She was getting late for school. She looked at the seconds hand tick in the little oval shaped dial on her wrist. This was her first watch, a gift from her father. There was no time to admire the leather strap of the watch like she does every time. It was a dark brown strap, the color of a slightly burnt toast. She was already past the 5 min buffer time that she had set for herself to make sure she was on time. She was trying to run; she was gathering the strength of every muscle in her body. Yet she was not able to move an inch, not able to put a step forward. One half of her mind was wondering about what was happening and why, while the other half was thinking that it was a déjà vu. Somewhere in the background the clock was still ticking.
She woke up at 3 am to a voice of confusion in her head. With both her body and mind half asleep, she opened her eyes. A full moon peeped through a pyramid of clouds. The room was dimly lit with faint rays of orange from a distant streetlight, which managed to enter through a triangular gap between the window curtains. She could hear the ceiling fan squeak in a low voice as it rotated at its lowest speed. She tried to bring herself to reality from the vague display of the dream on an imaginary screen placed inside several deep layers of her subconscious mind. A corner of the room was covered with the outline of a pile of her 22nd birthday presents, the covers of a couple of which were shining to the now flickering streetlight. She was too tired after the party yesterday, so she chose to sleep instead of opening them up. It has been eight years since she left school and her conscious mind was puzzled by the mysterious reason behind the dream. The cause of her inability to comprehend the situation was not the dream but the fact that it had recurred more than a dozen times over the course of all these years.
Before she could think further, she could feel the streetlight flicker in sync with the second’s hand that was ticking a while ago. Faster than the speed of thought, a dome of darkness covered her pupils, the flickering faded away into emptiness, the squeaking noise merged itself with an unheard silence, the source of which she did not know. She felt herself trying to put her foot forward again, now exhausted from an uncertainty of reason, a struggle to break through the veil of uncertainty, and a despair of not winning the struggle. Her exhaustion dissolved into a vacuum of silence. Her body relaxed in the quiet of the night. A few lakh kilometers away, a blanket of dark blue clouds covered the moon again.
Inspiration: A recurring dream.