Mayur hurried down and got aboard an overcrowded bus. He squeezed in and got hold of the bar at the top side of the bus and held his bag so as to not get his gift squished in between. A pang of hunger emerged in his belly, making him regret over the idea of skipping breakfast. Petrol fumes mixed with the air to give out a strangling sensation that directly entered his lungs.
It was dark and humid inside the bag. Kaya wondered where they were going. A few more minutes lapsed; she could feel him get down from the strange vehicle. She felt a sharp rise in speed.
Mayur was running. He cursed the large space that expanded from the main entrance to his classroom. Five other students were already outside the classing, sauntering around.
‘He’s not going to let us in, is he?’ he questioned.
‘Unlikely,’ said one of the standing students and left.
‘So the great Mayur will finally miss a lecture,’ exclaimed someone from behind. It was Kusum, the girl on the phone the earlier day.
Mayur gave out an awkward smile.
‘Did you get the gift?’ she asked.
Kusum advised they head towards the canteen and have something. Given the state of his stomach, that was exactly what Mayur needed to hear. They ordered a plate of samosa, bread toast and two cups of tea. Mayur opened his bag and pulled out the box.
Kusum looked at the doll, slightly uninterested. Kaya looked at Kusum. She had curly hair and wore an almost circular pair of glasses.
‘Don’t you find the eyes strange?’ Kusum exclaimed looking at the doll.
‘Not really,’ Mayur replied munching over the crispy toast.
Kusum placed the doll over the table. Kaya was getting impatient.
‘What did Master Wei mean,’ she thought.
Zafar was a powerful magician known far and wide in Middelands for his tricks. But like all magic, his spells were also bound to break.
‘A spell always has a convergent point,’ Kaya remembered the words of Master Wei, he had told her once long before the events of the past days.
‘I might be able to break the spell if I find the weak spot,’ she thought.
Zafar carried infinite amount of hatred towards the Royal family. He couldn’t have bared to see Prince Eric being crowned the heir to the throne. While Zafar hated her, the Royal family adored Kaya, the girl with magical eyes and a golden heart, they often said. She though herself unaware, would have been named to marry the Prince on that ball, if Zafar hadn’t ruined all hopes.
‘Zafar’s magic would be impossible to break, after all he carries the royal blood,’ Kaya said to herself, desperate to get back home.
Carried away by her feelings Kaya blamed herself for being so weak. She could have repelled Zafar’s spell, had she been stronger. But the spell was slowing taking toll. Once a free spirited magician of the Middlelands, she was now trapped inside the mannequin.
Time was ticking.
‘If the spell isn’t broken soon, I’ll be plastic forever. My heart won’t be able to feel happiness or pain,’ she thought as she watched the two friends giggle and laugh while finishing the last piece of toast.
‘Don’t worry Aayu will like the doll,’ Kusum said, breaking Kaya’s illusion of home.
Mayur put the doll back into his bag and they went back into the classrooms.
Mayur ordered a large cheese pizza and two cups of hot chocolate before Aayu arrived.
‘I guess I’m late,’ she said as she sat over the opposite chair.
‘You can’t be mad at me, can you?’ Mayur asked.
Aayu let out a slight laugh and nodded.
‘Nope, my childhood friend, I couldn’t stay mad at you for long,’ she said sipping the hot chocolate.
‘But what was it that kept you away that day?’ she asked.
Mayur hadn’t thought about that earlier. Now that Aayu questioned, he couldn’t quite remember what he had been doing instead of wishing Aayu on her special day.
‘Nevermind,’ he said quickly.
Mayur gave her the doll. Aayu didn’t peek into the paper bag; she would open it later after reaching home.
‘Go ahead and see what I have got,’ Mayur insisted.
‘As long as its not something that is wrapped up in ten layers of newspaper, it should be alright,’ Aayu said as she laughed.
Night had fallen, the stars had come out.
Aayu unpacked the doll, removed the wires that had pinned the doll to the surface of the box.
‘Looks like you’re going to a ball,’ she said before removing the box.
‘I was but now I’ll never get back home,’ Kaya exclaimed, Aayu unaware of the condition of the doll.
Kaya’s heart had begun turning into plastic. When the last piece turned into plastic, there would be no way the spell could be reversed.
Aayu placed her hand inside the box to bring out the doll. She felt a slight sensation of shock pass through her fingers as she pulled out the doll. Kaya felt it too. The shock surprised Kaya.
‘I have seen the doll somewhere before,’ Aayu exclaimed.
Aayu felt a strange feeling run down her spine. She had seen the doll before, the red dress and the black hair. But she couldn’t quite remember where. She looked into Kaya’s eyes with suspicion, it was like should could feel the doll look through her.
‘It’s not possible. The last thing I remember was waking up in the doll and Mayur taking me away,’ Kaya thought.
Aayu tried to remember where she had seen the doll but couldn’t figure out. She couldn’t leave the thought, apparently because of her neurotic behavior. She tried to remember events since her birthday and each detail was locked into her memory. Her heart was palpating, she had to figure this out.
She tried remembering events before her birthday. She could remember everything before the 48th hour, not after that. Her head felt dizzy. She sat over the chair. Aayu had become restless. She picked up the doll, and the shock passed over her again.
Kaya’s almost plastic heart was glowing. Aayu could see images emerging before her. She could see herself mad at Mayur. She was confused.
‘No it couldn’t be!,’ Kaya exclaimed, not sure if it was the end or just the beginning.
Mayur walked back home.
‘Aayu wasn’t mad,’ he thought to himself.
He unlocked the door, entered the living room and fell over the sofa.
‘Did you change your mind already?’ questioned a man, who was his father.
Mayur looked starlted.
‘Didn’t you agree to leave for London next weekend to join the new semester?’
Mayur had no idea what his father was saying. When had he precisely agreed on such a thing?
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