The Other World – Chapter 1

Dreams and yet another one, she woke up flustered searching for her phone in the dark & saw the time, it was still 3:15 am sharp. Took a sip of water from the bottle lying at the edge of the table and breathed a great sigh of relief. Turned on the lamp, then tossed and turned around. Today’s dream was crystal clear, and she could see through it like it was happening for real, but she couldn’t acknowledge the people she saw, yet that overbearing smile leeched onto her mind. Who was he? She wondered that too, someone familiar yet unknown. Whoever it was, she was bound to meet him soon, that was certain. She would meet him even if he didn’t want, she’d meet him even if she hides, she’d meet him because the people that occurred in her dreams oddly came to life.

Sarah was diagnosed with high fever when she was just two years old, the fever remained for days. She was too young to explain her plight. Her parents, devastated, did everything possible in their reach to ensure the pain lessened. She cried straight for days; her parents were slowly giving up on the doctors and the treatment seemed futile. Then one day the doctors gave up on Sarah. On the seventeenth day, her parents welcomed home an unexpected visitor, they had never seen before, an old lady. That woman didn’t look like she was a part of this world. She had a gaunt face and wide eyes, eyes that shone like they were harboring secrets. She wore a blue choga and she introduced herself as the shaman of some gypsy tribe. She was in a state of unrest, and begged Sarah’s parents to allow her to meet Sarah. The distressed parents wanted to give it a try and allowed the shaman to enter Sarah’s room, what followed next changed their lives forever.

“Mom, why do I have these scars on my hands?” asked an eleven-year-old Sarah. “Oh, these are just birthmarks, Sarah. You were born with these.” “Wow, these are so beautiful mom, it’s like a chain around my wrists, I wonder if there’s anyone with a chain like mine”. Jessica’s face turned pale on hearing this, sooner or later she will have to tell Sarah the truth, the truth about her existence, the truth about surviving, the truth about never meeting him. Sarah turned twelve the next month and as a ritual, her parents took her camping in the woods. She took along her best friend Stacy with her, they had been friends for long and she was more than a sister to Sarah. Her parents had planned to cut cake at 12:00 and were whiling away time next to the river, her friend was busy preparing for the big surprise and because Sarah knew about it, she decided to go inside the tent to speak with her cousins. While talking to them she dozed off and by the time she woke up it was already morning, she found it weird. Why didn’t they wake her up and what happened to the surprise? Startled she got up and walked out of the tent, but she couldn’t see her parents or Stacy, she panicked a bit and tried calling them at that moment she saw a boy collecting branches of wood. Intrigued she asked him if he had seen her parents, all he did was smile. The smile, it put her mind to ease. He didn’t say much but directed her t follow him, like a lost puppy she trailed him down the meadow. Suddenly she saw more people, but they all looked different. They wore different attire, they were all beautiful, it was an ethereal sight. She smiled back; she still followed the boy. Suddenly she tripped over something and cut her arm, it singed badly, how could it when it was only a cut? This place looked weird, where was she and why was she following him? She still got up but everything around her changed. Where was she? Suddenly she confronted a blinding light, she couldn’t keep her eyes open any more and then he appeared, he smiled at her and kissed her forehead. “we’ll meet soon.” She just smiled back and before she could say anything he disappeared, at the same spot stood a lady, aged yet graceful. “Happy Birthday Sarah, you look beautiful, the tribe has been waiting for you, I hope you’ll give us all a chance to greet you.” “where are my parents?” she asked. “Don’t worry they are waiting for you, at the campsite, today was indeed special and that’s why we thought of meeting you. The last ten years we have only lived anticipating your arrival and today now that you’re here we will tell you something you should know and remember.” “Am I dreaming?” asked Sarah, a bit scared of the situation. The old lady then sat on a rock and started telling Sarah the truth, “Yes, Sarah it’s a dream but that’s the only way we can communicate with you. Long ago we were banished to enter your realm, ever since we have only been trying to find ways to meet you. Sarah, you belong to our world but because we are trying to save you, we have left you with Jessica and Robert, your parents from the other world. From this year onwards you will dream, even when you’re awake you’ll dream. Don’t fear the dreams because they may seem like dreams to you but in actual, they are real. Somewhere, they are occurring.” “Its so confusing, I don’t understand. Please let me wake up, I want to go back to my parents, please”, said a perplexed Sarah. The lady exhausted said,” Sarah soon you will wake up, but you won’t see me the next time. Remember the boy you saw, keep trying to find him even if I am not around. He is the only one who can bring you back. It’s unfortunate but we’ve lost you both and he only lives in my memories now. In our world the souls are entwined at birth. He was born before you and he chose you so you can never marry anyone else. It’s a curse in your world because anyone you date or marry will face consequences that are unknown. You need to remember to not marry anyone but him.” The lady looked completely worn out now, “Sarah, please promise me you’ll remember his face, it’s important you meet him, otherwise misery will befall you when your turn 25, and you might end up losing everything dear to you including your life. Also, I will now never appear remember I am your unfortunate mother.” Slowly the old lady started turning into a woman not more than 30, Sarah was amazed at her transformation, the people around her turned into beautiful, bright beings. Everything glowed around them, they all smiled at Sarah and said unanimously “we’ll wait Sarah.” Suddenly they started disappearing and at that moment Sarah held on to the corner of the lady’s dress, “why? Please tell me everything.” The lady smiled in despair at her and said, “Soon, Sarah! Just focus on finding the boy, we don’t know where he is. Also, know that your father and mother were bewitched but your mother remembers what happened when you were two, so if you ever need a confidante she will be there. I will now only appear on the day you’re able to recall the incidents of the unfortunate night. I love you little one, and I will protect you for as long as I can.” Suddenly she saw the bright light and realized it was Stacy flashing the torch on her face. Stacy had an uncanny smile on her face. As Sarah walked out of the tent, she realized the vile reality she was only twelve of course the dream couldn’t be real! She laughed inside her head and blew the candles on the cake, but she couldn’t forget anything, did she dream, or was it real? Just when she was wondering this, she felt a stinging sensation in her arm and saw a singed mark that was never there before.

©Prakriti Kundaliya

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