Posted in Life and After

The Sadist

First line suggested by Lucinda E Clarke

Tomorrow I am going to kill Caroline, but I can’t decide how to take her life away.

I can always bite her head off…the thought was repulsive, so obviously, I relished it. I run through the scene in my mind where I bite off different parts of her head one-by-one, leaving the nose, of course, since she has nose allergy which keeps it permanently runny.

But honestly, once I bite any part of her, she would snap and throw me out of the room. I need a more plausible scenario. Maybe I’ll pick up a fight with that mad dog in the backstreet to get rabies and then bite her.

But what’s the point of revenge if I don’t live to enjoy it? I rack my brains again. What if I push her overboard when she offers to take me on a flight around the place? I’ll make sure she lands on something hard.

But then, who will steer? I hardly have the physical faculties needed for a safe landing. Well, maybe I’ll just bite off the twigs from her broomstick and then decline to go with her. Then her broomstick will surely crash and Dad will never go on a date with her. And he will never forget to feed me…

How could he forget to feed me? An overwhelming sadness engulfs me that has nothing to do with food and everything to do with losing the only man I ever loved…

The soft click of the window handle startles me. Dad glides in on his broomstick. But, how? He was only gone 15 minutes. Didn’t he say he’ll be out all night? Not that I’m complaining…

“Caroline was asking about you, Darling. She sent me right back when I admitted having forgotten your dinner.” He hugs and pets me, pours kibbles and fresh fish in my bowl and leaves on his broomstick again.

Maybe I’ll let Caroline live after all…

Posted in Life and After

The Stranger

Author’s note: The First line of the story was suggested by Webb Blogs

Why is everyone being so loud, and why is this stranger claiming to be my husband? My head hurts like there is a stampede inside it. I can’t recall where I was last night or what I did but I certainly couldn’t have married a stranger overnight!

If only Priscila was here to provide me an alibi. She had promised to meet me at my home last evening. She had something to celebrate and wanted to give me the news in person. But she never showed up. I was bored and lonely. So I decided…

This is where I came up blank. I just can’t remember what I decided or what I did after that. It shouldn’t be too difficult. I am not on drugs and I didn’t have alcohol. I also don’t have a life and have lived vicariously through Priscila since forever. Ideally, I would have had dinner and slept the night off. Only, I am not in my bed. And the owner of the bed, and the house it is in, says that we dated for six months and married a couple of days back in a small ceremony in front of the minister!

How can I date and marry someone and then forget about him?

May be he’s lying. He shows me some pretty convincing pictures of the ceremony with me as the bride. But photos can be fake. Or worse, what if he slipped something in my drink last night? An LSD? That can explain the loss of memory and the headache.

He looks genuinely confused, which unsettles me, but he can be a good actor, “I don’t understand. You were fine with our marriage until last night. You even went out to share the news with a friend! Have I done something wrong?” His eyes are honest. He doesn’t seem like a guy who would gaslight a woman but, then, what do I know? I barely met him five minutes back when I woke up in his bed.

Why isn’t Priscila picking up her phone? Is she alright? It isn’t like her to not show up. Already at the end of my nerves, I throw my phone down on the bed facing upwards.

His brows are crunched in confusion, “Honey, why are you calling yourself?”

“No, I am calling my best friend. She’ll help me figure it all out. She always does when I am not able to make sense of something.”

“Darling, the number is yours…”

“No, it n…” I look closely and beneath the name Priscila, is my own phone number. My stomach drops out of the bottom. “I must have messed up the contacts when I changed my phone. Maybe that’s why I am not able to get through to her. I’ll check the recent calls. She called me last evening.” Hastily, I scroll through the recent calls. I have several incoming calls from Priscila but all of them have my number.

The stranger looks at me with a guarded expression that I hate. Even though he is most certainly not my husband as he claims to be, I want him to know I am not insane. I hated when sometimes people assumed that about me; makes me feel like killing someone. I feel anger rising already, “I don’t understand. I swear Priscila called me last evening. She was so excited about something that she wanted to share. But she never turned up!”

“So you have a best friend named Priscilla too?”

I grit my teeth and my confusion comes out harsh, “What do you mean? Do you know a Priscila as well?”

He slowly stands up and inches towards the door as if I am a wild animal that might attack him. He clearly thinks I am a deranged lunatic. The gesture raises something wild within me. I am too hurt and too livid, and I begin to black out…

Posted in Life and After, Random Thoughts

The Axe

Author’s note: This is a six-line story. The first line was offered by by Sarada Gray.

It was almost dark when I realised that the four of us were suddenly five. Shivering, I quietly signaled and we cowered in the shadows trying to blend with the walls.

Hiding was the only way to survive these days. I always wanted to fix that broken door but the rest of our group felt it would give our position away.

I knew the ruse could only work so long, because now, with abated breath, we waited for the axe to fall. And sure as death, a teenage scream rented the air, “Aagh, Ghooooooost!”

Posted in Life and After

Giggles

Author’s note: Thank you, Gavin Marriott, for the first line of the story.

I had only just come indoors from the cold and wet, putting the kettle on while I was to change into something warm, yearning for that hot brew, when the phone rang. Wearily, I picked up the receiver of the old landline.

The giggle was horribly familiar. But for the first time in our three-year marriage, it gave me goosebumps.

I looked around for her cellphone. It had to be here somewhere. Wasn’t she texting on it when I struck her from behind? Gah! She had pocketed it by the time the blow made impact. Which means she still has it! And she is making calls. How did she survive? I had checked her pulse before driving her to the forest and throwing her where only animals could find her. I should have buried her! Had she called the police yet? I might still have time.

I ran to my wardrobe and threw everything of value in a bag and rushed to the door of my cabin. If I drove without stopping for food or sleep, I could make it to the next state by tomorrow. Only, the old lock on the door was stuck. I tried with all my might. But the door didn’t relent. I tried to break it down but felt like I dislocated a shoulder in stead.

I looked out of the window. I could jump out of it but I’d never survive the fall from the steep cliff. The only way to get out was through the door. I checked the storage for anything that could help me open the door. An axe, a shovel, not even a carving knife… Desperate, I threw the chair at the door but it bounced off. Not even a dent! I tried the table next. The table broke in splinters but the door stood unaffected.

I went through my options. I could wait here for the police and tell them she was lying. But with that head injury, she’d have a clear case. I could almost see the glint of cruel madness in her eyes when she knew she had me at her pity. I’d seen it too often during our marriage.

And she giggled…

She was really there, standing in the room in front of me. She had probably locked the door and had the key. I could try reasoning but had it ever worked in the past, I wouldn’t have killed her…or rather, since she was standing here, tried killing her. So, I picked the only remaining chair and swung at her. But, somehow I missed. I tried again and the chair passed through her. She giggled…

Horrified, I rushed to the door and yanked the door bolt, only managing to break the handle of the bolt. There was no way I could stay at the cabin with her. I quickly picked up my phone to call my bestie to break down the door but there was no connectivity. Only her giggles were coming out of its speakers setting my teeth on the edge.

I was shaking as I rushed to my bedroom, closed the door and opened my laptop, hoping to catch someone online. She slipped inside through the closed door and stood sentry, fixing her gaze on me with an intensity that frayed my nerves, and giggled…

After an eternity, the laptop finally booted and her grinning face filled the screen. Scared, I skittered backwards. In the process, I had upset the laptop. It fell on the floor and broke in two pieces.

I turned my eyes skywards seeking help from the almighty and found her hovering on the roof, grinning down on me.

I threw myself at the room’s door. It, too, was locked. I threw things at the door while screaming at the top my lungs for help even though I knew no one could hear me. The nearest house was a mile away. Soon I was standing in a pool of broken things with nothing left to throw at the door while she giggled from the roof.

I could not stay with her here. Anything had to be better than this.

There was only one way to go.

I opened the window and jumped off the cliff. I could hear her giggles following me all the way down. When my body made contact with the rocky floor, the pain had me blinded and, for a few seconds, all I could feel was my broken body and all I could hear was my own ragged breath as life seeped out of me until the blessed silence enveloped me. I was finally free of her…

And then, she giggled…

Posted in Life and After

60 Feet Under

Author’s note: This is short story based on the first line suggested by Beetleypete.

It was so hot there, much hotter than I could ever have imagined it would be. I had always expected it to be cool below the surface since the desert sun couldn’t get to you. But apparently, I was wrong.

It was stifling hot and suffocating, even though, I didn’t need to breath anymore. The casket I was lying in was rather stuffy. May be a walk in the tomb would help.

It was just as dark outside. There was no way of knowing whether it was day or night. Who would want to live for eternity stuck in a hole where you could see neither the sun, nor the moon and stars. Not that I needed light to see. My eyes adjusted to the dark just fine but it didn’t take away the claustrophobia, reminding of the one time I had been foolish enough to hide in a closet.

The paintings on the walls depicted my life in the world outside–my wife, sons and daughters, my territory and the time of my glorious reign. As if I needed a reminder of that now! I already thought of it all the time. The other paintings were decorative and I had already memorised every single line from the countless lonely walks in the past years.

The bandages on my body were making me itchy. I wished I had my wife to scratch out that itch on my back but she was still out there, alive. Sigh! I will have to wait until she is done with her time on the surface until she is lowered here with me. If she chooses to sleep in the same tomb as me…Not sure she would. I wasn’t a model husband–too many mistresses to make her jealous.

She wasn’t allowed to have another husband to get even with me but what if she took a slave? Did she do that while I was still alive? With the dark one with the tall soldier-like build–the one she had chosen to keep when we were sifting through the war prisoners? In my mind, I could see the longing in her eyes for the tall monstrosity who became her personal guard and the knowing smirk on the guard’s face when he had leaned on one knee and kissed her knuckles.

I wanted to throw my fists through the walls. If I had a heart anymore, it would have burst with the pain. You would think that, with an eternity to brood, I would accept fate but, with an eternity to brood, the thoughts kept coming back. Like the day our last child was born–the child was darker than usual. The pain of deception had cut me through. It was one thing for me to sleep with another woman but to find out that my wife was doing another man…

When I had voiced my doubt, she had cried her heart out, reminding me of my own many indiscretions and fainted in her bed. I was aghast. I knew what she had done. I should have ordered their beheading right then. But here I was sitting in her bed, holding her hand, feeling guilty, waiting for her to wake up. Not sure when I fell asleep too. The choking sensation had had me reeling.

I wondered if he helped her or she did it on her own…

I wondered if she cried for me at all…

I woke up inside the casket in the tomb. It was so hot there, much hotter than I could ever imagine. I had always expected it to be cool below the surface since the desert sun couldn’t get to you. But apparently, I was wrong. The bandages were itchy and I wished I had my wife…

Posted in Life and After

Dogs Know Everything

Author’s note: The first line of this story was shared with me by Jennie to help me break the writer’s block. Thank you, Jennie, for all the help.

Dogs know everything. The boy followed his Lab, his best friend. It was a different path and that worried the boy.

Usually Molly always took the same path for their walks. She knew it was difficult for the boy to navigate through unknown terrain even with her help. Not being able to see what lay ahead put him on the edge and, in his nervousness, he tripped more often. So, ever since Molly became his family, they always stuck to the same route.

But, that evening, when she stopped to sniff the air and moved in a different direction, the boy wondered what had changed.

She pulled at the leash hurrying him. He couldn’t run as fast as she wanted but she wasn’t patient as always. He wondered if Molly was after a squirrel but it was unusual. She never went after squirrels. She knew never to rush because he couldn’t follow. As he ran breathless and clueless after her, he wondered if other people were right and he should have bought a dog trained by the professionals.

She suddenly veered left and ran off-road. He tripped and fell. He thought she would stop for him to get up but Yelllow grabbed him by the back of his collar and pulled him behind what smelled like hydrangea bushes. He could feel his blood from where it trickled down his bruised right elbow. She licked at the wound and a horrible thought crossed his mind. Aren’t all dogs related to wolves? Now that she has tasted his blood, what was she going to do with him?

As he pushed her away and tried to stand up to defend himself, she jumped on him. He fell face down with her sitting on his back with all the weight of a grown-up labrador. He lashed out at her but she didn’t budge. He hated feeling powerless but there was no other option. He would have to shout for help, he decided.

That’s when he felt them–the dank wiff of cheap alcohol, the sound of several staggering footsteps and the reckless, cruel laughter. He didn’t know any of the voices but the fear in his gut intensified and his instinct told him to stay still as the raucous procession passed. He felt Molly tense up on his back in what felt like a protective stance. Suddenly, there was a sound of a glass bottle shattering on a tree trunk close to where they lay. Someone whooped at the perfect shot. Another challenged to try a ‘moving target’. He shivered with fear. Had they seen him through the foliage?

But they moved on to find that ‘target’.

Once the prcession passed, Molly finally got down from his back, pulled his stick urging him to get up and move back to the safety of their home. He didn’t know the path anymore after having run pell-mell to the place but he felt safe with Molly. She would never let him get lost.

Posted in Life and After

The Maze

Author’s note: This is my second attempt at a “first-line story” to break what we all know as a writer’s block. The first line of the story was suggested by GP. I hope I did it justice. 🙂


She wandered aimlessly through the maze, wondering what the surprise was when she emerged.

Her father was holding her hand, of course, afraid that she too will run ahead of him like her brother did. She was constantly barraging her father with questions he had no answer to—how did he know where to turn and which door to take, and how would they find their way back when they have found her brother.

When, and not if…her faith was absolute—nothing untoward could befall her seventeen-year-old brother. He was her hero—fearless, invicible and undestructible.

The maze seemed to be going on forever as they went door after door looking for him. She was sure he would have reached the prize by now and must be waiting for them with the trophy in his hand; or may be it would be a really big teddy, like the one she saw the other day when her brother had taken her to the market. The thought perked her up and she quickened her pace, pushing the doors open before her father could stop her.

She felt her brother before she saw him. The smell of his favourite deodorant and the familiar sound of his favourite love song album filled the room that, she suddenly realised, was his bedroom. The sense of dread filled her heart and her gut told her to close the door before… But, like every time before that, she couldn’t stop herself.

Her brother’s body hung from the ceiling fan—tongue lolling, eyes popped out…

She was screaming until her husband shook her out of the ‘nightmare’ and held her against his heart as he had done for countless nights in the past eight years and her parents did for many more years before that. She sobbed until she drifted into an uneasy sleep, hoping against hope for a dreamless night.

And to think that her brother died believing that no one loved him…


Photo by MontyLov on Unsplash

Posted in Life and After, Love

The Last Straw

Author’s note: This is my first attempt at first line stories. The first line of the story was suggested by Fraggle. Thank you, FR. I hope it loves up to your expectations.

The death of the goldfish is the last straw.

My tail is twitching with agitation. I want to kill Gilly. I’ve been telling her since day one not to overfeed Goldy but she’s been constantly offering him treats for tricks when she thought I wasn’t looking. And now as I return from work, Goldy floating sideways in water, eyes closed, close to the cove roof while Gilly is looking at me sheepishly from the far corner, waiting for the sharp rebuke that is sure to come. The weight of the life lost is coming down on my shoulders making it difficult to stand.

I can’t always keep an eye on her. I’m a single mother with a job to keep. Apart from my regular job at the Shell and Pearls art shop, I work three nights a week at the Oceans One Disco to pay for Gilly’s tution. So, she’s alone after study hours. I adopted Goldy, hoping he’d give her the much needed company. I hadn’t considered if, without adult supervision, my young daughter would be able to keep him alive…

I sit down heavily on the ancient coral reef seat that once belonged to my great-grandmother. How did my mother manage to raise me and her mother before her, since none of our fathers—the stranded sailors—stayed long enough for us to grow up. They’d rather catch the first ship back home. But in those times, mermaids raised their children together in large schools so there was always someone elderly to take care of the young ones while mothers foraged for food and wannabe mothers foraged for sailors. I remember clearly the hours I had spent hanging around in open ocean with friends and elderly mermaids, learning how to sing, dance and read. I had a happy childhood.

But now, as the city of Atlantis grows to the outskirts and unfamiliar faces become a common sight, it isn’t safe to leave behind our children out in the open. So, schools are limited to a few hours a day with classes held in closed rooms, and children are sent back to empty homes to fend for themselves. Gilly has to spend uncountable hours alone and I had believed a pet would make her happy. He did too as her constant companion and friend. But now, he’s gone, and I’m not sure I’ll risk another life again.

A deep sadness settles in the pit of my stomach. Goldy wasn’t just a fish; he was family. He was my responsibility too—another one I failed at. Should I rebuke Gilly for being a careless owner? But she must also be grieving…

I look at her and am greeted with expectant eyes. I open my arms to Gilly and beckon her to me. She shouts with glee, “Didn’t I tell you, Goldy, she loves me too,” as she swims in my lap, and Goldy rushes forward to join her, leaving the play-dead act behind.

I roll my eyes to show I amn’t affected by their little drama, but my heart throbs happily, beating a steady rhythm against my chest, trying to drive away the memories of ancient pain.

Posted in Life and After, Nature

Predictable

The moonless night hid me well, clocking my dark coat to the point of invisibility as I stood in the corner observing her. I was hungry and she was alone at the stand, waiting for the bus, looking around nervously—an easy prey. She wasn’t grand but she’d have to do.

I moved towards her stealthily. Just twenty feet…

Ten…

Five…

She shivered as she sensed me. Her face ashen and eyes wide with fear, she looked around trying to find the source of her discomfort.

It was now or never for me, so I stalked closer—close enough to rub my back with her leg—and gave a low growl. Finally, her eyes spotted me.

“Hey little kitty, are you lost? Are you hungry?” I purred in affirmation as she picked me up and grinned widely. “You don’t have a collar. Do you want to come home with me?”

Humans are so predictable!


Dedicated to John Melone for his crazy cat poetry and to Prashanth’s Ikru and his northern lights

Posted in Life and After, Love

Bridled

My feet were killing me. I had spend yesterday’s Sangeet (Music and Dance) ceremony limping around in two-inch heels. It was as if I was continuously walking downhill. The fear of slipping and falling on my face made me clench my toes and within a few minutes, my calves and feet began complaining. I was the only one at the party who wasn’t able to dance at all.

And today, in a couple of hours, I will be expected to walk to my future husband while wearing these three-inch stiletto monstrocities. My cousins specially ordered these online bacause they loved me and wanted to make my day special. I wish I could stop them but it seems like all my life choices had been taken out of my hands ever since I agreed to marry.

I looked away to think of something else and my eyes rested on my lap, on the appalling red lehenga dress I was wearing—my mother’s choice. The equally red dupatta sat at a distance leering at me waiting for its turn to wrap me in its folds, its golden lace trimming and countless stones winking in the light.

The air of the room reeked of hair spray as the beautician tried to stick my short, spiky hair to my scalp in an attempt to hide my obvious boyishness. The large fake hair bun she had attached to the nape of my neck with a hundred pins was weighing my head down. Soon, she’d cover it with what seemed like half-the-flowershop, and paint my face with primer, concealer, foundation, face powder, face glitter, eye-shadow, kajal, eyeliner, blush, lip-liner, lipstck, an assortment of bindi

I had a sudden urge to throw on my favourite t-shirt, jeans and sneakers, and run away—if only my feet would stop hurting…

My phone vibrated.

“How are you holding up?”

“I’m running away.”

“Take me with you. They are making me wear a brocade sherwani. I’m melting in the stifling heat.”

“At least, you won’t wear heels.”

“Can you sneak out for a minute?”

“They won’t let me leave the room until they are done painting me.”

“Well, then, I’ll have to do this formally. See you in a minute.”

What was my future husband doing outside my home a couple of hours before our marriage? Why wasn’t he home preparing for the marriage procession? He was the only silver lining in all this craziness—the only guy who didn’t flinch at my obvious boyishness and career choice as a travel guide. What did he want to talk to me about now? Did he change his mind?

A knock on the door brought me out of the reverie. One of my cousins let my groom in, giggling uncontrollably. My parents were tailing him, clearly worried by his sudden appearance two hours before the time and without his family too.

He gave me a smile of comaderie, “So, I was looking at your video from yesterday’s function. I kept waiting for you to dance because your had once said that you loved to, but you just sat there, trying to smile and failing. Then, I realised you will be required to wear something even fancier today…”

I couldn’t understand where he was going with this speech. It didn’t seem like a matter urgent enough for the unexpected visit. However, he came closer and sat down on one knee next to my chair, a shopping bag open next to him. “I decided to be your knight in the shining armour, so you could dance with me today.” He took off the fancy heels from my aching feet, and slid on a pair of sneakers.

Finally freed, I fell in love.

Posted in Life and After

Stuck

My shoe was stuck. Hurriedly, I tried to pull it off but my feet won’t come out. The train was due to arrive any minute.

I was sweating by the bucketload but it wasn’t helping. My feet seemed to be glued to the sole of the shoe. It was always like that. Every day the same time, I’d be late and try to hurry across the railway line, and then, one of my shoes’d get stuck. The train would, then, arrive…

…and run me over.

Here we go again!

Well, there’s always another time…

Posted in My life, Random Thoughts

Plagiarism with brains: Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle

My daughter has got a way of being inspired by other works.

For instance, lately, we have been competing to create stories involving different animals. We give each other random animals and, then, the other had to create a story out of that animal. A couple of days back, my daughter gave me rather a tough combination: Peacock, Hippo and Rhino. I asked her to reduce the number of animals but she won’t relent. So, here’s the story I created.

Once upon a time, a peacock was flying. Since they are heavy and not used to flying too far, this one decided to sit down on a rock beside the river. It was a huge grey rock and as soon as he sat down, the huge grey rock began to move. The peacock thought it was an earth quake and flew up lest he would be crushed beneath the now freely moving rock which also sprouted four thick legs. After a few seconds in air, the peacock again felt tired and chose another rock–a huge brown one–inside the river. As soon as he sat down, this rock too gave a huge lurch and started walking out of the water. The peacock took flight in time to see the rock open its huge jaws to display teeth large as daggers. Now, wary of rocks behaving like animals, it chose a fallen log beside the river. He had come pretty close and was really hoping to sit down, since his long wings were now soggy and heavy with water, when the log opened its yellow eyes and bared a log set of sharp teeth. The peacock decided that ground was not safe for beings like him anymore and sat on a tree far away.

My daughter felt the story was not long enough. So, I asked her to create another story with the same combination she gave me: Peacock, Hippo and Rhino. She was not allowed to tell the same story as mine. She pleaded her case as being only four-years-old and requested to reduce the number of animals. I refused, hoping to give her a taste of her own medicine. Here’s my daughter’s story.

Once upon a time, a peacock was flying. Since they are heavy and not used to flying too far, this one He was flying for hours, got tired and decided to sit down on a rock beside the river. It was a huge grey brown rock. As soon as he sat down It sat there for sometime, then, the rock began to move. The peacock thought it was an earth quake and flew up lest he would be crushed beneath the now freely moving rock which also sprouted four thick legs. After a few seconds in air, the peacock again felt tired and chose another rock–a huge brown grey one–inside the river. As soon as he sat down, this rock too gave a huge lurch and started walking out of the water. The peacock took flight in time to see the rock open its huge jaws to display teeth a couple of horns large as daggers. Now, wary of rocks behaving like animals, it chose a fallen log beside inside the river. He had come pretty close and was really hoping to sit down, since his long wings were now soggy and heavy with water, when As soon as he sat down, the log opened its yellow eyes and bared a log set of sharp teeth. The peacock decided that ground was not safe for beings like him anymore and sat on a tree far away. The tree began to move too. It ran in really long strides. The peacock decided that only safe place to sit was bare ground and that was where he stayed for the rest of his life.

I argued with my daughter that this was more or less my own story. But she pointed out that in her story:

  • The Hippo comes before the Rhino.
  • The peacock sits for sometime before it has to move.
  • The crocodile allows the peacock to sit down before deciding to make a meal out of it.
  • And then, there was the bonus animal–the giraffe.

Well, I really couldn’t argue against such a strong case. So, I gave up trying to pry another story out of her. With five animals, her story trumped mine!

It reminded me of remixed songs–add an extra beat, a couple of extra instruments, a few hip-hoppers, and you have a quick hit and a chartbuster.

Plagiarism with brains!

Posted in Love

At Fault

You told me it was in my best interest–

the yelling, the barely restrained anger.

Then,

You told me it was all my fault–

the yelling, the unrestrained anger.

Now,

You tell me I deserve it–

before all hell breaks loose

everyday…

Posted in Life and After, Twisted Tales

The Dress

Author’s note: This is a painting-promt story based on my four-year-old daughter’s painting ‘Stork in Dress’. Please don’t look for logic. There is none.

Long ago, a stork was in love with a princess or, to be more accurate, in love with the long, flowing dresses she wore. He wished he could have one for himself. He spent long fruitless hours standing alone in the pond in front of her window in the palace grounds, looking grumpily at the princess.

One evening, when the drowsy sun dipped its feet in the carmine horizon and an orange moon rose in the star-studded sky rubbing its eyes, he saw something that looked like a large insect near the pond. Contemplating eating it, he stalked closer. The ‘thing’ magicked the beautiful rose bushes to look like cactus with flowers–he realised it wasn’t an insect but a sprite. Sprites are eternal mischief-makers with magic. A plan formed in his mind.

Taking her by surprise, he caught the sprite in his beak by one arm. The sprite cried out in pain, “It hurts! Let me go.” With his mouth still closed to keep a grip on the fae, he muffled out, “Promise to give me anything I ask for?” Writhing, she cried, “I promise!” He let her go and sat her on a rock.

The sprite was angry but fae can’t lie–she had promised and would have to give him anything he asks for. But, there is always a loophole, so, she asked, “What would you like me to do?” The stork said, “I want a dress just like the one the princess is wearing today–the one with rainbow colours.” The sprite thought for a moment and smiled, “So shall it be, then. I will weave you a dress out of light.”

The stork was excited beyond words. The sprite quickly called upon her powers. The lake waters shined like crystals, splitting the light of the setting sun and the rising moon into thousands of colourful ribbons. The sprite quickly wove the ribbons of light in to a dress even more breathtaking as that of the princess. The bodice shined on its own and sparkled against the palace’s crystal windows drawing gazes of the residents.

At the sprite’s nudging, the stork greedily put it on, but his wings would not fit in.

“Oh! The dress looks rather weird on your thin waist and legs, and your wings cannot enter it’s sides. Would you like a human body to go with it too?”

“Oh! Of course!”

So, the sprite mumbled as the stork looked at his reflection in the pond, admiring his gradually changing body: human legs, stomach, chest, hands, neck, hair…

…and the sprite vanished. He still had the stork’s face!

He was irritated in extreme. Now he will have to catch the sprite again to complete the change. In all this excitement, he missed the fact that he stood in the palace grounds smack in front of the princess’ window as half a human in a dress that shined like a beacon. The palace servants had seen him changing his body without spotting the tiny sprite. Now all of them ran towards him, brandishing swords and pitchforks, shouting, “Monster! Monster!”

He attempted to fly away but his wings were gone. He tried to swim away in the pond but his dress, now wet, pulled him down, nearly drowning him. He came out of the pond somehow hoping to run away, but too many men surrounded him. No one asked him questions.

He never saw when his life-blood seeped into the rainbow dress he had wrested out of an irate sprite.

Posted in Life and After, Nature

My Housemates: The Mistreated

And just like that, they’ve thrown me out…

When I was brought home, everybody had rushed out to fawn over me. Ever since, it was all the way downhill for me. For years, I was the most abused creature in existence–people walked all over me. They threw things at me without faintest sign of remorse. In fact, one rainy day, when water seeped in from the windows, I was left to shiver in cold. Nobody thought of mopping me up until the next morning!

Now that I am old and frayed at the edges, they’ve left me out for the garbage truck to pick up. Life is so unfair!

Posted in Love, Nature

My Neighbours: The Conservative

It is slightly stuffy but it is home and I love it. There is a lot of room to walk around and food hangs from the sealing everywhere. It is rather dark for the lack of sunlight, but who needs to see anyway. It is unsafe on the surface, what with all the sunlight and the monsters that roam the earth. I hardly go up except when stormwater floods the tunnels. My life is quiet but safe. It’s a lonely existence but company is overrated.

She wanted a ‘life of adventure’. I had assumed she would see the fault in her ways and return to our molehill. Afterall, who likes to eat from dustbins when they can get fresh roots? But…

Sometimes, I walk to where my tunnel runs beneath the nest she built with an uncouth rat and hear the soft pattering of little feet that are her proginy. Those are the moments when I wonder if a life of adventure wasn’t as bad.

I guess, I’d never find out.

Posted in Life and After

The Plan

How much time would it take to build a coffin by hand?

He wasn’t fond of the job but, atleast, he will have one when he dies…soon, considering it was one of the last trees on Earth. So far, he had recharged his Oxygen cylinder using the tree that lived in his yard for the past 57 years but storm uprooted it last night. He wasn’t rich enough to afford buying Oxygen…

Even if the coffin is ready on time, who will lay him in it? Everyone he knew was already dead. Should he lower it in a grave and hop in while waiting for his cylinder to empty?

Who will cover it with soil?


Photo by Jeremy Hynes on Unsplash

Posted in Life and After, Love

The Long Walk

It is a long walk down the aisle. My father holds my hand reassuringly while my mom sobs in the pew. He stands with the pastor looking perfect as ever but I can’t bring myself to smile.

Is it too late to cancel?

Is it wrong to wish for something other than perfection?

I pass by her and, for a second, her entire face lightens up but, then, the lights go out again. Her red-rimmed eyes mirror mine.

Is it too late to cancel?

Posted in Love, Nature

Heartache

I picked up the flower that had fallen from her hair. It still held her fragrance.

Ever since she moved here, I followed her around, hoping she would look at me and never look away. Often, I would walk behind her, right past her, in front of her…

But she seemed to look right through me.

Then, this guy came and held her from behind. She squealed in terror. Naturally, I attacked him. But instead of supporting her saviour, she hit me with a stick and called me a ‘stupid bird’! Worse still, she kissed him!

I’ll never love again!


Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash