In dying light

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

Log 67A45890

Eyes Only.

Restricted Access: Establishment 23, Tier 3.

 

File Begin

To <TariniShiva@yahoo.com>

From<CaptainShiva@yahoo.com>

<4th May, 1999>

Sub: On top of the world

Dearest Tarini,

 

I hope this mail finds you in good health. Three months without you seems like eternity. This place is so beautiful. I wish you were here to see it with me. When the sun rises up from behind those snowcapped peaks and fills the world with red and orange, warmth becomes something you can see reflected all around. I’ve managed to catch my fair share of sunrises. How are things in Noida? I hope Dad and Mom are doing fine. My CO is a little hard on us sometimes but he is a fair man. One cannot ask for more. Please tell everyone to rest easy.

 

Alright, got to head out now. Got another dig coming up with the Science team. We keep uncovering more and more. There is something big buried under this ancient ice, fancy that?

 

I wonder how they built the damn thing.

 

Reply soon.

 

Love,

Capt. Harish Shivanarayan

4 Mahar Regiment

To <CaptainShiva@yahoo.com>

From <TariniShiva@yahoo.com>

<16th May, 1999>

 

Sub: Re: On top of the world

 

Dear Harish,

 

Harish, we are all really worried about you. The news is breaking the story again and again about a massed infiltration in the Dras and Kargil areas by militants. The Army is mounting an operation to clear them. Is that why you have been there for so many months? Why can’t you just tell me what you are there for?

 

I am so scared with this whole thing Harish. Please, just come back safe.

 

Promise me.

 

Love,

Tarini

To <TariniShiva@yahoo.com>

From<CaptainShiva@yahoo.com>

<22nd May, 1999>

 

Sub: Re: Re: On top of the world

 

Dearest Taru,

 

I must say I am surprised with this news. I checked with my superiors and they confirmed the infiltration in the Kargil and Dras heights. We however, are here on a separate mission Taru. It has nothing to do with fighting militants. All I can tell you is that this is a scientific expedition. We are here with all sorts of experts and there is absolutely no fighting going on.

 

Besides, the Army will take care of the infiltration. Trust in us.

 

We have almost uncovered the find. It looks like a statue but its proportions defy logic, its full size is beyond what I can imagine. The whole place looked like something out of a sci fi movie – blue light reflecting off the icewalls that surrounded the statue. Reminded me of my dream. Oh yeah, I have been having those dreams again. Remember the ones I told you about in college?

 

I’m guessing it’s probably just the stress.

 

Love,

Capt. Harish Shivanarayan

4 Mahar Regiment

To <CaptainShiva@yahoo.com>

From <TariniShiva@yahoo.com>

<23rd May, 1999>

 

Sub: Re: Re: Re: On top of the world

 

Harish,

 

The infiltration is much larger than they earlier speculated. They found Pakistani Army soldiers fighting with the militants.  How can you say you are not involved? You are right there in the danger zone.

 

What are you doing there Harish? Be careful. Please, please be careful.

 

Since last night I have been having some weird dreams too. Do you still have the pills Mukherji Uncle gave you? Remember to have them if the nightmares get worse.

 

Love,

Tarini

To <TariniShiva@yahoo.com>

From<CaptainShiva@yahoo.com>

<24th May, 1999>

 

Sub: All good.

 

Dearest Taru,

 

I’m alright. Well, not alright but I am unhurt.  The Science team did their job all too well. Remember that statue I told you about? Well, they have excavated the entire thing and it is gigantic. It looked like a statue of some primitive beast-like God. I don’t really know how to put this across so I’ll just say it.

 

I touched the statue.

 

And when I did, I dreamed my dream again. Only this time I wasn’t asleep. Apparently, I just sat down in the snow staring into the horizon for a good ten minutes or so. The men were worried about my health and I had to see the Doctor about it. But I saw my dream Taru. I saw it in such vivid detail. It is hard to explain but I’m starting to remember things I should not know. And I suspect these dreams of mine might not be dreams after all.

 

Doctor says it’s a case of snowblindness and cabin fever wrapped in one neat package. At least that’s what he says is wrong with me. But I’m not the only one behaving strangely here. We havent been able to raise HQ in three days. Even the VSAT works only for five minutes in a day. If I’m lucky this mail will find that five minute window. I am certain now…we are not alone in the snow out here. Someone…something is keeping an eye on us out here.

 

I only hope I can see my dream to its end. It all seems so familiar, even when I am seeing it for the first time.

 

Love,

Harish

 

To <CaptainShiva@yahoo.com>

From <TariniShiva@yahoo.com>

<1st June, 1999>

 

Sub: Re: All good.

 

Harish, you sound terrible in your last mail? Are you alright? Please don’t talk like that. You are always so positive…if you start talking like that, I will fall to pieces.

 

I keep seeing the terrible things happening to our soldiers. The news goes on and on about how they are mutilating even their dead bodies. I keep thinking I will get a phone call asking me to identify your remains. Mrs. Sangla got the call yesterday. You remember Major Sangla? They cut out his eyes, nose and even the ears. She had to identify the body like that. Poor woman.

 

I keep going back to my dreams Harish and they all end the same way. All I see is red snow. Red snow and you drowning in it.

 

I’m scared.

 

Love,

Taru

Nest.23.gov.in

<6th June, 1999>

 

Sub: Quarantine

 

Identified line out. All relevant connections included. Engage quarantine procedure alpha 5 and close at earliest. Close all included connections, Priority 1.

 

<Padmini>

To <TariniShiva@yahoo.com>

From<CaptainShiva@yahoo.com>

<9th June, 1999>

 

Sub: Re: Re: All good

 

Taru,

 

I dont have much time but I will try and tell you all I can.

 

There are no Pakistanis here. Yet we are definitely being hunted. Last night we lost three people. We later found one in the snow…half eaten.  The CO had a major argument with the head of the Science team today. It got physical. Although the boss hasn’t told us anything, we all heard the shouting. He blames the Science team for this. That statue, it seems to have done something…and not just to me… The men whisper of ghosts and demons in the snow. Our 2IC thinks the Chinese have surrounded us. Our CO is convinced we have a murderer within our midst. As for me, I’m not so sure. I don’t think our enemy is human or even real.  Nor am I sure I care anymore…all I can bring myself to care about are those dreams.

 

Taru, you know I have had these dreams since I was four? They just never progressed this far. I always woke up…always. But now its getting harder to wake up from them. Sometimes the dream hits me in full force while I am walking or standing. One minute I am staring at the endless white of the snow and the next moment, I am there.

 

And it always starts the same way.

 

I look up and the sky is red with dark clouds. I look down and the ground seems far away. There is a battle on the horizon. And I am wearing this strange armor. Around me are others like me, kings all. Each wearing the armor of giants. The roar of our armies fills the skies. When I move, my armor moves. My army moves. I can see them, see each of their faces, see their faith in me, their belief in me. I can feel this pure faith funnelled through an intricate web of temples, statues and sacred shrines. Tapping in to our innermost and most frightening power. Thus, bound and amplified, it is fed directly into my armor. Power, enough to devour Suns flowing through my veins.

 

For I am one with the armor. Almost a God.

 

And my victory is at hand, this I know. But it is not meant to be. I am betrayed. By the very people I called my kin. My own brothers stab at me. Even going down I take hundreds of souls with me, but it is all for naught. Slowly the red mist falls over my eyes. And as I lie there, seeing the world through the dying light of my eyes…at last I remember the reason. The reason behind the battle. The reason for it all, the reason for the betrayal…perhaps the reason for this entire dream.

 

You.

 

It is all so clear to me now. For I know you…not from now Taru. I know you from old…I knew you as Ilya…Once. And against all odds, I found you again. For too short a time I found you again. I always thought of this as only a dream. But I saw your face in my dreams, only to remember I had seen it before. A long time ago when I was very young and had this dream for the first time.

 

I remember who I am…who you are…who we are. And I just wish, you were here right now with me. I just wish I could say this to your face. I just wish…you could know me too, the way I know you now.

 

Do not lose heart my love, do not lose hope. Trust in me. I now know, we are made for each other. I found you once, I found you again.

 

One day I will find you a third time.

 

I love you. I will find you.

From<mailer-daemon@yahoo.com> Mail Delivery Subsystem

To< CaptainShiva@yahoo.com>

<9th June, 1999>

 

Sub: Mail Delivery Failure

 

Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently: TariniShiva@yahoo.com

error returned: 550 5.1.1 <TariniShiva@yahoo.com>: Reciever does not exist.

From<mailer-daemon@yahoo.com> Mail Delivery Subsystem

To<  mailer-daemon@yahoo.com> Mail Delivery Subsystem

<9th June, 1999>

 

SUB: Mail Delivery Failure

 

Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently: CaptainShiva@yahoo.com

error returned: 550 5.2.1 <CaptainShiva@yahoo.com>: Reciever does not exist.

 

End of File

 

There are a few places in Gurgaon where only the forgotten gather for a drink. Sitting in the corner booth of one such establishment, a horribly scarred bald man slowly sipped his drink. In his hand was this sheet of paper detailing what was once his life. Silent tears ran down his cheeks unseen by all. The hand he used to wipe them away only had one finger.

 

He felt a sob come over him. Without making a sound he heaved once and let it pass through. The tears dried up and something else took steady form in those gray lifeless eyes. A light burned in them, slow to start like an ember but steady. His lips twitched oddly. He crushed the sheet of paper he had only recently paid a small fortune to acquire. What formed in his eyes was not hatred or mere anger. No, this was purer. Perhaps an embodiment of true fury, of wrath so righteous that the heavens themselves would part in the wake of his passage and champion his cause as just. His face turned into a mask. A hideous mask to be sure.

 

At that instant two bar regulars walked past, loudly complaining about the state of the nation.

 

“Man this country has gone to the dumps, bhagwan jane kya hoga desh ka”

 

“Abbey mai bata to raha hoon tujhe, Sab in salle politicians ki galti hai.”

 

Slowly his lips rose onto the sides of his pitted and scarred cheeks, twitching all the way. He was smiling. With a three fingered grip he raised his glass in a silent salute, before draining it in one gulp.

The End

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