Faith

 

Author- Divyang Arora

There is no liberation, no?
The smoke that surrounds us, with no end.
The pit that we are falling in, with no bottom.
The stink, that no perfume can cover up.
The lock doesn’t have a key
and the prison, it doesn’t have a door
The hope, exists only in our minds.
The saviour, only in our dreams.
The soul stays famished
and the heart, littered.
Not broken. No. Only littered. Spread. Confused. Wild.
There’s a difference.
The mind, it’s not allowed to roam, is it?
The essence of it, wrapped in a bottle
when it should have been the one littered.
The world stands inverted
and the sky, crushing upon me.

But maybe.

Maybe the smoke clouds light
light with age old dust swimming in it, but light indeed.
Light from a hole
and maybe the hole is in a door
Maybe the pit has no bottom
because I am shooting to the sky, amidst stars.
Maybe the stink, is just my nose acting up
Maybe the lock is already open,
and the door is just shut for me to grab the handle.
Maybe I have been standing on the other side of the prison bars,
foolish enough to only look straight.
A lot of maybes they are,
but the hope has a spark of fire to it
hidden in the burnt debris and ashes.
Maybe it’s all in my head,
but why should that mean that it’s not real?
One only needs to stand down with his faith
and remember,
that happiness can be found even in the darkest of times
if one only remembers, to turn on the light.
And maybe, I think as I excite myself,
the saviour is no one but me.

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Subterfuge

Author: Saumyaa Sinha

Smoke filled the little cellar. One couldn’t tell if the pungency was from the cigar tobacco or the wine or the rapidly rotting body of Louise Baer.

***

“This is ridiculous. It cannot possibly be expected from me to wait this long,” he mumbled under his breath, sitting on a chair so high it seemed he was nothing but a furniture talking.

“They are arriving shortly sir, if you could just be so kind as to-” the assistant began.

“I don’t believe in kindness, its blasphemy blinds us, and if it isn’t clear enough then perhaps there is no use in this pathetic wrangle, you understand?”

“Very well understood sir, maybe that’s why you’re here,”, a steady unwavering voice answered back, the lack of humor in it terrifying.

“Ah Miss Davis, kind of you to finally see through to your commitments,” he spat, as he swallowed the woman from the top of her smooth haired head to the glistening tip of her heel.

“You are, if I’m not wrong, sitting in my office, Mr. Smith, traveled 32 miles for my help on a petty case you have twisted for yourself, and you, fragile little man, have the audacity to run your mouth to an attorney with the power over 15 states. I’m not the one in the mess here, sir.” She smiled, walked over to her desk and sat on her chair, fingers entwined in front of her.

“Miss, you have me all wrong,” Mr. Smith smiles, the demeanor of his body changing. Women can be intimidating. Especially if they have a degree in law. “I did nothing. I need you to prove that”.

“That’s all pretty well, but tell me first, I beg, why did you kill him?”. She asked, simply skimming through some papers at her desk, not bothering to look at the man sat opposite to her. “The bench warrants did give me quite a headache this morning,”.

“This is preposterous!” Mr. Smith raged and got off his chair, slamming down his hand on the rosewood table.

“Now you be careful, that’s real wood,” she raised an eyebrow and that was enough for him to sit back down.

“I have come here to tell you Miss, that I have killed no one. I am a businessman not a murderer!”

“But Louise Baer WAS your rival”

“Yes but-”

“And you did threaten him not once, but on three different occasions”

“Miss, I agree but-”

“And if he were to die, his shares were to be automatically transferred to you?”

“That’s true, but-”

“And you plead innocence? Did you come here to waste my time, Sir?”

He sighed, slowly rubbing circles around his head with his fingers. This woman was maddening. He dropped his voice to a bare whisper. “I did not kill him. I don’t know who did it. But it wasn’t me,”.

“Hmm,” she said undeterred. “Mr. Smith, do you know what the state police department found during their investigation? A pipe. Much like yours. Here let me refill that for you,” and she bent over the table to grab the pipe out of the bewildered man’s mouth. “Porter!” she shouted and a skinny man, wearing a suit two sizes too big for him came running into the room, with his hands behind his back.

“Yes Ma’am?”

“Fill this up for the kind gentlemen here,” and she smiled at Porter, who rushed to do his job. “Now, where were we. Ah yes. The murder you didn’t commit,”

“Miss, I swear I did not-”

“I heard you know the Bostons?” she said, finally looking at the shaking man.

“Yes, yes, I met them briefly last year during the annual business meet. What has that got to do with me,”

“Oh it’s very much got to do with you, Sir. Did you know, if you were to break the contract or, well, god forbid, were to have been demised, all money under your name would transfer to him?” she questioned, plainly.

The man gulped. “Yes, I am aware,”. Porter rushed back in the room and handed the pipe to Mr. Smith, who hurriedly took it and had a couple of swigs instantly to calm his mind.

The attorney smiled. “If you were to be convicted Mr. Smith, you’d have a death penalty. And if I were to somehow reverse that into a better disposition, you’d still have lifetime imprisonment,”.

“I came here to seek your help. Please,” he begged.

“I am helping. You’re just too stubborn to see it. There is only so much I can do Sir,” she smiled again.

The man was frustrated. This woman didn’t believe him. She wasn’t going to take over his case. Lord help! He cried. “I’ll give you as much as you ask,” he pleaded.

“Oh, your money is something you don’t need to worry about Mr. Smith, I’ll just say two things to you now. First, here, this is my wedding card, do come,” she slid a crisp golden envelope towards him. He picked it up and the swirly golden writing frustrated him even more. How could she do this at such a time? “And second, it really will be quite painless, you won’t feel anything sir,” she smiled.

The woman undid her smooth bun and got off her leather chair.

“Miss, what on Earth are you talking about, I-” he choked on the tobacco. “I don’t underst-” Mr. Smith clutched onto his throat with both hands.

She sighs. “I must take your leave now Sir. My fiancé is waiting,” and with the finality, she walked out of the room. “Porter, take care of this mess,”.

The door closed with a thud. Mr. Smith brought the card close to his face, his pipe falling onto the carpeted floor.

 

You are invited to the harmonious wedding of

Gloria Davis and Charles Boston

 

Smoke filled the cabin. One couldn’t tell if the pungency was from the cigar tobacco or the burning carpet or the slowly rotting body of the dead man.

The Game of Life

“Was the moon landing fake?”, “Was Avril Lavigne replaced by a clone?” , “Was time travel possible?” These were the questions that consumed me once I introduced myself to conspiracy theories. They overtook the mundane thoughts I generally had: food, the unpredictability of the future and several replays of witty conversations. Even though some of them sounded far-fetched, like the flat Earth theory, there was something fascinating about them. I couldn’t help myself from sleuthing around; I needed answers. The ones with substantial proof made me question everything; Nothing seemed real anymore. Among the several evidence bearing theories, one particular theory intrigued me the most, the theory that stated the possibility of the earth being a simulation. Every other theory had enough shortcomings for me to accept that it might be a coincidence, but this one had more “What ifs” than “That’s absurd”. Of course, saying “We are a bunch of characters in a computer game” sounded insane, but something within me couldn’t discredit all the coincidences that had happened in the past and how they seemed connected to a computer game.

I used to watch Sims playthroughs for fun, but after hearing about this theory, every second of every video became an opportunity for comparison. In the game, the player was allowed to control several people at once. Their likes, dislikes, actions and lifestyle, everything was in the player’s hands but in the latest versions, the people were allowed to have a say of their own. For example, in the earlier versions if the person wasn’t given an action, they’d stay idle till an order was given, however now it was possible that the person would begin to do whatever they pleased if no orders were given and they also had the ability to deny the order and do something else. This got me thinking, what if the orders were analogous to our inner voices. Sometimes we pay heed to them, sometimes we don’t, just like the Sims characters. There were so many tiny factors like this that boggled my mind. In the game, the player had an option to cancel the character’s actions from a lineup. This seemed very similar to something that kept happening to me- I’d go into a room for some reason, then I’d forget why I was there. Another thing about the lineup was that the order of the actions could be changed, just like our order of priority. This was relevant to the fact that sometimes procrastinate homework to do something less important. We could blame that on poor willpower, but what about the times I decided to put nature on hold just to continue scrolling aimlessly on my phone. The game also allowed time to pass by faster at the click of a button. Nothing of that sort ever happened in our world, right? What about the times when time would drag on till the point where we thought our watches were broken? The times when every minute was definitely lesser than 60 seconds? It made sense.

The next 2 epiphanies I had regarding this topic were not as concrete as the previous ones, they were sillier. First, a computer simulation would explain every paranormal experience anyone had ever had, especially strange occurrences involving movement of furniture and other objects, from their original positions. The game had a feature where we could change from “game mode” to “build mode”. Game mode was the mode in which the game was played and build mode was the mode in which we could rearrange furniture, buy and sell objects etc. Second, the character’s wants would show up at the bottom of the screen and you’d have the choice of whether or not to fulfil them. This was a lot like the law of attraction, which states that “if you believe you will obtain something, it will manifest into reality”. Obviously, an object dropping from the sky would be outrageous, but the coincidences involving people getting what they really wanted were too many to ignore.

But if the world was indeed a simulation, that would mean that there would be glitches in the system? It would mean resurrection and immortality weren’t impossible. I was left with so many questions, more than when I began sleuthing around. What if the simulation crashed? Would life continue from a checkpoint, like in the games? Was that why Mandela effects existed? What was the purpose of this simulation? Who created it? And why? Who controlled us? I couldn’t believe anything as it was, everything had something hidden behind it.