Going green

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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 harvest

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

 

The harvest

 
Butch looked at the vast corn fields spread out in front of him and his heart lifted. As far as the eye could see it was a sea of lush gold. A slight breeze was fanning the ears of the corn stalks and they seemed to beckon him.

 
The Sun had decided to call it a day and was preparing to retire .The sky blushed wearing the warm red and mellow orange coat. Time to pack up, thought Butch.

 
Whistling under his breath, he swung onto his truck and drove to his farm. This year, it was going to be a good harvest and he was pleased. He shed his work clothes, put them into the laundry basket and entered the shower. He was a man of meticulously clean habits.

 
Butch lived alone with only an occasional visitor. He neither entertained, nor attended any local social parties. The small community was used to his strange ways and left him to his devices. He was an excellent farmer and had the best livestock .The many awards adorning his living room was proof enough of that and the locals respected his need for privacy.

 
Dinner over, Butch decided to go check his most prized stock in the barn. The stack of gold in there brought a smile to his lips. He needed to add a few more this season. Picking up the scythe, the gloves and a small bag, he made for the darkening corn fields. As he walked through the corn stalks, they whispered to him,”Thirsty, thirsty, thirsty!”

 
Butch nodded and bent down to drag something from between the stalks. A golden haired young girl , bound and gagged, looking terrified, pleaded silently to be let loose. Butch lifted her to a sitting position and touched her hair reverently. He inhaled the fragrance of her glorious golden curls. It still smelled of the shampoo he had used last night. He took out a brush from his pocket and started combing her hair. All the while, he kept humming .The girl, unable to take it anymore had fainted.

 
This displeased Butch and he shook her like a rag doll, yanking at her hair, snarling at her lack of response. Then, releasing her, he fumbled in his bag and brought out a bottle of water, a pair of scissors and a jeweled mirror.

 
Sprinkling some water on the girl’s face, Butch revived her and then thrust the mirror into her tied hands. Gesturing her to look into the mirror, he expertly sheared off all her hair. As she watched in horror, he took out the scythe and with one sharp sweep chopped off her head. As the head rolled and blood pooled at the roots of the plants, he set to work, clearing the field of all evidence of his “ritualistic orgy”.

 
He had a lot to do before the Sun came up. He was happy to have this bounty of tonight’s harvest to add to his stock in the barn.

 

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The above story was written for Write on Edge,writing prompt,2014,week 12. 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 ,”Still round the corner there may wait, A new road or a secret gate.” by J. R. R. Tolkien ,or use both.For more details or to participate please click  on this http://writeonedge.com/2014/03/writing-prompt-2014-week-12/

 

No reprieve

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

No  reprieve

He looked at the small pile of stones and pebbles covering the little grave near the water. The wooden stake bore no epitaph but he knew his sweet Lily lay there. Their love was one of a kind and these insensitive fools had, interfered stopping their love from reaching its desirable culmination. But, he was going to outwit them-his Lily would be proud of him.

He hid behind the boulders and saw them leave after burying her.

 He raged and fumed. Did they think they could separate her from him? Since when had death been a deterrent? Rather, death had always been his partner in crime.

He had to wait till night fell. He needed the cloak of invisibility for his shenanigans. Not that waiting bothered him. He lit a cigarette and pulling his overcoat around him, lay back on a boulder.

The wind was rising with the incoming tide. The ocean was busy gathering her wayward waves, intent on teaching them a lesson in self-control but the restless waves playfully escaped her clutches, dashing against the rocks with gleeful abandon.

His stomach growled and his mind hungered. He was ravenous in more ways than one but satiation was not easy. He had to be careful. He dug his hands into the deep pockets of his overcoat and his fingers touched it. He shivered with pleasure.

A few hours passed .He crept towards a hollow in the rocks and took out the crowbar he had hidden there earlier. He moved towards the grave stealthily and set to work. The more he dug, the more his hunger grew. He was used to hard labour-the decade in prison had taught him that. It took him an hour to uncover the mound and soon he picked up 9 year old Lily’s body and placed it on the ground. Oh, how beautiful she looked.

His hands closed over the cold sharp steel nestling in his pocket and he fingered it lovingly. Gazing upon Lily’s face, he murmured, “How pale your lips look, my love-let me add some colour.” With that, he slashed at her wrists. Drops of blood oozed out and he licked at them and then bit down hard on Lily’s lips.

 He loved the ashen face, the unmoving body and the pale limbs. He remembered the softness of young flesh, the pleasure it gave him to plunge into such unresponsive young bodies and he felt his arousal raise its head. Images of slashed and mutilated bodies arose in his mind and he lost control.

He tore at the dead child’s clothes and then ravaged the dead body viciously, all the while stabbing the body and whispering terms of endearment interspersed with dirty talk.

The moon grew pale watching this and the ocean receded as far as possible, unable to bear witness to such depravity. Only the petrified stones, smeared with the blood and gore of the innocent, bore a silent testimony to the inhuman acts of a so called human....

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The above story was written for Write on Edge,writing prompt,2014,week 11. 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 by Robert Frost ,”I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover’s quarrel with the world,” or use both.For more details or to participate please click  on this http://writeonedge.com/2014/03/writing-prompt-2014-week-11/

 

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 dues

No Dues

 

Thunder rolled on like loud drum beats and rain pelted the car’s roof in a rhythmic staccato. Lightning continued to slash at the black velvet of the sky.

Pam cursed her luck. What a day it had been! Her alarm hadn’t gone off and she had been late this morning. In her hurry to reach office on time, she had no breakfast. On the way she had realized her car was low on gas and had to take a detour to tank up. On reaching, she was frazzled to learn that the executives meet was rescheduled. Worse was to come. Her usually reliable assistant had goofed up and forgotten to get some important documents. Somehow, the day had then slipped into a neutral mode making her heave a sigh of relief.

Exhausted and hungry, she had thought of leaving with the others instead of staying late as usual but her hard -nosed Boss, Martin had called her for another briefing. The discussion had been lengthy and complicated and Martin had to catch a flight to Germany. He was leaving for a conference. So he suggested that Pam drive him to the airport so that they could finish the discussion on the way. Pam had no choice. Still, she had hoped for a peaceful ride back home and a relaxed night. But, it was not to be. As she left the airport, the weather had revolted.

Now, a storm was raging and she could hardly see the road. As she neared the turnpike leading to her neighbourhood, she accelerated a bit, keen to reach home. She entered the by-lane and her eyes widened with shock and fear. A figure was lurching onto the road .She screamed and stepped on the brakes, swerving the car to avoid crashing into the figure on the road. The slick road did not give much purchase and it slithered and skittered, finally shuddering to a stop but not before it had rammed sideways into the figure.

Pam sat hunched over the wheel, trembling. She was terrified to look up. Had she killed someone? Oh God! Please let it not be true, she prayed. No! Not again! She had never touched a drink again! Be brave, she told herself. This was not your fault-not this time! After a few minutes, she gathered her courage and looked around. She could see the figure lying crumpled in a heap on the left side of the road-immobile. Not a soul was to be seen.

Licking her dry lips nervously, Pam slowly unbuckled her seat belt..She opened the car door and fell down in a heap- her legs seemed to have turned to jelly. She crawled to the figure and saw it was face down. Gently, she turned it to face upwards and realized it was a man. There was no blood and when she checked his heartbeat and pulse, all seemed to be in order. Relieved, she went back to the car and taking the bottle of water, walked over to the prone man.

A few sprinkles of water and the man came to. After sipping a bit of the water, he felt capable of walking up to the car. Miraculously, he was unhurt. In the pouring rain, they sat in the car and he told her his name was Chris. He was new to the area and had lost his bearings in the storm. He seemed genuinely apologetic for the alarm and trouble he had caused Pam.  He wanted to know if Pam could be kind enough to drop him at some motel nearby.

Pam was in a dilemma. She knew there were no motels nearby and in this weather no way could she allow Chris to go his way. In a way, she felt responsible for Chris’s accident therefore, for his well being. Wondering if she should tell him to leave or accompany her to her house, she kept Chris engaged in small talk, all the while watching him and weighing her options. He seemed to be a little older than her-maybe thirty, was well built, had brown hair, gentle eyes and she liked his smile. On the whole trustworthy, she decided. So, she asked him if he had any objections to coming with her up to her house, for that night. A little hesitant at first, which appealed to Pam, Chris agreed.

Turning the car, they headed home. Pam was surprised at how at ease she was with Chris. Once home, she found Chris to be charming company and they had a nice hot meal. Later Chris helped her by washing the dishes. That night, for the first time in years Pam felt a stirring and heard her heart beat.

The weather played up and continued to be nasty over the weekend, preventing them from leaving the house for the next two days. This was instrumental in bringing them closer faster than months of dating could have.

Soon, Chris moved in with Pam. He took interest in everything and he was especially interested in Pam’s family. Strangely though, Chris never spoke of his family. Having grown up in a happy and supportive family, Pam could not understand this. However, she was thrilled when Chris proposed .He also promised to talk about his family, once they met her parents. Pam agreed and they flew to her parent’s home.

Next day, the police found Pam and her parents murdered in their beds. A note said, “It takes two to make an accident. Re-paid with interest.”

Police investigations revealed that there was more to the story than met the eye .Years ago, when Pam was 19, she had run over a man, killing him instantly. At that point she was at the wheel and was drunk. Her boyfriend Matt was also with her. There was a furore but Pam’s Dad had pulled some strings and Matt had taken the rap. Both Matt’s family and the victim’s family had sworn vengeance.

Now search was on for the suspects..

 

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This 999-word story(including the title) was written for a contest held by Write On Edge This is a voted contest for a chance at publication.  Details are below… if you want to join in, there’s still time – click the badge above to view their site 

  • 1000 word limit, all genres of creative writing are welcome.
  • linky is open until Friday, February 21, at 11:55pm Pacific
  • Use the F. Scott Fitzgerald quote “It takes two to make an accident.” as an opening/closing line or draw inspiration from it, your choice.
  • Community voting opens 2/22 and closes 2/28 at 11:55pm Pacific.
  • Community and editorial choice winners will be announced on Write on Edge andBannerwing Books on Monday, March 3, 2014.
  • All entries must be original work, only published on your personal blog/website, and by entering you give Write on Edge and Bannerwing Books permission to reprint your entry in Precipice, Volume III‘s print and digital formats, as well as permission to edit for grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors.

Scent of yesterday

Scent of yesterday

 

The exquisite dress showcased in the display window took Trisha’s breath away. Her pupils dilated, her heart hammered in her chest and she felt faint.

“Get a grip girl, this is London and not Paris,” she admonished herself.

Still, she could not stop herself from looking up to check the name of the shop.”En amour”! Her head reeled. No, it was just not possible!

Trisha was suddenly afraid. Should she enter the shop? Was it worth the risk? What if it turned out to be true? And what if it did not? Did she truly want to know?

With trepidation, she entered the shop. Immediately, her senses were assailed by the fragrance of mimosas-her favourite. A young shop assistant came up to her, “May I help you Madam?”

“Ugh, was wondering if you could tell me the price of that dress in the window?”

“Oh, Madam our apologies but that dress is not for sale.” With that she pointed to a small card which Trisha had missed and it said, “Not for sale.”

“I see. Could you please tell me the name of the designer?”

“Monsieur Felix Pierre. He is also the proprietor.”

Trembling like a leaf within, Trisha asked ,”Would it be possible to meet him?”

“If you can wait a little, you can, He usually arrives at lunch time.”

“I shall return after an hour then.”

Sipping on her cappuccino, her mind travelled backwards and she found herself back in Paris. At nineteen, she was a successful model working for top design houses. She met Felix-then a struggling designer, at a fashion party. She had found him charming and great company. Soon, they were spending all their free time together. Both discovered they loved the same kind of music, books and art. They both loved to cook and both were passionate about their careers. Trisha also realized that Felix was extremely talented and introduced him to many top notch designers.

Within no time, Felix started making headlines with his stunning designs and at the same time, their love for each other blossomed. He told her that his dream was to open a shop someday for a select clientele. Then, he won a national award for one of his designs. They were ecstatic.

Trisha remembered how Felix had taken her on a picnic and proposed with a bunch of mimosas and a solitaire. Their wedding was to be held in the Loire valley and the reception would be in” La Grande Cascade.”

Tears pricked her eyes and a bitter taste filled her mouth as she remembered how she had been left standing at the altar and the endless days of waiting, hurting, the unanswered questions….

No, she told herself vehemently, she did not want to know the answers now. Ten years had gone by and she had made peace with her past. No point picking at old wounds .As she exited the mall, she mused, yes; sometimes time is the longest distance between two places.

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This was written for ,Write on Edge,Writing Prompt: 2014, Week 7.We were required to use the quote,”“Time is the longest distance between two places.”~Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie as an opening/closing line, draw inspiration from a single word within it, or choose the given photo prompt instead.Word limit 500.I chose the quote and word count,including the title is 499. If you would like to read what others have submitted for this challenge or would love to participate,please click on the link http://writeonedge.com/2014/02/writing-prompt-2014-week-7/

Walking away

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

                                                                     Image courtesy of Unsplash.

 

 

Walking away

Sophia looked at the retreating back of her lover and thought, how rigid his stance was-just like him.

Long after he had disappeared into the sandy horizon, she continued sitting there, looking at the Sunset over the dunes and reflected on love and life.

Their love life had been like these undulating dunes-ever changing and harsh on the travellers-him and her.

Her love for him was all encompassing, like the sea, carrying away all that was negative between them like flotsam. At times tidal waves of passion pulled at her heart and at others silent storms raged within. Just like the sea, her moods could change with deceptive ease but it was always he who caused those changes.

His love was beautiful but cold like the moon. No, she decided, it was more like the desert. She travelled through his heart, scorched and dying of thirst. Her life felt bleached of all colours and the oasis of love that she was looking for turned out to be only a mirage.

And finally, today after years of yearning and longing, it had all come to naught. He had walked away, unable to bear the burden of her love. What had he said? Oh, that he was not meant to be a family man- that love was not for him. The world beckoned and he had to leave.

She smiled ruefully, wiping at the tears that threatened to spill over. Well, she thought, time to tame the beast called love that had chained her heart for so many years- time she set herself free too.

She toyed with the sand, holding it in her fist and letting it fall free. She realized that while some grains fell off smoothly, a few still remained stuck to her fingers .She mused that painful memories were just like a fistful of sand –while one could let go of some easily, others would require more effort and time.

With that she smiled, stood up and started walking towards a new beginning…

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This was written for  Write on Edge using either the photo prompt above or the quote,”If you must speak ill of another, do not speak it, write it in the sand near the water’s edge.”~Napoleon Hill. I decided to go with the photo.Word count  337,including the title.For more details on the challenge,please click on this link-http://writeonedge.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing Prompt: 2014, Week 6