Finding Joy In A Thrift Store

(Written for Friday Fictioneers)

Photograph by John Nixon

Photograph by John Nixon

“Ermm..how much are the china glasses for?”

“15 bucks for these, 10 for the floral.”

“P-paper cups?”

“Buck a dozen.”

“That Kodak camera?”

“4 – with a film’

“The blue suit in the corner?”

“30 bucks – that’s the least for a slow day.”

“I’ll take the brown jacket in the corner please.”

“Ok. I’ll throw in a bowtie and socks for free.”

“And the…”, the old man blushed, “And the white gown?”

“So it’s a wedding! Whose?”

“Mine”.

Arnie couldn’t wait to see the astonished expression on Edith’s face, providing little comfort for being 40 years late.

Courtesy - Google

Courtesy – Google

 

The Souvenirs

(Written for Friday Fictioneers)

Photograph by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
Photograph by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

People collect souvenirs as reminders of the fine moments they have experienced. For Rufus, it was to remind him to be glad that he was alive.

He remembered the little girl who handed him her skating shoes, right before getting buried under a burning beam.

And the other time when a dying old man gave him a silver trophy before breathing his last – “I was the best singer in the county”, he spluttered.

And the golden pram he found in a debris. Ironic how this symbol of birth reminded him of death.

It wasn’t easy being a fireman with emotions.

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The Knife Story

(Written for Alastair’s Photo Fiction)

It was late when I got home.

The first thing I heard were ominous whispers emanating through the door.

Take the big knife, and cut the thigh here.

O god an evil sadist has got Grandma! , I panicked.

Then take the medium knife to separate the shoulder joint.

My feet seemed to have fallen asleep and wouldn’t accompany my upper body in the sudden dash towards the door. The inertia made me fall. I expected the hacker to lunge towards me at any moment but the whispering continued.

And use the smallest knife for better precision.

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Photograph by Alastair Forbes

Large, medium, small!

HE WAS USING THE SAMURAI SWORDS MOM GOT LAST YEAR FROM CHINA AND WAS CALLING THEM KNIVES!

Shushing the ‘English teacher’ in me, I decided to take matters into my (horribly jittery and sweaty) hands.

I could barely hear the whispers now, because my heart was beating in my ears.

 ‘..and then grill the meat..’

I couldn’t bear to hear anymore and rushed to rescue (what remained of) Grandma.

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.

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Grandma slept on the couch peacefully and a chef on TV was sharing his recipe for making Chicken Tandoori.

Not everything is a murder mystery.

Building A Dream

(Written for Alastair’s Photo Fiction)

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Photograph by Alastair Forbes

“Steady now!”, Jacob whispered – his voice hoarse from all the hollering in the previous hour.

The first plank hung in the air precariously. The crane proceeded to sever its ties with the plank. One by one. Each snap of the connecting ropes cut across like a sharp whiplash. THWACK!

Just as planned.

After what seemed like an eternity (but was just a few minutes), all the ropes gave way.

Everyone looked at the plank, half expecting it to plunge into the water like every earlier attempt. Five minutes later (and after most of the onlookers had turned blue from holding their breaths), the plank stood still.

After years of planning, experiments, rejections and failures, Jacob had been successful in suspending the first plank without any support.

Jacob let out a war cry to every person who had ridiculed his idea – Who said you couldn’t build castles in the air?

Life on the Ebb

(Written for #FWF: Free Write Friday)

birds-in-field

Photo credit – Tumblr

Situation: It’s high noon. Sun blazing. You awake in a field and birds are pecking your skin… GO!

Prick prick prick. Peck peck peck.

I squint in the afternoon blaze. The birds relentlessly stick their beaks into my wasted body.

Hah!, I think sarcastically, do I even have enough left in me to feed you?

Happiness lasted till two week ago, before the mad guy with the wispy hair and stinking white coat decided to subject me to this torture. In one of his fanciful mood swings, he decided to test my resilience against attacking foreign beings.

Though I never understood how that would help his research in discovering the first ever bulletproof vest and startle the world with his invention.

But hey, I’m no scientist. I’m just a rat. But not your ever day grubby rat, mind you. I was born in a lab.

I was fed well and taken care of. My grey coat shone as silver and my bright eyes twinkled like diamonds. The only grouse I had with my upbringing was the daily exposure to those blinding red rays which made me itch for a good hour or two. But it was all for the high purpose that my life had to serve.

I should have known that life is not a comfortable bed of fresh bread. However irrational it sounded to my ears – I was reared to meet a painful, agonizing and humiliating death at the hands (beaks) of this brainless flying duds.

I lie here, helplessly waiting for the last drop of blood to be sucked out, the last piece of skin to be torn and the last heartbeat to be heard. Don’t be fooled my friends, you never know who is using you for what purpose.

Prick prick prick. Peck peck peck.

Out in the Blue

(Written for Friday Fictioneers)

Photograph by Douglas M. MacIlroy

Photograph by Douglas M. MacIlroy

“I’m a bird Mommy”, Jimmy had squealed.

“The airplane is flying, not us!” Julia had replied, her knuckles white from clutching the armrest.

“I know we’re birds Mommy, you and me”, Jimmy had whispered.

Julia was white as a sheet. But she had to do this. For Jimmy. Oh how her boy had loved to fly! And fly he did – straight in to an unfortunate mountain last summer.

Julia held her breath as the countdown began.

“3…2…1…JUMP”

She squealed and skydived right into the arms of the blue sky.

“We’re really are BIRDS!”, she shouted at an imaginary speck thousands of feet below – which looked like her son in a wheelchair.

A chance to live

(Written for Alastair’s Photo Fiction)

If the rumours were true, I was on my way to get the key to eternal happiness. I was desperate at the time. Exhausted with my broken life. Seeking redemption.

“Find the purple flower with a red shadow growing around the roots of the tallest tree on the banks of the Ganges”, the cherubic monk had said.

It took me 8 months, 21 days, 5 hours and 33 minutes. But I did find the flower.

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Photograph by Alastair Forbes

“Run towards the end of this platform and you will see –”

I didn’t wait for him to finish. I ran as I had never run before. The sweet taste of freedom on my lips.

Closer and closer to the darkness. The flower gripped in my sweaty palm.

I was out of breath by the time I opened the Great Oak Door.

What lay ahead surprised me.

“THAT is the key to life’s secret!”, I laughed aloud. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? It was the simplest answer.

What I saw was a –

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Look inside you. Maybe you won’t take that long to find your key. 

 

Drive along Maya!

(Written for Alastair’s Photo Fiction)

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Roy drove like a maniac. Deep furrows on his forehead. Eyes locked in concentration. Vengeance flew in spittles from his parted lips.

It was a regular game – accelerating hard towards the edge of the river and coming to an abrupt, bone-shuddering halt.

Movie style background music always played in Maya’s ears at such times. But today, all she could hear was her heartbeat – thumping overtime. She shivered a bit under her jacket, despite the summer sun.

“Are you gonna kill us you jerk? Slow down. SLOW DOWNNNN”, Maya’s screamed in vain. Roy, unaware, seemed to have transcended into a different world.

They were scarily close to the water now – the waves involved in a dancing frenzy. 15 feet..12 feet…10..5…2…1…

STOP!

Roy hit the brakes hard. He turned to Maya with his boyish smile – but the bloodshot eyes still held a memory of crazy.

“Happy Birthday Maya darling. I’m hungry.”

 

Standing Guard

(Written for Friday Fictioneers – 100 word story)

Photograph by Managua Gunn

Photograph by Managua Gunn

Laila O’Henry twitched under her musty uniform.

Kings had come and gone, but she remained confined to a man’s job. Nobody did a double take anymore to see a female palace guard. Unnoticed, she watched the world change. The quaint city port had metamorphosed into a bustling attraction. Towering castles replaced by imposing buildings. Dreams devoured by ambitions.

And yet the water glistened as of yore and birds chirped the same songs.

But nothing like a bright sunny day, she thought. The caramel light went through her, spreading its warmth. So much better than the cold lifeless nights in a box.

Laila O’Henry was, after all, a different sort of ghost. The one you saw only by day.

The Return

(Written for Alastair’s Photo Fiction)

“It’s been seven years but that vile woman STILL won’t leave your mind. Get out of my house!”, Erica screamed furiously, spit fountains flying around unabashedly.

Two strong forces occupied the room. She, the erupting volcano. I, the calm sea.

I didn’t want to lie to myself again.

Photograph by Alastair Forbes

Photograph by Alastair Forbes

I walked, then jogged and finally ended up running – excited like an eager teenager on his first date.

Our favourite lane. It felt like home. Every leaf and stone seemed familiar. This bend was where we first met, that tree we shared our first kiss under, and those steps led to the church where we…

I felt her presence before she called out. Her perfume made me go weak in the knees, even after all these years. She still looked exactly like the photograph in my wallet.

Lauren – my wife. If only she would have me back.