drama

Flash Fiction: Jump

Phew! I have worked in skyscrapers all my life, but one never quite gets used to the view they present. The small orbs of light, the moving glowing lights, buildings bathed in mild luminescence and the overall dazzling appearance of the city. It ever presents a sight to behold. And I am not one to ignore beauty, even though I may be admiring it from the ledge of a terrace.

Light shines all the more brightly, the denser the darkness, and it is one dark night. Not a star, nor the moon in sight. The night only emulates these truly dark times. Wars, commercial competition, and the ever increasing poverty gap, all helping to make this world all the more black. Sometimes, I feel that there is no hope for humanity and that we are walking towards an eternal night. Even though it presents a lovely sight, the cold truth is that the brighter the city appears, the darker the night it is. Our lives are just like this view I see before me. They can be dark, cold and pitch black. But, that just means we have an opportunity to make them shine all the more brighter. Hope is that ray of light that pierces through the black storm clouds, the despairs in our lives, the endearing sorrows. But, keeping hope for the future, my future, humanity’s future is no simple task. It takes courage.

It is courage that I have always sought, courage to push on when things seem bleak. In these times, liquid courage has helped me more than once. It keeps me going, the feel of the liquid slowly passing through my lips, lending its bitter smoothness to my tongue, caressing it as it passes into my cold, parched throat, warming it, before making its way into my hollow body, giving it a much needed stimulation. It kicks my mind into working conditions and I find the intrepidity that I require. Tonight, I find myself in need of a strong dose of liquid courage, and sure enough it is there with me right in my hand. It lies in its glass prison, waiting to be let out and bolster my courage.

The breeze is particularly pleasant tonight. I like how it teases my face as I stand on this ledge. It is a nice, deep plunge. Not a day has gone by in these last few weeks that I have not thought of this plunge. It would be an easy way out of the miseries this life holds. Maybe, death is the only true escape. This final gulp will leave only an empty bottle, the potent liquid having finally escaped from its black prison. How I long to be like this liquid. It is time now. I have to do it. I’ve wasted many a nights getting to this point. I cannot turn back now. I have to take the jump and jump I will, falling into the deep abyss I see below, the wind lashing at my body. I have to be the golden ray of light that will pierce through the dark.

J.A.R.V.I.S. , any time now.


Word Count: 522

Image Credit – Apoorva Gharpure

Flash Fiction: Lost

It all started with my money. My jewels and precious stones went next, followed rapidly by my artworks. I lost my armies next – all my elephants, chariots, horses and foot soldiers. Then I lost my palaces and my ancestral home. My clothes went next and then my pride. I lost my family next before finally losing myself.

I had lost it all in a matter of hours.

Now, as I sit alone, penniless, homeless and humbled, I realize I have lost something else. Something I should have lost at the very beginning.

I lost my gambling addiction!

 

Word Count: 98

Written for Master of Writing Flash Fiction Challenge Week 3

 

Image Credit: https://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/watchtower-study-june-2017/can-you-look-beyond-outward-appearances/

SIX-WORD STORY CHALLENGE – “Faeries”

 

‘Cause of Death: His Green Faeries’

 

 

Read more about The Green Fairy

This story was in response to J.I. Rogers’ Six-Word Story Challenge – “Faeries”

 

If you liked this story, do check out Jump and Bloodlust

Your thoughts on my stories or on The Green Fairy are most welcome! 🙂

Cur

“That rabid cur attacked me!”

The old man explained to the crowd that had gathered, brandishing his tattered clothes. His sullen face, was covered in sweat. The throng of people had encircled the old man, observing the consequences of his actions. A black mongrel lay motionless not two feet away from the old man. The body of the canine lay littered with cuts and bruises. The gut-wrenching howling of the dog had gathered the crowd to the location. Those who had arrived early had seen the creature breathing its last. The crowd had looked at the old man with accusing eyes. He wiped the sweat off his face and dropped the crowbar he was holding. Dashes of red were visible on the crowbar where it lay at the old man’s feet. He dusted his tattered clothes and rubbed his hands together. He addressed the staring crowd.

“The dog attacked me for no reason. I did what I had to do.”

The old man did not offer any more explanation and pushed his way through the crowd. Everyone continued staring at him until he had disappeared from view. No one uttered a word. The dog’s state left everyone aghast.

 

~ ~ ~

 

“That rabid cur attacked me!”

The young woman explained to the police officer sitting behind the desk, her face convoluted in disgust. The police officer continued taking notes. He was dutifully lodging her complaint. She had told her story.

“I was returning home, late night yesterday. My friends dropped me on the main road. It was only a couple of streets away from my house. As I was walking home, I saw an old man approaching me. He came right at me and grabbed on to me. He was trying to have his way with me. I was in no state to offer much resistance. He would have raped me right there, had it not been for a dog. From out of nowhere, this black mongrel had attacked the old man. He let me go and ran off in the opposite direction. The dog chased him and I managed to get home. Officer, you need to arrest this man.”

The police officer looked up at the young woman.

“And we will madam, we assure you.”

 

Image Credit: http://mjex.co/black-dog-art/black-dog-art-black-dog-by-black-and-white-dog-artwork/

Written for today’s Daily Prompt: Cur

Do let me know your thoughts on this story in the comments. 🙂

If you liked this story, you may want to check out:

Jingle

Sell

Bokeh

“Bokeh, Bokeh!”

I still remember my Sensei’s words. He would whack me hard on the head every time I committed a mistake. I remember hating it. It made me very angry. I was training in the art of Kyūdō. I never had any say in it. My family forced me to do it and so I did it. As an inquisitive child, I had asked Sensei what bokeh meant.

“Little one, it means blur.”

“But Sensei, don’t you want me to focus?”

“Yes, I do. One can only truly focus on the target if the rest of the world is blurred. Thus – Bokeh.”

It had sounded like sound wisdom back then. So, I had accepted it without question.

Sensei’s concept of Bokeh trained me well. By the time I was a teenager, I had achieved mastery in Kyūdō . It was time for me to join my family business. Within a month of my joining, I had my first kill. I belonged to a family of assassins. Killing came naturally to me. However, killing with such a skill and precision was unseen even in my family. I never missed my targets. Whether it was a crowded street, a speeding car or quiet office, my targets never escaped. They were the only things I saw. They were the objects in the forefront. The rest was just a blur. However, I had no idea that the concept that was the source of my assassination skills, would serve to undermine me. I found it out the hard way, two years ago.

It was a routine assassination. Of course, no assassination is really a routine – every target, every scenario is different. However, after you have killed as many people as I have, it all feels like a routine. I get information and half the money up front. I study the area and find a good spot. I camp over there and wait for my target. Once the target appears, I take one shot and get away. I get paid in full the following day, and that is the end of business. However, two years ago, not all of these things happened. After I took the shot and saw the target fall to the ground, I knew something was wrong. They were expecting it. They had wanted me to take the shot so that they could find me, and find me they did. I had been so focused on my target, that I missed the bigger picture. I was apprehended.

It has been two years to that day now. I have been rotting in this prison. Sometimes, I feel Sensei trained me too well. All I can focus on are the walls holding me in, the lights of freedom are Bokeh.

 

-x-x-x-x-x-

This story was inspired from the picture prompt:

Screenshot_2018-04-24-14-37-55-358_com.android.chrome_1524565459423.png

Would love to hear your thoughts on the story and your interpretation of the picture!

Cheers!

The Song

What a lovely song it was. It never failed to get my fingers snapping and feet tapping. The song was pretty old. Although it was performed first in 1948, I was only introduced to it once I had turned into a young adult a good decade after the song came out. I remember I had heard it for the very first time at the old pub in my hometown. I was sinking down a glass of jack when I heard the melodious voice for the very first time. Some soul with a brilliant taste in music had selected this song on that jukebox. I did not know who he was, but after the song was over, I mentally thanked him. Those were divine five minutes spent with the glass of jack in my hand, and the song on my mind.

The singer of the song sounded so sad. He told us about how he went through great hardships in life : How he lost his parents at a young age, how he was bullied on the streets, how he sang begging for alms. It was a sad song, yes. However, the part that actually hooked me on to the song was the ending. The singer managed to survive through all the hardships and made it in life. It was a happy ending for him. I really enjoyed a good end to every song. As I sat with an empty glass, the barkeeper asked me for a refill. I accepted it. While he refilled my glass, I asked him the name of the song. He told me. Never forgot the name thereafter.  I moseyed to the jukebox, put a coin in and replayed the song. It was a very well spent evening.

Over the years, the song soon became my favorite one. I danced with my soon-to-be-wife on that song on our dates. I got a live band to play it in the background when I popped the question to her. Sometimes I felt that I knew the song better than I knew my wife. Every beat, every tone, even the exact duration of the saxophone solo, I knew it all. I was always quite happy with myself for possessing such intricate knowledge about my favorite song. I passed on the love of the song to my son. He is a teenager now. He has his own brand of loud music he loves blasting on the speakers at home. However, all those times this slow, euphonious track played somewhere in between those other garish tracks, it gave me confidence. Confidence that we had brought up my son right. I have faith that he will keep the fondness I have for the song alive, and pass it on in the future.

Indeed, what a lovely song it was!

It always helps when there is a story to every aspect of you. This song, I never really heard it before they captured me and put me in this tenebrous cell. They keep playing it on loop, every five minutes without a pause. I hear the same thing every day and every night. The only respite from the music I get is when they enter the cell to continue their daily interrogation. I find it amusing to see their reactions when they find out that their music torture has still not broken me. The only way I have remained sane is by building stories about this song. A pub some time, my dad’s favorite song sometime, so many stories I have made up in my mind about why I love this song. I really do not have a choice. I have to continue adoring this song. The moment I start hating it, is the moment they will get to me. This song will never get to me. They will never succeed.

 

Image Credit: http://stmedia.stimg.co/ctyp_81080777bb82a_feature_1840_2.jpg

 

via Daily Prompt: Song

Daily Prompt: Froth

Gini placed her glass on the coaster. The Dunkel in her frosted glass frothed intensely, threatening to spill out. Inu gave her a disapproving look.

“How you can like your beer like this, has always escaped me.”

Gini looked at Inu’s glass. Her pale ale was sitting perfectly, its copper hued body showing only mild signs of a white head.

“Yeah, yeah! I can’t help it if you like to have it in an unhealthy way.”

“Hey! If you are going to froth it and waste so much of it, I would call that a waste.”

Gini lifted the glass and took a deep sip.

“Like I always say – To each their own.”

Inu laughed.

“Are you laughing at my statement?”

“Not at all. Just at your choice in growing facial hair.”

Gini realized she had froth around her mouth. She joined in the laughter. Their laughter was quite loud, but this in no way caused any ruckus, for there was no else in the pub. It was just the two of them and a couple of servers. The dark pub was tailored to emulate an olden Irish establishment. The walls and tiles had a grey stone-finish while the tables were a complimentary shade of gingerbread brown. The setup was complete with a fully stocked bar, displaying all its wares on wooden open-top shelves, and a multitude of beer taps at a ready reach for the barkeep. Maroon-cushioned bar stools completed the look.

“But, speaking of beer froth, is this not where it all began for us?”

“Right you are, Gini. Right you are. Fifteen years ago.”

“Wow! Has it been so long already?”

“Yep! The first year in our graduation struggle. Wait, my graduation struggle. You were always among the top-scorers.”

“Come on, nothing like that.”

“Gini Siqueira – honour student and pride of the batch.”

“Let’s not forget – party animal.”

“Oh yes! That is how we met. You had had one beer too many and were gyrating on the table, much to the delight of all the boys there.”

Gini chortled as she took another swig from her glass.

“I agree. I had had a lot I guess.”

“Totally! And I had to drop you home after you passed out, knocking the whole table’s drinks on to me.”

“Come on, Inu. I have apologized for that. Besides, that is how we met for the first time.”

Inu winked.

“No apologies needed, stupid. I am glad that happened. After that incident, we frequented this place. Our bond growing stronger hand in hand with the increasing potency of the concoctions we drained here.“

“Indeed. But, nothing could replace beer.”

“Cheers to that!”

Gini and Inu clanked their glasses together, spilling the brown and copper liquids on the table.

“That was a hard cheer. We need to be careful, Inu. Lest we repeat what we did after our final marks came through.”

Inu chuckled, but was quick to place her glass down.

“I did not even expect to pass, you know. I hated numbers, and accounts, and all that shit. I just did it because my parents asked me to do it. ”

“Yes, I know. I remember you announcing that they were tyrants who dictated every move you made in life.”

“I said too much, I guess. You know there was a lot happening then. My parents wanted to marry me off. I had my own dreams, I wanted to do a lot before I settled down. They just did not get it.”

“So, you just ran off and came to live with me. Very mature indeed!”

Inu took a large gulp of the beer.

“Come on, I was a kid back then.”

Gini stuck out her tongue.

“And I wasn’t?”

“No you weren’t. You were always the mature one. You were the one who convinced my parents to drop marriage plans. You convinced them that it was okay for me to leave my house and seek my own adventure. Well, all that as long as I promised to call them every day.”

“I may have done that. However, I was not always the mature one. You handled me through my multiple break-ups and problems. Anyone wanting to mess with me had to go through you.”

“That is what best friends are for, no? I had every faith in you that you would become a big-shot – minting money every day.”

“I had to live up to my best friend’s faith, no? I was never as brave as you were. I stuck to the status quo. Worked at those boring 9 to 5 jobs and worked my way up the corporate ladder. I simply walked down a beaten path. You are different Inu. You took the road through the woods. I don’t think I would have been able to work at jobs that interested me but offered no stability.”

“Yeah, I did a lot of different gigs. However, I continued saving up and always worked towards my dream. Speaking of which, I need to get to work now.”

Inu drained her glass and walked up to the bar. She took her place behind the bar. Gini followed her, glass in hand and sat down on the plush stool.

“So, barkeeper, can I get a refill?”

Inu laughed as she took the glass from Gini and refilled it at the tap.

“You can froth it up, Inu. Our journey began covered with froth. Now, I see you have finally achieved your dream. I think we can do with more froth – a refill for my glass and a refuel for our journey.”

“Thanks a lot for everything Gini. I owe you my dream.”

“No you don’t. Your dream is yours and you worked hard to achieve it. I just helped my best friend achieve it. The victory is yours.”

“No, it is ours.”

“Cheers to that, Inu. Shall we turn on the lights then? It is opening night after all.”

Inu had tears in her eyes as she nodded.

“Very well, co-owner. The Frothy Beer has now reopened for business. My dream is our dream now.”

 

Image Credit: http://img.webmd.com/dtmcms/live/webmd/consumer_assets/site_images/rich_media_quiz/topic/rmq_beer_calories/photolibrary_rm_photo_of_two_glasses_beer.jpg

via Daily Prompt: Froth

Signature

I sat back in my chair, massaging my temples. I was tense. It was an important decision for me, one that would shape my future. The source of my tension was sitting on the table in front of me – a piece of paper, the custodian of my coming years.

“All it needs is your signature on it.”

The voice belonged to the man sitting across me. His voice was deep but smooth, authoritative as well as charming at the same time. Dressed in a dapper black suit and red shirt, he sat back in his plush armchair. One of his hands clutched a glass of scotch, which he gingerly sipped from time to time. His other hand toyed with a Gurkha cigar. His entire attire boasted of opulence. He leaned in towards me. His flawless face looked all the more ethereal when the table lamp’s light shone on his face. His deep black eyes looked into mine. He reiterated his statement.

“All it needs is your signature on it. Then, you are sorted.”

His statement had merit. Mr. Olbaid was the top talent manager in the world, the very best. The fact that he had found me worthy of making an offer to, was proof of my talent. As a struggling musician, all that mattered to me, was being recognized. I wanted it all – money, glamour and most of all – the fame. I wanted millions of fans lining up to see me, thronging around me, asking me for autographs. I wanted the world to know me as the greatest musician that ever lived. This paper was the path to all that. Mr. Olbaid could make it all possible. His voice cut my thoughts.

“Dina, my darling. This is a once in a lifetime offer, I gather you recognize that. You have hunger within you, a real desire to be the best. I like that. That is what got you my offer. Do you really want to remain a struggling musician for the rest of your life? You have talent. However, talent is not enough to get you what you want. Sure, you could refuse my offer and try your hand at working hard. I am sure you will get success. But when? After you are old and wrinkly? When you have no time to enjoy your fame? I am offering you a chance to become a shining star, right now. Do you not want to take the chance? I am a patient man, Dina. But, we have been sitting here for more than a couple of hours. I have smoked through four cigars and almost finished my scotch. I am starting to think that your desire is not strong enough to sign.”

Had it been that long already? It was hard to tell the time in this room. It was decorated with antiques and memorabilia – Byzantine Armor here, Hitler’s pistol there. The dark room housed items used by musicians -all artists managed by Mr. Olbaid and his associates. The only time-keeping device in the room rested on my host’s right wrist. It seemed as though it was just five minutes ago that I entered the room, shook Mr. Olbaid’s cold hand, sat down in the plush armchair and gazed upon the contractual paper.

This whole opportunity felt like a dream to me. It was only yesterday that I was performing at the seedy club near my place, performing for an audience of drunkards ogling away at me. I did not mind the attention. However, this sort of attention was not what I would call success. After my performance, a man dressed in black approached me. He introduced himself as Mr. Olbaid and explained what he did. We set up a meeting for today and went our way. I decided to run a google check on him. I found a website. The homepage had Mr. Olbaid and Associates written in large, bold letters that covered the entire screen of my mobile. There was only two other lines written on the page –

You do not contact us, we contact you. If you are worthy, we will find you.

It was impressive and creepy at the same time. Trusting my instincts, I decided to go for the meeting. I had nothing to lose, no body to answer to. Now, as I was sitting across Mr. Olbaid, the same statement rung in my mind. I had nothing to lose. I moved my hand towards the paper. Mr. Olbaid smiled, withdrew a pen from his jacket and offered it to me.

“Please use this pen. You see it has a permanent sort of ink. You can call it a ceremony we follow here.”

I stretched my arm and accepted the pen. It was sleek to hold. I uncapped it, and gazed upon the golden nib. It had some sort of inscription on it, not that I could make head or tail of the red words. I held the pen in my fingers and signed on the paper. The ink was red – blood red. I felt an intense burning on my forehead, as if something sharp had scratched it.

“Good, very good. That was a fine decision, Dina. You will find that you will achieve all your dreams with us. Tomorrow is your sweet sixteen birthday, and starting tomorrow you will begin your new life of glamour and success. As I promised, you will have your eleven years of stardom and eternal fame. And as you promised, you are bound to us forever. Enjoy your life, Dina. Goodbye!”

 

 

The significance of the 11 years : 27 Club

Image source: https://www.videoblocks.com/video/signed-contract-document-hvkpwld

The Pain

I waited impatiently on my bike at the signal, waiting for it to turn green. It had been a long day for me. I had woken up early, prepared breakfast for my daughter and helped her get ready. Then I had dropped my little angel to school and had rushed back home. I prepared lunch for my wife and had then sped to the hospital to meet her.  Having spent time with her, feeding her lunch, rejoicing in the few words she could muster the strength to utter, I had left the hospital. I had to pick up my darling daughter from school.

The signal finally turned green, and I gunned the accelerator. No sooner had I cleared the signal than my eyes fell upon a ragged man standing at the edge of the road, signaling for a lift. I slowed down and brought my bike to a halt a few steps away from the man. He was well dressed in a fashionable denim jacket. However, in contrast to his colorful attire, his body looked thin and his face looked pale. The beard was sharply trimmed, but his eyes were dull and sunken. He looked sick. I looked at him and called out –

“Where do you need a lift to?”

He barely whispered back.

“Where are you going?”

It was a weird response.

“I’m going to St. Carmel’s School. There is a hospital nearby. Do you want me to drop you en route?”

He smiled at me.

“Sure, that would be great.”

I restarted my bike as he climbed on behind me. His reply did not sit right with me. He had smiled, but his voice had no hint of joy in it. I credited that to the fact that he was feeling under the weather. As soon as he settled behind me, I accelerated on to the road. I could feel his breath on my neck. It made me uneasy. I decided to start a conversation to ease my mood. However, before I could say anything, I heard a whisper.

“Thanks a lot for giving me a lift. I was waiting for quite a while.”

“No problem! I think people should help each other out.”

I waited for him to say something. All I got in response was some more cavernous breathing. I chose to ignore him for the time being. It was just another ten minutes. After a minute of trying to ignore him, I heard him whispering to me.

“Hmmm! So, why are you going to St. Carmel’s School?”

“I have to pick up my daughter from school.”

“Oh, nice! How old is she?”

“Aliya is ten years old. What about you, do you have any children?”

“I have no family. It is just me. It has always been just me.”

I felt sorry for him, but I could not detect any sorrow in his voice. He may have grown apathetic towards his condition over the years. So, I thought it best to avoid conversing about this matter. However, he did not seem to think so. He continued to interview me.

“What about your wife? What does she do?”

“Well, my wife is not in the best of health. She has been unwell and has been receiving treatment. The doctors are positive she will make it.”

“Nice. It is always so important to have people around you, no?”

“Yes…”

“People who support you, depend on you. People who are affected by what happens to you.”

It seemed like he was talking to himself. I did not interrupt. He continued his monologue.

“You need people around you to share your sorrows with. Am I not right, mister..?”

“Sunil. And you are right. You do need people to around you to share your pains and sorrows with.”

The pale man chuckled.

“I am glad you agree with me. I see the hospital is here. You can drop me off right here.”

I brought the bike to a halt next to the pavement.

“Good luck. I hope you feel better soon.”

As he got down from the bike, I felt a slight prick on the back of my arm. I assumed it was the man’s nails. He got off and waved at me. The joyless smile made its reappearance.

“Yes, I feel much better now. I feel as if I’ve passed on my pain to you. It is a good feeling.”

I waved back at him and rode away towards St. Carmel’s.

 

The next morning I woke up and as per my daily ritual, visited the washroom for a face wash. I felt an intense itching feeling at the back of my arm, where I had felt the prick. I checked the mirror. I was shocked to see blood at the spot where I had scratched. I decided to get it checked while visiting my wife. I turned on the morning news. The sullen faced anchor was reading soberly off the teleprompter.

Viewers who travel by two-wheelers, are advised not to offer rides to any hitchhikers they may come across. The police have received multiple complaints regarding pin-prick AIDS attacks initiated by a pale hitchhiker. Any suspicious activity should be reported at the nearest police station.

I slumped back into my sofa. The pale man had meant what he had said.

 

He had passed on his pain to me.