#13 The Tempest

I am a natural dreamer. Give me a few minutes and if I attain my sleepy state in that time frame, I am sure to have dreamt something. So dreaming has always fascinated me. Many times they were weird and unreal. Many times I could feel my surroundings. Among them the snake has given me a hard time. I have had occasions when the dream became so real that I had to lie in bed in my delusional state to figure out if the snake was creeping in one me or not. And it would take minutes for me to come to my senses, resulting in some of the agonizing moments in my life. I fear them. Yes I do. They are deadly.

But this can’t be one of them right. I mean I see her down the alley walking into the café and just when I called out to her, she gave me back a wave and shouted out to join her. I am delighted. It’s been a while since I talked to her properly and my mind was buzzing with all the things I wanted to ask her, mainly about that guy. I always keep forgetting it. Heck I don’t to remember it ok. Anyways I walk towards the café with all smiles in my face. Midway a shocking prospect dawned upon me and I prayed that I would not be subjected to it. Please god don’t him be there. I want some time with her only. No unwanted guests please. And with this chant in my mouth I reached the café and peered through the window. The sight comforted me. She was alone and was talking to someone of her mobile. It was a girl; I could make that out with her facial expressions and the loudness of her voice. Gaining some confidence and forgetting to thank the person who heard my prayers I entered the café.

The smell of freshly brewed coffee hit me and blew me away. I haven’t seen this café anywhere in town. No the frequent places I have visited in my dreams. They were basically similar to the ones I used to hang out with my friends and her in the waking world. But this was totally different. It had a touch of French influence in the walls and Italian breads in the display cases. I could make out the smells of more than one kind of coffee and they invigorated me. A cup of cappuccino was in the cards for me plus some freshly baked bread with marmalade. This is what I had in mind. And with this thought I greeted her and sat beside her.

Hey you. Where were you? I was thinking of you only when you showed up.

Yeah. I was around. Was busy for a few days.

Oh ok. What busy. What were you up to really?

No seriously I was busy. I had to sort out some things here and there and that required some work.

Oh ok. So shall I order a cup of their finest cappuccinos and bread with fresh jam? How about marmalade.

Oh that’s great. Yeah go ahead.

While she placed our order I wondered whether we had a karmic connection or something and whether we were bound to be together. I mean I generally don’t drink cappuccinos. They are nothing but coffees with some froth on top. Give me a big tumbler and I can make a good froth if you want.  So I usually resort to the colder confines of coffee and find solace in them. And as for breads. Who eats bread in a café? Its pastries for me always. Cheesecake dominates them but bread and marmalade is like way out of the question. And if I am sure I have eaten marmalade only once in my entire life and that too when I was young and exploring the various flavours Kissan jams had to offer. Marmalade was associated with some cartoon character from my childhood days but I can’t recollect it now. Anyways she stunned me for a while and I was in awe. But then I had a sinking feeling. A feeling that warms you of something disastrous to follow. I am with her now and I brush aside all those feelings.

Here you go dear. Hot cappuccino and bread with marmalade for you sir and a cup of green tea for you mam.

Thanks.

Green tea. When did you start this? Are you in a fitness regime?

Nope I was just exploring the various other options available. It feels boring to stick with the same thing. I should always try new things and stuff.

Oh wow. That’s true but look who’s telling this.

I have had time to think through and yeah I need to explore more.

Good for you.

Yeah.

So I was wondering of asking you a few things. It’s nothing basically but…….

The next words she said never made any sense in that context but later on I would find out its importance and the meaning it held. It was

I think I will start with you.

What followed was devastating. The cup in my hand shattered and I was left holding its porcelain handle. The bread became stale and the jam turned rotten with worms and maggots flocking in form the sides of my table to eat them. I let out a scream and tossed aside my table only to find a dead dove underneath it infested by mice and worms and reaches and what not. They sudden commotion and made them look at me and gave me a sinister smile and then their eyes grew red. Red as ruby. She was unmoved by this and she took a deep long sip of her tea. And suddenly the walls were coming apart brick by brick and they were rising up to the sky. And the sky was dark red with the crescent moon in a crimson shade. Dark shadows began to appear in the alleyway in which I had walked to get to her and blocked out the light given by a bleak and mellow sun. I cried to her to get the hell of here but she didn’t respond. She suddenly had a magazine to ponder upon. I got scared and irritated and jumped from my seat towards her and grabbed the magazine from her hands and tossed it away. And I will never forget the gaze I met that day. Her eyes were red. Red as rubies. Shining the darkness in various planes and projecting out as the deepest most richest red I have ever come upon. The redness was engulfing everything. I looked around and there was nothing except red in my surroundings. No walls or shapes to correlate to. And then she spoke in a high pitch

Welcome dear to my world but I guess your stay is short here. So enjoy it while it lasts. Sorry but I think your time is up. It’s time to bid farewell. Bye.

And I was drowned in an endless redness. They were piercing my eyes. I tried to shield them but I couldn’t. So I frantically waved my hands.

A cry awakened me. And the feeling that I had hit something hard with my right hand. I looked around. I was crouched in the sofa on my backs and my cousin was lying down on the floor crying like anything. A torch lay beside him which was having a powerful beam. I closed my eyes for a second. It was dark, black to say. And I let a sigh and got up to console my cousin.

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