Burning Beacons: Chapter II

Updated: 7 hours ago

Day 15,702: Death

When not a single person in this world cares about another’s existence, the motivation to live for a socially dependent person ceases. The lawfully unaccepted notion of ending one’s own life doesn’t seem to be a choice but rather a destination. The misery of the mental self is strikingly dangerous with unforeseen consequences when not controlled.


Placing his plate of warm noodles on the dining table, Radheya recalled Mitram. He thought about how Mitram would have stopped him before he tasted his unusually sweet noodles.

Though he thought of taking a look at the portraits of all those whom he loved, Radheya started stuffing noodles into his mouth without wasting another moment. When he finished his noodles, he felt nothing.

It took a few moments before the intended reaction kicked in. While he was experiencing the pain, Radheya recalled the online friend he invited for dinner. Observing the clock, he knew that she wouldn’t even arrive for the next twenty minutes.

Moments before his mortal form lost its soul, Radheya couldn’t help but think, “Why did I even strive in life if this is how it would have ended?”

More than pain, Radheya dreaded the thought of what would happen next. He was certain about Gods and demons being nothing more than mere elements of the mind and firmly disagreed on their existence in the fictional concept of the afterlife. However, when facing death, the uncertainty certainly terrified him.

As he pondered on the question, the doorbell buzzed. Glancing at the clock in the dining room, Radheya couldn’t help but presume that his guest arrived early. Trying to look calm, he walked to the door as he felt the pain in his stomach.

Looking through the peephole, he saw his friend standing steady. He opened the unlocked door to find a stunning girl in her late twenties wearing a black gown standing before him.

As his eyes closed, Radheya mentioned, “You’re early…”

Observing her getting tense, he raised his hand in assurance before he crashed on the floor. The moment he crashed, he could see his astral form still standing.

As his body landed on the floor, the girl just stood there for a moment. She could see he wasn’t breathing and just calmly left. He was surprised that she didn’t even call the police as he had expected.

An hour later, one of his neighbors noticed him lying at the entrance and called the emergency services. A couple of hours later, Radheya’s mortal form was before a drunk surgeon whose quest was to find what killed him.

Though the intoxicated mortal knew that even the strongest leaf shall have to fall when kissed by winter, he was just checking the math of self-killers. Even he knew that the world he lived in was filled with no emotional entailment and just survived on rational investments alone.

After the inspector determined that the corpse owner killed himself, Radheya was surprised to see his body parts were being snatched to be reused. The rest of the poisoned filth was packed into a black bag like a broken toy before being shipped on a conveyor belt that carried many other bodies.

Another officer took a look at the tag on the bag before marking it in his system. In absolute silence, the conveyor belt passed the body into the incarceration chamber and burnt Radheya’s body instantly.

Radheya could see the mortal form that he built for four decades turn into ashes in seconds. As he believed, neither angels nor demons awaited. It was the darkness that surrounded him as he always stated. In such silence, he knew not a single living soul was weeping for him.





This contribution is written by Rajiv R Nair & R. S. Chintalapati, edited by Ahna Sahi, Sree Raj, & Tarun Chintam & photographed by Pankaj Tottada.



This short story is available as a paperback & ebook.

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