Monday, 20 May 2013

Blackout - a mind twisting short story

What's so special with this story?
I can say that this story 'Blackout' is the most peculiar as well as complicated one among my creations. The narration is mind twisting and it easily takes more than one read to understand what exactly is going on. The confusion can be cleared if each and every line is carefully read and understood. It can be further eliminated by reading the sequel which I'll be sharing in my future posts. 


Note: Do not forget to post your valuable comment in the comment box after reading the story.


All of a sudden everything blacked out. I was able to see just the darkness around me. Later, I realized that I fell asleep. Rubbing my eyes slowly to get the vision right, I found myself in an anonymous place that was filled with people and computers. Suddenly a loud female voice forced me to regain my consciousness.
'Samuel, wake up. I need you to complete this work by noon'.
The situation appeared puzzled to me that time. I was not able to recollect anything. I took the glass of water which was placed on the table. A loud voice caused me to spill the water on my shirt. 
'Samuel (in a louder tone), what did I tell you to do and what have you done?'
'I'm sorry to ask this, do you know me?' She gave me a strange look when I asked this question.
'Stop kidding and get your work done. I want you not to delay it much longer'.
'I'm sorry. Do you know when I turned up here? I mean, how did I come to this place?'
'Samuel. Are you all right?'
'No. I am not. Excuse me'. 

I got up from my place and walked towards the door. Everything appeared strange to me. All I could guess was I must have been an employee in that office but I was not sure about that. I did not have a single clue of what was going on with me then. I found something in my left pocket. It was a cell phone. I held that in my hand and walked towards the place where I was seated before. The cell phone rang as I sat on the chair. I picked it up.
'Hi Sir. I am James Arthur calling from Union Bank of America. Do you have some time to discuss about the investment plans?'
'No thanks'.
I hung up the phone and put it on the table. I looked around me to find if any strange things were happening that time. Nothing seemed strange except for what happened to me. My cell phone rang again. I picked it up.
'Hi Sir. I am James Arthur calling from Union Bank....'
'F*** off'. 
I hung up the phone again. It annoyed me very much. As I kept it on the table, it started to ring again. This time I turned on to loudspeaker mode.
'Hi Sir. I am James Arthur calling from Union Bank. Could you please...?’
I hung up the phone as I heard the name James Arthur. I was almost about to throw the phone on the floor but again it rang. This time I decided to be harsh to him.
'What the f*** do you think of yourself? Don't you have any other work? Why do you keep annoying me, you sick idiot?'
There was a bit of silence from the other side. After few seconds a voice came up from the other side.
'Calm down Samuel. You must not get tensed at this moment'.
'Hello. May I know who you are?' 
'You need to listen to me Samuel. You need to act according to what I say. You will be in danger if you don’t do so’.
'What the ****! Who are you?'
'You can find a stitch to the right side of your waist. Do you?'
I lifted my shirt up and found my right waist to have a stitch. 'Yes. How do you know that?'
'There is a bomb planted in your body and I have the trigger with me. If you do whatever I say you will be safe and within 6 hours the bomb will be removed from your body. Else I will have to pull the trigger and leave you killed along with thousand others. Make your choice Samuel'.

That explanation jammed my thoughts and everything faded out. I couldn't remember who I was that time and all of a sudden things that were happening to me turned out to be unusual. I didn't know how to react to his question.
'What do you want me to do?'
'That's my boy. Listen to me carefully Samuel. Reach street 31 in ten minutes. I will tell the rest when you get to there. Quick!' 

He cut the call and I left the office immediately. There was a heavy downpour of rain outside. I got into a taxi and asked him to take me to Street 31. The taxi guy took me to Street 31 in less than 5 minutes. It was just few kilometers away from the office. I got the call exactly after I stepped out of taxi.
'Do you see the coffee shop next to you?' 
I turned back and there was a coffee shop. 'Yes. There is a coffee shop,' I said.
'Now you get inside the shop and sit at table 2. Quick!'
I went inside the coffee shop. Someone was sitting at the table 2. I requested him to change his seat and so he did. I got the phone call few minutes after I sat there.
'You are doing good Samuel'.
'Now what do you want me to do? I don't understand anything'.
'There is nothing to understand Samuel. You just need to do what I say. That's it. Do you understand that?'
'OK. Do you see a red colored bag next to you?'
'Yes,' I took that bag in my hand.
'Now I want you to call Mr. William'.
'There will be a number stored in the name of William in your cell phone. Just dial it,' he hung up the phone.

I searched for the name William in the contacts list and dialed the number. 
'You have reached William. Right now I am unavailable. Please leave a message'.
'Damn!' I banged the table with my fist. I went through the contact list again. Meanwhile I saw a pop up that showed unread messages in my message box. I opened the messages folder. There were two messages from a guy named Henry. One of the message read 'Hey Samuel. I won't be coming for the party tonight. Sorry buddy'. The next message read 'did you hear that Ritchie got admitted in the same hospital where you got admitted a week before. He had some digestion disorder it seems'. Something struck my mind that time. I thought that if I went to the hospital I would get some clue. I dialed Henry's number.
'Henry, it's me. I can't recollect the name of the hospital where I got admitted last week'.
'Hey buddy, it's Richard Specialty Hospital. Why do you ask this buddy?' As he said I noted down the name in a notepad which I had in my pocket.
'Nah! OK buddy, I’ll call you later'. I hung up the phone and immediately left to the hospital. 

I reached the Richard Specialty Hospital and got confirmed that I have been admitted a week ago for some gastric intestinal disorder. I printed out the medical reports and left the place soon. As I walked outside the hospital, my cell phone rang.
'Did you call William?'
'Yes, but he was not available'.
'Call him again,' he hung up the phone. I dialed the number again and William picked up.
'Hello, William here'.
'Ah! Hi William, this is Samuel'.
'Samuel. I was about to call you. Could you please drop into my place during your leisure? I need to talk to you regarding the plan that we made. And don't forget to bring the red suitcase which I gave you that day,' William hung up the phone.

The phone call landed me in confusion. Was it William who was making me run? That was the question raised in my mind. I tried to dial the number of the unknown guy who kept calling me from morning but I was not able to reach his number. After sometime I got a call from the guy.
'Did you speak to him?'
'Yes. He told to drop into his place sometime today'.
'OK. Now you...’
'Wait. Why should I listen to you?'
'You don't have other option Samuel. You have just completed 30% of your task. You need to do what I say to get the bomb detached from your body'.
As I listened to him I saw a lady waving her hand towards me. 'OK. What's next?' I said in phone and waved my hand back to the lady. 
'You take the taxi and reach Street 63. You can meet William there in a building named Red Cliff Enterprises'.
After he hung up the phone I walked to the lady who waved at me. 
'Samuel. How do you feel now?' The lady asked me.
'Do you know me?' 
'Huh! Are you kidding me?’ 
'Look lady. I am facing a tough situation now. If you know me you have to help me. Please'.
'Is something wrong with you Sam?'
'Everything is wrong with me now. Let's get into your car. I guess he might be watching me from somewhere around here'.
'Time is running out. Take me to Street 63 and I will explain you the things during the drive'.

I explained the situation to her and I made her clear what I was going through from morning. She said her name was Isabel and she was the doctor who treated me for the intestinal disorder problem that I faced a week ago. She also said that I underwent a kidney transplant operation last week. 
'Stop the car. Stop it,' I said in a loud voice.
'What happened?'
'What did you say about the Kidney transplant operation?'
'While testing for your intestinal problem we found out that your right kidney got infected and we transplanted the kidney and you know about this'.
I lifted up my shirt and pointed to the stitch, 'what about this?' 
'It's me who stitched that portion. When did you remove the bandage?'
'So I had a kidney transplant operation and this stitch was because of it, right?' The situation started to become more complex. I wanted to make sure that no bomb was planted in my body. 'Where we are now and how far is Street 63?' I asked her.
'We are almost there. It's just few yards from here'.
'OK. Now turn your car and take me back to the hospital. I want you to scan my entire body to find out anything suspicious'.
'Do it. Turn your car. Turn your car'.

She turned her car and drove me back to the hospital. Meanwhile I didn't get any call from that person. We reached the hospital in few minutes and immediately went to the scanning room. After taking full body scan and performing some tests, Isabel confirmed that there was no metal or anything suspicious thing planted in my body. This made me clear that the person who was on phone from morning was using me for some other purpose and I wanted to find that. At the same time I wanted to find out the connection I have with William. 
'Can you do me a favor Isabel?'
'Sure Sam'.
'Get the help of your friends or anyone and just trace the location of this number for me'.
'OK. Give that number to me. I will do it for you Sam'.
I wrote the unknown man’s number in a piece of paper and handed it to Isabel.

I stayed there in hospital for about one hour while Isabel was working out with the reports. She came out from her laboratory with some reports in her hand.
'Samuel. I am sorry to say. You have been affected with Anterograde Amnesia'.
'What? Amnesia?'
'Yes Samuel. There was an overdose of the drug Benzodiazepine found in your body which led to Anterograde Amnesia'.
'What? How did it happen? I mean, what happens next?'
'You won't have a chance to remember things that happened from the event that caused you amnesia. We call this as short term amnesia. It will take time for your recovery but you will not have the ability to develop the memories that you had in the past. It's like you cannot imagine what happened to you right from your birth'.
'What the ****!' 
Her cell phone rang all of a sudden. 'Jimmy...Yes...OK.....Good........Thank you Jimmy'. She hung up the phone. 'Sam, we have found the location of that number. Right now he is at Street 63'.

I rushed to Street 63 and reached Red Cliff Enterprises where I was supposed to meet William. The name board at the entrance read 'William & Co - second floor'. I took the lift to the second floor. I didn't know that how I was going to recognize him but I was pretty sure that William will recognize me when I stand before him. My cell phone rang as I got out from the lift. It was from Isabel.
'Tell me Isabel'.
'Sam. I need to tell a very important thing to you'.
'The drug, it has been injected to you......'.
'Sam, you are going to......’ The signal began to weaken.
'Damn! I will call you later'. 
'Sam...Sam... Listen...' 
I hung up and started to walk fast. I reached the office of William. He stood up from his chair as soon as he saw me stepping inside the office.
'Hey, Samuel, come in. I have something for you'.
'Who are you? Tell me. What have you done to me?'
'Sam. What are you talking about? I am not able to get you'.
'Who am I? What's happening with me? What are your plans?'
'Sam. Calm down. I am not able to understand what you say'.
My cell phone rang and that interrupted our conversation. It was from that unknown guy. 'Ssh' I signaled to William.
'You can't yell on him like that Samuel.' 
I was confused. It was not William who was instructing me through phone. It was some other guy and now the situation became perplexed. 
'I am totally sick of your games. I know that you are somewhere out here. Just come before me and talk you sick.....’
He cut the call before I could finish. 

I took William’s cell phone and dialed the number. The response was 'Switched off'. I thought something was wrong with that place and immediately took William downstairs. I handed over the red bag to William and asked him to leave the place as soon as possible. After William left the place I heard a voice from my behind - 'Good job Samuel. You have almost completed 50% the task'.
I felt like I heard this voice somewhere. I turned back to see who it was. It was the guy who sat at table 2 when I entered the coffee shop and it was him to who agreed to switch table. 
'You?' I said, looking at that guy.
'Yes Samuel. It's me. I was on the phone'.
'Why did you do this to me?'
'It's my job Samuel. I have been paid to do this'.
'Job? Paid by whom?'
'I don't know his identity Samuel. I just know that people call him by the name Scott'.
'Scott? What was his plan? What you people are up to?'
'I just did my job Samuel'.
'What's that f***ing job?'
'I've been instructed to talk to you. That's what I did so far. I followed his instructions and I made you follow mine.’
‘That bomb?'
'Yes. I still have the trigger with me. Time is left for that Samuel'.
'I do not have any bomb planted in my body'.
'I know that Samuel. But it was with you the whole time'.
'The one you handed over to William a while ago'.
'The red bag? Oh! Shit! You planted the bomb in that bag?'
'It's none of my business knowing who planted the bomb Samuel. I was just instructed to make you take the bag and deliver it to William'.
I took out my cell phone and dialed to William.
'William. Where are you?'
'Hello.... Hello... Sam. Is that you?'
'Yes William. Where are you?'
'I just arrived at the Mayor's residence'.
'Hello...Hello... William. Get out from there with your bag'.
'It's too late Sam'. The man who stood beside me interrupted.
He took out a small device and pressed the button. Bang! I heard the loud blast sound from the cell phone and the call immediately got cut. 
'What have you done to them? What have you done?' I yelled at him.
'That's my job Samuel'. 

I stood there watching him leave the place. I saw Isabel approaching me from the other side. I started to lose my conscious and the next thing I saw when I opened my eyes was the light at the hospital. Isabel was seated next to me. She saw me slowing opening my eyes and came near to me.
'Do you feel better Sam?'
'Yeah, what happened to me?'
'I think he is just beginning to recover,' Isabel said this to another doctor, Angie, who stood beside her.
'What happened to me?'
'You have to relax now Sam. Angie, inject him that sedative and make sure that you keep them away from him. Sam, take rest'. Saying this, Isabel left the ward to her cabin. 
'Isabel, what is wrong with him?' Angie asked Isabel on entering the cabin.
'Split Personality. It's confirmed with our tests'.
'Interesting!’  Angie was excited to know more about this case. 'Explain me’. 
'Two personalities reside inside Samuel and two days after the kidney operation, one of the personalities injected a powerful dose of the sedative Benzodiazepine into his body which caused him Anterograde Amnesia. Now both the personalities won't know what happened from the moment the drug got injected into his body till the time of recovery. The drug works for some hours and later on everything will be resumed to normal. That's what happened to Samuel. Right now he is beginning to recover from the short term amnesia'.
'What about the long term memories? I mean the things happened before the injection of the drug?'
'Yes Angie, he may remember those very well. Only the period between the drug injection and recovery will be faded away forever'.
Meanwhile a nurse interrupted 'Isabel...Angie....We have a problem'.
Isabel and Angie ran to the ward where Samuel was accommodated. Samuel was found missing. They found a note on the bed. The note read - 'Thank you for everything, Isabel - Scott'. 

Written by Ashwin Kumar

Sequel - Click here


  1. oh my.. that is something dangerous :(
    very engrossing read and loved the unexpected twist.. :)

  2. Wow! One of the best suspense short stories I've come across these few days. I would love to make a short film out of it. But I guess this one and the sequel will be best if made into feature films than short ones. All the best with more shorts :)