Roohi was playing on the beach when the lightning struck into the sea. She thought it was strange for a single bolt of lightning to strike in the middle of summer, when the sky is cloudless and as blue as the new rug that Ma has recently splurged on. Roohi thought it was stranger that there was no sound of thunder which usually followed behind the lightening, a phenomenon that her fourth grade science textbook had taught her this week. But what she found strangest was when she saw something floating in the water at the exact spot where the lightning hit the sea.
Roohi ran towards it with sand in her feet that washed away as the salty sea water engulfed her ankles. She navigated into the water, one leg at a time, till the water leveled up to her knees, eagerly licking the hem of her dress. She stopped and waited as the waves brought this thing towards her. It looked like a round object, like a football that her brother carried with him everywhere, only this one was bright pink in colour. Unable to keep her patience, she stepped further into the water and stretched out her hand to pick up the ball.
The surface was smooth but rubbery; it was like holding a balloon, but not as delicate and fragile as a balloon. No, this thing had a hard exterior. Roohi got out of the water and sat in the sand. She examined it with all her curiosity -- she noticed it had a big white spot in the center and touched it with caution. The white spot turned red and a small black spot appeared there.
Suddenly, it blinked. Roohi leapt up and threw the thing in the sand. This thing had an eye! Facing her fears, she knelt down on her knees and stretched out her arm to grab this thing again, but it rolled away from her, into the sand and towards the sea. Roohi ran behind it, but this thing did not stop, dodgeding the debris that was littered everywhere in the beach. She ran as fast as she could and caught up with it, swooping it in her hands. This pink thing struggled and tried to break free.
“It’s ok,” she said to the thing and looked into what she assumed was it's one big eye. “I won’t harm you.” The thing stopped struggling and looked back at her.
“What are you?” she asked the bright pink ball, gazing into its eye. The thing's eye grew bigger and bigger inside the white spot as it looked directly into Roohi’s black eyes. Roohi suddenly started to feel drowsy, her eyes felt heavy.
“Hey, what are you doing to me?”, she asked as she saw the thing’s eye bore into hers. She dropped the thing into the sand and fell down into a deep slumber.
She had a strange dream where everything was pink. She liked pink, it was her second favourite colour (her first was blue, like the lightest shade of the sky on a cloudy summer). She saw a lot of rainbows and water in her dream and she even saw a lot of the round things, just like the one she was holding. There were hundreds of them rolling around, their pink surface brighter and shinier. They were rolling around her, all hundreds of them, with their eyes getting bigger and bigger. She passed out, even in her dream, and did not wake up for a long time.
Raul saw his little sister fall in the sand. He ran towards her, but stopped midway when he saw a pink ball rolling in his direction. Raul struggled to grab the thing as it tried to escape him, but Raul was swift, thanks to all his football practice in the gully. He swooped the pink thing in his arm and ran to his sister. He knelt down next to her and noticed that she was soaked in swa water. The waves drenched her wet as the tide began to rise. She lay still, but she was still breathing.
“Roohi!” Raul shook her with his free hand. “Roohi, get up,” he shouted. But his sister remained asleep in her deep coma. He ran home to find his Ma taking to the neighbours and told them what happened. He showed them the pink thing, which was now struggling very hard to get off his strong grip. His Ma and some of the villagers ran towards the sea where her daughter lay unconscious. They carried her inside their small hut and lay her on the cot, as his Ma wailed loudly, demanding to know what happened to her precious daughter.
The village authorities took the pink thing from Raul and called for an emergency meeting, while their local doctor attended to Roohi and tried different herbs and medicines to get her to wake up.
“I demand justice!” Roohi’s Ma yelled in between her loud sobs during the emergency meeting, in front of all the villagers. “This evil thing has performed some kind of witchery on my sweet daughter,” she said pointing at the pink thing that now stood still in the middle of circle of humans. Other nodded and murmured in agreement, sympathising with Ma. They looked at their own kids sitting in one corner as the meeting went on, thanking God that it wasn't their kid who lay unconscious after picking up from ocean trash.
“We need to find out what this thing is,” the village head said. He looked around at everyone, hoping people would agree with him.
“I say we kill it!” Ma said, glaring at the pink ball with all her anger and aggression. The other shouted in agreement. Raul was scared. He had never seen his Ma this angry. He was scared that something worse has happened to his sister, who he loved to annoy ever so often.
The village head tried to calm the crowd. “Let’s not be haste here”, he said. “We need to carefully take a look at what this thing is. Maybe it is a new species of animal or worse, an alien. We should call in the government authorities to help us with this thing.”
“Are you crazy?”
Ma looked at the village head with anger dripping out of her eyes in the form of tears. “My daughter is lying unconscious. God knows that this thing is and what we have to do for it to wake my daughter. And who knows if she will be alright after that? What if she loses her memory? What if she fails to recognise me? What if she becomes disabled?" She paused and looked around the faces of her fellow villagers. "All I care about is to wake her up, even if that means killing this thing right here, right now.”
The group created an uproar as they agreed with Ma. They closed in on the village head, arguing with him, trying to convince him, to make him understand. Nobody noticed the pink ball vibrating and getting bigger.
“Look out!” Raul yelled out when he noticed the pink thing getting bigger and bigger, reaching almost his height. Chaos followed suit as the eyes of the pink ball became bigger as well.
One by one everyone dropped down into a deep slumber till there was no human awake and till there was no sound that remained. The only sound that you could hear was of the sea, as it lashed against the sand ferociously, taunting to engulf everything into its vastness.
The villagers smiled in their sleep as their dreams turned pink. But soon those smiles were wiped away as they passed out in their dreams as well.
The round pink thing reduced to its normal size and rolled away into the sea, ready to get back home to his own kind.