The Number 23

Posted: August 30, 2012 by Zoyeb in Elements @ Sir Padampat Singhania University, Udaipur, Writes...

A happy life with a son and a wife

My story started somewhere in the middle

never anticipated the things to come

to me, my past was just a riddle.


I was to pick her up that day

she was waiting for me with a cake

I had some errands, some injuries too

she was reading a book when I got there.


Inquisitive, I looked at the cover

a simple, red-back, plain old book

she smiled as if it was nothing

she told me it was my present from her.


I never believed in stories as such

fiction to me was a fool’s game

opening the first page, I saw

Fingerling, what a curious name!


Reading a little, day by day

associating with the things in the book

as if the story was my reality

as if it was my life’s second look.


The book told me it was a number

that got hold of it’s prey

it was psychological, fatal

the photographs in it were a faded gray.


The number was but twenty three

I wondered how it could be cruel

it had taken hold of the protoganist

I was intriguied, it was unreal.


Fingerling, the guy’s name, weird

was still nudging at me now

he had read it in a book himself

I had the same book, somehow.


I grew as the book progressed

my curiosity owning the best of me

absorbing, slowly, in that number

the so-called-damned twenty three.


The dreams of death, at late nights

the gush of blood on the bed

the sea of despair, the constant screams

from my reality, I fled.


I dunno why I chose that hotel

felt connected to it, somehow

the familiar walls, the familiar feeling

it was rather odd, I wondered how.


Proceeding to finish the book

I lost myself in the darkness

the book was now my reality

my soul, thirsty, sleepless.


I found the place where Fingerling buried

the remains of his broken heart

I dug and dug in that lonesome night

alone, in that God forsaken graveyard.


Dismay was all I could find

I had turned the grave apart

I could only find dust settling slowly

while I hoped to find the broken heart.


Saddened and lost, I turned towards home

I reached the door with my son in tow

the wife was afraid, I dunno why

there was dirt on her hands, I wondered how.


She seemed afraid and I imagined the worst

that she had been there to move the pieces

the dreams turned more realistic, darker

I did not want to hear her unfaithful speeches.


I sought the man who published the book

absurd and astound, still, they accompanied me

confronting him with the book he sold

he stabbed himself, His terror unbound on seeing me.


Curiosity is what killed the cat

that’s what they all have said

with events unfolding with such a mystery

I didn’t seem to care if I’d end up dead.


Solving the riddle, I grew rampant

she tried to tame this savage beast

uttering the truth that I was mad

she said that it was my past, my reality.


I ran away from home, enraged

Fingerling? No, it couldn’t be me!

running back to that same hotel again

staying in that same room Twenty Three.


The familiarity of the walls struck me again

I could see the paint peeling off it

ripping apart the paint on the walls

I found chapter 23, the end of all of it.


It connected my story from back to front

it was a more than just my memory

my past life, the blank pieces in my head

restored to me, dreary, still a mystery…

Kinshuk  Kashyup
Sir Padampat Singhania University, Udaipur

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s