Here is a story of mine published in EP!C Magazine.

The children run after the ball that hits the gates of the dark house. The house that they have all been warned about entering. One of the boys looks through the gates and see an old man with shaggy hair sitting against a tree scribbling furiously on a pad. He grabs the gate, as a hand catches his shoulder and pulls him away from the gate.

‘Ramu we have told you to stay away from there.’ ‘But… But….But dad’

 ‘No buts’ replied the boy’s father.

‘Dad, I saw him. He’s just sitting there near the tree. I don’t see anything wrong with him.’ Says Ramu.

‘That’s all he does Ramu.’

 ‘So then why is he dangerous.’

 ‘It’s not about being dangerous. He’s mad.’

 Ramu kept glancing back as he was dragged to his house. The next day while all his friends were playing at the ground Ramu sneaked away and ran to the dark house. He saw the man sitting at the tree just like he did the previous evening. Ramu opened the gate and slowly creeped in. The man continued to scribble on his pad. Ramu walked up to the old man.

‘Hello sir’, said Ramu to the elderly man. The man did not raise his head or acknowledged hearing or seeing the young boy. Ramu went and sat down next to the man.

 ‘My name is Ramu.’ The old man grunted. Ramu was not phased he just continued, ‘Sir, why is everybody afraid of you?’ The man suddenly looks up and stares at the boy.

 ‘I am going to tell you story. It is about this boy who thought he could make it big in the music industry. He wanted to form a band of like minded young musicians and conquer the world with their music. He was extremely talented when it came to putting pen to paper, whether it was studies or writing songs. Even then he wasn’t very popular at school. He didn’t like others musical tastes and believed he was the only one who listened to good music.

‘ Ramu sits listening attentively to the elderly man talk, transfixed by his voice. The old man continues

‘This boy lived in a world of his own but his family supported him. They were proud of him and in what he did. They accepted his ideology and how he perceived life.’ ‘So then what happened?’ asked a small voice. The old man looked up and saw a number of small boys who had joined Ramu and were sitting around him.

The old man grunts and says. ‘One day this boy found some other kids in his school with whom he shared his musical interests. They all liked the same music, same bands and each of them could play a different instrument. The boy was a little taken aback as his only talent was writing songs and a little singing. But the group took him in and they finally formed a band. Their vision was to rule the world with music.’ The old man paused and took out a small metal container and took a sip from it. He looked at the little crowd that had gathered around him as he continued, ‘This was in July 2005 and they called themselves “Alliance of Messed up Teens”.

 They played new metal experimental and classic rock – two different genres in the big Rock Tree. The band consisted of a lead guitarist Rahul, drummer Parvez, rhythm guitarist/pianist Ria, bass guitarist Govind, DJ Daniel and on lead vocals was Vinit and the boy who was the lyricist was Akku. They were one of the few bands that came out with a female guitarist and she got the crowd going with her guitaring.’ ‘Then what happened?’ Ramu suddenly interrupted. ‘Something changed. It was the fall of 2006 when something happened that changed them. Akku and Ria got into a relationship. It lasted for five years.’ continued the old man. ‘That is not long. What happened to them?’ said another young boy. ‘Well their love blossomed and with that the band grew closer and got better. Each member of the band was getting better with their talents and Akku was improving as a singer as well. The band initially covered songs from different artists. One day they decided to start composing their own songs. They started becoming popular. especially in the college scene. They were the most sought after rock band. But nobody knew why they just didn’t have any luck. They were a very tight knit band. They were all addicted to each other.

 So much so that they actually were for some time staying in together. But when all this happened, it took a toll on their academics eventually and their parents were not happy about it. They all supported their children but they thought that these kids couldn’t neglect their studies like this. Here’s where things change. It was the Iron Maiden tour in India. The band decided sneak out and head to Bangalore for the concert. It was the night none of them would ever forget. After almost five years of being a band they had their first incident.

 Akku and Ria decided to have a romantic dinner after the concert and after dinner they were heading back to the hotel to meet the rest of the band when they met with an accident. The accident claimed several lives including Ria, but somehow Akku survived. There was hell back home as they snuck off for the concert and each of them spent months with sleepless nights. After a few months Akku finally stepped out of his house. It was the day he decided to leave everything behind and leave the city. He had tried killing himself but was not able to do it. It just added more misery.

 He was devastated because he had lost Ria, the first love of his life.’

‘Oh that’s so sad’ said a little girl who had also joined the circle. The old man continued as if he hadn’t been interrupted. ‘After his last meal with his friends, Akku handed them a book that had all his poems and work done for the band. He left the city. Ria’s death hit the band hard but it wrecked Akku. After Akku left bad luck seemed to follow the rest of the band. Parvez and his girlfriend Kiran also met with an accident claiming both their lives.

Akku came to know of these sudden deaths of three of his very good friends. This shattered him even more. After these deaths Akku was never seen or heard from again.’ ‘So what actually happened to Akku?’ Asks an intrigued Ramu.

 ‘Well he lives in a creepy house and sits by a tree and writes poems all day and wishes he’d wake up and find it was all just a dream.’ The kids all stare at him with gaped mouths and whispered in chorus