dark

Twittering Tale: Their Culture

“Oh God! Are we really going there?”
Yup.
“You realise they are uneducated tribals right?”
Yes. Very little is known about them. We can learn and share their culture with the world.
*2 hours later*
“Is keeping us locked in cages a part of their culture?!”
So is cannibalism, I’m sure…


Character Count: 28

Prompt:

Twittering Tales #148 – August 6, 2019

Photo by David Reed

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Manic Madness: Dark Vacation

It was summertime, and my vacations were on.

I decided to backpack across the country, visiting ghostly castles, wrecked towns and other places of historical importance. The last lap of my journey, before departing the country brought me to The Boondocks Bar and Inn. I had heard of the mysterious room 13. The stories said that many years ago, a witch lived in the room. Until one day, she was executed for her damned practices. The deadly witch had called out for Satan, even during her final confession. Everyone who lived there complained of an ominous presence. I wanted to experience it.

I entered the Inn and asked the forlorn faced innkeeper for room 13. The man looked at me stoically, handed me the key without any question and got back to listening to the dirgeful music playing on the radio.

I settled into the room, which looked quite well maintained for a supposed haunted room. I called in for dinner – a nice plate of fish and chips. Waiting for my food, I walked over to the dressing mirror. I stared at my reflection looking at my well known imperfections. My reflection stared back at me and winked. My heart skipped a beat as I remained frozen in place gawking at my reflection. Its mouth curled into a sultry smile, poison dripping out. It made a hushing gesture asking for silence. As scars appeared on its face, the reflection transformed into a scythe wielding reaper. The scythe slashed through the mirror, shattering it. The cold metal lodged itself in my chest, making me scream out in pain.

The knocking on my door brought me back to my senses. The mirror was unshattered as before. My reflection was behaving as it should. I opened the door to find the innkeeper holding a plate of fish and chips. I rejoiced inwardly. I began holding great reverence for the innkeeper for his timely arrival. He placed the plate on the table and smiled at me.
“Eat up. It will help reduce the pain in your chest.”

I noticed his smile was rather sinister….


Word Count: 350

Prompt:

Manic Madness

Okay, wow! 31 words!! This was quite a challenge set by Laura. I hope it has turned out well.

Happy reading! 🙂

Flash Fiction: Paddle

You sure there are no alligators here, right?

This question had begun to irritate me now. It was the fifth time in half an hour that I was being asked the same question. I assured my date once again, before she promptly went back to clicking selfies and her social media.

She was as much part of the date as the surrounding water was. She had zero interest in paddling or making conversation. I guess she asked me out only to get someone to paddle, while she clicked pictures. She had even kept aside her life-jacket so that she could continue flaunting her best features on social media.

Hey, my followers on insta are asking me about alligators..you are completely sure, right?

That was the last straw. This girl had driven me nuts. I pulled back the paddle and whacked her on her head with it. Down she went into the lake, phone and all.

The lake had no alligators, but I made no promises about crocodiles…


Word Count: 168

Prompt:

FFfAW Challenge #193

Haiku: Dark Beasts

Black Night Falls, Foul Beasts
Awaken, Blood Hued Eyes Stare,
Strike Terror in Hearts…


Prompt:

COLLEEN’S WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 105, “COLOR & CREEPY,”

I chose Hue and Foul as synonyms for Color and Creepy..

Happy reading! 🙂

Flash Fiction: Another Dark Day

Nothing has changed today. It is just another dark day.

The temperature has dropped further as the town continues to receive stormy showers. The window of my bedroom has fogged up. This fog can be wiped off with a quick sweep of my hand. I wish removing the clouds in my life was as easy. Then again, not that it matters.

The rainy weather brings with it a fresh wave of gloom. In a life so dark, what difference does a few shades darker make? The rains may bring in the gloom, but that is not the only thing. He skips office, and stays at home. He makes me face the window, and forces his way inside. Initially, I used to say no, fight back even. Then, when he refused to stop and ignored how the torrents running down my cheeks reflected the weather outside, even I stopped trying, turned stoic. Here he comes again, I am already facing the window, watching the storm contrast my numbness.

Afterall, it’s just another dark day.


Word Count: 173

Prompts:

FFfAW Challenge – 182nd

Manic Mondays 3 way prompt – Stoic

Graveyard Walk

The moon observed the two friends as they crossed the cobbled street. In contrast to the white splendor of the moon, the two were clothed in dull, tattered garbs. They held on to each other for support as they hobbled along. The gaslights were the only source of illumination for the two, in these wee hours. The duo stopped in front of the cemetery.

“We are here, Harry.”

“Yes, we are, Don.”

Harry pushed open the gate. Don could see it was taking Harry a massive effort. He put his body weight against the door. With much effort, the two managed to get the rusted iron gate open. They stood at their spots for a couple of minutes, panting and wheezing. It was to be expected. They were not young anymore. Harry bent clutching his stomach and looked up at Don.

“That took a lot of gas. Shall we make a move?”

“We should. I feel so old.”

“Don, you are old.”

Don caught Harry’s eye and they burst out laughing. They stopped abruptly as soon as they heard their laughter echoing. They continued walking deeper into the graveyard, the ever-watchful moon illuminating the rough terrain in front of them. The two friends continued walking slowly. They peered at the names on the gravestones that lay on either side.

“You know Harry, I don’t remember the graveyard being so big. At least it does not look so big from the outside.”

“Your memory serves you well, old fellow. The war is the cause of the expansion.”

“Oh yes, we live in times of war. Brutal times, claiming the lives of so many.”

“They always have Don, they always have. Wars deplete lives and resources. Wow! All this walking is really killing me.”

“I think it is the lack of walking that is killing us.”

Harry chuckled.

Don placed a hand on Harry’s shoulder.

“Have we reached, yet?”

Harry looked around.

“Nah! These are old graves. The new ones are much further. Quit complaining and keep walking.”

Don grumbled. He hated walking. Harry on the other hand, quite enjoyed it. In all their many years of friendship, Harry had never once heard Don go on long walks without grumbling. So, he was quite used to it.

“Let’s go back Harry. I don’t feel like walking any more.”

“Stop being so cranky. You know this is important for me, important for us. We need to do it. Besides, both of us know very well, that after we reach you are going to think the long walk was completely worth it.”

Don ran his fingers through his white hair. He knew Harry was right. However, he enjoyed complaining to Harry. He found it entertaining. The two continued their ritualistic walk silently, pausing every few minutes to catch their breath. After a good ten more minutes, Harry stopped and looked around with a smile on his face.

“This is it, we are here.”

Don flopped on the ground.

“Finally! The torturous walk is finally over.”

Harry snorted.

“Enough of the complaining, Don. It is now time to enjoy.”

Harry walked to the nearest gravestone, the one to his left. Don got up to his feet and followed Harry. Harry bent down, looking at the gravestone and read aloud:

“Pvt. Timothy Douglas lies here. How does this Timothy Douglas sound like?”

Don rubbed his hands in anticipation.

“Sounds like a real fine treat.”

Harry bent down and began unearthing the grave.

“Well, thank heavens for wars. As long as men deplete each other, our kind will never have to go hungry.”

Don smacked his lips in response.

 

via Daily Prompt: Deplete

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.