Truth or Dare?
By Sowmya Sri Rathnakumar
Time to choose what to take in life.
The clock struck 3 am. Prani stood on the roof of the fifteen-story apartment where she was living to kill herself. She walked to the edge of the roof and looked down. The darkness put out the ground from her sight. She felt the fresh air on her face. Abruptly, she heard a voice out of nowhere. She sensed a darkness in it. She looked around, but there was no one. It asked her, ‘Truth or Dare?’ Her heart raced. ‘Who is that?’ She interrogated in a stammering voice. It asked her again, ‘Truth or Dare?’ She breathed heavily in fear and answered, ‘Truth!’
‘Wise choice! You can live the rest of your life very well by facing your problems instead of dying.’ It said. ‘What? How can I live with the fact that I loved him truly, yet he used me and threw me away like trash?’ She questioned it. ‘Okay! If you can’t face the truth, do the dare!’ It commanded. ‘What is the dare?’ She asked. ‘The dare is, kill yourself after living for another seven days. Also, you will have a superpower for these seven days.’ It said. She thought for a moment and asked, ‘What is my superpower?’
‘To know about it, accept the dare!’ It demanded. She was confident that it won’t make any difference. Hence, without thinking for another moment, she agreed to the dare. She asked it again, ‘What is the superpower?’
‘Forgiveness! Your superpower is forgiveness! I am giving you the ability to forgive people who hurt you. Remember! You cannot die unless or until you use it well.’ It briefed. ‘What the hell? This is not power! This is a curse!’ She desperately yelled at it. ‘This is stupidity! I am hallucinating!’ She said to herself and jumped from the building. She opened her eyes when she felt a rush. She was terrified to see herself still standing on the roof. ‘You chose the dare. You can only live through the days using the superpower.’ It reminded her. ‘No! I can’t do it.’ She screamed. But she didn’t hear the voice this time. She understood that it had left. She kneeled on the terrace and cried aloud. She took some time to decide and went to sleep.
Prani woke up on her first day very weak. Even though she felt lifeless, she moved on with her day. She entered her office as usual. She felt odd. She noticed everyone staring at her strangely. She also heard some people talking harsh words behind her. They puzzled her. She turned on her desktop and logged onto the company’s social media website. She was shocked to see the intimate pictures of her with him all over the site. She scrolled down the pictures. It dated back to the start of their relationship. Her body trembled and felt choked. She didn’t want to spend another moment in that awful place. She packed up her things crying and left. She spent the rest of the day sobbing and thinking about the cheap behavior of people.
When she woke up on her second day, she felt furious. It was not a wave of anger; it was rage. She heard many gossiped versions of her story. Though, no one cared to ask, her side of it. Her friends stopped talking to her. They portrayed her as someone else. She felt frustrated and slapped herself to control her anger.
On the third day, she couldn’t control her anger anymore. She walked anxiously from her place to her colleagues and friends and yelled at them. Strangely, no one seemed to feel her presence. She grew fretted over the voice that made her chose the dare. Finally, she had to leave the office without peace of mind. At last, she had no option other than using her superpower to forgive them. Even though she tried hard to do it, for three days, she couldn’t do it.
On her last day, she felt ashamed and hated herself. She decided to stop everything once and for all. Before she jumped, she heard the voice again. ‘You cannot die unless you use your superpower.’ It reminded her. ‘Please, let me die. It’s hurting me so much. I can’t take it anymore.’ She wept. She wished to die in peace. So, she forgave everyone, though they ill-treated her. Still, she felt something was missing. ‘Why am I not at peace? What am I missing?’ She asked. ‘Forgive yourself first!’ It answered her.‘What?’ She asked, confused. ‘Yes! Human nature is to make mistakes and learn from them. Though, you treated yourself harshly. You aren’t ready to accept your flaws. You are ashamed of yourself. Now, there is only darkness inside you. Once you forgive yourself, you will find the light within yourself. Also, you will achieve peace!’ The voice explained
After all this time, Prani realized where she lagged as a human. She closed her eyes and dived within herself. In a dark corner, she found a girl. She went near and touched her. The girl raised her head and looked Prani right into her eyes. It was her! She was shivering with tearing eyes. Prani felt sorry for herself. She pulled herself into her arms and hugged her firmly. ‘I know you are ashamed of me. But, why did you leave me alone through this pain? Will you ever forgive me?’ Her mirror-self asked her. Tears rolled down on Prani’s cheeks. ‘I forgive you. None of this was your fault. I am the one who put you through this.’ She consoled herself. ‘Will you forgive me?’ Prani asked her in return. She nodded and smiled. Light and peace concealed her heart. Prani felt the warmth in herself, in days. She took a deep breath. The fresh air filled her lungs after many days of suffocation.
When she opened her eyes, she saw a horrifying, dark, smoky figure standing in front of her. She petrified. ‘Who are you?’ She asked. ‘I am death!’ It answered with the same voice she heard all these times. ‘You have completed your dare. Now it’s time for you to die.’ It alarmed her. It held her hand and dragged her to the edge of the building. ‘Please leave me! I want to live. If you can give me another chance, I am ready to choose the truth gratefully.’ She begged. ‘I cannot offer you a second chance!’ It said and threw her off the building.
Prani woke up on her bed, trembling. She breathed heavily. She drank water from the water bottle near her, quickly. ‘Shit! That’s a creepy dream!’ She exhausted. She tried to calm her mind. Her phone pinged. It was her crush on the message. He had asked her out for the first time. Her dream flashed inside her mind. She wished to take things slowly this time. She took a moment and replied to him, ‘Maybe later!’ She noticed that she was getting late for work. Though, it was a nightmare. She felt positive about her life.
When she entered her office, she noticed everyone staring at her strangely. Her dream popped into her mind, one more time. She hurried to her seat and logged on to the company’s social media website. She felt immense happiness when she saw the post about her promotion, which she waited for a long time. The post captioned, ‘You deserved it for your hard work – Managing Director.’ Her heart rejoiced. She heard some women behind her seat, gossiping about her promotion. Among them, one said, ‘She got this promotion by spending alone time with our MD.’ And then, they giggled. Prani’s anger peaked. She felt restless. So, she closed her eyes and forgave them in a moment. She felt peace at her heart. When she opened her eyes, she remembered her dream, once again and astonished. Suddenly, her computer screen flickered and turned off. She pressed a few buttons quickly, but nothing worked. She leaned forward to check the wiring. The screen slowly turned back on and it typed on its own! She looked into the screen eagerly. Her heartbeat fastened. The message read, ‘SECOND CHANCE – LIFE.’ Prani gasped.
Life didn’t offer a second chance only to Prani. But to everyone, who ill-treated her. Thus, the story of Prani ends here. But not for us. We are humans. We make mistakes. Yet, life is always offering us chances in many circumstances, to make it right and to move on. Unfortunately, we ignore them and refuse to move on. Many of us treat ourselves harshly. But, there are few people like Prani, who grab their chances, at the right time and moment to become successful in life. So, don’t forget to forgive yourself, forgive all the sick people around you. You will definitely find peace