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  • Aishi Dasgupta

Castle of Glass

The clouds veiled the elation of the atmosphere, while the heavy downpour posed as an omen. He had his eyes tightly shut, with winds gasping to breathe into his system. The medical machineries that surrounded him, beeped with intricate noises, as he huffed open his voluptuous lips to breathe in oxygen. He tried to suck in voluminous amounts of air to breathe in till the last, but his feet gave away. He was helpless, trying to live, trying to love, but the eonian tugged him towards the black end of the universe. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She jumped up, gasping for breath, her hands fisting the duvet. Her messed up curls, scattered around her temple, provided ample information about the ageless, frightening dreams, she had been surfing through a lot these days.

She dreaded sleep, so much so, that her eyes had dark circles, that even a heavy dose of make-up couldn't conceal. She was panting, trying to hold onto something, she was afraid to let go. She had been getting such vivid insights, preferably, nightmares since a few weeks now. She feared that once she'll fall asleep, her demons would come to terrify her with more such incredulous sights.

Wiping off the heavy sweat that adorned her pretty face, she looked out to grab the water bottle that lay beside.

She was a scared lass, too coward to dream such, but as providence would have it, she always had those provocative nightmares, that used to haunt her like never before.

Pulling up her hair into a messy bun, she checked her cellphone, to see quite a number of missed calls from her mother.

"Mom. I have some urgent cases to handle tonight. Won't make it. You please take your medicines, and don't wait for me." She sent a text message quickly, and returned to what she was doing before she fell asleep. She needed to have a look at a myriad reports that lay ahead, demanding her attention. She had failed to gauge when her eyelids became burdened enough to droop down without her consent. With the lamp switched on, she got to work again. Hectic was the other name of her life. She was finally done assessing the reports when her eyes came to rest upon the wall clock. "2 am" She needed to go on a round as well, as she had a lot of emergencies lined up.

Pulling over that white coat, she led out of the cabin, with the stethoscope playing wisely with her petite neck. The cabin door read, "Dr. Valerie Scott. Head Oncologist. Excel Hospital". The melancholy of the environs suppressed the turbulent waves that revolted within her. But were her senses too easy to be tamed? She shuffled through the dark corridors, occasionally entering into wards, and checking critical patients.

The night was calm, young and dewy, with crickets chirping in the neighbourhood. The staffs had retired to their respective abodes, while some enjoyed sweet slumber, while on their work. This was the second week in the month, that she was staying back at night. She would get occasional naps in her cabin, and that too just to be adorned with a bunch of futile, incorrigible nightmares. She dreaded these insights to such an extent that she feared falling asleep. She got wise to the same nightmare for quite over a month now, and she knew that her health was deteriorating. Was she suffering from fugue? With all thoughts of delusion roaming in her mind, she made her way to Room No. 212.

She needed something to keep herself pre-occupied. She couldn't sit idle all night, disgruntled at her phobia of falling prey to slumber. Room no. 212 was enveloped in gloomy darkness, as she turned the knob to enter the ward. The first thing that crossed her eyes, was the beeping Electrocardiogram machine.

Even today, even after achieving such success in this medical field, she always felt a little nausea ted before entering a ward. She remembered how she had fainted on her first day of MBBS upon seeing a cadaver, ready to be ripped open.

Stifling a light chuckle, she groped across the dark room. The faint glimpse that she got, distorted her heart with pain. His head was bandaged covering his entire temple, while he endeavoured to suck in enough via the oxygen mask. Something about his expressions didn't seem right. Even while sleeping, he had his eyebrows crossed rigidly, as if scrutinising some pain, quite adamantly.

She tried to ease his temple with her flaccid palms, to which he scrunched his nose almost instantly. All these years of vigorous training had made her ruthless. The first condition to be a doctor was to let go of all humane emotions. You needed a nerve of steel to operate on someone. There was some divine power that caused miracles, that could convert a hopeless case to miracle, and those strings lay in the hands of the All Powerful, where even doctors felt helpless, something that no science could ever define.

A light snore took her out of this reverie, as she proceeded to check his pulse.

Fast. Not quite normal.

She wanted to wake him up, and ask him the reason behind this, but she hadn't got a heart to disturb that peaceful slumber. She pressed the stethoscope on vivid positions, trying to get wise to his heartbeats; lub dub lub dub.

Combing her tresses annoyingly, she slouched upon the couch. Why did his face seem so familiar?

Those treacherous lacrimal glands forced open as she heaved a cry. Pulling out a photograph, she plundered it with futile tears. The photo had a watermark, that minutely read, "Vivian Scott. (1985-2014) Cause of Death-Acute leukaemia." And the night got wise to the inherent howls of a lonely sister, who was crying for her brother.

The patient she had just encountered, resembled him so closely. And that's what broke her barrage, barrage of emotions. And her sobs soon blended into the oblivion.

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