Monday, 12 December 2016

The Cremation
PHOTO PTOMPT © Lucy Fridkin
As the plane neared the airport, his anguish overwhelmed him.
‘Why did I come now when she is no more? I could have come earlier; should have come earlier. But I always found an excuse to postpone the trip. It’s almost fifteen years and not even once did I.……?’
Hundreds of people came for the cremation. He could sense that they had all come because now he was a celebrity.
Everyone was eager to personally convey his condolences. It was just a pretense. But how could he fault any of them when his own love for his mother was a mere pretense?   
*******
A post for Friday Fictioneers on a picture prompt.

Word count 102

Saturday, 10 December 2016

The Illusion
They had been in the space for almost ten Sirrah years (about ten thousand years by our reckoning) and not even once had they faced a technical glitch.
But one day the unimaginable happened; the power failed. They had a backup and a series of backups to that backup. But these were insufficient to run all the systems; the journey to home was ruled out.
“Scan for some alternate source,” barked the commander of the spacecraft.
 “Commander, I see a possibility on a small planet. They call it the earth.”   
“Seems improbable, the aliens out there are too primitive.”
“Should we go and check?”
“Go ahead.”
Two weird looking persons entered the Illusion, the most elegant restaurant in the town.
“I was right; they have it. But none of them is aware of it,” whispered one.
“We would need many of them, in fact every one of them on the planet,” replied the other.
“Does it matter? They are likely to parish sooner than they expect; they have brutally ravaged the planet.”
“The commander has to take the call.”
“And we know what we would say; ‘we are being kind to these foolish creatures.’”
The power on the spacecraft was restored and it commenced its journey back to Sirrah.
The two who had come to the earth felt sorry for the aliens that had inhabited the earth.
***********
A post for Flash Fictionfor Aspiring Writers on a picture prompt

Word count 227

Monday, 5 December 2016

The Letter
She was stunned.
She could not believe that her husband was a murderer, that he had killed her first wife.
The letter said that his first wife was a rich widow and he had married her only to grab her wealth. She had not died of sickness, as the man claimed. He had brutally killed her.
‘It’s a lie. But then this person knows everything about my husband. Every other thing that he has written is true. So perhaps…...’
She was unnerved. But she soon regained her composure.
‘Now I can go ahead with my plan without any regret or compunction. He will get what he deserves…..it would rather be justice, no?’
*********
A post for Flash Fictionfor Aspiring Writers on a picture prompt

Word count 112

Sunday, 4 December 2016

The First Snow
184-12-december-4th-2016
They were looking at the snow-covered tree; the old man had a wistful look and child had a curious look.
‘Grandpa, it’s just amazing, this snow. I wish I had come here earlier.’
The old man looked at the child, almost bewitched. How could the child say the same words? The child looked at his grandpa and smiled. He even smiles like her, the old man thought.
It was almost fifty years back when they had come to this place. She had never been to the mountains and the first snow had mesmerized her.
‘It’s just amazing, this snow; I wish I had come here earlier.’ She smiled; he felt an imperceptible squeeze on his hand.
The child tugged at the grandpa’s sleeve; the old man came out of his reverie. He felt sad for her; the child would have made her ecstatic.
****

Word count 143

Friday, 2 December 2016

Revolver
PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Wayne Fields
                                                                                Photo prompt © Jan Wayne Fields

‘I know you’re going to turn prickly but I have to admit I misled you.
‘There are some Bigfoots around here, that’s the rumour. We are going to search for Bigfoot.
They laughed thinking that it was one was his quintessential pranks. But it wasn't a prank.
They were dumbstruck. They ought to have known; he was a rabid adventurer.
‘Are you out of your mind? We don’t even have a toy-gun for protection.’
‘I have brought my father’s revolver.’
At that moment there was some commotion; there was something outside their tent. They all froze in fear.
A hairy hand entered the tent, it was holding a revolver.
**********
Word count 108

Sunday, 27 November 2016

The Convict
PHOTO PROMPT © CEayr
                                                                                       Photo prompt © CEayr 

Surprisingly they were all there; wife, two boys and their wives. He wasn’t sure if they would all come.
But their eyes were as bleak and grim as the prison cell he had just left.
‘They don’t believe me. And why should they? Am I not a convict who spent ten years in the prison?’
He had desperately wished that at least his wife would believe him. She had sometimes said that the judge had been unjust. But he thought her protestations were weak.
He wanted to ask her if she truly believed that he was innocent. But he didn’t.
He felt he was only moving from one prison to another.
*************
A post for Friday Fictioneers

Word count 111

Friday, 25 November 2016

A Mercy Plea
The sky was ablaze. Everyone thought that it was just an unusually magnificent sunset.
But people were in for a shock. Weird flying objects emerged from the flaming sky and began hovering over the city. It was a terrifying scene.
Rongen was not scared. He had all along believed that there were hundreds of alien civilizations out in the universe. He had secretly invented a radio telescope and had been communicating with some aliens. But the poor man did not know that his messages were sometimes getting distorted and garbled versions were reaching the aliens.
Suddenly the sky turned black and the lights went out; it was the beginning of a long, scary night.
The sun rose. But the day was no less terrifying. Dinosaurs were roaming freely everywhere in the city.
Rongen woke up as if from a nightmare. He rushed to his radio telescope; he had got an alien mail, ‘Please do not attack us. We accept your demand. We are sending these creatures back. Please have mercy on us.’
Rongen stood paralyzed; the nightmare had in fact just begun.
*******
A post for Flash Fictionfor Aspiring Writers on a picture prompt

Word count 179

Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Clouds
182-11-november-20th-2016
As a child he was fascinated by the clouds. He believed that clouds were living beings; he always had a running argument with his grandpa.
‘Grandpa, that cloud over there looks like an elephant and it just moved its trunk.’
‘Don’t talk rubbish; that’s just a cloud and not an elephant.’
‘You never seem to agree; look there, it surely is a baby dinosaur........its crawling.’
‘You keep imagining things; I think when you grow up you must study the clouds.’
He did choose to study the clouds but his imagination never left him.
He woke from his slumber. He had been traveling for hours and journey seemed endless. It had been a hectic week; he had spoken at ten different venues on ten different topics. He looked through the window and thought that there was giant baby somewhere out there.
Soon he realized that he was looking at a cloud. He smiled; the grandfather would have made fun of him.
***********

A post for Sunday Photo Fiction

Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Master
PHOTO PROMPT © Bj√∂rn Rudeberg
                                                                                  Photo prompt © Bjorn Rudberg

He had not touched a musical instrument in last five years. But the music had never deserted him.
Sometimes he wondered that it was idiotic of him not to accept their proposal; they would have made him rich. He had to just tinker with his compositions. But he was fiercely passionate about his music; he had declined.
‘What a harebrained person I am?’
He was walking past the restaurant in a lackadaisical manner when he heard the sounds. Someone was playing his composition; a composition that he would not tinker with.
He felt sad for the composition; it had been mutilated.
*************

Word count 101

Monday, 7 November 2016

The Trading Post
PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays
                                                                                         Photo prompt © Jean L Hays

‘Grandpa, are you sure we are at the right place?’
‘I think so. But it seems so unfamiliar.’
‘We have been driving around for eight hours. Let’s turn back; it will be dark soon for we won’t find any place here for the night.’
‘But he had said that he will be there at the trading post, come what may. I too had promised that I would come.’
‘When? Fifty years ago? You never even talked to him all these years. And you think he would be there.’   
‘I think so; he is a man of his word.’
Out of nowhere an old man appeared and slowly approached their car.
***********
A post for Friday Fictioneers

Word count 108

Friday, 4 November 2016

A Muffled Cry
179-10-october-30th-2016
He was surprised that he could finish the job without losing his nerve; he was composed even when he had slashed her face.
It was a perfect murder; he was sure of that. No one would ever come to know as to what had happened to her. In this city no one really cared; they had been living together for three years but very people knew her. No one would miss her.
He was anxious to call Ann; they had to get married before she left for France.
As he entered the room he was unnerved for a few moments; a mystifying emptiness enveloped him.
“I must quickly get rid of everything that belonged to her… and that doll… that disgusting doll…I would burn it to ashes. How could she even like that abominable thing?”
He searched every nook and corner of the flat but the doll was nowhere to be found. He was certain that it was lying on the bed when they had left in the morning.
He heard a muffled cry; it stunned him. He thought someone was crying in the bathroom. It terrified him; she was in the habit of locking herself in the bathroom and crying for hours.
He entered the bathroom. The doll was in the bathroom; it had two deep scars, as if someone had slashed its face.
********

Word count 228

Thursday, 3 November 2016

The Magic Bridge
‘You will have to calculate the path you can take to cross the bridge.’
‘Why?’ I felt amused; grandpa had not stopped treating me as a little kid. I was grown up; I was fourteen.
‘It’s a magic bridge; if you are erratic in your path you will face dire consequences.’
‘Grandpa, there are no magic trees and magic bridges in the real world.’ I was proud of my awareness.
At that moment a young man came on his cycle; he was headed for the bridge.
‘You don’t believe me; just wait and watch. That fool of a boy will regret crossing the bridge on a cycle,’ grandpa said with some flourish.
I looked at the man on the cycle; he was half way through and nothing untoward had happened.
Suddenly the cycle overturned and I missed a heartbeat.
The man got up and laughed a bit loudly.  He had hit a stone lying on the bridge. No damage had been done. He rode away on his cycle.
The grandpa pouted at me and said almost is despair, ‘It never happened that way.’
I felt sad for the old man and hugged him.
**********
A post for Three Word Wednesday and FFfAW

Word count 193

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Stone Quarry
He knew where he would leave the vehicle; and the dead body. He had quietly gone around that place a couple of times; it was a desolate place adjoining a deserted stone quarry.
Pip was in a bouncy mood.
They had never attempted such a big heist. All these years they had pilfered only petty things; occasionally they had robbed a lone stranger of his meagre belongings. But this time they had targeted a jewellery shop.
He had decided that he would he would shift somewhere else. But Pip was a problem. Pip was vapid and cruel; he had to end his relationship with Pip if he was to make a new beginning. He knew what he had to do; it was unavoidable.
Everything went as planned. In fact they were surprised at their own deftness.
As they were driving to their den, he suddenly took a detour. Pip looked at him and laughed; he was in a bouncy mood, ‘Everything must be worth fifty million, no?’
He casually glanced at Pip; he was waiting for the right moment. Suddenly he felt a searing pain under his left shoulder.
Pip had pierced his chest with a stiletto. Pip left the vehicle and the dead body in a desolate place adjoining a deserted stone quarry.
*********
A post for Three Word Wednesday; word prompts-adjoining, vapid, bouncy
and FFfAW on a photo prompt.

Word count 214

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Missing
178-10-october-23rd-2016
He pulled a curtain of his bedroom. His penthouse was on the fiftieth floor. Normally he could even see the farthest end of the city. But, today, he was shocked when he looked through the window.
It was completely dark and ghostly. A fear began to overpower him; he felt he was in a jungle. He felt he could even hear the howling of hyenas.
‘I wish I was with her; she must be terrified. It’s a jungle out there and she is too fragile.’
His hands were shaking; he had still not called Renee. He didn’t have the courage to tell her that their only child had gone missing. But he was certain that Renee’s call would come any time.
He almost trembled when the phone rang.
‘What would I tell her?’
He reluctantly picked up the phone.
‘We have your daughter.’
The phone slipped from his hand. A shadow pounced on him like a predator.
*******

Monday, 24 October 2016

The Spoils
PHOTO PROMPT © Claire Fuller
                                                                                         Photo prompt © Claire Fuller

Every house that the soldiers ransacked had a sad tale to tell.
“They lied to us.”
“They fooled us.”
“There’s nothing but misery everywhere.”
The soldiers had won a victory but now felt defeated. They had not found even a trinket in the ransacked town.
He was hardly seventeen but had chosen to volunteer; he too wanted the riches promised by the war-lords.
He diffidently entered a house. He found nothing but wretchedness and some worthless things in a cupboard. A tear dropped from his eye; cupboard reminded him of his grandfather who too had collected similar worthless things in his cupboard.
********
A post for FridayFictioneers on a picture prompt

Word count 102

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The Custom
PHOTO PROMPT © CEAyr
As per the custom the flag should have been lowered, to honour the martyred soldier, when the news arrived. But she refused to believe and relent.
‘He could be missing. I know a case where a soldier came back after seven years. And when he saw his wife married to another man he was devastated.’
Many of them had heard that story.  But they could not tell the old women that they had witnessed his burial.
She was a mother and her faith was unshakeable, ‘He will come back.’
They all looked at the flag and silently filed past it.
***********
A post for Friday Fictioneers on a photo prompt.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Superstition
PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook
Don’t ever dispose of this sewing machine.
He had never understood his father’s attachment to the junk that had been given a pride of place in his office
Your grandmother had used it for fifty years; this empire owes its origin to this machine.
The day his father chose to retire he moved to his father’s office; he had the sewing machine removed from its place.
By the end of day he was unsure of himself; everything had gone wrong.
You shouldn’t have shifted the machine, someone commented.
Don’t be superstitious.
But he was relieved when later he saw the machine back in his office.
******
A post for FridayFictioneers


Thursday, 1 September 2016

Victory March
PHOTO PROMPT -© Vijayay Sundaram
They had won a great victory and everyone was rejoicing.
The streets were thronging with boisterous crowds. There was chest thumping and flag-waving all-around. The sky was lit with fireworks and air was bursting with victory cries.
She didn’t step out of her home. Six months back her warrior had been brought back in a casket. She was made to attend an elaborate burial ceremony. And then she was forgotten.
Her eight year old son was out there waving a flag.  She thought that there was something odd about that flag. She looked carefully and was surprised to see that it was painted red.
********
A post for FridayFictioneers on a picture prompt

Word count 104

Friday, 19 August 2016

The Game
PHOTO PROMPT © Janet Webb
                                                                                               Photo prompt © janet webb
 ‘Grandpa, that’s not possible? You never got stung?’
‘Only once; I recall that day vividly. A wasp had landed on my reading table. I pounced on it with a handkerchief in my hand and caught it. Very carefully and cleverly I exposed its tail. I used my right thumb and first finger like a pincer to pluck wasp’s sting. But before I could reach its sting, it stung me. Terrified, I released it. Soon my hand was swollen; the pain was unbearable.’
‘Your mama?’
‘She thrashed me. She disliked this game of tying strings to wasps’ legs.’
The kid laughed; he loved this part of the story.
**********
A post for FridayFictioneers on a photo prompt. The post is partly inspired by a childhood incident.

Word count 107

Friday, 12 August 2016

The Team
The boy hobbled into the ground; clutched in his left arm was a football that his mother had gifted him. Although every step he took was painstaking yet his innocent face looked truly radiant for he had dressed like other players; but he was not a part of the team.
The mother looked through the window of her bedroom. She looked at her son and felt queasy; an irrepressible desire to scream rose in her heart. It was all her fault and she knew it. She clenched her fists, almost fiercely; the nails began to hurt her palms.
‘Why does my boy have to pay for my sins?’
The regret was soul-wrenching; more so because her mother had repeatedly warned her. But she had refused to listen to her. She wanted to punish her for being a bad mother; she had separated from her father when she was just five.
She eventually stopped using drugs; but by then it was too late. She gave birth to a deformed boy. Her son was handsome like his father but he was condemned to hobble all through his life.  
************
A post for Flash Fictionfor Aspiring Writers on a picture prompt
and for Three WordWednesday: word prompts- painstaking, radiant, queasy.

Word count 186

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Grappling Iron
167 08 August 7th 2016
‘This is what we call a grappling iron. This one was from my ship.’
‘Grandpa, you were in the Navy? I didn’t know; did you ever fight a war?’
‘Did I never tell you the story when King Khamaanaa had attacked us? He was king of twenty islands. The islands were rich in gold and silver. King Khamaanaa had built a powerful navy. I was commanding a warship when his navy attacked. Twenty ships attacked my ship……..’
‘Last time you had said that a giant octopus had attacked your ship?’ the little kid asked. 
‘That was when I was in merchant navy…..’
‘But just now you said you were commanding a warship?’ the little boy would never let the old man complete his stories.
‘I commanded the warship when I was in Navy. Later….’
‘Tell me about the giant octopus. Was it even bigger than your ship?’
‘I will tell you if you promise not to interrupt me.’
‘I promise.’
The old man smiled for he knew that boy would keep his promise only for a few minutes. But he was excited by the little boy’s irrepressible urge to ask questions. His only regret was that the grandson would leave after three days; his father had been called back for an urgent meeting. 

The old man did not know when would they visit him again.
*************

A post for Sunday PhotoFiction on a photo prompt.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

The Hungry Tide

Just read The Hungry Tide.
In my humble opinion Amitav Ghosh is one of the few Indians who can actually write in English. Most of the English writing by Indians is either fake or laboured. But Amitav Ghosh is a class apart; he owns the language and uses it with a magical felicity.
Besides, he is a master story-teller. As with Sea of Poppies, I could not skip even a line. I recall I had to skip almost half of English August and I could hardly read twenty pages of God of Small Things. I had read Sea of poppies two times, back to back. Intend to read The Hungry Tide a second time.
All those who are enamoured by Left-Liberals must read this book. Perhaps this is the only book that describes in some detail the tragedy of refugees who had forcibly settled in Marichjhapi.  These refugees were mostly Dalits. No Left- Liberal even breathes a word about what was a near genocide of poor migrants, and for an obvious reason. It happened when Left was ruling West Bengal. What would have been their response if Marichjhapi had been located in Gujarat?
   

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Icon Grill

Copyright-Ted Strutz
                                                                                     Photo prompt © Ted Strutz

He was too scared to go to the police or confront the family of the boy he had accidentally knocked down.
Later he learnt that the dead boy was the only son of a colleague. He left the town.
Friends from the school were meeting in Icon Grill almost after a gap of twenty years. He was reluctant to come to the place from where he had run away.
As he entered the bar he saw a man quietly sitting in a corner. He was unnerved. Something in that man shook him.
‘He deserves to know how his son died,’ he said to himself but his courage again failed him.
********
A post for FridayFictioneers on a photo prompt

Word count 110

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Coat of Mail
166 07 July 31st 2016

‘That’s the dress my great-grandfather wore when he went to battlefields,’ said the young boy to his friend with some arrogance.
‘He was a soldier?’
‘Soldier? You think an ordinary soldier could wear such a dress? He was a general in the army. He fought and won many battles. He was a brave warrior and the king rewarded him every time he won a war. Palaces, gold, horses, and land were given to him. He was the richest man in the kingdom.’
‘What happened to all those riches?’ the friend asked, almost incredulously.
The boy too had asked this question of his father; the father was proud of his linage. But he had inherited nothing but a coat of mail and a few battle-weary swords.
‘Actually it was his third wife; she was in fact a witch. She had bewitched the great man; that proved his and our undoing,’ the young boy invented a story on the spur of moment. He had caught his friend’s attention who was now more interested in hearing the story of the witch.
But the young boy was himself keen to know as to what happened to all the wealth that his great-grandfather had acquired. He knew it was a mystery but his father was reluctant to answer.
*********

A post for Sunday PhotoFiction on a photo prompt.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Set Off
PHOTO PROMPT- Copyright - Jan Wayne Fields
                                                                                   Photo prompt © Jan Wayne Fields

The old man looked at the deep blue water and thought of his great-grandmother. Her father had failed to repay the loan that his father had taken; as a set off she was sold as an indentured labourer. After a horrifying journey she reached a farm somewhere in Africa. All her life she pined to go back to her home.
His father was rich and could have gone back. But he hated the people who had sold his grandmother.
The old man looked wistfully at the urn containing his great-grand mother’s ashes; if only she had been with him on this journey.
*******

A post for FridayFictioneers on a picture prompt
Word count 102

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Escape
164 07 July 17th 2016
She was hardly sixteen. Like all girls of her age she ought to have been living a happy, cheery and carefree life. But she was trapped and was condemned to plot an escape from the clutches of her family.
She looked at the pen; it belonged to her grandfather. The old man, she recalled, was almost in love with his pen and would not let anyone even touch it.  She was uncertain whether she could use it to deter him; perhaps a stab in the eye would hurt him.
As the door opened she felt a tremor rising deep inside her. She tried, but vainly, to give a deadpan look as he stepped in. The fear was overpowering.
She could hear her mother; she was in the kitchen. The mother was, as usual, busy cooking and muttering some inanities.
The mother stopped, but for a moment only, when she heard an ear-splitting scream. She looked towards the girl’s room.
A pen, blood dripping from its nib, rolled out of her daughter’s room.
****************
A post for Three Word Wednesday;  word prompt- carefree, deadpan, ear-splitting
and Sunday Photo Fiction on a photo prompt.

Word count 172

Monday, 18 July 2016

Free Ride
‘I can’t believe it? You don’t feel insulted? She rebuffed you and you are acting as if she told you a joke,’ Dan tried to provoke Pipi.
‘Perhaps she is not my type of girl.’
‘Now you are acting stupid. You need to teach her a lesson.’
‘But………’
‘No girl can dare to humiliate you and get away with it,’ he said arrogantly.
Pipi got overwhelmed by Dan’s outburst.
‘What do you suggest?’
‘You see that new car outside her house; we will take it out for a ride and leave it in New Town,’
‘That would be criminal.’
‘We aren’t stealing it.’
‘But how do we get the key?’
‘Someone blundered; the key is in the car; I saw it when we passed by it,’ Dan smiled mischievously.
They took out the car for a free ride but they could not reach New Town.
They crashed the car into a stationary truck just outside New Town.
Later in the evening Dan learnt that her sister had gone visiting a friend in her new car. She left the key in the car. The car got stolen and was found crashed in a truck near New Town.
******
A post for Flash Fictionfor Aspiring Writers on a picture prompt

Word count 196