№54: Crazy Person
Creative Cafe Prompt
“‘Are you like a crazy person?’ — Evey
‘I am most certain they will say so.’ — V”
- V for Vendetta
“Vom kom bom lom,” he mumbled as I passed by. I stared at him as I walked on towards my school. You would think years of hearing him spew nonsensical words would have dulled my curiosity. It never did.
Manu is what people called him. He didn’t call himself by any name so no one knew what it was. The common consensus was that he had lost his mind but again no one knew how or when.
Five years I went by him and it was always some garbage he emitted without a break. I tried looking for a pattern hoping he would repeat some words. That never happened either.
I was in my senior year of high school and in a particularly belligerent mood that day on my way back. I looked at him with an open challenge. Our eyes met for the first time. Something drew me to him. It was like one of those dreams where you are backing up your car and the brakes don’t work.
An arm shot out and pulled my hand. I was looking into eyes that swallowed me. The fear was gone, replaced by a sense of calm. A low hum resonated around me.
Manu’s home was a large tamarind tree and he had made quite a comfortable place for himself, with a cotton bed, pillow and a warm blanket. I sat down. He stopped his rant, staring ahead. I examined him like I would a lab rat.
Disheveled hair, deep set eyes, a dark face covered by a white beard that flowed to his chest; he was tall — almost six and a half feet.
“You have come to me at the right time,” he chanted. He continued looking at some distant spot. I was startled out of my trance. The voice was soothing and musical.
“In a week’s time, we will be hit by an asteroid. I will be getting out of here and I need one more person to complete my escape.”
I knew now that he was more insane than people had judged him to be. I decided to play along.
“How big is this asteroid and how come no one else knows about it?”
His eyes closed as if in prayer. There was no movement. Maybe those were his last words? I prodded him with a branch.
An electric shock ran through my body flinging me away from the tree. A clear vision of a gigantic rock appeared in my head. It was at least a few kilometers across. There was no doubt as to where it was headed.
Manu opened his eyes and smiled. “I always knew you were the chosen one on my journey.”
Fear overtook me. I ran home and fell into my father’s arms. He was shocked. The last time I did that, I was a little girl. I was shaking.
I explained to him what happened. To his credit, he heard me out.
“Stress causes these sorts of effects,” he concluded. “Stay away from that crazy man and his nonsense . You don’t need to add to your exam worries.”
That night, the dream was more vivid. The asteroid hurtled towards our planet and hit the ocean. The resulting tsunami, a few miles high, wiped out civilization for hundreds of miles around. I woke up in a pool of sweat. Daylight streamed in and I heaved a sigh.
My father rushed into my room. He beckoned me to come out to the living room. The news was on. We watched in horror.
“Scientists predict the ocean impact in about a week. Everyone in the Tri-State area is requested to evacuate inland at least five hundred miles from the coast…”
We looked at each other with a mixture of fear and disbelief. I broke away and ran out.
Like a magnet, Manu pulled me back to the tree. His serene face was infuriating.
“You…you…know some scientists, don’t you?” I yelled, jabbing my finger out.
He smiled. “I know no one but I know what will come.
This man was not normal.
“Are you ready?” he asked without preamble.
“To go with me. I can only take the chosen one.”
“What chosen one? Are you crazy? I can’t go away with you and leave my dad. Tell me where you are going.”
“It is not a journey as you see it.” he said.
“I don’t care about seeing it. If you know how to get to safety, please tell us.” I pleaded.
“You will have to leave your father behind. This is not a voyage he can take,” he continued as if I had not spoken at all.
“Go to hell!” I screamed and ran back home.
Over the next few days, chaos took a firm foothold in the city and state. Despite law enforcement and the army doing their best to control the situation, people went berserk. Roads clogged, shops looted and life as we knew it came to an abrupt halt.
We had to get out. The asteroid was getting closer and moving faster.
Other than the clothes on our body, we left our home with nothing. My father dragged me along to merge with the undying panic and we were immediately lost in the cesspool of humanity gone wild.
In a few minutes, we were separated. I was frantic. But the crowd was unrelenting and I drowned in the human deluge.
Sobs shook my body. I was truly alone.
In the sea of chaos, I saw him.
Manu stood a few hundred yards ahead. Standing upright, he was like a rock in a turbulent rapid on a river. People streamed around him creating a path to him.
I rushed forward, the same magnetic force drawing me in.
Was he smiling? The crazy bastard!
There was nothing else for me to do. I’d rather die with a lunatic for company.
As I went closer, multi-hued lights flashed. I cared not.
Manu opened his arms and enveloped me in an indescribable warmth.
In a second. we were airborne. Not a single person in the heaving mass below noticed. For an instant, I thought I saw Manu and me still standing below.
A massive object swooshed by as if late for an appointment. It was much larger than I thought.
The asteroid was in no mood to wait for the exact predicted time of impact.
As we soared higher and higher, I felt a dull vibration. The destruction of our planet had begun.
Darkness consumed me.
I woke up in a primordial mass of boiling fluid. I felt neither pain nor discomfort. Where had I landed?
Manu was standing on the soupy substance, again with his lunatic smile. Or was he floating?
The hum was back. It was an ‘Om’ but with an elongated ‘mmm’.
It was the sound of the universe. Peace again.
“Welcome to our new home.” Manu sounded like a hotel concierge.
“What is this place?” I asked in confusion.
“Let’s call it Earth,” he announced as he continued his fluid dance.
“We are the first lifeforms here. Over the next billion years, we will evolve into human forms that we were comfortable with on our home planet.”
“Wait…what are we if not human?” I cried out.
“We are, but pure consciousness now. We have a long way to go, starting from becoming microscopic organisms.”
“We have no form now?”
I looked for my hands and legs. Nothing there.
“Why do I see you as human?” I was hysterical.
“Your consciousness does. I too, am formless.”
His lips never moved.
“I need to wait billions of years to be human again?”
“Yes, but it will happen in a few minutes of our lifespan on our home planet.”
His voice reverberated around me, in me, everywhere.
“You and I are a single consciousness. We have been tasked with a huge responsibility. Let us make sure we create life with caution and prudence.”
The dawn of life…