Perennial Essence


I tried to run as fast as I could recollecting the series of events that occurred a few minutes ago. The sky was pitch black and the forest was dark and quiet, like no animal ever lived there. Obliviously, I stumbled upon a root of some tree and fell down gawkily. I attempted to get back on my feet and run for my life, run with every might I had. Besides, this was never the way I thought I would depart. 
I agonised over tonight, over my friends, they all were dead?! 
Nausea caught me as I gasped for more air. I was getting unconscious, unable to breathe. 
ONE LAST TIME, I said to myself. 
I got back up and ran further, wailing. I didn't know where the end of the forest was, or where we had come from, all I knew was that I have to make it out from here. I gathered all my courage and strength and sprinted further, I don't know where to until fatigue took over and I blacked out. 

                                                        •        •        • 

I woke up in a hospital, my dad sat asleep next to me on the chair. I had an oxygen mask on my mouth and various injections on my right and left arm. I looked around and saw the little room and heard various monitors beeping. How did I get here ? I probably had a loss of memory from last night. I couldn't recall any incident that led me here. 
I ughed as I tried to get back up but instead woke my father up. He placed his hand on my head and started crying. 
"Dad, I'm fine", I said. 
"Goodness lord, you finally woke up, I'm calling the doctor, don't move", he said and left. 
What had happened? Why was I here in such conditions? It felt like I had missed out a whole section of my life. I focused hard, as hard as I could but I remembered nothing. It only stressed me out making my head bloat with headache. 
The doctor arrived and checked my pulse, read my stats and turned to my father, "Her condition is now stable. And she's healing quickly. It seems like last night was the night she started healing rather than in past six days. But we will....." 
"6 days!!!", I blurted out cutting off the doctor's statement, "What the hell happened?" 
The doctor spoke, "You're fine. Just rest", and then turning to my father continued, "We will have to keep her under observation for tonight and she can be discharged tomorrow".

My father nodded and the doctor left. 
"Dad what happened? Why am I in here? That too since six days?", I enquired. 
How come I had been unconscious for six freaking days and even I wasn't able to remember anything that happened six days ago? 
He sat by me and said, "When you went camping with your friends, I don't know what happened there but some guy found you unconscious on the road that leads to the dense forest. Fortunately you had your wallet and ID in your bagpack through which he traced me and called the ambulance. He got you here." 
"What about my friends? Where are they?", I asked. 
"Clara, I think that right now you must focus on getting better. We'll tell your friends once you're fine", he said. 
"Dad?? What are you not telling me?"

He remained silent. 
"Dad, I wanna know", I said decisively. 
"I'm sorry darling. I never meant to say this to you" 
"What?!", I asked horrified. 
"When the police searched from where you came it led them to the old house in the dense woods.... maybe you and your friends were there", he said.

I nodded, "yes we were there".
"The police found your friends dead when they reached there", he said. 
It took about 5 seconds for me to take in the news about my friends and to even recall everything that happened that night. It was kind of blur but I knew, they went to that house. I was searching wood for the fire and when I entered that house I saw them all blood stained and not breathing. My phone had died that's why I was running through the forest to find a road to call up an ambulance. 
Horror came back to me, "They were all murdered", I whispered. 
"What?", my dad said, "No Clara, don't stress yourself out. We'll stay out of this and let the cops investigate this matter". 
"No dad, they were my friends. I need to record my statement in order to uncover what happened", I said, "but how did I.....I mean what happened to me? Why was I unconscious?" 
"The doctor claimed that you were attacked on your head and you blacked out", dad said. I remained silent.

"Don't worry honey. We will move to another town where you'll start your senior year and finish it with ease. You do not have to deal with all this while I'm with you", he said. 
"I appreciate your thoughts dad, but I'm not leaving this town without unraveling the truth", I said determined.

He gave me an understanding nod, "okay". 
The next week I was at my home resting. My dad used to work in an MNC and he wasn't home the whole day. 
Growing up I had somehow learnt to take care of myself. My mother had died when I was 4, in Romania. My father and I moved to the U.S. when I was five. I hardly missed my mother. I hadn't seen much of her, and if I had I didn't remember her clearly anymore. Only her pictures were left with me now. 
It was 5pm and it was raining considering it was August. The day following was the first day of my senior year. I decided to cook dinner as I didn't want to miss my very first day at school tomorrow. 
Dad came home at 7, I had already showered and set the table. 
"You wouldn't have bothered", he said negligently. 
"Dad I'll go to the school tomorrow", I said. 
"Clara, no honey. I thought we talked about it, you're not going the first week", he remarked. 
"I can't and I don't want to miss my first day of school. I'm out of the trauma. It was 2 weeks ago. I even went to their service dad. I'm fine, it's just that I want to get busy and move on rather than sitting at home all day and thinking about that night", I clarified. 
He thought at my words while he sipped beer and nodded, "As long as you feel ready to charge I'm good".

Eshna Sharma

Edited: 30.08.2021

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