Clean Sweep and a Tale by Benvolio

Editor’s Note: The author’s experience is a powerful reminder of the perils of drunk driving, and a reminder to readers that this can have serious and life-threatening consequences, not only for the driver but also for others on the road.

A tale by Benvolio artwork
Artwork generated on Midjourney by Subhashis Deb

 I woke up ten minutes ago and I have been staring around the hospital room since then. How am I doing, you ask? Well, my vision seems better than the day when I had opened my eyes. Last time, the doctor informed me that I was unconscious for two days. So maybe this is the same week? It is? Oh, so it has not been many days since…

My head still hurts a lot. A dull noise is shut in as if a hammer is knocking on its surface with a slow rhythmic movement. I don’t think I’ll be able to walk in several months. Not only is my face a stitched piece of rags with red and purple bulbs all over now, the doctor informed me that several of my ligaments in both my arms and legs are broken. Even lying down in a bed like this requires effort from my end. My spine has suffered severe fractures and I had to go through a surgery to realign it. All I am able to do is lie down here and breathe in the scent of phenyl and look at the swirling fan above my head. Occasionally talking to those who come to visit, just like you have. That may sound depressing but believe me, I’m not complaining. After that accident even this… is enjoyable. You may look at me and think I’m at the lowest point of my life right now and while physically, yes, I’m at my lowest point but the mere thought of having a life amazes me.

How so? You may ask.

Would you look at that? A spot of bright golden sunshine is perfectly hitting the flower vase on that shelf by the window. It’s a beautiful scene, isn’t it? Looks like a Van Gogh painting. I never thought I’d live to see anything like this ever, anymore. Not that I thought I’d die, truth be told. I didn’t think anything at all. It was all too quick. I was driving the car, suddenly there was a tremendous thud, I braced myself, it swiveled and hit the wall. It was all pitch black after that, until I woke up two days later to find myself here, surrounded by my partner, family, friends, doctors and nurses. It might have happened that I’d died and the last time I’d seen them would actually become the last time I’d ever seen them. This thought frightened me and after everyone had met me, congratulated me and left, I contemplated. 

What have I been doing with my life? What had I been doing with it? Living out each day without a second thought and squandering away my time, giving no time to my relationships, my health, my hobbies. You see I had been too busy just going about my life that I had forgotten what really matters to me and how to do them. I didn’t think it was necessary to have a purpose in life, because only great people have purposes in their lives. But no, every individual has a purpose to their lives, big or small. It may be as simple as doing what one loves and bringing joy to other’s faces. That’s it. There’s so much to do other than mindlessly idling my time away, moreover when I’ve no idea how much time I have.

If this accident had killed me, that would have been the end of it. Nothing done and all idled. It might have also happened that I slipped into a coma and never got out to complete all those dreams, aspirations and activities that I’d pushed away from the present to an indefinite time in the future, not knowing that the future is never to arrive. All those books would remain unread, all those movies unwatched, all the infinite music of this world unheard and unfelt. All the breathtaking places and delicious food would remain untouched, unexplored, unloved. I would never get a chance to marry my partner nor experience the comfort of being.

I know no one can accomplish all of this in just one single day in fear of not seeing the next. What I mean is, one should be doing whatever one loves doing. Just as Vincent Van Gogh said ‘It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much, performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.’ This thought is what’s been churning through my mind for the past few days. I appreciate my life more than I ever have. Getting to see one of my dear friends, or the flower vase are experiences no matter how small are some that I will cherish and be grateful for. I was ignorant in life going about and not valuing my existence, of my relations and all the things around me.

Until that fateful night when my rashful druken-self was driving alone and bumped into the tires of an eight wheeler causing my car to swivel and hit the wall. I was- metaphorically – hit by the stark white light of truth.

This is a new beginning for me. This time around I won’t repeat the same mistakes I’ve been making all throughout my life. I’ll work to achieve my dreams, fulfill all the promises I’ve made to myself and to others. Do everything that I’ve been pushing away. This time I won’t fail myself in life because I know I might never get another go at life, not everyone does. I was one of the lucky ones. You know, I want to sit up straight and then put my legs down and walk up to the window to stand in the sunlight and breathe in the fresh morning air.

I can’t, but this is fine for now – lying down and looking at the fan, at you, and all the others who’ll come and sit beside me.

If this isn’t a second chance…I don’t know what is?


A Tale by Benvolio 

Thunder and lightning crashed in the heavens, wherefrom, a bolt fell into the sea, refashioning the blue waves into red flames of fire. Meanwhile, I – Benvolio, life half-a-lived, my energies spent and desires unfulfilled, was working in the fields. Abruptly, out of the ominous, dark and thin clouds, emerged the crooked, ill-favored fiend.

“What needs thou, you miserable witch?” I asked .

“Me? Oh, I need no more,” cackled the witch, “for I’ve taken copious amounts. This time I give something to you, O Thane of the Land.”

“Why do you call me Thane?” I said surprised, “I am no brave soldier, no wise general, much less a Thane! Just a worthless slave farmer living in vain!”

The witch cackled again,” Be not sorrowful, O future king! For you are destined to be.” 

This declaration baffled me. Stunned and intrigued, smitten by the charming words of the ugly malicious witch, I pressed her to carry on.

“Speak more, ye witch!” 

” Heh-heh-heh” she cackled on, “I’m here to serve you, Lord. Know thy path. Look to the west, you! See the castle far beyond the burning sea? That’s where the present Thane lives. All you need to do to get rich, cross the sea, go up to the castle and murder the Thane in his sleep.”

Shocked but my chances considering, carefully I spoke – “But why? A just king is he. More so, the sea’s on fire! How do I cross?”

“Don’t ask me, you wretch,” she snapped, “Here is your dagger, there is the king, it is your fate, your luck, do not complain!” 

Rapturous and unthinking, the heavy dagger I took. As I neared the sea, the fire retreated. The witch cheers on. As I begin to swim further, the fire retreats as if paving way to my victory. I’m half way through when gradually the dagger starts weighing more too. The small-sharp dagger is turning its shape. It’s the witch’s sorcery, turning the dagger into a ship’s anchor! I struggle to keep myself afloat. 

The heavy metal anchor pulled me into the sea floor.

“Why do you harm me, you juggling fiend! My fate, my life is not a toy, you can play with!”

“It was fun, having this jest. Perhaps only your life matters to you, and not the man you were on your way to kill.” Having said this she cackles again, much louder than the thunder strikes before. She vanishes into the clouds above.

The candle of my life is slowly fading as I swallow the sour water, knowing my life is now nothing more than a tale told by an idiot.

Subhashis Deb

Subhashis Deb

I’m a 20 year old from Kolkata. I’m passionate about writing. You can say I’m a blahcksheep because I have the urge to break traditions and express myself freely. It is the sense of freedom that I’m after.


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