Going green

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mage courtesy of Unsplash.

 

The ladies tea club was holding its fortnightly meeting today. The meeting was of course just a ruse for the ladies of the four blocks to meet and gossip in the community recreational hall. Every member was expected to volunteer at least once a year. The chosen member paid for all the refreshments and was expected to give a small token of appreciation.

 
Marla was not happy. This fortnight, her neighbour Sanchi had been chosen. Marla had never really liked Sanchi who had moved into the next apartment recently. She had observed some strange people entering but never leaving Sanchi’s house. Yes, she had kept a constant watch through her peephole-one can’t trust foreigners. Sanchi had Gypsy blood, she was sure. I mean who else had that olive skin, kohl lined eyes and long black hair!

 
But Marla simply could not afford to miss all the gossip. So off she went.

 
Sanchi stood at the door, thanking everyone and handing over a small plant .As she handed it, she whispered something to each member which made them smile. Marla did not like the looks of that plant but stood waiting. Maria, her friend was in front of her. Sanchi whispered something and handed over the plant to Maria and Marla was astonished to see Maria hugging Sanchi. Maria never hugged anyone and Marla had been her friend for the last 5 years!

 
Her turn came and Marla was sorely tempted to refuse it but good manners made her grin and bear it. Sanchi handed her the creepy looking plant and whispered, “Plant it in every window ledge and your happiness will multiply. The world will cease to matter and you will be reunited with Luke.”

 
Marla was shocked. No one knew about Luke-her husband, who had disappeared some 6 years back. How did this woman know about her secret? She was definitely not going to plant anything anywhere. She threw the plant in a dustbin in the hall.

 
A week later she was surprised to see greenery sprouting from every apartment and laughter and music emanating from all corners. But strangely she could see no one anywhere. So she decided to call on Maria who lived on the tenth floor.

 
As she reached the landing, a strange smell made her recoil. She was horrified to see green tendrils of some strange plant blocking Maria’s door. When she tried to go near, it hissed and snarled, Frightened she backed off.
Back home, she dialed every number in her phone book but was greeted with only silence. That night, she heard strange slithering noises in the corridor.

 
Morning saw her packing her bags-she had to leave! But when she came out of her apartment she was petrified to see thick green, bulbous curtains, blocking all exits.

 
Marla realized it was too late to escape! The world would definitely cease to matter now for she was going to die and be reunited with Luke, whom she had murdered 6 years ago.

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The above story was written for Write on Edge,writing prompt:2014,Week 21.The challenge was to write a piece of fiction or poetry in 500 words or less(mine is 500 words,including the title)based on either the photo above (I decided to pick the photo)or use the quote ,Go oft to the house of thy friend, for weeds choke the unused path.” by Ralph Waldo Emerson,or use both.For more details or to participate please click  on this url http://writeonedge.com/2014/05/writing-prompt-2014-week-21/

 

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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/

 


Sheona

Sheona

 

Darkness teased light as evening tiptoed in. Daytime predators and prey both started settling in for the night’s rest. On the other hand nocturnal creatures stirred and stretched eager to start their routine.

 
Rawleigh stood in front of his secret castle with his wife Mortina. 

 

She held a golden orb in her hands and Rawleigh held his sword on it. Mortina waved her wand and intoned in a melodious voice-

 

“Let this golden light, draw on powers that be
Protect this abode and the inhabitants
From prying eyes aiming to “see”.
I call on thee, O astral elements
Do stand by me
Protect me and mine from all evil that hides
And let them be cast aside.”

 

The incantation over, she drew a circle around them. Immediately the castle disappeared and in its place stood a broken down gate. Two young hares, rump to rump like duelling pistols, crouched by the gate.

 

 

Rawleigh turned to his wife and smiled. She belonged to a secret coven and was a very powerful Wiccan witch.

 
“My dear, now go safely and no harm will come to you or those you love. I will await your return. Remember, if you are in danger, tap your sword hard on the ground and the forces will come to your aid.”

 

“Thank you my love. What would I do without you?”

 

“Hush! That day will never come. Our love is strong enough to overcome all obstacles. Now go forth and bring another baby home.”

 

Rawleigh mounted his steed and with a nod and smile, galloped off into the night.

 

After a few hours, he reached the edge of the forest. He watched the flickering torches surrounding the Inkletee castle. He knew an army of guards were protecting what he had come to spirit away.

 

He alighted from his steed, patted it and continued on foot. The night fell like a cloak of invisibility around him and he used it to navigate his way to the enemy bastion. Stealthily he climbed the wall and jumped inside. Keeping to the dark corners, he finally made it to the secret chamber. He took out the magic key that Mortina had given him. Unlocking the heavy door, he entered and was enraptured.

 

There she was in all her golden glory! Manacles held her secure in the box but her head and green eyes belied any defeat. Nostrils flaring, she stared. She looked majestic with her beautiful sienna wings. Her long scaly tail swished. Rawleigh fell in love instantly. She sensed it and her eyes softened. Rawleigh had that kind of effect. It was a gift.

 

By day, he was just another brave Knight but by night he was a Dragon tamer. Rawleigh loved dragons and his mission in life was to rescue dragons from captivity.

 

Most people feared and hated these gentle creatures and thus the dragons were being hunted relentlessly. He tried to save as many as he could but till he had met Mortina, it had been very tough. His heart had broken every time he saw them butchered.

 

Mortina and her friends from the magical world understood this and were equally passionate about saving these graceful beings. Their secret team was doing all it could to help Rawleigh.

 

Unfortunately, the team had recently discovered a group of wizards led by the wicked Witch Inkletee practicing black magic. They needed Dragon blood to cast their black spells. Tonight Rawleigh had come to rescue the golden dragon from their clutches.

 

Rawleigh opened the cage and with one swipe of his magical sword, freed the Dragon. “My sweet Sheona”, he cooed and caressed her shiny scales .Soon she was nuzzling and licking his face.

 

To secret away such a huge creature was the next big hurdle and Sheona was too bright to be invisible. Rawleigh decided that he could not risk the golden dragon being seen. So, he tapped the Sword hard on the ground.
Instantly, three little elves and two pixies appeared. They were a part of the team and knew what to do. The elves set to make a small sack and finished it within a few minutes. It was wondrous to watch them work so swiftly and efficiently. The pixies sprinkled magic dust on Sheona and she became tiny enough to fit into the sack. Their work done, they disappeared.

 

Heaving the sack on his shoulders, Rawleigh crept away. Reaching his steed quickly, he rode home, happy that he had been able to save another beautiful creature.

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This is my response to Speakeasy’s weekly prompt #156 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 quote,“Two young hares, rump to rump like duelling pistols, crouched by the gate.”  anywhere in the story, and (c) make some reference to the media prompt, the song Glory Box, by Portishead.

Those who would like to read the other entries or participate in this challenge,please click on the url http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/156-open/

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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/

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The homecoming

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

                            Image courtesy of Unsplash.

 

 

The homecoming

 

Sitting on the porch with a cup of his favourite chamomile tea, Henry welcomed the Sun. Mornings gave him hope. His eyes scanned the road but nothing moved except the trees at the far end –her sentinels, Mabel had said. Henry smiled and went inside. It was time to go to work.

His day at the farm passed in a flurry of activity as it was harvest season-the busiest of all times and he was happy to note that this year the yield had been almost double the last. At this rate he would soon be able to buy that piece of land he had been eyeing for the last 3 years. He wondered if Mabel would have approved and sighed .He still missed her.

Driving home, he stopped at the local Deli to pick up some groceries. Living alone had its disadvantages but he never forgot to stock up .He did not intend to compromise his health and it showed. His face was smooth and his body rugged and muscular, belying the forty years that he had crossed. His boyish charm and easy manner made him look a decade younger.

After supper, Henry picked up the book he had been reading. It was by a new author, someone named M.Aniston and he was enjoying it. An hour later he was thinking of calling it a night when a sentence caught his eye and he jerked into total wakefulness. The hero, John, was beseeching the heroine, Shyla to reconsider her decision to leave town and him, but she was adamant. She wanted to chase her dreams. So John says,” You could’ve made a safer bet, but what you break is what you get.”

Henry couldn’t believe his eyes! How could that be? Those were the very words that he had said to Mabel when she had left him to pursue her career in the big city ten years back. She did not want to be a farm girl she had said. But wait, M could be her initial and wasn’t Aniston an anagram for Santino? Well, before he jumped to any conclusion, he wanted to check the ending of the novel. And there it was, on the last page. He read aloud,”Shyla ran sobbing into John’s arms, saying,” You wake up in the bed you make. I think you made a big mistake by allowing me to leave. John Cabot, You own me. There’s nothing you can do. You own me.”

Henry was almost beside himself with excitement and joy. He logged on to the net and googled the details of the Publishing Company. It was a two hour journey to the city. He also googled M.Aniston and was not surprised to see an old snap of his Mabel .He could hardly wait for morning to arrive.

He would never spend any more restless nights with only the blanket of his memories for company. It was time for the sentinels to welcome their mistress home, forever.

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This was written for  Writing Prompt: Week 10 at Write on Edge.The challenge was(1) to write 500 words or less of fiction of any genre based either on the photo prompt given above or(2) use the quote,

You could’ve made a safer bet, but what you break is what you get.
You wake up in the bed you make. I think you made a big mistake.

You own me. There’s nothing you can do. You own me.

~Mark Berninger of The National, Lucky You

(3)or use both .

I decided to use both  the quote and the photo prompt and the word count including the title is 498.If you are interested in joining  or reading the entries,please click on this url http://writeonedge.com/

 

 
 
 

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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