A Confrontation with Known Strangers

I was sitting by the fireplace on a chilly winter night. The fire failed to give me the warmth I needed, for it was devoid of any itself. My overcoat- my only source of warmth, company, was hanging on the wall adjacent to me. I heard a knock on my door. My eyes lit up, for someone had remembered me, but soon all my hope withered away, there was only darkness outside that greeted me, smothered me. The spinning wheel of rejection accompanied by dejection had checkmated me again. I heard some noises from the floor above. I climbed up the stairs to satisfy my curiosity. There were 5 kids playing in the corridor, warm auras- too warm for me, illuminating faces- too consumed to notice anything around them. The darkness had engulfed everything, barring them.

There was a huge storm outside, raging, wrecking havoc on everything that came in its way.

A little boy came running up to me and said " Do you remember me?"

I was baffled, this confrontation had come too early, this was meant to happen later.

"Who are you? Did you knock on my door?" I asked.

" No I did not. We sure don't bother you anymore. It must be him."

"Who?"

" HIM! I know you don't remember us anymore Mr. Writer. Now you have forgotten him as well? What's wrong with you? "

"I don't know what you are talking about. And who are you people?"

The rest of them overheard me. They came running to gather in front of me.

" Hahahahaha! "

The sound of collective laughter was stabbing my ears. The sound of joy and hope, familiar yet so unfamiliar.

" STOP!! "

" Why is it that we bug you so much? What have we done?"

" But I don't even know you. "

" Recall the times when we accompanied you everywhere. When you were yet to fall in the bottomless abyss you have fallen into. Tell me you still don't remember us? Tell me?"

Memories flashed before my eyes, running images of the past, a time when alienation was a mere word, not the reality.

" You thought we won’t ever meet again? See here we are, conversing after all this while. Do you still think he is the only one you need? " said the little girl in that group.

"I need you, I crave you, I long for you.But my writings, they need him."

They all broke into laughter again.

" I told you it's futile talking to him. Leave him in this wretched state of his own making." The little boy said.

"We must leave now Mr. Writer." The girl said.

"But wait for the storm to cease." I said

“ Why do you care? It's time that we part ways.”

They stood in a queue in front of the common apartment window and jumped out, one by one. It was Deja Vu for me but a bit different this time around. I was unusually satiated, like a masochist.

I felt a terrible, morbid shiver down my spine while walking down the staircase. It was as though I had been expecting an old crony to drop by.

As I approached my apartment, I saw a familiar dark, midget-like figure sitting on the chair facing the fireplace. It was him. We looked into each other’s eyes, as though reminiscing something together. I sat down on the cradle chair beside him and poured some tea in my cup. I offered him some which he refused.

"Was it you who knocked on the door?" I asked him.

He nodded in agreement.

We then gazed at the cold fire together, contemplating, while the storm outside intensified.

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