Windows by Aanchal Verma (Lucent Dreaming Issue 9)

The tiny illuminated box, which Jasmine had been observing for the last fifteen minutes, was filled with jubilant bliss up to its brink. Some was even oozing out and could be felt by the currently shadowed heart of Jasmine metres away. The box had a little kid jumping, his feet filled with nervous energy galloping around his mother as she assembled his new car. The kid’s eager face gave away a squeak whenever a new nut was screwed onto the tiny half-built structure. Jasmine obviously couldn’t hear it, but she could imagine it. The amplitude, the frequency, the purest form of happiness as its undertone.


Jasmine wondered what these people would see and comprehend of the view from their window. A girl sitting in a chair in some section of the town library, a unread book open in front of her, lying open in the moonlight, missing the days when people used to give its rustic pages some attention.


Jasmine glanced at her arm. The streaks, along which the nails had been dragged, were inflamed now. It was as if someone had blown air into her skin through the pores and it had risen into long stripes of red. Pangs of throbbing pain were also hitting her other arm, but she decided not to look. She wasn’t interested in seeing what horrendous act histamine had committed there.


She was not going to go back this time. She had had enough.


Jasmine stole another glance at the old librarian. He was now patiently sitting in his chair and trying to figure out the complicated device in his hand. His cell phone. Jasmine didn’t like the man, his over friendly smile, or the fact that he had bombarded her with questions as soon as he found her standing in the history aisle.


“Are you lost?” His voice was like any old man: soft, barely audible and with a touch of honey swirled on top, though niceness these days can be a signal of danger.


“No, sir.” She had replied with a firm voice and laughed inside at the man’s question. Considering the fact this place was even smaller than her house, how could a person lose oneself here?


“Is there any book you are particularly interested in?”


“No, I am just looking.” With this she had expected to be left alone but the man had other plans.


“Where are you from?”


“This society only.”


“Oh, really which house?”


“I would not like to be any more specific.” She swiftly rotated to march away, but her bag dropped and the stethoscope, along with the rest of the contents of the bag, slid across the floor.


The man looked down towards the floor and gave Jasmine an upside-down smile. “Well, this is a mess.” With a great deal of effort, he uncomfortably stepped down on his knees to help Jasmine who had already stuffed most of the things back inside her bag.


The man picked up her stethoscope and handed it to her. “So, I see you are a doctor.”


“Yes.”


“Would you please check me?”


“No.”


The man had asked many more stupid questions, but Jasmine didn’t give away any direct information. It could be dangerous. Even with this old man who was currently squinting at his cell phone.


She got back to admiring the window and found the woman had already assembled the car and was now looking over. Directly at her. They both shared a knowing look and afterwards, the woman picked up her cell phone from the table. She was going to call them, Jasmine thought.

She immediately stood up from her chair and ran towards the aisle nearest to her. She dashed through a number of them and finally fixed herself into a corner farthest from the entry.


They will not find me. I am lost forever to them.


A man in his mid-thirties stormed inside the library. Jasmine flinched as she heard the wooden doors slam into the wall. The man asked the librarian for the information he needed, and he gave away as much as he knew.


It took the man only a minute to find Jasmine and relief crashed through his whole body as soon as he found her face. But worry rose suddenly again when he saw her arms.


He bent down and held them in his hands. “What happened?”


“Jay scratched my arm and bit the other one.”


“Oh, sweetheart! It’s okay, Daddy will punish him. Now, let’s go home.”


“Did the woman across the street tell you where I was?”


“Yes, Mrs. Scott called me.”


“Can I get the same car she bought her son?”


“We’ll talk about it.”

Buy issue 9 today.
Lucent Dreaming is an independent creative writing magazine publishing beautiful, imaginative and surreal short stories, poetry and artwork from emerging authors and artists worldwide. Subscribe to Lucent Dreaming now, support us on Patreon and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Aanchal Verma lives in a very small town in Punjab, India. She is a student at a university two hours away from her hometown and amateur writing is her way of entering a serene train destined to take her away from serpentine molecules and atoms.

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