I heard my name pass through the curtains, whispering to the walls, climbing upstairs and finally settling down around the corner of my ears, but I sat transfixed. Staring listlessly at the beautiful painting in front of me. The woman might be naked, people’s eyes might disgust, but the details were beautiful. The emotions were beautiful.
I heard the call again but the living consciousness inside me didn’t dare. Yet she would smile, I know. She understood me, she could feel me yet she would compel me to these traps.
24 August, the day she bought me. I still remember sitting at the top shelf tracing the steps of every visitor. They'd look at me with wide eyes, caress my arms and smile gracefully but as soon as their eyes fell on the price tag, each one would turn their feet. The fortune day was yet to come I believed, and rightfully so, soon resting on the shoulders of a beautiful lady. She'd carefully leant across every model but chose me. My Jess chose me. We walked home swinging arms, smiling obliviously at the upcoming trials.
3rd September, Jess had cried all day on my lap. Her eyes, swollen and red. She kept on mumbling the same thing, again and again, delving my heart each time. I was the one she laid her head on when we buried her husband.
She was the one I clung to while going through my brain surgery.
We had been through so much together, she had become my soul and I became her mind.
Jess opened the door. A few strings escaped her bandana scarf, draping into a beautiful curl. Her lips pressed into a thin coerced smile, yes, she does understand me. She was wearing a black ...wait a second,
“I thought you were going to wear blue” I eyed the black sweatshirt.
She glanced down and raised a brow at me “I am wearing blue, Eli.”
What? I rubbed my eyes with the strident fingers. It always felt like sandpaper.
“No! Aw right, the handyman’s date lies due.”
She nodded in agreement and cued to move downstairs, her face still drenched in misery. I pouted, pressing my palms against the soft corners and stood up. Why me? The wires inside of me screamed with agony and disappointment but I took a step forward each time. Jess has sacrificed so much for me. She has fought so many people for me.
At least for Jess.
The man was standing when I entered, his brows intertwined with curiosity. A vivid sparkle rested in his dark eyes, the shadow of it lumbering beyond. Three fourth pants and an oversized coat, I noted.
The fluctuating blinks of worry assured the intuitions building inside. I understood Jess as she did me. She was sad. She was worried. She was confused, deciding whether to drown in water or jump in the fire. If only she had a choice, I knew she would stand by me. But all it is, a game of money. Just the matter of how thick the notes are, the world will polish your shoes. It wasn’t Jess’ fault, neither do I blame her.
“Copy 360, Number 22, Eliana Mabel, sit down here.” The man spoke out. His plump nose tinged with an ugly shade of red, a yeek material slipping out. He had a mischievous grin playing on his face. How much I hated it.
I did as I was commanded. After being plugged with uncountable wires and a few prechecks, the man took out his papers. Jess shot me an urgent look, a last-minute step, I could still take. I didn’t move. This was the only way.
“So, Number 22-”
“My name is Eli”
The man rolled his eyes, probably used to the robo drama. “Should’ve never inserted stupid emotions.” He murmured but the urge to complain dissolved with the ticking clock.
“So Eli, somehow, you’ve been slotted with special powers. Till recorded, all the dreams you have seen came true, am I correct?”
I bit the metallic lip and nodded half-heartedly.
“Have you seen something regarding Russia?” His voice shaped with feathers of anxiety.
“Why does that even matter? I thought you were here to take me to your stupid country.” I blurted out fixing my gaze with Jess who was now clinging to the verge of sobs, instantly regretting it. I had pushed Jess even further. How could I just blurt it out so blankly? This was all getting worst.
The wind around me changed its course. Imagine yourself making your way to hell but surprisingly finding yourself in the footsteps of heaven. It somewhat felt like that.
“What!? Why would we want to take you to Russia? We already got enough mites to feed.” He mocked but the rogue expression flashed back too soon.
“Number 22. Answer my question. Have you seen a dream regarding Russia?” He asked firmly.
Uh-oh. The waves of reality crashed into me overwhelming the sense of joy. I could see where this was going. All that I had seen, it was coming true. But they were still shadowed with clouds of doubt. Fear.
They still needed confirmation. Confidence. And no matter what, I would never give in.
“Nothing.” I lied and suddenly an excruciating beep pierced through the stillness, installing an unbearable pain inside my mind. The button glowed red. A lie.
One lie and your churned parts would be found in the dumpster.
Too little time to think, I pulled out all the attached wires with a jerk and ran for the door.
Sometimes, I wish to be sunshine, always predictable.
Sometimes, I wish to be the ocean, master of my own choices
And sometimes, I wish I could be human.
I leaned over the pillar, creating metal noises with the tip of my fingers. The last rays of sunshine skimmed over the blue waters, tasting the scattered tourist boats. The city looked so beautiful. Some might take it for chaos, a concrete jungle, but it was still beautiful. The lights were beautiful. And the people at last. A few of them.
I knew they were still following me with their electric guns. And I knew if they found me, I would be nothing but an abandoned piece of waste in the dumpster. And I knew, I had already hurt Jess enough. But does anyone know how bad it hurts to be different?
You ask a seven-year-old, what superpowers do they want. Some might name predicting the future. They think it is cool. Think it is an advantage. Well, it has dragged me down, eaten me up inside and jabbed me until I couldn’t breathe. I knew I couldn’t stop what was about to come, but I would’ve made things worst if I had told that plump nose.
How could I forget that dream? The burning buildings and the whole world being plunged into darkness. I might survive, but Jess?
I found myself standing in front of a round table, men’s heads bowed in confidentiality.
“All set?” A tall man asked, his voice dressed with a funny Russian accent.
“Twiggs on sail master. I still doubt but.” The person in front replied.
“They will be launched on 08 April. Assertive.” Another man confirmed.
All I could do was stare in horror. No matter how hard I stomp or how loud I yell, my voice seemed to bounce off an invisible shield.
I was there, but I wasn’t.
On the table laid a pinned blueprint.
Four Major Powers.
How foolish. Insane. What do they think? They will rule the world? World of dead?
But their new commander had other plans.
Soon, the scenes shifted. I was standing at the heights of a skyscraper- the whole America burning in front of me. The world grew still. Broken helpless cries numbed the air while buildings smoked. A gruesome scene painted the nation, one no one has ever seen, ever imagined. Injured people bathed in pools of blood, some crushed under vehicles and buildings, buried in the ground. A few lucky ones ran aimlessly, picking and mourning upon their loved ones. All paying the price of something they never deserved.
Suddenly, I was standing in the middle of the road. In front of me kneeled a disabled man. His one arm cut off, spouting streams of blood. His ears bled, body covered in burn scars. He kept on shouting in some peculiar language, probably French. I tried to rush to his aid but I couldn't move.
The scenes kept on changing, becoming worse by the second, until it all flashed in front of me like a collage. The laughter of evil overshadowed the echoes of vulnerability.
A shudder ran down my spine.
This city, this world, I just hope it never sees what I saw.
Let the beauty never fade.
You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.
This is nice. A bit confusing at first as I didn't really get what was happening until the last part, but it wrapped up well. You didn't punctuate some of your dialogues, so you may want to reread, and fix that.
Thanks for the suggestion. I am glad ye liked it. :)
This was a thrilling story with an amazing plot and beautiful descriptions! Kept me hooked until the end! My mind was trying to predict the next move. Lol! Well written! You should submit to the contest, you have a great chance of winning! Check out my recent stories? 💗
Thank you so so so much, Akshara! I am so happy you liked it. :) I have submitted it to the contest (fingers crossed)!! Definitely, I'll check it out! Bet it'll be awesome as always.
I literally just realized this story got shortlisted! Congrats, so proud of you! 💗
Excellent story!! You're a very talented writer. I agree with Dhwani Jain...I hope you submitted to the contest because I think you could win....at the very least be shortlisted!!.
Thank you so much, Andrea! You've taken my hopes to a better height. I have submitted it to the contest. Thanks a lot!
What a thrilling story Keya, amazing! It hooked me till the end, my mind trying to predict the next move. Nice.
Thank you ><
Okay, so I am going to be totally honest with this review. The story was good, had a nice plot and the description was beyond the amazingness levels in the world. BUT I found it a little difficult to comprehend the *foundation* of the story. I just couldn't get it. Maybe it's just me.... NONETHELESS Did you sign this up for the contest? I mean, you might just win it!
Hello Dhwani!! Honest critiques are always welcome. Thank you so much. Yes, I would sign this up for the contest. Probably my tonight. Thanks again!! :)
Nice :) You're always welcome!
Wow, Keya this was amazing! It had a unique plot and the characters were great! When she dreamt what would happen, there were absolutely beautiful descriptions. Well done! I loved this story :)
Thank you so much Sienna!! It is really motivating :)
Hi Keya!! This was amazing!! I honestly have to say that this was the best story I've read all week! I mean it was so good, I actually read it twice :) My favorite line is: "She understands me, she could feel me yet she would compel me to these traps." - This was fantastic and I can say that it will stick in my mind for a while. You are such a talented writer, and I think this one is my favorite of yours so far! Great job, I loved it!! :) :)
Thank you so much, Daniel!! This means a lot to me. I am still working on some details and would probably submit it for the contest. Thanks again. :)
You're welcome, and I would definitely submit it to the contest because I think it has a good chance to win ;)
superb story with unusual plot...loved it...
Thank you so much 😊
That was intense Keya. Very good story. Well done.
Thank you, Danny!
This was such a beautiful story and the writing style is so pretty. I loved how you communicated the facts gradually without revealing too much. The story invoked such vivid images in my mind. Keep writing <3
Thank you so much Smrithi!
I really loved the opening paragraph, how the sound of his name carried through the space to reach his ears. Beautifully written. This story went in a direction I didn't predict. Quite a harsh ending for humankind. It's really easy to understand how Eli feels, why he keeps it a secret. Well done :)
Thank you so much Delia for the beautiful comment! :)
Really imaginative and immersive. I felt like there were two stories in here. I liked both of them, but the transition from a poignant buddy-story to an apocalyptic android-on-the-run story seemed a bit too abrupt (most likely due to the word limit constraints). But I could defo see this as a longer piece, where you have more time to explore each arc. Only one other minor note, was that I didn't understand this sentence, “No! Aw right, the handyman’s date lies due.” But might just be my brain. Anyway, this was some really good storytell...
Thank you for the read H L, I am glad you liked it. By the line you mentioned, I tried to convey that, Eli was a robot and she was facing a few colour distinction problems, later realising she had missed her appointment with the robot mechanic. The handyman signifies the technician. But thank you for pointing it out, I'll try to change it. Thanks again.
I think this is your best story yet - I like it more than 'Gimmie the mic'. You've definitely improved over the weeks, and it shows. I especially like the apocalyptic scene at the end. I have a few suggestions, and I hope they come off as constructive rather than negative. I like this story! I want you to do well in this contest. I think your writing would benefit from a few edits :) The fortune day was yet to come I believed, and it did, resting on the shoulders of a beautiful lady. - This isn't bad at all, but I think it could flow a bit ...
Oh my god...I don't know how to thank you, Alex! Thank you so so much. I'll definitely take care of your suggestions. 🤗 Thanks again. And by leant, I tried to convey - to slightly incline towards something. :)
I'm sorry your story didn't make the shortlist, Keya. I still think it's pretty good. I try to take the losses without much thought - comparing yourself to others on this site isn't too fun. I hope it doesn't discourage you from writing more.
Thank you, Alex, I really appreciate you coming back to this. It means a lot. :) Though I am currently strangled in a tight schedule with multiple exams approaching, so I have decided to give my writing a little break. Reedsy and authors like you have inspired me a lot and looking back from where I started, there is definitely a spark of improvement. The winner and shortlisted stories are yet impressive and have taught me the areas and things I need to consider the next time. Thanks again, and best of luck for your future stories, you ar...
Oh my god Keya! This is beautiful, amazing. I have become a huge fan of your writing. And I agree with everyone here. You're going to win this! If reedsy judges don't like this...I don't know what will. Looking for more stories!
Thanks a lot!
Wow! You have a very unique and engaging writing style! Keep doing what you're doing (:
Thank you so much Elise!
I loved this story! I had to reread a few parts to understand what was going on, but I loved your concept and the emotions you captured. Nice work! --Tommie Michele
Thank you so much Tommie :)
I loved this story, Keya! Without a doubt my favourite of yours!
Thank you so much Beth!!
Wow, this was powerful, Keya! I'd love to know more about this world. These future-predicting machines, owned by common people. The nuclear war amongst super powers. Great stuff!
Thank you so much, Joshua!
kind of creepy the way she yells Jess and she could see the future, see disaster and there is nothing you can do about it.
Exactly! And people think predicting the future can be cool! I am glad I was able to surface her misery well enough. Thank you for your thoughts. :)
Look at this story Everyone!!! It got shortlisted!! Congratulation to the author KEYA!!
Oh my god! Thank you so so so much, Johana! Praying it stays this way. :)