The fresh breeze coming from the ocean leaves a salty taste on his lips, but it doesn’t matter, Arush is already lost in a trance. The water touches his ankle every time a wave pushes them out towards land. He opens his collar button and takes a deep breath in. As he unbuttons his shirt, he can feel the mask of the corporate man fall off.

It’s the first time in ages that he has come by this lonely part of the shore. He reminisces every happy memory he has here. But one particular memory is very vivid.

***

‘How many shapes did you see today?’ His sister ran towards him, while he was lying on the warm sand.

‘None.’ He said, looking accusingly towards the distorted clouds. ‘I feel like my imagination has ended, Naina. Why? Why can’t I see a shape today!’ Arush hears his 8-year-old self crying and an unexpected smile crosses his face.

‘Oh, little brother!’ He hated being her “little brother” and so puffed his cheeks. ‘Oh my cute little Aru.’ she corrected, ‘Imagination never ends. It’s as abundant as the water of our ocean. Especially your imagination doesn’t have an end, like the horizon that we see the sun take shelter in, every evening.’ Back then, Aru didn’t understand a thing his elder sister told him. Eventually, she guessed Arush’s understanding isn’t as mature as she thought it to be, so she made him stand up.

‘Come have a look at this.’ She did something with her long fingers and pointed on the sand.

‘A rabbit!’ Arush jumped in delight and Naina joined his laughter.

‘Can I try, too?” He asked, his voice timid.
‘Of course, little brother.’ And then she taught many other shadow animals.

***

A tear rolls down his cheek. It is the first time that Arush has returned home, after getting a job last year in the foreign land. He was overwhelmed for days and nights with work.
Now Arush waits, excited, to give a news to the little brother’s sister who taught him to imagine.

‘How many shapes did you see today?’ His sister wraps him in her arms and neither of them can hold back their emotions.

‘I heard you’ve been promoted to the manager! Congratulations, Arush.’ She says, while eating from a packet of bhel in her hand.

‘Yes. It came in the last week. I warned mom not to tell anyone. Does dad know?’ Arush doesn’t really sound concerned if his dad knows about it.

‘Is anything wrong?’ That’s what he likes about Naina. She can sense his every little emotion.

‘I quit my job. I’ve something to show you, that’s the reason I wanted to meet you here.’ Naina finds it tough to not react to the abruptness, yet she only nods.

Arush reaches out to his bag and fetches a paper bag for Naina.

‘Remember you showed me how imagination can never end? Even though I never got it as a kid, I understood it a little late. And when I did, I wrote it down. I wrote pages, those pages turned into chapters and those chapters built a story. I wasn’t confident about it but I sent the draft to various publishers. Surprising enough, I received my acceptance letter two days ago. I’ve a scheduled meeting tomorrow and I want you to be with me, when I walk in there.’ Naina’s jaw is left open and even in the faint moonlight Arush can see pearls in her eyes.


© The Honest Fabler
© Image source- Google images

Update:

Occult of Strigoikirk – Epilogue would be posted soon. Stay tuned.

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