When the restless dawn finally rests for a while abandoning the world; while his brother dusk rises to life, more elegant and beautiful with melodies of night and the fragrances of memories. I am Joe, who doesn’t even know my full name sat amidst so many confused, scared and curious kids, but with a ray of hope to see a tomorrow, to see a new day with smiles and to see a new day with a desire not to be a stranger to this world.
“Aren’t those Golden Mask men really dangerous??” inquired a discerning kid; curious to know about their existence.
“Yeah, they are the epitome of danger; they are the warden of the world. They daunt people who commit sins, sometimes even manslaughter to secure peace. They are on their footsteps even to pull out your eyeballs to set people veracious, they are no kind and show no mercy even to kids like you and they are too strong to defend from”, explained granny to us while narrating a tale; on our request to recite one.
“Am not a kid” i curiously waved at her.
“You are no more a kid, you are a solider; a brave soldier, the protector of this huge kingdom, our orphanage, too strong and brave for your age,” she praised me, grabbing me into her arms and kissed on my cheek.
“I’ll tell you another story. To be frank, it’s not just a story, it’s my life,” granny continued her tales in her quivering accent. Though every one of us is scared; every kid including me agreed to listen. Mayan my best friend; is on the top of the list for being petrified. He held my hand tightly. I could feel his terrified heart. His quivering hands made it quite obvious, though he paid attention.
She continued, “When I was a kid, my father Mr. Jorge was a boorish, cruel guy who abandoned us; he was an alcoholic. He once started thumping my mother. I prayed every single day for the Golden Mask men to kill my father without clemency.
On the day he dared to kill us, we somehow managed to escape from our home. There arrived the hero of death, the Golden Mask man, he was the tallest guy I ever saw, muscular, strong enough to break a mountain. His Golden Mask was shining like the sun, blended with rubies and shining stones, his sword was sharp and shining on the edge; enough to cut through huge trees of ages, his armor brought magnificence to the entire boulevard. He kicked down my dad. Cut every finger of his until he cried out of pain; he then butchered his sword hundreds of times into his body until he was dead even in his afterlife. My father’s blood flooded into the streets, thereafter no men dared to hit his women in my village”, granny paused and smiled.
“Golden mask men are the real heroes?” I asked.
“They are the Gods of death for people who commit sins and savior of truth for guiltless people,” she explained.
“I am terrified. They will kill me. I have committed many sins!” Mayan confessed and cried.
“You are safe with me” I tried to console him.
“You are a 10 year old kid l like me, get lost out of my way” he shouted at me and left the garden. Granny didn’t want other kids to misapprehend Mayan.
“It’s already too late, go to bed kids. The Golden mask men protect people like you. They never maltreat good people. Sleep peacefully.” she consoled us.
Mayan kept conversing with his parrot again like he does every time when he is hurt. I never understand how he is able to speak to birds and animals. He loses his nuts at times.
“I am sorry. I shouldn’t have screamed at you”, Mayan pleads guilty and told, “Let’s be best friends again.”
“Am always your best friend,” I promised him.
“It’s too dark in here!” he cried.
“We cannot switch on the lights, it’s a dormitory; more than 100 kids’ sleep here, and we cannot afford to spoil their sleep,” I am trying to explain, but he switched to his side and acted as if he is asleep. , he must have felt offended.
I closed my eyes to sleep, but thoughts haunted me regarding the Golden Mask men. After a few minutes, clamors became perceptible commencing my left. I wanted to look left, but my terrified soul pulled me down. But the phrase ‘am a brave guy’ kept rehearsing in my heart brought me courage; though my heartbeat raised high; I turned left.
A guy who is three beds away from me got up and then started to move towards the washroom. Mayan had already slept peacefully.
Still unresolved questions haunted me. I wanted to know the truth of the existence of the Golden Mask men. It’s been more than an hour since the boy left for the washroom. I didn’t take much time to decide to go after him. I took a brave step to go after him.
The closer I am to the wash room; resonances of footprints be fitted more audible and vibrant, every step I took increased fright in my heart. My heart was beating uncountable times. But I walked straight, rehearsing the phrase ‘am a brave boy’. I was able to sense that someone is walking towards me; shiver in my body touched peaks and became uncontrollable. I started breathing heavily; as if air in the world touched exhaustion. Someone’s thud from behind made me inflexible. I lost my senses. I thought about to shout as loud as I could but my mouth seized before I did.
It is granny who caught me. My heartbeat handed down. I explained her quickly that someone is at our dormitory.
“Everything is going to be alright,” she tried to console me at the instant.
It is all dark around, it feels like darkness conquered the world and ate each and every single piece of light. It turned difficult to identify things, but we are on our march to find the boy disappeared. Walking through corridors seemed like walking in a way to hell.
Suddenly, granny went missing in an instant. I ran straight without beholding around as fast as I could and hid in a corner. It is now quite obvious that someone had come to take us away.
“Are they the Golden Mask men? I swore to protect Mayan,” my inner-self reminded me; I managed to run to my room the fastest I could.
A huge man stood ahead of me trying to slay Mayan. I threw my protection stone which I always hid in my pocket. He turned towards me. He looks exactly the same how granny described us, Golden Mask, his shining armor, and mask excelled like a new penny. Blood engulfed in our room; though it is dark I could sense and hear cries of kids and the clink of swords.
He is terrifying. I couldn’t think of anything else. Most of the beds are already void. He killed all my friends. Tears followed my confusion and terror. Suddenly somebody pulled my legs and in no seconds I am upside down, that’s the last thing I remember before I lost my consciousness.
I could only listen; jingles of air, wind rolling and voice of a woman talking about medicines. Her voice is exasperating, she sounds like a crow suffering throat infection. I could sense a ceiling fan spinning fast. I heard some noises from the other side, it raised my heartbeat; but I dared to look that way. There I found huge buildings beyond the window.
Where am I exactly?? My mind quizzed the inner me, but I do not have a retort. I understood that I am no more a 10-year kid as I was in my dream. A nurse in the room identified that I am awake and ran out screaming “Doctor”.
A woman entered into space after a few minutes with a few of her assistants. She wore a white apron upon a red sari, loose hair and charming face, concentration, and dedication towards work are quite visible on her face. This is the attitude of boys, we can describe a girl’s beauty in any kind of situation we are, and we esteem beauty.
“Hello, how do you feel now?” she asked me serenely.
“I am feeling great!” I told as if I know where I am and what kind of trouble tangled around me, “after looking at your beauty”, I said; trying to act smart.
It is quite sensible and vibrant that she is blushing at my admiration.
“You are truly awesome, the people who get up from this bed hardly speak anything for weeks and you seem to be proactive,” she laughed.
“What do you mean by this bed?” I asked.
“You were in coma for the past 3 months,” she said, checking certain readings on instrument connected to me.
I hardly understood anything from then on.
She held my hand and said “Don’t panic, you are good at present,” I gazed at her not knowing what to reply.
“You will be fine. Do you remember your parent’s number? I’ll call them and inform them about you,” she asked.
“I don’t remember anything,” I told bluntly.
“What’s your name?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” I replied, puzzled.
“Do not panic, everything is going to be alright, you will be fine,” doctor consoled me.
My head vibrated as if it is a pendulum; drowsiness overtook me, soon I found myself in a state of dullness. Everything seemed so pale.
“Are you okay?” she poked me again.
“I am fine!” I said in a sad tone.
She waved a smile at me. I barely managed to smile.
“Take rest for a while, don’t stress your brain. Amnesia is a common symptom once a patient had gone through this phase of unconsciousness,” she tried to explain.
“But,” I tried to speak.
“You will get your memories,” she guaranteed.
Her smile is so reviving.
“Your smile is so beautiful!” I said.
She laughed and said “You are equally handsome Mister and I hope you look better without that beard.”
I couldn’t even feel the beard on my face; it felt weird when I touched my beard. It became difficult for me to stand on my own legs, and I had to seek help. Two men helped me walk. I shaved my whiskers and had a bath and felt resurrected.
I, the newborn man with no memories of my past; tangled with so many unresolved queries, I kept hoping my past might be better than this haunting urge to know who I was. I wanted to know who I was, what kind of man I was.
I tried hard to recollect who I was; the only thing I could reminisce is her smile, the way she smiles at me; her honeyed voice, her charm. But who is she, where is she from? Was she my life in my unknown past? Why do I remember nothing other than her? I wanted to ask the reason why I could remember only her. Is it because I love her? My inner-self continued to question me.
The Doctor has helped me a lot in this phase of suffering; I should have told her about the girl I reminisced, my love interest. I shaved my beard, and now I look like a new shining new penny.
“Hello, I am Dr. Sofia!” she introduced herself.
“Hello!” I said. But I didn’t know my name to introduce myself. It hurt deep inside me. She guessed my feelings.
“You are not a stranger to yourself. You will get to know who you are. I have made an appointment for you to meet a psychiatrist. He can help you regain your memories; he is an uncle of mine. First, you need to get back into your physical strength. You seem to be very weak,” she expounded.
I felt happy but confused to understand. Still many questions haunting me, I chose silence.
She just told that I am never a stranger to myself. Despite losing memories of my past, I still have a ray of hope that there exists a person on this earth who never ever abandons me, who will be always available for me, to love me and to take care of me and it is me who is going to take care of me and love me. It’s just me who can be with me till my death.
I scared to open my eyes because I didn’t want to converse to the unknown presence of mine, maybe I will end up being in a new world. But it is Sofia as beautiful and charming as ever standing in front of me carrying smiles worth life.
“Good morning!” she smiled.
“Good morning!” I said, smiling likewise.
“How do you feel now?” she asked.
“Better!” I clarified.
“Do you need other helps?” she asked.
“I do. I want to know who I am!” I probed.
“This isn’t the time to stress your brain. I will answer every question of yours, only after we meet my uncle,” she elucidated plainly.
“I want to go out for a walk with you?” I asked.
“Sure thing,” she smirked.
The world looks so strange to you, if you miss it for a while; even simple things seem to be incredible. I went on glaring at every flower, plant, rock, and car. Whatever it is I stared at everything as if I am from the unknown planet.
“Don’t you feel suffocated?? It’s 50 degrees here today, it’s better we rush into the shade,” she cautioned.
“I don’t feel any warmth, it’s cold out here,” I got confused.
“You were air-conditioned for 3 months. I expected you to yell even at 35 degrees, and you say 50 degrees is cool. You are different” she expressed.
“I want to have some ice cream,” she continued.
We went into Cream House an ice cream parlor nearby. Every face at this juncture looks too familiar, but with none I felt acquainted. I remember I sat with the girl from my memories so many times in different places like this. Her honeyed words; I hear her sweet voice and the way she mocks me by calling am a fool, my dreams in a different world thinking just about her and chasing the bitter truth who I was.
“Hello, come back into existence” she called me.
“Am fine,” I said
“Don’t think too much. Everything will be fine once we meet my uncle,” she tried to console me.
I told her about my dream; she seems to be trustworthy.
“Don’t think much about it, this dream of yours won’t help you anyway,” she told.
I hid about my girl
“How come I know English, and am able to sense everything,” I raised a typical doubt.
“You lost your memory; not senses and you will be a normal person very soon,” she explained.
“Hello, how are you?” asked Dr. Roy, psychiatrist and uncle of Sofia.
“Am good,” I said in an excited tone. I rushed this far expecting none from him. Sofia accompanied me into his cabin.
“Tell me if you can remember anything?” he asked directly.
I still do not understand the point in meeting a psychiatrist, am neither a mentally retarded person, nor a depressed guy, my inner-self mocked.
“A psychiatrist can help you dig your memories,” he answered as if he read my mind.
“I don’t remember anything,” I lied.
“I will know if you lie” he detailed.
“I remember her” I said
“Who??” he asked
“I don’t know,” I said. I told two contradicting statements in a row. He got confused; I got it from his weird expression. But I continued “’you are a fool”, this phrase of hers is rehearsing in my brain; her tone; her smile; her eyes black and huge so attractive and beautiful. As a whole I don’t remember who she is, where is she from. But, I know, we were in love,” I become emotional.
“You may be in love?” he guessed something which I already know. I understood it’s a waste of time to come here.
“Anything else?” he asked persistently.
“I don’t remember anything else other than her smile and voice, not even her name, I want to meet her,” I said.
I got fervent to meet her.
“Definitely, you will meet her,” he encouraged me.
Sofia picked boo to speak and continued “He did have a dream about some kid” and she explained to him the entire dream.
“Do you think he is an orphan?” Roy asked Sofia.
“No, I guess, he seems to be from a rich family,” She told.
“Am I rich?”, my inner-self asked me and chuckled.
“I found this Rolex watch, platinum chain and ring on him, the day he was admitted,” I don’t guess a boy from an orphanage can afford all this at the age of 22 probably,” she guessed.
“It is just a chance, we can’t be sure,” Dr. Roy told.
“I will deal with his case in detail, don’t stress him too much, you can take leave for now,” Dr. Roy told me and asked me to wait out. It is clear that he is not going to help me at any rate. I have to pick my way to discover who I was and where my love is.
Sofia and Dr. Roy spoke for a while. I waited out, nothing is going to happen here, it was quite obvious, but these people are raising hype.
I gawked at walls, imagining how I would prove to the world that I am not a stranger, I too have a family somewhere, a girl who loves me and most importantly I have myself.