Literary, Others

If I were the wind

I found her sitting alone, facing the sea. The sky was clear rapidly, but the smell of rain was there to stay. I watched few drops fall lazily from her wet hair. I struggled to gather my wits while her muffled sobs occasionally penetrated the silence. I had never seen her cry in the last eight years.

Unable to find my words, I sat down beside her. She held out a hand, and I gladly took it.

“Your hand is warm,” she sighed after a while.
“And yours is freezing,” I retorted. “Trying to be dramatic, are you?”
“The situation calls for a bit of drama; don’t you think?”

A few meters away, the fisher folk were preparing sails to make use of the steady wind. Large numbers of fish would be gathering a few kilometers off shore right about now – where the muddy, land-washed water meets the clear ocean. Every boat wanted to be the first to reach the temporary gold mine.

“This is not the end,” I said, with a lot of determination.
“It is not,” she replied.

We talked for hours before parting – about friends back at home, about life, and about the new world that awaited her across the ocean.

On my way back, as I looked back before turning the corner, I caught her waving and shouting something. But the wind carried her words away over the waters. How I wished I was the wind then! I’d have been the wind beneath her sails, untied from this place which would soon cease to be home.


Submission for LSD, IIMA.

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Writing 101

A cabin in the woods

The sound of the train fades away. I marvel at the little station. There isn’t a soul in sight. Not even a stationmaster. A solitary mud road leads into the woods. I pick up my luggage and start walking.

The sun has disappeared behind the western hills. An unnerving chill accompanies the twilight. I take half an hour to reach the cabin. It looks ancient. Parts of wood have turned black with rot and creepers nest in the cracks. Only a gentle smoke rising from the chimney betrays human presence. I knock.

Chandan opens the door and greets me with a toothless grin. I look exactly like my father, he says. He quickly explains where various supplies are kept. He has cooked khichuri in case I am hungry and has prepared the bed in case I’m tired. He would love to talk, he says, but he needs to reach home before nightfall. I thank him and try to hand him some money. He refuses and leaves hurriedly, promising to drop by again tomorrow.

The surrounding trees are alive with the chirping of birds settling down for the night. The noise is deafening. I decide to look around. The bathhouse and the toilet are out on the backyard — or what is supposed to be the backyard. Nature has taken over parts of it. The broken remains of a fence can be made out on closer inspection. The mud road continues past the cabin. It disappears at the bend some distance away and is supposed to end at the village. Chandan lives there. I plan to pay him a visit tomorrow.

Darkness falls rapidly and I go back inside. The interior is now visible only through the flicker of a burning candle on the table. The cabin has a bed, a table and chair, a bookshelf, and a firewood stove. The bookshelf contains few dusty volumes. I carry them over to the table for inspection. Some medical books and some novels. Dad’s name is inscribed on all of them. I picture him — young and with a head full of hair — sitting at this very table, under the candlelight, and studying through sleepless nights. Somehow, the image seems very fitting.

I change out of my travelling clothes after singling out The Grapes of Wrath. I will be spending this month well.

#writing101

Writing 101

Stream of consciousness

Ten minutes of free writing.

***

Okay… I’ve done this before. We had a humanities course in the first year of college, and the professor had asked us to do the same thing. I don’t remember what I had written then, but it must have been pretty lame. All such write-ups are lame anyway, I mean, unless you’re a professional writer or something, you’ll end up making no point whatsoever. Maybe that was the focus of such assignments all along: to write without making a point.

I’ve often wondered whether I should stick to reality in such write-ups or whether I should let my imagination off the leash. A freely running imagination can create some fun imagery, you know, but only if it is in the right mood. I mean, you cannot always rely on imagination. Sometimes it creates wonders, sometimes it’ll leave you scratching your head and deeply disturbed.

On the other hand, one cannot expect to jot down one’s “real” thoughts and get away with it. That simply does not work. I can’t remember the last time I straight out said things that were on my mind. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying I lie continuously, it’s just that I have to refine and make everything presentable before putting it out there. That’s what all of us do, I think. Or maybe that’s an incorrect thing to say — after all, I can only speak for myself.

Neither reality nor imagination seem to be ideal. Why not bits of both? But how does one find a balance? It all boils down to being a good writer, and if you are a good writer, it’s unlikely that you’ll be undertaking beginner exercises like these. No… such exercises are created precisely to make a fool of people. That isn’t bad though, it’s actually very productive. There’s no motivation as potent as the realization of how bad you are at something.

Anyway, the timer indicates that 10 minutes are up. Guess that’ll be all for today.

#writing101

Note: Writing 101 is an effort by WordPress editors towards building a blogging habit. It contains prompts for writing inspiration. Each day offers a new prompt and a special twist. Thanks Arpita, for introducing me to it.

Fan Fiction, Literary, Short Stories

The Thief

On the hot and dreary summer nights, as Amma slept after a hard day’s work, I would sneak out to the backyard and look at the stars. It was the only time I felt alive; as if the chains that bound me throughout the days dissolved away to let me live, truly and freely, for a few hours of solitude. Nighttime meant peace and a well-deserved break from the heat and the hardship of daily chores.

Amma would get really upset at first. “The dark brings bad luck Aanki,” she would say. Sometimes, she would scream and slap to invoke discipline. On other days, she would embrace me in tears and cry “The neighbors will call you a witch!” When none of these worked, she reluctantly dropped the issue with a warning to be discreet.

The summer nights would be full with the whispers and sighs of people tossing and turning in their sweaty beds, rejuvenating themselves for the next day. These mixed with the dull lashing of the scanty waters of Euphrates against her stony banks. Distant shrieks of jackals and other nightly creatures of the surrounding desert often disturbed the monotone. But the people disregarded them, for the great walls of Uruk negated all outside threats. The fortifications surrounded the entire city, parting only for Euphrates as she flowed peacefully along the middle of Uruk, dividing it in half.

The east wall rose a few yards away from our house. It was where our world ended. The sun was born from it every morning, yellow and bright, from where it continued its journey across the heavens, till it disappeared behind the smoke of the western metalwork factories. Most of us had never set foot beyond the confinements of the city. Only selected traders were allowed to enter and leave — it was Lord Gilgamesh’s way of protecting the secrets of Uruk from foreign spies.

But Uruk didn’t refrain from showing off its assets to the outside world. The White Temple, the highest structure known to man, stood at the center of the Anu district. It was said to have risen on its own accord from the ruins of another giant temple in order to move closer to the heavens and to Anu. This pedestal of rubble held it above the walls for the entire world to see. During the day, the temple’s white stone reflected the sun like a mirror and the blaze reached all four corners of Earth. Under the softness of the moon, it radiated a pearly aura that made the streets and buildings glow.

On one such night, in this very aura, a figure caught the corner of my eye. It was crouching behind the fence! Must be a thief, I thought.

“Who’s there?” I called out in alarm and reached for the bell. At this, the person frantically raised his arms and whispered with urgency: “Wait! It is Kishar!”

It indeed was Kishar, the blacksmith’s boy.

“What are you doing here?” I asked suspiciously. Kishar had a reputation; in the past he had been caught stealing from a merchant and was publicly flogged as a result. Amma had asked me to stay away from him, as did the parents of all others. Nowadays, he could be seen roaming the streets by himself, sometimes transferring logs for his father, sometimes playing with a string and a top. He also carried around a sword that he claimed to have made himself. At sunset, he would swing it at a hay-filled sack that he had hung from the dead willow tree by the river.

“I was just passing by,” he said. But the pace of his breath and his drenched clothes gave him away — he had been running, most probably from the guards.

I unlatched the gates and let him in after making sure no one was observing us.

“You may stay here till daybreak,” I said.

To be honest, I was a little pleased to have some company. It was not every day that I got to talk to a person shunned by society. Whatever his faults were, I knew he was harmless, for there was a sense of simplicity to his being.

Sitting down in our yard, Kishar set down a sack that he was carrying, and from it, he produced an entire loaf of bread. Then, tearing it neatly into two, he offered me half.

“How did you steal this?” I inquired as I took a bite. The bread was cold, but it was stuffed modestly with dates and had a pleasant taste.

“I know a place where you can climb the baker’s wall,” he replied without remorse.

The head priest had said: even the gravest of sins seem commonplace when repeated enough number of times — a murderer can kill without fear and a thief can steal without guilt — yet they do not realize that each consecutive crime puts a heavier burden on their souls. The sudden recollection of these words made me feel sorry for the boy. Moreover, repeating offenders were often punished severely; some had their hands chopped off and were reduced to beggars.

“Why do you steal, Kishar?” I asked.

“Father spends all our money on ale,” he muttered through a mouthful of bread.

“Why don’t you find some work at the market? I hear they need more cart-bearers.”

“They will not employ a thief. But I will be old enough to join the army this harvest season!”

“Good.” It was probably for the best. The soldiers lived fairly luxurious lives compared to the common folk; they got a share of the city’s best yields of fruit and crop and had personal servants. Perhaps the nobility of the profession could also balance out some of his present sins.

For a while, we sat in silence and munched happily. I tried not to think of the inappropriateness of the situation or what Amma would say if she found a boy in the backyard after dark. I kept a fair amount of distance between us, just in case.

Kishar was tall and broadly built, but his hollow cheeks and tattered clothes betrayed poverty. His dark hair fell loosely over his tanned face that still held the innocence of a child. As he sat in the moonlight, lost in some distant thought, he seemed nicer than most people I knew. I wondered what it felt like to be him; to spend all day by oneself, getting nothing but frowns and hostility from everyone around. How unfair it was to condemn someone to a life like that. But I decided not to burden him with my pity.

“What does Kishar mean?” I asked, trying to divert myself from sad thoughts.

Upon meeting new people, I often asked the meanings of their names. Our names hold some power over us throughout our lives and say a lot about our personalities. At least, that is the logic I use to explain my fascination with stars. Aanki is the child’s word for the universe, or more precisely, the feeling a child has when it sees the sky in all its glory for the first time. I was in love with my name and constantly searched for people with more meaningful names than mine, perhaps just to feel superior when I couldn’t find any.

“Kishar is the place where the heavens meet the earth,” he informed. His mother had christened him on her deathbed, shortly after his birth. “After all,” he had said, “that is the only place where the dead and the living coexist.”

He went on to describe memories from his childhood. I showed him how to form figures in the sky by joining different stars. We talked about a lot of things that night, the details of which skip my memory now; I was heavy with sleep and, in hindsight, it all feels like a dream. But I will forever remember the story behind his name and the soft yearning in his voice as he spoke of his dead mother.

“You’ll catch your death, sleeping outside like that!” Amma said, as she shook me awake the next day. The sun was already high and I noted, with both relief and dismay, that Kishar had disappeared.

*

I often saw Kishar around town, going about his usual ways. He dragged logs to the factory in the morning while I fetched water from the well. He practiced his swordsmanship while I washed clothes by the river. We didn’t dare to speak during daytime, but whenever no one was around, he would give me a nod to acknowledge our secret friendship. I half expected him to turn up at our house again in the middle of the night, but he didn’t.

Several months passed by and life was normal. Every morning, the others and I would climb the steps of the White Temple where the head priest would lecture us about morals and teach us how to keep count of the family provisions. We would offer our prayers at the feet of Anu and revel at the unending sight that the temple allowed us in all directions. The rest of the day would be full of dull chores, and before a drop of rest, it would be time for the stars again.

One day, as I was returning from the riverbank, news came that Ugula Gishkim had called a district meeting at sunset. Gishkim was the chief governing commander of Anu district, his main function: to spread and enforce the orders of the king. A district meeting could only mean trouble and rumors started flying around about the announcement of another war.

Uruk had been at war thrice since I was born. The city proudly claimed to have protected its civilians from the bloodshed throughout history. The great walls were impenetrable. But in reality, no amount of fortification could keep out the venom of war; it seeped through in the form of increased taxes and overwhelming demands for weapons and medicine. While soldiers butchered one another outside, the people inside died of starvation and fatigue.

The crowd had already gathered when Amma and I made our way to the marketplace. The air was tense with speculation and everyone was nervous. The previous meeting had announced laws limiting the amount of riches individual families can possess; the one before that had marked the shutdown of a silk factory, putting hundreds out of work. The good always happened silently, but the bad had to be announced and enforced.

Soon, Gishkim took his place on the pedestal and addressed the crowd with a brief message: “Lord Gilgamesh, our king and savior, is in need of a new mistress. All unmarried girls who have come of age must present themselves for this occasion at noon, tomorrow.”

There was a collective sigh of relief, but my heart puckered as if caught in a knot. The king had taken his first mistress the previous year. I was too young to participate then, but I clearly remembered the girl who had been chosen; she was the daughter of a wealthy merchant, very pretty and well endowed. She had squealed in joy on the day she was picked and had sailed off in the golden chariot smiling. No one ever saw her since. Even the repeated pleas of her parents to meet her were declined at the palace gates. I had often wondered what became of her. Now at the thought of having to be a contender for the same fate, a deep and unsettling fear clouded my brain.

“I will not go,” I informed Amma upon returning home, but was only met with silence.

Later at night, as I sat in our backyard, I could not hold back the tears. There are dozens of others, I tried to remind myself; I haven’t been chosen yet. But no amount of consolations could negate the dread of the possibility of having to leave everything behind. What will happen to Amma? There’s no way she could manage on her own with her bad hip! And what fate befalls of a mistress when the king gets tired of her? What happened to the previous mistress? My head swam with several dark thoughts as I cried myself to sleep.

I woke up to find a loaf of bread lying on a piece of paper near the fence. If only he were king, I thought.

I spent the entire day convincing Amma that there must be a way out.

“I’ll tell them I’m not old enough!”
“I’ll feign illness!”
“I’ll scar my face! The king surely wouldn’t want a scarred mistress!”

But Amma didn’t relent. I could see she was fighting hard to be strong herself. She didn’t want this any more than me, yet she kept muttering about how good an opportunity this was.

“Foolish child,” she said, trying to keep her voice from trembling, “think of all the riches you will have! You will live in the palace and you will never work a day in your life!”

Two royal servants were sent to prepare me for the event. I struggled while they rubbed their herbs and pastes on my skin. But they were firm and adamant and got their job done. After three grueling hours of cleaning, beautifying and dressing, I was declared ready.

Amma embraced me one last time, as I was being led away from my house, finally in tears.

“The king always gets what he wants, Aanki,” she whispered, planting a wet kiss on my forehead.

*

Gishkim lined us up by the palace boulevard. All the girls were dressed in extravagant clothes that they did not own. Most of them shifted nervously on their toes. Some looked happy, but most, like me, were full of worry.

The king would pass by in his carriage and he would choose the one that is most pleasant to his eyes. Amma stood at some distance, among a large group of onlookers, her lips moving in prayer. Everyone could’ve heard the thumping in my chest if it weren’t for the noise  of the impatient crowd.

The palace gates opened with a loud screech as soon as the bells announced midday. The royal carriage was led by two magnificent white horses and few soldiers marching behind it as escorts. It rolled by slowly with red curtains drawn over its windows. The king observed us through the thin fabric, and even though I couldn’t see him, I felt fully conscious of his gaze.

Lord Gilgamesh rarely presented himself in front of the people, in fact, I knew him only by description. People called him the golden king — for he had golden hair and was quite fond of gold and treasures. He had spent most of his life conquering and looting kingdoms to accumulate the largest treasury in the history of mankind. I imagined him now, measuring us critically, about to change one of our lives forever with a mere command.

The carriage turned around as it reached the end of the line and began retracing its path. It made three such painfully long passes while we held our breath in crippling anticipation. Finally, it came to a halt — a little distance away from me! A soldier walked up to the windows and having heard the king’s voice, signaled me to step forward.

My world came crashing down.

“The mistress has been chosen!” I heard him shout through the ringing in my ears. The crowd responded with a half-hearted applause.

The reality of my fate hit me full on for the first time. Until then, I hadn’t really believed that I would be picked. There were over fifty girls after all — what were the chances? Everything began to swim in my vision as tears filled my eyes. I considered running, but it was, of course, pointless.

In my distress, I didn’t see a figure silently emerging from the crowd and taking a stand in the middle of the street, nor did I hear the several gasps as he drew his sword. But the words that followed silenced the world and hastily pulled me out of the recesses of my mind.

“I challenge the king to a duel.”

*

Kishar tried to keep the sword steady in his trembling hands. After a brief pause, a dozen soldiers fell on him and disarmed him.

“I challenge the king!” he screamed again, through the struggle.

The carriage door opened with a soft click, and immediately all soldiers fell to their knees, their heads lowered. Even the ones restraining Kishar released him in haste and followed suit.

The person who stepped out of the carriage was huge, bigger than any man I had ever seen. His face was covered with a bushy beard and his long hair and bare chest gave him the appearance of a caveman. Could this be Gilgamesh? He was completely different from my mental image!

Another followed him, instantly clearing my doubts. The reflection from his jewelry momentarily blinded anyone who dared to look at him directly. Even his white kilt was embroidered with gold, matching the hair that hung over his bare shoulders. He was pale and slender, but the grace with which he carried himself radiated strength and command. His face held no discernible expression as he fixed his gaze on Kishar.

“Kneel,” Gilgamesh commanded.

But Kishar, stubborn as he was, raised his sword once more. Gilgamesh waited for a moment and gave a sigh of resignation.

“Bring me my sword, Enkidu.”

The wild man disappeared into the carriage once again and retrieved a crimson blade. So this was Ea, I thought, the legendary weapon that had slain a thousand kings. What chance did a blacksmith’s boy have against such an opponent with such a sword? My heart broke as I struggled not to predict the outcome.

The duel began without another word. Kishar attacked with all the ferocity he could muster. But Gilgamesh sidestepped and dodged all his blows with ease, while occasionally giving Kishar a lick of Ea’s blade, opening up gashes on his tanned skin. It was evident to all that Gilgamesh could hack Kishar into two whenever he wished, but he didn’t. Instead, he let him bleed slowly. Before long, Kishar’s feet began to buckle. His cheap sword shattered with the final blow and he fell to the floor, unconscious and drained. He hadn’t even landed a single blow.

The one-sidedness of the duel took no one by surprise. No one applauded, nor did Gilgamesh’s stony face show any sign of pleasure. There was only an unbearable silence, as the king raised his blade to deliver a final blow.

I ran forward and fell at his feet, unable to watch any longer.

“Have mercy, my Lord!” I begged. “Let him live!”

Gilgamesh lowered his sword and pulled me up. He placed a tender finger under my chin and raised my face, as a lover would. But in those pupils, mere inches away from mine, I discovered nothing but cold indifference.

“Not even the fiercest warrior of Uruk would dare to challenge me. The boy’s bravery is commendable,” he said. “But only a thief eyes that which does not belong to him.”

He drove Ea through Kishar’s defenseless chest in one swift movement. There was a twitch as the soul left the body, taking with it whatever emotions I possessed.

“Come,” he continued, gesturing me towards the carriage.

Two soldiers dragged away the corpse to clear the path. As the wheels carried me through the palace gates, I embraced my Lord as a good mistress should, carefully studying the contours of his spotless neck. Some distance away, a pack of hungry dogs fought over a loaf of abandoned bread.


Note: I’ve referred to a concise version of the original ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’ for descriptions of Uruk, but the character of Gilgamesh is mostly based on his portrayal in Fate/Zero. Published on figment.

Literary, Short Stories

A Campfire Story

While fiddling with the broken radio, Rakesh was suddenly struck with a heavy dose of nostalgia. It took him a while to figure out what had happened; the radio wasn’t broken anymore and the speakers were croaking out a familiar tune. He immediately regretted bringing over the piece of junk and switched it off hastily. Who listens to the radio anymore? One should always have control over what music he is subjected to.

He looked around to find Meera sitting alone near the campfire. She was hugging her legs, her chin resting on her knees, lost in some distant thought. Sighing, he went and joined her and pushed few twigs into the dying fire.

“Where are the others?” he asked.
“The couples need their privacy,” she answered.

Rakesh knew this would happen. He was apprehensive about the trip from the beginning. It sucks to be the only single guy in a group, and he wouldn’t have come if the others had not assured him repeatedly that he won’t feel out of place. Well, there he was, feeling out of place. Meera’s boyfriend had caught the flu and bailed on the trip, leaving her stuck in the same situation.

There was a cool breeze blowing that night. It traced ripples on the surface of the dark lake and fanned their hair before disappearing silently into the woods. The stars were shining brightly and the moon extended its pearly aura over the scenery. On nights like this, people in the city would be out for leisurely strolls, old people would be sitting on their verandas and remembering wonderful things, stressed college students would experience relief and depressed people would be glad to be alive. On such nights, only good things could happen.

But Rakesh was oblivious. The tune from the radio was still playing in his head and the associated memories occupied his mind. He was torn between the desire to be alone and the need to be occupied. Inwardly, he cursed the others for being selfish; to leave him with a person who was an acquaintance at best, in a place with so few distractions. Gloomy thoughts welled up inside him repeatedly, only to be fanned away by the breeze before they became a threat.

“What are you thinking about?” Meera asked.

It must have been the timing of the question, or the atmosphere, or positions of the stars, or whatever factors that might influence a person’s mind to do something completely irrational; Rakesh decided that he would tell her. He was surprised himself, as he had been reticent all his life, and this sudden urge to open up was completely new to him. He decided to succumb to it.

“Do you believe that a relationship can be built around a love for a common thing?” he asked.
“Sure. Why not?”
“Well, the song that was just playing on the radio… I had a relationship based around that.”
“What song is that? Sounded like Owl City.”
“It is. On the Wing by Owl City.”
“How can you have a relationship based around a song?”
“Not based around the song, exactly. Based around a love for music rather. But it started with that song.”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“Yeah.”

*****

“It is a perfect song to fall in love over, especially if you’re a teenager with an impressionable mind. There is a delicate playfulness in the music and the lyrics, which keeps things lighthearted. I find it very necessary to like a person without getting overwhelmed by complicated emotions, at least in the initial stages.

She and I chanced upon the song together one day, and even though we had been friends for a while, that was when we had our first real conversation. We were both clean slates and curious souls, ready to take on whatever the world had to offer, and were dissatisfied with the kind of music that our friends listened to. Together we explored all the unknown territories of music available on the internet, old bands, rare records, genres that hurt our ears, and musicians that made our hearts melt.

Mind you, we were 15 years old and our friends were all busy fawning over songs from latest Hindi flicks and Backstreet Boys and stuff like that. This fact distanced us from the rest of the world – we believed that we had better taste, and we would let no one convince us otherwise. Of course, such misguided notions evaporate with time and you realize that tastes are just meant to be categorized as similar and different, not superior and inferior. But, the music stays.”

Rakesh turned to check if Meera was listening.

“Why didn’t it work out?” she asked.
“Life gets in the way.”

Both sighed in unison. It was getting a little chilly and the fire was dying once again.

“I have this weird feeling that you and I are going to be good friends,” Meera said before returning to her tent.

7 Days Writing Challenge, Literary

#7 Utopia

I was sitting alone on my balcony, sipping my sixth beer, and almost at the verge of falling into a drunken sleep. It had been a particularly bad day. The glare of the moon hurt my eyes and the crickets sounded like a marching band; I felt myself slipping into a pit of despair and I couldn’t resist. I started dreaming of strange things.

Soon, I was awakened by music — the soft sound of a piano — drifting out of an open window and being carried down to me by the summer breeze. Debussy’s Clair de Lune. It wasn’t a recording, for the hands that played it often faltered, and yet managed to maintain a perfect emotion. Each note struck my brain like a hammer; soon I was fully conscious and in tears.

Who lived there? I had never bothered to find out. The piano kept on ringing in the moonlight, its volume rising and falling with the wind while I stood transfixed under its spell. For a moment, I reached out at the ever distant utopia and touched it with a fingertip.

#7dayswritingchallenge

7 Days Writing Challenge, Literary

#6 Fireflies

There used to be thousands of fireflies in the woods surrounding APC Roy Boys’ hostel. The area was mostly devoid of artificial light (the streetlights seldom worked), and all you could see on a warm summer night were the stars and the little glowing bugs.

Fireflies are fascinating creatures. The male flies about, flashing his light. The female sits in the nearby trees and signals back to the male of their choice. She is extremely picky. Once a male is chosen, they mate throughout the night.

Every species of fireflies has a different signaling pattern, like Morse code. But some species eat others. They copy the female signalling pattern of the other species — a male comes looking for sex but gets eaten instead. These predator species are aptly called “femme fatale”.

We can deceive the males too, with a torch, if we know the exact pattern of response of a female of that particular species.

I had come across the topic of fireflies while studying non-linear dynamics. Several species in South-East Asia display a special property of synchronization, where huge populations turn their lights on and off at the same time, resulting in a very pretty display — entire forests light up and go dark following a steady rhythm. How do so many individual fireflies manage to agree on a single rhythm? The answer is very simple, yet it is not completely understood from a mathematical perspective. (Watch this wonderful video for more.)

Fireflies also die together. They disappear overnight, only to be seen again an year later.

#7dayswritingchallenge

7 Days Writing Challenge, Literary

#4 Reflection

The light in his eyes was not a mere reflection of the surroundings. His pupils burned with unwavering hope, insatiable desire, and infinite curiosity — an everlasting flame that originated deep within, from the very fabric of his soul. In the darkest and coldest of nights, I’d often find myself conversing with this remarkable boy and basking in his warmth.

#7dayswritingchallenge

7 Days Writing Challenge, Fan Fiction, Literary

#3 Dream

I had never seen anything like it. I found myself in the middle of a grassy meadow which stretched out till the horizon in all directions; the sky was an unearthly blue and a light breeze fanned my hair, carrying with it the sweet smell of honey-roasted bread. At some distance, a little girl was crouching near a patch of flowers and poking at something with a stick.

She looked up as I walked nearer. There was no mistaking those bright green eyes and the flowing red hair.

“You can see me?” I asked.

She didn’t answer, but continued staring with slightly parted lips. After a while I realized she wasn’t looking at me, but through me. It was only natural.

I stepped aside and followed her gaze. She was watching a boy with black hair. He wore a black overcoat and waved around a twig as if it were a wand. Recognition flooded through me, and I felt a sudden surge of heat as I pulled my face out of the Pensieve.

“What did you see?” Lily asked me.
“One of your dreams from long ago.”
“Ah, it’s rare to find dreams in there,” she said, “They are so tricky to catch!”

Why Severus? — I wanted to ask. For a while, I watched her nursing little Harry, peaceful and happy, and decided against it.

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7 Days Writing Challenge, Literary

#2 Secret

It was inevitable. All three of us realized it as soon as we found the documents. We hastened through the packed streets, sweating underneath our overalls in anticipation of what was about to happen.

Timmy was undoing the apartment locks when Sid pulled out his gun and promptly shot him in the head. He then turned towards me.

“Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead,” he said.

His brains spilled out before he could pull the trigger. Timmy had somehow managed a clean shot with his dying strength. I carefully gathered the briefcase and walked away from the unfolding pools of blood.

In murder, you do not stop for quotes.

#7dayswritingchallenge

7 Days Writing Challenge, Literary

#1 Snow

I found her sitting alone in the gentle snowfall, facing away. She wore a white woolen cap below which her black hair hung carelessly, speckled with tiny particles of snow. I could hear her muffled sobs in the silence.

Unable to find my words, I sat down beside her. She wiped a tear and held out a mittened hand. A snowflake landed softly on the wool and I watched it melt into the warmth.

Why is everything beautiful so fragile?

#7dayswritingchallenge

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Note: This is my first post for the 7 Days Writing Challenge by our college’s Literary Club. It is similar to the 30 Days Writing Challenge which I started in 2013 but left midway.

7 days writing challenge