Father Time

Not quite a story, this. But one that we see all around. The words came from Kausthub Sekar, and they are search, mirror, flip, blood and waves. Enjoy, but think this one through as well.

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Our world is on a search. A mad quest.

One that might be the doom of us all.

One that will drown us in sorrow and grief.

One that can never come to fruition.

 

We live. We age. We die.

The way of the world.

No one can live forever.

No one, but no one, can fight Father Time and win.

 

And yet, we humans try.

Futile, we try to turn back his hands.

Force them backwards, to reclaim lost glory.

Bend them till they break, no matter the cost.

 

We flip the cycle, turn it on its head.

Move it to its beginning, red and fearful and screaming.

A simpler time, a more beautiful one,

One that we love and in which people loved us.

 

We stitch and sew and inject and run,

We peel our faces back and re-lay the foundations.

The blood flows, buckets and buckets.

All this to renew a time that can never be.

 

The currency flows, one hand to another.

White gloves snap on, and the lights blaze.

The needle descends, and the puncture.

All this to change what the mirror shows us.

 

But all this is in vain.

All this, to create an abomination.

We scratch and claw and scream and bleed.

All to no avail.

 

And when we finally see what we have become,

When the horror washes over us in vain,

When we realize what we value and what we SHOULD have valued,

I fear it will all be too late.

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Her Man

The next Five Word Story in the story, inspired by words suggested by Farozan Dossani. The words are ganache, bunnies, louboutin, constellation and firecracker. 

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There were so many things about him that she would never forget.

The day they had met. They had both reached for the last chocolate ganache pie at her favourite bakery. As she looked up at his strong, weathered face, he had smiled. He had withdrawn his hand and said “Tout à vous, madame”. She had flashed him a sweet smile in return, and thanked him in French for his generosity. He had laughed, a rumbling, belly laugh – and then asked her name. Even though he had a rough face, one that looked like it had been carved out of wood, she was drawn to him. He had a strange sort of beauty, and she loved things that she didn’t fully understand. A photograph of that day was sitting on her night stand.

The day he had called her and asked her to open her door. He was standing there, with an adorable little bunny in his hands. The little creature was asleep, and it looked like it was absolutely at peace. He had asked her if she would accept this gift, and honour him with the opportunity to take her out for dinner. She had been hesitant, having been hurt very badly by men in the past. But then she took one look at the bunny, and knew that any man who could make it feel so at ease was a man she could trust. She took the bunny, and it had become a recurring theme with them. She now had three bunnies, waiting for her at home.

The day they had been walking down the street, and she had spied the Christian Louboutin bag in the store window. She stopped and ogled at it, in all its shiny glory. She had fallen instantly in love with that bag, but one look at the price tag told her that it was WAY beyond her budget. He had looked at her with a queer look on his face that day. Three months later, on her birthday, she woke up to find him beside her bed with a tray of breakfast and a brightly-wrapped package. She had torn into the breakfast like a wolf, and then done the same to the package. Inside it was the bag, as shiny as ever. She stared at him, and asked him how he had managed to afford such an extravagant present. He was an honest, hardworking man – but not one that made a lot of money. He had simply smiled that wonderful smile and told her that he hadn’t robbed a bank. It was only later that night, at her birthday party, that one of his friends had told her that he had scrimped and saved for three months to be able to afford the bag. She had found him that night, and they had been VERY naughty in the bathroom stall of the pub. She still smiled when she remembered that particular party.

The time he had to leave for two months on a construction project, and the gloom that had settled over her when she found out. But then he told her something wonderful – he would look at Orion’s belt every evening, and she would do the same. No matter how far apart they were, for those few moments, they would both know that they were looking at the same thing and that they were thinking of each other. And that had become a ritual with them. Every night, when their synchronized watches struck 7 pm, they would both look up at their favourite constellation and smile. Someone, somewhere, was thinking of them – and that was the most comforting thought that one could have. She looked at her watch. It would be 7 soon.

Their Fourth of July ritual. He would rent a boat, and row her out to the middle of the lake near her house. The local firecracker show always happened on the other shore of the lake. When they were in the middle of the lake, he would turn on a small stereo, lay her down in his arms and pull a blanket over the two of them. Every single year, they would lie there and watch the incredible fireworks show happen. And lying there, cradled in his arms, she would know that she was safe and warm and happy.

The list was endless. The way he would give her his coat on chilly nights. The care with which he would put her to bed when she drank too much. The time he drove seven miles just to come to her house and catch a rat that was terrifying her and the bunnies. His big, strong arms that would flex every time he worked on a DIY project in her house. The way he would throw his head back and laugh at her jokes. His reactions to her cooking, which ranged from a wrinkled face the first time to extravagant praise the last time.

She looked at the grave in front of her, and a tear rolled down her cheek. It was hard to describe how she felt. She was sad, but none of the raging madness that she had expected. There was a deeper sadness, and a melancholy she knew would be hard to get rid of. It was inevitable, but she had never imagined that she would see this day.

He came up behind her, and wrapped his arms around her waist. He snuggled his face into her neck, and tightened his grip.

She turned around and faced him, and he wiped away her tear. And then he hugged her the way he always did – tight and long and warm.

Her father was dead.

Everything that he did made her fall more in love with him, and more sure that she wanted to spend her life with him. But the way he held her, on that day of utter sadness, assured her more than anything else.

He was her man and, as long as he was around, everything would be okay.

Meh

Written by me, using words suggested by Nishi Vora. This Five Word Story came from procrastination, post-it, sustainable, software and serendipity. Read away!

———————–

I leaned back in my chair, and sighed. If there was a definition of “dead-end job” in the dictionary, I would bet good money that my photograph was sitting right next to it.

I had been in the same position for the last four years. In my company, not in my chair. I would have grown roots by now. Maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing – people would pay good money to see a man with roots.

Would you?

Don’t lie, of course you would.

Just then, the Stupid Secretary came and dumped a bunch of memos on my desk. The Stupid Secretary was the Bloodsucking Boss’ little bitch, and she would do anything he asked of her. Literally, anything. If you know what I mean.

*nudge nudge wink wink*

With another great sigh, I opened my notebook and started to write notes. Yes, even in a software company, I used to write notes. Not very high-tech, was I? With each memo came a little note, and I would put them together on one corner of my desk. All that work, plenty of time to do it – but absolutely no inclination. Procrastination was my middle name (ha). Those notes would sit on my desk for weeks, until the day before I had to get everything done.

I HATED my job, I hated my life and I hated everyone in it. It was as if my life was one dark blot on the smiley, happy pile of crap that was the universe.

And every time I saw a smiley, happy person go past my desk, I felt like reaching out and strangling them. Oh, how I hated them.

One of the morons strolled past me, and opened a window. Stupid fucking idiot. A draught of wind came into the room, and blew all my papers off my desk. Along with all my little notes. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuckFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK!!!!

I swear, if I wasn’t in a room full of people, I would have beaten the bugger to death with my keyboard.

But as I was picking up my notes and the memos, a series of images began to come to me.

Tribespeople. Dry heat. Detachable walls. Splashes of water.

That very moment, I walked into my supervisor’s cabin and applied for two weeks off. I needed to get this idea out of my head. And unlike all the other ideas that had stormed through my brain, I would see this one through to the end.

I took a flight, a train, a bus and two Jeeps. But finally, as I disembarked at the village, I knew that this was it. Call it luck, call it good fortune, call it serendipity, call it the hand of fucking fate.

I had found my purpose.

I had spent a summer in the village, helping sick people. I was an idealistic high school kid, ready to take on the world. The reason the people were sick was that they had no clean drinking water. The only way to purify the available water was with alum tablets, and they were too expensive for the tribespeople to buy. And the dry, searing heat was simply unbearable.

So what the people would do was this – they would build their houses out of bamboo poles. They would then weave reeds into a mat of sorts, and stick them to the poles using a gum made out of resin and the sap of a particular plant in the region. When the mats started to rot, they would simply remove them and put new ones up. This kept their homes cool and helped them to reduce their water consumption.

An adhesive that was strong enough to hold up reed mats, but weak enough to remove the mats without any difficulty. A glue that could be used over and over and over again.

Using that adhesive and the idea that struck me that day, I managed to create a sustainable income source for the tribespeople. One that helped them buy their alum tablets and ensure that no one would fall ill again.

I created something that you all use. For every pack that you buy, the tribespeople get a quarter of the price.

I invented post-its.

So, So Sweet

This Five Word Story came from words suggested by Mitali Patel, and the words are inhibitions, therapeutic, jealousy, boomerang and territory. Have fun!

——————–

They had come for him. And this time, it didn’t look good.

He loaded his gun, and slumped wearily against the wall. He had been fighting for so long, and he was so very tired. He would give anything to be able to lay his head back and rest for a while. But rest – real, refreshing rest – was something that had evaded him for a long, long time.

——————–

It had started a long, long time ago. Back when he was still a member of civilization – a regular kid from a regular town near Sydney. He was popular. He played Aussie Rules. He studied. He had the prettiest girlfriend in town.

He was a start in their tiny little town. And he loved it.

Now you don’t make so many friends without making a few enemies on the way. And some enemies are more dangerous than others.

Sheriff Orell. The man had been a freak his whole life – he had major social issues, inhibitions that did not allow him to interact normally with other people. Even as a child, he would shy away from people who wanted to speak to him. But all that unreleased energy would come out in strange, freakish ways – he was once found skinning a cat, and he had been caught trying to feed a dog lit firecrackers. He had been sent to juvenile prison, and had come out a reformed man. A new being, a useful member of society. Orell had become such an example of the correctional system that he eventually became a part of it.

But Ned wasn’t fooled for a second. He knew that some spots never came off.

They had gone to school together, Orell and Ned. And even though they never spoke or interacted with each other, Ned had caught him staring at him a few times. And he would never forget the look in those eyes – jealous, feral and dangerous. He knew that Orell would hurt him the first chance he got. But then years passed and they drifted apart – they went to different high schools, and eventually Ned thought that Orell had forgotten about him.

But the day he had been appointed Sheriff, he had spotted Orell walking down the street in his new uniform. And the look in his eyes was exactly the same.

The look in his eyes changed when he looked at Ned’s sister, though. There was nothing but lust there. You could tell that he would devour her the first chance that he got. Peace-loving and cheerful as Ned was, Sherri was his weakness. He would never allow anything to happen to her. And if you tried, God help you.

——————–

“COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP! WE HAVE YOU SURROUNDED, AND YOU HAVE NO CHANCE OF ESCAPE!”

He smiled. He wasn’t going to try to escape. He was done running. When he was through with them, they were going to wish that they had never come after him.

——————–

One day, on the way back from the pub, he had stumbled onto an unlocked door. He had walked in, and immediately his nostrils were assaulted by the smell of death. Something terrible had happened in his home. And there was only one other person who lived in that house with him.

He ran through the house, calling her name. He found her in the bedroom, and the sight nearly drove him mad.

She was nearly naked, her clothes in tatters. She had clearly been raped. The bed was soaked with blood, and some of it had come from between her legs. But most of it had bubbled out of the gash that had been drawn across her throat. Lying there was his Sherri, defiled and dead.

He had collapsed to his knees, and retched all over the carpet.

But even before the tears had begun to flow, he knew who had done it. And what he was going to do in return.

——————–

He risked looking out of the window, and immediately regretted it. The window was shattered by gunshots, and he quickly ducked back into the shed. His arm was burning, and when he looked down at it, he noticed a long shard of glass that had embedded itself there. Wincing, he grabbed it and slid it out of his arm. Nearly six inches long, it seemed to take forever to come out.

He raised his guns and fired two entire clips out of the window. A grunt. He had hit at least one of the bastards.

——————–

He called his cousin, and four of his friends. Together, they went over to Orell’s house. Ned smashed a window with a cloth-covered fist, and they climbed in. They found him in the bathroom, furiously trying to scrub himself.

A rage, the kind that he had never felt before, came over Ned. Before he could get a sound out of his mouth, Ned walked across the bedroom and smashed his fist into his throat. A choked gurgle came forth, and he tumbled backwards into the tub. He jumped on top of him, and began to punch him. All he could see was Sherri’s corpse, and what the bastard had done to her. He hit him and hit him, until he was clearly dead.

He then grabbed the nearest thing that he could find, and continued hitting him with it. It happened to be a heavy wooden boomerang, and it did more damage than one could imagine. He kept on hitting him till the thing in the tub was barely recognizable as human. He smashed that boomerang into his head until he broke straight through the tub.

People say that revenge doesn’t help. Ned had to disagree. Killing Orell felt good. DAMN good.

Therapeutic, even.

——————–

He risked another peek, and he knew that it was time to bring out his armour. A heavy chest plate, with attached arms. His big, metallic helmet. He would go out there and make one last stand – and it would be one they would remember.

He cast one more sad look around the cabin – at the five kids around him, all shot dead. His little cuz, throat blown open. His best friends, who had put their shoulders to his and fought till the very end.

He would not fail them.

Hoisting both his guns, he kicked the door open.

——————–

They had to run after that. They were the worst kind of criminal – cop-killers. No one would believe their story, if they even got a chance to tell it. So they ran. All six of them, straight into the bush. Just a few days later, they encountered a cop who had been sent after them. He had beaten the cop bloody, but had left him alive. He wanted him to go back and tell everyone – this was Ned’s territory now. You go into the bush looking for trouble, and you’d have to deal with Ned.

All that had led to this fateful day. His friend had been outside, playing with the same boomerang that they had used to kill Orell. In quick succession, two gunshots rang out. One hit the boomerang, splintering it. The other had hit the poor boy right in the eye. But Ned had braved the gunshots to go outside and drag him back in – he owed him that much, at least.

One by one, they had all fallen. His cousin and the last of his friends had shot each other, rather than be taken alive.

He had considered it, but he was not a suicide person. He was a fighter, and he would fight till the end.

——————–

He walked out, both guns blazing. Immediately, the bullets began to smash into his armour.  Even though they didn’t get through, he could still feel the impact. One of his guns ran empty, and he heard the fateful click. As soon as he threw it away, he felt a searing pain in his right leg.

He was hit.

One after another, bullets began to tear into his unprotected legs. He wouldn’t last much longer.

He collapsed to his knees, completely spent.

A round punched through his armour, and he fell backwards into the dirt.

——————–

From there on out, it was the show everyone wanted it to be. They had pinned Orell’s murder on him, and had also accused him of raping and killing Sherri. On the day of his trial, he was led out in front of the court, and the judge had pronounced him guilty on both counts. He was sentenced to death.

He had looked the man in the eye, and told him that they would meet again, in a higher court.

——————–

They had shaved his head, and put a rubber diaper on him. They fixed the leads firmly to the helmet on his head, and strapped his arms and legs down.

A kindly looking priest leaned over and asked him if he had any last words.

“Such is life, I suppose.”

And then they flipped the switch.

Black, White, Red

This Five Word Story is the product of words suggested by Shirin Godhrawala, and the words are breakfast, prerogative, women, tremendous and pirate. 

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“Oi! Stop daydreaming, bitch. The master will be very cross if you don’t get him his food on time!”

She jerked out of her daydream, and glanced around her. The kitchen was abuzz with activity, with seven cooks running around to ensure that the master and his family got their breakfast on time. The woman who had yelled at her shoved a tray of bacon into her hands, and pushed her towards the door to the dining room. She shuffled meekly into the room, always remember to keep her eyes down. The last time she had dared to make eye contact with the master of the house, he had hit her across the back with his riding crop.  The short whip had torn into the skin of her back, opening up a deep gash. She had slept on her belly for weeks, barely able to move without tearing the scab on her back.

Now THAT was a mistake she was not going to repeat.

She set the tray down on the table, right in front of the master. She turned around and started to shuffle back towards the kitchen, when one of the children stuck his leg out. She tripped over it and went sprawling across the floor. As she went down, she could hear the mocking laughter of not only the child, but the entire family. Her cheeks flushed, she got to her feet and whirled around. But as soon as she did so, she knew she had made an awful mistake.

The master stood up, his face red with fury.

“Just what the hell were you going to do, rounding on my son like that? Wanted to hit him, didn’t you? Didn’t you? ANSWER ME, YOU NIGGER WHORE!”

The last exclamation was accompanied by a fist that crashed into her stomach. It wasn’t the master’s fist, however. It was his thuggish bodyguard, the lout who accompanied him everywhere. The wind went out of her in a rush, and she collapsed to her knees. The bodyguard’s boot smashed into her side, sending her onto her back. She lay there, writhing in pain, as the master knelt next to her and brought his face close to hers.

“The next time you try something like that, bitch, I’ll cut your face off. And then we’ll see if the flesh underneath is as black as that ugly hide of yours. And believe me, I’ll ENJOY doing it. Take her away, and have your way with her.”

The bodyguard grabbed her by the arm, and dragged her out of the room. At first, she thought that he was going to take her up to her quarters. But her gut clenched with dread when he turned towards a small door in the corner of the large entrance hall.

“No, no, no” she whimpered. “Anywhere but down there.”

He just smiled at her, and dragged her through the door. He was taking her to the cells beneath the house. It was said that if you were taken there against your will, you would never come back.

He threw her into a cell, and shackled her to a wall using manacles that hung there. He then tore her dress off, and started to undo his pants.

“Why? Why can they do this to us? What makes them better?”

“The skin, bitch. White is the colour of purity. Black is the colour of mud, and shit. As long as there are white people, it will be their prerogative to treat you however the hell they want. Why, exactly the way I’m going to do right now.”

As he was walking towards her, though, there was a massive explosion somewhere above them. He was thrown off his feet, but she stayed secured to the wall. As he got back up, she kicked him between the legs. He fell to the ground, writhing and screaming. Before he could recover, she was on him. His eyes widened, as he realized that she had picked the locks of her shackles.

“HOW?!”

“There are things about me that you don’t even deserve to know, you feckless bastard.”

She drew his knife from the sheath on his belt, and stabbed him straight through the eye with it. He was dead before he could utter a sound.

She smiled. It was finally happening.

As she stripped him and put on his clothes, she thought about everything that had happened. How she and her crew had found out about the wealth of the famed isle of Mart. How everyone had told her that they would never take the isle, with its fortifications and security. How she had hit upon a plan of disguising herself as a meek servant girl. How, after endless hours of sneaking out of the mansion and stalking around the city, she had found the sewer that opened right into the sea.

With that last thought, she burst through the door to the living area. At the same time, the master was running into the room. She strode towards him, and punched him full in the face, breaking his nose. He squeaked, clutching his shattered face, and glared at her. For good measure, she punched him again. That took all the fight out of him.

She dragged him towards the doors of the house. Two guards rushed into the door, but she dispatched them with two quick stabs of the bodyguard’s dagger. Glancing around, she spotted the master trying to escape. She uttered a growl and pounced on him. Dragging him by the belt, she physically threw him through the door.

The entrance of the house opened to a beautiful view of the sea. The blue skies, clear water, trees on the beach.

And her ship, the Tremendous Gale, sitting there on the beach.

She knelt over him, dagger in hand.

“I’m no serving wench, you bastard. I’m the queen and captain of that vessel right there, the greatest pirate on the seven seas, and ten times the man you’ll ever be.”

She moved her face closer to his, and looked him dead in his terrified eyes.

“Now”, she whispered, “shall we see if your flesh is as white as your skin?”

Little Warrior

The next Five Word Story. Contributed by my brother Rohan Thomas, the words are uncertainty, illusion, spatially challenged, bloody nose, Spock. Enjoy!

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She looked across the room, and saw her baby sleeping peacefully. Her precious little child, the love of her life. The only one who had stuck with her through thick and thin, making sure that, no matter what, his mama was okay.

She remembered the day she had found out that she was pregnant with him. Oh, the joy – the seemingly endless, overflowing joy that had enveloped her heart. Long before she had been married, she knew that one of her life’s goals was to become a mother. But not just any mother. She would be the best mother that any child could ever hope for. She and her husband had gone out and had an expensive dinner that night – a luxury, but one that they owed to themselves.

They were going to have a baby.

He was a strapping, ten-pound baby. When the doctor pulled him out of her, he bawled with a ferocity that she didn’t believe possible. From that moment on, she knew he would be a fighter.

Little did she know that that fighting spirit would be called into action so soon.

A few days after he was born, the doctor had come into her room and delivered a chilling message – their boy had developed meningitis. He would be lucky to survive. She had cried for hours in her husband’s arms, unable to bear the fact that their baby would be taken away from them so soon after he had arrived in their lives. But then he had lifted her chin, looked deep into her eyes and said, “He isn’t going anywhere. We won’t let him.”

And his words had come true. Day after day, their little warrior had clung onto life, battling for each breath. Even as the condition overtook his brain, he fought. He simply would not give up. She would stand next to his incubator for hours, willing him on, trying to pour some more strength and vitality into his tiny body.

For weeks and weeks, he stayed in that little glass cage. Every moment was uncertain. She was afraid to fall asleep, afraid to close her eyes and then open them to find that her child was gone.

The uncertainty was killing her.

And miraculously, he survived. But not unscathed.

He would never have the brain of a normal person. He would never be able to function on his own. He, even as an adult, would find it difficult to do things that even children could do with ease. And as he grew up, this became evident.

He had no sense of space or distance. He had severe spatial challenges – he would walk into things, miss balls that were thrown at him. One particularly frequent accident was that he would walk into walls face-first. He would come back to her, blood pouring out of his little nose. But, even as a child, he would never cry when this happened to him. He would stand there, staunch as ever, as she would mop his nose up. The repeated injuries had already started to deform his little sniffer, but he would never utter a word. Her little fighter, he would take it all.

And when she was done, she would smile at him. Seeing that and knowing that it was over, he would bare his teeth and smile right back at her.

Walls weren’t the only things giving him bloody noses, though. His first day at his special school, a child had punched him in the face because he had accidentally spilled the kid’s lunch onto the floor. The child had stood over him and beaten him, and her little boy had simply cowered and covered his head with his hands. As she cleaned his wounds and poured antiseptic into them, he just stood there and looked at her. His eyes seemed to be asking her, “Why me?”

She had cried all night.

But when things got tough, two things gave him solace – his mother’s bosom and his only friend, a Spock doll. She would frequently see him sitting with his doll clutched in his hands, talking to someone who wasn’t there. He would pour his heart out to this person in his garbled speech, telling him everything that was going on in his life. On particularly rough days, he would even cry with his imaginary friend. Listening to him, she realized that he was talking to a life-size illusion of Spock, a projection of his only friend.

His mama, his daddy and Spock. His best friends.

The years dragged on, and soon her baby was a man. A child in a man’s body, rather. And still, he continued to have all the problems that plagued him as a child.

Then, one cold morning, she had woken up to find the man next to her stiff and cold. No amount of shaking would rouse him. Just like that, her baby had one less friend.

That had been twelve years ago. Before her seventieth birthday. Before age caught up to her and slowed her down.

He opened his eyes, and spotted her. He got out of bed and lumbered towards her, only to walk into the wall. He turned to her, his eyes wide and profoundly sad. She walked up to him and cleaned his nose up, and then smiled at him. As always, he smiled right back at her.

She led him back to bed, and sang him a lullaby. His favourite one, with angels and fairies in it. He snuggled in closer, and sighed. Before long, he was asleep.

She cried. For hours, she sat there with him and sobbed silently. She stroked his hair, and kissed his brow.

Six months, the doctor had said. She had six months, if she was lucky. Doctors had told her that her baby wouldn’t make it. She wanted to believe that she could beat it too. But this time, it was a certainty.

She loved him, more than anything in the world. She picked his doll up from the floor, and tucked it under his arm.

She then reached for the pillow on the side of the bed.

Gypsy Lady

This Five Word Story came from the words put forward by Prateek Lokhande. The words were surreal, melancholy, illusion, gypsy, Juliet, and I hope you like it.

——————————–

He sat in the bar.

Alone. Sad.

He wanted a companion.

Now. Bad.

He threw back a shot.

Strong. Burn.

He glanced around.

Drunk. Lust.

It had been a bad day.

Hard. Work.

They had caught him.

Steal. Fired.

He wanted to drown his sorrow.

Misery. Alone.

He was in a foul mood.

Melancholy. Deep.

She caught his eye.

Smile. Hook.

 

She came to his table.

Two. Drinks.

She sat down beside him.

Long. Legs.

She was dressed like a gypsy.

Feathers. Beads.

She told him her name.

Juliet. Varga.

She leaned across the table.

Breasts. Perfect.

She noticed his gaze.

Direct. Hungry.

She sat down and smiled.

Shy. Bashful.

 

He shook his head.

Alcohol. Haze.

He looked properly at her.

Surreal. Beauty.

His eyes roamed over her body.

Sexy. Inviting.

He stood up and grasped her.

Hand. Hard.

 

They went to his apartment.

Bedroom. Dark.

She kissed him on the mouth.

Long. Wet.

His tongue slithered in.

Lick. Saliva.

She pulled open his shirt.

Rip. Fabric.

He undid her blouse.

Frantic. Urgent.

She bit his chest.

Hard. Sting.

He cried out.

Pleasure. Pain.

 

They tumbled into bed.

Woman. Top.

She pushed her skirt aside.

Urgent. Fuck.

He undid his pants.

Pull. Off.

She sat astride him.

In. Out.

 

She closed his eyes.

Soft. Hands.

He smelled something peculiar.

Rancid. DEAD.

He opened his eyes.

Scream. Stifled.

A thing sat astride him.

Decayed. Terrible.

She smiled at his horror.

Flaking. Skin.

He opened his mouth.

Scream. Now.

She pushed her hand in.

Scream. Never.

 

Her eyes began to glow.

Yellow. Evil.

He twisted and thrashed.

No. Avail.

She leaned towards him.

Whisper. Ear.

She smiled again.

“Mine. Forever.”

 

She fell off him.

Lifeless. Decomposing.

He sat up in bed.

Shaking. Sick.

He got up and flexed his arm.

Strong. Able.

He looked in the mirror.

Life. Again.

 

His eyes flashed yellow.

Smile. Again.

She started to dress.

His. Body.

Thicker Than Water

This is another Five Word Story, with words suggested by Madonna D’souza. The words are mourn, freedom, peave, adventure, fulfillment. Enjoy!

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He opened the door, and walked through into the house. It was a house that he knew intimately, and yet it was completely different. It was as though someone had taken his home and made an exact replica of it. But somewhere along the way, the builder had lost its soul.

His home had become a house.

He remembered the last time he had seen the living room. It was a day of anger and sorrow, one that had changed his life in ways that he scarcely understood. It had been the day when he had come back home from college. But it wasn’t in the way that other kids come home. He had been expelled.

For drugs. But not his drugs. His roommate had been dealing pot, and he didn’t know. When the drugs were found, his roommate had blamed it on him, and the authorities had taken his word for it.

And poof. Just like that, all his dreams, all his hard work, all those sleepless nights – everything went up in smoke. He was officially a dropout from one of the best educational institutions in the country, and it wasn’t likely that any other was going to grant him admission.

So, disgraced, he had come home. Little did he know that his ordeal was far from over.

He had walked through the door to the sound of his mother crying, and his father pacing around in the dining room. When he walked in, his father had slapped him. His lip split, and he swallowed a little bit of his blood. Soon, the blood was mixing with the tears that were flowing from his eyes. His parents didn’t believe him, and that was the last straw. He gave his father a disgusted glance and stalked up to his room.

He was already packed. He didn’t need to do anything except pick up one piece of his childhood – the little raft that he and his brother had built together. His twin brother, his best friend. He would be the one that he missed most.

He waited just long enough to see his brother. He had hugged him, ruffled his hair, picked up his bags and walked out the door.

That was nine years ago. Since then, he had travelled the world. He had left his home not knowing where he was going or what he was going to do. But as he sat at the train station, he realized that he had enough talent and plenty of guts. He’d be able to make it in the world.

He had become a gypsy, of sorts. He travelled from one place to another, living off the town that he was in. He slowly developed a network of friends, people who were always willing to open their doors to a person in need. He would go from one home to another, always feeding off the goodness of others. But his parents didn’t raise a leech – he would work and pay his way through each town. No one could ever say that he had taken advantage of them.

Every time he left a home, he would make sure that everyone he had met knew that, when he had a home of his own, his doors would always be open to them.

One such travel led him to the Himalayas, in India. When he stood at base camp and looked up at those forbidding peaks, he knew that he had found his calling. He had found his true home.

And there was another reason he took up climbing. It was because his brother had loved to climb. He had scaled every peak in the northern part of the country, and he was hoping to emulate his brother.

He had become a climb leader and mountain guide. Over the years, he climbed more than anyone in the history of the mountains, and he learned the peaks like the back of his hand.

And, through all of this, the only person he kept in touch with was his brother. He would write to him, but he had sworn him to secrecy. He did not want his parents finding out where he was. Then, one day, when he opened the letter from his brother, his mother’s untidy scrawl greeted him.

“Leo,

I don’t know how to begin this letter. I don’t know what to say. How do I tell a boy that his brother is no more?”

He reeled, feeling as if he had been struck in the head. His brother – dead? No, it couldn’t be.

“He was in a terrible car accident, and he lost most of his blood on the spot. We couldn’t find a suitable donor, and he passed away. Later, when we were cleaning his room, we found the letters that you had written to him. That is how we found you.

Come home, son. We’ve lost one of our babies. We don’t want to lose the other.

Love,

Mom”

His brother was gone. He had bled out at home, and they had found no one to replace that lost place. AB- is a rare blood type.

A blood type that he shared with his brother.

He had killed his brother. He might as well have run him over himself. He was far away, climbing, while his brother had bled to death in a hospital bed.

And that was why he was here. He walked into the dining room, and found a scene identical to the one he had left so many years ago. His mother was sitting at the table, her eyes red and puffy. His father was pacing around the room. And when his father strode towards him, he involuntarily flinched.

But this time, instead of hitting him, his father hugged him.

He hadn’t cried for his brother. The sadness had frozen inside him on the mountain, and no tears had flowed. But there, in the warm embrace of his father, he broke down and cried like a little child.

For all the times they had spent together. For all the memories, and all the joy that they had shared. For all the things that his brother could have become.

For his best friend.

He had stayed at home for a few weeks, but a gnawing restlessness had overcome him. And there was only one reason for that – this place wasn’t his home anymore.

And that was why he had left. He went back to the only place where he had felt true peace in his life. But before anything else happened, he had one final task to do.

He fished the little raft out of his pack, and walked towards the column of stones in the middle of the camp. It was usually reserved for people who were lost on the mountain, but people wouldn’t mind if he made one exception.

He laid the raft at the foot of the pile. And from his pocket, he took out a little photograph. It was a picture of his brother – his golden hair in an untidy mess, his blue eyes twinkling, his mouth open in a heartfelt fit of laughter.

He smiled. Wherever his brother was, he was at peace.

He hoped that, someday, he would be too.

Anasztazia

Welcome back! This Five Word Story is a product of the words put forth by Amreta Bernard, and the words are soul, passion, wanderlust, stardust and shadows. Haffun!

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A small village in Hungary. That’s where she was born. A queer village, some might say. But it was home nonetheless. It was a place full of love and laughter, a place that never turned a traveller away. No matter where you came from or who you were, if you passed through that village, you would be welcomed with a hot drink, a meal and a place to sleep for the night.

It was a philosophy that they followed, because it was what they hoped to receive when they travelled.

And they travelled because they were all wise people. Wise old men and women, crones and warlocks, people of the earth. They came from a small tribe named the Anasztazia, a people who believed that every sort of knowledge was sacred. They would travel around the world, learning the secrets of air and water, of fire and earth. Of spirits and healing, of trees and the children of the wild. They would learn it and bring it back to their village, and preserve it in huge old tomes that would, they hoped, keep the essence of sacred knowledge.

Each of them was born with an inherent wanderlust. They would love their village and their people, but they would always have a restless edge, a side of them that would never be satisfied till they left and saw the world. And this side was indulged. Every member of the tribe was sent out into the world when they came of age, and they would spend nigh on twenty years travelling. When they returned, they would add to their priceless storehouse of learning – and in the process, become a full member of the order.

When they returned, they would have a feast. Oh, what a celebration it would be. And that night, the returned person would choose a bride or a groom. And they would become one in the village square, in full view of everyone. Passion and knowledge – the Anasztazia believed that, without these, mankind would waste away and be no more.

And she was no different. She was a sprightly child, taking an interest in everything that she saw and heard and touched and smelled. She would go running after frogs in the forest and sit for hours with the elders as they told their stories. She would watch her mother cook her stews and play war games with the other children. And from everything that she came into contact with, she would learn.

She was gifted, even by the standards of her tribe.

On her anointed name day, her mother hugged her and sent her off. They never left with much, her tribespeople. A few roots and herbs for healing and sickness, an extra set of clothing, a staff and a few books – that was all that they carried with them. This came from the belief that you came into the world with nothing and you would leave with nothing – but what you did in between could make you immortal.

She travelled to the ends of the earth, more extensively than any member of her tribe had ever gone. And she saw wondrous things. She met people who could bind your shadow to you or take it away completely. She ate and drank with the Meer, a curious tribe of people who ate nothing that grew under the ground. She lived with the Builders, a guild of master architects who drank from goblets of bone and wore only animal skin. She met with the High Mother of the Valaha, and learned the secrets of bringing dead things back to life.

And, through all these experiences, she learned.

Twenty summers later, she returned to her village. It was still the same quaint little place, and it received her with open arms. When she told them what she had learned, her chief had declared that they would throw the most lavish feast the village had ever seen. There would be meat and wine and music on a scale that was unprecedented.

For the greatest scholar to ever roam the earth had returned.

That night, she ate and drank till the earth swirled beneath her feet. And when the time came, she chose the man she had wanted since she was a little girl. He took her in his arms and tore her clothes off, and the entire village watched as they consummated their togetherness in a frenzy of passion.

The next morning, she woke up comfortably sore, and she knew that she was a woman of her tribe.

Eventually she gave birth to a little girl, and she continued to work towards the preservation of the knowledge of the world. She even had her own little stall in the village market, selling spices and herbs and healing potions. All was well in her world.

But, of course, all good things come to an end.

A little girl who came with her mother to the market from a nearby town was running around the stalls, watching and playing with everything she could lay her hands on. In her childlike haste, she bumped into a jar that was sitting on a stall table. The jar fell onto her foot, and the black powder in it poured out onto her.

She saw this, and her gut clenched with dread. She knew what was in that jar.

Stardust. A wondrous powder, one that could cure even the most powerful ailment. One pinch, and any infirmity or sickness would be gone.

But the problem with stardust was that any more than a pinch, and no medicine in the world could save your life.

Before her eyes, the little girl fell to the ground, clutching her throat. Rivulets of blood began to flow from her body, until she was dry as a bone. A lifeless husk lay where a vibrant young girl had been but a few minutes ago.

Her mother broke down completely, beating her breast and wailing about her child. They had to drag her away from the corpse. But as they were pulling her away, she uttered something. Something only one person heard.

“I’ll see to you all later.”

And, in that moment, she knew. This was not over.

That night, she went out into the fields to pick mooncaps, a special kind of mushroom that bloomed on the full moon. While she was bent over, picking them out of the ground, she became aware of a glow off to the east. As she stood up and looked at it, horror filled her.

It was fire. And it was in her village.

She ran as quickly as she could, but to no avail. By the time she got there, nothing was left. It was a burnt ruin. The townspeople had come with the mother, and burned everything. Every book and scroll was decimated, leaving nothing behind. Every person who managed to escape the blaze was hacked down.

The awful truth gripped her. Her home. Her people. Her family. It was all gone.

She was all that was left of her village and her people.

She cried for days, laying there in the mud. She felt lost, alone, helpless. But three days later, she arose. A terrible resolve gripped her.

She would not let this pass.

She laboured, on and on. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, months into years – but she would not stop. She toiled endlessly, rebuilding the wealth of knowledge that her people had created. Everything she had learned her whole life, she put into those books. For fifteen years, her task consumed her. And then, at long last, she was done. She had put down everything she could possibly remember.

Instructions on how to continue her task were the last thing she wrote. And then she turned her mind to the other task.

For along with secrets of learning and healing, the Anasztazia learned more terrible things as well. Arts of the shadows and the demons. How to summon spirits and control them, how to make them bend to your will. And she was going to use every last piece of her knowledge to carry out what she wanted to do.

For nearly a year, she worked. It would be the single greatest piece of work anyone had ever wrought, and it had to be perfect.

Then one night, she was ready.

She began to chant, in the rough tongue of her people, intermingled with the language of the shadowland. The voice of the demons and spirits that would aid her in her task overtook her throat, and the enchantment came to life. Every piece of energy that she had saved over the decades flowed through her limbs as she spoke, and she closed her eyes as she felt it take hold.

And across the world, every person who had seen more than twenty summers awoke with a start. Something was wrong, they could feel it. It was as if the warmth was being stolen from their bones. And terrible things began to happen.

Tattoos came to life and throttled their wearers. Shadows animated themselves, and slit their masters’ throats. Fireplaces exploded, leaving behind charred remains of human beings. Roofs collapsed, animals attacked. The world fell into chaos.

She had killed their souls. And when a soul dies, the forces of the world conspire to kill the body as well.

She had completed her task. She picked up her husband’s knife, charred from the fire that had killed him. She drew it across her throat, and felt the blood start to flow down her chest.

She lay down. The adults of the world did not deserve the beauty and knowledge of the world. She had taken their very lives from them, as they had taken the lives of the innocent. The children would be all that was left. They would not fight. They would not harm one another. They would live together in harmony. And the coming generations would do the same, as they had no evil precedent.

She smiled.

From the innocence of children, a new world would arise.

Product Of The Academy

Welcome back! This is the next entry in my Five Word Story series, and its words were submitted by Kausthub Sekar (Kowie, you can call him). The words were frustration, torment, differential equations, Nobel Prize, disappointment. Enjoy!

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“Oh, hello! Didn’t see you there. SO very nice to meet you. You’re too kind. What’s your name?

Oh, wonderful, wonderful. I’m Winston Baker. And the pleasure is all mine.

Interview, you say? My, it’s been a while since I gave one of those. Oh yes, I’ve given my share in my day. But that was a long time ago. Still, the mind stays as brilliant, wouldn’t you agree? Just the shell has gotten a little flabbier, a little more lazy. Are we going to take any photographs?”

“Oh, it all began while I was a little lad of six. My pop bought me a math book, and I was hooked. All those squiggly lines and x marks and all of that other jazz – a little boy’s delight. I sat and pored over that book with my pop for days on end, and he taught me how to solve every single problem in it.

That day, even though I was only a little thing, still shy of my seventh birthday, I knew what I wanted to do with my life.

Yo ho, yo ho, a mathematician’s life for you, one would say.”

“It just went uphill from there. Every day, there would be a new book. I exhausted every book in every library in the town by the time I was ten. When I was nine, I started sending out order forms for math books. And when they’d arrive – oh, the joy! Nothing excited me more than opening up a carton and seeing dozens of those books piled inside them. I would pull them out and just lie in them for hours, not moving.

It was a sort of madness, you could say. And some people DID say, mind you.”

“You look oddly like a beanpole, do you know that?”

” You do know? Wonderful. Where was I? Oh yes – and then, one day, it all changed. There was a school visit, some person named Andrew Wiles. As usual, I couldn’t have cared less – I was in my class, solving the differential equations that I had learned and gotten so enamored with earlier that month. As luck would have it, the headmaster walked right by my class with this person, who stopped and looked inside. He walked up to me and asked me my age. And I told him.

Little did I know that I had just nonchalantly told the great Andrew Wiles, the man who had provided proof for Fermat’s Last Theorem, that I was ten years old.

He looked at me, dumbstruck. He then muttered something to my headmaster, ruffled my hair and walked off.”

“Three weeks later, there was a knock on my door. And there was Mr. Wiles, once again. He spoke to my parents, telling them that I was a prodigy and that I would do brilliantly if I was sent to his academy. And, of course, my dear pop and mam sent me off with Andrew.”

“What? Of course I’m not drooling. Now will you pay attention?”

“Anyway, for nearly a decade, I studied with him. I became his greatest student, his greatest prodigy. The most explosive product that came out of his academy. But more than all of that, I was his friend.”

“But all that changed one day, when Andrew came into my room late at night. He was clearly drunk, and had a nasty bruise under his left eye. He came up to me and told me about the girl that he had met, how he had propositioned her and she had punched him. Before I knew it, he was crying in my arms, sobbing and talking about how he was going to die alone. I asked him why he was going to that place anyway, and he told me that he had been rejected again for the Fields Medal.

Now I knew how much that Medal meant to him. It was the Nobel Prize of mathematics, something that mathematicians strived for their entire lives.

In that moment, I understood. I hugged him tighter, knowing that my friend was in trouble.

And then my friend’s hand snaked onto my crotch.

Before I knew what was happening, he had unzipped my fly and…grabbed me. I started to push him off, but he was too strong for me. He pulled my clothes off, and…well, we know where it went from there.”

“It was horrible, what he did. But even worse was the fact that I still considered him my friend, and I still wanted to please him.

So I let him do what he was doing to me. And I tried even harder to be what he wanted me to be. But my young little mind associated mathematics with what he was doing to me. And slowly, surely, it started to slip away from me. Things weren’t as easy to understand as they used to be. The more he tormented me at night, the more I wanted to be his favourite little friend.

I started drinking, experimented with drugs. I did all these things in the hope that the magic would come back to me. Frustration set in like never before. Nothing seemed to work. Nothing seemed to make it better.”

“Eventually, Andrew had had enough. One day, he knocked on my door. I woke up in a drunken stupor, and staggered over to him. I knew what he was going to do, so I started to strip off my shirt. But the look in his eye made me stop.

He said that I would have to leave. And, as he turned to go, I saw the revulsion in his face. Revulsion for me, for what I had become. But, hidden there, was another, more hurtful expression.

He was disappointed in me.”

“Yes, I left. Where else did I have to go? The street, of course. You’d be surprised what you can find on the street, and how much money you can make.”

“I’m sorry, what is that? Yes, woof woof. You remind me of my dog, you know? A big brown fellow he was, named Spud.”

“No more interruptions, please. I’m going to begin now. I got my first acting break when I was eleven. I was acting in a school play, and the chief guest was someone named Edward Norton. After the play, he came up to me and asked me my name.

Little did I know that I had just spoken to the great Ed Norton…….