Once again she'd have to spend an eternity in a stranger's eyes. She'd take a chair and sit in there. Pick up a novel and read it. Waiting but unable to find its end. But she would know that it is a destiny she couldn’t resist.
But before any of these would happen she wondered, as she looked into his eyes, if this was her sacred death.
And even before that, when no one had ever thought about this story and when she had been independent of a writer's selfish interest; had seldom been someone's muse – she used to be a child.
When people would ask her name she used to say that she was an orphan and had no particular name. Even though no one had ever told her what an orphan meant, she liked using that word in describing herself. She had seen orphans. They were children who were set free from all boundaries; had to obey no rules. They could do anything. And she had deduced that when orphans grow up they become spirits. In their growing years they develop wings on their shoulders and learn to fly..... becoming invisible as they do so. That's exactly why there were no grown up orphans.
She had a name, though. And all of those who had ever heard it said that it was the most melodious name they had ever heard. It was like the strange softness of a silent winter night. However, she couldn't recall her name most of the times. As a matter of fact she always found it quite difficult in remembering names – of others and her own.
"You must always remember your name." her grandma would tell her "As you grow up that's all that would be left of you which would differentiate you from anyone else."
After this she found out that along with names she had also started forgetting faces. That's exactly when the news came and big, bright posters were put up on bricked walls announcing 'The Carnival of Fading Lights' celebrating the arrival of a troop of passing soldiers of a faraway land.
It was told that they were to bring a gift for the townsfolk - a strange game.
He had come there with them following the river. Into 'The Carnival of Fading Lights'. And found the girl.
The girl was young. Much younger than him. A child.
But ever since he saw her there's nothing else he wanted to remember. He had seen her passing by the street. Alone. Indifferent to people who existed. He was sure that she was a woman who wore the skin of a child. She was a fallacy of nature. She would die soon, someday. Because nature doesn't forgive fallacies.
As much as he wished, he knew that a soldier is forbidden to fight against the forces of nature. He had been a soldier for a long time now. He had come to realize in time that there is a soldier, not because there is an enemy, but because there is a gun. A government needs soldiers because it is concerned about the guns that it produces. It needs to make sure that the gun doesn't land into the lap of a wrong person. Therefore, it needs soldiers to take responsibility of that gun.
A soldier can't fight against nature because guns can’t wound the forces of nature. And there's no point in fighting an enemy you can't hurt. Like shooting a corpse.
For the next few days he watched her secretly as she passed. And followed her sometimes. But she seemed ignorant of his existence ..... even, her own - drenched in her own thoughts. At last when he could take it no longer, he decided to speak to her.
"What's your name?" he asked
"I'm an orphan; I have no name." she answered smiling at him. And went away.
He wished he could forget that smile.
She had to come out every morning, because each night she realized that she had forgotten his face. But how would he recognize him in the morning for she didn't remember him anymore. So, she decided to pass through a common road everyday so that the man could expect her. She walked until she was been followed. Then, slowly while taking a turn she would take a quick look (so as not to be caught) and drink the grace of that reincarnation of a face.
When she recognized him all over again her heart yearned to speak to him. But mostly she was afraid that she would fail to recognize him the next morning. Thinking how embarrassing that situation might be, she decided never to be completely acquainted with the man. She even went away time and again when he approached her. He seemed hurt, but would somehow come out with doubled vigor the next day.
Since the carnival began every dusk when the night would be taking over the day, it was called 'The Carnival of Fading Lights'. People from different places came to attend the carnival. As the darkness would become dense, the colors of the carnival would become sharper. People would believe, however, that the colors of all things present in the carnival had a strange property: change.
Then, came the night to play the strange game that the soldiers had brought. They brought out from one of their bags a triangular prism. They said it was a gift they had got in the land of the magnolias. It was called ‘The Prism of Extinction’. And none of them had any idea why it was called thus. But they knew that it had strange powers.
"The prism gives you access to your loved one's heart. You would get to know all that’s going inside your lover's mind for you, forever ..... As long as you live or that person does. Wherever you live, however far and at whatever time, whenever that person would be thinking about you, you'd know. I'd like to make it clear over here that this prism does not give you access to your lover's thoughts which are independent of you. Also you could play this game only once in your lifetime. The process is pretty easy though. You and your lover must come in front and put their right hand on two separate faces of the prism. However, since the prism is triangular, in order to initiate the magic there must also be a third hand of another person on the prism. This person could be anyone you wish. Both of you would have access to his thoughts about you and he would have access to your thoughts concerning him, but not to your thought concerning your lover. So, I would say that it is pretty safe. Now, whoever would like to take part in the game is requested to come with his or her partner and a selected person who would complete the magic."
As happens with any new game, there were many people who were afraid in taking part. They were afraid perhaps, because it was called 'The Prism of Extinction'.
There were also many who took part. Among them were the girl and the soldier.
They decided to take any unknown man as the third person so that they might not have to think of him ever again. The man they chose seemed disconcerted about taking part in the game with them but agreed on one condition that he be given food and shelter for the night.
The game began. They put their hands on the prism. And suddenly the entire place seemed illumined by a deep, dense orange light. It only lasted for seconds until everything was back to normal. None of them found much difference inside their head. And the more concentration they would like to apply to delve deeper into their thoughts, the more they found nothing.
The unknown man who seemed the least concerned about any of it accompanied them as they walked together, for the first time, into the night. The soldier concerned that he would have to leave the town soon along with his troops; the girl concerned 'bout the same. The silence was becoming unbearable. So, the unknown man decided to break it –
"I hope you'd agree with me that it's quite cold tonight. I'm really looking forward to finding a nice, cozy sleeping place in your home. And one more thing, before I have my food I'd like to have a cup of tea....."