Monday, 8 June 2015

Contest Entry: Dreams That Don't Let Go

This was written for Sharath Komarajju's monthly writing contests on the prompt: 'Dreams that don't let go.'

*

dream-or-reality-FB-1200x627 
 
They say, in the olden days, when the sky still changed colours with the dark never being truly dark, people used to see even when they were sleeping. ‘A load of crap.’ My grandfather used to say. ‘When ye sleep, ye sleep. I’ll have none o’ this old nut-job nonsense in my house. Ye hear?’ But he’s gone now. Cryo-freezed. So it doesn’t make a difference.
I knock on the door, barely registering it’s peeling paint and rust-eaten hinges. A woman clad in red opens it. A long hood droops over her eyes but I have a feeling they are red too.
“Ah. A kid at the door of a soothsayer. Why is he here she wonders?” She says and her lips curl up in a smile.
“I’m not a kid. I’m here because of the visions.” I reply crossing my arms across my chest, defiantly.
“The kid says he has visions. Maybe he should see the men in white cloaks. Maybe he should drink the juice of veera. The kid has no business here.”
She steps back.
“No, wait! It’s not those visions. It’s the…other visions.”
The soothsayer opens the door wider.
“The kid talks in riddles. The kid shall speak freely.”
She leaves the door open and strides inside. I follow her meekly, all my gathered strength disintegrating as I cross the threshold.
The room she leads me into is bare. A wooden table stands in the middle, along with two chairs. There are no windows, no paint on the walls, no magical glowing balls, no fluff. I can’t help but wonder if I am at the right place.
“The kid shall speak.” She says, sitting on one of the chairs.
“It’s when I…when I sleep.” There. I said it. Ordinarily even the mention of this would send me straight to a mental asylum. Normal people don’t see with their eyes closed. But the soothsayer fixes me with a piercing stare. She folds her hands in front of her. I spy the edge of a tattoo that disappears up her sleeve. A dragon maybe.
“The kid must not lie. The kid is not aware of the severity of his words.” She says.
“I am! And I’m not a kid! I read the lore okay. People in the ancient days had these visions and then and after the war, the survivors, all of them stopped having them. But I know what I am saying. I dream.” I shout. She rises suddenly and her hand flies across the table to cover my mouth.
“The walls have ears. The kid must know that. The regime has eyes everywhere. The kid says he sees with his eyes closed. Yet the regime makes sure that no one is able to do that. The kid claims something that the regime has made impossible. The kid is in danger.”
I look at her wide-eyed. Everyone knew the regime was a bit too strict. But they wouldn’t harm anyone surely.
“The kid must leave.” She slips a piece of paper in my hand and pushes me out of the room.
Back outside, I open it. It’s an ancient scroll and I can’t understand most of it. But at the bottom, I see a scribble in New English.
“When the people see again, the darkness will turn to light and the light to darkness. The strong will fall and the weak will rise. The new will fall apart and the old will reign supreme.”
I shudder as I walk back. Whatever shall I do?

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Tombre d'amour

Written for Sharath Komarraju's monthly writing contests. Prompt: An unlikely romance.
P.S. Check out the other entries. Some really well written pieces there!

*

My words are not poetry,
To be read and sung and painted.
No.
Do not mock my pain.
By pretending to understand.
She closed the little black journal with a wistful sigh. A week ago, she had found it lying abandoned under a park bench. A week ago, she had had her first seizure. A week ago, she had fallen in love.
Not with a person. No. But with words.
I bleed on these pages,
Verse by verse by verse.
And at times it is sad,
And dark and disheartening.
But it is always so beautiful.
She flicked through the pages once again, noting how the handwriting changed as she progressed. The poems themselves, changed, sometimes being replaced by entire pages of eloquent prose. It had a humanising effect on the journal, almost as if the diary itself was evolving.
You and I? We’ll change the world. You tell me you see no hope. But everywhere I look, that is all I find! Oh, only if you could see what I see. The radiance of these innocent eyes, the curiosity in these freckled faces. Yes. We’ll change the world. Wait and watch. Just wait and watch.
There were pieces that were in conflict. On one page there was hope, on the other despondency. Similar to her impending medical examinations.
Why must we suffer for the crimes of another? The journal asked. ‘Why must not we suffer,’ she scribbled underneath, ‘for all the crimes we enshroud?’
It had taken her a few days to figure out the journal. To know that the journal was evolving. Not because the writer matured but because the writer changed. Like a long kept family tradition, the journal had been passed from one broken soul to another, staying just long enough to have an effect.
A few days after this epiphany, with her reports in one hand and a blue tipped pen in another, she stretched lazily on the grass.
They say I will be missed
But do they not know
That the sun will continue to rise
And set
And the earth will continue to revolve
And someplace a little girl
With pigtails
Will skip to school
Unaware of my absence
Oh, there will be no void after me
Only a moment of strangeness
In my vicinity
And then nothing.

And with this addition, she left the journal where she had first found it. It was someone else’s turn to fall in love.

*

Apologies once again for the un-updated-ness (I can invent words, can't I?) of the blog. :)

Friday, 20 February 2015

Akhetan

Akhetan,
If everything goes as planned, this letter will find you on the morning of the twenty-fifth, 2060; on the day when the fate of twelve million people will rest in your hesitant fingers. Because today will be the day you will be commanded to annihilate the North East. As you man the battle-station, I want my voice to be your voice of reason. As your heart-oh so sensitive- pleads you to abort the mission, I want your mind to resonate with my words.
 Mercy. Honour. Compassion. Hollow words, Akhetan. Hollow. They will not protect your new-born son as he is ripped from the bosom of his frightened mother. They will not shield your wife from your own comrades, who will brand you a traitor in a heartbeat. Oh no. No one will aid your parents, as their brittle fingers snap under the boots of your fellow soldiers. No one will come. And no one will drape the corpses of your family, even out of pity, as they lie rotting in a dump.
Your conscience will tell you to abort this mission. A lying, miserable thing it is, your conscience. It will advocate the righteousness of this choice by giving vain examples of ethics and integrity. But let me tell you this. Your sense of satisfaction, of virtue, will not numb the pain of a dozen needles in your arms. This integrity will not regenerate your chopped off toes. No. And don’t fool yourself into thinking you have done the right thing. Because your morality is only what years of being brought up in a certain environment has taught you. And I spit at this false sense of morality. You will too, if you deviate from your purpose. In my cell, every night after they engrave a part of my skin with obscene words, I say a prayer. I don’t pray for strength to endure the torture. I pray for death. But they won’t give me that. They will drive me to its doors and then snap me back at the very last moment. A traitor, Akhetan, is a hero only in the tattered pages of a children’s fairytale. A righteous man, nothing but a fable. It seems easy to judge what the right thing is. But what is the right thing, Akhetan? Those twelve million haven’t done anything for you. You are a stranger to them. You don’t owe them anything. But your own blood? The hands that held you as you started to walk. The eyes that look upon you with love and affection and trust. What about those people, Akhetan? Do you not owe them a peaceful life? When your fingers linger over that button today, think about them. And think about what will happen to them as a consequence of your pitiful, righteous choice.
Even now, your heart screams at you, bombards you with deplorable emotions such as guilt. How can you murder a fifth of humanity? Women, children, unborn babes yet to feel the warmth of the sun on their faces? Shut it out, Akhetan. Your heart can fill you with bravery-another despicable emotion- for only so long. But once you are branded a traitor, and you feel the heat of the branding iron on your chest, it will be your heart begging for mercy. None of which you shall ever have. A second of bravery, of honour, on your part will lead to decades of torment. Oh you will survive of course. Survive, wishing every second for death.
This is war, Akhetan and you are a soldier. Even if you forget everything else, remember that. Remember that always. And a soldier always follows orders. How did that rhyme go, the one you were taught in school? Through gunfire and landmines and bombs, a soldier marches on and on and on...
Call me a coward. Call me heartless. But I am you, Akhetan. Your future. And I have had thirty three years to reflect on the choice you made that day. Thirty three years of humiliation, pain, and torment. And you know what the icing on the cake is? Not one of those twelve million came to rescue me. Not one.  
I beg you to relieve me of this misery. There is not much honour left in me, but I suppose there is some in you.  For my sake, I beg you to do your duty. And after that, for the sake of that honour, I beg you to die.
Yours no more,
Akhetan

P.S. This story was originally written for Camous Diaries' monthly writing contests (Write Club).
P.P.S. I know I have been away for a while. Here's to hoping regular posts will continue.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

All that is left is silence...

My fingers trace the dust lined walls; derelict.
There was a school here once, they say.
A school that resonated with the chants of the alphabet,
with laughter, with innocence, with dreams.
But I can not see it, in these crumbling walls
in the silence,
in the absence of those carefree voices.

It swallows me, this emptiness.
It wasn't always empty, they say.
Inside these walls was life,
as vibrant, as jolly, as bursting with energy
as a galaxy of stars; immortal.
But it is gone now.
In these broken chairs, cracked windows, abandoned backpacks,
the only thing left
is silence...

This heinous act unites us,
in our battle against such monstrosities.
And we shall stand together
6 billion of us fighting for the hundred of you.
And when our struggle starts to fade,
Your memories shall be our fuel
The absence of your voices, our bugle.
And we shall strive for victory
yearn for compassion.
Rest in peace, little ones.
I'm sorry we couldn't save you.
But you won't be forgotten.
We are here...
We are here... 

My heart goes out to those little kids and their families. May they find the strength to bear this loss. 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

SOULLESS Cover Reveal!




 

The amazing Crystal Collier is out with a new book! Introducing...


SOULLESS

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she’s forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

What people are saying about this series: 
"With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations." --SC, Amazon reviewer

"It's clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic." --Jill Jennings, TX

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer
 
About Crystal:
Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.
 
Sounds awesome? Pre-order it here! 
 
All the best for your book Crystal! =)
 


Thursday, 19 June 2014

VisDare: Restoration


A chilling scream breaks out and I whirl around and spot her, her chubby face contorted with horror, her mouth gaping wide. I rush to her and steer her away from the madness, from death.
"What's wrong with them?" She whispers beneath sobs. "Mommy and daddy," I reply and my voice catches in my throat. I don't know how to tell her, but she guesses. The intensity of her wails increase.
What do you say to six-year old? I can't tell her it'll be okay. Because it will never be okay. It'll never be the same. The tears will stop, yes. But like a dried up river, they will leave a meandering scar on your heart; of how things were and how they could be. 
I hold her close as she sobs and screams and finally weeps silently, exhausted and helpless. I can't 'fix' things for her, for us. But I can avenge. A plan forms.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

S.O.S.: Satisfaction vs. Ambition

 
Photo by Saad Ibrahim
(Please don't use)


Since time immemorial we have been subjected to two seemingly dichotomous trains of thought. One that portrays satisfaction as the highest spiritual goal. And the other that regards ambition as the front runner of development. To believe in these two ideologies simultaneously is very much like running while standing still. And yet, everyone seems blissfully unaware of this fact, and continues to tell themselves that they are satisfied as well as ambitious. So today I'll leave you with this thought.
We strive for satisfaction. Day in and day out, all our hard work is done to achieve this utopian state of complete contentment. But the more we have the more we crave. For satisfaction is a mirage. Just like a thirsty traveller in a desert spots water just over the sand dune, we see the end to our wanderings at the next job, the next gadget, the next luxury. And just like the water, it vanishes as soon as our worn feet tread to its edge. Ambition, on the other hand, drives us forward. It lures us with the prospect of finding water ahead along with a small cottage and maybe a camel? We tread and tread thinking we have a definite plan until one day the realization hits. Satisfaction is an illusion. And ambition the fuel that propels us towards this illusion. 

What are your thoughts on the dichotomy between satisfaction and ambition? Which one do you prefer? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!


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