CBC Contests

Warped

The bright blue sky was cloudless. It was a perfect spring day. Walking briskly along the promenade, Priya wondered how even the grass seemed greener than usual. In the distance, the waves crashed against each other, their journey to the shore mostly futile, as they lost velocity and silently crept back into the sea. Her eyes lingered for more than a few seconds on the frothy waves, perfectly forming into shapes and crashing onto the shore in synchronised, even movements.

Her stride evolved into a jog as she changed track and quickly ran towards the sand and the waves. Her feet sunk deeper and deeper into the pliant sand with every step she took. Halfway through, she panted, hearing a steady roar in her ears. She stopped, bent almost double, with her hands on her knees. Her breathing grew heavier and she raised a hand to wipe off her sweat. Her hand swiped on her dry forehead. Confused, she wiped again, her hands coming away clean.

Stretching to her full height, she paused, listening. Which was when it struck her. The world around her was beautiful – much more synchronised, symmetrical, bright and colourful. There was just one odd thing. It was absolutely soundless. All Priya could hear where her own heartbeats and her blood pounding in her ears. She calmed herself, pausing and listening. Nothing. There was absolutely no sound.

The flying birds didn’t chirp, the waves did not roar and the landscape around her was perfectly devoid of any other human life. Making a 360 degree turn, she reassessed her situation, confirming her worst fears as the world around her disintegrated. The chirpy birds stopped mid air as if a bullet had struck them, falling dead on the land. Thick dark, angry clouds quickly engulfed the blue sky, rushing in like there was a storm brewing. The lush green grass blades flattened, turning grey as if a child was repainting them digitally.

And with the first stroke of lightning, her auditory senses returned, just in time to catch the sound of thunder. Petrified, she began moving when she realised her leg was stuck calf deep in the sand. No matter how hard she tried to pull them up, Priya could not move her legs even an inch. The landscape turned greyer and blacker as she watched, terrified. Her nerves were tested when she saw pairs of glinting eyes in the distance, their green, honey and amber hues malicious, deadly.

The dark silhouettes began forming into shapes and that did nothing to comfort her. Huge jackal like forms, ten to twelve feet high, approached slowly, their gait menacing. In the distance, a lone seagull was emitting high pitched squeals, something Priya herself would have done, if only she had the voice to. Hot tears touched her cheeks, and unable to raise her hands to wipe them off, Priya whimpered.

“Well, finally! Look who is here!” An amused female voice sounded behind her.

Priya turned so fast that her neck cricked.

Note: This post is part of the ‘Tagged’ contest organized by The Chennai Bloggers Club and author Kaarthika.

Kaarthika’s book is about to be released on May 29. Preorders open on Amazon.

This story will be continued by an amazingly talented Vid Dev. Handing over the lamp to you, Vid.

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