Category Archives: Fiction

Silent Night

I have come to really like Trio prompts. This post combines FOUR Trio prompts. 
Final Trio: bookcase, something cracked and a song you love 
Trio No. 3: a dark night, your fridge, and tears (of joy or sadness; your call) 
Odd Trio Redux: a slice of cake, a pair of flip-flops, and someone old and wise. 
An Odd Trio: a cat, a bowl of soup, and a beach towel

Senna awoke with a start. Her heart was racing and she felt the winter cold sneaking into the room through the damaged window sealing. Her forehead felt cold. She had been sweating in her sleep. She could not see anything. The house was motionless. No light came in through the windows. It was a moonless night, still and dark. She tried hard to remember her dream. She felt a dread but didn’t know why. She felt a fog settle inside her mind and knew it was too late. The imagery had slipped away.

Still breathing heavily and shivering under her thick duvet she pulled her right hand out from under the covers and fumbled for her alarm clock on her bedside table. She grabbed it and pushed the button on top of the clock to light up the screen. She had to do it a couple of times to get it to work. It was 3 am; Sunday morning. She had been asleep for 4 hours.

Senna felt thirsty. She begrudgingly turned on the lamp which she always had felt was too bright. She got up and brought her feet to the cold floor. She kept her eyes closed and ran her toes gingerly around searching for her fluffy flip-flops. She wore them and slowly opened her eyes. She stood up uncertain of her feet, and heard her tendons creak. An arthritic future flashed in her mind.

She made her way to the kitchen. It was a small apartment, with three rooms including the kitchen. She switched on the light above the sink and opened the tap to allow for some cold water to flow through. She fetched a glass from the cabinet and went on to fill it up. She emptied the contents in four gulps. She looked around the kitchen. It looked clean enough but still messy. Somehow she never seemed to know how to get it look perfect. It felt like home, but not quite like how she had imagined it.

She opened the fridge and saw the remaining bowl of potato-leek soup she had had the night before. She saw the sliver of the plum pudding cake, rum soaked and covered with cling film, shimmering naughtily with condensation. She felt the cold seeping into her bones and closed the fridge door. She wasn’t hungry anyway.

She put on a kettle for tea and went to her sitting room. She turned on the lamp by the door and she took a second to observe the shadows her furniture made. The room felt cold. She remembered the sweater her mother had knit her last year for Christmas.

She walked by her bookcase that had everything she loved on display. The books she has read were arranged on the top shelf, the ones she would like to read were ordered there on: genre-wise and author-wise. She hadn’t found the time to alphabetise them yet. At eye level, she had propped up a few seasonal greeting cards, a wedding invitation, a newborn announcement and in the corner a golden maneki-neko – “beckoning cat”; a Japanese good luck charm. She wasn’t superstitious but had found the incessant waving reassuring. She was glad to have something moving in the apartment besides her.

There was a film of dust on everything. It had been a while since she had touched anything on these shelves. Her eyes scanned her life and the life of others in inanimate objects. She ran her finger over one of the shelves to sense the neglect physically. Lost in her thoughts, her finger ran through to the end of the shelf. She turned as she heard the crash. She knew what it was before she picked it up. It was a framed photograph of her as a little girl; a rare moment of innocent joy caught on a beach. She could see her mother’s shadow caught in the corner of the image. She saw the bright blue beach towel with giant yellow flowers that was her mom favoured.

The glass had cracked. Senna was upset. It was a cheap frame but a valuable memory. She wished she had kept more pictures in her home. But didn’t someone old and wise once say that real memories are those that are not on our walls?

She was startled by the kettle whistle and walked back to the kitchen with the broken picture frame still in her hand. She felt her reverie edging away and the starkness of her reality close in. She was alone and cold. She wiped away her tears.

“Merry Christmas Mom. I miss you.”

The walls absorbed her voice that came out hoarse and cracked. She kept the picture frame on the breakfast nook and started preparing her tea. As she steeped the teabag and started at the picture a song came to her. In silent chords and distinct notes; in peaceful hums and misplaced words – sang every night with tenderness. She sang to herself, in la-la’s and hm-hm’s.

Senna smiled, finally feeling warm as her night terrors vanished.

I wrote a separate post for Trio No. 4 (speeding car, a phone call, and a crisp, bright morning). Please click here to read.

On the edge of a dream

I need to board a train. The train takes me home. I take a tram to get to the train station. In the tram we are given dance classes. My teacher is wearing a mask and a black costume. He doesn’t show me his face until I get off the tram to cross the road to get to the train station. He’s my classmate from primary school. I haven’t thought about him in decades. He’s the first boy that I had found cute. All I could do is wave him goodbye. The train station seems near but too far. The city feels restless. The police are around. I am running out of time. The sky is darkening.

I meet people on the way to the station who seem interesting and I end up talking to them for a long time. They tell me that there are fun challenges going on in the train station. There are people from around the world showing off their talents. The train station, they tell me, is massive and complex.

It’s night now and I start climbing a staircase by the street, which seems to lead to the train tracks. Many people are walking down. I quickly realise that it is for the local trains and I need the international lines. The people around me look like me, but darker. I see directions written in English and Indian languages I can read. But the air is too clean and so are the streets. The walls are white and have been kept so. I quickly run down the stairs back onto the streets.

It is morning now. I am in the main station building. It looks like a palace. There are sentries everywhere. I am not allowed to be here and I am not allowed to walk on the freshly cut grass. I don’t see people anymore. Just me and the guards and the massive white palatial train station with bright blue skies above it.

I make up my mind to get to the train. I see a display screen for Arrivals and it says my train is 8 minutes late and is coming on Platform 1. I ask a guard for the quickest way to get to Platform 1. He tells me I am still at the back of the building and that I would need to exit and walk through the gardens and around the building.

I find myself being distracted by all the lovely things I am seeing inside the main station building, on the way out. The people were right. There is an odd boat-shaped salad presentation about 8 meters long in one room. I see white men who look like Hercules wrestling each other in one corner of the garden. I hear beautiful singing. I exit the building and enter the gardens. I skip by the sides, trying to avoid being captured and then I see smoke rising behind the palace. I know that it’s my train and I need to get to it. I start running across the gardens. I realise that none of the sentries actually cared about me and I should’ve run from the very beginning. As I run I see other people emerging, materialising out of nothing, running along with me to the train. I need to take that train. It’ll give me all the answers I seek. I reach the building and I keep opening doors hoping they will get me to Platform 1. I am panicking. The train must have reached the platform. It must be boarding now. I am going to miss it. I don’t hear a whistle though. There is still hope. I must keep opening doors.

Story of a life (in 50 words)

She made to-do-lists for everything. She even had a list that listed her lists. She had nested folders where lists were organised meticulously. All this took so much time that she never got to check the boxes. Thus, she never did anything and everything became things she would never do.

Inspired by Daily prompt: Kick the bucket
What are the top items on your anti-bucket list — those things you never, ever want to do, places you never want to visit, books you never want to read, etc.?

Pay the Piper

You are following me, aren’t you? I can see you. The black SUV with the tinted windows; swerving behind that Volkswagon. Those xenon headlights. You are not even trying to be discrete. You want me to know I am being followed. I am not scared. Follow me all you want; I am not worried. Nope. Not me. Palms are clammy. Are the vents open? Yes. A 120 zone. Great. Happy to leave Montreaux behind. Damn traffic. It’s just 5 and so dark. God, I hate winter. Try to keep up with me now! I know where the radars are. They keep changing them, but I know these roads so well. Life on the fast lane. 130. Overtaking. Still there I see. I knew you were following me. What kind of plates are those? Weird. 140. 150. Don’t panic. Get out of the way, you Bernois! Can’t you see me? Move, move, move your Nissan. Enfin! You are still here. Right behind me. Why? I didn’t do anything wrong. I mean it’s common practice here. They all do it. Wine, dine, deal. Geez, everyone is so sensitive these days. 160. Radio time. I am not worried. Couleur 3. That’s my so…Maria calling. Ok. Not a good sign. I need to take that. Your damn headlights. I can’t see anything. Changing lanes. Looking right. No. It can’t be.


By Staff Reporter Nov 13. The peace in the Swiss countryside was shattered on this crisp, bright morning. A naked body of a young white man has been found in the woods near the village of Châtel-St-Denis, close to the border between Canton Fribourg and Vaud (Waadt). A local resident, who wishes to remain unnamed, discovered the body at about 8am and alerted the authorities. The police are yet to identify the victim. But they are confident that…

Trio no. 4

Lost touch

No © claim

Damn you signal bars! Come on! I am on my terrace now. There is barely any cloud cover. What more do you want? I wonder if there is a defibrillator for mobile phones. Oh, wait. I can switch it off and on again. Thank you The IT Crowd. Okay…hmm… waiting…waiting…Enter Passcode. Yes! I have one voice message. It’s from her. Why? Why is she calling me NOW? We have been broken up of months. How long has it been? It was before the start of the English Premier League for certain. I had already moved out. Was it during the FIFA World Cup? Groooaann. Let’s get it over with. Maybe she finally realized what she is missing. I could then call her back and maybe pick up my DVDs. Alright, voice mail code… static, static, static…“I’m sorry. I should’ve told you months ago. Bye.”

What the hell! What had she not told me? What is she sorry for? I couldn’t deal with her then and I will not deal with her now. She threw it all away, she wrecked it, she… she said she was SORRY. That has never happened. This is serious. I should call her back. But, what if she wants to get back? I am not ready for that talk. I am not ready for any talk. Women! Okay, focus. Call, say hi, be polite, ask her the matter, ask her about the DVDs and say bye. No to meeting for a drink, no to reminiscing, no to listening to her cry. No, no, no, no. Okay, network’s still down. Skype! Calling… ringing… 1, 2, 3, 4… sh*t, she’s not answering.

Oh, hello.

“Hi, This is Julie, Sarah’s mom. She’s busy at the moment. Would you like to leave a message?”

Hi Julie (sh*t, sh*t, sh*t). This is Matt. How are you?…Yeah, good, you know…Yeah… Calling from Skype, so… Yeah, so Sarah called me earlier and left a message but all I could get was the last couple of sentences… Ha ha, yeah! Bad reception. Anyway, it sounded serious (CRAP!)…

“No, there’s nothing serious to report really. She’s having her routine ultrasound done today. Everything is fine.”

Routine ultrasound? Why would she… no… no… When?…How? I mean…I didn’t know anything. She didn’t tell me ANYTHING…JUNE? JUNE?… Yes. Please ask her to call me back. Thank you.

I’m ready to talk Sarah. Please call me. Please. Damn you signal bars! Switching off and on again, and again.