Saturday 26 June 2021

'Mirage' by Hema Nataraju

The golden deer still appears in her dreams.  Ethereal, like the first time she’d seen it in Dandakaranya in a past life. She knows what happens next and yet she wakes up, her throat afire with a deep longing for it.

She checks her phone. 3 AM. Her husband of fourteen years is sprawled on their bed, encroaching on her side. The night-light casts a blue shadow on his face. He revels in the past, constantly talks about that life when he was a king, a god, forgetting that he needs to meet sales quotas in this life, forgetting about her existence at times . But she loves him, she always has, in every life--a monotonous loop.  

Glass shatters downstairs. Someone’s breaking in. She tiptoes down the carpeted steps. Through the patterned window glass, the burglar appears to have ten heads.

“He’s here!” the deer in her head whispers.

She begins to dial 911.

“But wait,” the deer says, prancing, like her heart. “How exciting!”

And in that mad moment, she disables the home alarm.


First published by Mythic Picnic (September 2020).

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