Saturday, December 27, 2014

On One Sunday Christmas Eve

He looked at the white sheet spread over the pine. It looked dreadful dull but it also made him happy about the festivities it brought. It would be dusk and his mother would be searching him. He turned after absorbing the last of the sunlight shimmering as it fell on the white crystals. He turned into a sprint. The lights were visible from far, like some twinkling stars on earth. The village was usually solemn, it was the festival that gave color to it. As he neared, he gazed and admired the small lamps that lit in the windows of houses, small and big. A few rich had a Christmas tree before their door, these partly covered with snow and at the end of the branches were hanging apples and other fruits. It was only on this festival when he and his friends saw the fruits, rich brought from the market. They would look at these from a distance to avoid beatings if anyone caught then touching.

He heard his mother calling him. He started towards his hut. He met his mother on the way, she had her old rag around her, stumbling in the little light of the lantern in her hand. She smiled at him and exclaimed, “A Christmas pie is waiting for you dear”. The pie brought twinkle in his eyes but as they started walking he wondered how she managed a pie, it must have cost her something. It made him sad.

After eating his supper he went to his bed. As he lay he looked outside. It had started snowing and the lights of their rich neighbor that flashed between the soft white fall made a good sight. He hobbled to the closed window and sat on the covered hot bricks admiring the sight.

*

It was completely white and he heard some wolves howling somewhere far. The snow was falling soundlessly as he stood in it buried till his knees. The sound alerted him. A swishing sound was approaching him. He guessed it was some sleigh. He was not carring lamp and panicked that it might now him down but he was too buried in the snow and pulling out his leg itself exhausted him. Fear rose in his heart and his eyes grew wide as he saw the sleigh driven towards him.

*

He was holding the reins of the sleigh and the reindeer were running speedily up and down the snow hill. He looked down and saw he was wearing a red dress and a black belt was around his waist. From a ragged boy he had turned into a Santa! Ho Ho Ho! he heard himself exclaim. His sledge came to a stop at a small village. He hopped down and went down the frozen lanes. There were socks hanging in the windows. As he passed each window a voice (which he suspected was his own) whispered in his ears, of the wishes of the kid from the house. “I want apples, lots of them” “New clothes” “New shoes” “New lace for my dress” “I want Christmas tree just like Ross” “I want new sledge” he chuckled at the wishes. Boys! he exclaimed soon realizing he was one of them. He put his hand on the sack and pulled out apples. He went on placing gifts on the window sills. As he moved towards his sledge a thought passed his mind, what would I, Ryan ask, what do I want this winter. He saw a small house secluded, and the question repeated itself in his mind. “Boy, what do you want, Santa is asking”. As he stood before the house he realized it was his own home. What do you want, Ryan?

“I want money!”, There was aggression in the voice that surprised him. 

“Money? Santa can’t give you money. Ask anything else”

“Everything else means nothing”

“What will you do with the money?”

“I will buy happiness”

“Happiness can not be bought with money, my child”

Through the fog, Ryan appeared with hands forward. There was a pie in his hand half eaten. “This is half a pie, I saved for my mother. She says I should have it tomorrow. We can not afford a Christmas pie. She sold her old overcoat for it and she has nothing but a rag now. What good are your gifts. Can you give my mother happiness?”

“If money is you want, I have no money. I am poor too”

“You are poor too”, tears flowed down Ryan’s eyes. Even if he is Santa, he would remain poor. 

“Poor..Poor..Poor!”, he cried.

*

When he opened his eyes, his mother was shaking him worried. “Poor? What happened son, did you see a nightmare?”

He shook his head and a smile appeared on her face. “Come, let me show you something”. She took him to the kitchen. There was pie, big as a pot. Beside it were two overcoats and gloves. He looked at her puzzled. She took him to the door. “A miracle, son”, she said. He noticed the whelming emotions in her voice. When she opened the door, he saw a sledge tied to the wall.

“A sledge! we can go the market and sell our bread. Isn't it a miracle? Jesus is kind”, she said kneeling before him. There were tears in her eyes and his too.

He looked around and cried, “Thank you…” louder he yelled, “Thank you!!...Merry Christmas” Somewhere far he could hear some wolves howling as if accepting his greetings.

Written for Prompt - 'When I stepped into Santa's shoes' by Wings Of Change.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Delivery

It was charming. Charming and majestic, one she never expected to see in her life. The white floor was perfect and was implanted with gold, silver and bronze mosaic. The chandeliers twinkled and she almost tripped herself while looking up at the fresco. The corridor was long and grand. She felt blessed to be in the middle of it. She jumped, in happiness, taking in the truth that this grand property was transferred to her name. It had been closed for years till today, her luckiest day, 25th of December 1890, when she opened the door to the black coat. She’d called them, the lawyers, black crow for their greediness until today, when with the property transferred letter looked the most handsome man. She almost had jumped and kissed him thinking the grand life that awaited her.

Standing in the corridor, the question peeped up again and she sat down on floor. Why? She had asked the lawyer but he had shrugged. Why? She repeated sitting in the middle of the corridor. She realized the corridor was long, very long. She looked up at the chandelier as she tried to work out the reason, Why? Somewhere far a telephone rang...tring….tring..tring.. 

Telephone? Who would call this place? It rang again. Morine should pick it up, What is she doing? … Tring.. suddenly the lights started flickering… tring.. the chandelier flickered and went out… tring.. it was dark, “What”, she heard herself say. She strained her eyes but it was too dark. Suddenly she felt the air growing thicker and a stench raised around her. The telephone was still ringing but it sounded very far. She called for Morine but in shock the words stuck in her throat. She was starting to panic, as the silence was consumed by sound of running water. Water? she thought when she felt the wetness on her feet raising up her feet slowly. Morine, she called, this time her voice reverberating the corridor, perhaps it will reach out to the guard. 

She kept shouting and stopped when she heard something. She covered her mouth fearing she would scream and concentrated on the sound. Footsteps. A hope lit in her mind but the next moment a fear rose in her mind, the footsteps, dragging, with faint sound of dangling metal. They were nearing her. She realized it was raining and when she looked to her left where she assumed to be colored windows at the end of the corridors, there was a lightning flash followed by thunder. Within that second, she realized she was trapped. The lightning showed her not the colored windows or mosaic floor but dark stone dungeon. 

She gasped at the sound to her right. There was another flash and she saw them.. filthy drooping bodies wet in dirt and blood. One..two...there were more and walking towards her...then she saw him...the black crow..yes it was him.. covered with blood… there was thirst in his eyes… then it dawned.. No Inheritance.. she was a delivery…

Written for Prompt - 'The long corridor' by Wings Of Change.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Fall


She gave way to the men as they moved the furniture out to the truck. They gave a look of disapproval as they passed her. She did not blame them for it. She looked at her husband. Hair disheveled, with stubble around his cheeks, he looked tired and frustrated. When their eyes met, she felt a shiver. There was fire burning in his eyes. He shrugged in helplessness. “Useless, these guys”, he muttered. She thought different but did not dare to voice her opinion. It would do nothing good to his already sullen mood, so she nodded with a slight smile. “Don't worry. This will be done soon. And…”, she tried to support but he had already stepped out of the house. She watched his back, taking in the stumbling walk, the shoulders drooped under the heavy burden of the lost battle. She saw a hint of fatigue in his every move and her heart went out to him.

When they were out, he asked the truck driver to follow their taxi. In taxi, she felt as if the harshness of silence would tear her off. She wanted him to talk to her. But when she sneaked a peek at him, she realized, be it success or fall, she had no place in his heart. For once, she wanted him to forget everything, even himself and be a husband. Would it be possible?

When she saw him come down heavily on the men as they moved their belongings to the new apartment, she knew the answer. He does not approve, does not accept, the fall, moving to a smaller place, nothing. She feared things would turn worse, this was just the beginning. Off late, he was losing temper easily over petty things but even so, he had never abused her. But..he also never held her, way she would love, with feelings. Maybe things wouldn’t change for her, maybe she just had to play the role of wife whenever he would need her, like until now. She sighed in grief.

She was thankful that the apartment was fully furnished. When the work was done and the men moved out, she made coffee and took it to their bedroom. He was standing at the window. “Coffee”, she said without going near to him fearing his rage. He turned to her, she noticed his red eyes. Her heart were beating faster and her pulsed increased. She placed the tray down on the bedside table with shivering hands.

“I lost everything”, he muttered. Though low, there was rage in his voice. He took few steps towards the her as she stumbled back. “No”, she muttered. “I lost everything”, he repeated as he collapsed at the foot of the bed. Surprised, she gulped few breaths and sat next to him. She would have consoled him, held him close, but she did not dare. Instead she sat next to him like a silent lifeless doll. She felt sorry, for him and for herself. She knew he would win everything back, but what she had lost was for ever. She had turned to a breathing rag doll. She could not hold herself any longer and tears started flowing out, she sobbed.

“Nitya”. She heard the voice, same yet different. She gasped as she looked up. He was looking at her, his face wet with tears. Her eyes were wide with anticipation. “I am sorry”, he said to her with trembling voice that dug like a dagger in her heart. 


“No, please don’t cry”, she said, “You have always been a winner. I am sure soon we will move in back to our home, bigger than before. I am sure...you”, she muttered between sobs and looked if he was still beside her. And there he was, looking at her intently. 

“You never cried before. You say I have not failed. Yet you cry…….I am sorry”, he said, his voice drenched in grief. 

“Please don’t say so”, she feared but took his hands in hers, “I have failed you. I am your wife, yet I could not console you, I could not bring you out of this grief, I have nothing to give you confidence, what good am I?”, she cried. She saw her words changing shape in his eyes, and realized she had surprised him.

“And how good am I?”, he asked. “Can you forgive me?”, he took her face in his hands, her eyes still looking down.

“Will you?” he asked. “Are you afraid to even look at me?”, he asked. Tears rolled down her cheeks but she couldn't look at him. Confused, she couldn't make of him. He needs me? Is that a new role I have to play? I always wanted him to be with me. What am I waiting for?

His voice was trembling, “What I have turned you into, I took the life away from a vibrant person like you. Monster, that’s what I am”.

“I never blamed you”, she managed to murmur unable to accept nor reject him.

“If that is so, please give me some time”, he replied. He needs time to make himself love me. Her face fell. “I will need time to make myself worthy of you”, he replied. Her surprised eyes met his.

“We can achieve our dreams together”, he said as they looked into each other’s eyes. “Yes”, accepting she said.

“Together”
“Together”. They vowed.

She smiled even as fresh tears rolled down her cheeks. He smiled and pulled her close in his arms. She sighed feeling the warmth of the embrace she waited and heard the words of treasure for the first time, “I love you”.
 

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Home

He looked up at the sky. It looked like a bowl with white cotton floating. He always liked to watch them, lying down on his back on the green grass. When the sun started to turn soft and golden, the parent of the kids came and took them to their homes. Nobody ever came to get him however. Earlier he used to watch them go, bidding him, some with smiles and some crying to let stay longer. But they never stayed back. It was always him standing alone in the field.
 
The sky was turning into a mix of red, purple and many other colors. Colors, he liked, they warmed his eyes and heart. They were his companion. However soon they would disappear and the sky will turn monotonous black. He lied on his back, watching the colors getting warmer and filling his heart. The clouds took different forms and the flock of birds made a beautiful sight. The field turned into haven of voices, of animals and chirps, of birds returning back to their homes.
 
Yet he stayed there in the field, lying, smelling the earth under his body. There was still no one calling him, searching him. A butterfly glided on a yellow petite flower next to him. He got up and caught it between his fingers. It was fluttering, trying to escape his grasp. He smiled. He felt an urge to crush it, his heart beating faster. He yelled, his sound reaching the sky, the tips of the branches, the cliffs and the flying birds. Yet as the breeze passed him, it was just the same, as it was a moment before, empty. He collapsed as a cry slipped his lips, the butterfly escaped, as the tears started flowing.
 
Yet he got up and dragged his feet towards his house. It was dark now and the crickets were out. He looked at the house standing crooked at the end of the field, a lamp shining at the veranda. He saw a silhouette at the door. His eyes grew wide. Was it her? He gasped. He ran and ran. Tears flowing. Mother, he cried running, and stopped at the foot of the house. It was her, standing before him. “Come, my baby”, he heard her, her voice trembling. He ran and sheltered himself in her arms. They huddled, cried, together. Their words croaking.
 
She fed him with her hands and sang him lullaby. When he closed his eyes, her soft face melting, he dreamt himself playing in the field. They were all laughing and shouting when he heard his name, he turned and there she was. His mother, smiling. He smiled. He was ready to go home.