I am in an empty room. Lying on the floor. Maybe I am asleep. Gradually the walls begin to crumble as though the whole world is falling apart. As the bricks turn into dust, the door opens and I find myself in the middle of a street. I am surrounded by people. Hundreds and thousands, millions and billions of people.
I hear them shouting at me, “Go back, you fool! You don’t have any place here!”
Someone is saying, “Why is he even here? We will have to remove him if he does not do it on his own!”
Another says, “One more mouth, one more belly, one more body. He will gobble up all the water, food, air and space.”
I sense the people are angry. A mob is a mindless mass of madness. They have sticks and stones in their hands. Any time now the stones will be hurled, the lashes fall on my helpless body. I struggle to find a way to escape, but I can not think.
I hear someone calling my name. It is my mother. She makes her way through the crowd and approaches me. She appears angrier than the crowd as she says, “Worthless son! What are you doing here? I wish you were never born!”
My father is already beside her. He pulls me up, whacks me and says, “Off to school, little brat! Do you think you can eat your bread for free? You have to work for it like the rest of us!”
At school, I ask my teacher questions he can not answer. Annoyed, he threatens to evict me from school. When the exam comes around, he fails me. My father is extremely upset and says, “I will throw you out of the house!”
But then he pays off the authorities, I graduate with honors. Before I go off to work, my father tells me, “Son, remember! You will pay me every single penny I spent on you!”
My job is in the accounts department. On the very first day, I notice that the books mention 2+2=5. When I bring it to the notice of the chief, he intimidates me by saying, “How dare you?” Subsequently, I am fired.
I walk the streets wondering about the world I am in. I hate the crowds, the people that are everywhere. I make my way out of the city. Before long, I am on a solitary road walking alone. I am content for the first time in my life. But when I turn around, there are those people again. Following me wherever I go. I start running but they are getting closer. As I hurry, I can see them turn into monsters who pursue me relentlessly. Rushing through the grasses, I abruptly reach a cliff and leap into the abyss. I vanish into thin air.
I wake up with my heart thundering away in the night. The only thing louder is the unceasing noise of traffic outside.
An occasional writer but a regular thinker, Beryl sometimes fiddles in speculative fiction. He sees both humour and tragedy in everyday events and is extremely concerned with the fate of other creatures trapped in the monstrous march of 21st-century human civilization.