The Prayer – short story

It was neither night nor day; A very cold environment. The moon was half sunk in the seas of sky. It had apparently no single characteristics of a normal night. The planet was completely silent and blue. The trees were nodding their heads in accord with the blowing wind. Whenever the roaring of the leaves increased a little, those tiny birds residing in the branches, woke up, knuckled and went back to sleep calmly.

There were no overcrowded houses in that expanse. All the houses in that region seemed similar. A few houses that were partly buried in the land did not have a proper contour or design. In that region, that did not exemplify any human existence, one house testified an extremely vivid glow. This particular house did not escape the fashion of the other houses. The walls of the open terrace of this house were not fully raised. Straight above the front door, facing the street, was a sculpture of the Mother Mary – a very beautiful artwork, but so damaged. The exterior of the house, which was painted dark green, had peeled skins at many a spot. The windows and doors, painted bright yellow, were tightly shut. But the front door was not left completely unopened. It was constantly displacing itself concordant with the wind. The interior was quite dim, one can hardly gander. Though the width of the house was modest, its length was big. Just inside, one of the rooms testified unspoiled brightness, while the others were exactly diametrical.

The entrance of that bright room was embellished with a set of bells that was hanging through a long string. Whenever the intensity of the wind slightly ripened, the bells kissed each other gently, producing rhyming chimes. Inside the room, on the ceiling, in the place where a fan is usually fixed, there hung a tube light on two short pipes. The vista of the room jibed a hospital – it gave such a feel. In the eye of the room, in a solitary wheeled chair that was facing the wall, opposite the door, was positioned Maggie Gray. She was sixteen, young and beautiful, except that her face seemed to be outstandingly exhausted. She was in a deep slumber.

When she was about to incline to her left, her eyelashes willfully disengaged. Close to her chair, was kneeling her little brother, Brian Gray. He had an innocent but worrying face for a four year old, and lustrous blue eyes. His palms were clinching hers in compression. “Are you fine now, Maggie?” he asked her in a commiserate voice. She noticed his eyes were soaked in tears – hers too were. “Please don’t cry”, said she warmly, “your sister is not dead after all”. His ears didn’t seem to receive her words. Those tears which were just peeking through his eyes till then, have started to slip down. “Leave it. Did you pray for me?” she asked – the feminine prowess of diversion; his tears were troubling her. A little “hmm” was his reply, following a positive nod. “What did you?” she pretended to be curious. He answered childishly, “God, if you come and heal my sister completely, then you can take me with you, in return”. The liquid that dripped from her eyes were now plunging through her pillow. “Please don’t. You aren’t going anywhere. You’ll be fine”, her voice grew much feebler.

Following a loud bang at the door that killed the silence, entered a man in his white apparel. He pulled out a small paper from his large pocket. He was the doctor. “We notice a rapid improvement in your health conditions. You can be discharged. Also you can stop the medication”. He spoke with no time to respire. He went to the door. But he turned back and was moving towards them. His face was now a little transformed. It all seemed to happen so swiftly. He looked so horrifying. By the time she was noticing his face, he took a small knife and sliced Brian’s throat off. “Brian….!”

Springing up from her bed, it hardly took a minute for Maggie to understand that all that happened till now was just a dream. She was still hearing that dreadful scream of hers. Next to her, was Brian sleeping peacefully, clutching her hand. Slowly, she was back to normal. She fished her mobile phone from under her pillow. 4.41 a.m. – a sharp display. She slipped herself back into her blanket and closed her eyes.

A few years back, Maggie and Brian were not as adhered as they are now. He was just born when she was writing her eighth grade exams. Initially, they were good friends. Slowly she felt that everyone was rendering much care to him than to her. Their bonding started facing a dreadful fracture.

In her high school, her academic performance was rapidly deteriorating. “It is all because of Brian”, she advertised to everyone. She always hurt him very badly, even without considering that he was so small for her to fight against. So she was admitted in a hostel for the wellness of them both. Her family was allowed to visit her in the hostel only once in two months. Whenever they took Brian with them to see her, she grew furious. She was not ready to listen to her friends who loved little Brian, and his cute little expressions. Exams were over and she had acquired good score.

Major in Psychology – everyone seemed to sanction Maggie’s career selection. But her classes were not to commence in less than six months. Everyone at home was sincerely planning of how to manage both of them, that long. The other side, Maggie had a serious infliction in her stomach. This was normal, thought everyone and ignored – she too. But as days swept on, her pain started growing very speedily; one could hardly understand her pains. She refused to meet a doctor. Whenever she felt it, she’ll bind herself to her bedroom walls, clutching her abdomen, screaming in vain. Seeing her wobbling in pain could swallow one’s heart in a single gulp. She was in a very pitiful situation. God never allows a man to share another’s pain. No one can help her, never – she knew it.

One day Brian was crying, very much than ever. Maggie was there, screaming with pain. Already filled with a lot of workload and pressure came there Maggie’s mother. “Don’t scream again in front of my baby! Can’t you see that he gets frightened if you scream like a devil? You seem to be much overacting. Don’t you see me filled with so much –” Maggie did not hear the rest of her mother’s acrimonious lecture. She wanted to shout and vociferate till her throat burst open. She tightened her fists. Her rage topped over. She fleeted to the kitchen, took the knife and cauterized her hands, herself. She was bleeding. She had no one to voice out her feelings to, no one to understand her pains. Everyone had their own problems and troubles. Her mother felt sorry for it. She applied oil on her wounds for them to recover. This didn’t soothe Maggie. She was tempestuous. She washed away all oil every time.

A month’s time had elapsed from then. Both Maggie and Brian were to be alone at home – all others had to depart for their work. This day was no excuse – Maggie was on her bedroom floor, screaming and palpitating. Her burning eyes verbalized the pain she was undergoing. “Is it very irritating Maggie?” he asked her with tears, “It’ll be okay”, he said reassuringly, pressing her palm. She believed him. She felt a great comfort in his candour infantile speech. Is it him, on whom I was so rude and ill–mannered? She was sitting soulless. She felt like she was in a white vacuum shell. She hugged him and squeezed him in all rue. She got a soul which understood her pain. She got someone to care for her.

They decided to take her to a doctor before her classes begin. The doctor examined her carefully, “It is a nerve–and–tissue syndrome. Medically, it is termed Hyperalgia. It is the excessive sensitivity to pain, I mean, even to the most minimal pain. Her nerves are too sensitive. In this case of Maggie, it is Abdominal Hyperalgia. My homeopathy medicines will be ample to better her in five months”. As the doctor was speaking without a break, he was also scribbling his prescription.

No one knew how time glided by, this fast. She had improved a lot. All were happy about Maggie, except one. “Since you are alright, will you really leave me Maggie?”Brian started nagging his sister when there were only ten days left for her classes to commence. “I’ll soon be backing, dear. I’ll be there for you, always”, Maggie too wished not to leave her sweet little brother.

Just four days in the countdown. Brian was crying too much by now. He is going to miss his sister, in a few days. He never stopped thinking of it. He had a slightly high fever, to make him worse. Their parents didn’t bother about him, as they had to attend a very close relative’s marriage that day. Brian sloped on Maggie’s lap and held her palm tightly, all through the journey. It was already dark while they returned from the marriage.

Not very long after they reached, the phone bell that rang brought a bad news along with it. A close friend’s demise, everyone had to go. But they didn’t wish to take another journey, this sooner. So Brian and Maggie were to be alone at home. They watched television for some time. Then she fed him supper, and tablets. His fever did not seem to waltz soon. She took motherly care of him. He looked very weary. She let him lie on her lap and brushed his hair mildly. He loved her fingers stride on his hair. They did not have any chores to do. They were so tired to wait till ten o’clock, their usual bedtime. It’s just eight p.m. and they’re already on the bed. He was clutching her hands as usual. He never wished to miss her. Very sooner, they were fast asleep.

Springing up from her bed suddenly, Maggie was sitting distressed. She fished her mobile phone from under her pillow. Then she slipped herself back into her blanket.

It has started to dawn, by then. Maggie was fully awake. Again she took her mobile phone. 4:53 a.m. – just twelve minutes had passed by after she woke up the previous time. But she felt like she had slept for long. It was her routine habit to kiss her sweet brother’s forehead as soon as she got up. She didn’t miss it today. She had some instinct. She switched on the lights. Brian was lying there, unnaturally calm and numb. At first, she didn’t realize that he was already dead.