ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing»
  • Commercial & Creative Writing»
  • Creative Writing

The Companion - Humayun Ahmed's short story

Updated on January 25, 2015

I heard this weird story from my friend Misir Ali . He was a professor of behaviourial psychology at Dhaka university . One night I had a small fight with my wife and she had gone to stay at her mom’s for the night . I was lonely , angry and sad and thought I would stay the night at Misir’s place. After dinner we were having some tea and Misir told me this weird tale . I’m not sure if something like this is possible .

“ … At that time I was a part time teacher at Dhaka-versity . I was teaching the students about abnormal behaviour . I also tried to teach them about the connection between dreams and abnormal human behaviour . I told the students to inform me about any weird or unusual dreams they had . Students used to inform me , but those were only usual stuff like falling down from high places or snakes chasing them . I had an intention of researching about unusual dreams, but it seemed like that was never going to happen . It was beginning to look as if people were not having nigtmares at all . I was starting to forget about my research , it was then I met Lokman Fakir .

Lakman Fakir came from nabinagar comilla . He was about thirty …maybe thirty five . Did an average job at the shipping corp . Had rented a two roomed apartment at kathalbagan . He wasn’t married , but was thinking about it . He came to meet me one evening . I was shocked to see the guy . His face was pale , eyes were impassive like that of a dead man . There was nothing of that brightness that young people have in their eyes . The man was limping . He was a little shaky . He entered the room and without any introduction said , “ Sir , please save me …” .

I sat him down . Asked about his particulars . Tried to make him comfortobale with some chit-chat . That didn’t seem to work much . His restlessness didn’t cease . I noticed , he could not sit straight . He was swingi back and forth . I said , “ What’s your problem ?”

He wiped the sweat from his forehead and murmured , “ sir, I get nightmares , terrible nightmares ….”

I said , “ You won’t find someone who doesn’t get nightmares . Snakes chasing , tiger chasing , falling fron heights – these are very common bad dreams . Usually people get nightmares when they have a problem with digestion . They also get them when there is some diffulcty in sleeping . You are sleeping and your pilloe slipped beneath your head – then you might also get nightmares . Physical discomfort is expressed in the dreams . Do yu know when people dreams about burning in fire ? When they are flatulent ……

“ Sir , my dreams are not like that , they are different .”

“ Okay , tell me . Let me hear what its like .”

He started right along . Told it , like he had memorized it . May he had arranged everything before coming and rehearsed it a few times .

He didn’t look into my eyes for once while speaking . Not even when I asked him questions .

“ I saw the first dream on Wednesday night . I went to sleep around eleven . I don’t have any problem with sleeping . I can be asleep as soon as I go to bed . It was the same that night . I was asleep as soon as I went to bed . Right along I had the dream .”

“ How do you know you had the dream right after you went to bed ?”

“ I saw the clock right after I woke up . It was ten ten past eleven .”

“ Tell me about the dream .”

“ I saw some place like na open field . A wild wind was blowing . There was a gushing sound of the wind . It felt quite cold . There was a lot of people around me but I couldn’t see any of them . I was hearing their voices …their laughs . I can even hear a little boy crying . An old man was coughing and I could hear that that too , but I wasn’t seeing anyone , not even a glimpse . For once I thought I had gone blind . I looked around very sharply – I was seeing the field , the fog – but wasn’t seeing any people though I was hearing their voices . Suddenly their voices stopped . The gushing sound of the wind came to a pause . It seemed as if someone had arrived . Everyone had gone silent out of his fear . I myself felt very frightened …. a kind of blind fear.

Then someone said in a rough hoarse voice , It looks like the boy has come . Where’s the girl ?

No one answered . For a few moments the crying of the little boy was heard , it also stopped right along . It seemed like someone was forcefully stopping him from crying . The man with the hoarse talked again , “ Why is the girl being late ? Why so late ? The boy can’t be kept for long . His sleep is bcoming light . He would wake up .”

Suddenly there was a commotion around . Everyone said together - she’s here ! she’s here ! the girl’s here . I was shocked and saw that a girl was standing beside me . A very skinny girl . Bright skinned , about 18 to 19 years of age . Shabbily dressed . Long hair . Her hair wasn’t tied up , it was flowing in the air . The girl was trembling with fear . I was staring at her astonished . She hold my hand without any hesitation and said in a shaking voice , “ I’m scared . I am so scared .”

I asked , “ Who’re you?”

She said , “ My name’s Nargis . What you are seeing ig a dream . A horrible dream . You would understand it a little latter . Before, I used to see this dream alone . It looks like you too would be seeing it from now on .”

She started crying . Struck by horror she stood very close to me .

While crying she said , “ please don’t mind . I am standing so close cause I’m scared . They show me this dream once every month .”

I asked , “ Who are they ?”

“ Don’t know. I don’t know anything . Don’t know why but I feel a bit relieved because you are here . Though I know you can’t do anything . Nothing, nothing ……”

She started panting and right then that hoarse , rough voice shouted , “ Time’s up ! Start running … run , run , run ….”

There was something so horrifying about that shout . Every nerve on my body started throbbing . The fog around us started to thin out . There was an intense light everywhere . It was so intense that my eyes were dazzled - the ones whose voice I was hearing but couldn’t see them ; in this intense light I saw every one of them clearly - they were like .. like …. Like ….

“ like what ?”

“ They were not human , something else – faces elongated like animals , hands and legs were like that of human . All of them were naked . They started making a strange noise . In my ears it was ringing – run , run ……. we started running . Behind us , this people like animals were running too .

We were running across a field . There were no grasses on this field . Hundreds and millions of blades were arranged in coloumns across the whole field . My feet were getting cutting into pieces from the blades – an intense sharp pain . I cried out , and right then I woke up . Saw my whole bed was wet from sweating .”

“ That’s all ?”

“ Yeah ..”

“ When did you see the next dream ?”

“ Exactly one month later …”

“ Was the girl with you too , in the second dream ?”

“ Yes ..”

“ Same dream ? Or a bit different ?”

“ Same dream ..”

“ In the next dream , did you ran holding the girl’s hand ?”

“ Yeah..”

“ The way you talked with her the first time .. did it happened the next time too ?”

“ Yeah ..”

“ Did the girl came later in the second dream too ? Were you waiting ?”

“ No , in the second dream , the girl came earlier . I came later .”

“ At what time of the night did you had the second dream ?”

“ I don’t know really but it was the end of the night . I heard the fazr azan sometimes after I woke up .”

“ The man with the hoarse voice , did he spoke in the second dream too ?”

“ Yes ..”

Lokaman Fakir wiped the sweat from his forehead with a hangkercheif from his pocket . He was sweating so much . I said , “ You want water ? Should I bring some ?”

“ Yes … please …”

I brought water , he drank it with one breath . I said , “ After your dream broke , you saw both your feet were wounded and cut by blade – right ?

Lokman was stunned and said , “ Yes sir . How did you know ?”

“ I can make that from your limping , when you entered the room . Besides , your dream is horrible because your feet are wounded after you’re having the dream . If your feet didn’t cut this wouldn’t be a horrible dream but rather a sweet one . Because in the dream you are meeting a girl and she’s standing intimately with you . A pretty girl of eighteen or nineteen , is running holding your hand .”

In the middle of my speech Lokman took off his shoes, his socks . I was shocked and saw there were numerous deep wonds on the sole of his feet . I didn’t thought something like this could really happen .

Lokman said in a weak voice , “ How can this be happening Sir ?”

“ I don’t know really . But I can tell you something from what I have read about dreams – there is something called an invert reaction . Suppose , one of your fingers got burnt – when this news reaches your brain through the nervous system you would feel intense pain . Know what happens during invert reaction ? At first the brain gets the sense of your finger burning , then the news reaches your finger – then the finger looks like burnt . The whole thing about dreaming happens in your brain . From there the body might be affected by invert reaction .

A man saw someone pricking his hands with a pin in a dream . When he woke up , there really was a pin mark on his hand . Maybe that is happening in your case too . But I don’t know if such horrible wounds on the feet is possible from invert reaction .”

“ Then what is this ?”

“ I can’t understand”

Lokman said in a tired voice , “ I get this dream once a month . Because the wounds take a month to heal ..”

I stared at Lokman Fakir for some moments and said , “ You shall try something from now on – you will go to sleep wearing shoes . If you do have to run in your dreams , you would have your shoes . Blades will not be able to hurt you .”

“ Seriously ?”

“ I think so . I think if you go to sleep wearing shoes , you wouldn’t be having the dream at all .”

Lokman went away . He didn’t look much relieved . I had told him to come after one month when he was done seeing the dream , he came after one and a half month .

His face was more pale than before . Eyes impassive . He was walking like a zombie .

I asked , “ Having the dream ?”

“ No .”

“ Are you sleeping wearing shoes ?”

“ Yes sir . I am not having the dream because of wearing the shoes .”

I said with a smile , “ Then your disease is cured . Why are you so upset ? Looks like you are in some deep trouble . What’s the problem ?”

Lokman said in a low voice , “ I feel bad for the girl Sir . The poor girl is seeing the dream alone . Such a good girl is going through so much pain . She feels a bit relieved if I am around . I feel so bad for her .”

Lokmans eyes were filling up with tears . I kept staring at him with surprise . What the hell is he talking about ?!

“ Sir I have decided not to wear shoes . I don’t care what happens . I wouldn’t let Nargis go alone . I shall be with her . I feel so bad for the girl . Such a wonderful girl . Sir , I shall be with her .”

“ Is that a good idea ?”

“ Yes Sir , it is . I can’t live without her .”

“ She’s just a girl from dreams …..”

“ She isn’t a girl from dreams . She is like me . Both of us live in this world . Maybe she lives at some place in Dhaka . She has blade wounds in her feet . Maybe she thinks about me all the time , like I do . Only we meet in dreams .”

Misir ali lit a cigarette – and said , “ That’s it …”

I screamed out , “ What do you mean that’s it ? What happened in the end ?”

“ I don’t know the end . The guy came with wounded feet once . He said he started having those dreams right after sleeping without the shoes . Gets to meet the girl in the dreams . They chat for a while … cry holding each other . Then after sometime the people like animals starts screaming , run run.. They start running .”

“ Didn’t he came to you anymore ?”

“ No .”

“ Do you know anything about his present condition ?”

“ No , I don’t . But I can assume . The boy knows he wouldn’t be having those nightmares if he goes to sleep wearing shoes , but still he won’t do it . Because it isn’t possible for him to let the girl be alone . Its not really possible to understand the immense power of love , if you haven’t fallen in love . It’s not possible for him to forget about his dream companion in this life . For the rest of his life he would sleep with his shoes on . He doesn’t really want to get rid of these nightmares. It might be a nightmare but it’s also the sweetest dream of his life .”

“ Do you think there really is any girl named Nargis ?”

Misir Ali said in a very low voice , “ I don’t know . I know so less about this mysterious world . But sometimes I too feel like running holding that girl’s hand . How about another round of tea ? Shall I heat the water ?”

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)