A Lost Mind - Short Story
Her parents knew that her identity had to be concealed since an early age. The world couldn't know that she existed. Her twin brother, Alex, unlike her - he was allowed to flaunt his mind. He was permitted to use his brain to its fullest capacity. Apparently, he wasn't a 'danger' to the world. No one cared about his intellectual abilities, save for the science-geeks. Although he was an above average intelligence student, no one found it odd that he was a genius. She never detested him for his mind, or his fame. She never complained about hiding her unique talents...because she was oblivious to them. She was unaware of their existence as much as the world was. Her identity was buried from herself, even.
She was strictly conditioned to not think, her parents began training her since she was a 2-year-old baby. She wasn't allowed to have 'ideas' or 'dreams'. It was forbidden. Her parents took advantage of her innocence. She had no concept of individual, unrealistic thoughts. There was no possibility of magic in her world. She was robbed of fairytales and science fiction. She was robbed of the simple pleasures in life. Everything about her life was limited, but it was always fulfilled. She never lacked anything: toys, food, clothes, or games. The materialistic world was at her feet. However, anything to do with emotions was far away from her reach.
How does one survive without dreams? How does one live without an imagination? A thought in their head that is anything but a possibility.
No one knows how, but she does. She lives it. She lives the nightmare - it is her reality.
She sits locked within the walls of her concrete jungle. She has no escape from the world; she doesn’t even know what the world is capable of. Her mind is so restricted, that there is no world for her beyond the one that already exists. There are no concepts of invention, and creation in her mind. Her mind, and herself were both prisoners to this modest, cruel world.
Alex was exposed to the world; he was exposed to the reality of the world’s functioning. It took a dream to make it a reality; a vision ought to be seen before it could be brought to life. But he too reluctantly joined forces with his parents and the rest of the world. He too, found it ethical for his twin sister to be secluded. Her innocence kept the world alive. Alex tried to convince his parents that a good heart has a good mind, no matter the capabilities of her mind, she wouldn’t ever think about causing potential harm. He tried to stand by his sister for the longest of time, but as they grew old, he grew greedy and envious. He envied her talents, and he manipulated her to use them when the sun had set, and the world was unaware of the existence of a power as such.
Her mind had the ability to make thoughts reality.
Her mind was the only mind in the world that could influence the balance of nature and life. Her mind could move mountains with a blink of an eye; her mind was the third eye that the universe had been waiting for.
It is human nature to be afraid of the powerful; it is human nature to take the easy road. Instead of conditioning their daughter to think peacefully, they conditioned her to not think at all.
Unknowingly, she became the source of income for the family.
“Darling, do you think daddy should buy mommy a wedding present?” Her parents would ask. She nodded innocently in response.
They urged her mind further, “Do you want daddy to buy mommy a gold plated ring?” they would ask excitedly. A spark in their eyes that seemed curious at first had now turned into a nasty greed.
Her response was always the same. She would nod vigorously because she loved seeing mommy happy. She would nod and she would repeat after her parents, and sooner or later a gold plated ring would arrive at their doorstep.
Alex, who watched his parent’s greed unfold from behind the curtains, would take her to the terrace at night. He would show her the stars and tell her that they were pretty and calming. He was too young to express his thoughts back then too. The parents did a crisp job at keeping their children from creativity. Their freedom to express was stolen long before they understood what it meant. It became a habit for her. She refused to think, she did not know what it was to think, to imagine, to envision. As Alex grew, his parents decided to let the secret out, his parents were drowning in greed. They didn’t care about the harm they caused their daughter. In fact, all they cared about was themselves, and their wealth. They figured Alex deserved to be a part of their shared greed, so they unveiled her identity. They told him of her capabilities and the “gift” that god had given her.
Since he had witnessed her thoughts coming to life at an early age, he knew there was truth to this story.
At first, he was testing how far her mind could go. How much can she control, and to what extent can her mind cause harm, or do well? It was just experimenting in the beginning. It was hard working with someone who was only practical, who had no idea about “ideas”. Alex concluded that she could manipulate only the materialistic things, since she had no emotions towards anything else, thanks to her parents, who stole her ability to think. Soon, greed compelled him too. Like it did to his parents, it stripped him off of all care that he had for his sister. It was always “me before her” for the family. The others did not know she existed.
Right now, she sat on her bed. She was solving a puzzle.
Her room was bare. She had no books, no movies, no creative games, no laptop, no cell phone. She was unaware of the existence of technology as a whole. She lived a bland life, but she assumed that this was how life was lived.
She had fixed herself a routine:
1. Wake up
2. Brush teeth
3. Wash face and shower
4. Use the toilet
5. Wear clothes
6. Eat breakfast
7. Go outside and watch the sun shine brightly in the sky
8. Play with her dog
9. Come back for lunch
10. Sit with mom, and help her out.
11. Sit with Alex, and help him out.
12. Sit with dad, and help him out
13. Eat dinner
14. Go back to sleep.
She was always quiet, and always afraid. She had stopped asking where her father and Alex went after she turned 10. She always got the same response, her mother’s disgusted face looking straight at her, and asking her to leave her alone. Sometimes, her mom would get annoyed and tell her “I told you yesterday”.
Some days were a blur for her; she wouldn’t remember conversations that well. She assumed it was her fault for being unable to remember, and she would quietly go back to her room. She had no life. All she had was a beating heart, working arms, and working legs. She could see, smell and eat.
What was the point of having her senses though? She could see only what she was permitted, she could eat only what was made at home, she could feel and touch everything only within the four walls of her house.
Once, at the age of 23, she asked her dad, “Where does everything you bring for mom come from?”
Her dad responded with wide eyes, “What?”
“The clothes,” she said, “The jewelry, and the food. I saw that the brown biscuits were over yesterday, but today when I went to eat some orange ones, I saw that the brown biscuits were back.” She explained.
Her dad sat her down, “Sweetie, where do you think they came from?”
She was confused, “I don’t know, that is why I am asking you where does it come from?”
“Oh honey,” he sighed, “I buy these things from the store outside.”
“What store? Is it the same place you get money from?” she asked.
“Yes, everything we have in this house is bought from the store.”
“Are there things that we don’t have?”
“Can you take me to the store?”
“Why not,” she asked; confused again but sadder this time.
“Because, darling, as I mentioned earlier, the store is only for fathers. Have you ever seen mom go to the store?” He asked her.
She shook her head, an obvious no.
After a small incident, when she was 5 years old, her parents decided to not tell her about “bad things”. If she believed that there was no such thing as good and bad, there would be no consequences to her feelings. She wouldn’t want to explore, she wouldn’t have the need to ask further questions. Also, she wouldn’t be aware of any harm in the world, unawareness meant that she would not think of causing harm to anyone or anything because such a thing did not exist.
Her parents had achieved mastery at controlling her mind.
She was an obedient child and an obedient adult. She didn’t change much since when she was an adolescent to when she became a teen to when she became a woman. Concepts of puberty did not need to be explained. Her mother told her she would bleed from her vagina till she was 40 because her body needed to discharge blood so that there was place for new blood.
For her, her parents were gods. They were always right, and they should never be questioned. Some days, she would ask where she came from and why Alex had moved away from home. She would ask where he went and why he went too. She missed the company of her brother who had long forgotten her. She missed having to speak to Alex about the puzzles she solved and learning about colors. Her world was so dull, so lifeless that the universe would tear up every once in a while.
Her parents had formed all sorts of ridiculous, practical theories about events.
“Are there more people in the world apart from our family?” She asked once.
“Yes, of course, there are,” Alex answered.
Usually, all the responses she receives are no. She was confused as to why her brother said yes. She was mentally prepared for the conversation. She didn’t even think of asking why she didn’t know them or didn’t meet them. She was in a state of shock because the answer was not no.
She did not know what to think, and she did not know how to react.
She fell asleep in her bed that night, without any further questions, and a big slip-off was avoided.
At 30, she told her mom that she was seeing images of things she did not understand when she was asleep.
“What do you mean by you’re seeing images?” Her mom asked, worried.
“I don’t know, I don’t remember very clearly. When I close my eyes and I am asleep, I see things.” She said while chopping onions.
“Do you see us? Do you see your dad and I and Alex?” Her mom investigated further.
She stammered a little before answering, “No. Yes. I am not sure. I think it is you and dad and Alex, but I see a lot of you. Why are there so many of you?”
“Munchkin,” her mom coaxed her, “are you sure? Are you not hiding something from me?”
She shook her head no; there was nothing to hide.
“I am tired honey, but I believe you are just seeing images of us because you miss all of us and Alex together. Even I see that when I close my eyes, don’t worry about it. If you see something else, you tell me, okay?”
She started dreaming at the age of 30, but she did not know what dreams were. She did not know what she saw; she did not even remember it. She did not even care about seeing them. It upset her when something happened to her that was not routinely.
On Friday Night, 24th of December, 2005 she dreamed of herself in a grave. She saw herself buried under the surface of the earth. She woke up suddenly, mid-dream. It was a new experience for her, she had never woken up in the middle of the night. The dream was still fresh in her mind. She recollected the lost bits and fragments and put the pieces of the puzzle together. There was something that she was missing.
She wondered what was under the surface of the earth.
She wondered why she was below the ground.
She looked at herself in the mirror, her arms, her legs, and her face.
She was shaking.
She hated how she felt; she knew something did not seem okay. Her throat was parched, so she walked outside to fill herself a glass of water.
The house was silent, everyone was asleep, at least she thought everyone was. A sound came from the kitchen, there was a constant opening and closing of drawers. It wasn’t coming from the kitchen, she realized, it was coming from the living room.
As she approached the room, she saw a silhouette standing there, rummaging through the drawers.
She croaked, “Alex, you’re being loud. You’ll wake mum and dad up.”
The hooded figure turned around, and she saw a new face for the very first time in her life - a face that wasn’t her mom, or her dad, or her brother Alex. She was amazed; she was struck by the possibility of there being a fourth face.
Before she could process the face, the figure moved with lightening speed and gutted her with a knife.
There was no scream nor was there pain. There was a sense of freedom, a sense of rush. In that moment, she understood the possibility of there being multiple possibilities. It was too sudden, and too much information for her fragile, innocent mind to process.
Within seconds, she lay dead on her carpeted floor.
The murderer had fled.
It was a simple robbery that ended her life.
A mind was put to waste, a mind was stolen, and innocence was preserved. A daughter was lost, and a weapon was lost.
So was the cure.
She was the opportunity that the universe gave to mankind. She was the only cure for everything that mankind ever craved. Her mind was a door of endless possibilities. Her mind was the key to nirvana. Everything was lost, the world was doomed at large.
She is buried near her house, in a grave dug in the ground.
It was her dream, her dream came true, but it wasn’t her who willed it.
Ironically, her mind failed her when she needed it the most. Her mind was conditioned to not see any other possibility, and so along with her, the gift was buried – a gift that has never been found again.
She came into this world without an identity and left without one too. Maybe this world wasn’t for her, maybe this world wasn’t ready for a pure soul such as hers.