Cornered

It wasn’t a particularly hot or humid night in the city, but she felt a bead of perspiration roll down her spine; a cold sweat. She didn’t really feel like she was taking a casual midnight stroll in her favorite city, not with three men shadowing her while she walked at a brisk pace down a deserted road to nowhere.

Of the three shadows, there was one that lurked completely out of sight, unknown even to the other two. The big man with the backpack; the contents of which, looked like the working tools of a seasoned torturer. He could very well be the most dangerous of the three but, it wasn’t him that she was really worried about tonight. He was the known devil.

The other two were much closer, maintaining a constant distance, blocking every exit she could possibly take if she decided make a run for it back. They spoke to each other in whispers, with the occasional muffled laughter that sent shivers down her spine. The one that did most of the laughing reminded her of the hyenas she used to see on those wildlife channels, a predator. She would look back every few seconds to get a good look at them and he would smile at her. It was the most sinister thing she had ever seen, the face of a madman, with teeth that would probably bite the hand that feeds. The third man was the one that didn’t fit in the picture. He looked like a schoolboy, the kind that always attended class but never came out to play. He was the mouse that lived in the dark. He didn’t speak much but he never took his eyes of her, watching her every move.

The road ended at what looked like an abandoned mill, they where closing in on her. She ran into the abandoned mill and looked for a way out.. she didn’t find one. Panic gave way for cold fear that seeped into her very bones, her hands and feet were now shaking uncontrollably. She moved to a corner and she couldn’t bring herself to turn back and face her shadows.

Then one of them spoke.. “How are you feeling tonight?

That did it, she stopped shivering, only to realize that she was now crying as a painful memory revisited her again like a reopened wound.

She was holding the bandaged hand of her elder sister who laid in the hospital bed of the ICU, her brother standing beside her seething with rage. He was still in his army fatigues and he didn’t look anything like the loving brother that celebrated Raksha Bandhan with them two weeks ago. He was now the angry, inconsolable brother and she was the helpless grieving sister. Their beautiful, soon to be wed elder sister was now battling for her life.

In a broken voice and in between labored breathing, she whispered to them ..

“He asked me how I was feeling at first, and.. then many times later that night. That’s.. all he ever said.. how are you feeling tonight”

She died two days later after succumbing to internal injuries

She was surprised at how quickly her anger helped her overcome her fear and replace it instead with courage. She wiped away the tears, reached into her bag, turned back, pulled out the gun and leveled it purposefully at the speaker, looking at him straight in the eye. It was the mouse and he certainly wasn’t expecting her to pull out a gun on him. He slowly raised his hands up. It was now his turn to cower in fear. The hyena was quick to realize that all her animosity was aimed at his friend and slowly took a few steps backwards but a pair or hands reached out from the darkness behind him and snapped his neck with a very audible crack. The known devil stepped out of the shadows as the lifeless body of the hyena hit the floor. The big man paused to break one of the two colorful sacred threads that was bound around his right wrist before pulling out a blowtorch and pair of handcuffs from his backpack.

The mouse now looked more confused than afraid as he looked at the big man who was walking towards him and then back at her.

Dangerous” She said as she cocked the gun “I’m feeling particularly dangerous tonight

..

..

**This story was inspired by recent events**

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Quest for the Promise land’s Promise : The Man From Earth

Part 1

I had been watching him for quite some time now. He looked like he might have some answers.

He mostly just sat there on a rock that looked like a toadstool, day after day, week after week, observing the happenings around or just gazing into the rain. There were rumors that he was an enlightened one. That particular suspicion faded when he took to carving tiny boats out of wood, rigging them with lettuce leaf sails and launching them in rainswept gutters. Most people kept away from him.
Yet, nobody was ready to label him a bum or a lingering loafer; his presence was too strong, his demeanor too cool. There were those, mainly women who did speak to him. They couldn’t seem to resist for he looked quite handsome. His long hair framed his face with its storybook of scars, in a manner that made it look more intriguing. The frequent rains that washed him, a predominantly vegetarian diet and the life of a man who was free to do as he pleased gave his complexion a rich glow and his eyes were pulsating jets of deep brown energy. When he spoke he used grand syllables moderated and calmed to an extent that he sometimes sounded like he mumbled. He projected the air of a wise man and of a rogue, an exhibitionist yet deeply secretive. Once in a while a woman would sometimes stop and kneel hesitantly beside him, kneeling so they would be at eye level and so they wouldn’t be overheard,and say, with varying degrees of embarrassment, ” I see you here a lot”
“Yes, I’ve been watching you too” he’d reply. Though that was not always true, it probably didnt hurt his conscience, not when the reply generated an almost visible shiver down their spine.

“What are you? I mean who are you?”
“I’m Dubbha, the enlightened one, friend of both the Almighty One and the Fallen One.”
That usually stopped them. Slightly confounded, the woman would take a long confused look at him. Then just as sweetly and shyly as she knelt beside him, she’d rise muttering “You take care and have a good day” or something as general as that and walk away, seldom without a wistful glance back over her shoulder.

I decided it was time I talked to him. So I was about to take Jackson(my dog… plz refer Part 1) and walk up to him but stopped when I saw someone else walking up to him, this time it was a man.

The Man:”Good Sir, I was hoping you would have the answers of life, of its beginnings and its meaning”

Dubbha: “Ah, in the beginning there was the Word, there is written evidence that proves that. But the mystery, the unforgivable omission, what the written evidence fails to mention is…. which Word came first? Was it the word for ‘chicken’ or was it the word for ‘egg’???”….

Any hopes that I had to finding what I wanted got shot to hell…
“Bah… if this guy is the Enlightened One, then I’m the Enlightened Two”

Jackson: “Woof”

I turned away and continued my journey in search of …… I wish I knew what.

Quest for the Promise land’s Promise : My K9 friend

I walked through an endless vortex of thick gagging smoke that refused to dissipate. I felt no heat,there was nothing burning, everything here was already burnt. This was Promise Land? I think not, this may very well be where the push and pull of my concentrated desires collided with the stagger and swoon of my weak will and exploded. I am admittedly lost; what I want is something that cannot be found, but being lost is the best way to find something that cannot be found. Here I was rummaging for those frayed pieces that made the solid gray jigsaw of my destiny. Just about then I heard a distant bark, I walked towards the sound. The smoke cleared out and there I find God walking his dog. He walked right past me, stopped, took a few steps back to where I was standing (The dog did the same)

(Now if you ever imagined a conversation with God and you didn’t know what to say because you didn’t know which language to speak… Relax.. God speaks gibberish and I happen to be very fluent in the said language and thus, I was able to translate the following conversation)

God : “You look like you need directions Son”

Son : “Maybe I do, are you going to give them to me?”

God : “Of course not, but I could give you my dog.”

Son : “Does the dog know where I’m supposed to go to find what I wish to find?”

God : “Don’t be silly son, Jackson is a dog, he is not me, he is not God.”

Jackson : “Woof”

Son : “Ok… I don’t suppose the promise land is anywhere near then eh?”

God : “Oh thats closer than you think, but you are not looking for just that, are you? The promise of the promise land is not something you will find, it’s something you will realize…. Anyways, I have to go now and witness the birth of a new species of fish that I created before it dies in an oil spill. You take good care of Jackson ok.”

Son : “Ok”

Before he vanished into nothingness, God said something that sounded very much like “Don’t let the dog sleep, he snores.” It was either that or else something got terribly lost in translation…..

P.S: Don’t ask me what this is supposed to mean… this may be continued, just maybe

Pain and Punishment

I swallowed another three pills with a shot of vodka. Seated at the edge of a cliff I watched the waves crash on the rocks below. The sun dropped into the horizon like a coin dropping into a slot, the ocean bit it to make sure it wasn’t counterfeit. Twilight softened the ocean visually but did not hush it. If anything, the waves crashed louder and the ocean seemed more menacing with the coming dark. The sky was crimson, the sharp rocks below scared me but the tide was rising and it covered the rocks.The perfect tide for a suicide…

The pills were beginning to take effect; I was feeling numb and drowsy. My worries faded away and the drug induced lack of fear was exactly what I needed to do what I had to do next. It took a little effort to stand up straight, a little courage to look down at my next point of arrival and a little faithlessness to hope that God didn’t really exist and wasn’t watching me at that moment. I could pass out any second now; I was just hoping it would happen in between the freefall. I heard the sound of thunder somewhere far away; the universe seemed to be waiting for my next move. My next move was to fall…

The world around me was a blur, the wind that seemed to push me back screamed in defiance and then suddenly all was calm, and all was bright. I was stuck in mid air, body parallel to the ocean below. The water was different now, it was calm and reflective, and I could see myself hovering above it. And then, a voice that was heavier than heaven spoke and seemed to reach the ears of my soul….

“So you chose to fall…. And oh… Don’t bother asking who I am, I am exactly who you think I am.”

“Yes I chose to fall, you should know why.”

“You had been cheating on your wonderful wife and now the other lady in your life has left you for another, you got greedy and you lost money that wasn’t yours and your friends turned out to be everything but friends.”

“More or less, yes”

“If it were more, I would have said less; if it were less, I would have said more. No son, what I say is all that is there to it. Your decision will affect a lot of lives which you will see for yourself now”….

(The water below me was now completely still and images formed on the surface ….)

“That’s your wife praying for your safe return home because you haven’t shown up for dinner, tomorrow she will recognize your body in the news because of that shirt you are wearing. It was her anniversary gift to you if you remember? Now there are your parents crying over your body, you were their only support. And … ah yes… this is your son“

(I saw a little boy in a playschool)

“My… My son???”

“Yes, your wife was going to tell you soon but you just had to give up and run away from everything. The other lady in your life was not worth it, the money issue could have been solved and you would have gained real friends later in life … and your son would have made you very proud. But now your soul shall burn in hell for all eternity”

“But….What was the point of all this then?”

“The point was to make you feel pain other than that moment of physical pain you are about to endure”

“What about my wife, my parents and my son? Don’t I get a second chance?”

“I have plans for them; they are good people and shall be taken care of….. No, you get no second chance”

“So now what…?”

“As you were…”

My heart was seared and scorching with pain and regret as I hit the water and the rocks below. I was hoping it would be fast and without pain. I was wrong; there was a world of pain and punishment was about to begin…

12 O’ Clock with Mary Ann

“This is the worst day of my life!!” Or so Sean thought. It wasn’t, not even close but when you give voice to thought, thought picks up conviction along the way when it meets with voice. It was a Monday morning and Sean just received new specifications for the project he was working on and his project-mate called in sick. The day couldn’t get any worse and just about then, it got better…

“Oi Sean!!” Without looking up, Sean smiled “It’s 12 already eh?”. 12 O’Clock was the best part of the day, it was the dimple in the cheek, the burger served by the genius waitress, the God Card. He looked up to see Mary Ann looking into the cubicle. “Yeah Bum it is, now get ur ass up and lets go have some lunch”. Mary was Sean’s best buddy in Infy and Sean, Mary’s. They met on the month of May and had lunch together everyday at 12 since June. Mary was petite, cute as a button (never figured wots so cute about a button) and had the Elixir of Youth injected into her at the age of 18 cuz she didnt look a day older and nor did she behave that way. Sean was tall, dark and some ppl say handsome, he was 22 but Mary was of the opinion that he looked older because of the premature graying of his hair.

M: “Hey my kid bro called me up today to tell me that he thinks he is in love”.
S: “Oh nice”
M: “Nothing nice about it Sean… He is just a kid and I don’t think puppy love is a good thing”
S: “Puppy??!! Your brother sure has a weird taste”
M: “(Cold Stare) Thats a sad one…. Hey!! Check out that guy over there, He looks hotter than July!!”
S: “Wha?? who?? where??”
M: “Naaa chuck it, you lack the angle and the eye-power to catch him in this crowd sweetie”

Sean was experiencing that weird feeling again, he never felt that way a month ago when Mary complimented guys before. But recently all such comments sent hot blood rushing to his head and it took Mary’s little schoolgirl candy valentine voice to bring his circulation back to normal. Was he jealous? Sean wished he knew.

M: “You are getting real worked up about that project of yours na?”
S: “Why do you ask?”
M: “Well, you yank out you hair quite often, you look like you lost a lotta hair”
S: “I had a Bludy HAIRCUT yesterday you ass!!”
M: “O!! … My bad… Okaaay… so what are we having for lunch today?”
S: “Aloo paratha and lassi for me… you?”
M: “Mmmm..For weeks I have subsisted largely on green salads and veggie food, but today the rules have been suspended and my taut tummy is crying out loud for animal protein… And thus you shall have animal protien too (Flashes a smile that could melt the heart of the devil).
S: “Fine, “animal protien” for me too then”
M: “Hee heh… You know what it is that I like about bout you Sean?”
S: “My Killer smile, my sexy older look, my …..”
M: “Naaa… none o that”
S: “Then what??”
M: “Heh heh… I don’t know.. I’m still trying to figure it out (Sweet Devil-heart-melting smile again)”

If the heart had wings, Sean would have been missing his heart by now, but that would make him heartless, which he wasn’t. Anyways lets get back to Lunch…

S: “So what did you do this weekend?”
M: “Well, wanted to do some serious shopping but my personal account has been bled of some relatively serious juice”
S: “Aha! … So you basically didnt do anything did ya?”
M: “Nahin, nothing, Zilch,Nada…. Hey i’m done eating, wots taking you so long?? ”
S: “Well I like to enjoy my meal slowly”
M: “Well enjoy it slowly then… m going” (Gets up to go)
S: “Fine go… i’ll take my time” (Mary leaves)

Mary Ann must have roped an invisible lasso over Sean’s heart and tugged at it real hard when she walked away. Sean quickly finished his lunch and hurried to catch up with her and did so infront of the elevator.

M: “That was fast”
S: “Yeah … Just remembered I had to get back fast to get my work done today”
M: “Oh I see…. Btw, I don’t like your tie… Its broad and outdoorsy and chronically unstylish”
(They get into the elevator)
S: “Oh but you look as pretty as a rose sprung in June”

The blush was immediate, the inevitable fluster painted such dollops of pimento on Mary’s olive skin that they would be fit to garnish a Martini. Her attempt to stem the blood made her blush even harder. And the smiles from the others in the elevator didn’t help one bit.

M: “Shutup Sean”

She intended to speak coldly and with good reason. On the other hand, how much frigidity can be conveyed by a voice that seems to have been designed to incubate baby bluebirds?

S: “What? Ask the people around you if you don’t believe me”

Now she was the ripe red tomato that flinched on hearing the garden gate creak open. **CHING** The elevator reached the 5th floor and opened up. He blocked her path. Perhaps he wished to apologize but she didnt give him a chance. She headed for her cubicle and at the last possible moment Sean saw the the serious look on her face breakdown and give way for a smile that could charm the tie off poor ol Sean.

Sitting in her cubicle Mary thought “I wish I could kill that bludy ass…. but DAMN!! Why am I smiling??!!”

Sitting in his cubicle Sean just wished… wished for the next 12 O’ Clock with Mary Ann to come sooner.

P.S: Looks like I cant write mushy all that well….