I scream out loud shattering the peaceful silence of a tranquil night. Only that it hasn’t been quite so peaceful or tranquil for me lately.
My breaths come out in rugged whispers. My heart is beating frantically. They are coming to get me again like they had got everyone else. But I won’t let them.
Silence is again pressing all over against me in its attempt to suffocate me. I’m not surprised that no one has stirred yet, in spite of my eardrum splitting scream. They are all inside my head, trying to push through my cerebral shield to insert their own functioning algorithm into my brain and I fight.
Perhaps I’m the only one alive who has fought real hard against those multiwired demons and perhaps the only one remaining with a functional consciousness.
My breathing is still uneven. I feel a trickle of sweat run behind my earlobe, leaving its wetness on my neck and continuing its trail on my shoulders before falling somewhere. It might have evaporated, I am feeling so hot. I have my eyes shut tight and my hands clutching my hair. I’m still fighting them out in my head. Although my eyes are closed, I see patterns of vivid colors, representing the oscillating algorithm perhaps created to hypnotize my mind into giving up......
I keep fighting.
The fractal patterns of blue, green and yellow are fading into another similar outline of yellow orange and red and this again blooms back into the symmetrical geometry of previous blue, green and yellow. This keeps on repeating itself in regular manner.
I try to fight and not to give up. I push my effort further. The pattern is fading now, vivid and vibrant colors are now dull and murky. I try harder. The rhythm now seems to be broken. As opposed to fading and reappearing the designs are jagged and stuck now. I feel all of them going, creating an empty void of vacuum. Darkness presses me again inside my head. I feel myself succumbing into the void, losing myself.
I scream again and my eyes fly open. I let out a fresh stream of breaths like shrill gasps. I feel beads of sweat dripping from my forehead and tears in my eyes; then comes relief. I think I have won.
Perhaps they are considering a new tactic to break into me and have given up for the time being. I raise my head in gratefulness.
I look around my room, the same old room where I’ve spent most of my 19 years of life.
My grandmum’s antique dressing table is resting against the wall in front of me. A sick white tissue paper rose perched on its top. It is poised so sadly that all the grief in the world would have been embraced inside it and any moment a petal would fall off and the grief would pour out and take the world by its momentum.
My left wall is covered with paper sheets where my pleas of escape are sticking pathetically one over another, torn in many places. I used to work on them frantically. That was when I had started realizing the changes around me, in the people around me and truth was dawning on me with the subtlety of a spider enclosing around its prey.
Beneath these sheets, I remember, used to be a beautiful pink colored wall adorned by my creative photographic captures of nature and life. That seemed to be a millennium ago. This wall also had a window, through which sunlight came streaming into my room, golden rays dancing off the marble floor. Now the window is carefully sealed up and padded with cardboard sheets sticking firmly with the sills, making my room a prison cell.
On my right is the door (the door of doom, as I call it now) which is now the sole way of exiting this room. A creaky, ancient looking cupboard stashed in the right corner adds to the miserable look of my room.
The whole surrounding within my viewing range has a restricted appearance. Like an old gloomy, shadowy painting dipped in monochrome that gives you a kind of forlorn and forgotten feeling in your guts. The room’s bathing in that eerie, black and white glow, discharged by my miserable electric lamp.
I have the privilege of a bedside table with a functioning lamp on it. A jug full of water is kept there, accompanied with a glass tumbler.
I reach out and pour myself a glass of water and drink it down in one go. I feel my life returning back. I take a deep breath, let out a long sigh and wash down my throat with some more water.
My bed is all messy. The grey bed-sheets are all look kneaded up with the blankets and create an effect that I’ve been strangled in it.
I get up and in drunken steps reach to the antique dressing table. The mirror is dirty and spotty and through this greasy, translucent wall, my reflection stares back at me.
I am not much of a beauty. Really. My 19 year old female body looks thin and fragile. My pale and bony structure appears to be swaying. Maybe I should’ve had a proper dinner. But then I was afraid that the food they have provided me with might grow steel claws once it’s inside me, inject its viruses in my bloodstream and take over my human senses. My insides lurch horribly at the thought.
I lift up my lids to look clearly. My waist length black hair is frayed, tangled and unkempt. I inch closer to the mirror and pore over my eyes into those staring back at me; Mystical, twinkling, hazel eyes; my eyes.
I raise my hand and slowly stretch a finger to touch the surface of the mirror softly. A nanosecond before I thought the wall would fall over and this entire mirror and reflection thing would turn out to be the illusion created as a part of conspiracy to take me in. After all these creatures are capable of many advanced things with lasers and holographic images, aren’t they?
But my finger just slides over the surface swiping a clear trail on dust layer.
I wonder how it works. I mean the world inside this room, the world outside my room, the world inside this mirror and most familiar of all- the world inside my head.
I snap my eyes into focus and walk myself back to the bed. But I stop abruptly midway. Funny, I didn’t mean to stop myself here.
I take a step forward. But my feet don’t move. It’s like they’ve frozen over. Oh my god! I’m paralyzed! I scream but nothing comes out of my mouth. I’m trapped inside my head. I desperately try to move my legs, hands, anything! But like a stone I keep standing there.
Then I turn back and to my horror, I move again towards the mirror, not according to my will but I do nevertheless. My body is suddenly acting on its own accord. Or is it?
Once again in front of the mirror I am staring into its depth. The world seems to shine in a new light. Every world except the one inside my head, maybe.
I stare into my reflection. My body is same as ever. My face, my cheekbones, my complexion, my hair are just the way they had looked before. But not the malicious smile playing on my lips, It never belonged to me.
To my horror I feel myself leaning towards the mirror softly, and widening my eyes. I revolt inside the head, thrash and writhe like an animal and scream as I’ve never screamed before, but not even a muscle has moved in my body. I want to shut my eyes but I can’t help myself gazing into the mirror.
Now I notice. The eyes. They are jet black now. I can’t even distinguish the pupil. I shrink with horror inside the tiny space I occupy inside my head. I am now an insignificance to the body that had belonged to my through its stages of nourishment and development.
My eyes close softly and there is velvety blackness all over. I hear a very fading, distant sound of shattering glass echoing multiple times.
Finally, I surrender.
This is the story i had written for Shaastra's (iit chennai's techfest) online science fiction writing competition. i didn't win but i did get a special mention from the judges Mike Resnick and James Patrick Kelly. View the results here.