Shadows

I walked past the shadows in the park; decorated with the sprinkles of autumn. The same park that had seared itself into my memory and changed my life forever. A remnant of an old thrill passed through my spine, and I cursed it. I hated thrills now.

I hurried past it to the street, searching for the house that had dominated my dreams for 20 years.

I hesitated for just a moment before knocking and waited, for what?

She opened the door, catching her breath, holding it for support. I could see her rummage through her memories, peering into my face.

“Mom,” I said softly as a tear trickled down her wrinkled face.


Flash fiction in response to Weekend Writing Prompt hosted by the lovely Sammi Cox. Thank you, Sammi!

This week’s challenge.

Write a story in exactly 113 words that begins in the photo above.  Where you go from there is up to you.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Young and wild

PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy

“Oh! Will you please let that poor bird alone?”

“One minute…”

“You have been telling that for 10 minutes now!”

“I would take just one minute if you would help with the photo. I can’t both hold the bird and take a photo at the same time!”

“Then don’t! Just let the bird go.”

“But mom!!! I caught him – myself, with my bare hands.”

“That’s nothing to be proud of, you idiot!”

“How would you know? Never seen you around animals.”

“Well, what do you consider yourself young man? God knows I have enough wild on my hands.”


Flash fiction in response to Friday Fictioneers hosted by the lovely Rochelle Wisoff.

The lad Ryan

This week’s photo prompt is provided by BarbCT/Gallimaufry. Thank you BarbCT!

Ryan brought the barge to a slow drift as the ferry neared, carefully keeping out of its way; he lifted his hat and bowed his head in deference. The captain of the ferry nodded as he sped past, an arrogant smile adorning his proud face.

Later that night, the captain walked up to Ryan, who was soothing his soul with some cold beers in the local bar.

“Ryan my lad… A fine day. Wasn’t it?”

Met with silence, he continued. “Well, for some, it certainly was.”

“Oh shut it, Peter!” Ryan roared. “So I lost. And had to make an absolute ass of myself acting like you were my lord and master in front of all those tourists… Man, there were pretty girls around.”

Ryan glowed, his face a pulsing beacon of red.

“Oh yes, there were a few,” said Peter obviously enjoying Ryan’s misery as much as the beer he was drinking.

“I say! If you are so great, can you do this?” replied Peter hotly.

 

Some lads just don’t seem to learn.


Flash fiction in response to FFfAW hosted by Priceless Joy. Thank you, PJ!

 

 

Dangerous thing

My mouth salivated, my senses tingled. It consumed me as I consumed it.

“How is it?” she asked.

“OK” I replied, careful not to let her know.

Dangerous thing, making the wife feel in control.


Microfiction in response to Weekend Writing Prompt hosted by the lovely Sammi Cox. Thank you, Sammi. This week’s challenge

Prose Challenge – Write a story in 35 words, inspired by the theme of taste, without actually including the word “taste” in it.

 

 

Love all

photo-20171002154619997

As she walked through the streets to the city center, countless more people joined her, silently. Many were holding candles, including her father, whose hand she was holding.

On reaching, she climbed the stage and raised her hand-drawn placard proclaiming “Love”. The gathering clapped.

She spoke. “Today I am ten years old. It was also on this day a year back that I became a cripple. As a lone survivor, many say I am a miracle… I am not sure of that. What I am sure of though, is that if I am walking here today, it is because of the love that you have all shown me; your letters and cards. Thank you so much…. On my last birthday, I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grow up. Today though, I know. I want to grow up to be a policewoman; be able to protect people from dying and losing their limbs in terror attacks. I want to protect all, who like you, are wonderful, loving people.”


Flash fiction in response to FFfAW hosted by Priceless Joy.

The hollow

Some primal instinct of survival must have surged through my body. There is no other explanation for how I could have run so far into the woods.

I could be dead. I will be dead if caught. Run!!!

This singular thought electrified my exhausted legs.

I glanced back when I thought I had lost them. In that moment of folly, the entire world came crashing in a heap of green and blue and brown. I tripped over a tree root and fell on my face.

Fear overwhelmed me. Trembling, I struggled to get up. That’s when it caught my eye – that wide gaping hollow at the base of the guilty tree; strangely dark.

The sound of approaching footsteps spurred me to dive into the hollow. Refusing to breathe, I inched forward to flatten myself against its inside wall. On reaching it, I let out an involuntary yelp; the wall was ice cold, in the middle of the tropical forest.

I panicked. Surely they had heard me now! Confused and desperate, I searched for any means of escape. That’s when I saw the mark of a human palm on the wall. Would it open, if I touched it? With no time to decide, I had no choice. I couldn’t imagine anything worse than a violent death. I placed my hand on the wall.

I have been here ever since. Over the years, I have often looked back at that moment of desperation. Every single time, I regret placing my hand.


Flash fiction in response to Weekend Writing prompt hosted by the lovely Sammi Cox. Thank you so much, Sammi! This week’s prose challenge.

Write a story with a maximum word count of 250 words that tells the story of a character or group of characters who discover a secret doorway.  Your story must include the following elements:

  • a description of the secret doorway
  • an explanation of how the doorway was discovered
  • a firm decision to either go through the doorway or not

Pride

red-apple-rest-jhc

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Rajiv let his camera feast on the dilapidated building; like an uncut gem, jutting out from the polished glass of the neighborhood.

 

Satisfied, he approached the watchman to satiate his own curiosity.

“Say. How come this place isn’t a mall yet?”

“Some court case Sir.”

“I see. When did this factory close?”

“I am told, about 30 years back.”

“Wow! Why don’t they settle? Seems like an awful waste of time and money.”

“I wouldn’t know sir.”

“Sure. Thank you.”

 

Rajiv turned back. He knew. Land and money seldom caused battles. The same though, couldn’t be said about men’s pride.


Flash fiction in response to Friday Fictioneers hosted by the lovely Rochelle Wisoff.

 

I see you

photo-20170925154627418
Photo prompt by shivamt25

“It is unlike him to be so late. Perhaps something came up at work… I don’t want to look all so desperate by calling him repeatedly. He’ll come. No point getting angry; spoiling my mood and the day.

Just need something to kill time.”

Namitha fished her sunglasses from her purse and perched it carefully on the coffee cup.

“Pffft. Balancing that took all of 40 seconds… Am bored…”

Looking around the coffee shop for some relief, she was greeted by Amit’s smiling face, camera dangling from his neck.

“Hey beautiful!”

“You are late. I should be angry.”

“But you aren’t” he smirked. “Besides, I am not late.”

“Excuse me! It’s 7:15. You were supposed to be here an hour earlier.”

“And I was! Here, look.”

He showed her the pictures on his camera – pictures of her sipping coffee absentmindedly, flipping her phone, staring into the window serenely, and much more.

“Oh my! I never knew I could look like this.

“I wanted to show you how I see you… Happy anniversary dear.”


Flash fiction in response to FFfAW hosted by Priceless Joy.


I am usually terrible at attempts at romance. This is one of the few. Please pardon my transgression!

The circle of life

That evening was the first time in 15 days that Jayanthi and Anisha were at home – alone. All the funeral rites had been completed. All the relatives had returned.

Anisha, resting her head on her mother’s lap, was crying softly.

“Come now. Don’t cry.” cajoled Jayanthi.

“I miss daddy, mom.”

“I know you do… It’ll be alright. You’ll see.”

“That’s what everyone keeps saying. It’s not alright. Daddy is no more. It shivers just to utter that mom.”

“Sshhh…. It’s ok dear. Calm down.”

“Life seems so meaningless without him… To top it all, now I have to run the company too! What will I do without him, mom? I am terrified.”

“Don’t be dear. You have been running the company for a few years now; your father was just guiding you from here. You understand the business more than anybody else. Your father was always so confident in you. Besides, you will not be alone. There are so many trusted people in the company who will help you. You know that.”

“Oh… I don’t know. I wish he was here.”

Anisha spoke again after a few moments silence.

“Mom. Will you be ok? If I go back? You know the business needs me in Delhi… Why don’t you come with me?”

Jayanthi hesitated.

“I… This is all just so sudden. I … don’t know… Can we discuss this some other time?”

“Oh..Ok. Sure,”

That time arrived a few days later when Anisha realized she would have to leave shortly.

“Mom… Did you, by any chance, think about what we discussed?”

Jayanthi visibly tensed.

“Mom. I know this is hard. I get it. Just talk to me.”

“Anisha dear. What I am going to say might shock you. But…”

Anisha’s heart clenched – what was life throwing at her now?

“What is it?” she asked cautiously.

“I… I will not be coming with you to Delhi. I will not be staying here either. I will be going back to my village.”

Village?” Anisha was shocked. “What village? I thought you were from here.”

“I spent my entire married life here. That’s true. But I am not from here.”

“Mom. I don’t understand.”

Jayanthi took a deep breath, recollecting the talk she had rehearsed a hundred times. She was not prepared.

“What do you know about my parents?” She asked slowly.

“Your parents? Only what you have told me – that they died when you were about 20, before you got married.”

“They are probably dead. I wouldn’t know” Jayanthi drew a long breath. “I ran away from home, from my village when I was little… I don’t even remember why.”

“What?” Anisha lost her words.

“Yes, I did… A young girl on the streets experiences unspeakable terrors… I can only call it God’s kindness that I somehow landed up in a children’s home. I found a new life and became a nurse… You have probably figured out the rest of the story. I came to this house as a nurse – for your grandfather who was very sick at the time. I don’t know if he really liked me or felt that he was running out of time. But one day, he called your father by his side, pointed to me and said ‘She will be your wife’… Your grandfather had a heart of gold. But then without realizing, he had done his son a grave injustice.”

“What do you mean?”

“Your father didn’t like me. Never did throughout his life.”

“What?” Anisha was shocked.

“It’s true. He never told me if he liked someone else. But for sure, he didn’t want me.”

“Oh!”

“He lived with me only to protect the family’s honor… I believe he was truly happy only after you were born. You were the only happiness in his life. In mine too.”

“Why didn’t you tell me about this earlier mom?”

“I couldn’t. Your father had prohibited me. Nobody could know that I had run away.”

“Then why are you telling this to me now?”

“So that you can understand when I tell you why I need to go back… Even though my parents may not be alive, perhaps their way of life is. Maybe the house I was born in is still there… God has been very kind to me. Now, it is time for me to give back. I want to go to my village and do everything in my capacity to make myself useful. I owe it to myself. I owe it to my parents.”



Killer

day-and-night

I told the police what I knew. I had been awakened by a loud cry from the next door at about 11 in the night. I had rushed there to find her stabbed; with a letter clutched in her hand. Someone obviously wanted her dead.

It was on the news later that day. I finally got to know what was in that letter.

“Forensics will tell you this is a murder. Please don’t go looking for a killer… The truth, though hard to believe, is that I, the future self, have killed myself, the present self.
I have no other option right now. People, evil ones, know that I have invented this machine; but they don’t know how it works – yet. They are keeping me captive and are torturing me every day. I can’t let it get in their hands… I don’t know of any other means of escape.”

Word Count: 148


Flash fiction in response to Weekend Writing Prompt hosted by the lovely Sammi Cox. This week’s challenge:

Write a story in 150 words that is set in both the day and the night or mentions both the sun and the moon

 

The stranger

old-shoes-cobwebs
PHOTO PROMPT © Sarah Potter

Dying alone is the worst curse. He had been dead for three days before I realized I hadn’t seen him. We had hardly known each other. Just a nod of the head as I passed his home. But still, I felt miserable. I had to do something for him. So what if he was dead?

I decided to help clean his apartment. The little there was enough to tell me that he liked flowers and the color red; collected chopsticks. I also found a pair of old, cobwebbed shoes. That meant, he wasn’t born a cripple… I wonder, what happened?

Word count: 100


Flash fiction in response to Friday Fictioneers hosted by the lovely Rochelle Wisoff.

Honesty is the best policy

I stared at the letter; read it again. Was this really happening? Was this happening now? I stumbled back and plopped down on the wet floor; broken. I had known something was wrong when she hadn’t answered my calls all day. That’s why I had hurried back as early as I could. But then, I was still not early enough. She had left me; leaving my home, my life, completely dark.

Where had she gone? How could I find her? I had to find her; to tell her the truth; to tell her how much I love her; tell her how mistaken she is; tell her that I had made a terrible mistake and she would be my redemption.

I raced through all the places she could be and came to conclusion. She wouldn’t be in any of those places. I simply knew it. Suddenly, I went entirely limp, like all my vitality had been flushed down the drain in front of me. I sat there and cursed my luck. The best day of my life had stormed by and shredded it into pieces.

The day had started off much earlier than usual. Boss had wanted me to sweep and scrub the entire office sparkling clean before the special visit. It was not an unusual request and I obliged as usual. It meant I could get overtime money.

Bone tired after doing housework in 4 places, Nammu had still woken up at 4 to pack my lunch box. We never ate food outside. It was simply too expensive. It was an indulgence reserved for special times…

I remembered how she had stood there and waved to me from the front door of our tiny home, as she did every day. That morning smile had always been my only defense; the shield that I would carry all day long.

It was too early for the bus station to be crowded. Perhaps, that is why I noticed the bag. It looked like a child’s bag and I was immediately worried that some kid would be looking for it. I went up to it and opened it, hoping to find a name or address.

But what I found left me breathless. I had never seen so much money in my life. Trembling, I sat down next to the bag, unsure of what to do. I knew the right thing was to give up the money to the police. In all these years as a sweeper, it had been never hard to do the right thing. I had come across gold jewelry, phones, wallets and what not. Never had I even touched those. That day, however, my integrity broke. It was simply too much money. At first, I had been ashamed to even consider taking the money. But then, I convinced myself that if someone had been carrying so much money in a kid’s bag, they were not good people. They were trying to hide, to get away. Such people deserve to be double-crossed. I was not bad. I had only looked at the bag to help a child and I was only getting rewarded for my good intentions.

I carried the bag back home. Nammu had already left for work. There are not many hiding places in a poor man’s home; so I hid the money in the bathroom and started for work. I wasn’t going to do anything suspicious. I had decided to tell Nammu in the evening after work. God knows how she would have reacted over the phone.

And what a terrible, terrible mistake that had been! Two selfish decisions had landed me here, on the bathroom floor, weeping into her letter.

“You cheat! All these years you let me wallow in poverty. You never let me have even 100 bucks for anything. But you have been secretly hoarding all this money without telling me even a single word. How could you, you liar? How long has this been going on?

But then, I don’t care. I don’t want to live with a cheat. Don’t try to find me. You and your money can live happily with each other.”

I stood up, making up my mind. If selfishness had destroyed me, perhaps honesty can resurrect? I took the money to the police station. I also lodged a missing person complaint.