…Tale of a Broken Family…
This fiction has won the third prize in the Sci Fi ECLAT competition held by IIT Guwahati
By Abhigyan Kashyap
Don Bosco Higher Secondary School, Baghchung, Jorhat, Assam.
Lying on my bed, I stared at the twinkling stars through the open roof. The flying vehicles coupled with the spaceships obstructed the mesmerizing sight of the night sky. The clock struck 11 and the lights emitted by the soundproof walls of my room were automatically switched off.
My baby robot suddenly jumped over me and hugged me tight.
“Ouch! Not again,” I let out a cry.
Before I could say anything, he slid the roof close and my thoughts drifted towards him. He was the most expensive robot of the 25th Century. His body emitted blue light and his eyes were the cutest of all baby robots.
I moved my hand in the air towards north and my image slid open on the roof.
“Hello Sam,” the computerized screen greeted me. “What would you wish to see today?”
“Reset the wallpaper,” I commanded. “I want the portrait of the twinkling stars.”
The wallpaper was reset within a micro second. Meanwhile, the walls emitted a spectrum of white light. It was a video call from my friends.
“Hey guys,” I spoke and the wall displayed each of them separately. I saw them penetrating through the traffic at a maddening speed on their flying bikes.
“Hi dude,” Zimex said. “We are on our way to your home and…”
“Happy birthday in advance,” Isha shouted interrupting him.
“Thank you,” I said smiling at her.
“We are going to reach there within few minutes,” said Karan.
“Hey, cops are after you,” I suddenly screamed as I saw the police vehicles behind them.
They turned back. “They are after us coz our speed is at about 450 km/hr,” Isha said. “I think we need to slow down and…”
“Speed up guys!” shouted Simi before Isha could complete her sentence. I watched their scary faces as they were speeding up. They activated the invisibility mode on their bikes and the cops were finally left behind after a long chase.
“Here we reached,” Zimex said as they parked their bikes outside my room. The computerized wall scanned their retina and it slid open automatically. No sooner did they enter my room, than they hugged me wishing me a happy birthday. Dad had arranged a special party for the next night and they were the first guests.
The date changed as the clock struck 12 and they were precisely on time. We sat down on my bed and started chatting. The wall slid close. Meanwhile, Timmy, my baby robot, jumped onto Isha’s lap and she, in turn, smiled at him.
“We need some sleep,” Karan said.
“Yeah,” Simi added.
Pressing a switch on our clothes, we changed to our night dress. I gently tapped my bed twice and the bed started emitting a green light. This green light stores the dreams of a person which he can see after waking up.
Suddenly, an unfamiliar image slid open on the roof and the computerized screen spoke: ‘Unknown object detected’.
“What’s this?” I asked pointing above. “An unknown object is detected in our store room.”
We jumped down and ran towards the room. As we entered the room, Isha picked it up from the floor. It contained printed pages and few words were inscribed on the cover:
“This dairy belongs to the 21st Century,” Karan said.
Isha opened it and………. The first page contained my photo!!!
“It’s you Sam,” Zimex said in surprise.
“Me?” I blinked my eyes.
I took the diary in my hands and stared at the photo for some time. Turning the page, we discovered that it was hand-written. I read:
Hi dear, this is Samir…
I skipped a few pages and stopped in the middle seeing a poem in one of the pages. I read:
23rd May, 2010:
“Mom,” I said looking at her photo. “Your son, Samir would be eighteen today.”
I was sitting alone in my room and was thinking of my dead mother and sister while guests were waiting outside for me. Dad says that they had left this world in a car accident. Looking at mom’s photo, I wrote a few lines:
…..MISS YOU MOM…..
The birds hymn a melancholic tune as they fly,
Lightning flashes your name in the sky,
A fairy seems to dwell among human beings
Feels like a butterfly has spread out its wings.
The gentle breeze feels like your touch,
It’s the night sky that I love to watch
Coz the twinkling stars reflect your face,
Feels like you are an angel from space.
Flowers whisper your name when it’s twilight,
The wind seems to carry your fragrance in the night,
Even storms can’t stop your love to sail,
Feels like a fairy is out from a fairy tale…
Sometimes, like a baby in its mother’s lap,
I long for your care,
I look up silently at the moon,
To see if you are hiding there.
Sometimes, it is your voice that I hear,
Whispering my name from beyond the clouds,
Closing my eyes, I try to feel you near
While opening my eyes, I get a drop of tear…
I kept aside my diary and walked to the hall and the guests gave me a warm welcome. I cut the cake and came to my room and kept the first piece of cake under my mom’s photo. I walked back to the hall.
Even being in that crowd, I was feeling lonely.
“Samir,” Dad called me. “Kindly bring my cell phone from my room.”
“Yeah,” I said and ran towards his room.
I opened the shelf. Something caught hold of my eyes. I saw the picture of a spaceship on the first page through the transparent cover of a file. I turned few pages and saw the photo of my mom which was captured inside some spaceship. I went through the file and discovered that dad was a scientist in NASA who had designed that spaceship fitted with a time-machine.
Meanwhile, dad himself came to the room as I was late.
“What’s this dad?” I asked.
“Why did you open this?” he retorted.
“Why did you hide this from me?”
“Sit down here,” he said blinking his eyes. “I will tell you.”
I faked a smile at him and he began, “I was a scientist in NASA but my mind had always drifted to something beyond imaginations. Time-travel was the most complex concept that I never understood and hence I spent days and nights researching whether it is possible for man to go to the future or to the past. The year was 1980, when I first designed the model of a spaceship fitted with a time-machine. I did something in reality which people couldn’t even imagine in their dreams. With few workers, I started building the spaceship. It was 1995 when my dream turned into reality and the spaceship was named Angel. Meanwhile, you were a three year old baby while your sister, Priya was just 7 months old.
Accordingly, along with Priya and you, we stepped inside the finest spaceship of all time. Your mom wanted to see your future but I wanted to go to the 25th Century. She had never refused me and that time too she did the same. Soon, we reached there. But…”
“But…?” I asked watching a drop of tear in his eyes.
“The natives thought us to be aliens and the aircrafts attacked us. Angel couldn’t resist their powerful attack and she started burning from the end. Then the spaceship started shaking vigorously. Your sister fell down from your mother’s hand through the broken glasses. She too jumped down to save her daughter. I somehow walked to the control room and pressed a switch which took us back to our own time. We were saved but your mom and sister had died because of me. It was my fault to wish to go to the 25th Century and…”
Dad was crying. I was crying and along with us, nature was crying. It was raining. Dad sat on the floor. I sat down beside him. “Perhaps they didn’t die…” I muttered. “They may be still alive there.”
“May be,” he said.
“Can’t we bring them back?”
He didn’t reply.
“What happened to Angel then?” I changed my question.
“After we reached here, I somehow took you out. Angel was still burning while the rain poured down and the fire stopped. I made an underground hall near our garage and hid the spaceship there. I promised that I will never touch Angel again and she has been lying there for fifteen long years. I could have published my researches over the spaceship. But I didn’t do so for people too will wish to see the future and will face the same situation.”
“I need to attend the guests,” he interrupted and left the room.
I left a letter for him on his bed:
I am taking Angel to the 25th Century without your permission. It’s my promise that I will return home only with mom and Priya. I am sorry dad. Without them, even a second feels like ages. I want to touch my mom’s feet. I want to play with my little sister. Please dad, forgive me.
I walked to the location of the spaceship. I somehow removed the roof of the underground hall and jumped down. I was benumbed. Angel was a beauty. The charismatic sight froze my movements and my eyes were fixed on her like glue. I stepped inside the spaceship. I felt a sweet fragrance like that of my mom hovering around me. Although, the glasses were still broken and various parts were burnt, Angel didn’t lose her beauty. I went to the control room and typed ‘25th Century’ on the keypad of the time-machine. She transformed into particles and few seconds later I saw the following words on the screen of the time machine: ‘Destination Reached’. Flying vehicles hovered around and I was looking for a place to land.
Suddenly, I saw smoke coming out from the spaceship. They had attacked again…
I took the loudspeaker in my hand from a shelf inside the control room and spoke: We are not aliens. We are your ancestors. I have come to take my mother and sister back from here.
Their attacks continued. I knew I would die.
I promised dad to take back my mom and my little sister. I am not afraid of death but what matters me the most is that I have broken his heart. I have broken a promise. If someone ever finds this diary, please fulfill my promise. Dad will perhaps still be waiting there. Here, I am pasting the photos of mom and sister…
We looked at the two photos in the diary. “It feels like I am somehow related to Samir,” I said closing the diary.
“Perhaps he dropped down the diary and..,” Isha beamed.
“Stop giving your own conclusions,” Zimex stopped her. “Only Sam’s mom or dad can tell the truth.”
I pulled out the two photos from the diary and we returned to the bed. Questions kept arising in our minds which forbade us to sleep.
“Good morning children,” said dad entering my room.
Oops! It was already morning.
“Dad,” I spoke. “There is a diary lying in our store room. Signs show that it belongs to the 21st Century and the boy, I mean, Samir, the owner of that diary looks precisely like me.”
“Yeah,” he muttered. “It’s said that when someone’s last wishes remain unfulfilled, he is born again to fulfill them. Samir is reborn here in the 25th Century as Sam and it’s none other than you.”
“Me???” I wondered.
“Is he dead?”
“No,” dad replied. “He is still fighting with his life in the hospital. When Angel was attacked by the cops, he jumped down with the diary in his hands. He was severely injured. At that time, I was in my car and seeing him, I drove near and caught hold of his hand. Soon, the police aircrafts were after my car. Somehow, I rescued him and took him to the hospital.”
“What happened to Angel?”
“Angel was taken to the Research Centre and was rebuilt within ten days.”
As dad left the room, I handed over the photos of Samir’s mom and his baby sister to Zimex and said, “You guys need to go to the Info Centre, and inserting these photos in the machine, collect their information with full details. Meanwhile, I am going to see Samir in the hospital.”
Mounting on my bike, I speeded up towards the hospital while they drove to the Info Centre. As I reached the hospital, I hunted out his room number from the screen flashing out from one of the walls and soon found him lying on the hospital bed.
“Don’t be frightened Samir. I am Sam,” I muttered. “Look, you are reborn in the 25th Century.”
My watch beeped suddenly. It was a message from Karan. I projected out the message from the watch and read: ‘We hav found out Samir’s mom. C iz in d rehabilitation centre…’
Meanwhile, my watch beeped again. I projected the message and read: ‘Dude, come here soon. D situation iz urgent…’
“See you soon, Samir,” I said and ran out through the wall outside where my bike was parked. Meanwhile it started to rain. Enjoying every drop of rain that drenched my face, I penetrated through the traffic.
Simi, Zimex and Karan were waiting on the ground floor outside the computerized gate of the Info Centre.
“Where is Isha?” I asked landing my bike. They looked at each other. They were clueless.
“We don’t know,” Karan answered.
“What are we waiting for then?” I said and we vanished into different directions. I looked for her in the great hall of the ground floor.
Suddenly the crowd stopped moving. Silence ran from one end to the other. Everyone was staring at the huge T.V. screen of the hall. I turned my eyes towards it. Isha was there in the News Channel.
“Mom, dad,” she began and tears climbed down her eyes. “I thought that I was your own blood. But no! Today I had found out my real identity in the Info Centre. I am not Isha. I am Priya whom you had adopted from the orphanage.
In fact, I don’t belong to this world. 15 years ago, I have come here in a spaceship from the 21st Century along with my family. But you, the people of 25th Century attacked us and separated our family. Last month, my brother came here to take us back home. But you people didn’t even spare him. Mom is in the rehabilitation centre from 15 years. My brother is fighting with his life in the hospital. I am here and dad is there at home with a hope that we would return someday. But…”
Her tears concluded her speech. She had silenced the world for seven long minutes. Suddenly I heard the news: Research Centre has surrendered the spaceship.
Without wasting a second, I mounted on my bike and speeded up towards the Rehabilitation Centre. As I reached, I looked at her room number, took the permission to take her along with me and ran into the room. She was sitting down on the floor.
“Hello Aunt,” I said. “Come with me. I have come to take you from here. Your children are waiting for you.”
“My little Samir and Priya!” she said and tears rolled down her cheeks. She still thinks that Samir and Priya are still babies.
I took her along with me back to the Info Centre. I landed my bike and my friends came running. Meanwhile, Isha too came back and landed her bike near mine. Aunt climbed down my bike looking at Isha. Isha almost jumped off her bike and hugged her mom. Aunt froze on the spot and understood that her children have grown up.
“Your son is waiting for you,” I muttered.
Isha made her mother sit on her bike and then, all of us accelerated our bikes towards the hospital.
As we reached the hospital, we landed our bikes. I said, “Angel will arrive here within few minutes. Wait here, I will be back with Samir.”
I ran towards his room and… My eyes were fixed on him like glue. His body was covered with a piece of white cloth. He is no more!!!
I changed my dress and wore his glasses. I pressed my spiked hair down. I rubbed my tears and sat down on his wheel chair and took myself outside the hospital towards Aunt and my friends. Aunt came running and hugged me tight. I touched her feet which Samir had always wanted to do. Meanwhile, Angel arrived and landed near us. I saw Angel for the first time with my wet eyes.
Isha and Aunt stepped inside the spaceship. “Where is Sam?” Zimex asked suddenly. I turned back and looked at my friends. I opened my glasses and smiled at them with tears overflowing my eyes. They understood that it was me. All of them ran towards me and hugged me together.
“Hey,” I whispered. “I am going in place of Samir who had left us few minutes ago. Aunt and Isha can’t bear the truth. Bye friends.”
“We are friends for life,” Simi’s voice shook. “How can we let you go?”
Zimex hit me hard in anger and hugged me tight at the same time. I continued, “If destiny wishes we will meet again in some other life, some other time.”
Then what else? I stepped inside the spaceship which took us to the 21st Century. Angel was no longer needed. She was sent back to the 25th Century, forever and I was made new with a new name, a new life in a new world.
This was just the beginning……..
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