Title: You better watch it
Author: Najeeba Sathar
Summary: We all waste electricity in the most careless way. What if suddenly all our carelessness comes back to burn us? What if it teaches you a lesson?
Word count: 864
Copyright © 2018 Najeeba Sathar
Sitting on the floor, I was vaguely staring at the cracks in the faded blue paint on the wall. Should I sleep or Should I not? I was wondering as I played with my Night lamp’s switch, flicking it on and off. It was one of those times when you should sleep but you couldn’t.
Suddenly, a bolt of shock ran through me. I switched of the light at instinct. But the light wouldn’t turn off. I tried a few more times switching it on and off. But nothing worked. If it had switched off instead and wouldn’t turn on, I wouldn’t have minded. But this was unnatural. In an instant, I was covered with sweat in fear. My first reaction was to open the door and Flee out.
“Don’t even think about it” whispered a voice so slow and venomous that I felt cold inside and out.
I looked around my room with anticipation. Soon black smoke filled in out of thin air. And a figureless smoke which looked burnt or made from ash glided towards me. The figure started to circle me slowly.
“Do you recognize who I am?” it whispered in my ears. At the back of my mind, I know I must have fallen asleep and be dreaming. Even that didn’t reassure me. The terror was too much.
“I am Energy” it informed me. It was not hard to believe. It looked used.
“I am sucked out of my life. I am crushed and used. I am burnt. You see what I look like now?” it said with so much vengeance, I wanted to scream and run.
“Do you know what happens to people who produce me? They lose their life slowly” it informed me. I remember the side effects on people working on power plants.
“Out of all the reasons I could be used, you use me to flicker your lights because you are bored?”
“That’s not Fair. Not fair at all. I was meant to be used constructive only” it said making me a bit guilty. I was beyond reflection by then and all I wanted was these few minutes to never happen and for me to return to my little game with my night lamp. I am ready to quit the game forever if it would get me out of this nightmare. Horrible images of people electrocuted passed through my mind, feeding the terror.
“It’s time for me to teach you a lesson” it said.
“But… But I did it unintentionally. I did not do anything bad. Everyone does that” I croaked pathetically.
“Did you know you people waste 67% of energy by these small unintentional things?” it challenged me. I was really taken back. Was it real? I think I have read it somewhere. That was a little comfort. It must mean this thing really must be happening in my mind.
“I will try to be mindful” I mean it at the same time I do not. It was the only possible answer. It gave a cruel laugh.
“Fine. Fine” it mocked me.
“Do be mindful” it said with a chortle.
“But I wish to leave you with a small present to prevent any relapse, little one” it said in a very dangerous tone. I was cold with sweat or urine. I was so frozen with fear, I couldn’t say.
And then suddenly the room was back to normal. It really must have been a dream. Relief washed through me. But what I failed to notice was my night lamp glowing brighter and brighter. By the time I took notice it has already exploded, and a current wave passed through my hand which was holding the switch. I screamed. My family came running to my rescue while I sat there screaming my head off. My father plied away the switch using a rubber glove. I looked down my hands. A single vein was blackened and passed under my t-shirt. My hands were working fine once the shock passed and I calmed down.
“Say me, you didn’t leave the fans and lights running in your rooms” I asked them horrified that it is now being wasted. They all looked at me weird.
“Go, Go, Go… switch them off now, immediately” I screamed terrified. They all complied afraid that it has something to do with the bursting of the bulb. Later they concluded it to paranoia. I found that I had a single black vein across my left body. The doctor we thoroughly confused because the vein was not even dead. But they couldn’t remove the blackness. That one vein thought me a lesson for my life.
At first people started to look at me like I was crazy when I insisted that they turn of the fans, lights and appliances in empty places. They took me for psychological counselling to get me out of my anxiety. Later in life I learned to protest in a proper way. I joined a non-profit organization to save energy. I may not have done a huge change. But I never wasted energy again. But there are times when I do doze of unintentionally without turning of things. And when that happens, the terror returns.