Tag Archives: Short story

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.

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

 

Different

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers is hosted by Priceless Joy. This week’s photo prompt is provided by, Sonya, from the blog, Only 100 Words.

“It’s a pain to be different”, Victor said.

” Being different is a part of one’s life, it is what sets you apart “, came the reply.

Victor reverted, saying “I never asked for an unnaturally high IQ, it just makes me stand out, and not in a good way.”

” Sometimes you need to come to terms with what the gifts that nature has bestowed upon you before you understand their value, let’s go to the new zoo, Victor, it’ll help you forget all this. ”

At the zoo Victor saw a stunning peacock, which wasn’t exactly normal, either.

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” Victor, do you know what is wrong with that peacock? “Victor’s eidetic memory kicked in and he said, ” Yes, it is a partial loss of multiple pigments , called leucism, commonly mistaken as albinism, which is just the loss of melanin. ”

Even as Victor said that he realized, that the peacock’s disorder was also the source of its unnatural beauty.

” I don’t think it’s such a pain, to be different.”

It turns out that white peacock’s are extremely rare in nature, and occur largely due to selective breeding. Which is why I had to make up a zoo in the story, whereas under normal circumstances I am quite against animal captivity.

The condition called leucism is real and is the reason why we have white tigers.(one of the most majestic animals in my opinion)You can read about leucism here.

The inspiration for Victor’s eidetic memory and exteme intellect is based upon a condition called savantism. According to Wikipedia,

“Savant syndrome is a condition in which a person with a mental disability, such as an autism spectrum disorder, demonstrates profound and prodigious capacities or abilities far, in excess of what would be considered normal.”

Which is the basis my premise that he would be having a lot of difficulty fitting in.

Let me know what you think. 🙂

Death of a Soldier

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Photo prompt © J Hardy Carroll

My first time, writing for Friday Fictioneers. I wanted to do a dark, look at the death of a loved one, but all my recent stories have been too dark. So I’ve tried something different.

As I recover from the initial shock, I wonder whether he remembered us in his last moments. His life did revolve around his family. With a sad and weary heart, I read the letter that broke my world down, once more. I start wondering how am I going to tell this to our daughter. As I do this, the doorbell rings.

“I’m home, dear. Is she still sleeping?”
Apparently there was a case of mistaken identity. Another man with a similar name was the unfortunate deceased.

He takes us to a nice dinner, to unwind after the strange events of today. While returning, I see a graveyard with two lone figures, and I wonder what would I have done if I was there for his funeral. That fear is forever a part of me now.

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.

Gaijin

Here is a little short story representing my struggle with fitting in socially, a struggle that I hope I am well past, its a fictional short about a boy with a load of issues, written in first person and has a twist at the end.

Gaijin, is the Japanese word for “outside person”. The opinions vary on whether this word carries a negative tone or not, but for me, it always carries an air of exclusiveness. I can almost hear the searing negative connotations associated, no matter what some scholar says about it, Gaijin is, and always will be a derogatory word to me. And as my fate would have it, I’m always a Gaijin.

My father, you see, has one of those jobs. One where he has to travel all around, with almost no fixed duration of work at a single spot. As a direct result, I am always pushed into a situation where I have to stand in front of a room full of strangers and introduce myself anew. But they don’t really care about my name or my hobbies, for them I’m just a minor distraction in the middle of the semester. I never bother making friends, as I’m just waiting to be an outsider in some far off place again. Despite making my father run all around, his boss doesn’t pay my father as handsomely as one, working as hard, would normally be paid. What that means for me, is that we cannot always afford the best of schools; I’ve been sent to pretty rough places. At first I used to get kicked around, a lot. All I remember from that time is how hard it hurt. They tore my books, ransacked my bags, ridiculed my every behaviour. Eventually I learnt affecting a extremely repulsive persona. No one wants to mess with the foul-mouthed, perpetually enraged, loner. It keeps the bullies off my back, and it turns making friends into a near impossibility. I have grown accustomed to the trade off.

The teachers are another story, they all are extremely kind to me. As if they know my pain and are privy to some secret unlike me. On account of all this I’ve learnt to study on the go, and if I do say it myself I’m quite good at it. I usually ace the tests and then we celebrate, father cooks pasta for us. But all the celebration doesn’t change a simple fact, it’s just a matter of time before I am no more than a Gaijin again. As a result of my stressful life I am prone to scary dreams. It’s just the one really, a car crash, sounds like my subconscious knows something I don’t. Sometimes I end up too sick to attend school, at that time I am reminded of a simple fact. That my father is the greatest person I know, hats off to him. He takes every effort to ease my suffering. He takes painstaking efforts to ensure that all our lodgings look virtually the same. He also figures talking to a psychiatrist once in a while will help, I never understood why he thought this necessary, not until today. I eavesdropped my father, talking to one of the psychiatrists today. What is wrong with my son he asked her. The reply is something I could never fathom.

“Your son has suffered massive psychological trauma. As a result he has constructed an elaborate fantasy where you are changing cities for your job so he doesn’t have to fit in with anyone. His mind conveniently forgets the appearance of his classmates as a part of the same. He calls himself a Gaijin, and every three to four months starts feeling like one anew. I’m afraid that the bullying that he was subjected to was too much after suffering the loss of a parent. He may fully recover soon, with the right attention, but only time will tell.”

Four Thieves on Camels

As morning breaks all I see is sand in every direction, my final destination is not nearly visible to me. Neither is a source of food, water or any form of sustenance. What is in sight is my impending doom, when every step you take forebodes your death, life becomes a burden and the will to live forsakes you, people generally pray for help at this point. But I don’t pray for help, what I pray for, with what might be my dying breath, is the total annihilation of the scum who left me here to die. They even took my share of the loot, which we were to split 5 ways, the scoundrels.
It was a bad idea from the start, I knew this in my mind. Cutthroats and thugs are seldom good company, but senseless greed blinded me. When they offered to arrange our gateway across the desert, I should have realized that they were planning to betray me from the start. The gateway was supposed to be on camelback but there were only 4 camels, none for me. It is only now that I realize that the nearest town is still leagues away. I summon the very last of my strength. I half expect the reaper to show up, but now I can hear the distant sound of a town bell going off, finally some hope! Invigorated by a slimmer of hope I go on, scorpions sting my legs and the sun seeps my vitality. But finally I reach the town and I collapse at its doors.
I wake up some time later, nursed to health by the good townsfolk. But now I notice something, the town is all bustling, apparently 4 thieves on camels were accosted by the guards  last night, they are scheduled to be flogged publicly in a few hours.

Plague

What I saw that day, I would never forget. It was something I had never seen and hopefully never would see in the entire remainder of my life; even now I see the sight right before my eyes sending shivers down my spine. The Vision is what I’d call it, left me branded with dread. What I had seen would come to pass in a matter of weeks; in fact it might have already started, the sheer panic left me shaking uncontrollably. The Vision showed me the one thing that entire humanity dreads, secretly in the most private confines of their minds where everyone is nothing but a repressed mess of fears, fear of loss, fear of heights, fear of water, fear of fire..But one fear trumps them all, the fear of Death. Nothing makes a man tremble and lose function more than the realization of death creeping up on him. The Vision foretold the end of the whole mankind, what is worse I saw it all happen. It wasn’t all glamorous and heroic like shown in those apocalypse movies. There was no hope, no chance of survival, first came the Plague, one that had never had been seen before, all our medical expertise and the enormous funding poured into a cure went to waste. I saw the Plague spread faster than any disease I have ever seen, the screams of humanity signaled the onset of dawn that day. Then came the Famine, the Plague affected our crops more than us, I saw the entire world starve to death in a couple of days, then I realized the carnage would never end. This Vision had to be prevented; I had to use my skills as a apprentice of the ancient order of mystics who have steered the world towards a better cause for centuries. I intended to manipulate the one thing that shouldn’t be manipulated, time.
The way I figured the only thing humanity lacked to battle the plague, was a prior warning, I could supply that and everything would be okay, yes that was something I could do, thus I set out to find the book that detailed the process to manipulate time, I found it, the process was a simple one for a prodigy of the ancient arts like me. I acquired the ingredients required without letting the brothers of my order know, as this meddling with the flow of time, was forbidden and the order is strict about these matters. The ritual required a precision that I was not accustomed to, I reversed the state of time all right, but botched up the location at which I would end up.
This is how I ended up at this dump, full of strange creatures and me for some strange reason stuck to a chair, for some reason all of them in white, long flowing coats writing some drivel on their books and notepads, they could be the members of a rival order. Did these crazy people realize how important my work here was? Their lives depended upon it, my life depended upon it, the morons. I tried to scream, no sound came, I tried getting up nothing happened. That is when one of the fools in the strange room lit by white lights pointed at me and asked his colleague about my identity. 
It’s the reply that has sent me down this  memory lane, and left me entirely confused and frankly dumbfounded. The other guy said, “He is the famous fiction writer Argus Creed, he was involved with a major car accident, we suspect massive brain tissue damage resulting in lifelong disability.” “It’s all too sad really, his new book was to be released tomorrow, you might have heard of the book, it is called , “The PLAGUE”.                             .