Lhasa coming towards them and shouting to move inside as wrath of God was inevitable. Suddenly, there was cloudburst and gush of water pulled Shaun along. Lea was saved by Lhasa by a fraction of moment. All their screams were drowned in the thunderstorm. That night was like scene straight from Hollywood film.

Lea was shocked and lost her memory. Shaun was not untraceable as were other tourists and villagers. Lhasa started taking care of Lea as his own daughter. Lea lost her voice due to shock. After few days, a beautiful daughter was born. Lhasa named her Shea in memory of Shaun. The most cherished moment of Lea,s life passed like a routine moment due to her mental state. She refused to pick Shea or attend to her. Lhasa was left with no choice, other than bring up Shea. Shea was a gifted child. She was quick to learn about the village life style and adapted well with Lhasa. There were no schools in the village. Lhasa shifted to plains so as to give Shea the best possible education. Gradually, his health started deteriorating. He had kept no secrets from Shea. All this while Shea knew Lea was her biological mother and Lhasa was her caretaker.  

Just before Lhasa breathed his last breath, he handed over a metallic box to Shea. It contained few pictures and boarding passes of her parents. Shea made a resolve to search for her lost identity. The boarding passes bore signs of poor kept and had faded in most of the parts except for passenger name, flight number and date of travel. A lot had changed over two decades in IT sector and technology. With the help of her friend in Embassy, a search was started to trace the list of tourist washed away in village Maana two decades ago. One clue gave lead to another and so on. Shea,s search brought her to a mental asylum in city where she found a patient registered under name Shaun. Keeping her fingers crossed, she gathered courage to face this patient.

Her feet felt heavy as she consciously lifted her foot one a time and inched towards the cell. The guard unlocked the heavy lock and the iron gate opened with a squeaky noise. In front of her eyes, a frail figure was lying on the bed with back towards the gate. The guard called out, “Hey, Shaun! Somebody has finally come looking for you .” Shaun turned very slowly as if this little act consumed a lot of energy. He looked beyond Shea and uttered, “Lea, where are you? I can feel you but cannot see you, Lea, Lea?” And he collapsed on the floor, and Shea caught him just in time before he hit the floor. Her eyes were in disbelief as tears rolled down her eyes. This frail figure was her father who was frozen in time just like her mother.

After completing the formalities, she took her father along with her. With care and medical treatment, Shaun regained health. But his eyes were always searching for Lea. He too had lost his memory due to shock. He remembered only two things Lea and their unborn daughter. Shea had mixed feelings. The joy of finding her father diffused because of his inability to recognize her. She considered herself the most unlucky child who was blessed with both living parents, but they had memory loss.

The idea of reuniting her father with her mother was exciting as well as filled with fears. With the help of doctors she knew she had to do this part. She planned the meeting to be in village Maana in the same home stay. With the help of her friend, she recreated the same night of horror. This was the best effort she could do to get her parents out of shock.

With great care and patience, she brought her father. Her friend was already waiting with her mother. Shaun and Lea looked frail with expressionless face. In the patio, two chairs were kept and an artificial starry night was created. Two mugs of coffee were kept on side table. With lot of resistance and hesitation, Shea and her friend guided them towards the chairs. Shaun and Lea sat on their respective chairs. Spontaneously, they reached out for coffee and their hands brushed against one another. There seems to be an electrifying effect in the atmosphere. Both started looking at each other with great curiosity. Suddenly, there was a roaring sound of thunderstorm and rain (as pre-planned by Shea and her friend). 

At that very moment, their trance was broken as if the evil spell has been weaned off. Lea was screaming out Shaun,s name. Shaun was shouting, “Hold on Lea, hold on.” Lea,s hand went on her stomach and she started crying uncontrollably. She let out a cry of pain and agony of losing their child. Shaun bent and kissed her belly, “Baby, we are sorry , we could not save you . It was your dad,s idea to come to this place and look what has he done?”. Lea lifted up Shaun and put her head against his heaving chest. Both were breathing shakily. They sat together, holding hands and cried through the night. Shea was a silent spectator who witnessed her parents mourning her death.

Her friend patted her back and told her to catch on some sleep. The thunderstorm which had sent her parents into shock twenty years ago, had managed to hit them as well her in the some way. Next morning, Shaun and Lea behaved like newly married couple who had just lost their child, came to Shea and requested for the bill of home stay. They were planning to return to Athens after this mishap. Twenty years had vanished from their lives. They felt some awkwardness in the atmosphere when they enquired about Lhasa. They feared Shea and her friend had done something wrong with Lhasa as it was Lhasa who had cautioned them regarding the weather forecast the previous night (really! It was way back twenty years ago). Lea insisted on calling the cops. Suddenly, she froze when she saw her portrait with Lhasa and a small girl. Few other photo frames were there and the little growing up girl in the frames looked like Shea. Shaun was confused as well. They walked towards the patio and were taken aback by the sight. Where once mighty mountains stood, that whole area was cramped with Holiday resorts. There were sounds of machines making all sorts of noises. On their way back inside, they saw their reflection in the glass. The young skin had given way to fine lines and wrinkles. Lea looked at her dry cracked skin. She felt her face and ran her hands over her head only to feel thin hair. Once, it boasted of heavy crop of shiny hair which had made Shaun fall in love with her.

They walked towards Shea with questioning glances seeking answers to all that had happened in one night.

Shea is still trying to convince her parents that she is their daughter and that they had come out of hibernation after twenty years. With persistence, love, patience and medical help, Shea is hoping for the much awaited rainbow in her life. 

March 26, 2021 16:28

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