A myriad of memory locks (or love locks) at Hogs back, Ottawa. These tiny trinkets of a humble fence stand testimony to the hopes and dreams of a few optimistic couples of the past. Did those visions of their future come true? Or did they fade away with time? Surely, rusty ones are just as invaluable as the newer, polished ones in the eyes of Aphrodite, Kama, Housos, and every other gods/goddesses.
How odd is it to see love manifest and be symbolized on a mundane fence along an age old riverside!!! One can't help but revel at the possibility of their happily ever after in the present day. Though, 'bittersweet' would be more appropriate for most such symbols everywhere... At least that's what statistics would scream.
The fence has locks of all shapes, sizes, colors, and even tattoos of their own (initials of the love birds). Smiles of varying emotions would always be the price to see this pad-clad iron bank of mellow moments, welcoming potential pairs with open grids. May be some of its deposits are new, some as old as itself; some might not even be that of couples... But these little mementos are monuments, which in themselves, are odes to some entwined souls of a bygone time.
Edit: It's been 14 weeks since I wrote this. Feelsweirdman.jpg *****************************************************
AN EVENING’S ESCAPADE
Let's go up that small hill - the one with a cliff that overlooks the city on one side and has a clear view of the sea on the other. It's a little over an hour to sunfall so we'd make it just in time. Don't pack anything, darling. It's just going to be you, me, and the hill this evening.
We walk on an old, winding, lonely road that is in modest condition. The tall trees on either side of it look at their poor friend down and constantly shower him with shades of scarlet, brown, and yellow love, letting him know that he is not forgotten. As we pass each tree, we hear gossips and giggles by the balding bystanders. Some are kind enough to wave, some are uninterested, while some others shower the same love that they have for their old friend. Every curve we turn, every stretch we saunter is a witness to our chat, smiles and blushes. The colored blanket of the gray meanderor is now a vivid mascara on the mellow fog.
It's getting cold. But not too cold. It's just the perfect level of heat to feel the perfect level of chills. As we tread into the white unknown, I offer my suggestion to exchange arms - my left over your shoulders for your right on my waist. The surroundings help you yield with little resistance. Somewhere above, there is a lyrebird which roots for the two of us. There is absolute quietude which makes our vocal audience loud and clear. It sings and performs a one-bird orchestra that reverberates through the haze - a fitting theme to escape the fog's domain and to enter into that of the cliff's.
It's the end of the road and the start of a blissful dusk. To the right is the setting Sun inching towards the line that connects the sky and the sea. It is the only one to study the secrets lying beyond the horizon a billion times. The closer the sun gets to the ambits of the blue and red, the darker the city gets. There is also a soft, constant shushing of the surroundings by the waves. I take you nearer to the edge. There lies a fine sculpture of an almost flat, solid, backless bench, crafted by time. It is about 16 inches high, perfect for what I have in my mind. It is a two part spectre that I would like to share with you in the next few minutes.
I seat you away from the sun and facing towards the city below. After you get comfortable, I move in front of you and sit on the ground, facing the same direction as you. As you wonder what am I doing, I scooch back between your legs and enter the safety of your warm embrace. You turn from a girlfriend with her boyfriend to a mother with her child. There is a silly 'Aww' moment when you see me surrender to your womanly compassion. I am your boy toy and you mess up my hair, pinch and stretch my cheeks, wrap your arms tightly around my neck, and place your chin over my crown. In those few moments, I am everything you want me to be.
As the gloom spreads down, we notice a myriad of light specks come to life. But among all, it is the light from the highways that catches our eyes. White and red fill the distance as the other vibrant hues quietly come to life around it to peek at the serene motion of the sluggish elegance in the silent marching of the mechanical beasts. I point out to certain coruscants and share my best stories near them to make you laugh.
Now comes the wind, a formless guest, who hugs everyone she meets. You loosen your braids and let them stretch and dance with the flow. Your silky black hair is not shy to explore its dancing skills in the wake of our gusty guest. Its wavy profile makes the supple billowing a mesmerizing hypnosis. Though it may seem chaotic, there is grace in the unrestrained yet sophisticated, flag-like performance. The gentle breeze runs her fingers through your hair, strokes your scalp with her immaterial hands, caresses every inch of your skin, and bewitches you by doing all of these at once. You adore this violation of your body. It soothes you and you relax yourself like a monk on quaaludes.
I fail to notice this. Soon, I bend my neck backwards and look up at you. To me, your seraphic face is in front of a sunset and to you, I am a concupiscent cupid under the night sky. My eyes portray the immaculate lust I bear for you. I switch my focus between both your hazel irises and let you know that I am ready if you are. You feel slightly shy but you want to succumb to your desires in the worst way possible. Reluctantly, you lean down for our first kiss. Every single strand on your head knows how precious the aspect is so they drop down, acting as a curtain to the possibly best snog of the century.
I can feel your heart rate rising, your breaths speeding up, and your adrenaline spiking. Your fingers find their way to my cheeks again and grab a delicate yet strong hold of them. The genuine shivering of the 'first time' makes it sensually romantic. The two seconds of waiting makes it even more pleasurable. As you're just about to kiss me, I smell your delicate, lipstick-induced-minty-fruity breath. I close my eyes to fully experience this instance with all my senses (almost all). You moisten your pouty petals and close in on me. I freeze time to live a whole day in this heart pounding sensation. A wave below sighs in envy.
Every single molecule of air around us turns down the heat for our splendid smooch. The warmth of your inner thighs are reciprocated by the back of my torso – an equilibrium like no other. Then, it happens… You lock my lower lips as I lock yours. Our salivae lubricate the lethargic friction of a close-open-close action. I forget to breathe as I am too smitten by the carnal cuddle of our magnetic assets that refuse to be separated. Another blow from a zephyr initiates the dance of our tongues within our toothy caves. It feels weird for the both of us and we burst out laughing. A wave hushes our blushing snickers.
As I attempt to straighten myself, you grab me by the chin and pull me back. Before I could even close my eyes, we are at our second kiss with the toothy cave dance. The curtain drops again. I lose myself inside those curls at the end of your hair as my hands hopelessly search for me inside the dark allure. The fragrance of your skin is arousing. Unsurprisingly, I did not notice this the first time. This state of entrapment is liberating; the stasis of the night, energizing. One, two, three, and more… waves in awe crash with soughs. This is my heaven.
A nervous pause, and a slow retreat lets me see the woman you have become.
Would you stay with me, have a few more sips of this fragile feeling under the blue moon, and stare at the tenebrific sky on the other side of the cliff as it gives birth to the cosmic fireflies?
THIS IS THE SECOND HALF OF A SHORT STORY I was working on the past week. The first part is next to this one so please read that before you read this.
The character count exceeded the max limit of 10,000 by about a 1300 more so I had to cut it to two parts. Let me know how you feel about this in the comment section. Thank you for spending your time. For more short stories by me, click #shortstorie_
"Who… who are you?” I asked rather nervously. "Open up and I will tell you all you need to know."
Her voice was mostly forced air but the silence helped me get everything she said clearly. I noticed that the Sun was slowly beginning to show its true colors again. Instinctively, I looked again through the window. She was a mere 3 foot tall ugly yet delicate thing that was wrapped in ragged old dirty shades of brown and gray fabric. The bodies of my town's former inhabitants were still falling but I was too busy with the hideous witch-like creature outside my walls.
"Are you afraid, Svëyaf? Fear is a connate quality. There is no shame in being scared. A healthy fear keeps your mind sane and ready".
There was an inhuman wheeze after she told me the thing I had been telling myself over the past few years. I had not shared this perspective on fear to a single soul and yet there she was, telling it back to me. I almost lost balance as I couldn't feel my legs. A few seconds later, I reckoned the wheeze was her laugh.
That was my breaking point. That exact moment was my breaking point. I could not remember the exact dream that involved the old crone but with all that happened in the few moments, it was frantic nonetheless.
I honest to God wanted to put the gun in my mouth and pull the trigger. In the heat of the moment, it never occurred to me that guns could be used to kill others - something I had been doing for quite a few years to survive in the worst town ever in history. I just wanted an escape out of this. I could have sold my soul to the devil to spend a hundred more years in that hellhole than face this evil now.
"If I wanted you dead, do you really think I'd have left you alive till now? Come be a gem and let me in, boy."
The next thing I knew, she was inside my house and I seated opposite to her.
"What the hell are you? Are you responsible for all of this?" "Maybe. As for the first question, I am you. You as seen by you from within yourself", she replied with the calmness of a still lake on a mellow snowfall. But this rocked my poor brain wildly like a shipwrecked sailor stuck in wave after wave of tsunamis.
"What?" "It is true. I am merely a projection of you. A counterpart, if you will."
"So… you're me?” I questioned rather puzzled. "Yes." “How is that even possible? I’m right here.” “You’ll understand eventually.”
"And this is my dream? It has been one for over 19 years?" "Yes. Every time you went to sleep in the other world, you woke up here, a projection of the other side. Everything you see here is how you perceive it on the other side."
"If this is a dream, then why does everything feel real?" “Because that is how dreams work.”
“The other side… I remember nothing of it.” “And you won’t remember this side when you wake up there.” "How do I know anything what you're saying is true?"
She gently tapped her foot on the floor. The bodies stopped. They were suspended in mid fall hovering and rotating mildly in all axes. A few eyes were fixed on me but weirdly enough, it did not bother me. She tapped her foot again and the stiffs resumed their ground trembling descent.
It was too much for me take in. All this time, I was living a lie. But does it matter if you can’t tell the difference? I turned around to look at the corse-shower to get my attention off of her for a few minutes and gather myself for whatever else she had to say.
Everyone hated and abused me here (and apparently there) so the only logical response that I resorted to do was to take it out on myself. That was the stupidest thing that anyone can do. All the while, I felt bad for treating me in the worst way possible.
No one loved or cared for me. Not even myself. That physically ached me.
In the midst of all this, my vision was getting disturbed. Soon, rivulets of tears rolled down. Before they leaped from my chin to the ground, I decided that I had to take care of me. For in the darkest of times, only I was there for me. I was my own shadow in the light and in the night, a neglected messiah, a forsaken savior, and a fiend to a true friend.
"It's astounding to see that you were in such a profession and yet you never once realised why your own house was just a glorified pigsty."
"Oh!! Yes”, I replied, sniveling. “Why is that?"
"Because the house here is your body there. You never cared for it either and this is how it gets projected in this dimension. I myself was in such a sorry state because this is your perception of me -yourself. Think of me as your conscience and you as a soul."
Wait, what did she mean when she said, "I WAS in such a sorry state"?
I snickered on the inside thinking of her (or rather my own) smug sense of self beauty.
It was only when I turned around that I saw the voluptuous vixen she had turned into in the mere scores of seconds. Even her voice had changed to that of a mellow elysian tune from the heavens. Her eyes, her lips, her face, and that hourglass figure from every angle… Oh my… I almost felt good for feeling bad.
"Why have yo…”. I was simply mouthing that. No words came out of my mouth as I was too smitten to push words out of my throat. I cleared my head and throat at the same time. “Why have you come now? After all this time?"
"We've met before. It’s best not to rekindle the old phases. You’ve realized the important thing and that is all that matters. Thank you.”
“No. Thank you for… what you did.”
“The woman who was knocking on my door. Would you care to shed some light on it?”
"She was part real and part figment of your imagination. She was basically a mix of every woman you were infatuated with over the years. You shared everything with her. After a while, you even fell in love and things began to go dangerously intimate, which was… an unhealthy coping mechanism. So I had to send her away"
"Thanks… I guess...” I said half annoyed and half grateful.
"Then it is settled. Tomorrow, you're gonna wake up and make a decision to love me more."
"This is awkward but full disclosure, if I'm as cute as you, I'd totally do more than just love me."
"Wow!! No. That wasn’t… Not sure what I was expecting. It’s also kind of creepy. Why would you even say that?”
"Sorry. In my defense, a few minutes back you were petrifying and now you're a pretty princess. May be it's the adrenaline"
"I admire your confidence in lying to my face but… you remember I can read your thoughts, right?"
I quickly changed the topic. "The girl… she called you a witch."
She couldn’t help but smile at my lame attempt. "Yes, I told her not to come see you ever again. She did anyway. So, I threw in a warning sign first"
"Right. She might have been pissed off at me for that and tried to make me the bad guy"
"And the zero sound setting?"
"I just wanted to let you know that I wasn't joking around."
"If it's any consolation, it worked much better than you think."
“I know”. There was a complacent look in her eyes and a mocking smirk in her lips.
"The bodies outside?"
"Just a subconscious reconstruction and remodeling of every person you've ever known. You see, I can only influence a small portion of you here. So, I had no other choice but to resort to alter the surroundings which would in turn influence you the way I want to. It is up to you to make the decision on your own. I can't forcefeed you everything".
“I already have. Look… thanks again. All this time I was fighting to keep me safe but I never once stopped to love me and make me happy. It was just a wild ride - these few minutes - but the best few minutes of my life.”
“That is actually nice to hear.”
I had a genuine smile, in knowing there was someone to look out for me, after god knows how long. After a few minutes of silence, I continued the conversation.
"One more question. How are you a girl when I am a guy?" "Counterpart, remember?"
I nodded my head and torso back and forth still bearing the same smile. All of a sudden, a sense of inner peace filled me. I began to phase out. It was like slowly falling from a rocking chair beyond the safe point. She was still smiling when I last saw her. I was not ready to leave her but I knew I had to. With hopes shining brighter than the Sun, I let go and fell on my bed on the other side.
This is the first half of a short story I was working on the past week. The character count exceeded the max limit of 10,000 by about a 1300 more so I had to cut it to two parts. Let me know how you feel about this in the comment section. Thank you for spending your time. For more short stories by me, click #shortstorie_
"Fear is a connate quality. There is no shame in being scared. A healthy fear keeps your mind sane and ready". This is something I say to myself every now and then.
You may know that you have three choices when you are confronted with something terrifying - you play dead, you race rockets to run away, or you man up and punch that punk in its face.
I was given only the third choice and I took it… every time; it remained a mystery to me whenever I tried to understand why people ran away or why they statued themselves in the face of danger. My heart never bore any love for the 'fighting back' bit but I always had an odd sense of fulfilment each time I won.
Growing up in Jhuyaq, I was fine-tuned for a 'fight-to-kill' reflex. My belligerent behavior towards my fears helped me survive the wrath of countless thugs and brutes for over 19 years in this hell hole. Last night brought out my most violent nature and I went to sleep as a worn down winner. Now, I woke up to something strange.
It was a quiet dawn outside. Not your typical Jhuyaqi way to start the day. The first sounds you usually hear when you wake up are squabbles, fights, gunshots, cheers, and of course, screams and wailings of the unfortunate.
Today, there was nothing. Something did not feel right. But then again, my town had never been short of surprises.
I listened carefully. There were no audible signs of life beyond my walls. Whatever happened must have been huge.
I am a simple architect who designs houses in the town. But that has never stopped me from running towards impending doom if I deemed it to be curious and compelling.
Naturally, I got out of my bed to inspect the dead town. The floor hushed my boot with every step, as if it did not want someone to wake up. I kept moving towards the door with a gun in one hand.
The window beside the staircase begged for a peek at the surroundings before I reached for the door. I paused for a second and took a quick glimpse.
A banyan tree rolled over my street like a tumbleweed in Texas.
That was a tree that must have weighed at least a couple of tons but it moved elegantly and quietly, much like a dandelion seed. It was as bewildering as it was fascinating.
Quietness prevailed throughout.
There was also no way to tell if there was any hurricane outside for a tree to float effortlessly. If there was, my street would have had trails of the aftermath. Still, I saw something humongous sailing supplely across the neighborhood with absolute quietude.
I felt powerless after so many years. Sure, I had been beaten up, imprisoned, overpowered, and broken more times than the Sun graced the Earth but this was something out of the ordinary.
I could not hear anything. Not even that of my own breath. I began to wonder if I had gone deaf. I felt no fear, so I was worried if I had gone insane as well.
I panicked and accidentally pulled the trigger. The safety was on, so the gun did not go off. It also proved that I still very much sane. With a sigh of relief, I steadied myself.
"Is anyone there?” asked a gentle voice from the other side of the door.
A woman? At my door? I realised that very second that something was definitely off. Firstly, I had no one close to me for them to come over. Secondly, I never knew any women in the town. This had to be a mistake… or planned.
"Hello? I know you're in there."
How could I have missed her? I was just looking outside and there was no way she reached the porch without first passing through the lawn. The window gave a clear view over the entire front yard and yet here she was, appearing out of nowhere.
"Who is it?"
"Are you serious? Let me in. You have already wasted so much time. Didn't you see the signal?"
"The tree", I whispered.
"Yes, Svëyaf. The tree. That was the final warning", she said.
"Who are you? What warning?” I asked rather confused.
"Wow!! You weren't kidding when you said you wouldn't remember anything the next day. Fine. I am the girl you wanted. The companion, the escort… ring any bells?
I had flashes of some images after hearing those words - an all-night love making, a mirage, a part of me soiled, and an old crone. Nothing made sense. Though I hadn't seen her face clearly, I felt her as a vague part of the buried memory of last night.
"What are you waiting for? Open up"
"Who is 'SHE'?"
"God!! If this is your idea of a joke, then it isn't funny". Her voice began to shake.
"Answer the damn question, lady"
"The witch... Please. You wouldn't understand in your current condition. You promised that you'd let me in. She'll be here soon."
And then there was that damn silence again. I was waiting to hear what else she had to say but she went quiet.
*Knock knock knock…*
She began to knock on my door. There was no more talking from the outside. Instead, it started to rain bodies. Corpses of my townspeople. Every single one of them dropping with noiseless but extreme force made my house tremble. The town was packed with over at least 300,000 people. It took roughly 5 bodies every second. By that calculation, it could be raining till midnight.
*Knock knock knock…*
I have taken down men twice my size and I'll easily put down a dozen in less than a minute. Predators of the wild don't scare me anymore. But this was the first time I encountered a supernatural spectre. It was nothing that the town trained me for.
The sky began to turn tenebrous. It was morning a few minutes ago and now it was dusk. Yet, it was odder to see clear skies with no stars. I took quite a bit of time to realise what was happening. The Sun began to emit darkness throughout the sky. It was pitch black where the ball of fire was and a slightly less dark hue away from it.
*Knock knock knock…*
After a long while, nervousness found me and helped itself into my mind. It was astonishing to see how little it took for me to find fear again after 19 years of intense torment. I was finally afraid.
The knocking turned into banging.
*THUD… THUD… THUD…*
I peeked again from my window at the porch. There was an old crone. The same one from my dream!!!
Just a poem (at least that's what I'm calling it) about a swing
a - b - c - b rhyme scheme
•| Vocabs |•
Cacophony - a harsh discordant mixture of sounds. Sough - a moaning, whistling, or rushing sound as made by the wind in the trees or the sea. No quarter - No mercy Erstwhile - former Indolence - avoidance of an activity; laziness; disinterest due to repeated activity Cession - submission; surrender The steel to fibers is both literal and metaphorical (the protagonist turning old) Locus - a particular position or place where something occurs or is situated (here, the scenery)
And it wasn’t at a healthy level. Far from it. I would think about her every moment she was away. I would sometimes sit on my couch and just stare at my phone waiting for her to text. I’d tell myself “Don’t contact her. Don't. It will come off as too strong.” But then I’d still find myself clicking her name on my contact list before my inner voice would continue, “You don’t want her to know how desperately smitten you are with her. It’s unattractive. It will scare her off. No, you must wait for her to call you this time.”
But it was excruciating and exhausting. Almost unbearable. I once heard that the ancient Greeks believed that falling madly and irrationally in love with somebody was a curse that you would wish upon your enemies. I could never understand what they meant. After all, isn’t falling head over heels in love the ultimate goal nowadays? But now that it’s happened to me, I have to say… the ancient Greeks were right. This is a curse. I was barely in control of myself. Almost as though my infatuation with her had… possessed me.
The two of us were sexually active together but still in the “dating” phase. We were at that make or break era of a blossoming relationship where we’d either have “the talk” and formally be in a relationship or we’d start to slowly drift apart. The latter of which I don’t think I’d be able to cope with. Honestly, I wouldn’t be able to. Almost everything about her captivated me. The way she held her hand over her mouth when she laughed. How she’d caress the pendant of her necklace when she was frightened. How she’d twirl her hair in her finger when she was excited. All of it. Her smell. Her smile. Her eyes.
Yeah, I know. It probably makes you sick reading about it. I feel the same way. I was never the hopeless romantic type. But now I can’t stop fantasizing about her. I’d think about us doing the long three-hour hike up to that magnificent view from one of our first dates. To that first kiss, as we overlooked the lights of the city. But this time I’d get down on one knee, bring out the ring, and… well… you know what would happen next.
Alright, fine. I’ll stop. Yes, this is a girl I’d only been casually dating for a couple of months. I shouldn’t be thinking about proposing yet. I know that. I just barely able to control myself any longer. I feel as though I’m losing power over the decisions I make.
And that brings me to why I’m here writing this out at the moment. It started with the first real thing that troubled me about her. We’d never actually spent a night together. No matter how late she was over, once either of us showed signs of being tired, she’d up and leave. She wouldn’t leave awkwardly or in anger. Just a casual kiss good night, a smile, and a “call me soon”.
It was something I didn’t really even notice the first few times she did it. But after almost 8 weeks of dating, it was becoming strange. I’d have to ask her about it.
It took drinking almost an entire bottle of wine before I had the courage to do it. She looked almost defeated when I asked and lowered her eyes in embarrassment. “I knew this talk would come eventually,” She started. She took in a deep breath with a long drawn out exhale. “Recently….“ she paused again. “I’ve started talking in my sleep.” She shook her head in embarrassment. “It’s called somniloquy, I looked it up.”
I shrugged and laughed out loud. My demeanor seemed to say “That’s it?”
“No, Stephen… listen” she said. She wasn’t laughing. “It’s bad. It… It’s completely out of control. It’s not just random words or gibberish. No. It’s horrible. I say horrible disgusting things.” She was starting to raise her voice, breath heavy, and tear up.
I approached her and held her. I told her it couldn’t be that bad. I told her to spend the night. I told her she was probably exaggerating.
I was wrong.
That night she stayed at my house. But she warned me of something before falling asleep. “Whatever you do, don’t wake me up. It makes me really scared and disoriented if that happens. And don’t respond to me. Just ignore it.” I nodded and agreed. “If it becomes too much,” she continued, “just leave the room and sleep on the couch. I won’t mind.”
I told her not to worry about it. I told her that it wouldn’t be a big deal. I told her I wouldn’t leave to the couch. I’d stay beside her in the bed.
But I was wrong.
I couldn’t even last one night.
We both fell asleep without incident. I don’t know how many hours passed, but I woke up in the dark with the sensation that someone was watching me. And then I remembered… She was with me. She was actually spending the night. I smiled.
But then I noticed the shadowy outline of her sitting up on the bed. She was looking down at me. Staring.
It creeped me out. I’ll admit it. Her posture was entirely different. It was as though it wasn’t even her at all.
Then she spoke.
It wasn’t her voice that I heard. It was much lower and gravelly. Like something out of a horror movie.
“I’ll chew the skin from your bones.” She said.
At first, I just kept looking at her. This was not at all what I expected. I thought it would be more like the way Tourette’s is often portrayed. Just random swearing and shouting. I honestly thought to myself… what will I do if she attacks me right now? What if she really does try to chew the skin from my bones?
But then she just lied down and went back to sleep.
I was creeped out. I tried to lie back down and ignore her but struggled. I couldn’t even close my eyes without thinking “Maybe she’s sitting up again and staring at me.” And then one time I rolled over to look at her…and she was.
Her face was pressed right towards mine. Her breath was foul and rotted. Something that was most certainly not normal for her. She spoke again, in the same voice as before.
“If you don’t move to the couch, you’ll be dead by morning.”
That did it for me. I sat up in a moment and headed for the living room.
She made some sort of wheezing sound as I left. I think it was supposed to be laughter.
I was lying on the couch, but I wasn’t going to be able to fall back to sleep. I was far too shaken.
I was staring out towards the window, hoping to see the first few hints of the sun rising.
And then I thought I heard something. From the bedroom.
And then I heard it again.
“Stephen.” It was that same low and gravelly voice. It sounded like a witch.
I tried to just ignore it at first. But then it continued.
Still I said nothing.
“I know you can hear me, Stephen. You’re awake now. Why don’t you come back into the bedroom?”
The voice barely sounded human.
“Or maybe you’d prefer if I come to *you*?”
I still didn’t say anything. I was told not to. But I listened. If I heard her start walking towards the bedroom door, I’m not even joking, I would have run right out of the apartment. But she had asked me not to respond to her sleep talking. So I didn’t.
And then I heard her once more.
“Sorry if this spoils your plans.” She began laughing. “The two of you were supposed to walk that trail again.” she started. I wasn’t even remotely prepared for what she’d say next.
“You’d both be so tired when you’d reach the top. You’d look over the city. Then you’ll get on one knee, and bring out the ring.” She began laughing.
And that’s when I realized this wasn’t just a problem with sleep talking. It was something much more. Something supernatural. I had never told anybody about my proposal fantasy. There was simply no way she could have known about any of it.
This was no longer about merely talking in ones’ sleep. This was about possession. I can’t go back into the bedroom. I have no idea what would happen if I did. Instead, I’m going to wait it out, holding up in my living room until the sun rises. I have a couple more hours yet. I can hear her laughing occasionally in the bedroom. It’s still not her voice. Still that same low pitch cackle.
But as I sit on my couch writing this out, here’s what scares me the most…
Maybe my infatuation and utter obsession with her wasn’t normal. I said before that I felt like I was losing control of myself. More so I believe than the typical falling in love story. No. I fear that the infatuation I felt was the entity slowly taking control of me. Of it controlling my thoughts, fears, ambitions, and anxieties. Maybe once I become completely absorbed, a transfer would occur, and she would be free of it.
I know I should leave. That I should open the front door, get in my car, and drive away from here. But I can’t. I can’t leave her. I’ve already lost control.
"Dearly beloved", Heera began. The gang dropped its smile and raised whatever was nearest to his/her hand to the speech that the lady was about to give.
Most of them raised their glasses but Mithi held her left shoe while Branthan raised a plate of meat above his head like he was about to offer it as a sacrifice to the Gods. The two were always quite odd. Creed didn't care much about all this and was checking out a cute girl sitting next to their table.
Rufes was confused, not knowing what the squad had planned this time but he was sure it had to be something big. Afterall, this was the first time he had brought along his girlfriend, Shruthi, to meet them all.
"We are gathered here today to commemorate the memory of our dear friend"
"Oh my God!!", facepalmed Rufes. "Please don't". "What… is happening ?", enquired his puzzled girlfriend. "It's my eulogy", replied the slightly angry but snickering boyfriend. "Oh!!"
"Today is an important day. Today we celebrate me getting a promotion", Heera resumed. "Hear! Hear!", she mumbled to her own previous statement. "I thought we were commemorating the memories of your dear friend", pointed out Rufes. "Sometimes I still hear his voice", pondered Heera. "I was the one who showed you that meme", cried out the dead guy.
"As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted by rude voices…", continued Heera. "Oh come on!!" "Hey, you wanna hear this or not?" "Fine. Put down the plate, Branthan. You look like a garden gnome making off with dog food" "Bitch, I'm beautiful", replied Branthan without missing a beat.
"Today, as we celebrate my promotion, let's spend ten seconds to remember the friend who did not have any girl's number other than the ones present here; and may we never forget that time when he cried for 20 minutes straight when we said he couldn't have his imaginary pet fish, Bianca, taxidermied"
For the first time, Shruthi felt she did not know her man at all. Her boyfriend did his best to reassure her. "Babe, that was one time. I was drunk. To be honest, I still don't believe that I said that. And even if I did, I promise it will never happen again".
She did her best to act concerned but burst out laughing and soon, everyone joined in. Creed, who noticed this ruckus began to laugh uncontrollably. He never really knew what happened but all it took was Nivu to drop her signature laughter.
It was a mix of an old man wheezing and a little girl whimpering - a fixed pattern with definite intervals. To Creed, it was the most hilarious thing in the world and no matter how much he saw of it, it never got old.
It was Creed's turn now. He stood up, raised his glass and spoke out of context like usual. "I liked it when that one person did that thing and everybody laughed and Nivu made me choke on my drink. To her infamous inhales and heavenly exhales of ecstasy". Everyone raised their glasses in unison, even Mithi and Branthan.
Shruthi didn't know how to react to this toast but everyone else knew about Creed. He was the kind of guy who would walk into his university and not even have the courtesy to pretend shocked when he was told it was his semester exam that day. Either he would be checking out hotties nearby and not pay attention to the news or he just wouldn't really give a damn. But he was always up for a good roasting of anyone, anytime.
Nivu was quick to make her toast after Creed's. "I hate you all. You jerks promised you would never make fun of me and yet you broke it. AGAIN. Go to hell. The lot of you". She individually gave everyone the finger but when she neared Shruthi, she comforted her saying, "except for you babe. You're with me".
"I'll drink to that", declared Mithi and gulped down three glasses. Branthan gave Nivu two thumbs up and nodded his head in approval. The rest stepped up their ruthless mockery. The new girl was completely dumbstruck as this group of weirdos kept getting more and more crazy with every passing minute.
Heera pointed out that it was Mithi's turn now. Nivu nudged Mithi's elbow. The brown beauty took a deep breath, let out a soft sigh, produced the Nazi salute and said, "Thank you, uncle Satan".
"It was beautiful", complimented Branthan but waves of 'BOOs' accompanied his words. "Dude, show some goddamn respect", warned Nivu in an angry, husky tone. "Hey, these are my eulogies. They all suck. And I get to comment whatever I want on my eulogies", cried Rufes.
"Not on my watch", bellowed Branthan. "You shout one more word and I'll be giving YOU a eulogy", he said with a serious face.
"I could ask you why you are the way that you are but at this point, nothing would surprise me." "And let that be a warning to you, kid" Confused by the follow up, Rufes asked, "How?", with his eyes squinched. "How what?" "…the fuck did you live this long?", Rufes thought to himself.
The only replies he received were soulless stares radiating from the amber irises of the queer man who also happened to be inexplicably handsome as Adonis himself.
"You're not gonna give your eulogy?", Nivu asked Branthan. "Why? Tiny dude played mum's the word after I warned him." "Did you say eulogy? Who died?", asked Creed "A hopeless bachelor and our dear single friend - Rufes", clarified Heera. "Dude, I'm so sorry", said Creed to no one in particular.
"Congratulations. I'm gonna miss our talks…", said the goth in her soft voice. Pleasantly surprised, Rufes replied, "Aww.. Mithi, you won't be missi…" "For now… We'll see. Nothing is permanent."
The man of the hour chose not to respond to that. Instead, he turned towards his girl and said, "Well, you wanted to meet them. Now you have. So? What do you think?"
Everyone's eyes were focused on Shruthi. Creed was more interested to know who that new, solid 8+/10 was and how Rufes knew her.
She, however, had no clue as to what or how to respond to her boyfriend's question. Still, she began, "Umm…."
It's decent (but also a li'l weird... Come on, who am I kidding?) yet not even close to how it feels to read in Tamil
That minute when I first saw you
Your gorgeous crescent contour; Your hidden face is my yoke, a pain (அரிணம் - deer);
The teenage boy in me who comes out after seeing that; Your mellifluous smile that the moon wishes for to be its belly chain;
Either through the mercy of the rain god, or his mischievousness, Cold drizzles drench the summer winds;
Snow that comes into existence just to hug you; The way I crumble like a product of an unfocussed potter;
You stand as my girl friend's girl friend; I yearn for the taste of your touch;
Seconds that are quicker than lightning, The lust your black hair bores for me; (because she is facing away from the protagonist and the wind is blowing on her face, so the hair flows away from her and towards him who is watching her)
That was the one thing on my mind, the only thing on my mind, as I strove to win the footrace against the Rottweiler. The gate was there, right in front of me.. and for a brief second, I felt like Moses must have felt, as he contemplated crossing the Red Sea.
I sprinted to the gate, and gave a brief glance behind. Seth was gaining on me, his huge frame bounding forward in the semi darkness. Now was the time to make my headstart count. I put the key in the lock and turned it. The slight click as the gate became unlocked sounded like sweet country music to my ears.
He was right behind me now, as I hurriedly attempted to close the gate from the other side. My hands felt greasy, my grip was slipping as he charged at me. And then I shut it off, as he slammed his gigantic body against the metallic frame of the gate.
I sucked in huge gulps of the cool night air, as he snarled and barked from the other side. I looked him in the eyes, gazed at him for a long time, before I trudged back home. The air was crisp and clear, and yet I could barely breathe as I finally entered my room.
I sat still for a long time, afraid to close my eyes. I wondered if Seth's grime covered coat and bloodshot eyes would appear in my dreams for the rest of my life. I tried to eat a piece of fruit, but despite my hunger, the food refused to go down my throat. Eventually, my tired mind took over and I drifted off to dreamland.
I got a shot for rabies the very next day. The Cliftons came back on Wednesday, and Jade was attacked by Seth in much the same way I was. (This I came to know much later) They gave away Seth to a dog shelter, where he lived for another two years before finally succumbing to bloat. It was never quite determined what had caused Seth to attack me that Monday afternoon.
I have overcome my fear of dogs since, though I have not been able to look a Rottweiler in the eye after that day. Somedays, I still wake up in the early hours with Seth's growl ringing in my ears. I smile and go back to sleep.
I stole a glance at the window. Twilight had bid farewell and the moon shone in the stark sky. I got up and went to the switchboard, tapping away at the switches until the bulb in the room finally flickered into life.
"Seth?" I was answered by a silence, which seemed to hang heavy in the air. I looked at the window again. I went towards the glass and felt it. It was strong and sturdy, but I had a feeling that with the right amount of force, it could be shattered.
I kept on tapping away at it, all the while calling out Seth's name. If I could lure him into the room via the window, or at the very least distract him.. I had a clear run to the main gate.
After five minutes had passed (it may have been more, but I had no clock to guide me), I felt a slight rustling noise somewhere near the window. I drew back towards the door when I heard the growl. I unlocked it a smidge and waited.
And there he was. In the sheer darkness, I could not quite make out his features. But even with the transparent window pane between us, I could see his eyes, and the terror seemed to immobilize my body.
And then he began to leap at the window. This was exactly what I wanted him to do, and yet seeing him scratching away at the glass, sent a paraxosyn of fear through my veins. He battered away with his paws, and the pane started to crumble.
All of a sudden, I heard a crash. The sound seemed like gunfire to my ears and I have a vague memory of glass flying about. My legs did not fail me. I ran out of the room at the same instant he barged his way through the now broken window.
And I ran. Freedom lay at the other side of the gate, and I willed my tired limbs to carry me to safety. Seth was chasing me now, blood pouring from the front of his face. But I had a sufficient headstart. At least I hoped so. My life depended on it.