Chapter 1: Chapter 1
From the moment Ravi came into being, all they knew was a lab. Their first memories were of a box, one that was meant to keep them contained. At first the humans didn’t pay them any attention. They were a shadow, not really all that interesting. It wasn’t until Ravi began responding to their motions and probing, that the humans began to truly realize they were more than just a simple shadow. The surroundings changed in an instant and made Ravi’s movements more sluggish. Then came the feeling of being crushed. It wasn’t painful, Ravi couldn’t understand the pain yet, but it felt suffocating. Ravi imagined this was how the other shadows in boxes must have felt when they disappeared. The next memory of Ravi’s was being outside of the box. Well, outside of the small box. Now they were in a much larger box. There was one other thing that was new for Ravi, the feeling of being solid. Instead of just dispersing when Ravi hit the walls, they could actually feel the impact. The days passed by and the humans began to come into the enclosure. They always looked ridiculous but it wasn’t like Ravi had anyone to compare them to. Ravi quickly picked up on the sounds that the humans made. The humans would show objects or pictures and then make a sound to go along with it. At this, Ravi would show they understood by changing into a version of the picture or object they were showing, albeit a shadow, black, blue, purple, shrunken version of the item. Occasionally, the humans would change the glows that they put around Ravi, and another shadow would appear. Excited, Ravi would rush over to it, thinking it’s another like them. However, the only thing Ravi received was a boost of energy and growth. It was lonely for Ravi. The humans feared them. Whenever Ravi tried to move towards them, they would rush out of the enclosure or back away. Ravi didn’t know how to tell them that they just wanted to be friends.
But there weren’t only happy times. Now that Ravi had a more solid form they were beginning to understand what this pain emotion the humans had talked about was. It changed depending on what they did, but it hurt the most when they got rid of any shadows in the room. It felt as if they were slowly draining the life out of them. It was like they were stabbing knives into their thoughts and starving them at the same time. Ravi hated it, but it didn’t happen often. The few times it did happen, Ravi guessed that it was because they felt threatened by something Ravi did. They also guessed that it was to weaken them in general after the humans had given them dark time. It only happened a total of 5 times. All the lights would be turned off and Ravi loved it. It was like they could do anything they wanted, no matter how crazy it seemed, and they would still have all the energy in the world afterwards to do more. It was the most exhilarating thing to experience, not that Ravi had much to compare it to.
After listening to the humans one day, Ravi got an idea. What if they became one of the humans! They would be accepted and have no more lonely days in the box. Ravi remembered one of the pictures they had shown before. It wasn’t one that Ravi had been able to change into, but it was a smaller version of those humans that tried to communicate with Ravi every day. More shadows here. Less shadows there. Up a little more. Down a bit. When Ravi looked up again, they were surprised to see the amount of humans that had gathered. They could see mixtures of terror, fear, amazement, caution, and shock on the various faces in the room. One thing that Ravi forgot to factor in was that they still didn’t know how to make the noises that the humans did. But at least they looked like a human! Right? Ravi looked around as the humans began to move once again. Talking to each other. Pulling out notepads, tablets, and charts. Leaving the room. Shouting. Turning on machines. Entering the room. But not once coming inside of Ravi’s enclosure.
Then they gave Ravi a tablet. That tablet became Ravi’s lifeline. It was how they communicated with the humans, it was how they learned about anything and everything. The tablet was large and black, closer to the size of a laptop screen rather than a handheld tablet. It only had two functions. Writing/typing and pre-made writings. They showed Ravi how to type and write, to which Ravi wrote their name for the humans. That’s when they switched from calling Ravi an “it” to a “him”. Once Ravi was accustomed to using the tablet, the researchers told them “to write his thoughts and feelings in the tablet.” Ravi learned of nights and days, months, years, minutes, hours, and seconds. They learned to tell time, which made them realize how long they had truly been here.
Time passed and the tablet became a way to record how long they had been there. The tests were endless. Each one became more brutal than the next. But Ravi grew stronger as well. After 20 years of having the tablet, Ravi escaped. How? Through the shadows. Why? Ravi had heard murmurs of the shadows being destroyed. So tablet in hand, they left. The tablet kept track of time and had been Ravi’s sole personal item that they possessed in their prison. There were so many thoughts, ideas in there that Ravi did not want to leave to the humans. They would hunt Ravi down. However, it was also a comfort item. Something that they could be assured would be there at the end of the day. A place to ask their questions even if they got no response.
Every one of their thoughts, dreams and memories went on to that tablet and as the years continued to pass it also became a record of their many journeys.