Flash fiction- A slap

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Actions speak louder than words. The little boy was running around laughing and screaming as if je was being chased by many other children. Those sparkling black eyes and that infectious smile passed from my table every fee minutes. My acquaintance and I were trying to have a serious conversation but it we were regularly distracted by the running, the screaming and the giggling.
We looked around to see where the parents of this bundle of energy were, a quick scan of the room quickly revealed the parents as the only people who somehow managed to combine the looks of exhaustion amd resignation. There was a general feeling of disapproval everyone shot judgemental looks from the toddler to the parents.
No one had said a word, but the father had gotten the message. He grabbed his son by the waist and knelt to his level. No one could understand the words being spoken but the tone was very harsh. The conversation ended with a slap whose sound echoed in the hall. Now there were new judgmental looks on the father as the sparkle in those black eyes was dimmed by tears and that infectious smile replaced by a frown. The screams and giggles were replaced by soft sobs as father and son made their way back to their table. I returned to my conversation with my colleague remarking “Action speak louder than words”

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Flash Fiction- What is normal?

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He didn’t have the most normal reaction one expected at the loss of a parent. There were no tears, there was no grief. If I were to identify with the one emotion that he displayed it could perhaps be cataloged as relief. The kind of relief one experiences when a great and terrible burden has been lifted.

Then again, he wasn’t the most normal person, how many people you know would list a bullet proof jacket as their ideal gift? Sameer was, for lack of a better word, unique. We first met as toddlers in the playgroup in our neighbourhood.  All the other children would be kicking and screaming all over the place (yours truly included) he would just sit down in a corner with six blocks of “1,2,3” and ABC. He would build two perfect towers one- one for the alphabet and one for numbers, both towers would be perfectly straight with one plastic cube perfectly placed on top of the other. After admiring his work for a minute of two, he would bring the tower down and start the whole process again.

I had never seen him smile.

Sameer lived at home with his parents, his uncle and his uncle’s wife his father’s only brother. Growing up, we were not financially comfortable, our living quarters were cramped and the occasional meal would be skipped but the sense of community made life a lot more easier. There was a principal of fairness instilled in us from the very first day of education. Whatever we brought from home would be pooled in to one huge communal meal. Sameer never brought any lunch throughout our schooling life. Sometimes, I gave him my lunches so that he could share it with the class as his. That’s how our friendship started.

Sameer always had a methodical approach to every thing he ever did, be it stacking blocks as a toddler or tackling any task. I remember when we were in 8th grade, someone donated a bunch of computers to our school, some 5 or 6 monitors were dumped in a large crate and all the wires, keyboards and mouses had been shoved in another box.

The computer systems donated were ancient, dusty, huge and heavy. They had been in a corner of a warehouse gathering dust for god knows how long. Just opening the flap of the box released a puff of dust in our faces. The students of the 8th grade had been instructed to assist the teachers in assembling the computer systems. No one in our school knew anything about computers, but Sameer volunteered to assemble them. Sameer and I stayed back after school to assemble our school’s computer lab which was basically made up of five broken tables pushed together a long extension board which Sameer fashioned from loose sockets, switches and floor boards. He worked very methodically but there was a touch of elegance to his work which made it seem like an artist was working.

After 5 hours of tedious labour, we finally managed to turn on the computers, I think it was in that time that our friendship bond really strengthened. That day we opened up to each other about our dreams. We asked each other what we wanted from our lives. I said that I wanted money, success, comfort and luxury, Sameer on the other hand after some hesitation muttered- “Peace”.

After that I found out that his father was an addict and use to regularly beat up his mother, Sameer had never told me this, the one thing that his father had taught him was never to air his dirty laundry in public. Every new bruise was explained as the result of a “fall”

One day he “fell” so hard that his arm was broken and his mother had also “fallen” with him which resulted in her breaking her ribs. People had asked her what happened and she just brushed it off like her son and said that she had fallen.

Now what I’m about to say next is just speculation based on the facts that I pieced together.

After the aforementioned fall where Sameer and his mother got injured, he complained to me about too many rats in his house. I suggested he get some rat poison from the hardware store around the corner. At the store, Sameer discussed his rat problem and asked for some potent rat poison. When the shopkeeper asked him how much he needed, Sameer replied “Enough to kill a rat no matter how big the bastard is” We took the poison to his house and grinded the small squares into fine white powder and placed it on his center table. We clearly labelled it “Rat Poison”.

I greeted Sameer’s father who only responded with a dazed look. He noticed Sameer standing next to me and asked him “Sameer when will you teach me how to read?”

Sameer did not respond and left the room, beckoning me to follow him.

A few days later, I saw a lot of people gathered around Sameer’s house, an ambulance was parked outside his house. His uncle and aunt were arguing with Sameer’s mother about something.
“But don’t you want to know how he died?” Sameer’s uncle angrily inquired, his aunt was bobbing her head in agreement with her husband.
“We all know how he died,” Sameer’s mother began “Why spend money finding out what we already know?”
“Don’t you owe it to him to find out?” Sameer’s aunt protested
“No.” Sameer’s mother’s eyes flashed dangerously signalling the end of the matter.
I had joined the crowd who were now enjoying watching the drama unfold
An acquaintance in the crowd whispered that Sameer’s father passed away from a drug overdose in the morning. Sameer spotted me in the crowd and beckoned me inside the house.
“Help me tidy up, we’ll be having a lot of visitors soon” he requested picking up shards of glass with his hands. I spotted a small translucent bag sealed lying on top of the sideboard with the sofa. Sameer picked up a similar bag from the center table marked “RAT POISON”, resealed it and placed in his pocket.
“At least the rat problem’s solved”

Flash fiction- I lost it

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I thought that had I lost it. I could feel my pulse quickening, a bulging vein in my forehead threatened to pop.

A bead of perspiration trickled down to the bridge of my nose. A great rage started to rise within me, I had stayed silent for far too long.

They say that there is agony and then there is ecstasy, the former has accompanied me on my travails for as long as I can remember, I don’t believe that I have been fortunate enough to meet the latter.

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Flash fiction- it had happened again

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It had happened again! How could I have been so stupid?  I had sworn never to do it again. Worse, I had been caught doing it. They say there are low moments of your life- when you are so humiliated that you wish that the ground opens up and swallows you whole. I had been caught, and even more embarrassing was the fact that I was topless and my companion was standing in the corner of the room sobbing.

I guess I am getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning.

I walked into the medical store and slyly slid over a piece of paper to the person at the counter. The shopkeeper was an old acquaintance who gave me a questioning look as if to ask “what the hell?”. I just urged him on with a nod to comply with my request and said” put it in a brown paper bag, don’t want anybody to see it” The shopkeeper gave me a conspirational nod and put the package in a plain brown paper bag and slid it towards me. I hastily shoved the package in my jacket and made my way briskly to my motorbike. I drove back to my house stopping to pick up my companion on the way.

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I snuck back into my house and checked to see if the coast was clear. Package in hand, I beckoned my companion as I sprinted up the stairs to my room and locked it after she was inside. I drew the curtains to shield the activity in the room from the outside world.

“Hurry!” she said as I opened the package

“Take off your shirt or it will stain!” I nodded and took my shirt off.

“Hurry someone might come soon. Open it! Open it!” she demanded

“Ok ok!” I replied as I took the package out of the brown paper bag.

As I was opening the package someone started banging on the bedroom door.

“Crap! Someone’s here! what do we do?” she asked panicking

“Stay quiet!” I hissed at her

“Open the door! Why is it locked?”

I signalled my companion to stay quiet

“I know you’re in there, I saw your bike outside.” I heard the jingling of keys and the sound of a key being put into the lock. I looked on as my companion scurried to the corner of the room, quietly sobbing, looking for an exit where there wasn’t one.

I grasped the package tightly looking for a place to stash it. Unfortunately, in times of panic rarely do you get a moment of clarity, and I ended up stuffing the package in the shirt that I had taken off.

There was a moment of silence before the voice outside the door said “Fine, if you are not opening the door, I will”

There was click of the lock and the door swung open letting in a rush of daylight which temporarily stung my eyes. My companion stood silently in the corner of the room sobbing.

My brother walked in the room and looked around briefly before he grabbed my shirt which was now stained as the contents of the package had melted. He extracted the package from the shirt, a few drops dropped on the floor.

“how could you let him do this?” he asked my companion

She gave a sheepish smile as she showed him the chocolate I bribed my sister with.

“You are diabetic, you can’t run around doing this anymore!” he yelled at me as he left the room, throwing the ice cream into the dustbin. I stared longingly as the package contents melted into a small puddle at the bottom of the bin.

“Next time don’t take off the shirt!” my sister remarked as she left the room munching away on the chocolate.

Flash fiction- The challenge

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Combing his fingers through his hair, he took a deep breath- staring anxiously at the opaque cylindrical bottle in front of him.
Everyone was looking at him expectantly, he smiled nervously at the girl next to him. She was beaming at him, the grin splitting her face in half,but the eyes were expressionless, betraying her indifference to him.
He threw a questioning look at the great man standing in front of him. The great man paused before giving him an encouraging smile and a nod to carry on.
He took a deep breath and lifted the bottle to his lips as the great man urged him on. People started chanting his name, some cheering and all of them applauding him in the catchy rhythm that made one want to shake a leg.
The pungent liquid flowed over the tip of his tongue filling his nostrils and making him gag as he gulped the dark fluid. He forced himself to down the whole bottle in one go. Though it took him only a minute, it felt hours as after each gulp, he had to pause drinking for a moment to accommodate the gust of gas exiting his mouth after every few seconds tipping the fluid from his mouth onto his shirt.
Meanwhile the chanting of and clapping of the audience increased in volume and speed as the contents of the bottle decreased.
He fell to his knees after emptying the bottle amidst cheers, panting as if he had run a marathon. As he struggled to catch his breath on his haunches, he saw the fake smile lady beckoning him towards his prize.
The great man clapped him on the back triggering a burp from him as he
declared his accomplishments to the audience.
The fake smile lady stood with his prize as the audience listened enamored by the great man’s charm and showmanship.”-for completing the challenge of finishing a litre of the gasiest soft drink in a minute – Ahmed has won a brand new 800cc Car!”
The fake smile lady opened the car door for him as Ahmed sat in the driver’s seat of now hiscar.
The great man leaned in the driver’s window and asked”Ahmed bhai, is there anything else that your heart desires?”
Ahmed hesitated before saying- “Fahad bhai- if I could get mobile phone to go with the car…. That would be great.”
The great man gave a big booming laugh as he gestured his assistant to bring him a mobile phone.

Flash fiction- Horror stories

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I can feel it. It gets closer and closer all the time. The stench fills up my nostrils and churns my insides.
I can feel it breathing right in my ear growling and snarling at each person that passed by.
No one seemed to notice the grotesque figure perched on my left shoulder. Then again, no one really got close because I don’t let them. Because if they do- they’ll see where my demons hide.
I can’t control them- they create urges in me that won’t let me rest unless they are satisfied. Sometimes it would just be some specific food- like moldy bread, rotten stuff to feed rotten souls, or I guess they got a kick out of me expelling fluids from either side of my body. Other times it would be toying with someone’s life. I don’t think they have made me kill someone yet, but there are some unexplained gaps in my memory.

What happened to the typewriter?

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The rhythmic tapping of the keyboard stirred me from my slumber, I tried to peek at the source of the noise without fully opening my eyes. It’s a well-known fact that if you don’t open your eyes completely, the spell of sleep does not really break, okay it’s not a well-known fact but it’s my own experience.

Through my restricted vision, I tried to locate the source of the disturbance- I saw a tall figure crouched over my computer table tapping my keyboard and muttering to himself. The person was dressed in a grey suit- with a shock of grey hair sprouting from his head like a coconut tree.

I live alone, so my first instinct was to scream. I opened my mouth, but no sound came out. I found myself rendered speechless by a piercing gaze from steely grey eyes.

“what is this contraption that looks like a typewriter?”
My lips were moving but no sound was coming out.
“Well? Spit it out, I haven’t got all day. I’ve got things to do and places to be.”
“It’s a …. It… It’s a…” was all I could manage to stammer.
“Itsaitsa?” The figure glided towards me, all the while running pale fingers through that shock of grey hair.
“Interesting name-” He began and then stopped when he saw my face” why so serious son? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
I nodded.
The face became paler and the eyes widened in fear as he stammered “G…G…Ghost? Where?”
I pointed at him and he looked behind him and he saw the closet door.
“Where is it?”/
“Look in the mirror”
“I don’t see anything.”
“Exactly!”
A knowing look dawned over that gaunt pale face.

“But it can’t be, I can’t be dead. How long have I been dead?”

“From the looks of your clothes maybe 70-80 years” I replied

“No but it can’t be, the last thing I remember was that I was-” He began and then paused.

“Go on”

“I can’t recall anything about my life- not even how I died”

“What is the last thing you remember?”

He closed his eyes cradling his head in his hands trying to remember.

“I was at a wedding.”

“Whose wedding?” I asked glancing at the wall clock as it struck 3. Sleep was the farthest thing from my mind right now. It wasn’t every day that you ran into a ghost let alone one with partial amnesia.

“I think my daughter’s” the ghost replied after a long pause.

“You think?” I asked incredulously “You don’t remember if the wedding you attended was your daughter’s?”

“It’s… hard to explain,” he replied after a long pause. “But I can’t really remember my life, only glimpses of it.”

“What do you remember?”

He started rocking back and forth.

“I remember a woman’s smile, a being at a party” the old man spoke to himself, running his fingers through that shock of grey hair, I remember thinking if he felt anything while doing this, to be honest, it had been some time since he felt anything!

Thinking it was best to keep my mouth shut, the only reaction I gave was to shudder a little when he passed through me while pacing the room. The damp, shockingly cold sensation made me gasp, but still, I kept my mouth shut.

“Did I tell you that there was a wedding?” the old man said almost as if he was talking to himself

“Yes. Was it between a man and woman?”
“Of course it was, why do you ask such a stupid question?”
“Well these days it’s not such a stupid question any more” I replied smirking
“What do you?…. How dare you insinuate such rubbish? Don’t you have any manners?”
“Don’t say you’d rather die than talk to someone so rude, FYI, you’re already dead!”
“FYI? Is that a company?”
“No, its short for For Your Information. Where have been the dude?” I questioned him
“Well until a short while ago resting in peace” He replied chuckling at his clever wordplay.
“Where was I?” He again started to run his fingers through his hair
“A wedding” I replied “Can you please wrap it up? I have work tomorrow, I won’t be excused tomorrow from my office in the morning on account of talking to some nameless ghost”
“Technically today,” he remarked glancing at the old ticker hanging in front of my bed
“Whatever, I’m going back to sleep,” I said closing my eyes as I lay down on the bed.
It felt that I had barely slept when my alarm started beeping. Groggy, I rubbed my eyes and dragged my feet to the bathroom, thinking.
I opened the shower, waiting for the hot water, I stepped into the steaming water
“You know in my day, the only way to bathe in the winter was to either sponge yourself in warm water or not at all” Startled, I slipped and hit my head on the corner of the tub.The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes, was my supernatural acquaintance was staring at me. Satisfied that I was gconscious, he turned around to leave the bathroom but stood at the door.
As I helped myself up, I couldn’t help but remark “You know you can go through the door right?”
The ghost turned around a little embarrassed and nodded as he walked through the door.
I glanced at the sunlight streaming into the bathroom, I realized I was running late. I quickly got dressed and made my way to work. As I sat down in my car, the swelling on my head reminded me of the awkward night that I had. I sighed in relief that my night was over. Grateful for the silence, I didn’t even turn on the radio. I waited for the traffic light to turn green, a familiar voice remarked “What are we waiting for? Let’s get this horseless carriage moving!”
He was back!