A nightmare or a dream?

 

At an unspecified location,at an unspecified time,a great battle was raging.The two sides were equally balanced in terms of skill and numbers.One would not have been able to differentiate the combatants of the opposing camps by just looking at their faces.One could tell that only by looking at their armour.Even that was similar except the fact that the colours were different.The fighters of one side wore blue and silver while their opponents were decked in green and yellow.

The battlefield though was crimson.Blood red.Blood was flowing like water into the earth.The great river that flowed nearby exhibited no sign of the violence though.It was as calm as a lake but continued gently on its onward journey to join the sea.

Nothing was calm about the battle by any stretch of the imagination.The clash of swords and the battle cries of the warriors could have been heard from a kilometre away.Poisoned arrows flew thick and fast into the mass of swordsmen.Spears were thrown at opponents with deadly precision.There would have been no victor in this battle.The men did not fight to win the battle.They fought to kill each other.To kill as many as possible before being killed themselves by someone else.So the battle would have ended only when everyone was killed except maybe one man.And even he would have been drained so completely by that time that he would have had only a few seconds to raise his sword in triumph.He would have dropped down dead soon after that.It was a senseless battle being fought over nothing.

But it was certainly being fought.There was no doubt about that at all.Swords slit throats,spears punctured lungs and arrows pierced hearts.It was the same everywhere on the field.Warriors from both sides were dropping down in equal numbers.

In one corner of the field,two men were engaged in a fierce duel.They were equally matched.Their swords struck the opposing shields,were taken back,only to be thrust at the opponent again.It went on and on and on . . . until a spear from somewhere pierced the neck of one man.He dropped down with a sickening cry.His opponent let out a loud cry of triumph,maybe relief.But at the very next moment,a poison tipped arrow flew right into his shoulder.He knew that this was it.He was finished.He managed to pull the arrow out of his shoulder but could do no more.He slumped down with his killer still held in his hand.It was getting dark by now.The poison was acting fast.He could feel life slowly ebbing out of him.He could not hear the sounds of the battle anymore.He could only manage to hear his own heart thumping wildly as if it knew it had to finish its allotted number of beats before it ceased to pump blood and life to the other parts of his body.His feet went numb first,then his legs,then his arms and then his heart.He just about managed to close his eyes in time and mumble something . . .

. . . It was completely dark now.Everything was still.Not a sound could be heard.Then,as if it was a bolt out of the blue,a torch was shone into his eyes.He could feel the warmth,but could not open his eyes.Someone shook him as if to see if there was any sign of life left in him.He could do nothing.

“Hey,wake up!”It was the voice of a woman.

“Whaaa . . . ?”

“I heard you screaming and mumbling something in your sleep”,she said.

“Oh!Well,I never thought . . .”,his voice trailed off.He could now see the sun shining brightly through the window,right into his face.He squinted and turned away from the window.He looked at the woman.

“Had a nightmare,I believe?”,she could not help smiling.

“More of a dream . . . a nightmarish dream.And I don’t know if it is over or if it has just begun”

“Have you not woken up yet?It’s already late”,she said,looking at the clock.

“I know . . . I think I’ve missed the bus . . . or the train . . . or the boat . . . or the plane . . . whatever.I will have to take the next one”

“Missed the bus or the train or the boat or the plane?What do you mean?There is still plenty of time left.It’s only six”

“Hmmm . . . yes . . . and there seems to be another left”

“What?There is hardly half-an-hour left!”

“Yes,yes,I know . . . I meant something else though . . . my dream . . . or nightmare . . . or nightmarish dream . . .”,he said as he stood up slowly.

“Are you still out of your mind?”,she looked at him with a puzzled look.

“Maybe . . . or maybe out of my body”,he made sure she could not hear this.

“Hope you make it in time”,she smiled and walked away,looking a bit confused.

“I think ‘into time’ would have been a better choice”,again to himself.He looked out of the window and into the sky . . .

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