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Excerpt for Time Abberation by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


Time Aberration





Rahul Sharma




Dedication

To my Family and all my friends, without whose support this dream probably wouldn’t have been true.

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Contents


Preface

I started writing this book a year back and it was a wonderful journey. There were ups and down but, in the end, everything fell right on the place. It was just an inception of an idea while watching a science fiction series and I wondered what it would be like to pen down that idea into a story. It was difficult at first building a story out of single idea but eventually everything turns out to be interesting and worth writing for the readers. While keeping suspense in few of the plot of this book made me understood that how our life is. There will always be huddles and difficulties but we must believe in oneself and things will be right in the end and again it will be new beginning of another chapter in your life.

All the new experience teaches you a lot and writing this book taught me lot of things. I have learned to be patient, believe in oneself and always be focus what you want to achieve.

Acknowledgments

A big vote of thanks to my parents who always supported me, my wife Meenu Sharma who always motivated me and inspired me and had shown me the ray of light when I was stuck in the middle of the plots.

I am also thankful to my friends Amal, Nevi, Ranju, Deepika, Sayantan and list goes on.

My deepest gratitude to my office colleague and team mates who always supported me and motivated me.

And Finally, I am thankful to Shrikant Ahire for his valuable suggestions, support and for the inspiration which helped me to complete the book.

On The Ledge

Jeff was an intelligent boy. He had never done anything wrong to anyone. He always wanted good for everyone. Everything seemed so right; it was in the night when Jeff thought he had to end everything. Jeff saw the view from the top of the tallest building in the city. He was on the rooftop of city plaza; the view from there was simply beautiful. He had never seen the city so beautiful and yet there was darkness in his thoughts. Somehow, he managed to climb up to the rooftop dodging all the security.

It was past midnight when most of the people were at home asleep, and few were with their loved one, sleeping peacefully. Few might be traveling to reach home. He could barely hear the honking of the traffic from this height. He could see the whole map of the city in a 360-degree view from the rooftop. In the darkness, the lights coming out from the window of each and every flat was actually defining the structure of the buildings. It was winter, and he could actually sense the cool breeze cutting his bearded cheeks, the wind up there was so strong that his trousers and grey color jacket were not letting him stand still. He could hear the voice of his clothes shouting against the powerful wind like a blade on a chopper. He had already made up his mind and started walking towards the ledge. He was just a few steps away and he would be ending his life soon. He had done his calculation and nothing worked out. There was only one thought in his mind, which was about his existence. He knew what he was doing was completely, insanely wrong; but somehow everything seemed so right when thinking about the pain he was enduring about his existence. The more he had tried to dig deeper, more he had fallen into a trap of the untold, strange mystery of his existence. He was destroying himself, royally screwing up what should be kept pristine. Right now he didn’t give a damn. He didn’t know, didn’t care. Death by jumping from the tallest building was not painless. It was excruciating and terrifying.

He had already made up his mind; just one more step and all the agony of his sorrow would end tonight. No more running from his past or to the future. The feeling of being alone in the world was worse than dying.

Just one more step, you’ve got nothing to lose because you’ve got nothing left.

Those were the thoughts running through his mind.

He took a deep breath, which eventually helps the oxygen go through his legs and made him lift his left leg for the one final step towards the end of his sorrow. His mind seemed paralyzed, but his limbs were somehow still moving on their own accord.

He wasn’t seeking the courage to do it. He was desperately searching for the right balance, yet could there ever be balance in taking one’s own life?

His heart was beating so fast he could feel the pulse in every part of his body; like he had a thousand tiny hearts pumping madly. He suddenly heard someone shouting from behind him.

“STOP! What on earth you are doing here! And why the hell you are standing on the ledge of this bloody roof?”

“I request you, sir, please mind your own business, and let me finish mine,” the man preparing to die said maintaining his balance on a single leg, still standing on the ledge.

“Son, I can understand what you are going through, but don’t you think you have another option to fight for your life and make things right,” the voice from behind replied.

“You don’t know me! So get the fuck out of here! And how can you say that you understand what I am going through. Please go away and don’t try to stop me. I am doing it.”

“OK! OK! Hang on. You do whatever you want to do, but you do one thing before you take your life. It’s not gonna take much longer. Anyhow, what’s the hurry, not that there’s a perfect time to die,” the voice said.

“What is it?” The young man brought his left leg back to its original position. He turned around a little bit to see the face of the man who he was talking to all this while. He couldn’t see much of him since the man covered himself with a hood and muffler; maybe because it was winter or perhaps he was a loner out on the street. He could still make out that the man was tall but fat and wearing Zegna overcoat suit, the G for Gucci on the slick shoes, quarter-sized rock set in the gold band on his left hand, like a Super Bowl ring. Four-thousand-dollar Zenith watch on his right wrist and yet he can’t see his face. He was not a loner, that was confirmed.

The man took a few steps towards him and said, “Just hear me out. If you don’t like the idea, then the roof is all yours. You can do whatever you want to and I will not stop you.”

“Ok, I’m all ears.”

“I just want to tell you that a few years ago, I too came to this rooftop to do the same thing, but that day something happened and it changed my life. That made me realize that trying to kill myself was all a big mistake. I can understand, after everything you have endured in the past it would be easy to become immune or desensitized to the violence that pervades our lives and it would be human to want to respond to that agony by giving up your life. When I think of all the people I have lost I remember the choices that I was forced to make in light of those tragedies. Some choices were easy. But the important choices, the choices worth making, they were hard. And hard choices require bravery. Fortunately, we live in the home of the brave. And we don’t run from hard choices. We rise up, and we face tomorrow. Killing yourself is the worst thing you can do to yourself. You just have to be a little more patient and one day things will fall into place.” The man stopped his motivation mid-way while fishing out a pack of Marlboros from his pocket.

“I know what you are trying to say, but living is not an option for me. I have done all the possible calculations and the best outcome is to jump from this roof. I always wanted to do something big with my life but I have lost my reason for existing, which you will not understand. Perhaps I should jump now. So better leave me alone,” the young man while looking desperately at the lash of the cigarette getting lit.

The older man understood what the other was desiring for, so he asked, “Care for one last cigarette?” He then gave the young man that one last cigarette of his life. The youngster takes it and covers his mouth to light that bitch up for the last time.

“I am Rufus Dubois by the way”, the older man said while extending his hand for a shake.

“I am Jeff,” the youngster replied, still standing on the edge of the rooftop and looking at Rufus dragging the first puff from his cigarette.

“Jeff! Just hear me out what I want to say,” Rufus said, “You tell me your story. Perhaps, I will get a grip on your situation and then I will tell you mine. If I find your story worse than mine, then I will not stop you. But if my story is worse than yours then you have to come down. Can we have a deal son?”

Jeff was a little confused was still thinking about what Rufus had just said. He was a total stranger and neither had he known him nor his pain but he was so confident that his story would be worse than his. Jeff was more curious to know of his pain rather than jumping from the roof now. It is a human tendency that people tend to find relief if someone else was in worse pain than they.

“Ok, let me tell you then,” said Jeff, dragging the longest puff of the era from the cigarette.

“I am all ears,” responded Rufus.

One Random Day

Jeff jumped down from the ledge to stand comfortably because it was going to take a while. “It all started a day back,” he narrated.

He was in sound sleep in dorm room number 25. He was studying Advanced Quantum Mechanics from the Liberty Institute of Technology, one of the renowned colleges for all working professional and students.

Jeff was sleeping on the softest, breathable knit-fabric bed. One side of the bed was a wall covered with an awe-inspiring poster of the universe and on the other side was a wall was covered with posters of Emma Watson and Spiderman. On the other side of the bed, the water dispenser and telephone were kept on side-table. However, the telephone didn’t have an eternal line, but you could call the operator and then make the necessary calls. Moreover, everyone was using mobile phones and they don’t need telephones these days. The rest of the walls in the dorm room were covered with a white classic wallpaper. The room was filled with the essence of weed and cigarettes. His roommate Sam was fond of smoking weed and they had necessary contact from where he usually got the stuff.

It was normal regular day and Jeff hit the snooze button on his mobile when it hit 7.00 am. A golden light was floating in the room from the window, although it was still far enough to reach Jeff’s face, but far enough to illuminate the room. The birds chirping loudly outside seemed like they were rehearsing for some kind of musical competition. Jeff woke with a little headache, but that usual for him. Maybe because of the hangover from last night’s wild revelry. He was a brilliant student and very popular. He has a lot of friends and few are really his best friends. He looked for Sam, but he was not there. Perhaps he had already left for the classes. He woke up and did his daily routine and started getting ready for his classes.

He reached his classroom before time. The college had a flavor of all kinds of students. Starting from the geeks to the hunks and he belonged to geek both the categories in a very weird way. The college was huge and they had a hostel in the campus itself. They have the professors’ office on the ground floor near the campus gate. The distance between the campus gate and the office was filled with glass and trees. Right beside the office, they had a canteen attached to it. There was the gym at the extreme corner of the hallway. His father had attended the same college many years ago. Some of his trophies bearing his name were still in the gym’s locked glass cabinet. He had been an outstanding athlete and student. It was a dream college for Jeff. He always wanted to study in the same college where his dad had studied. A renowned scientist like his dad had come out of this college and some were working with big brands and some were entrepreneurs. The college was more like a university. Spread across a thousand acres and divided into various divisions as per the respective streams. It has around a thousand faculty members, more than 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and more than 130,000 living alumni. Jeff had only one role model, which was his dad. Why can’t he be? His dad was everything for him. He had been teaching him well, well enough to be a good human being, well to be smarter than everyone. Although many times he had left Jeff alone, he always made up to Jeff for bailing out on him.

Jeff went straight to his usual seat. But he found someone else was sitting on there. He was bewildered because no one sat in the front row and that too at his seat. He was looking for Sam but he couldn’t see him. He had chosen not to argue with him, not today at least and started looking for an empty seat. He pulled out his mobile to call Sam but he couldn’t find his number. He checked the speed dial but the logs were empty. He enquired about Sam if anybody had seen him but most of the students acted in a very weird way with him as if they had seen some kind of a ghost. Again, he came to his usual seat and looked for his initials which he had written on the desk along with Sam. He didn’t know why he wanted to check that but his mind was paralyzed when he saw the initials were gone. He was still not able to move. He was staring right into the eyes of the person sitting on his seat, tried to remember his face and recollect his name, but he couldn’t. He could only remember a few names in which Sam was the first.

“What’s wrong with you dude,” the guy screamed in a very annoying voice. The scream was more like a siren honking at him to get off. He shrugged, his eyes seemed to be glued at one point but thoughts were somewhere a million miles from there. Jeff moved from the front row and started searching for a vacant place again. There was the same reaction on the face of every student sitting on whichever desk he went to. He had tried to sit with one of the persons he knew by name but that person didn’t want him to sit, hence he slid to the empty space on his desk before Jeff could sit. The group of student nearby started laughing. Every other seat he went to, the same siren honked in a different manner. He finally sat on the last seat at the right corner.

He kept his bag beside the table and looked at the mobile logs again. It was still empty. He tried to recollect the mobile number. It was unusual for him, although for a guy who had a great memory, anyone would have expected him to remember his best friend’s mobile number. He then gave up trying and started pulling out the books. He had a habit of marking the important points and taking note with the highlighter. But somehow when he opened his book, it was like a clean slate. There was no marking, no green shade on any word.

“I think I have brought someone else’s book; I don’t know whose book this is! What’s going on today? What did I have to drink last night? I can’t even remember.”

He then opened his notepad but on this one too, he couldn’t find his name written on the front page nor did the notepad have anything written on it. He was flabbergasted.

Jeff had hit the home run in this bizarre world, and this incident topped all of it. When the professor called out the names attendance he suddenly stopped at Jeff’s name and started searching for him in the crowd like he was playing Candy Crush and found the spot which could give him a maximum score. When he saw Jeff, he looked at him as if he didn’t know him or as if he was seeing him for the first time.

“You are Jeff?” the professor asked.

“Yes I am,” Jeff answered, sounding flabbergasted.

The professor frowned and shouted the next name from the list in confusion. He looked more angry than confused because he could see that Jeff’s attendance was full but he’s never seen him before. So, the professor assumed that someone was marking proxy attendance in his place.

On the contrary, Jeff had no idea why the professor was behaving like that. He was a science student and deeply and madly in love with physics and the same professor had helped him with his project recently. He had always admired Jeff’s hard –work, but most of the time would get irritated at the super-intelligent questions for which he had no answers. Then why was he was acting so strange?

“It’s me, professor? The person who always annoys you!”

Not only with the professor, when he went to the cafeteria for lunch, most people were looking at him as if they were seeing him for the first time or as if they had seen a ghost. “I am no ghost you freaks!”

Things were very unusual that day. He just ignored everything like any other day.

When all the lectures were done, he ran like The Flash and went straight to his dorm. When he was crossing the hallway, some students were teasing him and ragging him as if he was a new student.

“Back off Mike!” He was irritated and shouted to one of the students who was blocking his way. Mike was a little surprised because he was seeing Jeff for the first time and couldn’t understand how he knew his name. Jeff got inside to his room and closed the door and sat down on the sofa near the window for some time. The only person that made him survive this kind of loneliness was his girlfriend, who was going to return from Manhattan tomorrow. He searched for her number but he couldn’t find her in the last dialed number. He tried to search his contact list but he couldn’t find the number there either. He became restless, tried to remember her number and then he directly dialed her number on the caller pad, but he disconnected the call because he knew she would be busy at the conference. He didn’t want to disturb the only soul who always supported him. A mere thought rested in his mind as to why he couldn’t find her number in the phone book and why he couldn’t recollect Sam’s number and where the hell Sam was, but he ignored that too.

When They Met

The next day, Jeff was waiting for his girlfriend at the airport. JFK was not really crowded at that hour but still, there were some people sitting along with him in the waiting area. He always liked the airport where everyone waited for their loved one and after a long hour of waiting, they would meet. They hug, they smile, they cry but in the end, they are all happy. He didn’t like the idea of departing, maybe that’s the reason he didn’t go to drop her when she left.

Jeff was standing near the exit point, holding flowers in his hand. He remembered how he met her for the first time.



The city was pretty hot, certainly, and humid too — hot enough that your clothes stuck to you like scotch tape. And sweat dripped like tears from the forehead into your eyes.

Jeff was not prepared for this kind of heat. His mom had come to drop him at his college hostel. Her SUV was parked in the grass just a few feet outside his dorm room — Room 25. But each time he took those few steps to and from the car to unload what seemed like far too much stuff. It took only a few minutes to unload the car and Jeff and his mom went to his room straight away.

The room surprised him, He had pictured a plush carpet, wood-paneled walls, and flashy furniture. Aside from one luxury, a private bathroom, but he got a rectangle box with cinderblock walls coated with thick with layers of white paint; a bed of unfinished wood with a vinyl mattress was pushed against the room’s back window. The desk and dresser and bookshelves were all attached to the walls in order to prevent ‘creative’ floor planning.

Jeff sat on the bed while his mom opened the trunk, grabbed a stack of books and placed them on the bookshelves.

“I can unpack, Mom,” Jeff said

“Let me at least make your bed,” she said.

“No really, I can do it. It’s Ok.”

“God, I am gonna miss you so much,” she said suddenly, stepping through the minefield of suitcases to get to the bed. Jeff stood up and hugged her. It was too hot and both were too sweaty, which made him plan for a good, hour-long shower later.

“Don’t do anything stupid,” his mom warned him.

“Ok,” Jeff said.

“No drugs, no drinking and no cigarettes,” she said along with a hurried “love you” and left the dorm room. He saw his mom leaving in her SUV. He then stood by the window for a couple of minutes. Huge three-storied buildings; six of them, each with sixteen dorm rooms, were arranged in a hexagram around a large circle of grass. It looks like a fashion party, everywhere boys and girls hugged and smiled and walked together. He vaguely hoped that someone would come up and talk to him. But that didn’t happen, of course.

Jeff cleared the some of the suitcases and made way through it. He managed to empty one suitcase full of books while the other two were resting near the wall next to the door. He was in the transit of his thought of opening the second suitcase when he suddenly noticed that the hot, moist air made even the suitcase sweaty. He decided that now was not the time for manual labor. Now was the time for a magnificent cold shower.

The small bathroom contained a huge, full-length mirror behind the door and so he could not escape the reflection of himself being naked as he leaned in to turn on the shower. His skinniness always surprised him. His thin arms didn’t seem to get much bigger as they moved from wrist to shoulder, his chest lacked any hint of either fat or muscle and he felt a little embarrassed and wondered if something could be done about the mirror. He stared at himself for exactly three minutes before he pulled open the plain white shower curtains and ducked into the stall. Unfortunately, the shower seemed to have been designed for someone approximately three feet, seven inches tall, so the cold water hit his lower ribcage with all the force of a strong shower head. To wet his sweat-soaked face, he had to spread his legs and squat significantly.

When he opened the bathroom door after his shower, with a towel wrapped around his waist, he saw a large muscular guy with a shock of brown hair in the room. He was hauling a gigantic army green duffel bag through the door of his room. He stood six feet tall. He was well-built like Oliver Queen in Green Arrow.

Great! I am meeting my roommate naked!

He heaved the duffel bag into the room, closed the door and walked over to Jeff.

“I’m Sam,” he announced in his deep voice, the voice of a Radio DJ. Before Jeff could respond, he added, “I’d shake your hand but I think you should hold on dam tight to that towel till you can get some clothes on.”

They both laughed and Jeff introduced himself.

They both settled down. After a few hours, Sam took him to meet his best friend. They both made way out to the TV room, which according to Sam, had only cable TV. They walked to room 38. Then the miracle happened. Jeff saw the hottest girl in all of human history standing before him in cut-off jeans and a red tank top. Her room was the same as theirs, but she had already unpacked all of her stuff. Massive stacks of books lined her walls. Her library filled her bookshelves and then overflowed into waist-high stacks of books everywhere, piled haphazardly against the walls.

She walked over to him with her hand extended, and said, “Hi, I am Jessica.”

He was meeting her for the first time, but it seemed like he had known her since ages. The moment they looked into each other eyes they knew that they were soul mates.



They made a good team, Sam, Jeff, and Jessica. They had all their fun and studies together. Their first cigarette, first drink, first class bunk, everything was legendary. It’s been more than a month since the day they met and became friends, but for Jeff, it felt more like a lifetime already. He just wanted to live every day of his life with Jessica again and again. Everything was so perfect except Jeff had no idea how she felt about him. He was clueless and unaware of his next move when one day he decided to speak to Sam get things sorted one way or the other. Sam and Jeff, both were in the same class when Jeff passed a note to Sam.

Let’s bunk the next class and go out.

Sam read the note and thought for a while before he wrote yes. Although he wanted to bunk all classes, he never missed his favorite teacher’s class, quantum mechanics. The next class was quantum mechanics; not that he has some inclination about the subject, but the professor was so damn hot. Her name was Sarah, she always wore a white shirt and grey trouser but that’s not the eye candy. The eye candy was her perfect figure and the shirt she wore never had the top two buttons hooked. All Sam wanted was to see her without any distraction. Sarah had the perfect body for a model and all the students were insanely mad about her. Yes, including some girls too. Sam thought for a while whether he had made the right decision to skip class, but he figured it was okay since she would be back in class the next day.

When the class got over they both left the college and hit the nearest pub. Although the pub was not that full at this hour, it still had a few people around. Sam was thinking of calling Jessica as well but she was not in town as she had gone home for a few days. The bar was typical old style; they had a bar counter on the left and the seating arrangement on the right as well as a few barstools next to the counter. The music was not too loud. They both sat near the counter and ordered their poison. “So, why did you make me bunk quantum class? I hope you have a really good reason,” Sam said, looking at Jeff.

“Yes I do,” Jeff continued, “I want to ask you something really important. I want to ask someone out but I am not sure if I am doing this right; and if it’s right, then how do I do it?”

“Dude, she is dying to go out with you,” Sam spurted out.

“What! How do you know this?”

Sam just winked.

Jeff was flabbergasted to learn that everyone on campus knew that he had the hots for her. But it was not just that. Jeff knew that she was the one and he could never live without her.

“Sam, then just tell me. How do I ask her out?”

“Just ask her out, she will definitely say yes. I know, and in fact, the whole campus knows. Perhaps she is waiting for you to ask her out. Before she asks you, you ask her,” Sam suggested.

It seemed like a tough decision for Jeff, but he agreed with Sam. The drinks were already being served on their table; they both raised their beer mugs for a toast to their lifelong friendship and Jeff’s new beginning.



It’s been more than a week since Sam and Jeff’s discussion on Jeff asking Jessica out. Although she had returned to college, But Jeff still didn’t have the nerve to talk to her. He was waiting for the right moment and he thought today was that moment. Jeff and Jessica were attending their first class of the day. Sam, as usual, was late for class. They were sitting together in the classroom when the professor barged in and asked them to open their books. The professor was well-built and quite tall. His muscular body was more suited for a gym teacher rather than a physics professor. Students usually call him a nymphomaniac. His name was Rob. He had molested several students and had sexual relationships with a lot more, but no one had the guts to raise a complaint against him. Not only the students, but some of the professors were scared of him too; every single time he was pardoned because there was no clear evidence and he also knew some people in the government who would take care of his shit.


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