01. Insomnia | The Mark of Orion

December 9, 2020 Sujay Sarma

Four months, thirteen days, nineteen hours and… a few minutes. I sighed looking down at the collection of small rocks at my feet. There was nothing to come of my feeling sorry for myself. It is a fact. When you feel sad, you think about more sad things and that will make you sadder. “Not…


Four months, thirteen days, nineteen hours and… a few minutes.

I sighed looking down at the collection of small rocks at my feet. There was nothing to come of my feeling sorry for myself. It is a fact. When you feel sad, you think about more sad things and that will make you sadder.

“Not really.” Said a voice. It was low. Almost whispered.

I looked toward where the sound had come from. There wasn’t anyone there at the moment. I supposed I had imagined it and slipped back into my reverie. Where was I? Oh yes…

I was actually feeling homesick. Alone and far away from everything I had known or cared about for the past so many years of my life. I felt cut out.

“Hahahaha….!” laughed that same voice. This time, it was clearer, and a sort of the sound a warbling brook in the mountains makes.

The hairs on my arms and legs prickled. Even the hair on my head stood up straight. I felt as if lightning was about to hit near me. Involuntarily, I pulled up my legs and shrank further up the giant rock I was sitting on.

A girl stood before me. She wasn’t very tall. She looked like no one I knew and it was odd that she was standing there suddenly.

“Hello?” I smiled. I was a friendly guy.

“Sujay, isn’t it?” She extended a hand to shake. I took it. It was warm. The handshake felt cozy and I felt chills running down my spine.

“Who are you?” I asked, curious.

“Call me Sharada” She said, looking around at the autumn-ness of the world around us. ‘Sharada’ stood for ‘Autumn’ in Sanskrit. But I found it odd that a girl who popped out of nowhere should pick such a dull name for herself.

“Isn’t that your real name?”

She shook her head. “And you will learn it in a while. But for now, I need to ask you something.”

“Go on…”

“You were neither surprised nor scared by how I arrived here just now. Why?” It seemed like she was putting me through a pop quiz.

“Because I watch Star Trek.” I laughed. “It looked like you stepped out of a matter-transport sequence.”

“Impressive.” She made a note in her mind. “Would you want to do it?”

“Do what?”

“The matter-transport sequence… duh!”

“Sure, why not?” I laughed. I was joking though.

For a while, our conversation seemed more like a test. An exam of some kind. I would understand it much later. But, for now, I was having fun talking to a strange girl that had just materialized before my eyes.

“Good night.” She said, suddenly dematerializing.

I walked back to my tent telling myself that I had imagined the whole thing. After all, I had not eaten for two days now and after a whole day of dowsing around the rocks, I had found an underground spring of drinkable water. I was exhausted from the dowsing and the desert heat.

That night, I tossed and turned in my sleeping bag. But I did not fall asleep. Finally, I gave up on my efforts to fall asleep around 3 AM and staggered out of the tent, clutching a rug around me to keep warm in the chilling night breeze. Just outside my tent, I had set up a camp-fire stove. I trudged to it, placed the water kettle and snapped on the battery-powered stove.

“I want a cup too.”

I did not need to see who it was.

“Dark?” I asked.

“However you are having it.”

I did not turn around from the stove until I had the cups in my hand. Actually, I had just one battered camping cup with me. I gave that to her, and I sipped my share from a bathroom mug.

She made a face and grimaced. “Really, from that mug?”

I shrugged and sipped.

She said nothing this time. But when she was done, she stood up and dug into the capacious flowing robe she was wearing and pulled out two fabulous looking coffee cups. Ceramic.

“Here.” She offered the cups to me. “Use these the next time I come.”

“How…..” I began, but she had gone. As silently as she had appeared.

I wondered why I had not gone all prickly this time. Was I in some type of a dream? I did not know what to make of it.

Turning the cups around in my hand, I noticed the maker’s inscription at the bottom. I took it to a better light and stared at it. My jaw dropped.


About the author:

Sujay Sarma is an IT industry veteran, about 43 years of age. He has spent 25 years in the IT industry and has done it all, and seen it all. Now, his passion is writing [blogs, stories, novels] and music. He has his own YouTube channel called "Sujay Sarma's Musical Adventures" where he posts his covers and originals, and a Podcast named "Interesting People Interesting Stories".
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