02. Desirable Accidents | The Mark of Orion

December 11, 2020 Sujay Sarma

Sharada visited me a few more times. Sometimes quite inopportunely. Like once when I was taking a shit and another time when I was trying to rappel down a rock face. Each time, the way she showed up became increasingly odd. For example, that time when I was rappelling down the rock face, she showed…


Sharada visited me a few more times. Sometimes quite inopportunely. Like once when I was taking a shit and another time when I was trying to rappel down a rock face. Each time, the way she showed up became increasingly odd. For example, that time when I was rappelling down the rock face, she showed up as just a floating head a few inches away from me. I was so surprised, I almost fell off.

But, gradually I began to accept that she was not in my imagination. She was real. And she was not from this… planet, time or dimension.

One day, I was back home and re-arranging my wardrobe when I heard her signature sizzle — we had agreed on the sizzle, so that I could put on my clothes or ask her to abort for a while– and turned around. She was sitting cross legged on my bed, eating a strange fruit.

Sharada liked that fruit, she called an Ikiamon. It was large. Larger than a good-sized watermelon. But more like a very ripe apple in texture with a hint of a mixture of other things in taste. I hated its taste and she said my “palette was not evolved.”

“I think you’re ready.” She said between her bites.

“Ready for what?” I laughed nervously.

“To come back with me.”

“You’re saying it as if you were my girlfriend and you were asking me to move in with you.”

She shrugged and laughed. “It’s almost the same thing, but not quite. However… if you knew my real age, I don’t think you’d want me… that way.”

“How old are you anyway?”

“Sit down.” She said, pointing to a chair.

The chair simply slid across the room and hit me on my leg, causing my knee to buckle and I fell into it. I was used to such bits of “magic” now.

“Tell me.” I caught my breath.

“12”

“You’re twelve years old ?” I shouted incredulously.

“No, you silly Earth boy!” She snickered. She stressed ‘Earth’ to remind me again that she was not from around here. “I am 12 million years old.”

We sat in silence as she finished eating.

“What?” I asked quietly when she was done.

“You will need to come with me to understand. Come, take my hand.”

“Right now?”

“Oh don’t worry. I’ll just give you a quick tour and have you back here in no time. You can go back to rearranging –” She waved her hand at my cupboard.

She could have very well used her magic on it, I ruminated as I stood up, crossed the floor and took her hand.

I felt the hair on my hands and legs start to stiffen. I closed my eyes tightly in anticipation. I was not afraid, I just did not know what to expect, having never ever been matter-transported before. And I felt an electricity run through me. Then I had a feeling of being nauseous. For a fraction of a second. Then both the sensations were gone. I kept my eyes firmly closed.

“You may open your eyes now.” Sharada whispered into my ear and extracting her hands from mine. “Let go!” She laughed.

Gingerly, I opened my eyes. I expected to see all manner of strange things.

It was a room. Sparse. No furniture. A single pastel color that was either a shade of gray or green. Light was omnipresent, I could not identify where it was coming from.

“That’s it?” I asked. Surprised.

“What did you expect?” She teased walking a few feet away and making to sit down. There was nothing there. There was nothing in the room. Yet, she arched her back as if she was going to sit there.

“Wait…!” I began to yell, anticipating that she would fall to the floor and hurt herself. And my cry changed to one of surprise: “WHAT!”

Wayyy….attt!” was more like what I cried out loud.

A small platform had mysteriously appeared under her and she sat on it. She leaned back slightly and a backrest appeared to support her. Noticing my astonishment, she smiled wickedly.

“Come over” She invited.

I walked the couple of steps and examined her strange seat. There was nothing there. Nothing below, no strings or wires. It was just… there. I grabbed her elbow and pulled her up.

“Stand up.”

She stood.

A second later, the seat and the backrest dissolved into nonexistence right in front of my eyes.

“Amazing.” I cried. “How did you do that?”

“It’s not me…” she began to explain the workings.

But I already began to sit down. The seat appeared under me. I felt it adjust to the contours of my buttocks to give me a comfortable seating. Leaning back slightly, I found the backrest had appeared and it too adjusted to the shape of my back and spine.

“You’re not afraid?” She asked, still taking notes about me.

“Of what?” I laughed. “I could get used to this.”

For some reason, I tried to kick off the floor with my feet. The seat floated up slowly and lightly. There was hardly any movement but seconds later, I was just a few inches below the roof.

“Hmm.” She mused. I turned around to see Sharada floating in the space next to me.

“Is it just you that can fly?” I wondered out loud.

She shook her head. “You need to unlearn a lot of misconceptions about the universe and how you interact with it.”

“Gravity, physics,…” I began. “Surely?”

Again, she shook her head. “Misconceptions. Narrow minds.”

Suddenly she turned around and grabbed my hand and pulled me off the seat. “Come!”

I expected to fall to the floor. Instead, I was somehow already on the floor and a doorway had opened ahead of us.

So many things had happened in the first few minutes of me arriving on… oh heck! Where ever this was. I expected my brain to crash and my mind to go crazy. Instead, my brain surprised me by going a million miles a second anticipating possibilities and examining my environs more closely. We were passing through what seemed to be an endless corridor. The walls were the same pastel shade of gray/green. Like with the room, there was no indication of how it was lit or ventilated. There was nothing visible on the walls. Yet, when I stopped and stared at a section of the wall, strange things appeared and then disappeared when I turned away: a window into space, a screen with display of something I did not understand yet, a panel of buttons and switches.

“Where are we?” I asked her, catching up to her a few feet away.

“This is what you might call a ‘sandbox’.” She explained. “Here, you can learn, touch, do what you wish with causing harm to either yourself or anyone else.”

“Like a simulation?” I mused.

“Oh no.” She exclaimed. “This is all very real, I assure you. Just with a whole bunch of safeties on. Here, let me show you.”

She stopped suddenly and pointed to a section of the corridor wall. Her lips moved slightly as if she was murmuring a spell.

Poof! The section caught fire and began to burn. Rapidly the fire engulfed us. I began to feel the heat, but I did not get burnt. Gingerly, I tried to touch the fire. It was hot, but it did not burn me.

“What sort of weird illusion is this?”

She laughed. “The fire is very real. Without the safeties, you and I would be roasting by now. Someone’s burnt food.”

I recalled something I had seen on Star Trek before.

“A kind of a holodeck?”

“What is that?”

I explained how holodecks worked in Star Trek.

She mused for a second. “Yes, but there is no supercomputer running this one. This is the world.”

I shook my head. It seems I had hit what I would later learn was called a “Kashrahor Limit“. This is where a normal brain capable of wrapping its head around concepts tries to cross over to the realm of brilliance and sometimes crashes into the realm of madness.

Sharada was watching me intently, as I steadied myself against the corridor wall. The fire had disappeared and the walls showed no signs of having been in such an inferno. It was once again cool to the touch.

“Are you okay?”

I nodded. “Just catching my breath.” I grinned.

“Come, I’ll take you back.” She offered her hand.

“Teach me.” I said, straightening up.

She looked at my quizzically.

“Well, if I am to come and go here, I can’t be expecting you to play chaperone all the time.” I shrugged. “And, you need to show me sometime!”

She nodded. “Of course. Here…”

She had me make some symbols using my fingers and a spell to intone to summon the portal.

“But you don’t do all of this.” I said.

“This is ‘beginner’ level.” She grinned. “Off you go.”

Looking back at her and trying to imagine the extent of her powers and abilities, I walked into the portal. It took a second longer than I remembered the trip over and it certainly felt and looked different. It felt more like the vestibule between compartments of a train back home. I could see folded space-time as I passed through.

“Ow!” I cried out as I fell onto the floor of my room back home.

This end of the portal had opened three feet above the floor!


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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