Fiction: The Unknown

Kumi Yamashita



P C K Prem



He did not know why he wanted to go. A thought inside continued to run about and created noise. Noise appeared pleasant and everyone whoever participated looked happy. Everyone danced, sang songs and cried when nothing came to mind. It was a strange psychological framework and he just wished to fathom the mystery of miracles happening somewhere in the frenzied regions of hurried and fragmentary thought pattern. He knew he was intelligent. He was persuasive but also irrational. He looked around and did not know what he wanted to make out. It was dark, absolute dark and he loved to wander about. Rambling thoughts, hazy assault of ideas unrelated to life, darkness, and feelings not precisely humane, disconcerted.

He laughed. An echo he heard. He felt as if he had caught hold of the echo and wanted to interpret its mystifying purpose at odd moment. People love light, love and warmth but prefer to live in darkness of the mighty self, an embodiment of ego.

“If a man understands the self, it is good.”

“Where is the self?”

“Just penetrate. Observe silence and listen to the echoes of silence. Quietness haunts, it runs about and creates noise. If you hear the noise of silence, it teaches you the art of life, life that the self gave birth. Now, stand still, look around, open the eyes, close again. Stretch hands and spread out palms. Put a pinch of sand and close the fist. You feel a great wealth. Richness gives you the joy of intensity. Nature appears calm and blissful. You know but do not accept.”

A tall man stood before him, he felt. He took a step in the darkness and touched the direction from where the voice emerged. Yes, it is cold and marble like smooth without ruggedness.

“Who are you?” He asked

“I am a shadow of darkness if you can imagine. You are confused. Mad and crazy you are because you wish to know many things without principle.”

“It is a mystery. I wish to go deep into the experience as you meet the self. I do not know it and you speak of the principle. It is an intangible concept. Even insight will not allow going further. You see nothing. Even brightness you just imagine. At times, I feel it is bright and luminous but next moment, a sheet of total darkness engulfs.”

“You measure life as light and darkness stand to assist. Yes, here I agree. You must move from the apparent darkness to areas of light. It constitutes struggle of a living being traveling through gamut of meanings.”

“I find some substance in what you say. Did you hint at the code or belief again?”

“You feel darkness inside. Yes, everyone realizes the depth of darkness in life. Light is a rare experience.”

He felt hurt. A deep wound within broke flesh, bones, and pierced marrows. He wanted to move but could not. Noise and shadows overwhelmed. He stood motionless and tried to find location of eyes, ears and nose. These worked and he was alert. Strange feelings disturbed. He was conscious and still, an utter confusion prevailed. He looked at the tall-unknown figure, a mere silhouette. He put a step ahead, lengthened out rickety arms as weary and skinny fingers woke up. He could touch and a current passed through the veins. He experienced volcanic explosions and sounds inside as splinters of light spread around to offer a solid hold. He was able to see with efforts.

He wanted to laugh as a few specks of light fell on the man before him.

“You are chilly and rugged.”

“How do you say? Can you feel? Do you see how I look?”

He wrestled with terrific activity and sense of ambiguity, and wanted someone else to intercede so that he recognizes a weird phenomenon. He felt deep grooves on the forehead as eyes scrutinized blurred images that little by little shaped into a figure more concrete and yet a mirage. He trembled for a second.

“Are you sure you can see?

“You are a fear monger. Look very cold. You appear besieged with profanity and scary apparition.”

“You are prosaic. Get out of the furrows of rituals and formality. Agree to what you do not know. You said you heard echoes and when I stand before you, you say you hear and touch.  Sacrilege of life belittles. Live as it is and do not question, because you are not a philosopher. If you are, then you are mad. Dementia will seize and overcome and you would look a figurine without life-breath.”

“You are heartless and frosty.”

“Learn to hear truth of lies.”

“I do not understand.”

“It is your destiny to live in idiosyncrasy and feel the anguish of absurdity.”

“I feel incidence of strange shadows within. To this extent you are right.”

“It is bad luck.”

He was upset. Many hazy thoughts crowded and feelings brought turmoil. He experienced uncanny forces as heartbeats increased each minute.


The last half an hour appeared very long a distance in time and pain he thought he would cover it soon but it lingered on to give agony. At times, a minor fraction of a moment is adequate to write a testimony of a full life. It seemed overshadow of last night still chased as intensity of numbness flowed through the veins. He visualized corridors of a hospital as doctors and nurses hurriedly rushed from one room to another and many men on stretchers filled the passageways. The next moment, doctors had pushed him into the intensive care unit and had punctured veins as blank eyes looked on at the roof to locate the right position. He was not patient but why this inhuman treatment.

A figure in a white apron laughed. Jeers and bawls instilled terror. He was dead perhaps and the dead body twisted with immense pain as doctor in a shadow shouted.

“You are a great man.”

He heard an indistinct voice as if. He opened eyes in darkness as if in a deep cave while the huge lingam glittered. He did not pray, never, if he remembers correctly.  The image of lord Shiva raised doubts. He was not on a sojourn. Not exiled precisely but it was a deliberate dive into unknown, a dark region.  The ghostly figure stood close to him while some scissor holding hand pushed the body into a scanner.  He feared the dead machine moving the body to its dark bowl, a tunnel as if to crush and eat up. A strange experience befuddled and he tried to get up and escape but he felt someone had put a heavy burden. He closed the eyes and realized another dark cave of darkness with glimmer of light, hissing sounds and warbles of doctors he failed to comprehend.

“He is strong, almost a rock. Even machine does not respond.”

“A very stout body disturbs the gears.”

“Push him to dark cell. Switch off the light and kill the stony heart he has.”

“Yes, he does not feel.” Many giggles appeared pouring in as if boiled oil. He felt the burns, and the sniggers pierced the ears. He was still.

He felt a huge yanking shock and next moment, a hand pulled and threw him out, and he fell on the ground with a thud. Fortunately, he did not collapse. He hurriedly got up as if and looked around in darkness. In a moment, a bright cluster of light filled the eyes. The unidentified figure stood straight. It smiled, held him in the grips, laughed and asked, “Are you fine? The doctors found many stones, snakes, cobras, monsters disfigured, beasts, witches and ghosts, gold, jewels, buildings, a treasure and laughing priests and torn holy books inside.”

He was stupefied and aghast.

The man opened his mouth, yawned, and after a pause, said, “They detected pieces of human bones, chunks of flesh and limbs. An eerie movement in the stomach, intestines, heart and that little chunk of brain you have inside the skull. Strangely, the organs functioned so well.”

He looked at the doctors, now in black aprons and said, “In fears, they stand. Do not eat up. They helped you. You are a human being. It was a big shock that you survived so long, devoured men and animals, and digested quite easily the living and the dead. Heart throbbed but it was a rock, and you know you rear up beasts inside. You are a carnivorous. A massive stack of cartouches stunned everyone. A man you are… and you hold so much that no one can detect!”

He stood but did not react to what the odd figure said. Apparently, he abhorred what he heard. Why should he reveal that he contains so much inside? A vicious struggle began. The unfamiliar figure looked on and after a short while said, “Do not worry. Only a few do not rear up beasts and deadly cobras.”

“Who are you? You know many secrets I often do not share with anyone.”

“Is it correct?”

“Not a few but all.”

“No, I still feel, a few contain good thoughts, virtues and flowers. I understand they hold the prized things quite close to heart but are vague.  Trust in goodness is the only weapon they have but it is also not very new. It is ancient and you know it is in bad shape. It can die any moment.”

The unknown figure turned into a shadow even as the physicians gradually collapsed and merged with the dust. He wanted to locate the footholds he had. After a while, he stood, surveyed the entire set up. He was free, out of the dark cave and felt as if the revelation the odd figure made was the truth he wanted to escape but still cherished it.

“No, I will not disembowel the valuable treasure I hold inside.” He arrived at a decision after a little thought.

“The god is alone. I want freedom. Be kind and grant me freedom. I choke. Look, I am ugly. Snakes and cobras inject poison. Beasts fill my stomach with flesh and bones. They dance and sing. Darkness inside engulfs and they say, it is bright. Let me go. I lost priesthood, the wisdom of the books, the purity of soul and the body. At least permit me to save the body.” He heard pleas of priests. He was alert. He heard many warning bells. He looked at the priests and laughed.

“Nothing would happen even I grant you freedom. You have begun to love this life. You dance and sing among the fairies.”

Silence descended and everyone kept quiet.


He stood alone. He did not know he was sad. Still, he carried wrinkles on the face as eyes struggled to see outside and then, diverted the gaze to the man, who sat within, hushed and disheartened.

“You are sad”

“No, I do not know. I want freedom for everyone. However, you do not want. If you rear up such beings inside, you choke. I feel suffocation but you do not understand. It is a huge tragedy. You do not wish that I live.”

“If I permit you to live, I cannot survive. I live in great comforts among the beasts and the poisonous beings I live with. That is a life of comforts and joy. You will make me skeleton. I lived with ostensible kindness but did not give peace. I struggled, perspired, worked hard and helped fellow beings quietly but none recognized.”

He was loud and angry, “I cannot do what you want. Everyone should just listen to me. Stay and enjoy life. Man lives happily if he does what he wants. I do not wish to restrict anyone.”

The priest stood silent and a long line of priests it was. Many heads, eyes and arms stood still. With lips sealed, they faced a strange situation. He looked at everyone. He confronted a great predicament. What it was? Questions assailed and distressed. He looked at the door of the car with one foot inside and the keys in hands. He did not know what to do. A total blackout seemed to have swallowed up.

“What are you doing?”

A voice alerted and a very heavy weight on shoulders seemed to crush him as if. He looked back. He looked confused and did not know how to react. It took time to recover.

“You told me you are to attend a meeting.”

“Yes, I wanted but I do not know what happened.”

“Guju, what is it? You look down spirited and sad. Are you okay or is it hangover of the night booze?”

He only struggled with the lips, scratched head, and looked at Setu, an old friend. Setu emitted a smile and said again, “You look awesome. It appears something worries you.”

Guju looked at the steering wheel and looked around.

“What happened?”

“Sanku…” He called the driver. Sanku stood before him and he almost cried, “Why are you late?”

“Saab, you told you wanted to drive.”

He did not know what to say. After a pause, said, “Fine, you go.” After a huge effort, he appeared to push the body on the seat, “I am tired. Come, Guju. I am sorry Sanku. You go back.”

“It happens when you are alone. Someone you do not know and still you know, disturbs you.  Do you know that someone?”

He laughed.






PCK Prem Tuck Magazine

P C K Prem

P C K Prem (P C Katoch of Garh-Malkher, Palampur, Himachal, a former academician, civil servant and member psc hp, Shimla) is an author of more than fifty books. A post-graduate in English literature from Punjab University, Chandigarh, he is associated with several social/literary organizations, has brought out nine volumes of poetry besides five books on criticism, two books on ancient literature, six novels and two collections of short fiction. Creative writings in Hindi include twenty novels, nine books on short fiction and a collection of poems. Recipient of several awards, Katoch Prem is a poet, novelist, short story writer and a critic in English and Hindi from Himachal, India.


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