“There is nothing frightening about an eternal dreamless sleep. Surely it is better than eternal torment in hell and eternal boredom in heaven.” – Isaac Asimov
It all began the day he picked up that accursed pen. It was late in the afternoon, gusts of wind so powerful they tore the trees along with their roots from the ground blew past his little cottage, but he was safe. He wielded the power to create, to change the form of matter as he desired.
And so he began writing. He filled page after page until he was surrounded by skyscrapers of these very pages. If someone were to peek through the window he would have difficulty spotting the dwarf sized man among the pages which noted down his creations. But of course who could peek through that window, was so physically endowed that he could walk into the eye of the storm, for the cottage was at the very centre of the storm which seemed to be wiping out humanity and all other forms of life from the face of the earth.
When the storm finally subsided there was nothing left but a little man and his cottage filled with sheets of paper. On these sheets were words and symbols decipherable only to the man who had scribbled them. And then the sun no longer shone and there was only darkness. It was then that the words and the symbols on these pages began to glow in every colour imaginable. The little man continued to write by the glow which they provided. Then little by little these words and symbols began to float off the paper and into the sky. Then the sun shone again, brighter than ever. Fish once again swam in oceans, the water clearer than ever. Trees grew taller than ever and sprouted fruit, sweeter and juicier than any that had existed before. New forms of life began to walk the earth.
The little man began complaining about everything, the cramped cottage did not help his temper. In a fit of rage he burnt an entire stack of papers. He threw the ashes out the window .Then the monsoons arrived .The rain mixed with the ashes and the dirt. When the monsoons ended, the sun once again shone with a harsh bright light. The little man peered out of his window and was blinded by the sun’s extreme brightness. It took some time before his eyesight returned. When he peered out the window again, he saw that the mixture of the mud and ashes had hardened like cement. He had been musing on this for some time when he noticed that cracks began to appear in the hardened mixture. Something dark and gross began to emerge from it. Slowly it began to take shape, the shape of a man. The body resembled that of a man but the face was, to put it simply, dried mud. There were no eyes, nose or mouth. Yet from somewhere within the creature emanated an eerie moan. The little man cowered behind his sheets of paper. Even the sight of this grotesque creature made him want to belch.
“Holy water cannot help you now Thousand armies couldn’t keep me out I don’t want your money I don’t want your crown See I’ve come to burn your kingdom down”-(Seven Devils)Florence + the machine
He reminded himself that he was safe inside the cottage, picked up his pen and continued writing. The next day he woke up to find that there were two of them and four the day after that. And thus the mudmen seemed to multiply every day. They never strayed far from his cottage. At first they just stood there facing the little man who was visible through the window as he went about filling new sheets of paper in his indecipherable handwriting. After a few days of silent staring, if you can stare without eyes that is, they began to shriek uncontrollably.
It was an inhuman sound that would have woken up the dead if even a trace of them had remained in this new world .The gloom created by the mudmen’s unrelenting shrieks spread like an infection that seemed to blanket the entire world within its grasp. The brightness of the sun seemed to dull as days passed by. Plants began to wither until they were nothing more than dust. It appeared as if this poisonous wave of sorrow consumed everything in its path and left behind a necropolis in its wake.
The little man silently watched all this, bewildered at how everything he had worked so hard for came undone in front of his very eyes. He wept silently and cursed the mudmen and he cursed the day he had picked up that pen. In the old world he had been a reporter of very high stature, but his little stature had made him the butt of many jokes. He went places where no one would and saw things that no one in their right mind would possibly want to see. The rest of the world was content to read about it in the papers or watch it on television. Everyone commented on the drastic condition of the human race and everyone agreed that we were beyond saving. So when he was given the chance to undo everything that god had done and to create a new world from scratch, if that was what he wanted, he jumped at the opportunity. How can humanity hope to survive when one of their own decides that they are an unfit race, unfit to walk this earth?
His first order of business was to create a hell where he could banish anyone who stepped out of line. He emptied the prisons as they were overcrowded and took up a lot of space. At first he was content to banish the scum of the world but he soon realized that they were a never ending breed. There was something inherently self destructive about his race. He tried to create a world of harmony but humans struck the chord of discord. The beautiful order he had created was overwhelmed by chaos. He could not bear to watch as the beautiful world that god had envisioned for us and he had tried so hard to preserve went up in flames and all one could see in the distance was a mushroom cloud.
When the wars finally came to an end, only a spectre was left of the planet which had so bountifully nurtured life. The wheels of time had spun backward and humanity was once again shackled by their own ignorance, bound to the dark ages. And now, even he after all that he had done, these monsters had appeared and no matter what he tried he could not banish them. Maybe he wasn’t the savior of this world after all but the destroyer. He wasn’t the person who had created a masterpiece, he was the person who had set fire to it in sheer jealousy. He thought he could play God, but he now realized that it was the devil who had been playing him all along.
The sound of glass being shattered brought him back to his senses. One of the mudmen had apparently tried to shatter the glass with his elbow and succeeded. His hands went up to cover his naked eardrums from the screams of the mudmen. He stood paralysed with fear as the mudman with the bleeding elbow climbed in through the window; this was not supposed to happen, he was safe in the cottage or at least that’s the way it used to be. Trickles of blood flowed down his earlobes onto his neck and snaked their way to his collarbone.
More mudmen made their way into the little cottage through the broken window. They left behind a trail of blood as they stepped on broken shards of glass but kept on walking unperturbed. They looked surprised as if pain was a new sensation. He was unable to discern who among them was responsible for that terrible sound, it seemed as if they were shrieking in unison.
He clawed at his ears, his fingernails drew blood but he could not ignore the terrible sound. Blood was pounding in his ears and he felt as if all the blood in his body was rushing to his head. He shook his head violently and as he did so, his eyes fell upon the pen resting on top of a pile of pages.
He was just to about to grab it when the first of the stumbling mudmen reached him and as he did so he reached for the pile of pages to steady himself but instead knocked it over and fell right on top of him. Pinned beneath the mudman he gasped frantically because of the stench which attacked his senses and made his eyes water.
He was overwhelmed and quickly surrounded by more mudmen and even more of them seemed to be entering through the window.
To be continued………only on shitijsharma24.wordpress.com