Design by Shreethigha G.
Edited by Mahima Raut
I was a normal freshie like you. I cleared JEE, packed up my bags, and arrived at insti. Like a good ‘baccha’, I put my intro, rote learned the lingo- (that was lite only), and followed the insti-norm of small talk starters: “Macha, these monkeys are such a pain, da”.
Then came the archaic initiation rite that literally nobody forced you to- Aerowell. For years, it’s just been vastly
debated gossiped about. Some say it’s was a suicide that caused the leaves to turn black and fall off- and that’s why the trees near aerowell are barren. Some believe in the conspiracy theory of pirates’ treasures underneath aerowell that can be sought out by climbing down the well, into the old miner’s shaft, and traveling forward on the underground railroad.
And some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice…
Let’s just say ‘I hold with those who favour fire’ is what got me in this predicament; for I- the teenage rebel in quest of taking a bite of everything forbidden climbed down the shaft of Aerowell.
“The multiverse is a hypothetical group of multiple universes. Together, these universes comprise everything that exists: the entirety of space, time, matter, energy, information, and the physical laws and constants that describe them.”
The noise never ceases. I hear sound ringing in my ears, pronounced all the hours of the day. I can zone in, zone out and amplify it to any extent I want. They don’t believe me when I tell them about it. Why should they? I am a nobody here- no past, no identity, no future. When I told them about IITM and that I’m an undergraduate engineering student, they looked at me with blank expressions, kept tabs on me for days and weeks. They came on a Friday. That’s all I remember. He came. He was warm and friendly and seemed so understanding.
It’s been three years since he brought me here- to Domus Sancti Patricius– Home of St. Patrick’s or H.O.S.P.
St. Patrick’s Home for special children is a dilapidated looking structure in a secluded part of Lleworea Hills. Of course, I wasn’t used to seeing it in such a decrepit state- the insti hospital was barely recognizable if it were not for the signboard at the entrance, morosely creeping out and peering through the dense vines of moss and cobwebs that seemed to be almost entirely engulfing the structure- or what remains of it, anyway. Here, it looks just like it’s straight out of a horror movie. Well, at least like the horror movies I saw in insti during night outs. I don’t know if they even have the concept of ‘horror’ here.
Oh, here? I mean the ‘other’ side. The other side of Aerowell, IIT Madras, Chennai, India.
There were thirty of us when I came here. But they come, they go- nobody questions it. He takes care of everything.
But those noises…
The only sound I cannot seem to zone out of. I cannot make it go away. It doesn’t fade. Each time… the tingling tunes of the piano keys precisely at 1:00 in the morning, every fortnight. It ends with the pianist banging down on all the notes at once in extreme frustration. A chaotic mass of tunes.
Like clockwork, a piercing scream of a child- the sound of the siren of an ambulance, whooshing through the lonely winding road up to Lleworea Hills.
Was it a coincidence?
Every fortnight a child disappeared. When I mentioned the pattern, the police would inquire as to how I knew the disappearance was bound to occur.
Why couldn’t anyone else see it?
They put me in a padded cell, and locked me up in the Clock Tower; the tower of 1974, for you.
They said I was the one out on a killing spree. Please. Like any normal, sane person would kill someone and get himself reported. It isn’t Among us; this was real life. Then again, they did call me insane a couple of times with some more delightful terms.
Who knew? Maybe this was my diabolical plan all along.
What was happening to me?
It has been thirteen nights since the last disappearance. I sat wondering about the next victim when I heard the piano keys.
My blood froze. I was miles away from St.Patricks’. In the soundproofed padded cell, there is no way I should have heard this.
And then, a new sound… Something I have never heard before. A man’s voice humming the tune, “Hickory Dickory Dock. The mouse ran up the clock; the clock struck one, The mouse ran down. Hickory Dickory Dock.”
And then a scream; it sounded eerily like mine.
The headlines of The Fifth Dystopia (T5D) ran: –
St. Patrick’s Home for special children in Lleworea Hills has been shut down, owing to the news that has recently come to light. Primary investigations have recorded the unreported death of twenty-six resident children in a span of one year. The government officials regretfully claim their ignorance for the lack of a thorough background check and condemn the resident-psychologist for botching up facts. United Dystopians (UD) has pressed charges against the local authorities and the resident psychologist of the St.Patrick’s Home, pending trial.
Reports show that the resident-psychologist- Mr. Maus Hickory was diagnosed with a serious case of deliria and paranoia at the age of seven, and has been charged for the brutal murder and extreme negligence of twenty-six inmates of the orphanage.
Sincere condolences to friends, relatives. It is a piece of abhorring news and in these disturbing times, we must lend our support to the mourning.
(radio); Anyone with any information about Mr. Hickory is requested to immediately get in touch with the FBI. I repeat, any information about Mr. Maus Hickory, report to the FBI. He is mentally unstable and extremely dangerous. Currently unaware of the weapons he possesses. I repeat—
(static whir… radio silence)
“Hickory Dickory Dock. The mouse ran up the clock; the clock struck one, The mouse ran down. Hickory Dickory Dock.”