Category: Short Stories

MY DEBUT BOOK

Happy that I have published my debut work “Still Loved Still Missed”. It is a short story collection containing 14 stories and a poem. It has 78 pages and is of nominal price.

It would be great if you can read it.

If you can review it, that will definitely be a bonus and happiness.

Here are the links to purchase the paperback version:

IF YOU ARE IN INDIA

  1. NOTIONPRESS
  2. AMAZON.IN 

  

IF IN OTHER COUNTRIES

AMAZON.COM

AMAZON.CO.UK

 

KINDLE VERSION

AMAZON.IN  (Inside India)

AMAZON.COM

 

Beware of the old men in suits

Train Station

Photo Credit: C.E. Ayr

The old man in the executive suit holding a black briefcase in his right hand, impatiently examined his watch every 30 seconds. From the looks, it was evident he was waiting for his train. Late running trains were unfamiliar to him.

Within seconds two trains passed fast in opposing directions in the adjacent rail tracks. Not his.

“I would be fired today for the lateness!” He told as if to someone, but none indeed heard him as his voice sank in the trains’.

“Martha and kids would be waiting! I can’t be late!“Martha and kids would be waiting! The stranger smirked.

He sat in a vacant chair, cross-legged, his briefcase kept on his right side.

Moments later he smiled recollecting how he and his brother used to catch fish by diving in the deep waters near his childhood home. He was always better than his brother.

When the next train came, he was still demonstrating his skills, made a jump into the water.

A couple of days later a family in search of their missing schizophrenic father received his body.

___________________

180 words

{Sunday Photo Fiction}

Exceptional Lives

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Every time I think of my hundred-year-old great grandmother, I remember her room window. A black-and-white photograph that pictures a woman gifted with a rare beauty, looking out through her window, longing for her long away husband flashes in mind.

After decades, all saw her; a mother looking through the window mourning her gone son.

The youngest generation loved her as their favorite humorist who always sat beside the window.

She had seen so much life that after she was gone, even her window and the bricks of her room started recounting her tales. Something we all like to cherish.

 

_________________________________

100 words

{Friday Fictioneers}

Lasting Love

three line tales, week 159: a little fellow dangling from a graffiti heart
Photo by Nick Fewings via Unsplash

Many marry, just the play of immature love.
Many marry, learn to tie the perfect knot of a hanging rope.
Some marry and find the wedded bliss.
True Love is the last love, lasting love.

____________________________________________________

35 words

{Three Line Tales, Week 159}

Happy Campers in Need

PHOTO PROMPT © Anshu Bhojnagarwala

 

Our sister’s transformation from a lively girl to a depressed doll took a toll on us.
Our cousin, Rose, who accompanied us in one of the trips could make her smile and talk, a couple of times.
During the campfire, our sister almost danced a few steps. 

Rose was quick to intervene when she kept staring at the fire.
Well, what do you see?”

“Folded human hands, requesting help!”
“Oh! It reminds me of the grilled, spicy corn cobs, so D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S.!
“That sounds yummy!” Our sister cried enthusiastically.

Sometimes, all we need is someone to alter our cerebrations.

__________________________

99 words

{Friday Fictioneers}

Cozened

grayscale photo of two men in cave with body of water

Photo:Warren Wong via Unsplash

I had no reason to turn down my boyfriend’s marriage proposal. We had met only two months before. My family disapproved, but he was so kind and respectful. He seemed quite well off though we didn’t talk much on that.
I cried the day he had gifted me the tickets to The Baths, in the British Virgin Islands. He had planned to celebrate our V-Day in my dream destination.

The unique island vibes when coral sands blend with blue water, posh resorts, superb food and snorkeling, everything in our menu seemed mesmerizing. We trotted through the white beach-sand, took perfectly posed, but candid, selfies leaning against the granite boulders.

Passing an abandoned grotto, I saw my man receiving small white packets from a stranger, hiding it and proceeding like nothing ever happened.

In a drug smuggling corridor with a dealer!

I understood the trap I was in, but too late.

_______________________________

150 words

{What Pegman Saw -The Baths, British Virgin Islands}

 

 

My Granny’s Patio

spf 11-18-18 joy pixley 2Photo Credit: Joy Pixley

A long patio covered with garlic vines where my granny rested in a rocking chair is one of my strongest childhood memories.

I had constantly wondered why my granny selected those vines to decorate our patio of all the flowering climbers. She had told it was because of the lovely purple blooms, as blue shaded flowers were the rarest. I had believed that for quite some time.

As I grew up, I realized those plants resembled my granny in a way. She cherished me so much. She was the family I was closest to. She maintained the serene look befitting an angel and was an epitome of love. It was shocking to know she had beaten up her long-estranged husband, who left her for another when he tried taking away my little aunt.

I know why she had been growing garlic vines. It was a reminder.
Garlic vines are one of the most rewarding plants when left alone. They did emit the intolerably pungent garlic smell only when crushed.

_______________________________________________

169 words

{Sunday Photo Fiction – January 27, 2019}

In Search of Love

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

Tiny, the apple of our eyes, went missing.
Pining for a lost puppy was laughed upon. A gone pet wasn’t a reasonable excuse to overlook my work on short notice either.

After managing to get a day off work, I and my son went on to search for our pet. 
His pictures were pasted wherever possible.

Feet away from our home was a ghost forest. On hearing little cries we headed to where an old wrecked car was parked.

The front trunk was open. There laid a noble dog feeding her puppies along with Tiny. 

Mother’s love is peace.

______________________

100 words

{Friday Fictioneers}

A Knitter from Eastland

brown and white chapel

Photo by Beau Swierstra via Unsplash

The way Kaisa had introduced herself during our undergraduate course was interestingly informative. She was a cheerful lady in her 30s.

Hello friendsI am Kaisa. I see I am older than you all, but I come from a nation much younger than yours. I come from Tallinnthe capital of Estonia, a remote country in Europe. Many believe we are the defenseless dorp of Russia or just a Baltic hinterland or an idiosyncratic population of renegades. But I oppose, may be humble, but we are unique. A splendid group of people who possess a distinct culture, languagefood and lovely lands. We witnessed various rulersendured a lot. I dream of the day my country is known for the right reasons, not as an appendage of any nation!

My fond memory is Kaisa hand knitting gloves for gifting. 
Before parting she had gifted me a knitted phone pouch. Precious.

_________________

150 words

{What Pegman Saw- Estonia}

 

Still Waters

three line tales, week 156: stars over the sea
Photo by Sam Loyd via Unsplash

The riverside, echoing eerie stories, stood notorious for its paranormal activities.

The still waters that never reflect the starry night skies, the large mangrove trees which hide the haunted palace, the broken statue of a murdered prince which is heard making pleas for help in nights.

Sam and Jill brushed aside all these until they heard mysterious footsteps and disembodied screams the night they had arrived at the riverside. 

_______________

69 words

{Three Line Tales, Week 156}

The Genes

img_2072Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

I enjoyed the way my three-year-old girl, Disha, pointed her chubby fingers towards a painting placed in her pre-school. I have asked her which picture she liked the most.

It was a picture of a girl presenting a flower to a pooh bear.
“That’s an excellent picture!” I congratulated her selection.

She surprised me by pointing to another picture saying,“ No like, no like!”
I asked her why.

“The cow is eating flowers, Mama! No like!!”
My eyes scrutinized the painting. It was a donkey.

I knew correcting my kid was useless, as she thinks she created and named almost all animals and birds. Still, I tried, “That’s a donkey, not a cow, Disha! Look at its head.”

She swayed her head negatively.
A memory struck me.

My five-year-old self who believed all the eggs in our farm was laid by our bunny and the hens were the enemies who came to peck them. None of my family could convince me otherwise, for a long time.

I laughed at the way the genes work.

__________________

174 words

{Sunday Photo Fiction-January 20, 2019}

Partners in Crime

Photo prompt by H.R.R. Gorman

Our friend, Gary, paid us a visit after satisfactorily completing a mountaineering attempt.
Being an adventure loving couple, we paid attention to his every detail on hiking and camping.
Our six-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, fell absolutely silent on that day.
We seized upon the opportunity to devise a hiking plan for our anniversary.

The following day, both of us arrived home earlier. Shockingly, our bedrooms appeared messy. We assured robbery until we spotted the robbers.
Our twins with their two friends have constructed an absolute camp house in our bedroom using tissues, bed covers, and pillows. 

Eight little feet were seen projecting out of their tent.
Four crime partners in deep slumber. 

_______________________

115 words

{FFfAW Challenge – 201st}

Heart of Gold

gold-and-silver-colored pendant necklace

Photo:Alex Chambers via Unsplash

As he calculated the hard-saved money under the dull light, his lips curved into a smile.
“Enough for a lovely gift to her!”

His wife had openly alleged that she was unloved by her husband.

Every time she had rushed into explaining about the no-gifts received from him during their one year of marriage, he felt reduced to dead broke. Finally, she had left him to stay with her mother.

Being heartbroken, both husband and wife had started speaking broken English. They started conveying their woes to their non-native neighbors.

 
In an overemotional and exaggerated tone, she said, “You seeanniversarybirthdayvalentine’s day, new year and other festivals, all went without a giftnot even a rose. No more stay with this beggar!” Then she would cry, reminding the worst Pokemon cries.

On the other hand, he would say, “Money comes, money goes, money stays with me not, just like her!” He would sit like a monkey whose only banana was snatched by another.

With six months of diligent effort and having saved enough money to buy her a gold necklace, he headed to the jewelry street of the town. It was dusk.  He dreamt that the moment she would set her eyes on the necklace, she would seize her bag and return with him.

As he proceeded, a hand as smooth as rose petals, snatched his wrist. 
Coming back from the dream world, he observed a pretty damsel.

Overwhelmed with griefshe informed him about her mother being hospitalized for life-saving surgery. If she couldn’t collect the needed money within an hourshe would lose her only family. As it was dusk, no one was ready to lend her a loan*.

 She offered him her 30-gram gold chain and begged to give whatever money he had to save her from becoming an orphan. At the minimum, he was spotted in the jewelry street.

A charming damsel in distress! His simpleton village heart melted.

Intending a purchase of 24 grams gold necklace, an offer of 30 grams gold chain for lesser money appeared a profitable deal!

As the damsel ran away with his offering, he felt contented.

The following day, he went to sell the gold chain only to find it was a beautiful strand of rolled gold.

_______________________

382 words

{YeahWrite Fiction Challenge 405}
Genre Prompt: Comedy
Personality Trait: Impulsive

*In many cultures, lending money or items in the evening is considered a taboo.

In Search of Organic

spf january 6 2019 ce ayr

Photo Credit: CE Ayr

The bone-creaking old man was desperate. His noisy joints and spindly legs were limiting his movements. 

“Only broth can save you,” assured his trusted healer. “But mind you, the lambs must be completely grass-fed, organically grown!”

The old, but rich man set out with his dearest companion to purchase as many lambs he could get from the sheepfold on the outskirts, which guaranteed to provide organic cattle.

The direction board helped him reach his destination.
He paid no attention to the huge waste bins at the entrance

Just before fixing the deal, a garbage picking van made an appearance at the gateHis gut instincts made him limp towards the entrance. 

Huge trash cans filled with numerous bottles and covers of the hormone drugged feed were being collected by the van driver.

Money can’t buy health!” Muttered the old man while getting into his SUV.

_____________

145 words

{Sunday Photo Fiction – January 6, 2019}

High-and-Mighty

shallow focus photography of dried leaf

Photo:Harli Marten via Unsplash

Her seventy-two winter-kissed body skin glowed with a healthy pink tinge. A little bit of Botox and other contemporary techniques, with the world’s best make-up kits and stylistsabove all a never-ending cash pile is all that it took her to become the talk of the town. Funeral fashion has become lax with Alaena, who pretended death doesn’t exist for her.

Everything came to a halt when a nagging headache conquered her. The pain-averse culture counseled her about the most modern medicine. But who could assure her that it won’t affect her appearance? 

Her Rolls Royce steered to the outskirts.
There lived a wrinkled and grey-haired forty-two-year-old man, gifted for curing any ailment with mere water brought by his patients.

At the door of his mansionAlaena wanted to know his name and affiliation.
“My name is Tomato.” She couldn’t help but laugh. He didn’t mind a bit.

He offered her the loftiest seat and turned back to sit three feet opposite to her.
She couldn’t shift her eyes off his long tail, possessing an arrow at its tipsweeping the floor he walked.

“What took you to my place?” His eyes sparkled like garnet in the light.
When the bemused woman demanded a cure for her throbbing headache, he nodded affirmatively.

With the first gulp of water in her bottle, she felt completely fineMuch surprised and delighted, she thanked him, a rare gesture.

“But man, I am intrigued, why do you look like an old monkey, with that disgusting tail?”
In reply, he consumed the remaining water she had brought.

Before long her mask fell off, her wrinkles became prominent, and her protruded cheekbones, snowy –white hair and sunken eyes gave her the look of a skeleton.

She ran out the door screaming until she fell down dead, covered in the village dust.

Alaena’s Rolls Royce is still parking at Tomato’s mansion.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

316 words

[For readers’ information, the prompt was to write fiction in the genre ‘Magical Realism’ including the personality trait ‘vain’]

{Written for YeahWrite #404 }

Broken Memories

bokeh photography

Photo:Sharon McCutcheon 

It was the Christmas Eve. The grand family meeting was going on. 

Grandmas were dancing slowly, occasionally exclaiming, 
“Wow, we’re dancing after a long time!”

Children did their own business which others couldn’t decipher.
Everything was perfect. Everyone was happy.

Then, Irene, my mother-in-lawstarted it, “Get off me…how dare you?!

Though all eyes, and ears, were in Irene’s way, none saw anything.

Irene has been a shy and quiet person always.

 Nothing but bewilderment remained.

“What happened?” 

“These thingsCan’t you see, these sparkly things are coming for me. They’re gonna savor my eyesget them away from me!” 

Is it the lights?” 

“No!!”

“Maybe fireflies!” 

“NO…NO ….These sparkly bits…Monsters!!!

She shouted bringing all the merry to halt. 
Until her death, she kept reciting those words, typical of schizophrenics.

Today my mother joined us for Christmas. 
The way she described our living room, sent chills down my spine.

“Oh!! It’s sparkly…SO SPARKLY!!

{Written for YeahWrite Fiction 402}

Precious Possession

Copyright – Adam Ickes

They were our mother’s absolute possessions.

To everyone’s despair, they secured a place in the living room showcase. She was adamant.

pair of soiled, spoiled, blood-stained military boots!

The boots of a soldier who died while serving his motherland.

The boots of a beloved husband who retained nothing as a gift to his wife, other than his blood-stained uniform.

The boots of a father who instilled selflessness among the children while sustaining them struggling far away.

It’s humane to gloss over precious things.

{Written for Friday Fictioneers}

Deepest Yearnings

SPF 10-2-18 Anurag 3Photo Credit: Anurag Bakhshi

“What’s the best thing to long for this vacation?” Litta asked Mona.
“An escape from our orphanage!”

“Yay, I announce you good news. We are going on a trip this vacation!
“Really? Litta, I think you are kidding… Mona was half hopeful and half curious.
“No Mona, I promise!”

 

____________

Contrary to what they believed they were taken to a beautiful green hill-top.The valley was filled with houses. For the kids, everything was new and mesmerizing.

An ocean seemed adjacent to the houses. A vast, blue shining water body!
As they settled down under a huge tree’s shade, the lady manager asked the kids.
“What did you like the most?” 
“Everything!” All of them shouted.
But which you liked the most, this hill or the ocean?” 
Silence prevailed. “Come on! Tell me!”She encouraged.
The answers pierced her heart.

We loved houses the most.
“It will be great to live in such homesWe can run or roam until the sea and return. It will be fun!

 

The deepest yearnings were all the same.

The lady promptly changed the topic to snacks and drink.

{Written for Sunday Photo Fiction}

Life Lessons From The Murky Waters

Image result for Murky waters
(Photo: Shutterstock)

Prompt for December 11, 2018-

“There was something moving slowly just under the surface of the water.”

~~~~~~~

Granny, what’s the worst part of becoming an adult? Mira asked playfully.

Eighty-one-year-old Philo smiled and replied, ” Depends…On the type of person, you are!

“Oh, granny! How do you see yourself? I want to know

“At times I am a carefree soul, other times I am a thinker…And this causes all the difference!

“Brief me more, my dear fat penguin!” Mira pleaded.

“Aww, you silly girl!” Philo laughed and continued, “See, a carefree person is unworried about life. A thinker always finds something to dissect, by pondering…Such a person might answer your first question! “

” Grannyyou already told that occasionally you are a thinker. So how do you like answering my question?

Mira was trying to know more about granny; she wanted to make granny happier.

 Well, I see that…

“she paused.

“…..life becomes suppositional…and….you don’t have solid solutions for everything. It can be maddening when you are forced to make choices…

Both fell silent. Mira was figuring out. Philo was contemplating.

“……Or say, it can be like looking for minnows in murky waters. You think you did the right thing until you get the stingand live with that forever. Got it, dearie?

Mira, the 18-year old, started feeling clueless. But the idea of fishing fascinated her. 

She jumped and asked, ” Granny, let‘s go fishing! I want to catch some minnows. You are my guide.

The enthusiastic granny escorted Mira without questions and hesitations. 

They drove to the lake nearby. Granny rested on a chair placed on the bank and was occasionally heard communicating instructions.

The water was hard to see through. Granny told that it would be fruitless to catch minnows there. But an adamant Mira kept trying. Every time she noticed a slow movement under the water surface, she kept the bait ready.

After a whileshe decided to give up the bait and started fishing with her hands.

As soon as the next movement was observed, she plunged her hands into the murky waters and got herself a non-venomous water snake that tried to bite her.

She jarred and flung it away, enough to startle granny.

Within seconds, both of them started their return journey.

Philo was seen contemplating. Mira was seen figuring out.

{Written for Today’s Author}

Love Rock & Bread Rolls (Fiction-Mouldy)

Image result for basket on beach

                                                                                              (Photo: Shutterstock.com)

Every grain of the beach sand started glistening as the setting sun rays waved them good bye.

The middle aged man and woman found their way towards the rock they claimed as their own. Loving an inanimate object, as hard as a rock, assures emotional feelings attached to it.

It was the prime site to view the sunset, moreover it was where they had declared their love. Good enough reasons to love a big, dull colored round stone which they named as “love rock.”

That rock was their favorite spot for 32 years. Before marriage their beach visits happened every weekend carrying rustic bread rolls, unique to Reiners Bread & Snack shop. They talked, they laughed, and they shared the snack which remained his favorite. They sat silently. They were in love.

Getting married changed up their routines. Their already infrequent beach visits dwindled, it was merely twice or thrice after starting a family.

When life demanded relocation to assume increased responsibilities, they obeyed. The love rock and the bread rolls stayed in their heart but were no more in their life. The couple missed them both very dearly. Fantastic events of the initial decades of marriage gave away to run-of-the-mill days.

The humdrum encouraged them to go back to the familiar place. They decided to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary at the love rock with just the Reiners bread rolls and wine taken in a basket.

In the evening,  they reached the beach. Both of them enjoyed a regained life. They sat on the love rock silently. The sky appeared lovely with a blaze of pinks and oranges.

Suddenly he spoke.

“Will you ever forget me?”

She was startled by the completely unrelated question.
Before she could respond he shivered, went numb and was seen lying on the rock leaving off the snack basket. The bread pieces fell off his hand onto the rock.

A cry for help was all that she could remember. All efforts proved fruitless, for he had started his return journey too early.

Ten days after the funeral she visited the beach. She believed he was still lying there on the rock, expecting her.

All she found were the mouldy bread rolls left by him on the rock.

“Oh dear, you left those for me, didn’t you?” She cried.

“I know…I know…that’s why it’s untouched by ants and birds. You definitely left them for me…”

People noted the woman insanely picking up something from the rock, and eating.

Shamed

                                                                                                                                         (Pic from Google)

Standing amidst hundreds of eyes, the female figure was mercilessly humiliated.

The drape of the feminine figure was undone without a grace.

Even so, no-one heard a screamnot even a sob.

The eternal hell didn’t break loose.

No Krishna appearedThe drape was mere short.

stood there among the spectators, reeling the Panchali humiliation episode from the epic Mahabharata, in my mind.

True that the imminent fall of the drape in public instantly made me uncomfortable.

 Did I do something against it? NO!

Simply because…

I was buying the drape that female mannequin was wearing!