Be warned, child--once initiated into the world of magic, there is no turning back. One may leave the Clockwork Cafe, but one will always end up back in the building eventually, and no matter where one turns, it will linger in the peripherie, mocking, beckoning, luring with the scent of fresh-baked cookies one day and haunting with threatening whispers the next. Many have tried fleeing, but none have succeeded. Those foolish humans who think they can harness the infinite wild magic of the fae to do their bidding, who think they can tame and control it like it is but an unruly dog--those such humans never last more than a week. They come face-to-face with true power and the lucky ones keel over on the spot, hearts and minds giving way to the strain and their bodies withering into dust as the Cafe puts their vitality to better use. The unlucky ones survive. They survive but their minds crack, sometimes even shatter, and they try and flee to no avail--no matter where they go, the Cafe follows, haunting them and driving them ever-so-carefully into paranoid madness, until the mere sight of a clock is enough to send them careening into a fit of terror. The Cafe's facade encroaches further and further into their field of view, until every building they see is the Clockwork Cafe, every tree is a looming elm, every person they pass is a fae initiate on the hunt. One way or another, they all end up back in the warmth of the Cafe eventually. Oh, but recall: this fate is for the greedy and proud alone, those who wish to control the magic. There is no danger so long as one follows the rules. Do not lie in the presence of the Cafe: this is the fundamental law of the land. The Cafe is everywhere: this is a fundamental truth. Beyond these, all one must keep in mind is etiquette and respect. Is this not a worthy price to pay for initiation into the land of the fae? The Clockwork Cafe will be one's home when one has none, the Cafe will provide all the food and drink one needs… one shall want for nothing, in the care of the faeries. In the Clockwork Cafe, none die unless killed--no disease may sour one's flesh; none age within these walls. Does this not sound like paradise? Does this not seem to be a place one could be happy in, for eternity? Is it not a welcome break, from all the mundane miseries of human life…? Yes, good, good, all you need to do now is shake my hand… And one more thing, child… May I have your name?
Mirrors. If you think about it, mirrors dictate our world. Why do we have them in our bathrooms, bedrooms, hallways, pockets? They're everywhere, following each of us like a plague. Infecting the world with an unseen disease that does not have a cure. They haunt us even when we're asleep, giving us nightmares about the many things we are insecure about. Mirrors. Do we need them? Most people use them to soothe their insecurities, to make sure they do not make a fool of themselves in front of people who they deem worthy of such consideration, to change themselves into shells that are barely recognisable by people who once knew them. Mirrors. I bet you didn't know that they are the gates to a world that only few know about. They could be considered guardians of that world, if you want a proper name for them. Story books depict dramatic entrances to magical worlds where the protagonists have adventures full of unbreakable bonds, countless enemies and create memories that last a lifetime. However, in real life, things are different. In real life, where not every story has a happy ending, mirrors transport you to somewhere you never want to be. Hell, if you put it bluntly. Not the hell you are thinking of. Not the one with fires blazing everywhere, not the one with demons walking around like they owned the place. No. This hell is a world that looks just like the one we live in. However the difference lies in the fact that our world is one with people roaming about and vehicles emitting black gas into the air. However, though most things in our world can be found there, there are some that you'll never find. You'll never find people, animals or plants there. Not living ones anyway. No matter how hard you look, you will never find them. Here's the catch, that's not the reason that universe is harsher and much harder to survive in than this one. No, the reason is that once you enter, you will never be able to leave but do not fret you will not be alone. Have you ever felt loneliness? You know, that feeling of being the only one present despite being in a room of people? The feeling of being the only one alive. The feeling of having no one by your side. Nasty experience isn't it? Once you feel it, you'd never want to go through it again. Well, the same goes for him. He has feelings too you know? Just because he's not from our world doesn't mean he doesn't feel just like we do. He's desperate for company. He will be looking for you for company and you cannot escape. You have been warned. Good luck, I believe you need it. Don't worry too much, he's known to be merciful to a select few. You may be one of them. Hopefully.
It was mid-summer of 1999. I was going to shift to Mumbai with my family. I had to say goodbye to that city of mine; the Iron-city of India ‘Jamshedpur', where I had spent my childhood and had grown young. I was going to miss my companions and those places where I used to roam around with them. Also my friends were sorrowful, and one of them was my best friend Amit Rauth, an Oriya guy, who was quite more upset than others. Now who would reply his beloved's love-letters? His Hindi was poor while his beloved's Hindi was fantastic despite that she belonged to South India and her Mother tongue was Tamil. A few months before Amit had visited his sister's in-law's house in Madinipur, a District of West Bengal State. There he happened to meet Madhumita, a South Indian maiden who lived in the same locality there. Both felt unexplained closeness for each other. Perhaps it was love. My friend was hesitant. But brave and broad-minded Madhumita proposed him and both became lovers in veil of friendship. (In India still in most places love is a prohibited thing and falling in love is kept a secret from family and society.) When after a few days Amit was returning from Medinipur, Madhumita took promise from him that he would reply her letters. Amit told me about his love story. And after a week he came to me with a love-letter in his hand. He was joyous but sweating too. It was letter from Madhumita for him. The letter was written in Hindi language. Selection of words was excellent. The language was overflowing with meaning and deep emotion. I came to know that Madhumita was a thoughtful girl. Amit was unable to reply Madhumita's letter in the same manner in which Madhumita had expressed her feelings. So he asked me to reply her letter in his name. I read that letter, connected myself with the feelings expressed in the letter and created my feelings and wrote down the reply. Simply, Madhumita had taken that letter as Amit's letter and she replied back to Amit. But in fact it was her reply to me. I again wrote letter to her and this consecutiveness took place for months. Madhumita would have understanding that she was in contact with Amit. But in fact her and mine hearts were unfolding to each other. And then I shifted to Mumbai. Now Amit used to send Madhumita's letter to me. I used to write the reply and send to him. He then used to send the letter to Madhumita with his name and address. One day I was feeling badly sad apparently for no reason. I was feeling to weep despite knowing no reason for it. I wept in my room and in the bathroom. I was hiding my tears from others. After some days I went back to Jamshedpur to meet my friends. There I got worried to see Amit's grief-stricken face. He told me that a few days back he got the news from his sister about sudden death of Madhumita. Madhumita suffered from sudden severe stomachache and she couldn't survive even an hour. She was remembering Amit on her last breathings. She wanted to see him. I was shocked to hear this painful news. I felt the same deep sorrow like Amit was suffering. Now I realized that this was the reason behind my feeling of unknown pain that day in Mumbai. My inner-sense had known about her death or she had known about me after leaving her body and might had come to me. Whatever; I was feeling lifeless. I returned to my room. That night in my half-waken sleep and half-waken dream, suddenly I felt weightlessness. A strange beautiful girl whose colour was unfair and skin was glowing, came in my dream. Her presence was not unfamiliar at all. She took my hand in her hand with love and flown off holding my hand and took me on a high branch of a tree in an unknown place. In my dream, I was realizing that she was a ghost. But yet I had no feeling of fear. I was totally fearless and I was feeling oneness with her. She poured a lot of love on me through her silent presence. When I woke up in the morning, I was feeling deeply contented and light. The face of that ghost girl was still afresh in my inner sight. I had never met that girl. I had never seen that face. She was about 16 years old slim girl. She had little less-fair color. I met Amit the same day. I asked to him about look of Madhumita. He showed me the picture of Madhumita which her sister had sent to him. I felt that the ocean of love was overpowering my heart. Madhumita had come in my dream last night! After death she might had known about the secret replier of her love-letters and had come to meet me. I prayed for the peace of Madhumita's soul. Later I found that as a writer and poet my writing skill had become brighter. Perhaps it was blessings of Madhumita. [This story is from my eBook Good, Evil & Supernatural available on Amazon, Apple, Scribd, Smashwords, Google Playbook, kobo, Barnesandnoble etc] https://www.amazon.com/ENCOUNTERS-GOOD-GHOSTS-SPIRITUAL-EXPERIENCES-ebook/dp/B00BECNTT2/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=good%2C+evil+%26+supernatural+anurag+pandey&qid=1625045049&sr=8-1