This is a fiction for write tribe's HEMINGWAY THIS WEDNESDAY.
The task was to pick one or all of these quotes from Hemingway and weave it/them into a story, a piece of non-fiction or a poem even.
“There’s no one thing that’s true. It’s all true.” (For Whom the Bell Tolls)
“Never to go on trips with anyone you do not love.” (A Moveable Feast)
“You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.” (The Sun Also Rises)
“When you love you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve.” (A Farewell to Arms)
“When you start to live outside yourself, it’s all dangerous.” (The Garden of Eden)
The following is my attempt: a fiction based on all the given prompts.
Srikanth was advised to go to some place far, away from where he lived now. His nerves were not in their best form. He needed to get away from memories. Dr. Naidu, his psychiatrist had recommended him Kasoli- a hill station far away from city life. Amidst the sea of green trees with various flora, Dr. Naidu thought Sri would be just alright. Dr. Naidu was wrong. You can’t get away from yourself by moving one place to another.
Wearing his favorite sky blue shirt and blue denim jeans, Sri was driving past the lush green orchids, drinking the serene beauty with his eyes. The giant mountains, proudly flaunting their crown of snow; the tall pine trees trying to grasp the blue sky; and the sound of the divine silence. It was like a paradise. Sri passed by a deer and a doe and saw a small wooden cottage by the side of a brook. Dr. Naidu has booked the place for his stay. It was beautiful. A short, bald man in his fifties came to Sri and greeted him.
“Namaste Saahib. My name is Krishna Nath. Tourists here call me Kris. I am your cook cum guard cum caretaker.” He said with a smile.
“Let me take your luggage.” Kris took his luggage out of the car and went in the cottage. A black raven was staring at him with its eyes blood-red. It cawed continuously.
Something is not right. Sri thought and went inside the cottage.
After a hot water bath at the cottage, Sri took out his car and went on to explore the surrounding scenarios. Just as his car passed a small stream of river, he heard a sound. A whisper: “Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.” With the sound of screeching tyres the car came to a stop. Sri was terrified. He looked around and saw nothing. Then his eyes met a scene which made his stomach churn inside out. It was the same doe and the deer he saw when he entered the village. But the scene he was seeing now was unbelievable. The doe was eating the deer’s flesh. Its face covered with red blood of its partner. Sri felt like puking. He wanted to go away as soon as possible. He turned on the ignition; put the 1st gear pushed the accelerator. The car wasn’t moving. He applied full force on the accelerator pedal. NOTHING. He left the car and dashed his way out into the woods.
He ran and ran till he could. When he was all out of breath he found himself near the cottage he was residing in. He went in and found Kris sharpening a knife on a stone and mumbling something to himself. Sri listened carefully and was terrified.
“I will kill him. I will kill him for you. When you love you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve. I will serve you. I will sacrifice him for you. For our love.”
Sri saw a small picture placed before Kris. It was his wife’s photograph. Without saying a word he moved out of the cottage quickly. As he turned, blood drained down his face. He was sure he was dreaming.
This can’t be true. He thought
What he saw was a man in late twenties, with sky blue shirt and blue denim jeans. Sri was seeing himself. It was like the image from the mirror jumped out into the real world and is standing before him.
“Ww..who are you?” a terrified Sri asked.
“I am Srikanth.” Came a chilling whisper that made the hair on his back stand.
“It…It cccan’t be. I…I…I am Srikanth.” Sri noticed he was crying.
“I know. I am you and you are me. It’s dangerous, you know?” replied a whispering shriek.
Sri managed all his courage to ask, “What… What is dangerous?”
“When you start to live outside yourself, it’s all dangerous.”
That was the last sentence Sri heard before everything got dark and silent.
A week after the incident, Sri opened his eyes and stared at the white ceiling fan. He looked around and saw beds with white sheets. He knew he was in hospital. He remembered what had happened to him but shrugged it off as a dream. Whatever it was, his conscience told him, it just can’t be true. It was a mere dream.
Dr. Naidu entered the room with another doctor by his side. He looked familiar. He was bald and in his fifties. The entire incident came crashing back before his eyes. The man resembled Kris, the caretaker at the cottage. Krishna Nath. Sri was sweating, his eyes rolled up and he fainted again. Dr. Naidu showed no surprise. He knew it was normal. The report in his hand read:
Name: Srikanth Rao
Age : 29 Yrs.
Sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment for murder of his wife.
Suffering from: Schizophrenia and Hallucination.
Sri was standing beside Dr. Naidu. He can see himself deep in sleep, his body lay on the bed. He saw the black raven with bloodshot eyes staring at him and cawing continuously. He heard Dr. Naidu say to the other doctor:
“He told me about some caretaker named Kris Nath. You know, when you jumble up the words it becomes Srikanth. He told me he was hearing voices and that everyone was trying to kill him. Again, a common symptom of schizophrenia. Poor Sri, he thinks it is something supernatural. He is wrong. The truth is so simple. It’s all in his mind.”
Standing beside Dr. Naidu, Sri smiled a sinister smile. He can see his unconscious body still lying on the bed. He knew Dr. Naidu couldn't see him. He can only see his limp body on the hospital bed. The raven cawed for one last time and flew off the tree. Dr. Naidu froze with fear as he heard a whisper.
“The truth is never simple doctor. You know why? Because there’s no one thing that’s true. It’s all true.”
Points to ponder:
1. Is the whole story only from Sri's point of view and therefore is just a dream/hallucination?
2. Why did Sri turn against his own consciousness? [If you support the 'supernatural is real' theory.]
3. Was Kris Nath real or Sri just pictured him out of the other doctor and turned him into imaginary caretaker?
4. What is the TRUTH?