What could be worse? Death, Or the way we die? What is more important, to live or to be alive? These are the questions I’ve asked myself every day for the past 173 years. Ironical isn’t it , that I am neither dead nor alive. I carry around a tag of being undead, but truly I’m unalive. How could they know. I have been quarantined in a metal prison, since a time beyond what my imagination could weave or my memory could conceive. They take my samples once in a while, fathoming my sordid existence. They feed me reddened meat every day. Maori , my keeper, slides the meat from beyond the door and through a small picketing hole. The undead needs to survive for being an anomaly of nature, don’t they.
But everything changed, when Baa-Baa entered my metal palace. The second victim of the virus. Quarantining therefore was just a nominal safety measure and everyone knew that. She was like me in many ways, deep sullen eyes, brown and white hair, chewed up upper lip, and blood dripping from her nose.. She was hence categorically undead. She walked inside and made no attempt of socializing. Nothing at all. She stood at the northern side of the wall, and stared at the wall. I could only make muted sounds, but then she had her tongue intact. She could talk if at all she chose to.
Thud. Thud. Thud. And I woke with a chill in my spine. I could still sleep and I could still have meaningless dreams. Only I wasn’t human. The thud sound came from Baa-Baa’s side and was being created by her, literally. It was her banging her head at the wall, till her skull would fracture or she’d lose her conscious. I dragged myself up-to her. She fleetingly glanced at me and continued with the act, as I nodded my head implying her to stop.
For 47 years thereafter, this had become my daily routine.. Waking up to the loud thuds which came at the first ray of Sun and sitting there and watching her continue for some time. She would occasionally stop to look at me, I swear I saw her smile a couple of times too, and resume banging till she fell to the ground. She would wake up some hours later and blankly look at the skies. I would sometimes make a small ball out of mud and throw it at her. That would disturb her blank staring and she would scowl at me.
Then one day, our food was stopped. The meat was abandoned. Hunger spiked up slowly into mindless scampering. She couldn’t stare at the skies, even her self inflictions stopped midway. Weeks turned the time, and hunger made us look at each other. Afraid, and starving that’s when we saw what remained in us. She allowed me to touch her. I allowed her to hit me.
One fine morning, as the world stopped, I woke up to peaceful chirping from far away. Not the insistent banging. Nor the soundless stares. Not even to her. Something had changed though in me. I was no longer feeling hungry. All that was left of her was a strand of brown and white hair…..