Flash Fiction: Gramophone

A walk in the weekly market was what I needed.

It had been a rough couple of days. My house was burgled. They did not get their hands on my money, but they did get away with items that held sentimental value for me. Replacing them was impossible. Or so I thought, until I came upon a music stall at the market. The golden gramophone caught my eye. It would be a good substitute for the one I lost. The stall owner smiled at me as I began looking at the instrument with admiring eyes. It was the same colour, model and had the same initials carved on to it. Wait..

That was my gramophone!!!

Word Count: 115



Flash Fiction: The Violinist

The music had started right on time and today, I was prepared.

Excitedly, I climbed over the wall and jumped into the courtyard of the mansion. I was finally about to find out the source of the beautiful music I heard every evening. I crept along the grassy path and hid behind the low inner-barricade. Carefully, I snuck a peek and my eyes fell upon a lady. Dressed in a black gown, her straight, sable hair waved around as she played her violin. Both my ears and eyes were captivated by the masterpiece before me. Suddenly, without any warning, she turned around and looked directly at me. Her pale face showed a mixture of shock and annoyance. She took a step towards me.

“What are you doing here?”

I stood up and slowly began retreating.

“I’m sorry milady. I heard your beautiful music and I just had to know who was playing it.”

Her eyes widened.

“You shouldn’t have listened.”

“I agree, milady. I don’t belong here.”

Before she could say anything, I turned around and ran back the way I came. If I had waited I would have heard her ominous words.

“No, child. This is the music of death. Only those about to die can hear it.”

I found out the truth in her words while I was trying to climb down the outer wall of the mansion.

Now I am permanently bound to the black lady, a perennial audience to her music…

Word Count: 245


#MenageMonday Challenge – Week 2×40

Flash Fiction: Earworm

Ever heard the song called Headline?

It’s stuck in my head in a loop. Sure, I have had my share of earworms. However, this song is quite something else. I was warned against it. Now, I hear it, I hum it, I even talk about it all the time.

Ever heard the song called Headline…?

Word Count: 55


Weekend Writing Prompt #71 – Headline

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Sept. 8/18

Flash Fiction: Guitar Thief

My sleuthing had finally led me to the house of the thief.

I climbed the pipe and snuck in through the open window. I saw papers fallen everywhere. I spotted a small collection of musical instruments, probably stolen. Among them, I spotted my guitar. Before I could grab it, I heard footsteps coming up to the room. I quickly hid inside the wardrobe. Through the gap, I saw the thief walk in, pick the guitar and strum it in the most beautiful way. Kudos to him.

I realized that I did not want my guitar anymore. I wanted his autograph.

Word Count: 100


Friday Fictioneers 29th June 2018

FOWC with Fandango “Kudos”

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.


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via Daily Prompt: Song


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

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It was a pleasant evening and the town market was bursting with boisterous activity. The townsfolk were enjoying their evening in the market- shopping, chatting, and simply relishing the good weather. Amongst this hustle and bustle, a blind beggar made his way to the center of the market.

The aged-blind beggar navigated through the crowded streets using his stick as a guide. Reaching the market-center, he placed the sack he was carrying, on the ground. Feeling the knot, and opening it with his everyday experience, he withdrew a box and a flute from the worn-out sack. He placed the box on the ground and took his place behind it. Breathing in, he touched the old-wooden flute to his lips and began playing. He began playing a melodious tune, which targeted the attention of the townsfolk. As the music reached their ears, most people began noticing the tune and they quieted down to make sure they could listen to the tune well. Soon, a throng of people formed around the blind-man, listening to what his flute was saying. The old man continued playing to the best of his ability, after all his daily bread depended on this. People placed coins in the box, appreciating the tune that was being played. However, the jingle of coins soon stopped reaching the ears of blind beggar. Not being a professional musician, his knowledge regarding music and the tunes he could play, were limited. He hastily switched to another tune he knew, not wanting to lose his chance to have a hot meal.

Pablo neared the market-center. He had spotted a huge crowd of people gathered, and decided to check out what was happening. As he reached the center, a rustic tune hit his ears. He stood his ground and listened intently to it. He realized that the person playing the flute was a simple amateur. He thought this would be a good opportunity to showcase his skills to the townsfolk. He opened his violin case and withdrew his maple-made violin. The brown violin gleamed in the waning sunlight. Placing his case on the ground, he positioned his violin on his shoulder. He exhaled letting the tension from his shoulders slide. Gripping the bow with his slender fingers, he began moving it across the violin’s strings. The mellifluous sounds that were produced were a testimony to Pablo’s skills. The haunting tune coming from the violin soon drowned out the flute’s desperate consonance. The crowd started moving towards Pablo, their ears seduced by him.

The blind beggar stopped playing. He focused on the sweet- sounds coming from across him. After listening for a couple of minutes, he knew he was thoroughly outclassed, and there was no chance of competing with a person of this caliber. His hands dropped in disappointment and head drooped, he allowed the stream of tears that had been swelling inside him to burst out. He sobbed uncontrollably. It was to be yet another hungry night, he thought to himself. As he listened to the steadily increasing tempo of the violin’s tune, he felt anger and sorrow increasing within him. He gripped his flute tightly as he allowed his mind to drift into its memories. The fondest memories of learning to play the flute as a child, laughing gleefully at every little sound that he managed to produce. His mind drifted farther into the darker side – the tumble he had taken from the roof as a young man, landing face first on the ground. He rued that wretched incident that had taken his eyesight away. The blind man stood all alone, surrounded by despair.

Pablo was enjoying the attention from the crowd around him. The crowd had shown great appreciation for the music-maestro as well, filling up his violin case with coins. Pablo decided to finish of his performance with finesse. Steadily increasing the tempo of his tune, he suddenly dropped it to a soft and soothing tune, marking the end of his musical performance. He was greeted with a thunderous applause. Pablo bowed, grinning from ear-to-ear. He loved it when his music was thoroughly enjoyed by the people. After the people had finished clapping and congratulating him, the crowd started clearing up. It was early-night now, and supper time was upon the townsfolk. As the crowd thinned, Pablo noticed a lonesome figure standing still across him, flute-in-hand.

The blind-beggar had noticed the music stopping and had heard the applause and cheers coming from the crowd. He agreed that the brilliant piece of music deserved all of that, but at the same time it dejected him knowing that he was clearly no match. The violin player had come out of nowhere and had stolen the crowd. The old man felt contempt towards him, a pure hatred. Wiping the dampness from his face, the beggar bent down and felt the coins that were present in his box. Seven coins, he counted. That was enough for one bowl of hot soup. He knew that one bowl had to suffice, his cold body needed it. He put his flute away and bent down to lift the box. Just as he had bent, a sudden jingle of coins reached his ears. He traced them to his box. The blind man stood bewildered. As soon as the jingling stopped, a steady tune was heard by the beggar, a violin’s tune. Tears began rolling down the cheeks of the old man as the tune grew softer and softer, trailing into the moonlit town.

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