Tuesday 10 August 2021

Vigneshwar J, ShortStory 2021 Magazine


In a planet far away from our solar system was a planet named “Cosmos”. The planet had two suns orbiting it. The planet did not have any night, because there was always a sun-facing towards it. The entire planet was dry and covered with dry land. Not even a single plant grew in it. The people of the planet had to buy oxygen and water from a neighboring planet called “Oasis”. However, the planet existed in the same solar system as the cosmos, it was a healthy planet with everything needed to live. They never shared their secret to the cosmos. Moreover, the other reason they avoided the cosmos was that they believed that the cosmos is a cursed planet.

Cosmos has a long history of being cursed. From the time the planet was formed, there lived a family called “Black”, who was believed to be cursed by magic. The curse was that they would vomit blood and die. Everyone in the family died in the same way. The last one standing in the cursed family is “Augustin”. Since everyone believes his family is cursed, he was made to live outside of the town. In a very big house, lived Augustin and his butler.

Augustin’s parents died in the same way when he was 12 years old.

Now Augustin is 22 years old. From the time his parents died, he is working on a project to bring them back to life in a lab in his house. He stored his parent’s bodies in a container in his house. The butler has never stopped him from doing it. Augustin speaks less and leaves his house only once a week. He visits the market to buy things to eat for the week. However, he will not be allowed inside the market. He has to wait outside the market. And the villagers will bring the food and keep it in a place. After the villagers leave, he should go and pick it up. The villagers believe that anyone who encounters Augustin will die.

As per the schedule, today he goes to the village to pick up his food. The villagers see him coming from a distance and they prepare to bring the food and keep it in the regular pick-up place. Augustin approaches and picks it up and puts them in his basket. By the side, there were four beggars. Augustin looks at them and feels sorry. He approaches them, picks fruit from his basket to give it to them. But as soon as the beggars see him approach them, three of them run away. Only one beggar was seated. Augustin approaches him and drops the fruit in his hand. The beggar thanks him.

The villagers who stood watching this start murmuring to one another saying “The the beggar is blind, that’s why he accepted his fruit”. The other says, “He is going to die, sure. He got cursed by accepting the offering”.

Augustin leaves the village market and returns to his house. At the front door, the usual girl was standing, who visits Augustin on regular basis. She is an orphan and 12 years old. She comes to Augustin’s house to get some of his food for free. Augustin also offers some. She sees the basket and says, “Today, you have a lot of fruits. You are a lucky one, getting fruits for free.” Augustin nods his head and says, “Yeah”. “Well, where is my share” demands the girl. Augustin takes one fruit from his basket and places it in her hand. The girl makes a frowny face. Augustin asks “Why”. The girl points at the one fruit placed in her hand. He picks up another fruit and places it in her hand. She makes a small smile. Then he picks up two more fruits and places them in her hand. She makes a large smile. Then she prepares to take a leave. Augustin stops her and says “Don’t come, you die”. She replies, “It’s really worth it”. Augustin asks “Why”. “Because you are the only one that cares for me”. She makes a hug and leaves.

Augustin knocks on the door. Butler opens the door. Augustin hand over’s the basket of fruits and looks at the butler’s face. But asks “Why are you staring at my face?”. “Four fruits big smile, basket full fruits but no smile” replies Augustin. The butler was puzzled and stood frozen. Augustin passes him and enters the house. He enters his lab and starts his experiment. After a while, he gets tired and goes to his bedroom.

As Augustin enters his bedroom, he hears a loud noise of a group of people. He looks through his window in the bedroom. He sees the villagers worshiping the God placed in the middle of the market and celebrating in front of the god. Then he remembers the time he had with his dad, watching the villagers celebrating.

Young Augustin asks his dad “Are we really cursed. Our entire family”. “There is nothing called a curse. It’s just how death occurs to us,” replies his dad. Augustin asks “Then why everyone in our family die by vomiting blood?”. “I don’t know. But I am sure it’s not a curse” assured his dad.

Augustin returns to reality and thinks, “Sure dad, it’s not a curse. I will bring you back to life”. He hesitates for a movement and thinks,” If it’s really not a curse”. He goes to sleep.

In the neighboring planet, “Oasis” is a newspaper company named Beyond Planet. Arna is a journalist in that company. She writes articles on the planets present in the solar system. She is very interested in the planet “Cosmos”. She wishes to do in-depth research on the curse that everyone talks about of the planet and write a journal. However, her dad will not let her go. He wants her to stay alive. He believes in the curse.

One day she discusses with her friends about going to the cursed planet. Her friends suggest that she had better do it when her dad goes out on a business trip. Therefore, they come to a plan.

Next day, Arna’s dad informs her that he is going to a faraway planet for signing a business contract and will take him two months to return. He asks her to stay safe. Arna bids goodbye to her dad and sends him off to the Planet Mobile Station. Planet Mobile Station is the place where they could hire taxis to go to other planets.

After her dad leaves, she immediately rushes to her house. She packs dresses and informs her friends bout leaving to planet “Cosmos”. And bids goodbye to her friends. She takes a Planet Mobile.

After a short journey, she reaches Cosmos. Cosmos is not as developed as Oasis even in terms of transportation. She has to take a horse carriage to reach the village. She hitchhikes a carriage, which is on route to the village to supply the oxygen cylinders.

After a while she arrives at the village. The carriage driver asks her “why are you dropping here? This village is cursed”. “I am here for a cover story”, she replies. “Be careful madam, don’t go to the cursed house”, saying this the carriage driver points at Augustin’s house at a distance. Then he leaves.

Arna finds a lodge to stay and do her research. After refreshing, she leaves for the village market. There she sees the 12 years old girl walking towards Augustin’s house. The girl makes sure no one is watching her. Arna makes sure she is not noticed by the girl and she follows her and sees from a distance, Augustin giving some food for the girl to eat. Then the girl returns to the market. Arna catches her unnoticed and asks the girl “Isn’t that the cursed, do you know the person who lives there?”. “What are you talking about, I don’t know anything” replies the girl. “I saw you getting food from the person in that house”, confirms Arna by picking up the fruit from the girl’s pocket. “Please, don’t say to anyone”, begs the girl. “Well what do you know about the curse surrounding the village?”, asks Arna. The girl says everything she knows about the curse. Arna asks, “Who is the person you met at the house”. “He is Augustin, it’s his house. He and his butler live there. Everyone believes that his family is cursed”. “Thanks for the information”, says Arna and leaves.

Arna plans to go and visit Augustin. When she reaches the house, she hears a voice from the window saying, “Yes, I did it”. She slowly moves towards the window and sees Augustin’s backside and face facing down. When Augustin raises his head, he sees the shadow of her in the wall. He quickly turns to see who it is. Arna says, ”hi” in fear of being caught. Augustin comes near the window and closes it with an angry face.

Arna returns to the village find the little 12-year girl and ask her about Augustin. She explains that he is doing research from the time even before she was born. She also explains how he is trying to bring back his parents to life. Arna writes down everything the girl says. After taking notes, she returns to her lodge.

Next day Arna sees everyone in the village taking the food placing it in a place a bit far from the market. She sees the little girl walking past her, then she stops her and asks “what is going on?”. The girl explains about the food for Augustin. Arna observes what is happening around her. Like usual Augustin comes and picks up the food and gives one apple to the blind beggar. And he leaves.

Arna writes this also in her journal. The little girl sees what she is writing. Arna asks” Do you know to read?”. The girl replies “No”. “Well, I will teach you,” Arna says and returns to her room.

Sometime later, Arna hears a group of chattering voices outside the lodge. She sees through the window and notices everyone gathering around the market. She then rushes to the market and sees the blind beggar vomiting blood. One villager says, “He is going to die because of Augustin. He is the one who gave him the fruit”. Other villagers agreed with him. The little girl comes near Arna and says, “He gives me food, but I am not dead”. Another villager sees Augustin coming towards them and yells, “He is coming here to kill us all, run”. The entire market becomes empty. Everybody runs into their houses.

Augustin comes near the blind beggar and sees him vomiting blood. He gives a liquid to drink for the beggar. And returns to his house. The next day the entire village gathers in the market and is surprised to see the blind beggar alive. One villager says, “The liquid Augustin gave saved the beggar from death”. Arna notes down everything that happened.

The word spreads of Augustin and his life-saving liquid. It even reaches even the faraway planets. And rulers of all planets come rushing to Augustin. One ruler brings Augustin a huge pile of valuable items. The other says that he can be the ruler of his planet. A huge war starts between all the rulers. The entire planet becomes a battlefield.

Augustin and the butler goes into hiding in their house. The little girl helps them with food and other needed resources. Meanwhile, the little girl and Arna become friends and Arna teaches her to read and write. An intense war goes on for two weeks.

While hiding Augustin thinks about how he tried to use the liquid to save his parents. However, it did not work on them. The butler wakes him from his thought and says, “We have to move on”. Augustin takes things that he needs the most. And prepares to leave. But suddenly the butler crumbles and falls down. He starts to vomit blood. Augustin thinks butler is also affected by the curse. So Augustin gives the liquid to the butler to drink but the butler rejects it saying “Curse or not. It's time for me to accept nature. I do not want to go against it. Please leave me be by my choice”.

Augustin leaves the butler in hiding and leaves to the village. As he reaches the village, he notices the blind beggar lying dead. He approaches him to see if he has any wounds. But he doesn’t have any. Augustin is puzzled about the beggar’s death. Then he realizes that his death is nature. He might have saved him from blood vomiting death but nobody can stop the natural death. Augustin then leaves the village and to be never seen again.

Arna publishes this story on her planet. She also takes the little girl with her.

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