01 June, 2010

Ten Elements ....

(Image Courtesy : LunarStarryNight by Jerry Mac via fineartamerica.com)

His throat was parched. His body ached. His head pounded. His eyelids felt as though they were sewn shut. His skin felt as if there were scores of ants crawling all over. His ears buzzed ….. yet heard nothing in particular. Every cell in his body screamed for water. His thoughts were totally disjointed. All he could think about was the haze ….. the smog that seemed to cloud his vision, the mist that was all around him – swirling, dragging him down into its foamy, cottony depths.

His senses were eddying, it was like being caught in a whirlpool which threatened to drag him down to oblivion. With a start, he realized that being dragged down into that vortex was what he wanted then. “Give up …. Give in” screamed a part of his mind. “Not yet ….. Not yet….” screamed yet another fragment of his psyche.

There had been ten of them. All ten in the peak of their physical strength, the absolute zenith of their mental capacities, specialists in their own fields.

“Wake up” screamed a voice inside his head.

The feeling of being weighed down was unbearable. Out of that feeling of total helplessness arose a new emotion – fear.

“I’m scared” he thought to himself. “I’m scared”. The fear was almost palpable.

“I’ve got to pull myself together” “I’m one of the best of my kind” he said to himself, trying his level best to instill a sense of strength and willing himself to get up and take stock of the situation.

“A few more minutes and I’ll be able to get on my feet” he mulled.

His mind felt alive. It was buzzing with activity. Despite the physical discomfort that his body was enduring, his mind seemed to be honing itself.

He was mentally orienting himself.

Distant memories flooded his animated consciousness. Memories – like little scraps, little fragments.

Yet, amongst all those little bits of memory, there stood out one thought – Ten.

“Ten” “Ten” “Ten” “Ten” – the number reverberated against the walls of his mind. There were details attached to the number but they refused to surface into conscious memory. Pushing these thoughts aside, he recollected with distinct clarity the interior of the spaceship which had brought them here.

“Where is it ?” he wondered. “Where has it disappeared ?” “Where are the other nine ?” “Where have they gone ?”

Slowly, it was all coming back to him.

The waiting, the nervousness, the camaraderie amongst all the astronauts headed out to this planet, the force within each one of them, waiting to be unleashed. Each one of them waiting impatiently to give a free rein to their talents and prove themselves to the world.

His thoughts were conspicuously lucid now.

His first impression of space. That world beyond Planet Earth. The dark awning, the seeming nothingness which was scary – yet soothing. It had filled him with a sense of awe and respect.

The memories were tumbling into his cognizant mind now – fast and furious. The attack on the spaceship, the sudden force that propelled them onto a hard surface and the sudden bright light, total silence and then the utter, appalling destruction.

“I must look for the others” he thought to himself.

He pulled himself up – slowly and painfully – for every inch of his body hurt. He was a complete mess. Numerous cuts and bruises on his body. He tried to move his legs. It was sheer agony. Looking down, he realised that there was a piece of rock embedded in his left leg. For once in his life, he was glad that there were no mirrors around. The narcissist in him would not have been able to tolerate the wounded, broken and bloodied human lying on the surface of another planet.

Just then he thought he heard something whizzing. A moment later there was a sharp stinging sensation on the side of his head. Almost as if something had bumped into his head. Sure enough, there was a small stone lying near him.

“Where did this come from ?” he thought.

For the first time since he’d awoken from his stupor, he looked across the vast ground. At first, there was nothing. And then, slowly, the image started to register.

It was hideous and huge. It was unsightly and gruesome to look at. The numerous clawed tentacles sprouting from all around its body seemed to have a life of their own – each one testing and seeking prey. The ungainly blob that was its body seemed to radiate evil. But, by far the most repulsive feature was the creature’s eye. One single gelatinous mass – gooey, viscous, totally flat and lifeless. That eye held nothing but malevolence in it.

And that macabre eye was holding him in its sight.

Looking, probing, staring ...

And as he looked around the planet surface for his fellow astronauts, a part of his mind registered the fact that it was just him and that hideous creature. It all sunk in at once. The fact that his spaceship had been destroyed, the fact that there was no human other than him alive on that planet surface. He allowed himself the luxury of tears. As the tears flowed, as he mourned the loss of his friends, the creature let loose a whole barrage of stones and rocks at him from the other side of the roughly hewn planet surface. Those tentacles were waving angrily, threateningly at him. And the creature itself was looking rather ominously portent.

This time around, as he looked at the grotesque creature, he felt rather than saw a new feeling.

It wanted to fight.

And then realization struck. One human and one alien species. This was to be a fight to the finish. It was not him and the alien fighting each other. It was a question of the survival of one species and the complete annihilation of the other.

He shook with rage. Rage against the creature which was now eyeing him, assessing him, evaluating him, appraising his strengths and weaknesses. And that very rage catapulted him into action. Picking up the very same rocks that had been hurled at him, he threw them back at the creature, screaming incoherently at it, waving and pumping his fists at it hysterically.

And he realised that what appeared to be a open, flat plane of land was not all that open. All the rocks he threw at the creature bounced back at him from some unseen barrier. He could not see the barrier but it was there. The alien creature, however, was totally unaffected by the barricade.

The creature was beginning to move now. It could probably sense that its opponent was an uneven match for its capabilities. It seemed to be able to discern the differences between them. It appeared to be able to observe, perceive and identify his weaknesses only too well.

As he observed the creature, he could almost sense it gloating, wallowing in the triumph that seemed to be its already.

As his mind grasped at straws, he refused to admit defeat. There had to be a way out of this. There just had to be …………

It could not end like this. There was way too much at stake here. At that given moment, he could feel the weight of the very existence of the entire humanity on his shoulders. He knew that it all hinged on this final battle. If he lost to the alien creature, humanity was doomed. And he could not even bring himself to contemplate that scenario. Earth taken over and people ruled over by these hideous creatures.

“No !!” he screamed out aloud. “There has to be a way….. There has to be a way ….”

Through all these chaotic interludes in his mind, there was still that niggling voice which was hammering away repeatedly “Ten” “Ten” “Ten” “Ten” ………..

“What am I trying to remember ?” “Why am I not able to recollect ?” he thought to himself furiously and desperately.

Even while his thoughts were in turmoil, he had to constantly gauge the approaches of the alien creature. Sensing his confusion and frail state, the creature was advancing slowly but steadily – towards him !!!

“Ten” “Ten” “Ten” “Ten” – the word kept up an obscene resonance in his head. And in a perverse sort of way, though he could not put his finger on it, he knew that the every survival of the human race hinged on the number ten.

“But ten of what ?” “What is it that is so close to my conscious memory and yet eludes me ?” he thought, furious with himself for not being able to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

The alien creature had moved closer and was slowly, confidently making its way towards him. This injured human in distress was no match for it. It knew that and worse still, so did he !!!

“Ten” “Ten” “Ten” “Ten” started the chant in his head once again.

“Stop It” he shrieked.

“Just stop it” “Leave me alone” he screamed, a cry born out of sheer desperation.

His was, quite literally, a cry in the wilderness.

His thoughts drifted to his family. His wife, his daughters – who were awaiting his return to Earth.

“What will become of them ?” he thought to himself as tears of utter frustration and sheer helplessness trickled out of his eyes.

He thought of the days they had spent together as a family. A happy family cocooned and shrouded in a blanket of warmth, affection and love. Of the days they had spent relishing the resources that Mother Earth had to offer. The lovely skies, the beautiful crystal clear streams, the lush foliage….. things that they had, then, taken for granted.  Now, as all of those things seemed totally out of reach, he longed for them .....

He remembered the times when he and his wife would jokingly compare their family to the four elements on Planet Earth. And the survival of that very Mother Earth now depended on him.

And that was when realization dawned. It flooded his very consciousness and lit up each and every nerve centre in his body and mind.

“Ten” he said aloud. “The Ten Elements” “Ten Elements”.

It all came crashing into his mind. The floodgates had been opened and there was no stopping the information that flooded in. A sudden burst of inspiration and his mind was inundated.

“The only way to destroy this creature is by using the Ten Elements that are found on this planet surface” he realised.

All the lectures and theories that had been compiled and researched upon before their mission began, focused on the Ten Elements on the planet surface. And all Ten Elements were said to be found in the rocks on the planet.

His eyes searched as far as they could see but there was nothing. No rocks – just flat land.

The alien creature had crossed over to his side of the plane and he could almost read its thoughts. The creature was very blatant and overt about its malicious intent. He could visualize the perverse grin on its revolting being.

As he looked about furiously, his gaze was drawn to his own left leg. His sight locked on to the piece of rock that had embedded itself in its leg when his spaceship was destroyed.

“The Ten Elements” he whispered to himself “are right here”. “I have been carrying it on myself all this while” he said, with unreserved wonder in his voice.

He knew it would hurt. He grit his teeth and pulled at the rock on his leg.

The alien creature approached, drew closer – the claws glistening, the tentacles swaying violently ……

He dragged himself up to a standing position and clutched the rock composed of the Ten Elements close to his heart.

A while later, after what had been a fierce duel – it was all over.

He awoke with a start. He was sweating profusely, his clothes were drenched. The television was blaring ….. and Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith were standing covered in slime after having blasted an alien creature into oblivion.

“Was it all a dream ?” he wondered.

His hand moved to the multiple scars on his chest and back – scars which had thinned and turned shades of white with time.

“No.” He muttered to himself.

“It could not have been a dream ……”

(This was penned a couple of years back. I honestly can't recollect what motivated me to write this but .... I came across the file a couple of days back and decided that Tiny Tidbits was a good place to bank this for a future read.)

1 voice(s) said so:

Mama - Mia said...

wow! didnt know that you were into sci-fi too! :)

had fun reading this!