Common Ground

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A cramped space this. I need to stretch, feel the earth under my feet. A little less talk and a little more quiet.

Thriving in closed spaces, you’ve mastered the art of contorting yourself, being stashed away.

The air is mine own. My mind lifts off- a sailboat in flight, the air my water, the water grounding me and the earth a vast expanse of ocean I float on.

You and I see the same road.

You are intent; and I never really look.

When did I begin to speak a different language?

Your eyes unseeing, uncomprehending, a thousand miles away.

Your every word, every drawn breath, every expelled curse- so easy to understand, mired in the world.

I surged ahead, wanting nothing.

And yet, here we are.

You lead, your eyes on the road.

I follow. My eyes also on the road.

The darkness is complete till dawn breaks.

The sky bursts. Clouds scud across the palette. Tints shifting settling into a golden hue.

Let us stop here and confront each other in enforced silence.

After breakfast at this lovely place, things will seem a little less intense, our bellies warm with pancakes, omelettes, buttered toast and hot coffee.

[200 words]

Priceless Joy Thank you for hosting this challenge. I’ve missed your challenges, missed writing and it feels great to be back and alive once again. Footy and Foodie, thank you for the photograph.

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Celluloid Eyrie

203 06 June 18th 2017

Murthy’s shadow loomed on the white sheet that stretched pole to pole at the little ‘hall’ with tin sheets for a roof.

A little better than an oven when the weather was pleasant and a lot worse than a sieve on rainy days, its only claim to grandeur was a statue of a rather pompous looking bird that had seen better days.

A fire caused an uneasy calm.

It was painstakingly restored when the demand for movies became greater especially when times changed from bad to worse.

The booming from the inside, invited the passers-by in once again. Anything to escape the direct scorching heat of the midday sun. Anything to escape.

It was like an oven inside, though fans whirred sleepily when the power was there. Power cuts saw the generator operate just the projector, improving the air immensely with Kerosene fumes.

Months morphed into years. Murthy’s routine never faltered.

A sloshed brother made a half-hearted attempt to follow the enigmatic Murthy one evening and passed out effortlessly.

Nobody knew what he looked like, where he came from and where he went.

Nobody cared.

Only the haughty eagle knew, but wouldn’t say a word.

Splat!

Damn! A passing crow.

[200 words]

Thank you Al, for hosting Sunday Photo Fiction

spf

 

A Game of Hornes

cow

Presenting-“The Cowntess Moasty-Toasty of the House Cocoamuff, First of Her Name, the Unburnt Toast Almost, Queen of all Ambling Bovines and the First Moos, Cowleesi of the Great Grassland Stretch, Breaker of Great Wind and prospective mother of Prize Heifers…”

A secret tryst in the barn, induced by unlimited Cocoa and muffins, Pat-a-cake being the predominant theme, Moasty-Toasty was christened after her gleaming brown coat reminded the others the toast was almost burnt before her first Moo.

The First of Her Name, and probably the Last. It won’t catch on, really now, would it?

The Queen of all Ambling Bovines, for Moasty Toasty has been known to emulate her mother, the Cowager, who was known errr, for  mooching. The Cowager has long since been forgotten, the public having such short moomory.

Thus, the addition First Moos.

Cowleesi,  note the eyes, the tuft of hair, the distinct resemblance. The sun never sets on the Prairies, Pampas,  Veld,  Rangelands, Steppes, and Savannah, Great Grassland stretches all.

The ABC diet, rich in asparagus, beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage contribute to the penultimate title.

Throw in handsome Angus, and you’ll have little Bullah, and Cownnie gamboling in no time at all.

Charmed.

[200 words] Sorry, went overboard!  😀

Thank you majesticgoldenrose for the photograph. A million thanks, PJ, for hosting Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge! I had loads of fun with this!  ❤

 

Stuporia

drinks

it begins with just a glass

 

the thorn in your side

being passed over

a hundred things

clutch at your throat

refusing to let you breathe

 

you plod doggedly

gulping in fresh air

whenever you can

 

a smile feels raw

laughter threatens

to slash your stomach

you are afraid

it might all spill out

powerless to contain it

anymore

your heart crushed

in the vice of a cold hand

 

and then this glass

beckons

 

a sip doesn’t amount to much

 

the blood around your cold heart

begins to unfreeze

 

astonished

it rushes to your head

 

giddy now

the world around you

ceases to be

 

ceases to stifle

 

a film covers your eyes

your senses sing

and then are lulled

 

incredible

huh

 

soon

you cannot do without

this escape

 

illusion

 

this trance-like state

now eludes you

 

years of suppressed agony

threatens to escape

wrenching life from you

as it struggles

a sapling

growing

on impervious rock

 

somewhere along the line

you have become the perpetrator

all because you sought comfort

in that one glass

 

they avert their eyes

they walk away

you are so alone

 

all you have is this one glass

refills maybe

and an olive

that’s just an afterthought

[200 words]

This piece is in response to the weekly prompt at Sunday Photo Fiction. Thank you, Al Forbes, for hosting it.

Photo prompt courtesy – A Mixed Bag

 

Elegant Exit

al_forbes

Empty velvet lined boxes

Stand proudly on shelves

Their rightful occupants

Being awaited for

In vain

 

A lesser life this

Than believed

Far from prying eyes

Too hard to bear

Exquisite pain

 

Behind lush foliage

A mansion stood

Anticipating

A fresh coat of paint

In vain

 

The vintage car

Last to go

Larger than life

No discreet way really

Inevitable shame

The pursuit of dignity

In vain

 

Deeds signed

The ink barely dry

Time to call it a day

Finally

Time to leave town

Might as well leave in style

Head held high

A fitting end to a lifestyle

Vain.

 

[100 words]

Thank you, Al Forbes, for the photograph.

Thank you, Rochelle, for hosting the Friday Fictioneers’ Challenge. Shalom!

To read more entries please click here.

 

Immutable

temple

The streets unfold

I’m lost

In a maze

Of my making

 

In the unfamiliar

 

Tongues make no sense

Raucous static

 

I strive

To hear myself

 

A turn

Pockets of Faith

Concentrated prayer

The aura

Unmistakable

 

This is it

I’m home

In a strange land

 

Guided by You

I do not even question

 

The world is my shrine

I close my eyes

In total surrender

 

My Faith transcends

Everything

 

I learned long ago

No question

You know best

 

l am but a flame

Burning with the intensity of your fire

 

I know You

Have always known You

Myriad lifetimes

 

An ancient shrine

Of a long forgotten mystic

 

At the little chapel

You gazed at me

With so much compassion

My heart almost burst

 

I find You in every idol I see

 

Every stone

chant

song

flower

that blooms

 

In the people I meet

 

I now stand here

Before this shrine

And look up

To You

Yet again

 

You wait for me

All I need to do

Is close my eyes

 

Tuning in

I connect

 

Once again

 

[175 words]

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Singledust. Thank you Gina! Such a beautiful photograph! ❤

Thank you Priceless Joy for the lovely opportunity provided for this week’s writing prompt at  Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers !

Finally Felled

The walls came up.

Towers shot up.

Brick by brick.

Layer by layer.

 

Witness to slaughter and mutilation,

I stood,

the sickening creak and crash

everywhere

assaulting my spirit.

 

What was worse?

Waiting or watching?

 

Meanwhile, I grew tall and proud.

I shot branches into the blue.

I dug deep with my roots,

anchoring myself firmly

in the black depths of soil.

 

They walked to me with their motor tools

and the whirr heralded my glorious fall.

My turn.

Finally.

 

First my young limbs

fell, with gentle thuds

and a soothing rustle of leaves

like the whoosh of a shroud

as it falls gently,

shielding the body

from prying eyes.

 

Limbless, I waited.

 

Chips flew about

dents carved me.

The saw,

finally,

broke the stature

I so carefully cultivated.

 

I gave up.

Not without some noise though.

 

I fell.

A mighty crash.

The dust rose and blinded the sun.

 

My roots were pulled out

with the ruthless perseverance

and incompetence

of an intern dentist.

 

I bled, a bloodless sap.

Hewn into manageable chunks, I was taken away.

I didn’t look back.

 

A vagrant stump,

a distance away,

stubborn,

resilient,

soon shot

a few green leaves

into the air.

 

Surreptitiously.

 

[200 words]

tree

Thank you PJ for hosting this awesome challenge Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.

Thank you Shivangi Singh for the photograph!

 

Stupid

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Not all lives are patterned the same.

Not every breath grudged.

Not every effort rejected.

Not every attempt thwarted.

Stupid girl chanted this mantra every day of her life. Her special little prayer. Her little affirmation of faith. In anticipation of the deluge of change, she knew awaited her.

Stupid girl stood by the door, watching the others at play. They called her.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Hide and Seek. Stupid girl hid with the others. Stupid girl was caught first. Bad at hiding, Stupid girl had no choice but to seek.

Easier said than done.

Stupid girl gave up after a few attempts and returned home sniveling.

Mother was too busy worrying about the evening meal to bother.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Stupid girl wiped the tears off her grimy cheeks and settled down in a corner with her books. The film on her burning eyes made the letters all blurred and they swam, enticing her to dream. Dream? Stupid girl couldn’t for long. Mother came by, saw her with a faraway look in her eyes and hit her on the head. Feeling very stupid again and most insignificant, Stupid girl looked at her lesson. It didn’t make sense to her at all.

Father was at it again. This time Stupid girl knew dinner would be late. An hour later, Stupid girl crept into the kitchen for dinner. The vessels were scattered on the floor and Mother was sitting there, staring at nothing.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Stupid girl looked at her and away.

Stupid girl gave up on Mother. Food. Where was food,now? Stupid girl foraged for food. Father had thrown the rotis into the sink. The vegetables lay in the slop that had been a curry earlier that evening. Stupid girl could smell the tobacco rolled in betel leaves. See the red stains on the wall.

Telltale signs.

Stupid girl picked up the soggy rotis and ate one. Stupid girl gagged. Threw up. Got slapped by Mother. Father snarled again. A feral beast.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Stupid girl felt really stupid this time.

Being hit always made her feel like an idiot. Her brain would freeze for so long, Stupid girl couldn’t think anymore. Stupid girl couldn’t say a word either.  Stupid girl felt like an imbecile.

Stupid girl blinked at her reflection in the mirror and now suddenly thought of the beggar who sat in front of the temple. The stupid grin on his face. Stupid girl was like him. How grateful he looked when someone dropped a coin into his bowl! Stupid girl felt the same too. For Stupid girl was a beggar sitting on the fringes of her home, her school, starved for affection and maybe even attention.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

The only difference was, nobody noticed her.

No alms came her way. No words, no smiles, it was as though Stupid girl wasn’t even there.

Stupid girl looked at the group of girls chattering incessantly. The only time Stupid girl wished they would speak to her was the last. It was a slap in her stupid face.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

She felt their scorn bore into her soul.

She felt dumb again. Stupid really.

Stupid girl watched in incomprehension, as they turned away and laughed a little louder, their backs an impenetrable fortress.

Why did they then seek her when they were alone and reject her when together? She had listened eagerly when each one told her things. Had run little errands for them, willingly. Had helped each one enthusiastically almost every other day.

Why did they now behave this way?

Stupid girl felt like a moron again.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Story of her life.

Stupid girl.

Stupid girl grew up, despite life.

Stupid girl lived, despite dying a thousand deaths inside. You gotta hand it to her. A thousand at least.

Stupid girl tried to believe, despite all her faith being crushed.

Stupid girl dared to love, hoping it would make her feel whole.

Love split her soul to pieces mangled beyond recognition.

Stupid roadkill.

Stupid girl thought…What? She still thought?

Stupid girl could have a family.

Really? Stupid couldn’t be that stupid now, could she?

Well she was. Stupid.

Father died.

Mother cried.

Stupid girl lied? Sighed? Tied? Flied? Gosh what would her teacher say!

Fried? Plied? Mied? Aied? Jied? Kied? Wied? Nied? Ried? Uied? Hied? Xied? Zied? Ried? Oh no! Said that already!

Vied? Aha! That made sense! No, that was too stupid a rhyme. Even Stupid girl knew that.

Maybe she should have just died? Now that made a lot of sense. Even to Stupid.

Stupid girl now made another attempt.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Stupid thought she could be happy. Stupid thought she could start afresh.

Stupid didn’t reckon that grownups were overgrown versions of the little bullies they had been.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

So Stupid thought she could make a difference.

So she thought.

Stupid! Oh, so stupid!

Stupid girl chanted her prayer. Yes, you are right. A stupid prayer.

Shouldn’t her prayer have been a little different? If only she knew better.

Not all lives are patterned the same, but mine is frozen forever.

No breath grudged, but mine.

No effort rejected, but mine.

No attempt thwarted, but mine.

Every single time.

Every single time.

So now Stupid girl lives her life and is as invisible to people as beggars are. No, the futility of it all- she cannot be invisible, now can she?

More of an eyesore really!

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Look how gazes are hastily averted, things are held with a tighter grasp, conversation becomes animated. Oh, for Heaven’s sake let there be no gap, we simply cannot allow Stupid girl to loom large and clumsy, awkward, on our horizon!

For everybody who is stupid enough to look at her, I won’t say any more, see for yourself…

Just notice them wince and cringe. They visibly shrink away from her as she glides about her day, a stupid freak, with a stupid smile on her face, a stupid word on her lips as she waits for someone to get her.

Finally get her.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

After all, she does believe in the power of her mantra.

Not all lives are patterned the same.

Not every breath grudged.

Not every effort rejected.

Not every attempt thwarted.

Stupid girl!

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Anticipation

Head in the Clouds

sunday

Now you know. All that exists is now. The beauty of breathing. The beauty around you and love. Just plain love. You don’t expect to be loved back any more. You know nothing can hold you anymore.

It’s so simple really. Look at the clouds!

Step out of your Self.

Caught in those murky depths, you slowly began to choke.

Self-preservation.

You learnt in your mother’s womb. You waited, remember, though you knew, all you wanted was out.

When you found love it scarred you. You were branded, seared with hate, born of love.

Self-preservation reared its head.

You made a life for yourself. You learnt the art of separating soul from body. You began to free your mind.

You thought things had changed but a dusky fog penetrated your shield and fed itself on energies fostered by your errant mind. You lashed out. First at others and then at yourself.

Self-preservation kicked in, yet again.

You perfected the art of living. You gathered forces, rose above the blackness, which threatened to engulf, and found pristine clouds in gloomy mists. You rose, defying all gravity. You left it all behind. Nothing mattered. You forgave the world.

You forgave yourself.

[199 words]

This is in response to the Sunday Photo Fiction Prompt, hosted by Al Forbes. Thanks for the opportunity!

Fish and Chips

dockyard

Every Sunday he would disappear with his fishing gear, coaxing his motorbike to rattle its bumpy way to one of the elusive spots that have perfected the art of camouflage.

A few had posted themselves already: silent sentinels at their chosen spots, dotting the riverside.The water dared to barely ripple under their watchful eyes.

The line dangled in the water and he settled down to a morning of calm, that stretched ahead of him. Oh, the bliss of not having a conversation. The hours of silence. The birds. The silent unspoken code of companionable silence between brothers who meant business.

Fishing was serious business indeed.

He unstatued himself after a few hours. Late in the  afternoon he sauntered into the shack by the pier and ordered fish and chips with draught beer.

He would return late in the evening sporting sunburn, like a warrior, ready to face the week ahead.

He never caught a fish, however. Ever.

Never complained about it though.

You see, he never had a hook at the end of his line.

[175 words]

Thank you Barb C T, of the blog Gallimaufry, for the beautiful photograph! A million thanks for hosting this challenge PJ! Wish I could do this every single day!