I walked ahead, following the bright rays streaming from the gaps between the canopies of the tall trees. I was getting tired, but something compelled me to forge ahead. My last memory had been of sitting before the fireplace, sipping brandy and finalising the seating arrangements; when I found myself alone, trekking in a forest just two days before my wedding. Where was I? How did I arrive here?
I looked at the sky. Preferring indoor activities, it was difficult for me to determine if it was dusk or dawn. I could feel the beginnings of a stress headache, which would soon accompany my aching feet and growling stomach. As though the wedding preparations spiralling out of control and essentric in-laws wasn’t enough, my meticulous schedule would be shot to hell with this ill-timed venture. Someone had to have realised I was missing and would’ve alerted the authorities by now, right?
A noise to my left made me stop. I had been alone so far. Was this a wild animal, out to hunt? A lowlife thug, perhaps? I turned slowly, gripping the thick stick that would atleast let me get a few good hits.
All I saw was a dark silhouette, standing in the shade between two tree trunks. I’d never believed in any paranormal stuff or been a fan of the horror genre; but seeing the way it seemed to glide over the tangled roots on the ground, I knew it had to be phantom of a sort. Oh God! Where the hell was I?
‘Your mindscape.’ A disembodied voice echoed around, making a shiver crawl up my back. Time to add hallucination to the list, my mind supplied. ‘Be as skeptical as you like, you cannot escape your conscience,’ the spirit seemed to read my mind as it hovered before me. The face was still hidden, but it seemed feminine. “Who are you? Why did you bring me here?” my voice was just a whisper.
“You” -a long, bony finger rose towards me, “brought a figment of your soul to your mindscape” -a gesture to the forest, “for resolution. Or salvation.” My patience snapped. I had had enough of her riddles. “I was suppose to be on my way to a Greek isle– I don’t even know if it’s today or tomorrow!” I almost wailed, gesturing wildly in frustration. “In a day, I’ll be walking down an aisle wearing a white dress, to be bound to a man waiting for me at the altar. My entire life’s about to alter… I have no time for your ridiculous games!”
‘Bind yourself?’ The question seemed to hover in the air between us, till she stood before me.
Wearing my face. Staring at me.
‘You wouldn’t survive being bound to anyone’ her voice (my voice?) spoke after a pause. ‘You know it’s not love and compromise can sustain for only so long.’ It became difficult to ignore the words now, staring at my reflection. “But I’ve planned my whole life with him.. how can I just-“
‘-a miserable life which would ruin you.’ I was reminded of the things I’d turned a blind eye to. Our strained relationship. A grand wedding that was more of a show-off than a symbol of our union. Was I really making such a big mistake that I was being confronted by my own self, just like it was portrayed in the films?
‘Do it.’ An eyebrow was raised. ‘You’ve never shied away from hardships. Now walk on this steep path for yourself. You mind knows what to do.’ With this, my spirit faded into smoke. Her parting shot echoed once again. ‘Only you can free yourself from these shackled roots of your own creation.‘
And just as I took another step, I woke up.
Written for :- 1) Saturday Mix- Double Take: Homophones for this week are aisle – walkway
I’ll – contraction of “I will”
isle – island
alter – to change
altar – raised centre of worship
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