The Call of Bliss
Shipping (per book) : 40
Genre : Fiction
TARGET AUDIENCE: Age group: 17-30
Pages : 50
The Call of Bliss
A group of people become fed up with the banality of society and decide to set up a community of their own. They become self-sustainable and create a haven for all the rejects of society. One day they receive a surprise visitor in the form of an alien. They name him ‘Al’. The arrival of Al is accompanied by the appearance of a magical fountain at the heart of the town. This seemed to solve the town’s water scarcity problems. Al lived in harmony with the humans. As happens to any booming town or city, the people became greedy. They began bringing in all the luxuries of the external world. These were precisely the things that the original settlers had wanted to leave behind. However, since this was to be a real land of the free, no restrictions were imposed. The fountain had already become a ‘wishing’ fountain where people would throw pennies. Soon tourists started to trickle in. The town’s society and its businesses began to boom. It wasn’t soon after that tragedy struck. The unfortunate death of a child forced Al to leave, and the wishing fountain began to crumble. As a result, this haven for the rejects of mainstream society fell apart completely.
THE WISHING FOUNTAIN The wishing fountain gurgled on in the centre of the town square. Well, it wasn’t exactly a town in as much as it was called a ‘town’. The 537 residents preferred to feel they were of a status higher than they’re an actuality. In fact, this was a town that had nothing to do with reality. This was a town of fantasy, of belief, of faith – of difference. This was the town that was at the end of the road that is not taken. This was a town that had no name, had no identity and had no labels. It was hidden away, from prying judgmental eyes, deep in the woods in a quiet valley in the mountains. No human being, alien or animal was unwelcome here. Everyone was accepted seamlessly into the fabric of this parallel social universe – as long as they were willing to do their share of the hard work that was necessary to keep the town going. Legend has it, that two centuries ago when the town had only been born a few years, times were getting very hard for the 50 odd residents. The nearby villages and towns showed a complete and unified unwillingness to help. It was a ‘failed’ scientist who tried his hand at farming. The project was an abject failure. After, going a month and a half on stomachs barely filled with gathered berries and roasted rats and squirrels, the residents had a meeting where some of them declared that it was better to be persecuted and live than die out there in the woods while the rest said it was better to die amidst the care of nature than go back and die slowly at the hands of human cruelty. Thus, some people went back to where they once belonged. Others remained where they had found their sense of belonging. The mighty maiden of the night must have been unpleasantly surprised to see her favourite group of rebels dwindled so, but shone her light upon them regardless. The remaining 30 vestiges of a quiet but successful rebellion, and the pioneers of what may have been the closest to Utopia that humankind has ever come gathered around a roaring fire in what would later become the town square. Some of them stared into the heart of the light with an expression that can only be described as blank. Others looked away at the darkness. But a little girl who sat on her mother’s lap was staring with her big round eyes at the moon. She was only two years old. The moon seemed to shine brighter as if widening her eyes in wonder at this little miraculous bundle of human innocence. She clasped her little pudgy hands together and prayed silently. Perhaps, the prayers of a former prostitute’s bastard child were heard. Probably, the moon took pity on the rebellious rejects. Perhaps, Mother Nature was moved by the devotion of these exceptions showed her. Or, maybe, it was a complete coincidence. But, what happened could only be defined as a miracle. When, the next morning, the earliest risers came out to meet the morning sun. …. People stared as he walked to the square. But he barely noticed. He stood near the fountain for a few seconds, and the glow seemed to decrease. He felt lighter. As Al was beginning to feel better, one of the many children playing around the fountain came up to him. These kids would sometimes ask strangers for a penny so they could drop it in the fountain and wish for something their parents thought were not good for them; most of the time the passers-by indulged them. As the little boy of around 4 walked up to him, Al started to draw back. “Penny for the wishing fountain sir? Please.” “No, go away.” This only made the boy more enthusiastic and the hangers-on to shoot disapproving glances. “Please sir, I want this monster truck, but Dad won’t buy it. Please let me make a wish.” “Okay. I’ll place the penny here, on the ground; you pick it up and make your wish. But make sure not to touch me.” “Okay!” The delighted child made his wish but did not make sure. He was so happy: he ran back and hugged Al. The next moment he had disintegrated into so many ashen snowflakes. The disgusted expressions at the alien’s apparent high-handedness with the child soon turned into one of absolute shock. But before anyone could recover, another blow was induced. Al, Mr ET, the Alien, burst into a huge blue ball of flame and shot straight up into the darkening evening sky: where the dim stars were slowly appearing and looking down in wonder at the hundreds of living, breathing statues looking back at them. The wishing fountain gurgled through it all. Its crystal bubbles rose out of the mysterious depths and burst into the moonshine with the same flirtatious timbre. Nothing was amiss. Nothing would ever be, until one day, the gurgling stopped. As the people heard in awe, the news that the heart of the town had stopped beating, many swore, even on the day the last of the rebel pioneers left behind their paradise, that they could hear the voice of that little boy whispering in the wind, whimpering in the trees:
“Penny for the wishing fountain sir?”
About the Author:
Soham Mukherjee is a self-confessed Anglophile. Thoroughly in love with the English language, the 25-year-old (born on 26th October 1993) enjoys creating sentences out of random words that pop into his head. He is a lover of literature in all its forms while maintaining specific staunch specific tastes. He is also a lover of football and music. He plays the guitar when his busy schedule permits him to, which is very rare, but those few moments are pure bliss. He completed his schooling from St. Paulâ€™s Mission School in Kolkata. He then went on to complete his graduation as well as post-graduation from Presidency University in Kolkata. He currently teaches at an engineering college. Although he has found his vocation in academia, his true calling lies in writing which he has been doing since he was in high school. While it began solely to impress a former flame, his work has slowly transformed into a more comprehensive representation of the world he sees around him and the world that he holds in his head.