Because randomness is the way to go! ;)

Posts tagged ‘Fiction’

Meraki

The curator switched off the main light and looked back into the room. All seven paintings were lit by their individual soft lights. They were placed all around the room with benches for observation in the middle of the room.

Personally, the curator didn’t like this particular exhibition of paintings. They made him uneasy. He couldn’t point out why but they seemed to be eerily alive- especially in the dark.

The curator left the room in a hurry. It was 11.15 pm. He knew he was late. The wife would be angry. He checked the room once more before locking up for the day. His boss would have his head on a platter if anything were to happen to the paintings.

The room with the paintings was enveloped in complete dark barring the lights of the paintings. The room was quite empty and still. Yet something was breathing. Breathing, waiting, anticipating.

The room was aloof from the city while somehow still being a part of it. The muffled sounds of the Halloween celebrations managed to creep in. What they did not manage was to break the calm of the room. Paintings don’t get startled, do they?

At 11.45 precisely, a hooded figure materialised next to the locked door. It was a young woman. She was of slight built and pale complexion. She was panting furiously. The witch was still an amateur. Her name was Francesca Santorini and she had a job to do.

Francesca took a diary out of a baby blue coloured-satchel that hung by her side. This diary belonged to Vanessa Santorini. Francesca came from a family of witches but her family hadn’t produced a competent witch for many a generations. Francesca was the first witch after Vanessa. So, naturally, the burden fell on her young shoulders.

Frannie, as her mum called her, started preparing for the ceremony. She lit seven candles, each kept in front of a painting. She took out an ornate knife. The knife had a marble handle carved with the symbol for house de Clancy. Not even Frannie’s 103 year old grandmother had any idea how the knife had come into their possession.

Frannie used the knife to make a horizontal cut on the first finger of her right hand. It pricked and burned. She had an exremely low tolerance for pain. She ground her teeth and began drawing the necessary runes as per the instructions in Vanessa’s diary.

She was aware that she might not see tomorrow but it was a question of family honour and duty. The Santorinis were fiercely proud of being true to both.

Frannie finished drawing the runes- some of which were tricky to get right- just as the clock struck twelve. It was time.

She gulped down the putrid potion brewed by her mother. Her mother was not capable of anything but brewing the basic potions. This little vial had almost cost her her life.

Frannie began to chant. The temperature of the room rose. The air was charged with an underlying current of power. The paintings began to glow. Francesca Santorini’s violet eyes now had a feverish shine to them. She moaned in pain and ceased to chant. But now the room was filled with voices of those who had once lived chanting the same powerful words as Francesca.

The pages of the diary began to burn themselves into her mind, as if she had lived them herself.

Vanessa Santorini had been adopted by the Duke at the tender age of twelve. Being a charming girl with a sharpened wit had soon brought her the Duke’s favour. She wanted for naught for her every wish and her every whim was carried out by the Duke.

She was left unaware about the witch-blood that was pumped by her heart until the age of 17, the year when she came of age.

The Duke wished for her to get an education. Vanessa was sent to the University where she encountered two people who changed her lives.

It was there that she was reacquainted with her birth-mother who ensured that the Duke’s wishes were carried out. Vanessa did get an education, just not the one expected by the Duke. She was schooled by her mother in the crafts known to all witches. Vanessa was powerful.

Vanessa also encountered a certain Hugh de Clancy. He was like no one she had ever met. He was kind, smart and just so alive. She was instantly smitten by him. Hugh too developed a fondness for her. He found that Vanessa matched him in wit and humour, and they could converse on an infinite number of topics without ever getting bored.

Alas, it wasn’t destined to be for Hugh was engaged to a cousin of his called Margery who he dutifully married.

Vanessa was heartbroken and seeked her birth-mother’s council. Her birth-mother began preparing Vanessa for the fight to gain her heart’s desire. Preparing was all that Vanessa could do for her heart was still meandering near Hugh.

The following summer Hugh invited her to his lands. She graciously accepted his invitation. When Vanessa landed on Hugh’s doorstep, Margery was not around. Vanessa easily laid her trap and seduced Hugh. She expected him to divorce Margery at the very next instant. She thought his heart too yearned for her. Perchance that would have been so, had Margery not returned with a glowing face, a rounded stomach and some news. Hugh was to be a father.

In his inexplicable joy, Hugh forgot about Vanessa and began showering affection on the mother-to-be. Vanessa was enraged. She was envious but without hope. How could she match a baby?

She didn’t leave but spent all her time staring vacantly at the lush green grounds. Her plan lay forgotten. That is, until she received a letter from her birth-mother. With her mother’s words came Vanessa’s days of sloth to an end.

Hugh might have allowed her into his bed but she wanted more. She began lacing his meals with potions. Love, lust and devotion. Hugh’s attentions shifted again and Vanessa basked in them. Margery was reduced to the abandoned pregnant wife for Hugh had no time for her anymore.

One bright summer afternoon, the future Lord Hugh de Clancy proposed an arrangement to Vanessa Santorini. She was to stay in his mansion, not as his wife but as a mistress.

Vanessa was shocked. She, a Santorini, become someone’s mistress? That was unacceptable. She refused. Her pride was hurt. She realised Hugh would never be hers.

Meanwhile, Margery wasn’t willing to go down without a fight. She used all her resources to unearth Vanessa’s secret. Practising wicca was forbidden by the human law. Margery went to the authorities.

Vanessa was cornered by the Sheriff and the villagers but she escaped using the very powers the mob despised. Hiding in her birth-mother’s cottage, she poured her wrath into seven paintings- each standing for one mortal sin that she had committed. They were all there- lust, envy, sloth, greed, gluttony, pride and wrath.

She performed a spell that split her soul into seven. She escaped the mortal world leaving behind a diary for the squalling red-faced baby she had pushed out of her womb.

Vanessa Santorini would get her revenge.

***

The room in the art gallery was a mess. The curator was sure that he was going to lose his job.

There erstwhile spotless white floor was now a horror covered with dried blood. The seven priceless paintings by the mysterious artist Vanessa Santorini seemed to have exploded leaving behind shreds of the canvases. Candle stubs and wax blobs were stuck to the floor.

Bloody footprints  were leading towards the exit. Vanessa Santorini, immortalised by her work, had to wreck havoc on the de Clancy family. It was her time for revenge.

★★★

About the author:

The author of this story goes by Mia, is a giant nerd and proud of it. She loves potatoes, desserts and almost all other kinds food. Mia blogs at Diary of an introverted schmuck. She is a Whovian, a Potterhead, a Westerosi, a Demigod, a Padawan and a Feminist. Her heart’s strongest desire is to watch Green Day, The Submarines and Fall Out Boy live.

Mia wrote the story inspired by this prompt:

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I really liked what she did with the prompt- and to think she almost didn’t submit the story!

Yeah, remember how I said the previous one was probably the last one?
So Mia submitted hers today, which she wasn’t able to complete earlier due to various reasons, but I’m glad she did.
Now I could say that it was always meant to be posted and it was like a surprise, bonus story for all the readers- but you, loyal readers, know that I’m just not that kind of person, and I just tell you whatever is the truth.
That’s just my thing.

Now that I’ve gotten the extremely unnecessary ramble out of the way, let me proceed with the usual stuff.

If you like the story, comment here or on Mia’s blog telling her about it! 
She’d love to know your feedback.

The list of prompts was inspired by this article I happened upon, quite a few have stories written about them so go to the Fiction category on my blog, and you can read all of them and more there!

This is the sixth story of a part of a series of stories I’m posting, which were written by my friends, I talk about it here.

Here’s the previous story, you might like it too.

And here’s the very first one, if you’re interested in reading that! 

I did say that I had a story in progress but clearly that’s not happening and January is over as well!
(Already!)
But if and when I do finish it, I’ll post it here, and I’ll link back to a few of these stories so you know exactly what it was supposed to be a part of… Believe me, you’ll need reminding!

Have a happy February and I hope that the extra day brings you extra joy!

(Once upon a time, I liked leap years… I’m growing more and more cynical every year- or at least, every four years!)

(You know what? I’m actually wondering if you guys even read all the stuff I write after the story is over… I mean, the story is definitely the most interesting part, so why would you?
But if you do, then I’d really like to know about it…. Hmm… comment below saying “Feta and Avocado” and I’ll know you read it- it could be like a secret code word, and then, those who don’t read it will wonder why people are talking about salad-y things after reading such a wonderful fictional story….
Even better! Instead of commenting only on this one, randomly pick another story posted this month- you could pick your favourite- and comment on that!
Hahaha… This’ll be so much fun.
Unless none of you comment: then it’ll simply justify my cynicism.
Ha! It’s a win-win!)

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Komorebi

It has been six months since I was trapped in this desolate room. As usual, the sun rises, sunlight filters through the trees and revives the grass. Raindrops rejuvenate the soil. Birds chirp. Leaves sway and the breeze scents the earth. Flowers bloom. Dew drops establish their kingdom across grasses. Butterflies whisper from one flower to another. Sunlight sparkles, rain splatters and the moonbeam illuminates just enough. But I cannot see any of these, because my fate decreed a life in a closet for me.

At first instance, my master seemed a kind man to me. When he brought me in this house, I anticipated a royal treatment. I expected him to take me along wherever he went. I admired him and considered myself fortunate to have him as my master. Whenever he touched me, I felt over-the-top bliss. I could sense that he adored me as much as I revered him. I knew I had come at the right place.

But it cannot be spring throughout the year. He seemed to be a busy man, always attending phone calls. He lived alone. For me, he was everything; but for him, I don’t think I mattered as much. He soon began to neglect me.

One fine evening, in a fit of hysteric outrage, he dumped me in a corner. I was injured in several places, but there are no hospitals for us. My spine was almost damaged. I wailed and wept; I despised what my loving master did to me. But he paid no heed to my screams- or maybe he could not comprehend my tongue. Since that confounded day, I have never been able to sleep peacefully. For seven nights in a row, I awoke imploring him to spare me. But he was not there to listen. He walked off, captivating me in this grim place.

I miss my sisters, brothers and friends. I miss my family. We all stayed together in a house which was more like a store. I had many friends back there. The head of our house was a bibliophile and shrewd businessman. There was an underlying tenderness in the way he saw us, cleaned us and always wanted to portray our best side to new prospective masters. With due respect to the warmth he provided to us in this stone-hearted world, we would go to any master he sent us to, without repudiating. This is how all of us would depart without grievances.

At my old home, my room was brightly lit. Every morning I woke up with the sun and slept in the arms of stars. I don’t know if my previous master decoded my preferences, but he always let me station next to the window. That is how I grew up, with nature. My clothes always shone when sunlight touched it. They waved when the breeze swept past me. The room had no curtains, only a door that my master locked each night before going to bed.

I have not seen the sun rise ever since I came here. I arise to pitch black darkness. Nothing is visible in the room before 9 a.m., until the maid comes to clean the room and switches on all lights. I have not talked to the stars about my last crush for so long. They might have forgotten me by now. The moon must be very relieved these days. I cannot see it waning anymore.

I don’t know why my new master didn’t take me along with him. Why couldn’t he release me? Why did he have to dump me? Why didn’t he kill me once and for all? Why did he have to subject me to such a lonely, cursed life? Why was I a victim of his frustration? Don’t I deserve a life in this world just like anybody else?

Life in captivity- it is one of the worst things that could happen to you. I can only imagine how animals stay in zoos and birds survive in cages. It is so difficult to be trapped alone, forbidden from moving. If I could walk, I would escape from this despicable place the very day he mistreated me. Sometimes, life does that to you. It closes every door, shuns you in the remotest corners. Helplessness is being able to do nothing about it. Sooner or later, you shall realize that for others, you are just not worth the effort.

If I am ever able to emancipate myself, I will run back to my old home. But I will also check upon my new master. Is he okay? No matter what he did to me, he had a life- I know he did. I would want to find out if he is fine. I cannot wait to reunite with my family. Most of my friends and family would have been sold to other masters. But there would be new ones and I would be glad to meet them. I long to return to my first and only home.

For most of us, there is no homecoming. Once we are sold to a master, there is no chance we can return home. But I see a ray of hope. Our old master often bought some of us again for a lower price, if the new master no longer wished to keep us. I don’t know how much money I was sold for. I had my eyes shut when the transaction was being processed. I didn’t want to go to any other master. But I could not tell this lest I shall hurt my old master. One of the reasons he kept us caringly was that the better we looked, the more we appealed the prospective buyers. He raised us as pigs for slaughter but we never minded because in the company of our beloved, we did have the time of our lives.

The maid has come again, after a week. The room stinks. Cobwebs have accumulated in every corner. There are so many right next to me. Alike the master, she pays no attention to me. She does not even touch me, she considers me so filthy. If she looked at me, I’d try to initiate conversation with her. I am so tired of keeping quiet. My mouth longs to utter a syllable. I seem to have gone mute since the incident six months ago. Those cries that fell on my master’s deaf years and the screams I awake to every morning- except yelling, I seem to have given no other task to my vocal cord in the past half year.

Imprisonment is not only a physical but also a mental assault. It is imprisonment of thoughts, ideas, voices, opinions, expression, choices and freedom. It is imprisonment of hope, joy, ecstasy, delight, vigour and life per se. It seems to be an end to life but not an end to agony; end to interaction but not to isolation.

Life as an old, torn, no more read book is not easy, my dear readers!

***********

About the author:

A nineteen year old who loves reading, writing and orating. ​Reads fiction and started non-fiction lately too. Writes a blog, essays, stories, poems, letters, songs and anything else that strikes her mind. Often comperes events. 

Potterhead. Hufflepuff. Fighter. Motivator. Hardworking. Workaholic. Loves her family. Few friends. Loves few but loves too much. 

Takes pleasure in making others feel special. Wants to spread happiness all over and be the sunshine 🙂 

Aishwarya wrote this story inspired by this prompt:

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I like how the prompt has been used as a hope for the character in the story, something that in fact, isn’t really a part of the story.

If you like the story, comment here or on Aishwarya’s blog telling her about it! 
She’d love to know your feedback.

The list of prompts was inspired by this article I happened upon, quite a few have stories written about them so do check them out!

This is the fifth story of a part of a series of stories I’m posting, which were written by my friends, I talk about it here.

Here’s the previous story, you should check it out!

And here’s the very first one, if you’d like to read that!

There might be more to come, but it depends on several factors, so as of now I can’t tell you for sure.

In any case, I’ll be posting other stuff as well, so you’ll want to return to the blog for my acerbic wit and humour, which, admit it, you’ve missed for a while now. 😉

Waldeinsamkeit

Fireworks are the perfect metaphor for being in love with someone who may not feel the same – equal parts beautifully exciting and potentially devastating. Falling in love with him was exactly like a too-close-for-comfort firework display. He was as haughty and unruffled as he was tender and caring. His arms made her feel like she was wanted but unopened front doors in the middle of July told another tale. Being in love with him meant that life was unpredictable – some days he would bring her flowers and other days she would keep waiting for a phone call that would never come.

She was nothing extraordinary. She was skin, muscle, sinew and bone. But she was in love – all consuming, breath stealing, heartbeat skipping, and insomnia inducing love. The surreal tingle of simply being in some measure in a romantic exchange was more than enough to make her go a little crazy. Things were not so bad until she found herself at home in the suffocating agony of affection that was not equally reciprocated or at the very least, expressed. She often wondered if the fact that he was absolutely wrong for her made them connect so well.

And at times when the labored breaths escape her, she wonders if she is dehydrated enough to be dizzy. Was three hours of profuse sobbing enough to turn her body into a dry wasteland? – She wonders one evening. ‘Was it possible to feel like you will never be happy again with someone?’ – She catches herself think on her way home from work. She certainly feels barren on the outside.  

Her thoughts are running amok in fields of dreams she spun way too soon. The fields tell a story of warm summer days spent sipping cold beers and cold winter nights spent smoking the best pot in the city. Her fields are glazed in the lemony scent of his aftershave and the wild lilac flowers that are reminding her too much of his pillowcases. The sun is beating down now as uncomfortable as his gaze. She can see the edge of the forest now. She is at the end of her field. This is all the running her thoughts can take for now. This is where she pulls herself away from what looms ahead in her head.

***

One afternoon she catches herself wondering if it is possible to miss something you have never even had. Petrified, she decides to change her life.

She keeps herself busy with tasks that demand her undivided attention and every last reserve of energy. She tries to run a mile everyday to tire enough to sleep instantly at night. She watches movies that do not have even a shred of romance in them. She has given up on music and reads the most unimaginative books. She wonders if she can ever eat a brownie again without missing him again. She does what she must to keep going.

But in the brief moments when her well organized day cracks for a moment to let in the ghosts of the past she mourns silently of what could have been. Her thoughts leap beyond the field to unexplored territory. She mourns for the days she would not wake up next to him. She misses his strong embraces and urgent kisses. She misses the way he would have taken care of the demons knocking away at her in the night. She swallows the tears he would have wiped away. She wonders if they would have ended up having blue curtains or stuck to his white ones. She believes that he would have seamlessly melted into her more intensely than she imagined possible. She muses endlessly on how he would have said her name. She wonders and ponders and stops abruptly when exhaustion or sleep takes her away.

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)”

 
★★★

About the author:

OscarPotterhead is an Indian blogger, aspiring author, Journalism major and wishes she was a dog whisperer/food stylist/ice-cream taster instead. When she is not passive-aggressively stalking good – looking folks across the internet, you can find her obsessively planning her next dream trip. She likes her coffee like her soul – black and bitter. Her boyfriend is just like her Ipad – She doesn’t have an Ipad. Her best friend is her 5-year old Labrador and she has recently taken a liking to war documentaries. 

OscarPotterhead wrote the story inspired by this prompt:

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The last stanza of poetry in the story is taken from a Sylvia Plath poem called “Mad Girl’s Love Song“. You should read it, I really liked it!

If you liked the story, comment here or on OscarPotterhead’s blog telling her about it! 
She’d love to know your feedback.

The list of prompts was inspired by this article I happened upon, quite a few have stories written about them so stick around for the rest.

This is the fourth story of a part of a series of stories I’m going to post, which were written by my friends, I talk about it here.

Here’s the previous story, you should check it out!

And here’s the very first one, if you’d like to read that!

I’ll post the next story on the 22nd on January, be sure to check it out!

(Can you believe it is already more than halfway through January? I can’t! I feel like I’m still in 2015, in a way!
This doesn’t happen to me usually… 2016 feels a bit weird.)

Mangata

I still remember her face as she drifted away. Tears tracing lines down her face, features twisted in despair.

I still remember her arms. Reaching out for me. Fingers outstretched.

I still remember her voice. Calling out to me. Saying she was sorry.

I still remember.

But she doesn’t.

 

I would like to say that I know, down to the day, how long she has been gone. But time is not the same anymore. Time not spent remembering her is a dull haze.

Time spent thinking about her is painful.

I tried to be happy. Tried to find someone else.

I couldn’t.

 

I often go camping in the mountains where I met her. She loved being here, in the trees, and heights and fresh air.

She would have loved tonight.

“You are so lucky,” she once said.

“I know,” I replied, wrapping my arms around her.

“No,” she giggled as I nuzzled the crook of her neck. “Not me.  This planet. This sky. You live in a world that is art. Someone must have painted the sky with yellows and grays and blues. Someone who knew that the sky was wonderful and wanted to remind the world how beautiful it was.”

“Did you paint it?”

“I wish. I could never…”

“Why not? You appreciate it more than anyone. You remind every day how wonderful the world is.”

She sighed.

“I’m reminding myself.”

I laughed. “You’re the last person who would ever need reminding.”

I was wrong.

 

I didn’t believe her when she told me she was from the moon. Who would have?

Who would believe that there was a population on the moon? Neil Armstrong certainly didn’t mention any celestial beings when he made his great leap for mankind.

Granted, I could believe that she was a princess. She was beautiful and graceful and kind, and her voice sang melodies that were both haunting and mesmerizing.

I loved her.

I love her still.

 

Tonight would be special. Scientists called it a blood supermoon—not only was a lunar eclipse happening, but the moon would be larger in the sky, because it was closer to Earth in its orbit. We both loved stargazing, and we came up here because the mirror-like surface of the lake on the mountain reflected the night sky. Above and below us, only stars.

But there was also the moon. Reflected on the surface of the lake in a stripe instead of a disk.

“It’s like a road,” she murmured once.

“A road to where?”

She smiled wistfully. “A road to the stars.”

“Would you walk down that road?”

“A road to the stars? A path of moonlight?” She asked as if it were a stupid question. Of course she would want that. “No.”

“Why not?”

She kissed me. “You wouldn’t be with me.”

“I’d obviously go with you.”

She hesitated, and then shook her head.

“That is the last thing I would want.”

 

The people of the moon are much like their home world. Natives of the moon are a cold and hard people. They lived for the purpose of existing.

They are capable of emotion, but they also believe emotion is a vain and useless thing. They had created ways to forget what it was to feel. It didn’t hurt, she had assured me.

But then, the point was that you couldn’t feel anything.

 

As night fell and the red moon rose into the sky, emptiness began to build up inside me. I didn’t know what I expected. Just because the moon was closer didn’t mean she was closer to me. That I could hold her. Make her remember.

This was a bad idea. The large moon taunted me from where it hung in the sky. Reminding me of where she had gone.

And then I heard it.

Her voice, singing.

My mind may have been playing tricks on me, but I didn’t care. I wanted it to be her. To say she came back. That her people had allowed her to come back. They realized they were wrong to take her away. That she remembered everything.

The singing grew louder, and I cried as the memories resurfaced. Her face. Her smile. The way she looked like the world had everything. The way she looked at me as if I were the world.

The way I knew she was the world.

If she was here, there was only one place where she would be.

I ran to the lake.

 

She had run away from her home, hoping to understand the blue marble in the sky that she had watched her entire life. She did eventually understand. But fleeing to Earth had consequences.

One was that she learned to love.

Another was that she would lose that love.

She would forget everything.

 

The red of the moon shone from the surface of the lake. A road of moonlight paved in red. A path to the stars, as large as it could ever be.

No one was there.

I was alone on a mountain, by a lake, missing her.

Her voice, which I had heard so clearly just moments before, gone.

Taking off my shoes and socks, I rolled up my pant legs before walking into the lake. The sand was soft beneath my feet, and I stood ankle deep in the reflection of the moon.

The road of moonlight to nowhere.

I continued to walk in the moon’s reflection, deeper and deeper. No singing, just the sound of water moving out of my way as I waded deeper and deeper. I was in up to my waist when a giggle interrupted the silence.

“I thought I told you I didn’t want you to go on the road to the stars.”

 

This story was inspired by both Sam’s prompt, “Mangata” the Swedish word for the road-like reflection of the moon in the water, and the Tale of Kaguya, a Japanese folktale about a princess from the moon who goes to live on Earth. Her foster parents set her up as a princess on Earth, living in riches, but in solitude. She becomes acquainted with an emperor, but rejects his advances, because she knows she must return to the moon, where she will forget everything. As she is spirited away, she gives the emperor a vial of the elixir of life, but he orders that it be burned on the tallest mountain with a letter he wrote to Kaguya, in hopes that the smoke would reach her.

My story is a modernization of this tale, where the princess returns.

 

**************

About the author:

Leanna was destined to be a nerd since birth—she was named after Star Trek’s Deanna Troi after all. Since then, she’s become a nerdfighter, Ravenpuff, avid book reader, Young The Giant fan, and internet addict aspiring to be a writer/scientist. Find her on public transit reading a book and with headphones in her ears. 

Leanna wrote the story inspired by this prompt:

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The prompt was beautiful, and I think nobody but Leanna could’ve done it justice.

Maybe I just mean that retrospectively; in any case, I love the story.

This girl has done all the work for me: she’s written the story, written about the story so you know exactly how amazing it is, and she’s written about herself- what’s left for me to do?

Oh well, the usual stuff:

If you like the story, comment here or on Leanna’s blog telling her about it! 
She’d love to know your feedback.

The list of prompts was inspired by this article I happened upon, quite a few have stories written about them so stick around for the rest.

This is the third story of a part of a series of stories I’m going to post, which were written by my friends, I talk about it here.

Here’s the previous story, you should check it out!

And here’s the very first one, if you’d like to read that!

I’ll post the next story on the 18th on January, and it’s amazing, so try not to miss it.

I’m sorry for posting this one a bit late, but yesterday evening after I heard about the sad demise of Alan Rickman I couldn’t function for a while. I really couldn’t bring myself to post the story, even though I pretty much just had to click the Publish button…

He will be missed.

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I’ll be the one reading Harry Potter at 80 and answering the question “After all this time?” with an “Always”

*raises wand*

Do You Want To Go On An Adventure?

            When Adelaide Brennan had gotten up that morning, she wouldn’t have thought she’d be skipping school, breaking the law and running from ghosts that following afternoon, and all for a girl she had just met.

            Hailey Akiyama she had said her name was, and she had asked Adelaide if she really wanted to go to school, or if she’d rather have an adventure.
            Adelaide had to admit that she had said yes because it had reminded her of Doctor Who, but she had kind of forgotten the more dangerous part of the TV show. You know, the part where you had to run for your life and where there’s the possibility of death. 
            So she had said yes, without even knowing who the girl was. She had never seen Hailey at school before, nor had she heard of her. 
            ‘’Not to be rude or anything, but… Who are you exactly?’’ Adelaide had asked the girl as they made their way through the woods next to the school. Hailey had insisted they’d go that way for several reasons. She even had a list written down, as if she had expected to justify her choice:

1.      If the teachers see us leave, they will come after us and drag our asses back to school

2.      It’s more fun this way

3.      Forests are magical

4.      I thought you wanted an adventure?

5.      All the best adventures take place in magical places like forests

            Adelaide had pointed out that not just ‘the best adventures’ took place in forests; horror movies did too. Hailey had rolled her eyes at that and continued down the path. After a few seconds of silence, in which Adelaide had pondered whether Hailey might be a psychotic murderer, she had decided to ask who the girl was, for better or for worse.
            ‘’I told you already; Hailey Akiyama.’’
            ‘’Yeah, but who are you?’’
            ‘’Jeez, sorry Mr. Caterpillar. Want a hookah with that? I’m Hailey Akiyama, almost sixteen years old. My mom’s from Tokyo and moved to whatever you call this sad excuse for a town when she was twenty-one for love. Romantic right? Yeah, until her ‘big love’ left us when I was eight to go on a ‘big adventure’ like he’s Bilbo Baggins or something. Then we moved back to Tokyo, until Bilbo decided that he didn’t want a big adventure after all, since ‘mom and I were his big adventure’. So here we are, one happy family reunited.’’ Hailey had rolled her eyes so many times during her story that Adelaide thought they’d roll out at some point, but they were still secure in her head. 
            ‘’I’m sorry.’’
            ‘’Don’t be. Anyway, since Daddy dearest is so fond of adventures, I thought I’d try one myself. But adventures on your own are boring. I need my companions, my-‘’
            ‘’Dwarves?’’ Adeilade had asked, feeling insulted.
            ‘’What? No! Why do you- Oh, because of the Bilbo thing. No, dwarves are a nuisance. You can be my handy mage, ready to heal me when I get in trouble. And I will get in trouble.’’
            They had arrived at the end of the forest. 
            Hailey had turned around to grin at Adelaide.
            ‘’Ready?’’
            ‘’I thought ‘all the best adventures take place in forests’? Why are we about to leave it?’’
            ‘’I said like forests,’’ Hailey had pulled away a branch to show an old castle, almost fallen to ruins. ‘’Castles are even more magical.’’
            Adelaide had bitten her lip.
            ‘’Doesn’t someone own that place?’’
            ‘’Nah, it’s abandoned.’’
            ‘’So it’s haunted. Even better.’’
            Hailey had laughed at that. 
            ‘’I like you…Er, what’s your name actually?’’
            Right, Adelaide had never had the time to introduce herself. As soon as she had said yes, Hailey had pulled her towards the forest.
            ‘’Adelaide. Adelaide Brennan.’’
            ‘’Nice to meet you, Mr. Bond,’’ Hailey had grinned as she stepped out of the forest. ‘’Let’s start our mission.’’
            ‘’When did our adventure turn into a mission?’’
            But Hailey had ignored her question.

            The castle had indeed seemed to be abandoned, but that hadn’t calmed Adelaide’s nerves. She had expected someone – or something – to jump out at them from every nook and cranny. Hailey had laughed at her nervousness, but that was before they had arrived in the throne room, where they were currently hiding behind the throne.
            ‘’Ghosts don’t exist.’’ Hailey still claimed, even after they had seen several suspicious shadows that had seemed to chase them as they had run towards the throne room.
            ‘’You believe in dwarves and mages, but not ghosts?’’ Adelaide whispered furiously at the other girl. She had skipped school, probably broken the law by trespassing – she was ninety-nine percent sure that someone owned the castle – and was now hiding from possible ghosts. Her mom would kill her, if the ghosts didn’t get to her first. 
            ‘’I don’t believe in dwarves and mages either!’’ Hailey hissed. ‘’I was just having fun!’’ 
            ‘’Well your ‘fun’ has gotten us into this mess!”
            ‘’You didn’t have to come with me!’’
            Adelaide opened her mouth to retort – even though Hailey was right-, but at that moment the door creaked open slowly. The two girls covered each other’s mouth, looking at each other with wide eyes. 
            Footsteps started to approach. 
            Adelaide felt her heart calm down. Ghosts don’t have footsteps.
            ‘’Hailey Akiyama, get up from behind that throne right now.’’ 
            Adelaide and Hailey looked at each other in surprise. They released each other’s mouth and got up, though Hailey pushed the other girl down again. She held her finger against her lips and turned around the throne.
            ‘’Hi Dad! Hi….who are you?’’
            ‘’This is Mr. Hannigen, the owner of the castle.’’
            ‘’Oh! Well, I’m very sorry Mr. Hannigan. It’s just, I love adventures. It’s a family thing, right Dad?’’
            Adelaide couldn’t see the girl’s expression, but she could guess the look Hailey was giving her father. 
            ‘’Get here, right now.’’
            Adelaide heard the three people leaving the room, and quietly got up herself. When she rounded the throne, she found herself all alone. Great, just great.

            She made her way out of the throne room, hoping to find her way back out of the castle. Hailey, her dad and the owner were nowhere to be seen, which might be a good thing. At least she wouldn’t be in trouble with the law. Though that wouldn’t matter if she never got out of there.
            Adelaide decided that if she walked down the hallway, nothing would be able to go wrong. Oh, how wrong she was. Soon she found herself back in front of the throne room, apparently having gone in circles. 
            She threw her arms in the air in frustration.
            ‘’Great, just great! Any ghosts out there that want to finish me off, so that my day will get even better?’’ 
            A hand fell down on her shoulder, causing her to jump in the air.
            ‘’OH MY GOD I WAS SARCASTIC PLEASE DON’T KILL ME.’’
            She was greeted by hysterical laughter. Adelaide turned around to find Hailey standing there, holding her stomach and leaning forward. 
            ‘’Oh. My. God!’’ she laughed. 
            Adelaide punched the other girl on the arm. 
            ‘’What the hell is wrong with you?! First you drag me along on your stupid adventure to this stupid castle, then you leave me behind, and then you sneak up on me like that?’’
            Hailey held up her hands.
            ‘’In my defence, you agreed to the adventure, I left you so you wouldn’t get in trouble and I didn’t ‘sneak up on you’. I just walked towards you. You think a simple ‘hi’ wouldn’t have startled you in this place?’’
            ‘’It still would’ve been a better greeting.’’ Adelaide said, still fuming. Hailey rolled her eyes.
            ‘’Come on, let’s get out of here.’’
            ‘’You know the way out?’’
            ‘’’Course I do.’’
            ‘’You promise?’’ 
            ‘’Yes.’’ 
            They continued on in silence.
            ‘’How did your dad know you were here?’’
            ‘’Uh, the principal called him because I wasn’t at school,’’ Great, Mom probably got a call too. ‘’And Dad kind of guessed where I’d be. Like the castle I’d been talking about recently.’’
            ‘’Seriously? You’re that stupid?’’
            ‘’Oi! I may be stupid, but you followed this stupid person!’’
            ‘’I didn’t even know you! How was I supposed to know you were stupid?’’
            ‘’Er… I suggested skipping school to go on an adventure?’’
            Adelaide sighed.
            ‘’Guess we’re both stupid.’’
            They had arrived at the doors.
            Hailey turned around and grinned.
            ‘’But you’re the stupidest, since you couldn’t even find the exit.’’

            Adelaide glared at her.

            ‘’I’m never going on one of your stupid adventures again.’’

            But that was far from true. Because no matter how scared she had been that afternoon, no matter how mad her mother was at her and no matter how much she had been against skipping school before that day, she hadn’t had that much fun in a long time. From that day on, no matter how much they bickered and complained about each other, they were inseparable. 

***********

About the Author:

Hi I’m Michelle; writer, journalist student, blogger at The Writing Hufflepuff and The Feministas, Hufflepuff, Pokémon Master, Demigod, Waterbender… Basically  a professional fangirl! I hope you’ll enjoy my story 🙂

This story was written by Michelle inspired by this prompt:

image

It is a word from Mandarin, and Michelle pretty much nailed the expectations I had for a story using this prompt, so yayy!

If you like the story, comment here or on Michelle’s blog telling her about it! 
She’d love to know your feedback.

The list of prompts was inspired by this article I happened upon, quite a few have stories written about them so stick around for the rest.

This is the second story of a part of a series of stories I’m going to post, which were written by my friends, I talk about it here.

Here’s the first story, you should check it out!

I’ll post the next story on the 14th on January, and it’s a beautiful one so I hope you don’t miss it!

P.S. The author would like you to sing the title of the story in your best Anna from Frozen voice (those of you didn’t do that anyway, that is, those of you who’re not me 😛 )

Dépaysement

“What do you miss most about your city?”

She almost didn’t hear the question as she gazed into nothingness. She was suddenly jolted back to the present and to reality. It was too crowded, too noisy, too dark, too … everything. She couldn’t think for a minute and seeing her confused expression her friend repeated the question a little louder this time, “I asked what you missed most, about home, I mean.”

Finally, it seemed like she understood the question. Smiling wistfully, she said, “That’s a difficult question, you know. There’s no single thing I miss the most, there are so many. I miss the smells of the city, which change as the city changes. One moment you smell the delicious aroma of roadside bhajjis and wadas, and the next you smell some expensive perfume from the highly sophisticated women walking past, and the very next, you smell garbage and you wrinkle your nose and walk past as quickly as possible, to find yourself smelling something completely different and unknown. I miss the people and the crowds. There are so many people around you that you could never be alone, and yet you are because no one really knows you and it doesn’t always matter what you think or believe in. You might be cursing the people getting in your way when you are running to catch a train that’s leaving in the next minute, and yet, you see an unknown hand extending out of the compartment to pull you in and you take it, you jump in, smile at the stranger and say a quiet thank you, and then push your way through with the possibility of never setting eyes on the stranger again, one of the many faces you are likely to forget and yet, in an odd way, remember too.
“I miss the rains, the smell of the wet earth when it first rains, the constant tap tap on your window and the sloshing around in puddles and getting completely soaked even though you have an umbrella, because umbrellas really don’t help when it rains, really rains, in my city. I miss the sounds. It is so quiet here. When I look out of the window of this apartment, I don’t see people and the cars never honk. There are no firecrackers for no particular reason, and there are no vendors hawking their wares. I would constantly complain about the sounds, the children playing and screaming in the playground, the firecrackers in Diwali, but now I know that it was such an important part of my life. You know, we sometimes don’t appreciate the things that are right there in front of us, staring us in the face.”

Her friend was listening with rapt attention, never having heard her speak so much.
Suddenly realizing that she was looking at her, she quietly nodded.
The wistful look still present on her face, she continued, “I don’t know if you realize how important all this is to me. You might think I am rambling about all the wrong things here, smells, sound, crowds. But it’s true, these are some of the things I miss most about my city. I miss the lights too. My city looks beautiful during Diwali. There are lights everywhere; some of them twinkling, some stationary. There are lanterns in various shapes and when you look outside the window, you see the lights and the lanterns stretching as far as you can see, and you realize that there are people just like you: eating the same kind of sweets, laughing at similar everyday things, fighting about the same things, working just as hard as you do, and facing the same problems as you. It really puts matters into perspective, you know. Don’t take yourself too seriously; you are not alone in anything that happens to you—good or bad. I miss the festivals and the rituals that go with them. It really doesn’t matter whether you celebrate them or not, there are people around you, your family or friends, for whom the festival is important and that makes it significant in your eyes too. “And the food! I really miss the food; the street food—chaatvada pavbhajjidosasidlis, sandwiches—the different sweets, the home cooked food, which you might constantly complain about when at home but start missing as soon as you leave. But, I think what I miss most are the people. When you are at home, you might think that there are too many people around you who interfere in your business, influence your decisions—family, relatives, friends—and then you leave and suddenly there is no one around you to ask whether your decision to do this job or study here is right or wrong. The onus is on you and it can be quite terrifying.”

She laughed silently at this, as if remembering something and shook her head, “I am talking too much. Aren’t you bored already?” But her friend shook her head and laughed. She said, “I am loving this. You know, you’ve been here for two months and I have never seen you talking so animatedly about anything. You really miss your city, don’t you?” She nodded silently, looking at her with eyes sparkling with unshed tears. She was realizing though, that her rant was actually making her feel better. She hadn’t felt so good since coming here, to this foreign country and living amongst foreign people. But then again, it was her choice to come here, to take up this job away from her people and her city; she just didn’t realize that it would be so difficult.

Her friend was looking at her oddly. “What is it?,” she asked her.

“I have just realized something. You know, everything you spoke about—the sounds, smells, lights, people, crowds, everything—it’s all here,” her friend said. “Here?” she asked, incredulous, “What do you mean, here?”

“I mean that you can find all of this here too. Maybe everything’s slightly different, but it’s still here. This is still a city like any other and there are smells, and sounds, and people, and crowds, and food, and lights, and festivals too. The smells are different, you can smell the freshly fallen snow, and the leaves in autumn, you can smell the flowers blooming in spring. And it might not rain all that much here, but every season has something you can enjoy and appreciate. Well, there might not be honking cars and people pushing past each other on the roads, but the metro is just as crowded, the people are, after all, people, with similar lives, similar definitions of happiness and sadness, similar problems. And you might think that with our practise of going abroad or living away from our parents and families, they do not have much of an influence on our lives, but you’d be wrong. You know, people and places are different, sure, but they are still the same. You just have to concentrate on the similarities and accept the differences, and there you have it, a new place to call home.”

Her friend smiled at her and took a sip of her drink. She was surprised, to say the least, because she’d never thought about it like this. But then she nodded too, and smiled, and the tears remained unshed. She had an opportunity and a place to make a new beginning, to call home, and she was going to make the most of it.

*********

About the Author:

First time writer. Works as a content editor for a living. Procrastinator.
Loves (in no particular order): 
Reading,travelling, all things Harry Potter, chocolates, Sherlock, (occasionally) writing, cricket, The Avengers, music, FRIENDS, etc.
Favourite quote(one of many):
Not all those who wander are lost.

This story was written by Tanvi inspired by this prompt:

image

Beautiful word, isn’t it?
I love the French language!

If you like the story, comment here or on Tanvi’s blog telling her about it!
She’d love to know your feedback.

Oh! And this is Tanvi’s first attempt at writing a short story so it’s a little more special!
I, for one, am proud of her. 😀

The list of prompts was inspired by this article I happened upon, quite a few have stories written about them so stick around for the rest.

This is the first story of a part of a series of stories I’m going to post, which were written by my friends, I talk about it here.

I’ll post the next story on the 10th on January, stay tuned.

It’s one of the cutest stories I’ve read recently- you can’t not love it! 🙂

Without (much) further ado

I must hurry now. I’ve procrastinated too much already.
There’s a thing I have to tell you.
As soon as possible, if I do not wish die a most painful death at the hands of Tanvi (among others?).

I don’t blame her.
I’m a month late, and if I was in her place, I’d be equally, if not more, excited and impatient.

I apologise for the delay Tanvi, hope you find it in your heart to forgive me.

And yes, I shall get to the point now.
But wait!
Must do the pleasantries.

Happy New Year, everyone!
Here’s wishing you the most prosperous and fulfilling new year, hope you get up on the right side of the bed each morning (unless your bed’s in a corner, like mine, in which case, there’s really only one way, isn’t there?), get the exact presents you want on your birthday (but in a way that you’re still surprised) and are blessed with a speedy internet connection so you have no problems enjoying my blog posts!

December 2014 was a great month for me, and for a change, I knew it then as well (because you know? You mostly feel that times were “good” retrospectively?).

Blogging wise as well it was my best month till date according to the stats page (2015 was a pretty lousy year, blogging wise).
Even otherwise, it was one of my favourite months to be a blogger because my fellow writer friends wrote short stories for my blog, and it was amazing because all of them are so talented and I felt really proud of them all posting here, and basically, it was so much fun!

I wasn’t planning on doing it the next year (which was 2015) (and technically, I didn’t), but somewhere in the middle of the year I happened upon this amazing list of prompts and I couldn’t resist!
So I thought, why not?
I contacted all of my friends, a few new ones, and told them about the prompts!

They were, once again, enthusiastic about doing this.
In fact, Leanna, when I first emailed her about this, replied with:

Hey Sam! 
As always, I’m in! 

So yes! She’s writing too, look out for her story.

Now, I should’ve done this in December- I was supposed to.
But I’m not going to bore you with my reasons for being a month late, especially because they’re all very stupid.
But I’m here now, and we’re doing this!
I can’t think of a better way to start the year.

When do I start posting the stories?
That’s a good question!

Whose story shall be up first?
That’s another good one!

Hey, let me answer that one, seeing as to how I just came up with an answer:
Let’s start with Tanvi’s!

Yay! That’s settled then!
Tanvi is new to the whole short story thing, but her story is still wonderful, you’ll love it!

I’ll post it in the next few days, and as Mr.Holmes aptly puts it,
“The stage is set. The curtain rises. We are ready to begin.”

(If I was the non-rambly kind, I’d stop there and let those words echo a bit, but I’m not- and anyway I’m too excited not to discuss the Christmas Special! Leave comments telling me your thoughts about it!!! Non-spoilery comments though- don’t want people getting spoilt.)

(Oh hey, one more thing, if you are interested in reading the stories from last year- they’re all amazing- you can do that by going to the category “Fiction” and they’re all there so yeah, check them out, you’ll enjoy!)

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