How My Journey Began

This is my 10 minute (not even kidding) rushed job for my entry for WC43
And, I might add, it is exactly 600 words. It took me a while to get it under the word limit!
Rate, comment, enjoy!

Chapter 1

The Road to India

The fireworks crackle and tinkle above me, their vibrant, intense colours fracturing the still midnight blue sky. I crane my neck upwards to try and catch every second of this magical moment, and revel in the glorious scene above me. The firework particles suddenly turn into confetti and float silently down onto the mesmerised crowd. I push forward, reaching out my hands to catch the rainbow pieces on my palms. As they touch my skin, they burn like fire, and I snatch my hands away.

My eyes snap open and I frantically look for the source of the pain to my hands. I recoil involuntarily as I see the young Indian woman standing in front of me. I glance down at my palms and the half-moons imprinted on them indicate that she has pressed her nails into them. I stare back up at her as I push my newly cropped blonde hair back from my sweat beaded forehead. She smiles, and I flinch as I notice her teeth are filed to points.

“Your stop.” She says in broken and distorted English and my forehead crinkles until I realise that she means I have reached my destination
“Oh. Oh, thank you.” I smile and bob my head awkwardly while attempting to pull my backpack onto my shoulders and twist my scarf around my neck simultaneously.

The bus, which has obviously stopped during my troubled sleep, is almost free of people, of which I’m glad. It was hard enough trying to fight my way for a seat on the bus; I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it would be to struggle out amidst a sea of people.

Stumbling down the rickety steps, the hot thick air slaps me in the face and I groan tiredly. After six hours on a bus, I’m hungry, tired and my foot has no doubt been asleep for a while. I blunder through swarms of people, clutching at the straps of my backpack with sweaty hands as I scan the dusty town for a food shop. Eventually I find a likely place and stare dubiously at the meat and rice dish I am handed after a bantered, bargained conversation with the unshaven man behind the counter. I hand over a few grubby rupees which he pockets quickly, a greasy smile on his face.

After wolfing down the suspicious lumps of meat and clumps of sticky rice, I head off to find a guide. This place is so big and there are so many people it is very, very likely that I’ll get lost within the hour. Tramping along through the dust, I attempt to gaze inconspicuously at the women who sway past in fluttering kaftans and beautifully bright saris as I feel rather insignificant in my boring khaki pants and striped top. Which I might add, does nothing to shield me from the roasting sun, and after 15 minutes, my usually pale arms are a blinding lobster red.

I attempt to make use of my warbled knowledge of the Hindi language and babble to any random passer-by who makes the mistake of stopping to talk with me. In return, all I get is a few smiles and nods, and looks of pity at my apparent inability to construct a cohesive sentence. Somehow, I manage to make it known that I am looking for a guide, and a friendly young man ushers me down back alleys and side roads till we meet up with a man who looks to be in his fifties.

“Hello!” he smiles, swinging his arms out wide.

And that’s how my journey began.


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