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Prologue

Amber was nine years old when she realized the world sucked. It really did. After a long argument
with her parents, mostly one sided lecture, she concluded her parents were not as intelligent as they
pretended to be. Father always prioritized newspaper to her chats, mother hummed to her stories,
even though she rarely would hear anything. This fight was different though. It made her busy father
clear up space from his schedule, and her mother to finally stop humming!
Amber had not been sleeping during nights. She fidgeted awkwardly in class, and her homework
since last week was not up to the mark. This uprooted the monotony of the Sharma household. Why
couldnt Amber sleep? Every nine years old after a long day at school, few hours outside and few
hours of homework should smile at the very thought of tender sleep.
Mother checked ambers drawer, changed sheets, and wiped clean the cupboard to fish anything.
There was no evidence at all. The x-box was intact in its packet, untouched. What a shame! All her
dolls were discarded. What did Amber do if not fall asleep all night?
Amber, stop making stories. her father commanded in his natural authoritative tone.
She pleaded with her eyes, her mother said nothing. She would rarely go against her husband. For
reasons beyond Ambers understanding, she felt betrayed. As if her very parents were treacherous
and cruel.
You should read less,
Hence her books were taken. The night fell again, and this time her mother tucked her in, but Amber
spoke not a word. She closed her eyes and acted as best as she could to feign sleep. Few minutes
elapsed and her exhausted mother left the room, sliding the door ajar.
The sleep didnt come. Like always, Or since last month. After a while, she was bored, her body
ached. Moon was shining; thick light fell right from the window to her knees. Amber got up as
silently as she could manage, and sat near her window.
Her window was one special place she always liked. It was her television to the world. Facing the
house was a small garden for children to play. Through her window, Amber could look over the
lanes, houses and the park. Night enveloped with moonlight and produced mystery. She tried to
remember the colour of the view, but ended up naming the colour mystery itself.
The night moved slowly, and at times mercilessly. Amber cowered in one corner and thought of her
best friend Anurag. Most girls in her class had girls as best friend, but she had Anurag. Miss Mamta
Mishra, her class teacher had asked every student to string a friendship band and choose one
classmate. Amber was not sure if she would receive any. The thought of going Band-less had
terrified her. As if to answer her prayers, Anurag gave the band he made to her. That was a very
thoughtful thing for a nine year old to do. Even though the band he made was a loose braid of two
threads, hardly fancy, Amber decided she would make Anurag her best friend. So she did. Yet Amber
knew best friends should always know everything about each other. One fine evening Amber tried to
tell Anurag why she could not sleep, but before she could, he was called upon by another boy and
since then Amber felt incapable of sharing. Maybe it was because of the setback she received from
her parents lack of trust.
So, Amber decided during the school camp next week, instead of telling she would let Anurag
witness.



CAMP!

The camp never happened. Amber had thought and imagined so much about it. Even if the sun went
down early and night extended to years, it would have not been par with her expectations. Anurag
was busy playing with other boys. Without intending to he had hurt his best friend. It was maybe at
that moment she decided her secret should be left alone.
Things changed that night for her. She felt pain she thought was too adult to feel. Anurag was
oblivious, while she sat alone with her snacks untouched the whole night. Though he tried to talk
next morning, worst has been done. Amber was the first to leave the camp. Fidgeting, she ran the
moment she saw her parents on the drive-way. Her mother consciously waving while her father still
in the car, shouting orders to hurry.
Did you have a good time? she asked, too jolly for her own good.
I want to go home.