Deja Vu - a Short Story
It has been 6 months to that night’s incident. Ivan has tried to find explanation multiple times. The memory of that night is fading gradually. Though he is still struggling to write but he has seen a change in him. Sometimes he would be lost in thoughts with views so vivid that he couldn’t say it was a dream or reality.
It was an evening of October. Ivan was riding home on his scooter. The dark black road laid in front him straight. It seemed never ending. The scooter was moving smoothly in a straight line. There were tall trees both sides of the road with a great view to stop by but he was driving straight like a machine staring at the distant orange sky in the horizon. Suddenly something flew from his left to right, big enough to draw his attention. He grabbed both the breaks at once. The scooter skidded losing balance. Ivan was dragged away with the vehicle for a few meters and then stopped.
Ivan was under the scooter. He lifted the scooter and parked on the side of the road. He looked to the left and right for help. No vehicle was coming from either side. His left hand and leg were hurt but it was nothing serious, he realized. He then went to the location where he saw that thing which made him fall on the road. There was no sign of anything on either side of the road. Only big tall trees, cicadas singing in unison with the silence. He then went to his scooter and tried to ignite it again. The scooter shuddered but did not start. Ivan tried multiple times. He was anxious as it was getting dark. Suddenly he heard something from his back. He turned around and was shocked by what he saw.
Across the road, there was a shack at the same place where he had applied brakes of his scooter. It was not there before but now it was there as if it was present from ages. He moved closer. Again the same sound. It seemed like an old man grunting. As he neared towards the shack, a mixed feeling of fear and disbelief embraced him. He could recognize the shack. It was the same shack where his grandfather used to live in the village.
Ivan was shocked. He went ahead to the door and shouted, “Hello, is anyone in there?”. No one responded. He then opened the door and entered inside. The room was dimly lit but was familiar. He entered the room and then a child’s voice. “Grandpa, I want to hear what happened next. Please read it for me”. Ivan moved towards the sound. It was coming from the other room on his right. He moved slowly and again said “Hello” but no one responded. He opened the door to the next room and peeked inside. He skipped a heartbeat when he saw his grandfather and a kid probably the younger version of himself.
“Is this a dream or a memory flashback?” He wondered. This was so vivid that he felt it was happening all in real. He called “Grandpa, is that you?” But it seemed he did not hear him. He went in front of him. His grandpa was sitting on the bed with his back supported on the head of the bed with pillows and a bedsheet covered his legs till his waist. He was looking at the kid and smiling. Ivan felt, his presence is not being felt by his grandfather and his younger self. He stood there quietly and saw what is happening. This was exactly how he had remembered.
Young Ivan sat beside his grandpa with the book “The Golden Charioteer”, his favorite. His grandpa was coughing and grunting. It seemed he was not in a condition to read the book for the kid Ivan. He took the book from young Ivan, smiled and said, “I will not read it for you today but I want to show you something you will like.” Young Ivan became sad when he heard that he will not get to listen to his favorite story. His grandpa asked him to open the drawer beside the bed and bring out a small wooden box from it. Young Ivan did as he asked reluctantly. Grandpa smiled and ran his hand over Ivan’s head while taking the wooden box from him. “Do you want to meet The Golden Charioteer?” He asked young Ivan. Listening to this he was delighted that his mouth was wide open. Excited young Ivan shouted with joy and said, “Yes, yes Grandpa, show me. Where he is” Grandpa opened the box. The box had a very peculiar engraving on its lid. It was a chariot wheel engraved in gold.
Grandpa opened the box while he pulled out a shiny gold man figurine which was in an act of charging and said to young Ivan, “Here, take this. This is the Golden Charioteer. You can keep it.” Young Ivan was so delighted even Ivan could feel the happiness, joy in him. Young Ivan took the figurine and ran out of the room shouting “I got the Golden Charitir”. He could not pronounce it properly but he was elated. Ivan could see grandpa smiling and then suddenly he coughed violently. Ivan was trying to reach him when suddenly he looked at him and said “I knew you would come. I was waiting for you.” Ivan was appalled by the sudden attention he got from his grandpa. He was so sure that no one was able to see or hear him but his grandpa was looking right at him.
Surprised, Ivan asked, “Can you see me, Grandpa?” Grandpa nodded and said, “Clear as daylight”. Ivan felt a mixture of happy and sad feeling. Not sure whether to cry or laugh, he went near his grandpa and spread his arms to hug him. He was so surprised that he is unable to touch him. His grandpa was sitting right in front of him but it felt like a bundle of smoke took the shape of his grandpa. Ivan looked at his grandpa with a surprised look and teary eyes. Grandpa said “Don’t worry my child, I am here with you always. You might not touch but I am here with you. I was waiting for you to come to me.” Ivan said, “I don’t understand, how am I seeing you and this incident which has happened years ago and still fresh in my memories”. Grandpa said “All you need is a memory when you are trying to find something which is lost. That is what you are doing my son.” Ivan said, “Sometimes I think about all good old days, grandpa. All the time I had spent with you in this shack as a child. I don’t know when I grew up and you left us. Everything happened so fast. I wish I had been a child forever and stay with you forever”. Grandpa smiled and said, “Nothing lasts forever my child. Everything is dependent on time. Don’t cry over the good old times. Live life with them. Collect the memories, build new ones. Now, child, I want you to do something for me”. Ivan nodded his head and said, “Yes grandpa, tell me what do you want me to do?” Grandpa said, “I want you to return The Golden Charioteer to its place”. Ivan seems to be thoughtful and said, “The figurine you gave me? You want me to return it to you?” Grandpa chuckled and said “You are still a child my son. I am not talking about the figurine and what would I do with the figurine anyways. I had made that figurine for you and I had written the book for you” Ivan was speechless. After a brief silence, he asked, “Where is this real Golden Charioteer? What is it? Where would I find it?” Grandpa looked at his eyes and said, “Here”
Ivan was listening to him looking at his eyes and in a flash, his grandpa turned in to smoke and vanished. The bed, the lamp, the shack everything vanished in a fraction of second. He shouted “grandpa, grandpa” looking around but he was in the middle of the trees beside the road. He felt as if the world is spinning around him and fell on the ground.
Ivan woke up to the beeping sounds of the machines. He realized, he was in a hospital. His hand and leg were bandaged, tubes attached to his other hand. Ivan was wondering about what he had experienced earlier. He could not find any explanation for what has happened. “Whether it was a dream?” He thought. Meanwhile, a nurse came inside. She said, “Oh, good. You are awake. Let me call your mother.” She checked up on him and went outside. Ivan’s mother came rushing into the room. She looked stressed and worried. She asked “Are you fine my dear? You were lying on the road along with the bike. What happened? How did you fall ?” She stormed Ivan with so many questions. Ivan just said “Yes I am fine. Who brought me here?” His mother said, “The nurse said an old man brought you here.” Ivan looked around and his eyes fixed on the table at the other end of his bed. He saw the same figurine, his grandpa gave him.
You can read The Writer's Block here.
- The Writer's Block - a Short Story
Ivan an aspiring writer, struggles to write something but one night he encounters something strange, which might affect his writing dream.
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