A Peculiar Predicament

by Nikhil Gupta
A Peculiar Predicament

“The sun glistened brightly with glory and freedom, just like the thousands of hearts that it had granted life to. The butterflies wafted across the bright blue sky, graceful like the mist that encircled them. Everything was submerged in happiness at this astonishing era in time, leaving the world devoid of any peril that had left us wretched before. I too was born during this happy era, with many unusual characteristics which gave way to happenings that would change my life forever.”

The sun glistened brightly with glory and freedom, just like the thousands of hearts that it had granted life to. The butterflies wafted across the bright blue sky, graceful like the mist that encircled them. Everything was submerged in happiness at this astonishing era in time, leaving the world devoid of any peril that had left us wretched before. I too was born during this happy era, with many unusual characteristics which gave way to happenings that would change my life forever.

Early in my life I was born in New York City, in 1821, in a poor family that had mainly happiness to bond them together. I was the youngest of three children, who had thus far lived for ten years, in the small house that our family could afford. I had all the trappings of a normal childhood, furnished with the joy of school, books and friends. I was unusually curious about the world that I lived in, constantly marveling at the assortment of plants and animals within my reach. My mother was fine with me going out of the house alone, as long as I kept a small iron pistol with me to protect myself from any person that might try to harm me. My curiosity proved to be a great characteristic for school, as the teacher would raise my grades tremendously. But one day I pushed the limit.

In the summer, when I was meandering around the park looking for plant samples to study, I came across a putrid little flower that was filled with a foul odor and disease. It was limp, lying in the distance, too far for me to reach safely. However, my curiosity goaded me to go on, and that is what I did, trudging through the underbrush until the flower was just a yard and a half away. I gently touched the flower, retaining its feel like that of a rotten fruit and the color of the rain clouds in the sky. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning struck the decayed flower, right in front of me, reducing it to charred tendrils of broken leaves. I leapt back in fright, running instinctively towards my left, in the direction I knew my home was.

I suddenly realized I was mistaken, and that I was running in the wrong direction. I sat down hopelessly, looking at the sky, exhausted, crying as much as the rain that was falling all around me. I, for the first time, experienced fright and it struck me as hard as the lightning that fell before me. Too tired to do anything, I laid down in the dirt and fell asleep, my mind fogged by the thought of what my day had become. The next morning, I awoke from my dreamy trance. I was lying in the same spot in the same lawn of last night. The only difference between both days was that the lawn was now filled with minute droplets of water that peppered the ground like flowers in a meadow. I realized my position and continued walking towards the north in search of my home. I stumbled through fallen boughs from trees, bloody carcasses of small animals and much, much, more until I came upon a small city-like place that was just in my sight. Again, my curiosity got me into trouble.

I ran toward the city, my heart once again enlightened by the thought of meeting another human being. I ran through the grass as fast as I could. One structure seemed to stand out, larger and grander as I came closer and closer. The structure was a castle made of four large walls, each composed of the finest marble. Embedded in the marble was a medley of jewels of various sizes, each a 100 times more mammoth than any jewel that I had ever seen. I ran through the doorway, looking with the utmost envy at all the jewels that dotted the walls. The corridor seemed to be endless, but still, with each step I became more elated and energetic. Soon, I emerged from the other side of the hallway, face to face with an object that would put anyone into a trance. It was large and diamond-shaped, with a small door as an opening. Its color was of a bright blue pigment just like that of a diamond. I approached the doorway, unsure as to whether I should to enter it. My mind was a medley of thoughts, one of them urging me to go on.

However, my curiosity was overwhelmed by my common sense, and I pushed myself to turn back around – which I began to regret, as soon as I did. As I turned, a ten feet long iron-headed spear appeared just a few inches from my face. The bearer, a soldier, emerged from the shadows, clad in a tough sheet of metal cloth. His face seemed to be made out of molten rock that warped constantly into different shapes. I turned around to run, but was stopped by another spear that emerged from the darkness, and then very soon was surrounded by spears, all of them looking more jagged than ever. Trying to suppress my fright, I pulled out my pistol and fired without hesitation at one of the savage faces, but the bullet surprisingly melted on its path toward the face and then just sunk lightly into the face upon collision. I was weighed down by hopelessness and fatigue, and so I gave up and just stood there without doing anything.

The soldiers finally stopped coming forward but looked menacing nevertheless, and with their spears held high it looked like nothing had been altered. I still exhaled a sigh of relief at the prospect of death that I had so nearly missed. Then, the soldiers nodded to each other with their disfigured faces and brought me through another set of corridors to a jail cell. This cell was filled with rotten bones aplenty, and was not any place fit for a human to stay in, but I followed them with utmost haste, as this was heaven compared to the torture those spears could induce. They then shut the bars down and began speaking in low, solemn voices, indistinguishable to my ears, but I was already so tired I was ready to faint. I was thinking about all of the events that could have resulted in my death, and how anxious my parents would be, hoping all day that I would appear, as I always do at their door, unfazed by any scoundrels that populate our city like the worms in a garden. I drifted into sleep, away from home once again, dreaming about the room that I would be in if it weren’t for my curiosity.

I don’t know if I had been sleeping for a day or a year but I awoke to the sound of spears hitting the bars of my cell. The soldiers seemed to be beckoning me to follow them. I followed, still frightened by their spears and their insusceptibility to my bullets. They then took me through another long corridor, which opened up into the most astonishing room I had seen so far. This room was almost completely occupied by an immense throne, more than two times larger than the house in which I lived in. On the throne was seated a middle aged man, a king of some sort, who didn’t seem that powerful at first glance. He wielded a small spear that was enveloped in a glistening sheath of emerald green particles. The sheath was astonishing to the eye, and I was amazed that nature could conjure such an object.

“Who are you who dared to scamper upon my property?” he said in a booming voice.

I shuddered out of my awe and responded to his question in the most innocent voice that I could muster, “I am just an innocent….” – but the man stopped me before I could speak.

“You are no innocent, for it is obvious that you came upon me intentionally.” Then the man aimed his spear at my heart. I suddenly realized his intent and leapt out of the way in the split second that he shot the spear. A small lightning bolt that struck the ground where I once stood showed me what my fate could have been. I dodged the oncoming lightning bolts, each one giving me more motivation to run faster until with one final effort, I started to run towards the corridor, for it seemed the safest place for me to run to. I ran constantly without halting or stopping, the cries of the guards humming in my ears as painful as the strongest bite a bee can induce.

Finally, the end of the corridor appeared, leading out into the room containing the diamond with a small doorway, which I had seen on my first arrival. Quickly realizing that my only hope was to go into that diamond, I executed the thought into action, and in a fragment of a second, I was inside of it, fright relentlessly pouring down my back like the sweat drops in a race. In my fright and haste, I was oblivious to what was happening within the diamond, as the diamond wasn’t stationary, but instead it traveled through the air at an immense speed through the castle-like structure to another part of its huge interior.

In a few seconds the diamond capsule arrived at another station just like the one I had left, which was a problem because of the guards. I could hear the guards’ tough voices talking to each other through the clean, untouched glass-like exterior of the diamond capsule that lay in between us. “We aliens have traveled to earth for a quiet, peaceful life, and that is what we enjoyed for three thousand years. But now it seems that the planet is getting dangerously hot, too hot for us to survive. We must move back to Neptune, the place in which we originated. Our ship will be ready in two to three days.” I shuddered, for all along I never suspected that I was in the captivity of aliens. I had to get home.

After a few prolonged minutes of fright, I stepped out of the capsule. One of the alien organisms was walking down the corridor; his face seemed not as deformed as the others. I took a deep breath and walked up to him, knowing that this was my only hope, to find a way out of this place even if he would probably kill me or send me back to the King. Then, I happened to notice a spear abandoned on the ground beside me. Quickly picking up the spear, I said, “Hello,” and then grabbed his arm, threatening to smite the spear into his heart. “I am a newcomer and would like to know about your species,” I offered. He conceded and gave me a bit of information about his species, knowledge as precious to me as the diamonds that hung on the walls. He told me that their species originated in the planet of Neptune. They had tried to adapt to the terrible conditions there at first, but then they moved to Earth, a relatively close planet that contained the perfect resources for their survival. He also said that the capsule would lead me to the exit.

Then I released him very rapidly and ran, so that when he attempted to kill me with a slash of his spear I was already at a distance. I was running as fast as I could through the hallways, thinking about why the guards wanted to kill me. Maybe it was because they feared us humans and thought that if I were to leave this place, I would spread the word to my fellow humans and the humans would kill them. I also then realized that I still did not know where the exit was and thus began running down corridors after corridors, as unsure about my position as a blind man.

Finally, after hours and hours of searching, I ended up in the King’s room and thought that my only hope now was to make a deal with the King. The flower, I thought, was the key. If not for the flower and the lightning, how would I have been able to see this city and its residents? The flower must have been related to these alien organisms. I walked into the King’s chamber with an expression like one chiseled from stone, death now becoming an option that I would relish.

I seated myself in front of the King’s placid expression, his arm raising the spear higher with each step that I took. “I have come to make a deal with you, if you will bring me back to my home.”

“And that deal is what?” he asked in a daunting voice.

“It is that I will tell you about your flower and what happened to it if you bring me back to my home.” Everyone gasped and even the king looked perplexed.

“My flower – you know where it is?” he asked in a voice much more placid voice than he had used for the previous question.

“Yes, I do, and will tell you only if you make the deal.”

“Describe the flower to me,” he said.

“It was black and withered and ridden with rot and disease,” I replied.

“Okay,” the King said, becoming less suspicious. “I will make the deal.”

“Now tell me what happened to the flower,” he asked.

“It was struck by lightning and destroyed to smithereens,” I replied. Everyone around me breathed a sigh of relief, even the King.

“Fine. I will teleport you back to your house, if you promise not to talk about our civilization to anyone.”

“I promise,” I said as I offered my solemn pact, and in a millionth of a second I was back in my house.

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