As Roy De Warenne stumbled out of the shop his face was a sickish green, and each breath he drew was an incredible agony. A hard blow in the guts can do that to a man, and De Warenne had gotten a hard one. Not with a fist, which would have been bad enough but from the all-powerful hex of a witch. Practising magic was not as easy as it seems, it consumes so much energy that one can die from its overuse. And that’s what happened with her. She was his sweetheart, his best friend, his soulmate and everything Roy had ever wanted. But he was a little too late to realize, just how much someone can affect somebody’s life.
Turning his trench coat’s collar up, trying to shut the world off and its piercing insults. As if what he had heard till now was not enough. Walking down the dark sidewalk he came across the most heart-wrenching leaflet that has covered almost the whole town’s walls. Her smiling face with those innocent eyes and quotes for justice written all over it. As if the brawl in the shop was not enough to boost his self-condemnation. He stopped in his tracks to take a long eyeful of her pretty, innocent face. Oh! How he missed her so much. How he was waiting for the perfect moment to take his revenge, to make justice-what all her posters screamed off to make them feel sorry, to make them realize that some mistakes can never be undone nor can they stay hidden, to give her soul peace. He wanted it all and now, he has waited too long. But this was not the time to take a walk down the memory lane. He has to hurry up because what he got can help him achieve what he wants, what he wanted for the past five years.
He fastened his pace and started walking through the shadows. Today luck was on his side as there was less number of pedestrians on the street so no one would speculate him about skimming the darker parts of the streets. He was about to reach his destination, he looked up at the tall, dark building. A building of dark secrets where no person in his sane mind would dare to go. He was still looking towards the dim light at the top floor room of the building when a strong wind blew away his beanie and his soft dark curls splattered on his face covering his view. How he was dreading all those moments he missed the signs and signals that something was odd. Closing his eyes, taking a deep breath. He made his mind, considering once he entered the building there was no turning back.
He let out a long cold breath and again the wind sent chills up his spine. He pulled his coat around him more tightly and entered the building. The building was junk from inside. The lights were flickering, the elevator was out of service and the paint was chipping off. Ignoring the gruesome smell he started ascending the stairs and with each level, his heart was thumping harder thinking about the numerous possibilities of the information he was about to get exposed to. Facing the door he was supposed to enter, he contemplated the day it all started. The day he found out about his abilities, about the things he can do that a normal human can’t do. That was the day, the onset of his worst nightmares. Taking a heavy breath he knocked on the door twice and rang the bell. Looking at both sides, the corridors were empty. But then again who would want to live in the ‘Wrecked Block’ that is what that building was called. Quite an irony, as his life was more wrecked than this building.
The door creaked open on its own, he wasn’t surprised though, he got used to it ages ago. He stepped into the pitch dark room. Trying to take in the shape of the room and it’s inside but magic has its way with everything, blinding you even in the broad daylight. So basically he was not able to see anything until the door behind him slammed shut and a faint light started burning in the distance, like an oil lamp burning in the far corner of the room. It seemed so distant though the room wouldn’t strike anyone as huge as it was but it felt right now. He saw a figure in the corner near the oil lamp just so close so that his silhouette was visible, making it possible for someone to guess that he was a middle-aged man with a thick beard and almost no hair and a pair of spectacles sitting on his nose. He was sitting on a rocking chair smoking from his pipe. The fumes of the smoke would go up in the air casting weird, vague shadows on the opposite wall where a little amount of light was falling. Roy made no noise, he was as still and silent as a cat. He was pondering over the thought about the man in front of him, thinking whether he is useful to him or not. When after thinking for almost three minutes to be precise he turned his back towards the man and started making his way out of the apartment room when with a loud screech was heard from him behind and he sensed the man has risen from the chair and was making his way towards Roy. Roy didn’t move. He stood still in his place with his back facing the man. “I think you’ll need this Son,” muttered the man with a grave voice and thick Irish accent. Roy turned towards the man and saw him holding a piece of silk cloth. He had a strong face for such an old man, his eyes were so determined, so full of authority which screamed of experience of years and incidences that many people wouldn’t even know about. Roy took in the man and his appearance then he looked at the piece of cloth thinking why is this simple piece of cloth so important and how does this man know what would I need? Many thoughts were running around in his mind but he couldn’t find the answers to any of them. After giving it a thought, he said: “How do you know what I need?”
“Because I know what happened with you and I know the whole truth of it.”
“How can I trust you? How do I know you are not feeding me lies?”
“All your answers are in this,” the man said stretching his hand towards him. Roy took the cloth material and held it in his hand for a while, it suddenly felt familiar. Following his instinct, he untied the cloth and was shocked to find what was inside the cloth. He was about to pick it up when the man snatched it out of his hand and tied it back up, “Now do you believe me?”.
Roy waited, waited for something to happen that would prove that he was not dreaming, that he was in the real world. Everything was so quiet that they can hear each other breath, ticking of the clock was only adding on to the thick tension increasing between them.
Roy finally nodded once to answer his question. With the click of his hands, the man lighted up the room and pulled out two chairs. He gestured him to sit on one of them. Roy sat cautiously on the chair, eyeing everything. Drinking up all the details of the room so he wouldn’t forget any minute detail. After years of being suspected and being accused of things he wouldn’t ever dream, he has now started to give attention to all the details.
“Start from the beginning.”
“But I thought you already knew what happened.”
“I do, but I don’t know your point of view, and without that, no judgement is ever complete.”
Looking into the eye of the man, Roy was still hesitant about letting him in. There was a turmoil going on inside his head, but he let out a long breath which he didn’t know how long he was holding back.
Taking a deep breath he started narrating the story of how he got into the tight corner.
It all started when they were done with their sophomore year and everyone was quite excited to start a new year. Roy and his friends; Arsh, Sipu, Disha, and Roy’s childhood friend, Divya, entered the campus, joking and giggling. They heard the bell ring for the commencement of class and everyone quickly ran towards their respective classes. Arsh and Roy moved towards their class in a dash. The class teacher was introducing them to a new student as they walked in. They quickly took their seats next to each other. The new student was very pretty, Roy thought. Anna was her name. She looked like a composed person with large captivating eyes and dark hair. She seated herself. Nothing eventful happened the whole day. The gang soon left the campus after the class they headed over to the cafeteria. Roy noticed the new girl with a group of about 6 people goofing around. They hung out for a while and left. Roy suddenly remembered that he left his wallet back at the cafeteria and rushed back in to get it. That’s when he stumbled into a leather jacket-clad dude who easily towered him by about a foot. He backed up quickly and apologized but the guy grabbed his collar and glared at Roy for a good 30 seconds. Then realizing where they were standing, he pushed Roy away and growled, “Meet me later.” Roy had a well-built body but he was not a fighter. He tried muttering another apology but the guy stormed out slamming the door behind him.
In the evening Roy was walking back to his home when he was confronted by the guy from the cafeteria whose name Roy had figured out to be Frank. He punched Roy on the jaw. Roy staggered back trying to maintain his balance. Frank kept hitting Roy. Roy tried to keep away and talk it out but Frank didn’t stop and kept on striking blow after blow. Roy’s anger was building up. He started feeling warm. Soon Roy had enough and pushed his palm against Frank’s chest, just enough to push him away a bit but to his surprise, there was a flash and Frank was thrown back about 15 feet as if he was a feather. That’s when he first found out what mystical powers truly meant.
Soon he found out that he was not the only one. There was a group of people who did have such abilities and they experienced it too. These guys were the part of the coolest group in college, Anna is a part of it too. Roy wanted to discover his abilities even further so he slowly made his way into the cool gang, finding less time for his friends and becoming more and more secretive.
The most affected by this change in his personality was Divya. She tried reaching out to him and figuring out what was wrong with him but she was shut out quickly. Anna saw this and tried bridging the gap between Roy’s old and his new group by striking a friendship with Divya and making things normal between Divya and Roy. Soon Divya and Anna became close and started hanging out, many a time even when Roy couldn’t come along as he was busy exploring his powers and their extents.
It was a week before the Ball and Divya had called Roy to talk to her about something important. He reached the venue of their meetup, a garden and saw her waiting under a tree. He approached her and as she was about to say something his phone rang. He was being called to the daily practice of his powers. He excused himself and bolted without giving her a chance to say anything.
A few days later he had no contact with Divya. Then the news of her death surfaced. She was found dead in the same garden on the same day that they were supposed to talk. Roy was devastated and broken. To make things worse everyone started either suspecting Roy or hating him. He soon found himself more and more alone and cut off from the people around him. He grew silent and distant and only sought an answer as to how Divya died.
Roy could feel a tear rolling down his cheek as he narrated the events to the old man, who happened to be the most experienced practitioner of magic. He took a deep breath and sniffled. He looked up into the old eyes of the man and asked, “I need to get the answers. I can’t live like this with myself. And I feel that I can get the answers through my powers. Please help me. Help me get better.”
Roy was very disturbed after hearing of the death of Divya and he reached the old man’s house. He begged the old man to help him. The old man asked Roy to calm down and said, “Roy, my name is John Don and I am a very experienced magician so listen carefully what I am going to say” then he whispered something in Roy’s ear. Without wasting a single minute Roy rushed out of the house as if he got a clue to this orthodox mysterious death of his crush Divya. He ran for about 2 to 3 Km down the lane and crossed the narrowest alley in the town and stopped where the alley ended. He was panting but as soon as he caught his breath with a sigh of relief on his face and a glittering hope in his eyes he saw a mansion in front of him. He said, “Finally I reached my destination and all my answers are lying inside.” The mansion’s nameplate says it’s called “The Bulabuy Mansion” and the mansion looked to be 100-year-old asylum made by some ferocious king to prison his revolters. The main gate was closed and according to the information he was carrying from the old man there was a secret passage to the inside of the mansion. When he crossed the passage at its end he reached a garden which had a pond at its centre and one old mango tree which looked like it was standing there even before the mansion was constructed. Near the pond, there was a bench where a very old man was sitting looking towards the sky and smirking and it looked like he had no teeth to brush and will have no pain if a pebble comes out from his dal. Roy politely asked him his name and was he the caretaker of the mansion? The old man, “My name is Babulal and I have been the caretaker of this mansion for the past 57 years and even worked as a chef for some years in the mansion.” Roy was quite happy to hear this from the old man, he gave his introduction to the old man and said John Don had sent him here. Babulal stopped him there and said, “Come to me I know what questions you have come with and you’ll get all the answers in the mansion’s study.” They both walked past the garden from the back door of the mansion into the inside of it and it was a beautiful site to watch as it was much bigger from inside. When they reached the study Roy saw someone sitting in front of the fire and he saw his shadow having a cigar in one hand and a sealed envelope on the other hand. Roy enquired about this man, but Babulal was much focused on getting his companion to the study only. When they reached the study it looked like the world’s largest library to Roy and Babulal in his very shrill voice said, “Take the second right then first left by starting from 100 meters straight from Mansion point.” Meanwhile, Roy was capturing the direction given by Babulal, the door of the study was closing behind him and came to a voice take ten steps forward and don’t look back. Roy knew where to start now and after taking 10 steps forward he looked up and came to know about the Mansion point and why is it called so. This is because it was the center part of the study and the whole area of it can be seen from that point. Roy by following Babulal’s given direction reached a gate of steel built between two huge racks full of books and when he entered the gate he saw a table, chair and a book lying on it. The cover of the book read “Answers lie within.” Roy started to read it, the book had only 1 chapter in it whose heading was don’t look back before finishing the chapter. Roy looked back before even starting to read the chapter and the man with the cigar in the hand was standing there and giving Roy the sealed envelope said, ”You are unique just don’t be cynical enough to lose all your power within a fortnight, and don’t look back without reading the paper.” Roy didn’t listened to him and again look back and saw Babulal standing there and pointing towards a sheet of cloth upward which read Don’t look back please and Roy again turned back and saw John Don standing there and rest everyone disappeared from the room. John Don said, “Your all powers are now gone and the reason is your attitude of not following a single advise or order given to you.” John Don gave a wink from his eyes to Roy and said Final Goodbye and disappeared. Roy sat down on the chair closed his eyes and recalled what John Don whispered in his ear and the whisper was, “Have self-belief but try to trust your friends also, be wise in making your decision and take advice before implementing them. Be straightforward but sometimes try manipulation. Go straight to 3 Km down the street. You will find what you seek. Sometimes do wear black and this time do look back.” Roy knew that his arrogance and greed was the reason he lost Divya as she committed suicide in his love and he knew John Don was an enthusiastic and eclectic person who showed him the right way and he was slow-witted to get it right. Roy then went back and continued his life thereafter.