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General

  Koe was desperately awaiting the North Star to appear. It was a deep-dark night, no moon. Koe was alone on the rooftop, wearing several layers of clothing, a thick and long fur-coat on top. It was the month of January with its bone-chilling cold and sight of snow everywhere. He had built a wooden seat which was quite comfortable. The top of it was inlaid with a leather cover merged with a soft foam which gave a pretty comfy sitting. It was his fifteenth day’s turn at star sighting; although the star was sighted for thrice, the wonder trip of hallucination had not yet occurred to him. There was a myth which had traveled from generations in his town that in the depth of the winters, the North Star appears in moonless dark nights and takes some, not all, from the spectators to a short but meaningful hallucination excursion.

  One popular anecdote circled was that a man experienced a trip, at one of those dark nights. He saw some men having giant bellies and swollen throats passing by the town street. They were all pompously dressed and had jewels and pearls around their necks and wrists; but the same time, they were vomiting and screaming with hard hit pain. They were coughing out gold and silver coins, but it smack of gutter filth. Nobody could hardly go near them, let alone picking their riches retiring out of their mouths. An old man standing by the side of tuck-shop shouted at them. “What has happened to you poor fellas?” “Our stomachs have become full up till throats, they are no more digesting what takes in, still hunger strikes harder than ever before.” One of the giant men responded with dribbling saliva from the corner of his mouth. “Have a look on me guys. Do I wear proper ornaments or is there some room for more? ”A bald and bearded man screamed at the old man who had asked about their seeming plight.

  In another street, there were some man-like creatures, scrawny as if their skin is tightly stretched over the bones, and their skeletal shape is very apparent. Some little kids scurrying here and there, and they too depicting the same grotesque sight. Their bellies are just the opposite of that of the giant men’s seen in the other street, clung to the back bones. Each of them holding big darkened empty steel bowls. Howling, with meager voices, “our hunger has almost left us, but the life too seems to follow the suit. Isn’t there someone kind enough a man who might dole out something to eat to our children? ”They had had barely enough fabric to cover their bodies. Even the insufficient rags had patches in them.

  And in a matter of few seconds a new scene transcended the previous one. There were some men leading a funeral of four men. The coffins differed in sizes, two of them very large and the rest of the two small and light apparently. Again, the old man appeared in the sight, following the funeral procession. This time he was holding an alpenstock, which helped the weak foot share the body-weight while stepping. “Who are these dead men? Gentleman!” The old man asked a man wearing a black suit and white shirt, just ahead of him. The man was a bit taller than the old man, so he had to push himself up a bit in order to reach his ear. “Who are you? Historic man! What do you want to know about these dead flesh? ”The man mumbled haughtily. This response sent a cold sensation throughout the old man’s body. But again bracing himself, old man inquired, “These men of the past seems to have met some misfortune. Haven’t they?” “Listen, old man, if you want to know the truth. They are just dead meat now. Whoever they may have been in their lives that doesn’t matter now. Despite this, I will calm your inquisitive mind. The bigger two coffins you see are of some opulent men. They had massive riches; they squandered colossal amount of wealth. The other two slim caskets belong to some destitute place. They lived such a miserable lives, without even a proper meal for days, yet they too met with same fate as did their affluent fellas. You seem quite intelligible, I hope you have understood the bottom line. And the truth is that we all are going to taste the same fate, somehow. ”After this long recitation, the gentleman advanced ahead with a fast pace, leaving the old man behind with a heavy head.

  Old man came to realize the mundane truth of this material world. However luxurious and despicable life the rich and poor lived respectively, in the end, both faced the same fate. He then went through previous scenes and found the lives of men so ephemeral which passed in a matter of some time. The man who had had this trip would explain the people the futility of this material world, for which it is silliness to get worried. He would base his argument on the hallucination experience. He would emphasize on being contented rather being hungry for more, because this life is too short to pursue endless desires.

  Koe was a fast football fan, though he didn’t play much. He would conduct imagery games in his mind when he had leisure time and particularly in solitude. On his fifteenth day’s wait, he sat quietly in the wooden seat and held a cup of coffee in his hand. The mug was rather bigger than usual, and it had beautiful engraving on it, his favorite football player’s picture. His time was well spent during those days of wait for the North Star. He would marvel at the picturesque view of his town seen from his rooftop. Koe’s house was located at a slight up landscape which gave a towering view of the town. Lights beamed everywhere, especially the far off lights shimmering like the distant stars. He also pondered over the air pollution caused by the several immediate industrial zones that released perpetual smoke in air. The immediate sphere above the houses around this very vicinity blurred the vision of the far off places.

  As Koe was in a middle of a thought, the star appeared in the sight. Today it was prominent than before and stayed in sight for long. Koe held both his hands wide, standing still as he watched the star. In a split of seconds, Koe lost his consciousness and his hallucination trip started.

  It is after some ten years of lapse, Koe is returning to his home town from a foreign country. He had been working with a foreign company after his education. He had never returned in those ten years. It was his first visit when he had gone from here. He was curious and hesitant the same time, because it was too long and people would not remember him, or the one who had known him would be gone or the old fellas might have gone back to nature. However, his plane landed and passengers advanced to get off of the plane. After collecting his luggage, he took a trolley and went out of the lounge to take a cab. As he stepped out of the lounge, he was taken aback by the atmospheric view which has changed dramatically. There was smog very apparent in the immediate biosphere, and he couldn’t breathe properly. Somehow, he called up at a cab, and the driver put the luggage into the boot. The cab-driver was coughing hard, at some point it seemed that he might burst out inner material. “Are you fine?” Koe asked suspiciously. “I am normal as any folk in the town.” The driver lazily replied. “What do you mean by that? Does everyone in here cough as do you? ”Koe inquired reservedly. “You seem new here, aren’t you? It is the pollution which causes people to face lung problems. Even little kids here show symptoms of bad breathing and weak lungs. ”Driver responded with a contorted face. “What has caused this severe situation here? There are places which are polluted but not to the extent like it is here. As you do explain, the average health index is alarmingly low in here. ”Koe rejoined painstakingly. “It is the bad factories; its waste excretes and the poisonous smokes that has a lion’s share in this plight. And it has further been exacerbated by the low living style of people. They were unaware of such a situation in the past and kept on littering and scattering wastes here and there. Even now it doesn’t seem to have affected them much, they whine, almost everyone but seldom one takes a preventive action. Our very own way of life is now threatening our lives. ”The driver remarked with a serious node.

  In a flash, Koe regained his senses and found himself in the same position, hands stretched wide and holding the cup of coffee, still standing motionless. With a deep regretful sigh, he let himself fall in the seat and remained quiet for an eternity. After bracing his energy, Koe managed to leave his seat and stepped ahead of his seat a little to the extreme edge of the roof and gazed longingly round the whole of the town and prayed to God for not to hasten the day which he experienced in the hallucination trip.




May 01, 2020 08:40

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4 comments

Janet Joos
13:14 Aug 02, 2020

I liked how you opened the story and brought it to an end, not so sure about your anecdote at the beginning, but it was a hallucination. I had some problems due to a few vocabulary choices and grammar mistakes especially prepositions there. You did follow the prompt - well done.

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M.Zubair Alam
04:29 Aug 03, 2020

Very humbled on receiving such an encouraging and rectifying compliment. thank you so much for giving a read and mentioning my weak points. It means a lot to me. regards.

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Aqsa Malik
15:02 May 06, 2020

I love the use of your language and the vivid image you're able to create! Could I suggest that you made your paragraphs shorter, sometimes it's hard to keep focus when they're too long. Great job though!

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M.Zubair Alam
18:20 May 06, 2020

I am so grateful for your advice and appreciation. I am a humble student trying to learn how to write.

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