The Painting

“Until the day I die, I’ll never forget those glassy, unblinking eyes,” said Jose’ and shuddered.

“Come on Junior, it’s been almost six months and its time you put that behind you, “commented Juan wryly.

“I know Pa but  I just can’t shake that image from my mind. It was as if he was accusing me of betraying him!”Jose stared at the fire burning in the grate, his eyes full of an unknown fear.

Juan came over and put his arm over Jose’s shoulders and squeezed lightly-a rare gesture of affection from this seemingly unemotional man. José understood and on an impulse hugged his father.

Looking a bit embarrassed by this show of emotion, Juan quickly strode towards the table where the blueprint of a floor plan was spread out.

“I know you do not like bloodshed and this was your first time. Possibly this is the reason why you feel the weight on your conscience. Our times were different. By the time I was your age, I had already dumped half a dozen bodies into the sea. Your Gramps, as you know, formed this gang when he was just 19 and he has killed more men than he can remember. It’s our family business son.”

“Yes Pa and look where it sent poor Pedro even if he was a bad ‘un.” grumbled Jose.”Then there is cousin Moe doing time and cousins Alberto and Francesco are missing since the past ten months .If all the males in the family keep falling prey to this business, where will our women and children go?”

“Juan and I have been discussing this for the past few months. Drug dealing is losing its sheen. There is too much competition among the cartels and not enough to go around. The cost of shipment and the blood money that we have to shell out is neither satisfactory nor desirable. On the other hand, the Policia has become more active and is not so easily bribed. The need of the hour is a change of business,” said Carlos.

José looked at his Grandpa in astonishment.

“You mean a new business Gramps? What else can we do?”He asked excitedly.

“Hold on to your horses’ young lad”! His Grandpa chuckled. “Yes, we have decided to branch out .Our clients are high end consumers. They may be private collectors who love the risk involved in acquiring something which nobody else owns. Then again, they may be just interested in the exorbitant money that would exchange hands if such a deal went through.”

Jose whistled.

“Wow!”

“We thought you would like it. The risks are high but the returns are sweet-sweeter than anything we could have ever imagined,” said Juan with a smile.

“There is more good news. We have already been commissioned for one such deal. Juan continued, “The job is to “spirit away” a painting by Albrecht Dürer from Casa Guidi, in Florence. Here is the replica of the painting which you have to use as replacement. You are in charge of this mission José. Juan will help you.”

José came forward to have a look at the panting and almost screamed. Somehow he steeled himself to look at the replica. “Those eyes remind me of Pedro’s glassy stare after I throttled him-ugh! Who would want to own such a creepy piece of art?” He mused.

Next Friday night Juan and José were at their destination. The four uncooperative guards had been dispatched -temporarily. The last one was inside the surveillance room. Juan stood guard while Jose entered the museum.

Shining his torch on the painting José shivered. The light fell directly on those eyes. He was sure he was being watched. He shook his head. His imagination was playing tricks. Suddenly he heard a familiar voice from behind, “Hello José! I have been waiting for you. Did you miss me?” Shocked to hear Pedro’s voice, José turned to look back, only to feel icy hands grabbing him and pulling him up.

After waiting for 30 minutes, Juan sneaked in to the surveillance room where the unsuspecting guard was put to sleep. Strangely, he could not find any trace of José in the museum. Puzzled and worried, he decided to have a look at the CCTV footage. What he saw was so eerie that he fled……

Next day there was a big brouhaha at the museum. Experts scratched their heads in bafflement at Albrecht Durer‘s painting where a new blurry figure had made its appearance.

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This is my response to Speakeasy’s weekly prompt #162 which required us to (a)write a response(fiction or poetry) in 750 words or less (mine is 748, including the title) (b) using the following sentence as the first line in your submission: “Until the day I die, I’ll never forget those glassy, unblinking eyes .” and (c) make some reference to the media prompt,which this week is a painting  by Albrecht Dürer  . For more details and rules,please click on the url below-

http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/fiction-challenge-162-open/

 

Just Desserts

As Melina reached her doorstep, the clouds shifted, casting an ominous shadow on the ground. She shivered and then shrugged off the feeling of unease. A blue envelope peeped out from the letter box. Her fingers trembled when she picked it up, noticing the very familiar handwriting. Julian!

She took a deep breath and went inside .She slit open the envelope. A white monogrammed sheet slipped out. It had been two long years-of heartbreak, heart ache, loneliness and healing. Why now? Why again? Melina started to read.

 

17th September,London

 My Sweet Mel,

It’s been a long time and yet it seems just like yesterday. Believe me; you were never far from my heart. I just wanted to let you know that Betty and I decided to go our own ways. I have returned to our country house, which won’t be a home till its rightful mistress returns to it. I know you will find it in your heart to forgive me and return home.

Waiting for you,

Only yours

Ju

 Melina was aghast! What temerity! To think that she would return to him after what he put her through? Two long years without a word! The memories she had so painstakingly wound up in skeins were coming unravelled and she had no control over it.

She had loved Julian and had believed he loved her too. They had been together for five years and were planning to get married. But then Bettina aka Betty had walked into their lives and everything had fallen apart. Only she had not known, till it was too late. Julian had eloped with Betty. She was a rich heiress and it had all been in the news the next morning. Disbelief, betrayal, grief had made Melina go numb

.It had taken her more than a year to get her life back on tracks. Thanks to her wonderfully rewarding career and of course Shawn. Finally, she was breathing again without choking on a ragged piece of painful memory.

No, Julian, I carried the scars of your love long enough. Now it is time for you to pay.

She had a plan. She called Shawn.

“It’s playing with fire Melina! You sure you want to do this?”

“I am positive. Julian cannot get away with playing with my emotions.”

“Fine .I will set the wheels in motion. All will be ready in two week’s time.”

Melina replied to Julian that night.

20th September,Derby

 Darling Ju,

I am beyond myself with happiness. I knew true love will win.

 I will be driving down to our house on 23rd.

I am dying to see you.

Lovingly yours

Mel

Next day, Melina went shopping. She pulled all stops and got a total makeover. Shawn teased her mercilessly about him being cuckolded which made Melina laugh.

On 23rd evening, the astounded look on Julian’s face at her new avatar was reward enough for her efforts. Ten days of romancing had Julian eating out of her hand and she kept him hooked by not allowing him in her bed. On the eleventh day Julian proposed with a solitaire.

Melina accepted on the condition that the wedding would take place in three days time at Derby in the Magistrate’s office at 10 in the morning. Additionally they would neither meet nor talk to each other before the wedding date. Julian agreed and Melina returned to Derby.

 Three days later Julian reached the magistrate’s office dot at 10, dressed in his new tuxedo, looking dapper. A few minutes later he was surprised to be surrounded by the Paparazzi. He wondered who had tipped them off but then smiled, puffing up with importance-he was quite well known.

The newshounds started firing questions at him.

“Sir, heard you are getting married today?”

“Is it true that the lucky lady is your first girlfriend?”

“ Isn’t she the one you deserted to elope with Bettina, your ex?”

Julian began sweating.

“Where is your intended?”

“Hope she is not going to leave you stranded here!”

Everyone tittered.

Julian felt his face redden. Never in his life had he been so humiliated. Where was Melina?

Unseen, Melina and Shawn watched the whole drama unfold, grinning at each other. Their plan had worked. Tomorrow’s headlines were sure to tom –tom this juicy bit of news and Julian would be history. Melina felt her heart soar at the thought. Revenge was surely sweet.

 

 

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This is my response to Speakeasy’s weekly prompt #161 which required us to (a)write a response(fiction or poetry) in 750 words or less (mine is 735, including the title) (b) using the following sentence anywhere in your submission: “The clouds shifted, casting an ominous shadow on the ground.” and (c) make some reference to the media prompt,which this week is a music video by Adele,”Rolling in the deep.” . For more details and rules,please click on the url below

http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/fiction-challenge-161-open/

The note

Sonia sat patiently in the lobby of Hotel Amber, waiting for Murdoch, the casting Director. Over the past few weeks, she had rehearsed n number of times; still she went over her lines once again in her mind. There should not be any faux pas-she would not get a second chance, she knew.

A few minutes later, she saw Murdoch striding into the hotel, alone. A good omen, she told herself and moved towards him. Seeing her Murdoch smiled in recognition and beckoned her to follow him.

The elevator journey to his suite on the 10th floor was punctuated only by the frequent phone calls that Murdoch kept making. As they stepped out, Murdoch switched off his mobile and told her, “Don’t want calls to distract us.”

Entering his suite he turned towards her and said, “Not that I mind but hasn’t the agency sent you a little early?”

Sonia smiled and responded, “I believe in being a little early. It gives me time to warm up.”

Murdoch guffawed and said, “I like attitude and I must say the agency has surpassed my expectations this time.” His eyes moved over her appreciatively.“So, what’s on the agenda?” he asked, sprawling in the chair and loosening his tie.

“What about a drink?” Sonia said, moving towards the bar, licking her lips provocatively.

“Sure! Let’s get things started.”

Handing him his favourite drink, Sonia sat across him and crossed her legs. Her dress immediately shot up and Murdoch got a glimpse of her creamy thighs. His gaze was reptilian and though Sonia was prepared, it scared her.

Don’t back out now, she told herself.

After a few minutes, Murdoch decided to take off his coat and shoes. Sonia bent down to pick up her bag, allowing Murdoch to have a good look down her cleavage. She knew the effect her sexy body was having on him and hoped to use that to her favour.

She stood up and began taking off her slinky dress slowly, moving sensuously making sure that Murdoch could see every hidden curve. Looking up, she saw him devouring her with his eyes. She winked, stretched lasciviously and said, “I think we need some music.”

Murdoch was quick to oblige and as she started her striptease, he grew aroused. Soon, Sonia was wearing nothing but her high heels and stockings. Murdoch lunged towards her but Sonia laughed and moved away. She said, “What’s the hurry? Wait a few moments while I go get ready for some more fun.” With that she picked up her dress and bag and went into the bathroom.

Once inside, she locked the door, took out her mobile and quickly sent two messages, then slipped back into her dress. She flushed the toilet and came out smiling.

Murdoch looked puzzled. She crawled into the bed and bit his ear playfully and said, “How about you and me playing a game? I pretend to be a scared virgin and you try to rape me?”

Sonia knew that it was playing with fire but she was ready to face the consequences. She had waited too long. Murdoch needed no more incentive. He jumped up to chase Sonia as she ran around the room. He pounced at her and scratched her arms. She fell, with him atop her. She whispered seductively, “Bite me” and he did. She wriggled away as his greedy fingers caught on her dress and the sleeve tore. She ran, with him at her heels and snagged her stockings. He caught up and kissed her viciously and her lipstick smeared. Her arms had bruises and her hair was all awry.

Just then there was a knock at the door. Sonia kicked a surprised Murdoch on his shins and ran screaming to open the door. “Help me please! This monster was trying to rape me!” Sonia sobbed and fell down in a faint. Murdoch was bewildered to see the Police and the media gathered outside.

It became the biggest scandal in the town’s history. Medical examination provided enough evidence to send Murdoch behind bars. He lost his reputation. His family and friends disowned him.

A few months later he received a note and a 5 year old news clipping. It reported a young girl’s suicide. She had been accused of seducing an upcoming Director. Her suicide note said, “I loved him. Was that a mistake?”

Understanding dawned on Murdoch as he read the attached note,” The rightness eclipsed every mistake made along the way.”

 

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This is my response to Speakeasy’s weekly prompt #158 which required us to (a)write a response(fiction or poetry) in 750 words or less (mine is 750, including the title) (b) using the following sentence as the LAST line in your submission: “The rightness eclipsed every mistake made along the way.” and (c) make some reference to the media prompt,which this week is a trailer(video) from the movie,”Love in the time of Cholera”. For more details and rules,please click on  the url below-

http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/fiction-challenge-158-open/

Winter’s child

 

“Winter seemed reluctant to release its hold.”As Eve stood shivering on the bathroom mat, looking at the red streak snaking down her legs, the chill rose up to freeze her from within and outside. She fought the tears tottering on the slippery threshold of her consciousness, wondering why this was happening to her.

 
She had followed the Doctor’s orders and she and George had seen to it that they did not miss the days marked on the calendar. It had not been easy but neither of them had demurred. Yet, it seemed that the seed she desperately hoped would bloom refused to take root. Her womb continued to be barren, month after month. At times, she wondered if God was punishing her for something that had in no way been her fault.

 
Shoulders drooping, she dragged herself back to bed. George stirred but then snuggled back under the warm covers. Sleep evaded her though she tried her best to court it. Ruefully she let it slip away and resigned herself to a few more hours of “mind-hoopla” as she called it. Her mind flitted from thoughts to memories to thoughts in a never ending loop.

 
She was born into a wealthy family but her parents were too busy playing to the gallery to really care. The children were just trophies to be exhibited on certain occasions. Her elder brother Josh was a carbon copy of their Dad and idolized him. Their younger sister was a wallflower, with no opinion of her own and content to live as directed. Eve, on the other hand was a rebel.

 
Thus she was happy to leave home for college at nineteen. There she met Matt. He was a pleasant change from all the people she used to meet in her pseudo life at home. Both felt an instant attraction, which over the next two years developed into deep love.

 

Eve knew her parent’s reaction to her choice and so she hid it from them till the day Matt joined the hospital as a full time Doctor.
Matt promised to take her to meet his parents during Thanksgiving. They both wanted a Christmas wedding.

 
The meeting however never took place, nor did the wedding. Driving to work next week, Matt met with an accident and he died on the spot.

 
Eve was beyond herself with grief and went home for the first time in four years. She was sick so often that it took her some time to realize that she was pregnant. She was shocked at first but then overjoyed .However, her joy was short-lived for her family did not approve of her having a baby out of wedlock.

 
She could still remember the conversation word to word.

 

Her Mom had looked at her with utmost distaste as if she was something the cat dragged in “Why must you insist on bringing shame to the family name?”

 
“After all that we have done for you is this how you repay us?” shouted her Dad, his swarthy face turning purple.

 
Not to be left behind, her ineffacious brother declared, “We can’t let you have his bastard.”

 
Her sister of course had nothing to say.

 
Eve decided not to bow to their pressure tactic but she had underestimated her parent’s guile and wickedness. One night, they drugged her and spirited her away to a private nursing home. When she came to, it was already too late. As soon as she could walk, she left home and never looked back.

 

 
Even George believed she was an orphan and she had no intention of revealing these dark secrets to him, ever.

 
She sighed and decided to get up as dawn crawled in slowly. She put the kettle on and watched snow drifting down relentlessly. The sky looked dull, just like her mood. She called her Doctor around noon from her office-she did not want George to be privy to this setback-at least not today. Her Doctor told her to come in the next day.

 
Next morning Eve woke up and was taken aback. She had not bled at all during the night-what was going on? Was she ill?

 
With trepidation she walked into the clinic. The shadow of uncertainty loomed large as she lay down on the examination table.

 
A few hours later, she was driving back, a smile on her lips. The miracle of spring was accumulating in her womb and she could not wait to celebrate its arrival with her beloved George.

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This is my response to Speakeasy’s weekly prompt #157 which required us to (a)write a response(fiction or poetry) in 750 words or less (mine is 748, including the title) (b) using the following sentence as the FIRST line in your submission: “Winter seemed reluctant to release its hold.” and (c) make some reference to the media prompt,which this week the  drawing above, by Leonardo da Vinci, entitled Study of a Womb.

The challenge is open to everyone,so if you want to join in or read the other entries,please click on the url http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/fiction-challenge-157-open/

 


The survivors

Lion

 

The survivors
Without a word, she dropped to the ground. She had no energy left. Her half naked body shivered and her mind telescoped within itself. She was oblivious to the hushed murmurs that rose from the group of women surrounding her or of the midwife cleaning and covering her up. Her eyes were fixed on the small, immobile bundle. Her fourth child had arrived into this world without any noise, as if protesting against the atrocities of the past. A still born…

 
She was not sure if she should be relieved or sad. She, Radha, the third wife of the village Chaudhary had failed to give him a male heir yet again. Her three daughters had been killed as soon as they had uttered their first cry. Radha had been told of the fate a new born girl would meet in the Chaudhary household by Lalita and Amodini, the first two wives of Chaudhary. They had undergone the same pain and had finally been thrown out of the house.

 
The first time it happened, Radha had cried for months but this time, she was numb. She wondered if this little one already knew that she was going to be killed-was unwanted and so had decided to end it all before it began. The Chaudhary was too egotistical to even harbour the idea that a woman was in no way responsible for a child’s gender. Not that anyone in this village knew or understood such things.

 
She knew that her time to be evicted had arrived when she saw her husband eyeing the Priest’s nubile daughter, Pallavi. His hungry gaze reminded her of a cat she had once seen, climbing a tree slowly, stalking its prey-a young bird. She thought that it ironic that the Chaudhary did not want any daughters, forgetting that it is finally a woman who gives birth to a man!

 

 

When she heard that a marriage proposal had been sent to Pallavi’s house, she shuddered at the fate that awaited the poor girl. She wished she could do something to save the young girl from her husband’s clutches but her husband was a powerful man. No one could help her and anyway all the men in the village had the same attitude. The date for her husband’s marriage was fixed .It was going to take place in three months time. She prayed for a miracle.

 
Unfortunately, nothing happened and the marriage took place on the scheduled day. Chaudhary decided not to throw Radha out simply because she was still young and beautiful. It also gave his ego a big boost to have two young wives at his beck and call, to satisfy his every need.

 
Two weeks after the marriage, the Chaudhary had to go to another village for campaigning. Panchayat elections were close and he wanted to win again. Meanwhile, Radha and Pallavi became good friends. Then, one day Pallavi confessed that she was in love with a young man. However, he belonged to a lower caste and though he was very intelligent and was going to college, they could never be together.

 
Radha got an idea .She knew there was a chance that the Chaudhary could be beaten, God willing. She remembered reading in “Mahabharata”, the epic. Kunti and Madri, the two wives of King Pandu had conceived children by invoking different Gods as their husband had been incapable of having coitus.Though, this was not really the case, and a little twisting of the original tale may work wonders here. It could also mean salvation for her and Pallavi.

 
She decided to talk to Pallavi about her plan.Pallavi was scared at first but then she caught on to it and became excited. For the two weeks Chaudhary was absent, Radha helped Pallavi meet her lover and they cohabited. Her lover was leaving for the city after the two weeks and Radha and Pallavi decided he need not know anything about their plan.

 
A month later Chaudhary was given the good news that Pallavi was expecting.

 
Both Radha and Pallavi prayed and eight months later, their prayers were answered.Pallavi gave birth to two bonny babies-both males. Everyone rejoiced and the Chaudhary threw a huge party. The two wives looked at each other and smiled, knowing that they would take this secret to their graves.

 

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This is my response to Speakeasy’s weekly writing prompt #155. The challenge this week is to(a) write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is 718 words,including the title) (b) using “Without a word, she dropped to the ground.” as the first sentence, and (c) make some sort of reference to the photo prompt (which is posted above).

Speakeasy is open to everyone and if you are interested in participating or reading what other contestants have submitted for this contest,please click on this link http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/155-open/

speakeasy-new

A life extraordinaire

A life extraordinaire

 

“This is your last chance, Myra,” thundered Magdalena.
No one in Neverland had ever seen Magdalena, the Fairy Queen lose her cool in last 600 years. But Myra brought out the worst in her. She had been training to be a wish fairy since the last 150 years but she was always messing up.

 

“Remember,” Magdalena continued,” you can grant three wishes to one human and this spell has to last for a year. Till that time you are to remain earthbound. In case you fail, you are going to be transformed into a butterfly fairy and that’s final.”

 

Myra nodded meekly and picking up her wand and the pouch of magic dust, took off in search of her quarry.

Harry sat at his ordinary dining table, eating an ordinary breakfast and looking forlorn. For the nth time in a week, he wished for an extraordinary life. Till recently he was quite satisfied, if not happy with his life. At 30, he held a good job at a small firm earning enough to live in comfort. He dated once in a while but did not have a steady girlfriend. Then, about ten days back, he happened to meet his friend George and the unrest started.

 
Now George had been a pudgy, pimply fellow with little brains and so to see him looking quite dashing with a sexy siren type of wife hanging on to his arm, while they walked towards their swanky Porsche was difficult to absorb. Then George invited him home and the sprawling, luxurious country house with golf course and swimming pools made Harry’s head swim. George was a businessman and hobnobbed with the jet set.

 
Since then, Harry had been moping, wishing for a hi-flying life. Sighing, he got up to get ready for work, totally unaware that Myra the intern, had landed at his window and decided to pick his brains at that moment. She smiled and said to herself,”Easy does it Myra! No goofing up-this is your last chance.” She concentrated, trying to remember the right spell and then flew inside Harry’s house. She pointed her wand at Harry and waved it, blowing some magic dust towards him.

 
Harry immediately felt very light and happy. That evening, he met a beautiful girl named Sara and could not believe his luck when she seemed interested in him too. They got talking and discovered that they had same likes and dreams. Promising to meet next day, they parted. Harry hardly slept that night.

 
Next morning he was taken aback to receive an email from a very reputed company, asking him to come for an interview. He believed that Sara was his good luck charm and went joyfully to give that interview. His new found confidence and positive demeanour got him the high paid job easily.

 
Soon Sara and Harry were inseparable. It turned out that her father was a very well placed politician and with his help, Harry was soon scaling new heights in his career. Six months down the road, he proposed to Sara and she accepted. The wedding took place with a lot of pomp and show.

 
Myra watched all this with gleeful anticipation. She was looking forward to completing her internship successfully and flying back home in six months time. Funnily, she was beginning to enjoy her life among humans-they fascinated her. Thus distracted, she forgot to sprinkle fairy dust on Harry one morning and everything started unravelling.

 
On his way to his newly acquired business Harry met with a minor accident. Thought he was at fault, seeing his new Bugatti damaged, he lost his temper and berated the driver of the other car, not noticing that it was the police chief. He was jailed for committing a public nuisance.

 
Myra flew in to rectify matters but though her intent was to resolve the issue, in her panic, she mixed the spells and this caused so much complication that Harry was not only refused bail but was imprisoned for 3 months.

 
Meanwhile, Myra lost her wand and this worsened matters. Sara started seeing another man and soon she eloped with him.
Harry returned a changed man. He came back to an empty home and was not really shocked to learn that he had been dismissed from his job. Looking back he pined for his old life. Myra was recalled to serve as butterfly fairy.

 

Through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned.

 

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This is my response to Speakeasy’s weekly prompt #154, which is to(a) write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is 750,including the title & the required quote) (b) with some kind of reference to the media prompt, a short film by Tanmay Shah, entitled Intent, and (c) use the last sentence of: “Through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned.”

speakeasy-new

The collectors

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The collectors

Looks can be deceiving. Her mother, Simone, never failed to drill it in to Donna and her sister Felicity’s psyche when she told them how she had met Dan, her husband and their Dad at an art gallery and had taken him to be the janitor. He was so unassuming that very few had an idea about his brilliance and that he was already a millionaire at 25. His business acumen became legendary in the later years and by the time their beautiful and sophisticated mother married him at 30, he was almost a billionaire.

Yes, Donna nodded her head in assent to her mother’s mantra as she added the final touches to the painting. Years of training, dedication and a steady hand, made her work picture perfect. The blue background and the storm swept tree looked majestic, yet bowed down with deep sorrow. She smiled .An apt cover for the Van Gogh which had been at the receiving end of her expert manipulations this time. She stood up, stretching her lithe and supple limbs.

Time for a break and she also needed to make that call.

“Hello Darling!”

“Hi, there! Missed you.”

“Me too. Finished my painting.”

“Wonderful. Will come down tonight to have a look then and we can have dinner somewhere?”

“That would be lovely. See you at 8 then?”

“Okay, see you.”

Richard, her fiance, was a Professor of Art history and she had met him at a party. His extensive knowledge on the subject had fascinated her and he was smitten by the strong woman hidden behind that fragile lissomeness. Her father’s art collection made their meetings more interesting and they started dating. After two years, they got engaged and now plans were on for a Christmas wedding.

“This is brilliant work, my love,” Richard beamed; his warm brown eyes looked almost dark in excitement.

“Thank you Richie. I will hang it in Dad’s room .I think it will cheer his spirit,” Donna smiled mischievously.

“So, what’s the next plan?”

“Next week, the Rockweller’s are throwing a party. Their collection will be on view. I have already seen it twice and I have my heart set on their Monet.”

“I believe they also have that Picasso we have heard so much about?”

“Yes, you heard right but remember “restraint” is the key to success.”

“You are the Boss, Ma petite,” said Richard, drawing Donna into his warm embrace.

She snuggled into his arms and responded,”We are a team-a formidable one.”

The Rockweller’s Art Deco party was a huge success and they basked in the pride which every art collector worth his salt lives for. They had no idea that every night from then on, their mansion would be under surveillance. Two hooded figures, dressed in black, followed their every move. One such night, when the Rockwellers had gone out and the servants had retired to their quarters, the two figures entered the mansion. The burglar alarms and the CCTV cameras had already been compromised-these two were no amateurs and neither was this their first-or last-such heist.

Next morning, as soon as the newshounds got a whiff, the heist made headlines. But no amount of detection could reveal even the slightest hint as to who the Art thieves could be or how many were there. The agencies involved including the Interpol and FBI knew that the stolen work would probably resurface some 3 to 5 years later in some part of Europe but by then it would be impossible to prove that it was stolen because of the different laws in the two continents.

 Six months down the road, enjoying a quiet dinner, Richard and Donna were chalking out plans for their Honeymoon.

“Mom thinks we should go to Italy.”

“Ha! Ha! Now how did she read my mind?”

“While we are away, our last two year’s fruits of labour will be auctioned off.”

“Your Mom has her uses, eh?”

“Definitely! Thankfully, she never cottoned onto what Dad’s real profession was.”

“I really respect your Dad. That man sure knew how to build a reliable and foolproof network.”

“True. Wish you two had had more time together. He would have been proud to see you as his official son-in-law.”

“I do hope our kids will inherit your sense of adventure and his discerning eye for real art, money and…”

“Yes, yes along with your brains, charm and my mom’s practicality”, giggled Donna, looking at Richard coquettishly.

 Richard burst out laughing.

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This was written for Speakeasy’s weekly writing challenge.The challenge was to(a) write  a piece of fiction or poetry in 750 words or less(mine is 748 words,including the title),(b) the FIRST line of our submission must be: “Looks can be deceiving.” and (c)make some sort of reference to the media prompt- a painting called Avond (Evening): The Red Tree by Dutch artist, Piet Mondrian.If you are interested in participating,please click on the link here http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/153-open/

Let sleeping legends lie

the speakeasy at yeah write #152 

 

http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/img-thing?.out=jpg&size=l&tid=19652242

Let sleeping legends lie

 

“I think we should turn back.”

“Amy, stop whining!”

“But Martin, I am tired!”

“Amy is right, and besides I think we are lost.”

“Ha! Trust you to whine and Diana, we are not lost.”

Spreading the map on a nearby rock and pointing to an X marked in red Martin said, “We are right here.”

 “Just tell me, how many hours more till we reach that darned cave?”

“Four? Okay, at the most five.”

The girls groaned.

Thick foliage made it kind of dark even in the daytime and the forest floor carpeted with pine needles and dried leaves made walking  difficult.

After an hour Amy said,”Can we take a break? My legs are killing me.”

“Ah, look what these jungle insects have done to mine!”

“Told you to wear chinos, but you were intent on fashion. Now suffer!”

“You brat! It will serve you right if there is no treasure.”

“So what, even if there is none? National Geographic or Flickr will be happy with the great photographs Martin is capturing.”

“Amy, what about your camcorder? Are you recording everything?

“Yes I am but I still think we should return now-I have a bad feeling about this.”

“Stop it Amy. Never knew you to be superstitious.”

“But, that guide..?”

“Ha! Ha! That Petra-what an entertainer! He and his cock and bull stories!”

“But what if they are true?”

“What if they are true…” mimicked Peter. “Are you daft or what Diana! A folklore that is 400 years old? Gimme a break!”

“It would be so easy to give up now but think of how much fun we will have even if it is true.”

“Fun?”

 “Yes, we will be famous .Imagine our faces on all the news channel. Young explorers reveal age old secret…”

“Shut up you two!”Diana glared

“Have you noticed suddenly how quiet it is?”Amy shivered.

“That’s because my portable radio’s batteries just conked off. But I have a set of spares, let me change them.”

A few minutes later, the forest air resonated with retro numbers and the mood lifted.

“Okay, rest for half an hour, then we stop only when we reach the cave.”

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In the cave, she stirred in sleep disturbed by forgotten images. Her grey blue scales glistened with moisture and her forked tail lay inert-for the time being. A little to her left stood two huge eggs, one green and the other blue. Two more eggs –one red, and another grey blue stood immobile. There was no sound except a faint rustling of her wide ink tipped wings. Suddenly the green egg started to vibrate and slowly cracked open. A while later the blue egg followed suit. She opened her gold flecked red eyes and instinctively moved towards the noise. Soon, a low keening filled the cave and four new lives crawled towards their mother. She gathered them close and waited. Her sharp ears had caught a long forgotten sound and she knew the images were coming to life-again. She remembered that it was in a battle with such beings that her mate had lost his life. It was time they learnt their lesson.

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“Here we are!”

“Finally! Phew!”

“Okay, let’s go in.”

“Ugh, what a horrid stench!”

“Its pitch dark in here.”

“Where are the torches? Shine the light in here.”

“Hello what’s this?”

“What? Where?”

“Over here.”

“Oh my, so cute! What is it?”

“Look at its tiny wings-it has a snout and a tail too!”

“Hello, there are three more-in different colours too!”

“Mini dragons, ha-ha!”

“Don’t laugh stupid and turn off your radio-can’t hear anything.”

“Amy, where is your camcorder? Record it pronto!”

“Martin, get all the angles! Imagine the sensation when this footage is released!”

“Better than Jurassic park, man! We are going to be bloody rich and famous!”

“No Diana! Don’t touch-they may bite.”

“Guys, have you thought that these little things may have a mom?

“OMG! What if she …It’s getting hot in here or what?”

“What is that swishing noise?

“I knew it! The legend is true!”

“Run for your lives! It is the mother Dragon!”

 

But it was too late. Only the portable radio lay there,the Bee Gees belting out ”Staying alive”,with gusto.

 

She may have been hibernating for half a century but her memory and senses were sharp. Agility and cunning made her formidable and soon she and her kids were having their first meal. 

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This was written for speakeasy #152 at yeahwrite. The challenge was (a)to write a piece of fiction or poetry,750 words or less(mine is 740 including the title)(b)to use the sentence ,”“It would be so easy.”,anywhere in the piece and (c)to make some kind of reference to the media prompt, which this week is a video for ‘Staying Alive’ by the Bee Gees.In case,this challenge interests you or you would like to read what others have written,click on this link http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/152-open/

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No foul play

well

 the speakeasy at yeah write #151

No foul play

“Life had once been defined by linears and absolutes.”

Gerry stopped writing and shut his diary with force. Anger and sorrow struggled with each other to gain foothold. Sorrow won. He missed her. If only…

He went and stood by the window. Night had decided to wear her star spangled coat and was busy romancing the full moon. He closed the window. Such beauty pained him.

His mind went back to the time when all was orderly, or so it seemed. His Dad was a soldier and was home only on short holidays. He was a good father and a dutiful husband but nothing more. His mother on the other hand, was an artist with a passionate temperament, which she kept well hidden under routine. He was an ordinary boy living an ordinary life.

Then one day, when he was fourteen, it all changed. His Dad came back from Afghanistan sans his right leg. Wallowing in self –pity, his Dad took to the bottle. His mom tried her best to take care of the family by taking up odd jobs but it was not enough. She had been a beautiful woman, but her face stated to lose its glow with the constant worry. Soon, his father started becoming abusive. Initially it was only verbal but then it escalated into physical blows.

Life dragged on, with no respite for the family. The only silver lining on the black cloud called “crisis” was Gerry’s excellent grades at school.

One night, when Gerry was sixteen, he found his mom in the basement painting the walls furiously. He was astonished to see the vibrant colours and bold strokes that she used. He watched silently, as she added a cobalt blue and then contrasted it with a flaming orange. Later he convinced her to let the artist in her take charge.

She surprised everyone by excelling in her chosen field and very soon, many art galleries were showing interest in her work. She had her first independent show, when Gerry turned eighteen. Soon after, he left for college on a full scholarship. Life seemed to have steadied itself.

At college, he made friends and enjoyed studying. He received letters from his Mom which told him about her shows and he was happy that she was tasting success. He was unable to visit home for the next two years as there were some extra courses he had opted for which needed him to stay back during the breaks. So, when he went home, he was a little puzzled to see his mom looking radiant but a little flustered, as if she had a secret.

Two days before he was due to return, he learnt of his mom’s secret. She told him that she had met Bud, another artist-a sculptor- six months back and they had fallen in love. However, as his mom was not free there was no future for them. Gerry was happy for his mom and expressed his wish to meet Bud. A meeting was arranged and he was pleased with his mom’s choice. However, his Dad posed a problem. He was not ready to let his wife go and said”no” to divorce. His drinking and violent behaviour took a turn for the worst. Bidding her a fond farewell, Gerry promised his mom to be back during Christmas to find a solution.

But that was not to be. Six weeks to Christmas, he received news about his Mom’s death and had to rush home. Police officers said that they had found his mother lying with her neck broken at the end of the stairs leading to the basement. Possibly she had slipped .They ruled out any foul play as his Dad was found dead drunk, on the sofa in the hallway. Gerry had his reasons to believe otherwise.

A few days after the funeral, Gerry plied his Dad with drink after drink. He kept egging him on and implying that he was glad his mom was no more. Still, his blood froze when he heard his Dad confess.

“Ah, I hated that bitch! Pushing her that day felt damned good. No one leaves me!!”His Dad growled in a slurred voice.

A week later, Gerry slipped back into the house, unnoticed, and pushed his drunken Dad down the stairs. He was satisfied to hear the squelching sound his Dad’s head made when it struck the corner of the marble slab at the bottom.

Police ruled out any foul play, again.

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This was written for the Speakeasy weekly writing prompt, the speakeasy at yeah write #151 ,which is to write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is 748 words,including the title) (a) using “Life had once been defined by linears and absolutes.” as the first sentence,and (b) include some sort of reference to the photograph posted above, taken by Czintos Ödön.If you are interested in reading all the entries or joining the challenge please click on this url- http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/151-open/

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Duped

Duped

 

 Ben felt irritable. He rubbed the back of his neck but his rigid muscles dismissed the placatory move. His stomach rumbled and knotted in protest.

He had no idea what he should do. The blue file on the desk beckoned him but for once he had no wish to be enticed by its enchanting contents.

He started pacing, raking his fingers through his hair. He had to find a solution. After all he, Ben Bradshaw was the CEO of this company.

A soft knock on the door startled him and he barked a sharp, ”Come in!”

Naomi, his personal assistant came in carrying a cup of coffee and a plate of fruit salad.”Ben, time to stop starving yourself,” she said clearing the coffee table. She added,”Mindy had called. She told me to remind you that it’s your turn to pick Stacy up from school. I will be back in 20 minutes to clear the table.”

 Ben smiled. Naomi had been a great find-reliable and trustworthy-her only weakness, a taste for handsome, high flying executives, like Ben. Not that Ben minded. Naomi was young, sexy and had no demands. She knew when to keep her mouth shut and was not clingy. And Mindy need never know.

 “Naomi, you go have lunch and yes, I will have the papers ready for the Board meeting by 4-will brief you on that too.”

Naomi smiled, winked at him and left, swinging her hips,encased in a beautifully tailored, slim red skirt, knowing well the effect it had on Ben.

Ah, but no point in dwelling over those forbidden pleasures now, Ben told himself, that’s for this weekend when Mindy flies off for her annual fashion show at Milan. For now, he needed to eat first and then get back to work.

 

Wolfing down the fruit salad Ben realized that he had been ravenous. Good no one could see him eating like a pig, he chuckled. Satiated, he started sipping the coffee and mulled over the contents of the file. He had hired a special agency to look into embezzlement from company accounts and they had come up with shocking facts.

Ben had all the facts, figures, dates and the names behind the racket. He was shocked that it had been going on for over a year and no one had had any inkling. But, tomorrow morning, in the board meeting all the masks would be off and a lot of heads would roll. He was waiting for the last two names on his hit list.

The intercom on his desk buzzed.”There is a special delivery for you Sir.” It was Robin, the lobby manager. “Should I send the package in?”He asked.”Do that Robin and please see to it that I am not disturbed for the next ten minutes. Naomi is out for lunch.”

 

As he read the last report, Ben frowned. The more he read the more his eyes widened. How could it be? His lips pursed into a thin line as he read the last words.

Where was Naomi? He needed to talk to her.

Ben stood up and the room swam. He clutched at the table, trying to steady himself. Queasiness clutched at his innards. His stomach heaved and he stumbled into the bathroom and threw up. Everything that he had eaten came up in stringy gobs. He lay there drained, seeing black spots, unable to move. He clutched at his heart, sweat soaking his shirt. He was being sucked into a black hole of excruciating pain.

 

The door opened. It was Naomi.

She was smiling.

Mindy stood behind her.

She looked grim.

Ben tried to speak but no sound came.

“Hush!”said Naomi,” I know you found out the last name was mine.”

“Why don’t we tell him all before he breathes his last, Naomi?”

“Poor dear! He has no idea that he has been had  by both of us working hand in glove,” clucked Naomi.

“I think the poison is working. Today’s dose has triggered the heart attack we were waiting for.”

“Yes, let us rehearse the last act once more, before the ambulance arrives.”

 

At school, six year old Stacy waited for her Dad to come pick her up. One by one all her friends left and the hall emptied. Stacy sat on the steps outside the school, forlorn, clutching the card she had made that day. Her small mouth quivered and a sob escaped her as she waited for someone to tell her what to do next.

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The above story is my entry for the speakeasy at yeah write #150,this week.The challenge was to (a) write a work of fiction in 750 words or less (mine is 749,including the title) (b) use the following as the last sentence:  “She waited for someone to tell her what to do next.”  (c) make some sort of reference to the video short The Black Hole (click on the high-lighted title to watch).For more details click on this url http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/150-open/

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