#TellTaleThursday – 24th January 2019

The rules are simple:

  • Write a story, complete in itself.
  • Check spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Copy and paste your Story URL to the inLinkz list.
  • The story should be up to 250 words.
  • Add this line < #TellTaleThursday with Anshu & Priya > at the end of the post.
  • Read, comment and share – spread the love.

Here’s the prompt:

“Mama, there’s someone under my bed!”

Imagine and write what you will do if you ever hear these words.


 

Word count – 233 Words

Nighttime Friend

Horror story based on prompt for #TellTaleThursday

Image: pexels

“Mama, there’s someone under my bed!” Kiara told me as I was going to shut her bedroom door.

“Kiara, enough. Go to sleep, remember we have school tomorrow,” I admonished her.

“Mama, I am not lying. You can see for yourself,” she was adamant. Her voice was shaky too.

“OK, let’s do it.” Switching on the light, I crouched on the floor to look under the bed.

“See. I told you there was nothing. Now just go to sleep, will you?” I was exhausted after a long working day.

“Mama, mama,” she kept on repeating but I turned a deaf ear and went out.

I woke up in the middle of the night. Something was bothering me. I went to Kiara’s bedroom to check up on her.

I turned on the light. The bed was empty.

Where’s Kiara?

I quickly bent and checked under her bed. Kiara was awake and playing. But she was not alone. A little boy of 5-6 years with a ghostly white pallor, unusually red lips and dead blue eyes was sitting beside her.

“Kiara, what are you doing?” I screamed and pulled her towards me. But my hand touched empty air.

I could see her, but not touch her.

“Mama, see I told you there was someone under my bed!” Kiara told me chirpily. Her face was the same pale colour as the boy sitting next to her.

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Old Broken Things

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

Written for Friday Fictioneer

 

“I bought it with my first salary.” The old man reminisced.

“Papa, I know, but we should sell the car!”

“It got my new bride, your mother home and carried you from the hospital.”

“I know!”

“I have had such good times driving it.”

“Papa, we must sell the car.” This time the steel in the voice was unmistakable.

 

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#TellTaleThursday – 17th January 2019

The rules are simple:

  • Write a story, complete in itself.
  • Check spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Copy and paste your Story URL to the inLinkz list.
  • The story should be up to 250 words.
  • Add this line < #TellTaleThursday with Anshu & Priya > at the end of the post.
  • Read, comment and share – spread the love.

Here’s the prompt:

#TellTaleThursday - fiction writing and prompt based weekly writing

Image : Pexels


Word count – 198 Words

The Woman

I saw her when I was collecting milk at the door. She had recently moved in. Wearing a black djellaba and a headscarf in the same color, her whole body was covered except her eyes.

Those eyes. They were the color of the sky on a clear day and the deepest blue lake on this earth. I had never seen such striking blue in my life.

I said, ‘Hello!’

She smiled. We met just like that every morning, I while collecting milk, and her while taking the dog out for a walk. A few weeks of smiling and greeting later, I asked her out. She agreed. And started our love story.

She invited me to her place. It was cozy, clean and empty.

“Where is your stuff?”

“I am a minimalist. I like it this way.” I was impressed.

One morning, I opened the door to collect the milk. She was not there. Her dog was sitting on the doormat looking at me, pleading with her eyes. I pushed open the door to her apartment, it was as if no one had ever lived.

I looked for her everywhere. But those azure eyes were one of a kind.

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Honest Lad

W

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Written for Friday Fictioneers

HONEST LAD

“Don’t play cricket in the driveway. Something’s bound to break,” shouted Mrs. K at the bunch of kids before leaving for the market.

Who pays heed to an eccentric old woman?

Two hours later, Mrs. K returned to find her screen door covered in duct tape and a note stuck to the door.

Mrs. K,

Sorry for the door. But my mom says duct tape can fix it all. 🙂

S (who was not playing cricket. Honestly)

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#TellTaleThursday – 10th January 2019

The rules are simple:

  • Write a story, complete in itself.
  • Check spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Copy and paste your Story URL to the inLinkz list.
  • The story should be up to 250 words.
  • Add this line < #TellTaleThursday with Anshu & Priya > at the end of the post.
  • Read, comment and share – spread the love.

Here’s the prompt:

You hear a rasping knock at the door at 1 am.

Write a story following this sentence – it can be funny, scary, dramatic! Anything that showcases your writing skills.


Word count – 245 Words

Surprise

Image: Pexels

She heard a rasping knock at the door at 1 am.

It must be the wind. She thought.

She was unable to sleep. She cursed herself for the copious amount of wine she had drunk the whole evening, all by herself.

She went to the living room and decided to switch on the idiot box.

This time there was another knock. Loud, angry and unmistakable.

A shiver ran down her spine.

Who could be knocking at this hour?

Ghost? She gulped in fright.

But a ghost wouldn’t need to knock, would he now? Her mind reasoned.

A killer on the loose. She had heard of a serial killer who had escaped from the prison the previous evening.

Grabbing the meat carver from the kitchen top, she gingerly opened the door inch by inch.

There was no one. Only the unfathomable darkness of the night.

Strange. She thought.

And then she heard the sound.

It was a tiny frightened mew, but her ears got it nonetheless.

She looked down and saw a wicker basket lined with a fleece cloth. On it lying was a tiny kitten in the whitest fur she had ever seen.

She picked up the kitten with utmost care and saw the card attached to a ribbon around her neck.

“And you thought we forgot your birthday!” xoxo Your prank loving Friends

Closing the door, as she was walking back with the kitten, there was a loud rasping sound on the door. Again.

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Little Wish

PHOTO PROMPT © Priya Bajpai

Written for Friday_Fictioneers 

Little Wish

“Can I read just one wish?” Rita asked.

“No!”

“Just a tiny peek!”

“If you read the wish, then God won’t grant it. You should know better, mum,” Thea answered matter-of-factly.

That night, after Thea went to sleep, Rita couldn’t help herself. She had to see what her daughter wrote meticulously each night and put in the mason jar on the dining table.

She opened a yellow one.

“Please send little Theo back.” It read.

Rita opened another one. The same five words. She read all the chits and all had just one wish.

 

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Book Review – What the day owes the night

I am taking part in the Write Tribe Reading Challenge and I have opted to read 24 books this year (though I am hoping to read more). There are 24 prompts given, and this book adheres to three of them:

1) A book that is a Translation

3) A book written by someone of a different nationality/color/ethnic group than you

21) A book made into a movie

I will be the first one to admit that I do not enjoy war books. They unsettle me for days on end. And then I reason that wars are a part of our legacy, it has made us what we are. I cannot just turn away from it all. Yes, wars have pain, suffering and loss, but they also have hope, love and courage. And these books show us all. So, taking courage in my hand, I read the English Patient. And I tell you, it was a beautiful book. I found a kind of ethereal beauty in suffering. Emboldened by my read, I picked up What the day owes the night by Yasmina Khadra.

Yasmina Khadra is the female pseudonym of Mohammed Moulessehoul, an Algerian army officer who wanted to avoid submitting his manuscripts to the army for approval. The book was originally written in French “Ce que le jour doit à la nuit” and translated by Frank Wynne.

Plot:

A debt-ridden farmer, Issa moves to a poor neighbourhood of Oran with is wife and two kids, Younes, a 9 year old son and Zahra, a 6 year old daughter. The dirty slum area of Jenane Jato is not for the faint-hearted. While the farmer goes at the break of dawn to search for work and comes home only once the moon is at its peak, young Younes comes across a strange medley of anti-social characters in the neighbourhood. From the orphaned Ouari who catches goldfinches in the scrublands to the war veteran peg-leg who molests young boys and Bliss, the landlord of the slum who later resorts to pimping.

Bad luck doesn’t leave Issa’s side and the obstinately proud farmer decides to give away his son to his brother, Mahi who is a chemist and lives in the affluent European quarter of Oran. The childless couple, Mahi and his French wife, Germaine accepts Younes as their own flesh and blood. Renamed Jonas, the boy gradually loses touch with his old life. Owing to an unfortunate incident involving his uncle, Mahi, the family moves to Rio Salado, a quaint little colonial town just 60 kms away from Oran, known for its vineyards, orange groves and happy boisterous inhabitants. In Rio Salado, Jonas forges a unique friendship with a group of boys that stands the test of time – World War II, love and break ups and the most frightening of them all – the Algerian war for freedom. He meets Emilie, a beautiful girl and falls in love with her, but destiny has something else written for him.

The book is about Younes’s journey from the slum to the countryside, from a young body to an adult, and from past to present and back, which builds his beliefs and reinforces them.

Review:

It is a book about a simple boy who is a hero in his own unassuming way. The book is divided into segments each marking an important milestone in Younes’ life. As you move from one segment into another, you feel the ominous change in the young boy’s life.

The first half of the book talks about the transformation of the young blue-eyed boy from Younes to Jonas, his coming to Rio Salado and finding life-long friendship. In the second half of the book, the story picks up pace. With the internal war as the backdrop, it touches on Jonas finding love, losing friends and his surprising stoicism in face of all odds.

Younes or Jonas is a very well-etched out character. The character is so relatable that it could be you, me or the boy next door. A Muslim bought up by a French catholic mother, Jonas has never paid much importance to religion or race. However, time and again, it is thrown in his face and his loyalty is questioned – whether it is by his own friends, the people of his race or the mother of his only true love, Emilie. A quiet loving person and a loyal friend, Jonas is misunderstood by the people he loves the most. A man of his word, he loses more into the bargain than he thought was possible owing to his silence. You can feel his dilemma when he fails to choose sides between the rebels and the France and you can feel his horror at the mindless violence. Your heart constantly reaches out to the young fellow who gives it all but asks for little in return except acceptance.

The author has a way with words especially when it comes to describing the human suffering. If you find the description of the underbelly of Oran beautiful, you will be moved upon reading the suffering from the aftermath of the war.

In Rio Salado, houses stood empty, shutters banging, windows dark, and great piles of clothes and chattels lay piled up in the street. …People rain about, confused, their eyes glazed, forsaken by their saints, their guardian angels. Madness, fear, grief, ruin, tragedy had but one face : it was theirs.

Families searched for each other in the crowds, children wept, old men slept on their suitcases, praying in their sleep that they might never wake.

It reminds me of this famous line from the poem Barbara by French Poet Jacques Prévert – “Oh Barbara, quelle connerie la guerre” (Oh Barbara, what madness is this war?).

Because be it any war, for right or for wrong – it is the humanity that comes out as the biggest loser each time.

Another thing that appealed to my romantic nerve is the way the author has talked about seasons without being lavish about them.

Winter tiptoed away one night.

The winter of 1960 was so harsh that even our prayers froze, we could almost hear them dropping from heaven and shattering on the hard ground.

If you have read and enjoyed Camus’ insights as an outsider, this book shows you the colonized Algeria of 70 years ago from within. Read this book to know the true meaning of love and friendship, and loyalty and promise.

Finishing a good book is like parting with an old friend. What the day owes the night is one such book.

 

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