drama

Flash Fiction: Christmas Gift

Little Tia’s eyes lit up like a christmas tree.

She smiled gleefully as she pointed to the open trunk of pattices that lay below the christmas tree. Her mother stared in shock at the trunk full of food. Little Tia’s smile vanished as she witnessed her mother’s face go from white to a shade or red, quite resembling the colour of the hung stockings. Tia did not expect the slap that landed on her face. Mother began screaming at her.

“You fool. If you wanted pattices, I would have made them for you. Why did you wish for them?”

Tia replied in a sobbing broken voice.

“They are not for me. They are for the poor hungry kids that live on the street.”

Her reply was met with another slap on her face.

“You wasted your precious wish on them? What a foolish daughter I have….”


Word Count: 146

Prompt:

FFfAW Challenge – 197th

Flash Fiction: Presence

I had never been a very good father. My now six year old kid had never had much attachment towards me. He wouldn’t listen to what I said. My wife, my love, she was always the better parent, and my kid loved her a lot more than me. But all this did not remain the same. It all changed , after my love passed away a week ago.

I had been devastated. And no words I know can describe what my son must have been going through. He had taken it very hard. He wouldn’t speak to me nor cry. And realizing the gravity of the situation, I had tried getting him to open up to me. But , he just wouldn’t. Strangely though, he had started listening to what I told him, which he previously never did. I can swear he had started looking at me different too.

I had taken leave from office. I felt that I could not compete with life anymore. I would stay home drinking and whiling away time, while my son was at school. Upon his return, I would cook for him a hot meal and try to get him to talk to me. But every night it was the same. He would sit at the table and eat his meals silently. He would glance at me a few times through the course of the meal, but never utter anything. This went on till yesterday night.

Yesterday evening he came home from school a bit more tired than usual. He went straight to his room. At around nine ,  he came down to the dining room. I had prepared  cheesy pasta-his favourite dish.  He started eating silently like he did every night. He glanced at me , looking like he wanted to say something. I decided to grab the moment-

‘What is it son? Is the pasta good? ‘

He kept his spoon down.

‘Yes papa it is nice. But I wanted to have another bowl.’

I was glad we were making some conversation.

‘Sure son. Eat as much as you want.’

He nodded. And started to fill another bowl. About halfway, he glanced at me and suddenly stopped.

‘What happened son? Go ahead take it. ‘

He shook his head.

‘No . Mom always screamed at me when I ate more than one. ‘

I thought I should be frank with the kid.

‘Son, your mom is not here anymore. So it’s okay if you wanna have more.’

He glanced at me again.

‘No. Mom is saying no.’

I was a few pints down. But I could swear he was looking behind me.


Word Count: 432

Prompt:

FOWC with Fandango “Compete”

 

(Originally posted on 3rd October, 2014.)

 

Would love to hear your thoughts on it! 🙂

Flash Fiction: The Bully

Last year, Redpaper.in had published many of my short short stories. Here is an excerpt from one of them:


“Your child is a bully. There is no other way to put it.”

Miss Shelley placed her hands on her hips, indicating that she had passed her verdict.

Aisha Sheikh sat with her eyes faced downwards. She thought it best to not comment on the already heated situation. She sat alone with nine pairs of eyes glaring at her. The eight women other than Miss Shelley were the mothers of her son’s classmates. The other parents agreed with Miss Shelley, the class teacher….

 

Read the entire story at The Bully


 

Do let me know your thoughts on the story! 🙂

Flash Fiction: Changed #writephoto

He surveyed the area from atop his vehicle. Even though he had never seen it from this height before, it still looked as gorgeous as he remembered. The lush greenery that exhibited all the shades of green that one could imagine was still the same. He remembered walking among it as a child, breathing in the same fresh air that he once had, years ago. Even the very sunlight was the same shade, giving the same warmth. Nothing had changed here. However, he had changed.

No longer was he a carefree kid, passing his days in the forest, playing with his companions. He was an imperial captain, in the service of His Majesty. It was a time of war and he had been deployed in his homeland to quell the unrest that dwelled among the subjects. The rebels as they were called, were giving shelter to His Majesty’s enemies. The decision to send him to his homeland, made tactical sense, he recognized this. However, he did not particularly like courting war in his childhood playground. Many years ago, he used to come to this very area, every day. He would play soldier along with his playmates and while away time making onomatopoeic gun sounds. The rocks hid a passageway to a dense part of the forest. It used to serve as his base as a kid. Now, the rebels had made it their home.

He knew there was only one way to do this. Now was not the time for sentimentality. It was time to take action. He hated doing it, but the only way to force the rebels out of hiding was to destroy the environment that had been a cherished part of his childhood. He drew in a deep breath and turned to his troops.

“Burn it down.”

 

Word Count: 300

Written in response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt: Fallen #writephoto

Thank You Sue for the wonderful prompt! 🙂

 

If you found this one interesting, do give Sell a read!

Would love to hear your thoughts about my stories in the comments! 😀

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/

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

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

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.