F I C T I O N
The moon has always been considered a mysterious place by many, and numerous legends surrounded this celestial body that revolved around the earth.
Like many myths, these legends grew out of fear and fascination of humans toward the unknown, and thus, the moon remained and will always remain, one of the most mystifying objects humans have laid their eyes upon. Poets will continue to write about the haunting abstruseness of the moon, composers will continue to compose songs based on the romantic atmosphere that the moon casts over young lovers all over the world, and writers will continue to craft paragraphs upon paragraphs of the ethereal beauty that the moon undeniably holds.
But like most mysterious things, the moon isn’t pure. It isn’t what it looks like, nor is it eternally beautiful as many deem it is. For why does it show only one side of itself to the earth? Why does it need to conceal the other side?
Behind its crater-infested surface, it holds an evil — an evil that haunts only those who are victimised by it, but that remains concealed from the eyes of others, easily veiled by the enchanting beauty of the pale light that has been stolen from the sun.
The moon shines in its popularity, basks in its glory, and everyone fails to identify the evil that goes on behind its walls.
And the moon laughs evilly as it fools the entire human race.
One of the most tragic happenings of the world is the death of children.
Sweet, innocent children whose lives have been taken away, either by carelessness or by pure selfishness. Children, whose opportunities have been taken away to see the world they have been born to. Children, whose chances at life, at success, at excellence, have been snatched mercilessly away from them, and whose bodies have been left to wither beneath the ground or burnt to ashes, and their souls — pure, tortured souls — forced to leave its shell and venture into the unknown.
Unlike adult souls, who can find their way through limbo, the young, unstained souls find themselves lost among the numerous other souls, vulnerable and scared, unable to understand what is going on. Death is but a mystery to them — merely a word that may have crossed their ears once or twice, but holding no meaning whatsoever. Everything around them is new, scary. There is no mother’s shadow to protect them, no father’s shadow to encourage them through this entirely new place.
They are all alone.
Then comes a Guardian.
A person all in white, who would have looked scary had the souls not have been so frightened already. With pure white clothes elaborately patterned with gold glitters, and a silver tiara proudly adorning her hair, she looks pretty enough, though the impression is usually wrinkled by the metallic glint in her eyes. She holds their hands, smiles kindly, eyes twinkling with stars and tears, and guides them through limbo. The souls regain a new body and begin to lose their memories of their painfully short life.
They are born again, and begin a new one.
They are taken to a new home. The sky is dark, occasionally sprinkled with numerous stars that wink at them at intervals. Perhaps it is beautiful. But the tortured souls who have no idea about their previous lives anymore, wouldn’t know. Any sense of beauty and emotions have been stripped away from them. They only have a body and clothing. Their eyes are hollow, reflecting the unfortunate tragedy they had gone through that had led to their death. But of course, they wouldn’t know. They aren’t allowed to know.
The Guardian is very strict about it.
The children are given a fishing rod each.
They are told to take their own seats and dip the fishing rod into the clouds that float below them. Soft, cottony clouds, sometimes purely white, sometimes reflected by a heavenly blue that shines in their eyes, sometimes a dark grey. Occasionally, they are flimsy, diluted, and glimpses of whatever is below the clouds can be caught — a large stretch of green land surrounded by a rippling blue. But most of the times, the clouds are dense, and the only thing they can see is the clouds themselves.
They don’t know what their fishing rods are supposed to catch. They don’t know that fishes can’t be found in clouds that are merely an accumulation of water vapour. They don’t know anything except for the fact that this place — the moon — is their home, and that their job is to sit for hours and wait for a catch.
Sometimes they’re lucky. Sometimes they aren’t.
If they are lucky, their bait gets caught amidst a thick cluster of cloud, usually darker than the rest, and they are rewarded with a glowing smile by their Guardian. If they aren’t lucky enough, they are still rewarded by a glowing smile by their Guardian, accompanied by a sharp, steely glint in her eyes that warns them to be more efficient in the future.
These children know not of the injustice they are put through. How are they to know if they are stripped of their memories and forced to believe that this is their life, that this is what they are meant to do? How are they to know that their lives mean more than to sit all day and wait for their fishing rods to catch a cluster of cloud that are of no use to them?
They are denied their rights to be born again, as another person entirely, to live a happier life with both parents who love them. They are denied the rights to know, to live, to have a choice and a future.
While they use bait to capture the catch for the Guardian, at the same time, they are being used as baits to earn profits for the same person – if a person she can be called. Profits that would not be shared among them, that they would have no part of, that would glide by in front of their eyes and deposit themselves into the elegant, gold-clad hands of the Guardian, and the children would return to their monotonous work of sitting all day with the fishing rods held between their fingers.
The Guardian believes she is right.
Of course, she is.
She isn’t harming those poor innocent souls in any way, nor is she doing anything that would endanger them. They have never been abused, never would be, and she is merely doing them a favour by taking away the memories of their horrible pasts. The poor souls did not deserve the past, and they do not deserve to carry those memories that would simply haunt them through the rest of their lives.
Is this not a better alternative than returning to Earth, where their future would remain disappointingly uncertain? They are secure here now, with no sadness or pain.
With no losses.
After all, one cannot lose something if one did not have it in the first place.
There is a gigantic castle that the children aren’t allowed access to.
A large, pure white castle, with gold railings lining the windows, and powders of gold sprinkled unevenly over the walls, giving the impression of a million stars twinkling and glittering pleasantly over the dull whiteness of the place. Atop the roof is a giant banner, fluttering softly in a nonexistent wind, and with the words, DreamWorks printed across it in elegant gold letters.
Inside the walls of the castle are people. People working endlessly with the clusters of cloud caught by the children with their fishing rods. The clouds are, in fact, dreams experienced by those children living peacefully on Earth, cradled amidst soft blankets, or snuggled close to their parents’ chests, a thumb in their mouth and a smile on their faces as their minds get lost amidst the dreamland where they experience the joys of life.
Most of the dreams are nothing but short snippets of memories, or childhood fear, irrelevant and totally uninteresting. Very rarely, however, comes a dream that is anything but uninteresting. With magical creatures, or magical lands consisting of entrancing places and events, several dreams can be strung together to create a meaningful story.
And that is their job. The dreams of the Earth children are used and processed into moving pictures, also known as movies, and these are then exported to Earth itself, where those very children enjoy their own dreams through the screens of their televisions.
The Guardian is proud of the work they are doing.
She is proud of herself for having come up with this splendid idea, for she believes, truly, that the innocent imagination of children should not be wasted and she is proud of her workers who work day in and day out to create such wonderful movies from the dreams. It isn’t an easy job in any way — fleshing out the creative dreams from a myriad of those that make no proper sense, and placing them together chronologically and in a sequence that would be enjoyable to watch.
She is, of course, proud of the innocent souls as well. For who would have caught those dreams if not them? They are responsible for the joys and happiness that are being spread all over Earth through the movies they are creating, and they should be proud of themselves.
She believes that this is the right thing to do. These children were denied a childhood, but they can work to make the childhood of those still living that much better.
There is no need for them to be reborn. Why should they return to the place that couldn’t fulfil their hollow promises of showering them with the endless pleasures of life?
They are happy enough here.
The work continues.
There is no end to the dreams that are caught from the sleeping children from Earth. Sometimes, the days are dry and the dreams that are captured are mere recollections of the day’s events. Sometimes, they are reflections of the fears that the children hold among their hearts — whether it is darkness, or something completely harmless, such as a spoon that has once hurt them while they were trying to eat.
But the dream collectors do not lose hope — never. Rather, their desires only rise as the dreams grow in maturity and number. The soft puffs of cloud that are collected are stored gently, lovingly, before dispersing them when the time comes to release the imaginations of the night. The movies get better each time, and the happiness that is spread through them is enough fuel to power their motivation.
But with each success increases their confidence and pride, even if only a bit, their attention shifts from the children who collect the dreams to making the movies. What they fail to realise is that for a system to work, equal attention and love should be given to each piece that is responsible to get it done, no matter how small they are.
The children who were being forced to fish for the dreams begin to gain their memories. Slowly, but surely. The haze of confusion in their eyes clear, the sparks ignite, quenching the dullness that had taken over. They blink rapidly and stare, bewildered, in front of them, where they see a never-ending stretch of clouds, and a fishing rod gripped in their hands, its line falling down to the soft white surface.
Their senses return.
And they know.
They know what they aren’t supposed to. They know that this isn’t their home, that they don’t deserve to be here. They know that they are meant for so much more than to sit with a fishing rod all day. They know that it is not their job to make the children of Earth happy.
After all, they are children themselves, and nothing can justify the abrupt ending of their lives.
They owe the world nothing.
The media on Earth is in an uproar as the news spreads.
DreamWorks has decided to shut down, for reasons unexplained, and all forms of social media are riddled with fans, young and old, criticising their decision. They demand to reveal the reason, but their pleas fall upon deaf ears. All the past movies have been wiped out, and not a single platform is available where they can be found. Confusion more than anger sweeps through people, and they begin wondering what may have happened for this abrupt incident to occur.
Somewhere far, far from Earth, some hundred thousand kilometres away, a place once so pure and white, sprinkled with glittering gold in places, is swallowed completely by pitch-black darkness. Cries of distress and agitation can be heard, as the castle crumbles down into fine powder, before dispersing away into clouds that dissolve into thin air. Amidst the rubble rises a mushroom of soft clouds, pale blue and pink and yellow in colour, it effectively envelops the shouts of despair and rises higher, higher than it had ever reached.
DreamWorks is gone.
But the children are now free.
The writer, a Harry Potter obsessed math-nerd, is a part of TDA Editorial Team.