“Wow… I can’t believe I slept so long! Honey… What time is it?” he whispered checking for his glasses when he woke up.
“Yeah…. Friday nights can be long…!”
“Check your messages… There have been quite a few…. I will be back in 3 days… I was about to leave… Let me know how your writing goes this week… The magazine called and I guess the publisher isn’t having a party… unlike you!”
“Oh damn again… kill me now!!!” he lazed his words through as she picked up her bags and left.
It was not a beautiful morning as it had been for the last few weeks. Sun had taken over the landscape. The misty vegetation around the little town on the mountains had now started getting dried up in the naked heat of sun. The clouds which flirted with the mountains had now given up and moved on. Rains were a thing of past. The pleasantries of the nature were now replaced by its sheer brutal humidity. There were just a few traces of the pleasant weather that this town had witnessed in the past few weeks. Lakes were still full and the plants around them still glittered with colors. But it seemed obvious that this was all just a hangover from the past days of romance between clouds and the mountains. And it would all go away soon!
She had dumped all her warm clothes back in her hotel room and had made sure to be as minimal as she could. She knew the terrain and weather together wouldn’t help her carry any huge luggage. She had just carried her camera and a few tops with the only jeans she wore. She had stuffed her bag with more useful accessories which she was sure would be of more use than just clothes.
As she entered the borders of the jungle, she looked around to make sure no one was following her. She had to be sure. She ventured into the woods, taking a deep breath. She knew she would enjoy this, but she wasn’t so sure if she could survive this. After a brisk walk through the dense forest for a couple of hours, she reached the stone hill where she had expected him to be waiting. He was nowhere to be seen. She climbed to the tip and still, no trace of him! No trace of anyone. Not a life. Just the dense, intimidating forest. She waited for more than 3 hours sitting right there where she was told to wait.
Another couple of hours passed and the darkness started to emerge. She had no idea what to do now. She had to find something safe enough to be called a shelter. Rain wasn’t really an issue but the wild animals were. She tried to climb a tree hoping that the heights might save her from the wild. But then she remembered she was more scared of heights than being eaten. Trees were ruled out. She saw two huge rocks supporting each other to form a cave of sorts. She took a few steps towards it. There wasn’t breeze this evening but she saw dry branches moving near the rocks. Just another step closer to the rocks made her realize with a shock that they weren’t branches but a bunch of snakes. She suddenly gasped for breath and let out a feeble scream. She hurried back to a place where it was just plain space and nothing was around it. She sat down and slowly in a matter of minutes she was lying down, deep in sleep. Her subconscious knew she was sleeping in an open space but somewhere deep in her thoughts, or may be in her dreams, she knew she was sleeping on a huge huge rock. She felt a sudden jerk. She didn’t know if it was in her dreams or if it was happening really, but she was falling. She felt her body turn weightless and she was falling into an endless hole. She opened her eyes and there she was falling through absolute void. She struggled for breath. There was nothing she could see or feel. Not even her own body but all she knew was that she was falling. Suddenly she felt as if she was never going to hit a ground and this might be it. Her thoughts started blurring before her. She hoped this was a dream and it would end. She tried to struggle. Her eyes were open but there was nothing visible except that free fall. It was an excruciating pain to her mind more than her body. She still prayed for this to be a dream and her love would wake her up. She wished to have his hands on her shoulders and shake her till she wakes up. To her sheer surprise, it happened just like that. Someone shook her up and made her sit up. She opened her eyes to find herself awake. It was a nightmare. But no, she didn’t wake up in her room with her husband. Not even at the jungle where she remembered dozing off. He wasn’t there. She found a stranger standing in front of her. He was dressed in a black tuxedo. He had a charming smile on his face. Neatly trimmed and masculine just like she had imagined in her fantasies.
“Wow… I can’t believe you slept so long… Honey, guess what time it is!” he said.
“I saw you shaking and go crazy about some dream that you might have been having so I woke you up! Dear, what’s wrong?”
“I am sorry. Do I know you? And what am I doing here? This looks like a hotel room! Quite an expensive hotel room!” she exclaimed with a mixture of shock, ignorance and surprise!
“You’re kidding right? Dear, you own this place. I am your husband. We just got married yesterday in this very house!”
“WHAT?! You’re nuts. Take me back from where ever you picked me up or I will call the police”
“Police? For what? And honey… I didn’t pick you up from anywhere. Remember? You picked me up from the jungles!”
“Stop calling me Honey and you don’t look like a fucking Tarzan from Jungles. You’re wearing a friggin’ tuxedo for cryin’ out loud!”
“Ok Stop. Don’t get excited. Just lay down here and I well get our in-house doctor.”
After what she just went through, she was no way going to just lay down on the bed. Something was too damn creepy and she had to find out what the hell was happening around here. She got up hurriedly and went to the door. The door was locked from outside. She ran towards the window. She drifted the drapes apart to check out where she was. A heavy breeze gushed in like a storm and she was shocked at what she saw. She was standing at what looked like a millionth floor on a sky scraper. All she could see outside was just an endless space, where clouds were floating much much below where she stood. She could see nothing else but what she thought was the outermost layer of atmosphere. This very thought made her sick to her guts. She searched for the wash room where she could throw up.
“Oh come on… Not again” she screamed when she opened the door to the washroom only to find herself in the middle of the same jungle in the open space where she remembered sleeping at. Her nerves felt jammed with thoughts and her mind was about to burst trying to make any sense of all of this. At once, she wanted to get back to at least that comfortable bed in that room at the sky-scraper. It was at least an enclosed space. She turned back and back around and turned around everywhere in all directions, but NOPE. She was just stranded in that stone hill. The same hill in the midst of that same huge jungle.
She was confused. She didn’t have a clue if she was in a dream or if she just had a dream and woke up now. Or if she is still sleeping on her bed in the hotel with her husband and this was all together a crazy tricky nightmare. She wished the latter. For a moment, she wished that she would happily trade her arms and eyes just to feel the safe hug from her love, her husband. She hoped…
“Oh shut up. I wouldn’t trade even the dirt on my toenails for your hug. Idiot…! Talk of going overboard” she said with an overdose of sarcasm.
“Oh honey… come on! It was a story with intrigue, wasn’t it?” he mumbled like a little puppy wagging its tail at its owner.
“Stop calling me honey and NO… The story didn’t make any sense at all. You just woke after sleeping for more than 3 days, almost! You are just in a major hangover. Gather yourself and call your publishers. They are pissed!”
“I don’t really know how to end the story. What am I gonna tell them!”
“To end? Oh come on… You hardly started. I lost the plot immediately after ‘my character’ hurries out of the room saying she will be back after 3 days. It started stinking right from there!”
“Oh please…. Don’t say that…! And why is your bag packed? You’re going somewhere?”
“And so you forgot again. I am gonna get in touch with that friend I told you about. Meanwhile, Check your messages… There have been quite a few…. I will be back in 3 days… I was about to leave… Let me know how your writing goes this week… The magazine called and I guess the publisher isn’t having a party… unlike you!” and she left.