Naksha is an ordinary fourteen- year- old teenage girl. She lives with her mom, Sakshi, who is an astro-photographer and avid star-gazer. Her dad is a travel journalist and is mostly out of town. You may think that Naksha has a completely normal life not even worth writing about, but until a few years ago, her family had to attend counseling sessions. When Naksha was nine, her elder brother committed suicide. Nobody even knows why. His friends were asked, teachers were consulted, but all they said was that during his last few months he felt distant. Like he was physically here, but mentally he was somewhere else.
Anyway, after her brother’s death, her family went to therapy sessions. Naksha’s best friend, Radha, really helped her through her phase of grief. Now they both are in grade ten and still best friends.
As a tradition in Naksha’s family, whenever anyone has a bad day, they go star-gazing together. Sakshi hadn’t had a good day, so there they lay, under the night sky. Sakshi was teaching her daughter about Orion’s Belt when suddenly Naksha spotted something. In the dark black sky, she saw…a face. An indistinct face. It was random, but at the same time, unique. And as soon as she saw it, a whisper-like voice filled her head, faintly mumbling. But Naksha could swear she heard her name.
The next night, she returned, this time with Radha. She determinedly searched the sky for any signs that she hadn’t imagined the whole thing. She succeeds. There it was, the face. It was huge, but tiny. Daunting, but soft. Even a dictionary couldn’t describe it.
Just as the night before, the same whisper-like voice filled her head. It was impossible to distinguish what it was saying, but one word was crystal-clear. Naksha.
She asked Radha if she heard or saw anything out of the ordinary, but she hadn’t. So Naksha decided not to share her, what she called insanity, with anyone else.
Naksha’s curiosity lead her to go back. But this time the face seemed to be closer than usual. Even the voice that filled her head was unlike before, distinguishable.
It said,”Hello Naksha. What’s up?”. “Um… nothing ”, a shocked Naksha replied, not sure what to say. Their conversation slowly progressed towards small talk about the weather, school and ice-cream.
Now you might wonder why Naksha wasn’t fleeing for her life when a strange face appears in the sky and apparently asks her,”What’s up?”. But Naksha felt strangely comforted and relaxed by the face and its hushed voice. She instinctively felt that she could trust it.
So, Naksha being the curious person that she was, returned once more. The same face appeared along with the same voice filling her head. This time they talked about deeper,more personal topics like suicide and death and funerals. The face asked her if there was a particular reason for her wanting to talk about such dark topics. Naksha replied,”Five years ago, my elder brother committed suicide. I will forever wonder why, for he left neither a note, nor a friend he confided in”. The face gave his condolences and Naksha hurriedly searched for a happier talking point.” You know, I never imagined I would be friends with, well… a face in the dark”.
“That’s exactly what Rohan said that night”, it said.
The funny thing is, Naksha never told the face her brothers name.
This story has been written by Ayesha Gupta
Hi, my name is Ayesha! I’m 13 and in grade-9 of Matrikiran high school. I’m a huge bookworm and I also really enjoy writing. The written word is mesmerising and so powerful.