Sasha was in her own world. It was a world which she could understand, where she enjoyed and where she belonged. Everyone in this world flapped their hands and did not communicate through verbal language, just like Sasha. There were no strange looks directed at her.
The Earth was inhabited by living beings but dominated by Human Beings. Humans had labelled people like Sasha ‘Neurologically Challenged’ or a kinder ‘Special.’ The terminology has evolved with the time; two decades ago, people like her would have been labelled as mentally challenged by ignorant human beings. Not that it would have mattered to her.
Sasha was a child on the spectrum to her earthly parents- the precise medical term was Autism Spectrum Disorder. Brains of people on the spectrum processed information in a different manner. Such creatures spoke a different language, which ordinary mortals couldn’t comprehend.
Those ignorant humans didn’t know that Sasha was not a human being like them but a creature in herself. She did not belong on Earth.
“What will happen of Sasha?” was a question that Sasha had heard her mother ask her father.
“Poor Mum and Dad. They should worry about what will become of them,” she had thought then, amused.
There were a lot of things that her parents, and other ‘normal’ people on Earth, including the abstruse scientific community, didn’t know of or about. Kaleidoscope was one of them.
Beyond the realm of the known, hidden from the gaze of Homo Sapiens, away from the benefice of ‘God’ that a lot of humans on Earth revered, was Kaleidoscope- a cosmos for neuro-a-typical personages like Sasha. This world wasn’t visible to the naked human eye; one needed to focus deep inside one’s brain to traverse the complex path. Once Sasha focused her thoughts to travel deep inside the brain cerebrum for a minute, a recess inside the brain’s left hemisphere opened, and her musings crossed through the cerebellum to enter the brainstem. At the intersection of the brainstem and spinal cord, Sasha stayed with her thoughts. The humans outside will see her staring at some object for long- her own world, as they said.
Once she transmitted her first thought, other ‘special’ personages transmitting their sentiments at the same time appeared in view. Everyone in Kaleidoscope communicated in wavelength rather than sound, even those who chose to speak on Earth. The atmosphere looked all white with floating surfaces, milkier than the clouds on the horizon. Kaleidoscope was not limited to human-like creatures; many animals exhibiting the same syndrome inhabited its terrain.
Kaleidoscope was a parallel world created by a parallel God-Asperger. Aeons ago, he lived in the same Heaven where the other Gods worshipped by humans lived. However, he was not pleased with the denigration of human values and the passive stance of the other Gods to let it be. He would have liked his peers to be more proactive in remoulding the moral fibre of Earthly people. But his peers refused, and a fierce altercation ensued. So, the powerful Asperger took matters into his own hands. He left Heaven and created his own universe of neuro-challenged people not controlled by the five senses that governed normal human beings. That is the world where Sasha originated from.
There was a conference in Kaleidoscope today. All 1 billion personages having Autism, Asperger, Cerebral Palsy and 600 other neurological conditions had been ordered to attend. Millions from the animal world would also be in attendance.
On Earth, concealing herself from the gazes of humans, Sasha curled up inside her duvet, focused her thoughts and reached the plane in the brainstem before the start time. She put her hands to her ears so that her concentration doesn’t break when her parents call her. It was an important meeting for her.
“Welcome to the conference, Sasha.” A voice from the other side of the white substance met her wavelength and communicated. Even though she was among the early birds, the place was packed. She could not recall the last time when all those in her creed were invited for a meeting. But then this was the event that they were long waiting for.
“Thank you for attending this meeting today,” a deep voice continued even as the form came into view. Parkinson, Asperger’s Messenger, stood in front of them. He was wearing his typical black cape and hood, with his face invisible as always. His entire body was shaking as usual, and it seemed that he found it difficult to support himself.
Parkinson raised his right hand, and a hush ensued in the congregation. Individual communications stopped as everyone focused on what Arthur was about to convey to all.
“Asperger says that the moment that every one of us waited with bated breath for is here. In the last five hundred years, we have succeeded in multiplying our population and growing our numbers. From 1 in a million creatures with some neurologic condition, our numbers have proliferated to 1 in 6 now. From 10 odd neurological diseases, we have introduced more than 600 types of neurological disorders on Earth, with more being added each passing year. Moreover, we now live on Earth as one with human beings, with no one suspecting our intentions.”
A loud boom resonated in Kaleidoscope as a billion personages united in cheering Parkinson’s words.
“The time has come to go for the Great War with earthly beings and establish our personage as the mainstream on Earth. The world will be a place where people will either not speak or have limited vocabulary; there will be less noise and more communication. Those with simple minds and pure intentions will rule the Earth, not those with complex and convoluted views. Nature will be respected, everyone will take care of each one. There will be no more wars, only peace. Nation-states would become obsolete, and the world will be one.”
“All of you here have a crucial role to play in establishing Kaleidoscope on Earth. Remember your training. All of you would need to stare at five of your close contacts in the eye and transfer your brain’s wavelength to their brain for five continuous minutes. We have been practising this skill with each other for five years now. The raging coronavirus pandemic on Earth delayed our plans for a year. With the infections having reached their peak, we need to get into the act now, before the third wave comes up.”
Parkinson paused as if to gauge the wavelengths of his listeners. Satisfied with the response he was getting, he continued, “Tomorrow would be the D-Day. This is the last time that we are meeting in the brainstems of our conscience. After we emerge victorious and establish the supremacy of Special Beings, we will have our next meeting two days later on Earth. We will rename the planet Kaleidoscope.”
Chorus of excited ‘gibberish’- the mode of communication used by Special Beings- filled the air. Most in the crowd were spellbound, a few others impatient.
“Why are we doing this? What purpose will it solve?” A voice in the crowd asked.
Everyone turned to the source of the discordant note in the crowd. It was the first time since birth that so many eyes turned to look at Sasha. She was scared with all the attention but was firm in her resolve to carry on. After all, she had made a promise.
“We were told that the purpose of this battle with human beings was to purge the planet of all evil. We were waging this war since Man had become the Devil, having no care for fellow men, animals, plants and other living beings of the planet. We wanted to establish an order of love, compassion and understanding- the World of Special Beings – the qualities that creatures like us were supposed to have.” Sasha hoped that she sounded braver than she felt.
“Absolutely right, Sasha,” Parkinson said. “Though why do you speak in the past tense? The war is not over; we are still in one.” He spoke in a usual manner, but something was menacing in his tone.
“Because all these ideals seem false. Perhaps they were used as bait to rally creatures like us, who are emotionally vulnerable, to your and Asperger’s grandiose plans,” she shouted back.
Murmurs of gibberish could be heard in the crowd. Parkinson stood in shaky silence.
Sasha continued, “Hasn’t this pandemic shown the compassionate side of man? Millions have died, and the carnage continues. Hundreds of thousands have become impoverished. In these times, haven’t people put their materialistic tendencies on hold and went about lending a helping hand? People are arranging beds, medicines and oxygen, distributing free food and lending money to those they hardly know. Doesn’t this mean that kindness still exists on Earth?”
Sasha paused. Her parents had been working at home for the last one a half years, so she had seen and heard a lot. She had witnessed her neighbours open a voluntary Covid Help Centre in their neighbourhood to help those struggling with resources. They had continued untiringly even during the period when they got stuck with the disease. She had listened to stories about doctors and healthcare workers not going home for days to save their patients’ lives. She had read about the world rallying closer in solidarity amid the pandemic.
“These are exceptions, not the rule. People are still destroying the environment. The bombs and rockets have not ceased to fall. Man has even started space tourism during this period, extending his greed and lust beyond Earth. This needs to be stopped,” Parkinson countered.
“It takes all kinds to make the world. There are two sides to a coin. What would God be without the Devil? Will we appreciate the good as much without evil? In any case, Nature is already unleashing its wrath on Humans for their follies over the years. There are bushfires, landslides, floods or droughts in some or the other place on Earth. Not to speak of the pandemic. Yes, a minority of human beings may be evil. But one would not fell the entire tree if a couple of apples are rotten,” Sasha reasoned.
“Why tolerate even one rotten apple when there is an opportunity to ensure that all apples are sweet and ripe? We will grow our own tree,” Parkinson countered.
“It will take years for the sapling to grow into a tree. What do we do in the meantime? Also, who will treat us when the third wave of Covid breaks?” another voice in the crowd asked.
Sasha could not make out the face in the crowd but was glad to see that someone else concurred with her viewpoint. That was what she had promised that she will try.
“Once all Human Beings become Special like us, there will be no repository left of their past memories and knowledge. Our personages don’t know medical science. The rapid advances in medicine and science that mankind has made will all go to waste. We will not survive,” the trembling voice said.
“Except Parkinson, Autism and other messengers of Asperger,” Sasha shouted. “They will live because they are Gods. We are mortals and will not.”
The feelings of disquiet and uneasiness were pervasive among those gathered now. Suspicions, doubts and mistrust had taken the place of excitement, peace and calm, present moments earlier. Kaleidoscope was no longer the same.
“If Earth can have a place for all sorts of creatures- personages like us, physically handicapped as well as neurotypical people, if it can accompany both the good and the evil and still evolve the way it has, why do we believe that our world should have place only for us? Why do Kaleidoscope out of Earth when we have our own space there? Like me, I am sure that there are other creatures here nursed back from Covid by Human beings. We are planning to burn the hands that saved us,” Sasha continued.
“Stop it, you impudent girl. You distract us from our goal of establishing the Special Being Kingdom. It is an idea whose time has come, and no one can stop us. Not even us,” Parkinson barked.
Gone was the soft pretence. Instead of God’s messenger, he appeared like an incensed and inflamed specimen ready to destroy- the Devil incarnate.
“You are no different from those that we seek to destroy,” Sasha exclaimed.
“I will extinguish you. From Kaleidoscope, and from Earth,” he threatened.
Pandemonium broke out, the first one that Kaleidoscope had ever experienced. While the eyes of half of the creatures bored into Sasha, intending to squash the dissenting voice forever, the other half engulfed around her to protect her from the assailants. The haven of the Special Beings was clearly split into two groups now, the gulf too wide to be bridged.
“Sasha, Sasha,” her mother’s words rang in her ears. Sasha had covered her ears with both hands in order not to waver from focusing on her universe. Now, with her job done, she needed to get out of here. Her mother had called her at an opportune moment.
Sasha slowly let go of her hands from her ears. Her mother’s voice now resonated in her brain loud and clear. Her concentration moved towards the Earth, and her personage began to fade from the brainstem.
“No,” Parkinson shouted as Sasha’s form disappeared from Kaleidoscope.
“Come and have your lunch, Sasha,” her mother implored, anxiety evident in her loving eyes. She had been calling Sasha for a minute now with no response. Her twelve-year-old was again in a trance like state.
Her mother heaved a sigh of relief when Sasha smiled. Sasha was glad to be on terra-firma.
She had done what the God of Earth had asked her to. For the past two months, he had regularly appeared in Sasha’s dreams to explain his viewpoint and solicit her help. Sasha was in two minds on whether to stay put with her long-held beliefs or go ahead with the call of conscience. But God had promised her that in another twenty years, evil will disappear from Earth. She had then gone by what He had told her to do and tried her best to avert the war on humanity. Now it was between Him and Asperger.
Millions of thousands of hundred thousand light-years away from Earth, the Chief of the Gods heaved a sigh of relief in his Kingdom of Blue. They were having a conference of their own, where the sole agenda was to observe the happenings in Kaleidoscope.
“Divide and rule invariably work, your Holiness,” one of the Demi-Gods remarked to the Chief. “No wonder Human beings are fond of the strategy.”
The Chief sighed. He had deployed a strategy of entering the brains of select Special Beings when they were asleep and thus away from Asperger’s sphere of influence and persuaded them to revolt against their beliefs. In all their good faith, those personages believed that they were dreaming about Him, where in reality, he was invading their mind space. He wasn’t proud of the strategy, but sometimes one had to bend the rules for the greater good. It wasn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last.
The annihilation of mankind as it stood today and establishing a parallel universe was too frightening a consequence to comprehend. He had done what he felt was right to avert this disaster.
“Do you think that the war will be averted and Asperger’s quest to establish his supremacy in the universe will lose steam?” another Demi-God asked anxiously.
The Chief shrugged. The danger was still not over. In the long term, much will depend on how humanity behaves. He will also do his bit to annihilate those who destroy others.
For now, it depended on how extensively have Sasha and her ilk succeeded in sowing the seeds of doubts in the Special realm. All the Gods collectively turned their gaze back to the celestial cloud that reflected the happenings of the Kaleidoscope to them, anxious to see how the events unfold.
Author’s Note: I do not mean to hurt or demean neurologically challenged people through this story. Being a mother of an autistic child, I often dream of a world that is more welcoming to the challenges of special people, and where a permanent cure for these neurological disorders are discovered. This story is a product of my hopes, emotions, queries and fantasy all rolled into one. The statistics about the prevalence of the neurological disorder, as mentioned in the story, are correct as of date.
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