Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

A question? How can an imaginary friend get beaten up by school bullies? And how come he is so clever?

Taylor Lanson Taylor Lanson
Recommendations: 13

Kids can see him, but adults cannot? Maybe it was all an illusion to make Didar think that he chose Acharya when it actuality it was Acharya that chose him? Idk many possibilities but none of them set in stone.

Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

Yes, that makes sense now. I do believe that at times a soul can be reborn if they were cheated out of a life, so as to complete their mission. Again, in a story it can go in all directions.

Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

Yes, that makes sense now. I do believe that at times a soul can be reborn if they were cheated out of a life, so as to complete their mission. Again, in a story it can go in all directions.

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Taylor Lanson Taylor Lanson
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She had a friend.

So there we stood, boyish in demeanor, smiles on our faces and in our hearts. We were two best friends, without many cares – before life truly shows its darker side. Living in a poorer country robbed us of many stabilities we deserved, but it provided us with a humility that only experience can permit. Every day after school we would meet up in one of the old alleyways outside of the neighborhood. Once there, we would crack a few jokes, twiddle our thumbs, and kick rocks at the fence before inevitably getting bored and being forced to go somewhere else to do the same exact things. We didn’t care because there was always new things to look at and we had each other.

Acharya shaved his head because he liked too, he said. I never understood why, but he always seemed sick to me. He got picked on at school frequently, but I defended him once and we became friends after. I am not very brave, so when I stood-up for Acharya - the bullies were surprised. My voice shook when I told them to leave him alone. They threw me into the dirt after they beat me up and I remember thinking that it all felt so contrived to me. 4 comments

Acharya told me that I was the first one who cared and that it meant I was special to him. He sometimes would stare at me in class and I felt uncomfortable at first, but I realized that he must have been very lonely and I felt bad for him. Acharya had always been really smart though, so he must have realized that he was embarrassing me. He told me one time that I didn’t have to be his friend if I didn’t want to. “Sometimes people make mistakes, you know?” Acharya thought of himself as a mistake and that’s why he was so thoughtful. Always looking for a way to apologize for what he thought was on your mind, always trying to be better.

Looking back on it now, I realize that Acharya was the best of friends because he did not expect anything. He did not judge anything about anyone, though he had many opinions. He was a curious boy, and he seemed to forget things often that he would have to relearn. Sometimes I think to myself that he didn’t actually forget. He just wanted to learn as if he didn’t know, because it made him feel important. Meanwhile, I was an average kid. I liked things that kids liked and I did things that kids do. I’m not the important part of this story.

One Friday afternoon, I raced myself to the alleyway because I knew exactly what I wanted to do and I knew that Acharya would love it. My older cousin had told me about an abandoned factory on the outskirts of town. When the details had been absorbed, I instantly felt a sense of mystery about the place. A mystery that Acharya would surely enjoy. To bolster the event even further, I bought an old video-camera from a garage sale in one of the poorest sections of town. It was covered in grease and in certain places the plastic had been scratched – most likely from dropping it or something of that nature. It didn’t matter though, I had saved up coins for several weeks in order to afford it. The vendor showed me how to operate it before I left.

He smiled wider than ever before on that crisp Friday afternoon. The creases around his lips darkened and the inner sections of his eyebrows raised up in a way that can only be truly understood by seeing it for yourself. He challenged me to a race and I nodded. We ran. We took different paths. I was breathing really fast. I wanted to win.

I did win. I stood there for a while, catching my breath, counting the seconds till Acharya arrived. When I started to worry, there he came around the bend. He wasn’t running or even jogging. He shuffled over close to where I was standing and was shaking. His arms were tucked underneath each other. His fingers clasped the cloth on his body where they rested on his frame. “I’m scared to go in there Didar. I think that we should go back.” I felt uneasy and disappointed, the sting of Acharya’s fear leaving me hollow. Memories were so precious to us.

My urging created itself out of the subconscious. I reasoned with him, looking all the while at glazed-over eyes. He agreed with a sort of nod that spoke many other things, but my eyes were not looking for deeper meaning. They were just grazing for affirmation. I grabbed him by the arm and cautiously inched him toward the factory. We didn’t even know what they had created there, it was the sort of mystery Acharya loved to unearth. I looked over to him and saw a smile creasing its way across his face. He had forgotten his fear, I supposed.

We started the tape on the video camera, it was a window to an age that had been on the earth for some time, but that had not yet reached our home. Only slivers here and there existed, held by men of power or wealth. We had lost all sense of diligence after a few steps into the factory. My thoughts had wondered and I wasn’t even paying attention to what I was filming. Looking back on it now, I can’t even remember what paths we took or what we had seen. I wouldn’t have been able to recall anything if it weren’t for the recording.

I promised Acharya that I would meet him the next afternoon so that we could watch what we had recorded that evening. I even promised that I would wait to watch it until we were together. As I crept under my covers and rested my eyes, however, my mind’s curiosity would grow to become unbearable. I had always been a sneaky child, Acharya wouldn’t know the difference, right?

The candle lit brightly, I was scared that it might fall over on my bed and set me on fire. I grabbed the camera with a chuckle. A sort of sting hit me when it wouldn’t turn on. I checked the battery compartment and saw that it was empty. We hadn’t captured a thing and soon our memories would fade, just like so many other things.

When I showed up to meet Acharya’s surely disappointed eyes, I found myself standing alone. I realized that I didn’t actually know where Acharya lived, since we always met at the alleyway. My mother told me that there were large books with everyone’s address in them and told me where to buy one. I saved up money for some time, meanwhile I would go to the alleyway everyday hoping Acharya would show up.

He never did.

After a week and a half, I finally had enough. I looked up Acharya’s last name and went to the address; I was mad at Acharya for leaving me behind. We had promised each other to always be friends. On the way to his house, I remember thinking that maybe I had hurt his feelings. Maybe Acharya didn’t want to be my friend anymore because I forced him to do something that he didn’t want. Maybe he had remembered his fear going home that night and blamed me for it.

I knocked on the door; Acharya never told me that he lived in the poorest part of town. I had always thought of him as my equal in so many ways. I didn’t think any less of him, though. Acharya’s parents got very angry when I brought up Acharya. Acharya’s Mom started crying and left the room when I told them how he was my friend. Acharya’s Dad yelled at me, I was too frightened to understand what he was saying. He pushed me out of the house and told me not to come back.

As a young child, it did not occur to me why Acharya’s parents treated me the way they did. I tried to be as polite as possible, I could sense that they truly loved Acharya. I thought very hard about everything that had happened. Waiting expectantly on the dusty mat in front the abode, I twiddled my thumbs. The door was a dark green that sort of matched the dirty look of the house. Inside, the walls were lined with trinkets – many of which looked broken. Acharya’s parents also looked broken in the same way, it was as if their eyes were shattered like glass, refracting light in many different directions and painful to grasp.

I was so ashamed of myself that I began to grow very spiteful. I had thrown away my truest of friends. Enraged, I stomped back to the vendor which sold me that infernal camera, plumes of smoke and dust beckoned in my wake. The rustic man operating the shop was very kind to me even though I did not deserve it. He explained to me that the camera was not broken and gave me working batteries for free. He even showed me that I had recorded something on that night, because some tape had clearly been used. I did not understand exactly what he was telling me at the time, but when I returned home I inserted the batteries and immediately started viewing what we had captured.

Acharya’s face was expressionless and covered in dirt. The camera was not shaking with the bobs of my movement, it glided across the factory as if hoisted by rope. Acharya eyes were sunken into his face, there was a slight grain to the recording and it made me feel like I was watching something from a long time ago. My best friend’s face covered the entirety of the screen, I couldn’t make out anything behind him. It was almost as if he was blocking the view on purpose, anticipating the turns of the camera and always positioning himself just in front of the screen. He said nothing in the video, in fact, there was no sound at all. Our laughter, the things we screamed, the noise of our shoeless feet clapping against the gravel was all lost.
Watching the tape made me feel uncomfortable. I felt sick and started to cough; I was very frightened but I dared not to look away.  At the end of the video, just as we were leaving the factory, Acharya’s eyes started to cry. I did not know what to think or feel. I was too afraid to tell anyone what I had seen for fear of being misunderstood. The next day I told myself that I would return to the factory to find out what had happened to my friend. When I arrived, the factory was being demolished. The big man wearing an orange vest said that it was an eyesore and that someone had finally paid for it to be leveled so that a new shopping center could be built.

I told my mother about Acharya and she laughed a lot saying that now she knew who I had been hanging out with all these years. She told me that Acharya had most likely fallen ill and that he would return to school when he got better. She told me that Acharya’s parents were just worried for his safety and didn’t want anyone to bother him while he was getting better. When a few more weeks passed, my mother called the school and asked about Acharya for me. When they told her that no child named Acharya attended the school, she scolded me for lying. She wouldn’t believe anything that I said.

With nowhere left to turn, I went back to Acharya’s house and tried to explain to his parent’s what had happened. Teary eyed and with much labor, they told me of how they each took extra jobs when they learned that they would be having a child. Acharya’s dad started teaching the young kids at the school I attended, he told me that he had looked after me before I was old enough to remember. Acharya’s mom had told me that she worked at the factory, but because of the strange chemicals there, many people got sick. She told me that Acharya was stillborn as a result of the chemicals she was exposed to at her new job and that the health damages were the cause for the factory being shut down.

Even though I am still very young, I am a little older than when all of this happened. Sometimes I see Acharya when I sleep and in the dark places in town. He is always crying because he had to leave this place before he was supposed to.

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