All posts by vacreed

About vacreed

Aspiring Writer, Engineering student and Tolstoy fan

2017 A.D.

James Hendricks was faced with a quandary. His son JJ had found a photograph. 

“What is this image, Dad?”

James tried to explain, to the very best of his ability. ” It’s a image of a tree being killed son..”

“What is a tree, Dad?”

And therein was the puzzle James Hendricks was faced with. How to explain this to a boy, whose generation had never known about what had happened on the surface? 

” They were another life form that had populated the surface of this planet, son”

“What happened..?” the boy asked, a little scared now, for the fate of a organism he had never seen.

” Our ancestors decided that they were more beneficial to us fallen and broken rather than alive. They didn’t have voices, so they didn’t protest.  The consequences were more..severe  than our ancestors thought. We were forced to retreat underground.

“When did this happen, Father?” JJ asked.

“A long time ago son, we used to call it 2017 A.D.”

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers Challenge entry. Many thanks to Priceless Joy.

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Shivangi Singh. Thank you Shivangi for the photo prompt!


The Snow Maiden

It was the boy’s birthday. He was now, a teenager. He now had responsibilities and duties. In reality though, the boy had been shouldering adult responsibilities for a long time. He just hadn’t realized it yet.

“I’m leaving Mom”, he said. His Mom didn’t reply. She seldom talked since the boy’s father had left. His father had been an artist, a snow carver once. His creations caught the fancy of the entire town. And then his father left. Abandoning a 7-year-old son and wife, and heading off to pursue God-knows-what. But all that didn’t matter because it was the boy’s birthday today.

So he left, hoping to be pleasantly surprised, by his friends. His friends were important to him. Especially the girl. She studied with him at school. Her seat was diagonally in front of him. All the time the children paid attention to the teachers rambling, he looked at her. At the back of her head, rather. When she was asked the question by the teacher the boy would almost certainly miss the answer. Her nectar sweet voice filled him with joy. And when her answer was right as it invariably was she smiled ever so radiantly setting off butterflies in the boy’s stomach.

He finally reached his school crossing the large playground he never played in. He was never athletically inclined. He placed his palm upon the cold marble tiles, which lined the walls of his school. He loved how cool they felt against his hand. He walked towards classroom sliding his palm along the wall. He heard a familiar voice in his classroom. It was her, he thought! Just listening to the sound of her voice, was such a joy to him. He felt like standing there for a while just listening to her. “…So it’s that guys birthday today?” she said. “Is she talking about me”, the boy thought? The butterflies that had nested in his stomach the day he had seen her, started doing somersaults.  His palm, a little numb from touching the marble lining the walls of his school, inexplicably began sweating.

The boy hid further behind and waited, eavesdropping on them. “Yeah, do you know him?” Sean, a boy from his class said. “Not really, he’s like a retard or something right?” the girl said.

“Yeah that’s what Jim told me, he went retard once his Dad left”

“Whoa! That’s crazy, sure explains why he acts like such a nut though” the girl responded.

“Yeah, there was this time, we had to write an essay about our family or something, and the guy like, burst into tears, in front of the entire class, like a little kid” Shaun said.

“Such a wimp!” the girl said.

The boy didn’t listen anymore. He ran home, his brain a swirling mess of rage and disappointment. Somewhere along the way home, it began to snow. The boy didn’t notice, he was sobbing too hard.

The boy went snow sculpting that day. He used to come here with his father, when he was still around.  They used to sculpt life-size figurines in the snow. Emperors, Queens, Dragons and Knaves all came to life when his father was snow sculpting. The boy sat there and involuntarily began to sculpt, just the way his father had taught him to. He froze and etched and shaped till he created a girl entirely out of snow. She looked alive. And to the boy she probably was alive. The boy adorned her with a headdress made out of lilies, woven together using leaves and twigs.

That night the boy dreamed of the snow maiden. She came alive in his dream. They sat near the lake at the edge of the town, talking for what seemed like hours. What the boy didn’t realize was that, dreams have power.

The next day he visited the snow maiden again. She looked even more beautiful today. As he approached the snow maiden he began to hear someone humming, the boy half-remembered the tune from his childhood. He looked around but couldn’t see anyone. Must be his imagination, he thought. He neared the snow maiden, and saw to his absolute bewilderment, that she was the one humming the tune. She was alive.

“Are you the one who made me?” she asked.

“Wh-Wh-What are you?” the boy said.

“You had a dream right? Dreams have power, they sometimes give life, sometimes they take it, Dreams can give you purpose, and they can also take away your life’s purpose. Ironically the Dreamer has seldom any control over all this.”

The boy wasn’t really listening, faced with something his mind couldn’t reconcile with reality he was left with a single option. To reject reality as he saw it and run away.

He spent the entire night debating with himself. He really wanted to talk to her again, but he was scared. In the end he decided to approach her once more.

“Who are you?” he asked her.

“The Snow Maiden…, isn’t that what you called me?” she said.

“I did, but h-how do you know that”?

“You made me, as a result we are connected, when you poured all that emotion into making me, you opened up your mind to me”

“So can you read my mind then?” the boy said, a little scared now.

“No, more like, I can only really talk to you, and no one else.”

It was this statement that did it. He completely trusted her now. They kept talking. The boy kept visiting her for a few days past that, or was it weeks, the boy wasn’t really sure. Time seemed to flow differently around the Snow Maiden. The boy poured out his entire life’s story, omitting no detail. And she listened to it all. The snow maiden, after all was a great listener.

“I still cannot believe you are real” the boy said.

“That’s understandable. People often have difficulty in reconciling with the unknown. As there is Anubis who judges the dead, there is Yama who comes to collect your soul. As there are several religions around the world so there are, myths that encompass them. I am one but of the myths. I have life, because you need me. Your emotions fuel me. As long as you want me around I’ll stay right here…”

The snow maiden seemed to know the answer to all of the boy’s questions. He made it his ritual to visit her regularly. The boy soon told her of what had transpired on his birthday. How the girl he liked at school had really hurt him. It was here that things started changing.

“That girl, who is she to treat you that way? I am amazed by you constantly. Everyone around you mistreats you. They abuse you, emotionally. Yet you let them do it.”

“I’m just used to it, I guess” the boy said.

“And I wonder my dear, is that a good thing?” she said.

What transpired within the next week, has since become town legend. Everybody noticed a drastic change in the boy. He started getting into fights. When a boy made a wisecrack about his father, the boy kicked him in the face. He was sent home from school that day, with a letter explaining to his mother that this kind of behaviour wouldn’t be excused again.

The boy threw the letter into the dustbin outside his class, on his way home.

“So, you seem happier now-a-days” the Snow Maiden remarked one day.

“I am, in a sense.” the boy remarked. “Ever since I met you ive come to realise how worthless the people around me are, now that I treat them accordingly, I feel, urm, liberated?”

“And-?”

“And yet something seems missing” the boy said.

“It’s her. The girl from your class. The one you liked. She is the culprit here. Don’t you see, she was once everything to you, and yet she took that away from you. As long as she is still around you’ll will feel hollow, no matter how much I try to fix you, you’ll still be broken” the Snow Maiden said. At a later point in his life the boy would remark that the Snow Maiden’s voice was filled with vehemence when she said that.

“So what should I do?” the boy asked.

“Balance, my dear, balance. She took everything from you, it’ll only be appropriate if you took everything from her, yes?”

They had a camping trip the next day. The boy went. The girl, she was there. This part of his life is a bit hazy in the boy’s memory. All he remembers is that the girl, she fell down a small cliff. She was rushed to the hospital. No one knew how it had happened.

One thing everyone knew, the girl was the most surefooted of them all. If she had fallen, it was because someone or something had made her to.

The boy rushed to the Maiden as soon as he could. His mind, a swirling mess. He was shaking with rage.

“Y-You did this!” he accused.

“The fall? No my dear that was all you.” The Snow Maiden replied.

“What do you mean?!” he asked.

“Did you forget? I can only talk to you, influence you. I cannot control your actions. You know that, nor can I miraculously cause things to happen” the Snow Maiden replied.

The boy looked bewildered by now. “Don’t you remember dear? You pushed her. You did so because you wanted to, I merely helped you get there, but this is all you. And now, it’s just the two of us. That skank will probably die anytime now.” the Snow Maiden said.

The boy ran, once more afraid of the Maiden, as he should have been. He camped outside the hospital, only going home a few days later when he heard that the girl was quite okay now and would be discharged soon. He went home thereafter, stunned by the events that had unfolded during the past few weeks. He sat there thinking what to do. It was only a few days later he found a answer to that, it was then he decided to visit the Snow Maiden just once more.

“You’re back, I knew you’d be back. Did you finally realise that I did what I did for your-for our benefit?” she said.

“No, and I didn’t. I merely realised that you were wrong” the boy said.

“Where was I wrong, pray tell.” The Snow Maiden asked.

“When you said that, a Dreamer seldom has control over where his dreams take him. That’s wrong. The dreamer has a choice, he can choose, to wake up.”

With this sentence the boy left the Snow Maiden, ignoring her wild screams. Had he turned behind, he would have seen that the Snow, had finally begun to melt.

Far away, in a place where the sun never shines and the Snow reigns supreme. A Father lies in desperation. He had abandoned his family when the boy was but a kid, around seven the father thinks but he doesn’t really remember. He abandoned them because he made a sculpture, out of snow. And all he can think of now is “Why isn’t the Snow Maiden coming alive?”

But wait the tale isn’t over, aren’t you wondering who I am? Who is telling you this? Why the boy has no name and neither does the girl? I lost the ability to utter their names when the boy rejected me. I am not dead yet. I am let’s just say, waiting. Waiting for it to snow again and for another boy to make a Snow Maiden again.

First Guest Post

After a long time I’ve finally returned to my blog. So I decided to do something special, for a change. I’ve written my first, guest post. You can read it here:-

https://thewriterguyblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/10/book-of-the-week-19/

Enjoy!!As always suggestions are welcome

BVS: The Dawn of Injustice

In light of all the hate surrounding Batman v Superman: The Dawn of Justice. I just wanted to make some things clear:-

Alright, this may be a bit long, but absolutely necessary I assure you. I am an avid comic book fan. I love reading them, when I first saw Ben Affleck’s first look from BVS, I didn’t lose my marbles over how Christian Bale was better etc.
He may be better, or not, that is not the question. But, Affleck looks better, especially in the role of Frank Miller’s Batman from The Dark Knight Returns, shades of which are abundant in BVS. The story is based in a reality where, Batman is aging, world weary and darker in general. Most people have objections regarding this. It’s idiotic. Ben Affleck’s Batman, is a representation that sticks to the source material, in a way that only few movies have managed (read: Deadpool) Understanding the distinction between the normal Bats and the Batman of BVS is key to comprehending the movie. All those critics complaining about the stagnant nature of superhero movies, this IS a respite, but most people are just too blind to see it.
Two things have been cropping up in all the reviews of BVS, it could have been funnier/entertaining and, the lack of the “versus” in BVS.

Firstly, this is not a giggly romcom. It doesn’t need to be funny, to be entertaining. I don’t think there were many jokes in say, Shutter Island, but, it was entertaining. The fault lies with audience as a whole, we have created a bias where every superhero movie should be like Avengers. Typical leave your brain at home affair. Now Avengers might have been a great movie, but after the entire seeing Phase Two, I cannot help, but hope for a slightly intellectual alternative. Complex characterization, a plot that truly tests the resolve of these characters in a explosive mix, spiced up with delicious CGI, that is what the DCU is giving us. Now all those bickering about the excessively philosophical elements of BVS need to understand one thing, DC has always heralded stories that are different in nature, Sandman, Batman:Arkham Asylum etc. The problem here is the view that comics are nothing more that a light entertainment media. DC has not accounted for the imagination of the audiences, or a lack thereof.

Secondly the “versus” issue, let me get this straight, people wanted Zach Snyder to establish Bats, set up Wonder Woman and the Justice League, without it seeming like a massive setup, ( read:Avengers 2) create a conflict and resolve it all within 2 hours or so. Well, I think Snyder and team did a great job. The problem is again, lack of  familiarity with comics, BVS can never be a mano-y-mano, winner takes all deathmatch. The conflict has always been that of ideologies. I can rant for hours covering minute details of their respective ideologies ( believe me, I have.) But at the end of the day, the only way to have these two titans in a conflict is have one party unwilling to fight. It was the same in BVS, and in TDKR, also in the beginnings of Injustice, I think.

That being said, BVS has many delights for one familiar with the source material. The amazing setup for JL, the powerhouse performance by Jesse Eisenberg, in complete contrast of the cold, detached Luthor of the comics, being some of them. Among these is the apparent ability of Bats to forget his “no gun” rule. I think that this, put together with a small dream sequence, after which a certain JL member drops by, is one of the major Easter Eggs. For those who have seen the movie and remember the dialogue please google Injustice: Gods among us, the comic by DC. That may or may not be the direction in which DCU is heading, if they are, boy we are in for a treat.
Again I’m in no way saying BVS is a flawless work of art, but does it deserve to be ranked with the likes of Catwoman and Green Lantern on CinemaScore?
Nope.

The Fall of a Sparrow

Written as an entry for Friday Fictioneers.

Prabhakar, was bored. Like really, really bored. Well, visiting your ancestral home does do,  inexplicable things to your internet connectivity. He was stuck in this place for a whole week. With nothing to do, he turned to exploring the place.

One of these days, he found a book, called The Fall of a Sparrow. When he asked around, he got to know that it was written by a close friend of his great grandfather.

He started flipping through, casually at first but with greater interest later. He read on as the story of Salim Ali, took him on a roller coaster ride. From a common boy, to a titan of Indian ornithology.

Weeks later, it was time to go, as he packed his bags, a sparrow landed on the porch, Prabhakar didn’t know it then, but that sparrow coupled with the writings of Ali, had instilled a love of birds in him, that would transcend his childhood.

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PHOTO PROMPT © Luther Siler

Salim Ali was a real ornithologist in India. He practically wrote the book on Indian bird watching and also worked on their conservation.

Excerpt from Wikipedia:-

Sálim Moizuddin Abdul Ali (12 November 1896 – 20 June 1987)[1] was an Indian ornithologist and naturalist. Sometimes referred to as the “birdman of India”, Salim Ali was among the first Indians to conduct systematic bird surveys across India and his bird books helped develop ornithology. He became the key figure behind the Bombay Natural History Society after 1947 and used his personal influence to garner government support for the organisation, create the Bharatpur bird sanctuary (Keoladeo National Park) and prevent the destruction of what is now the Silent Valley National Park. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1958 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1976, India’s third and second highest civilian honours respectively.

Blogging 201 Task 2

As a part of Blogging 201 I intend to put up a different post for each task. This is the second of those. Well starting off then. The assignment is as follows:-

Today’s assignment: audit your brand — look at all the ways you communicate information about your blog to make sure they’re consistent and focused — and make one update to reinforce it.

Well my main focus is and always will be my stories. I do realize that this does limit my audience so I try to create a amalgamation of both, my story ideas and personal experiences. Like my story Gaijin, which based upon my experience of being bullied. I feel that this does help with reaching a wider audience.

My blogs theme reflects my target audience, I think. It is very simple, designed to facilitate reading, but I feel there is still room for improvement, in this regard.

My title is, as I have told in an earlier post, about my own character which I have created long back, Creed. And since all this will eventually culminate in a novel staring him, (I hope) its only appropriate that my blog is known by his name.

I can’t really shake that feeling that my blog is still missing something though, let me know if you can help with that, and I’ll be really grateful.

So do you think I need to focus on something specific regarding my blog? Let me know in the comments.  🙂

Share Your World 2015 – Week #49

All images taken from pixbay.

What would be your ideal birthday present, and why?

My ideal birthday present would be a Tolstoy book collection. 🙂 I am an avid reader and currently I am completely blown away by the work of Leo Tolstoy. Anna Karenina in my opinion is the most profound novel ever written. Actually, any book will make me just as happy.

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What color would you like your bedroom to be?

Light Blue, the sort of colour that adorns the sky on a clear day, and I would like to paint a mural on the opposite wall.

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Would you prefer snowy winters, or not, and why? 

I would!! I stay in Mumbai and have seen very little snowfall all my life. So snowy winters are somewhat of a mystery to me. So snowy winter any day.

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Would you rather go a week without bathing, but be able to change your clothes, or a week without a change of clothes, but be able to bathe?

Well, neither really, but since the question has been asked, I’d rather bathe.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m really thankful now that my exams are ending. I can finally focus on some stuff that I’ve wanted to do for a while. I just joined the Blogging University Course 201, I’m really excited to see where that takes me.

Share My World is hosted by Cee Neuner, so a big thank you there.

Blogging 201 Task 1

As a part of Blogging 201 I intend to put up a different post for each task. This is the first of those. Well starting off then. The assignment is as follows:-

Today’s assignment: consider what you want to accomplish with your blog. Write down three concrete goals. 

Goal 1:-  Identifying the scope of my writing talents and striving to improve them.

I have always considered myself a writer at heart, stories come to my mind frequently. With a ready platform like WordPress, I am, for the first time in many years, in a position to share my storytelling. I intend to do that exactly.

Goal 2:-   Gaining at least 500 followers by the end of May 2016

Gaining a follow, is a joy unparalleled. To me it indicates that there is one person out there, interested in reading my work. It fills you with a substantial enthusiasm to come up with new works. That being said, I don’t expect overnight success. I know that these things do take time, and that is reflected in my objective.

Goal 3:- Finally penning down Chronicle.

I actually have the entire plot of a novel with a protagonist  in my head. Not entire, to be honest, but the major elements are in place. I do intend to pen it down someday. But before I do I want to familiarize a large group of people with my characters, thereby helping me fine tune characterization.

So yeah, that’s me. Let me know what you think. Also if interested check out my other stories I appreciate any and all feedback.

Emigration to Antarctica

My first time writing for Friday’s Music Prompt. It is hosted by Mindlovemisery’s menagerie.
Today’s prompt is Float On- Modest Mouse.
My submission is a short story, enjoy.!!

Some days of life are such that you know, they are going to be a drag. You know kind of the one today. You have to wake up, at 8:00 to get to work on time. You don’t. By the time you reach work, you are already half dead from the exhaustion that is, public transportation. You see your boss, and he is livid, obviously.
      
After half an hour of showing you who is the boss, he assigns you overtime for today and storms off, you are in no position to refuse.
” Performance  Evaluation ” next week. You see the large pile of files on your desk as the deadline starts looming over your head. Like the silent blade of death, pushing yourself to work, right now, takes away another piece of your very soul. You contemplate emigrating to Antarctica.

Lunch usually provides a sliver of relaxation, in a day that otherwise feels like a colonoscopy,
or so you think. The sandwiches that your wife made for you, seem to have miraculously disappeared from your bag. So you skip lunch.  Rest of the day goes in relative ease, your  PC crashes, you have forgotten to save the data, someone accidentally spills coffee on your table, nothing too crazy. Antarctica, I’m coming.

At 7:00 you realize that you are going to miss your daughter’s drama competition. Oh, the one she has been excited about for months. It is quite hard to convince a four year old, but you manage. Staying back while your only child, steps on the stage for the first time is the hardest thing you’ve done. You hope she realizes that all this, is to secure her future. You watch as all your colleagues leave, one by one. Antarctica…

You finish the work at the exact moment where any more, would have killed you. You make the train back home and doze off. You finally reach home, ready to face a onslaught of questions from your daughter. Instead when you walk in she is smiling, her face makes everything else fade out. She runs to you shouting, ” We won, we won.” That feeling, it fills you with joy and washes off all your exhaustion. You could climb the Everest right now.

Antarctica, you’ll just have to wait, not today. Today I’ll float on, okay.

The Chase

She was sure that she was being followed. The guy had followed her, all the way from the shop, it was making her frantic with fear. All she could hear was her own heart, pounding in sheer fright. Her brain had shut off, she was practically racing now, he was far off but he was still chasing. All she wanted now, was to reach home safely.

She eventually reached near her house. That’s when she finally calmed enough to understand the words of the man following her,

” Madam, your shoe, it slipped off, a couple of blocks back”
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Each week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple hosts Friday Fictioneers where we’re challenged to write a piece of flash fiction in 100 words, more or less, based on the picture above.

This week’s photo is from http://ceayr.com