July 11, 2022

#BlogchatterBlogHop: 'The traveller' - a short story.

The last thing I remember was gazing into the abyss when I lost  control and slipped. By the time I regained consciousness, I found myself spiraling down a dark vertiginous tunnel, clueless of where I was heading.

When the vertigo finally stopped, I realised I had arrived at the end of the passage. It was marked by a door. On it was engraved the name, ‘Hawkins Research Institute’.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had reached the much rumoured about  research facility based in our town.  Located underground, the lab promised utmost confidentiality and was said to conduct brealthrough experiments of an undisclosed nature.

The adrenaline rush I felt was unimaginable. A big fat adventure lay waiting in front of me. Unraveling the mystery could change my life---I could become the hero of my town. All I had to do to do was choose a quiet opportune moment and sneak in.

Moments later, I was inside the facility. Under the dim light of a solitary bulb, I made my way to what seemed like the basement area.


In the centre of the space was a huge glass chamber, equipped with a single seat and a panel board with multiple levers and buttons. I went closer to have a better look. But before I could do that, I heard footsteps approaching.

Startled, I slouched behind an old and rusty file cabinet. My heart was beating at the speed of a stallion.

The footsteps stopped. The door opened. As the lights flew on, I noticed a middle-aged man in a white lab coat walk in.

He was bespectacled, had frazzled hair, and appeared preoccupied. I concluded he was one of the scientists working at the centre.

Without wasting any time, he made his way to the glass chamber. Quickly strapping himself to the seat, he proceeded to punch a few buttons and pull a few levers. The machine lit up, making a noise like an engine, but within seconds the sound and the lights both died down. The man sighed. A look of exasperation crossed his face, the tell tale signs of a failed experiment.

Just then, a tiny squeak fell on my ears. I looked in the direction of the source and my mouth let out a loud yelp almost involuntarily. A dirty black rat with fuzzy hair was nibbling on my toes.

Startled by my yelp, the astonished rodent scurried away, leaving me to face the co sequences of my folly. I was already thinking of excuses to give the scientist when I looked up to see him already pressing an alarm to inform security.

With the alarm buzzing continuously, and the mad scientist staring me down, I felt cornered. The security personnel would be here any minute.

Without thinking, I jumped into the chamber-machine.  The man had pulled the red lever, then the blue, or was it the green? I tried to recollect what I’d seen.

Just then, five burly uniformed guards  entered the room. They were carrying arms. The scientist  gestured towards me and they seemed to understand what to do. Aiming their rifle towards me, they asked me to surrender.

It was almost a threat. Possibilities of punishment in a science lab wreaked havoc in my mind. Exhumation, extermination, genetic mutation, a lifetime in coma…these people could turn me into a guinea pig if they wanted.

The door creaked. The panic in me surged. My hands trembled.

I pulled the first lever that came in hand. Red. Nothing happened.

I pulled the blue. Still nothing. The guards sniggered.

Panic stricken, my hands were dancing all over the machine panel.

Orange, purple, green; I pulled all the levers together. I punched multiple random buttons. 

Finally, the machine came to life.

The scientist’s mouth flew open. The guards did not know how to react. Neither did I.

Since then, I have been having strange experiences. I have witnessed events no mortal would ever have imagined. .

I have seen centuries old empires crumbling, witnessed the terrors of fascism, the drawbacks of capitalism. I have traveled a long way from the freedom struggle to dirty politics, from  communism to communalism, from the suffragette movement to the Me too movement.

I have cursed myself for being a helpless  spectator of acts of apartheid, untouchability, racism, classism, love jihad, jingoism, and bigotry.

I have witnessed genocides, space missile launches, breakthroughs in medicine, military warfare, nuclear explosions, and miraculous recoveries.

I guess this has become my way of life now, my identity. I’m a  time traveler with no idea where he will land up, or what he will experience next.

Unintentionally though, I eventually ended up being a lab rat for Hawkins afterall.  I wonder if there are more like me. I guess we will never know.

Time-traveling has  ruined me forever, but it has also made me believe…in endless possibilities, in hope. The universe, I have realised, is not easy to comprehend. It works in mysterious ways.

The only regret is that I cannot stay too long at one place to pass on this message. My time is brief and yet inexhaustibly infinite.

I am ageless.

 I am the universe. 

I am the God particle.


This post is a part of Blogchatter Blog Hop.


Geethica said...

Hey Priyanka, it was so exciting to read and how you turn imagination into reality as you end your post. Absolutely fantastic.

Manali Desai said...

Definitely kept me hooked, nicely incorporated a popular fictional world into the story.

Seetha said...

Being a lab rat for Hawkins speaks of the heights of your imagination. Well woven story. Loved the ending lines much!

I am ageless.

I am the universe.

I am the God particle.

Pri said...

Thanks, Geethica. Means a lot! :)

Pri said...

I'm glad you enjoyed reading it, Manali. :)

Pri said...

Thanks, Seetha. Much obliged! :)

Suchita said...

What a fun ride this was. Loved reading it :)

Pri said...

Thanks, Suchita. I'm so glad it could engage you. :)