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Nishan Shrestha

Grade: 10

Beachwood High School

Instructor: Todd Butler

Taste of Kindness

Short Story

Taste of Kindness

It's an odd sensation to be completely in a void. Mute blankness buzzing away in the background, with nothing going on. Or rather, it's not, because it is only odd when you realize you were in a void of blank emptiness, with nothing to fill it in. That was me, until a bitter taste interrupted my peace. I was surprised at first, and then disgusted at the bitter taste in my mouth. Of course then I became aware of the fact that I was now conscious, full of thought, and full of anger. What life it was, to realize that all of my consciousness rested solely on the fact that I tasted something bitter. There was nothing else, nothing to see, nothing to hear, nothing to smell, and nothing to touch.

This dull existence continued on for what seemed like eons, only broken with intervals of taste. It was always quite bitter, to find myself brought back into consciousness. Frustration slowly sweeps in as something sour declares itself present in my consciousness. Whatever kept giving me these different tastes made me quite cross. Why did it feel the need to bring me into this world, only to keep me awake with different tastes that were all bitter or sour. But I was forced to keep consuming these bitter objects, as I didn't have the strength to spit them out. The only thing that was remotely savory was my attempt to savor the sweet sleep in between the intervals of taste. The only semblance of the peace I once had.

As if the agony wasn't enough, quite suddenly, I became aware of my newfound curse of touch. It happened while I was asleep peacefully, when I felt something, jolting me awake. Oh why, was I being pulled further away from my peace? Not only did my mouth taste terrible things, but now I could feel the world around me. I brushed past many different things at different angles. So many went by me, but I remember all these different surfaces being coarse, rough, and painful. Terrible things seemed to crawl around me at any given time: some of them pointy or jagged; some of them slimy or gooey; all of them were beastly, and no doubt the cause of my terrible existence. After all, I could now feel these beasts sometimes bring me all the things that ended up tasting terrible once deposited in my mouth. The imbeciles clearly had no brain, or they would've known that the prickly triangle and cold, thin liquid were both sour. And the prickly triangle always rained down upon me from all sides. Quite painful, but not unexpected from this nightmare.Those beasts kept bringing the big, knobbly food that tasted bitter and had to be sucked on, delaying me from getting through them quickly. Other times, these things just floated into my mouth, as I seemed to be going through some sort of space, without a sense of direction whatsoever, and good riddance for that too. As if more things were necessary to tie me down to this world.

After a while, I started to smell things too. Something that smelled quite tangy happened to pass past my nose, and startled me a lot. I shuddered at the idea of sensing more. What was I to find with this new sense? Only pain, as every step into this nightmare of a place was not peace and quiet. For a time, I smelled nothing else. Then, without warning, my nose inhaled and had quite the sensory overload. Interestingly, while many terrible scents wafted into my nose, their pungency was dissipated by a fresh aroma of an ambrosial air of some sort. It was quite a pleasant smell. Surprisingly, this new found sense led to the discovery of many things. One most peculiar fact was that the cool liquid I spoke of was not only sour, but now had a spiciness to it too, making it more appealing to my taste buds. Smelling the heat coming off from the liquid, I also found the strange beasts to have a myriad of scents, and all mainly rich and sweet. The tangy smell I spoke of seemed to come from the bitter food. Interesting, that a world with such terrible things, could be much better than I had supposed. After all, the food was much more bearable now, each with its own unique taste compared to the limited taste I had before. The creatures didn't surprise me, as I could smell them before they came, and were delighted whenever I offered them food that I didn't want. And perhaps it was my imagination, but the world seemed less coarse, and seemed to have a bit more softness than I remember feeling.

Gradually, I started to pick up tiny frequencies of sound. I was quite afraid when it started, but my curiosity for what I might discover soon started to outweigh my fear of what I might encounter. The faint sound soon turned into a mellow tone, with a somewhat rhythmic pattern. It was as if the world around me was breathing. Incredible, that the very place I lived in was so full of life, that it breathed along with all of us. Not just the crawly creatures, with their pointy legs and many squeaks. Not just the gooey creatures that slid past me, howling with high and low notes, in jumbles that I couldn't make out yet. But the insistent small grunts all around me, from creatures so small, I wasn't even aware of their existence. It made me wonder, what else have I missed? And for the first time, I decided to stop simply letting the world pass by me, and take charge of where I would go. With this in mind, I started to move left instead of continuing to float straight idly. It was quite clumsy at first, but after widely thrashing my body left and right, I finally started to gain control over my movement. This was life-changing. Oh how I had yearned for excitement like this! To move towards the sound of light babble, where you could smell the spiciness coming off of it. The same spiciness of cool liquid, clearly running past me was getting closer, the babble became deafening. In my excitement of this new found discovery, I reached out to touch the liquid, and was promptly swept away. The fear I felt was profound, as I was once again lost with no sense of direction to guide me. Where was I? Why does this liquid run past me, as if it wants to rip through me, with a thousand tiny spears? How well am I? Is this where I die? Please don't die? Please don't die. Please don't die!

As my mind raced through these thoughts, I was jerked violently through the cool liquid. I don't remember when I passed out, all I know is that I woke up, feeling cold and wet. But I was alive. I was alive? I was alive! I had survived after all, and now knew what it felt like, being cold and wet. With a screech of joy, I wheezed with laughter in my new found voice. I jumped around, giddy with excitement. How good it felt, to feel the coarse and rough surface of my world. After my wheezing laughter I listened to find a faint babble close to me, and turned towards it. After some hesitation, I decided to try to feel the cool liquid, which I now knew flowed past in large quantities. I felt it flow past slowly, being quite smooth and cool. Not a dangerous force that was trying to sweep me away. A calm place, of serenity and peace.

I soon explored more from my first adventure, discovering many more things about the place I lived. The bitter foods I had once so detested, had become my favorite, and their tangy smell always guided me to soft masses jutting out of the normal rough surface, with the big knobly food always growing out of it, ripe for eating. My little friends that crawled and slid no longer disgusted me. In fact, their squeaks and howls of different pitches always compelled me to them on my travels, as I was starting to understand when they were hungry. They were my caretakers, for only now do I realize I should have surely starved without them. And for that, I will always be grateful, leading them to drink their favorite, the spicy cool liquid, whether or not I had ever even met them. It is joyful, to howl, or squeal at them, and compel them to follow me to their favorite treat, for my nose can pick up the spiciness better than they can, and it warms my soul to hear them delighted when they finally smell their favorite treat. As for the prickly triangles that rain down upon me from all sides, I discovered hiding in the soft mass where the bitter food grows, protects me from it's pain, and I can suck on bitter knobs while I wait and listen for the clunking on the soft mass to subside. Over time, I have started seeing fuzzy shapes, and different shades of black and white come into focus on my journey. Sight is upon me! The anticipation I feel is great, for how wonderful it would be to finally see the rivers the cool liquid flows in, the friends that I have, and what my favorite food really looks like. I have never been to the same place twice, and plan to continue to explore. Sight will come upon me soon, as I wait, and realize, seeing will not change the perspective I have. For I may fear the many dangers that exist, known and unknown, but I am ready to face them. My home is blessed with serenity, and I intend to live every moment I have. The peculiar sensation of different colors seems to wash over me as things come into focus. But I no longer fear the world I am blessed to live in. Only anticipation and excitement fill me, as no matter what happens next, I already know a beautiful world awaits me.