Shadows

candle

It was a starless night. The wind howled like a lone wolf outside and the little filtered by the mosquito net barring the window carried the promise of a heavy downpour. We gathered inside the tiny room housing two of us as was our ritual, were we would talk about everything and nothing in particular. A candle stood regally upon the study table, casting its warm glow upon the room and beside it sat a Bible in its divine glory, one of the most show-cased and least opened books.

They said I never say much. I smiled. As always there was little to say. We were but different people brought together by providence. They talked about study, boys, family, religion, food, sex, love. I smiled and laughed on cue, all the time thinking of how much we had changed.

Yes, there was always so much to talk about. The conversation went on around me, one minute building into a crescendo, followed by a barrage of laughter and the next, a sound no louder than a whisper.

I looked to my right and sniffed the air again, rain. Then a muffled sound snapped me out of my reverie. I held my breath as my heart raced and adrenaline pumped into my muscles numbed from sitting Buddha style. Something was out there. The conversation went on, and into fear grappled mind words finally began to filter through: slut…not so beautiful…poorly dressed…likes men…sleeps…lecturers…

I shook my head to clear my mind and turned back to my companions. Lightening flashed and from the corner of my eyes I caught a glimpse of a silhouette huddled behind the door.

Few minutes after the door opened and she strutted into the room. A quick glance at her downcast eyes confirmed my already budding suspicion. She’d been listening. I glanced at my companions who moments ago struck by dumbness, so artfully recovered and now launched into new horizons like they weren’t moments ago gossiping about our once absent friend. She flopped on the mattress and joined in the conversation, her sentences so often punctuated by childlike laughter.

I wondered at humans– the length we would go to make ourselves feel better. How easy it was to misunderstand others simply because they lived different lives from ours, or at least what we are used to having around us. Why it was so easy to forgive a child for being too trusting, looking at the world like a playground, and choosing to see only the inherent good in others; while with adults we brand them honorary titles like slut. But do we really grow out of our childish nature or does our shell just grow bigger? Do we don new clothes, fresh masks every day, live like society dictates and find a drug for our unhappiness and frustration? We carry bibles; hide behind religion or whatever else makes us feel good, pretending to be upright, but inside we are simply a bitter lot, people very much unsatisfied with life, hoping for redemption.

Behind each girl was a story– experiences, mistakes, choices, life. I saw dreams that could best be likened to fairy tales woven in the web of time and left to gather dust because of fear– fear of society, and fear of the unknown. But she was different, brave. So much had changed around her but she seemed untouched. She’d wrapped her past around her but was never deterred by it. She was life. She was like the candle: tall, regal, warm and full of light.

The flame flickered, casting a shadow. Its light shifting, changing, and then it was back to normal.

From across the room our eyes met and held. She regarded me briefly and I read the unspoken questions in them. I burned in shame. Then slowly her lips curved into a smile and I knew all was forgiven.

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I wrote this a year ago (June 2014) and since my brain is slightly short-circuited right now, I figured it worth digging up stuff from my archive. This was one of my earlier attempts writing something that looked like a story, 🙂 I can’t tell if I succeeded or not so you can be the judge.

See you around.

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A Tale Of Bobby

He was virginal white, full of life and every bit active. I fell utterly in love the first day we met.

Aunt had just come home from a very busy day at work and we went out to welcome her and bring in the bags. I usually didn’t take part in the boot-clearing-bag-carrying ritual because the parents were the only ones older than I was. It was family tradition to leave work like this for the younger kids.

After a few minutes I came out to loud exclamations from the younger kids. They all stood gathered round an object, and were  obviously fascinated by what they saw. Curious, I took a few steps closer to see what had put the spark in their eyes… that was when I met him. Adorable, ginormous, probably obese creature. I named him Bobby.

Bobby like I mentioned earlier was full of life. He made himself quite comfortable at home. He knew all the entrances to the house, and would on certain occasions find his way into the store in the kitchen. I assumed he was pecking away at crumbs left by my feisty little cousin. Sometimes Bobby would strut into the living room clucking like he paid the rent and we were mere visitors. I remember fondly one such occasion.

PHCN had struck again in the early hours of the night and the living room was without a light source. Being quite comfortable in darkness and knowing like the back of my palm every nook of the house, I didn’t bother walking with one. I made my way to sit at the dinning table (which is my favourite spot) when I felt this cool rush of  breeze on my bare legs. I smiled in contentment thanking God for such small wonders (having the wind blow on your bare legs is an awesome feeling). This went on for a few minutes with only a brief intermittent pause before the next rush came, when suddenly something stabbed me on the foot. I yelled an ouch and jumped up from my very comfortable sit, when I heard what was unmistakably Bobby’s cluck. All these while he had been busy having the time of his life under the dinning table and apparently I was interrupting and crowding him. It would seem my brief cooling sensation was actually a ‘back off I got here first’ warning which I failed  to decode and so being what he was, he went violent. I flung open the door, and poked him with a cane till he found his way back out in the cold– after making me chase him round the sitting room.

That’s how comfortable Bobby made himself. He didn’t mind at all that he was actually an early Easter gift from a family friend, and that we were someday going to have to eat him. No, he didn’t mind at all. He just took control of his environment and the house. In fact he almost became a Dog. Whenever we left the gate carelessly open, he’d take a walk down the Close and still find his way back home for a drink of water and feed. We all loved Bobby.

Then came the day Aunty had to kill him. I begged and pleaded that Bobby’s life be spared. I forgot that he annoyed me consistently every morning when he would deliberately choose to make his morning cry below my window. I forgot that he would walk into the living room and leave his mark with that horrid stench. I forgot that I had the duty of feeding him every morning. I forgot all that, I just wanted Bobby to live. But Aunt wouldn’t hear of it. She chased him down– and he did try to escape, my obese friend– and caught him. She held him down with a foot on his wings, and the other on his bond feet. She pulled out the pristine white feathers on his long bulging neck with a knife she had carefully sharpened. Then she cut him. Bobby jerked, trying to suck in as much air as his severed wind pipe could hold. His blood spilled out on the pavement, rich in color and thick. The spot beneath his throat rose and fell as slowly life seeped out of him. Then it was over. Bobby was dead.

Aunt dipped him into a basin of steaming hot water and peeled off his feathers. Then she made me hold each piece of him as she cut off huge chunks of meat from that obese body. I stared in wonder. I had never seen such amount of meat come out of one creature. It was a good thing she didn’t make me cook him. I was feeling guilty enough that I let her kill him, and she made me hold his flesh for mutilatation.

In a few hours Bobby was ready. I wasn’t going to partake– No. I wasn’t going to betray what we had by joining in that unholy feast. I was going to stay true and mourn dear Bobby. But I was weak. The aroma from the  pot was too tempting. I resisted the urge for as long as I could, but my body and rumbling belly would have none of that. An hour later, I was cracking bones and sucking out marrows. Bobby was absolutely delicious.

We’ve had many come and go after Bobby. There was Hansel and Gretel– the twins, Rose– who ran away, Peter, Paul, Maryann and a lot more that I took no particular interest in. But none of them could ever match up to Bobby. Not in beauty, perfection, size, nor brains… and yes, let’s not forget taste.

In loving memory of Bobby– pal extraordinaire. Entertainer. Irritant. Pest. Food.

chicken image and tales.jpg
This is an old photo of Bobby from 2010 when all the skill I had in photography was the combined effort of a 2MP mobile camera and bad lighting 😀 Goes without saying eh. Forgive the poor quality; had to dig into facebook archive to find it.

Freestyle Writing Challenge

I picked up this Freestyle Writing Challenge from George and he’s come up with an interesting topic that tickled.

If you were invited to someone’s home for dinner and the meal was the worst thing you’d ever tasted, what would you do?

I have never considered myself a foodie, nor am I big on paying visits to people either, but as a general rule peculiar to me and maybe a number of people around, my eyes and nose eat before my mouth does. What this basically means is that I have to find a meal visually appealing as well as having an irresistible aroma before the thought of munching comes in.

But what if the sight and smell are deceptive? That’s a funny one seeing as I have been caught smack dab in this situation before.

My facial expression says a lot and so I expect that the faces of others would too. Naturally my first reaction will be to see how others are taking this onslaught of their taste buds. It’s always exciting watching people pretend to love something. There’s the initial shock accompanied by a widening of the eyes. The forced swallow with a wince, like the esophagus is trying so hard to keep the food down. Then there’s the total lock-down. The last part I love the most: Pretense with a pretty smile that fails to touch the eyes.

Next up is seeing how the host/hostess handles their plate, and if they’re even aware how horrible the food tastes. Maybe they’ll pretend it’s decent or they’re just clueless.

But if they were my friends I’d simply say, “Oh God this is terrible. Were you sleeping when you cooked this?” And perhaps think of how the meal can be salvaged in any way. We might laugh over my outburst. Or they might feel ashamed and I’d feel terrible about blurting out my thoughts insensitively.

Otherwise I’ll be good natured, swallow the meal without complaint—even commend the cook—and pray I don’t puke before it’s over.

Then I’ll make sure I never eat another meal there again. So help me God.

Word count: 310

Time: 4 minutes

The Rules

1. Open a blank document.
2. Set a stopwatch timer to 5 or 10 minutes, whichever length you prefer.
3. Your topic is at the foot of this post BUT DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH YOUR TIMER!!!
4. Once you start writing do not stop until the alarm sounds! Do not cheat by going back and correcting spelling and grammar using spell check (it is only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write with correct spelling and grammar.)
5. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation or capitals
6. At the end of your post write down the number of words to give an idea of how much you can write within the time Frame.
7. Put the whole document onto your post and nominate 5 others and give them a new topic. Remember to copy paste the rules in!

Nominations:

Target Verified

Tolawrites

A Prompt Reply

Chynanu’s Blog

A burdie from Lahore

Sheedart’s Blog

If you’re reading this and want to partake, please do.

Your Topic:

Tell us about something out of character.

 

A Long Way Home

I watch the bus make its last turn and come to a halt. The ride may have been a long uncomfortable one, but the early flutters of hope has my heart thumping in anticipation. The streets are full of people—old and young alike; some heaving bags out of boots, welcoming their loved ones with warm hugs; others chatting as they walk past. Rows of shops now replace a long line of familiar trees, sporting pepper soup restaurants with the promise of assorted meat, Continue reading

Flirting With Darkness

                                                     

My blogging friend George over at the Off Key Of Life does this exercise where he plays on the dark-side. The general idea is to get out of your comfort zone and write something different fiction-wise. It seems like a good idea so I’ve decided to give it a shot too. Why did I choose flirting with darkness? Because that’s what it feels like to me lol. Continue reading

A Threefold Lesson  

“Some of our biggest lessons come in beautifully wrapped little packages of experience.” 

Of all her body parts, Mma’s hair held the least appeal. It frizzed, broke and resisted every act of taming irrespective of her efforts. This was a cross, a very surprising cross because for years she had been blessed with beautiful hair—long, soft and admirable. Continue reading

The Measure Of A Man

There was something wrong about the men who came to seek her hand in marriage, Christie was convinced. It was not that some of them did not pass the superficial test of good looks, how many people would scale that anyway – especially now that pot bellies have gradually come to be regarded as sexier than ripped abs – nor was it that a good number of them were mere primary school graduates; people who had chosen to veer off the path of education in favour of their quest for the golden goose that laid eggs of diamond, gold and every other precious stone.

There was something else. Something deeply ingrained in them that troubled her. Something innate in a sense. Continue reading

A Good Day For Change

First love yourself

My cousin Megan was the most annoying being my eleven years old self had encountered. At six she was a scrawny looking firecracker; at ten a full blown typhoon. Having spent a considerable part of my teenage years in a boarding school far from home, I had to make do with spending short holidays with my extended family. It was on one such visit that I met Megan in her glorious fury. Continue reading

Raluchukwu

No_title(144)[1]When you made your first million, the world rejoiced with you. You were in you mid-twenties and that was a huge achievement. Your mother was ecstatic,  now she could tie all the expensive wrappers to the next August meeting and climb the social ladder. You were not bothered, the woman had done so much for you and no amount of wrappers could equate that. Your only regret was that your father wasn’t here to celebrate this day with you. There were tales of his suffering from a mysterious sickness that defied medical attention. Your mother always seemed upset when you asked about him, what kind of things he liked to do, that eventually you stopped asking. Time and again, you would visit his grave at the back of the compound and talk about all you’d accomplished over a short time. Continue reading