Shadaab opened his eyes and looked at the smartwatch on his wrist. He was late again. He threw away the sheets and ran out to go to the bathroom. As he stepped out the door though, he felt the ground beneath slip away. Shadaab screamed. He was falling through dark clouds. He looked at his body. He had grown in size, almost superhumanly. Perfect biceps and abs? Cool! Now the bullies would think twice before picking on him. He straightened his hands and lo! He was flying. Confused, he looked at his back. He had wings! This day was weird. What was it? Till last night, he was a high schooler struggling with his classmates and with his grades. Now he had muscles, abs, wings. He was a superhero. Wow!
He needed to use his new superpowers. What should he do first? Oh yes, there was that sadistic teacher to discipline. He flew down to his school’s staff quarters and came over the house of Mr. Kumar, a stone-hearted teacher. He mercilessly beat students whenever they did something wrong. He needed to be taught a lesson. So Shadaab brought two grey clouds together with his wings’ power and crashed them for a huge rainfall on that house only. Within moments, the house was flooded and Mr. Kumar and his family were out shivering.
This is only the beginning.
Shadaab wasn’t done yet. He swooped down to take a shocked, and then shrieking, Mr. Kumar up in his gigantic arms and took him away. He flew over the mountains until he came to a bridge on an overflowing river.
Shadaab held Mr.Kumar at the edge of the bridge and asked, “Will you trouble students anymore?”
Mr. Kumar looked at his face and said, “W..what? WHAT? Sorry…..sorry! I wouldn’t do that ever now. But…but, who are you?”
“I’m The Penalizer, and you are going to pay for your sins.”
Saying this, he hooked his elbows under Mr. Kumar’s underarms and took him up, scores of feet above the river. Then he said, “Thou shalt ne’er sin,” and let him go. Mr. Kumar was falling. The Penalizer was laughing hysterically as Mr. Kumar was about to get what he was due. Suddenly he heard a lot of noise coming from the curiously rising water. He tried to flap his wings but to no avail; they weren’t even there. The Penalizer looked at his body in horror to see his perfect biceps and abs gone as well. He screamed as he was suddenly drenched by the dirty river water all through. Within moments, he was under the water.
Shadaab broke free and got up with a bloodcurdling squeal. He looked around, not understanding at first. Then he looked at his own wet body and at his mother, mug in hand, shouting at him, “Once again you’re watching the same dreams. Don’t you have to go to school? Hopeless lazy boy. Get up! Come to hall within 10 minutes and have breakfast.” She left.
Shadaab slowly got up, almost broken in spirit. It was such a satisfying dream. He sat up, fully awake now. As he got down and searched for his slippers under the bed, he saw something shining there. He took it out. It was the same smartwatch he was wearing in his dream. The Penalizer, was it? Shadaab smiled to himself…