Categories
Short Prose

Traces

She moved ahead slowly, taking a step or two carefully, lest she would frighten the squirrels and they will run away. Only if she could get a little closer, but the path was covered with dry leaves. She liked it not to crush them under her feet. That voice! How can she inflict such pain on the little leaves. Dry leaves, they always attract her. While strolling here and there, in the morning, noon and evenings or even while going to or returning from somewhere, she has this habit of picking up fallen dry leaves. She would pick them up, move her fingers slowly over the patterns on the lamina, feeling it, absorbing it and then put it down carefully at the foot of some big tree. Dry leaves. Fallen dry leaves. How beautiful they are. Once lush green, they danced with the winds, rustling, swaying. Sequined with pearls, adorned with flowers, they floated high, like a queen, in the air. Now, on the ground, slimed with mud, dried and withered, they are crushed, while someone negligently steps on them to praise some newly formed bud. She hunched down, sat in the little clearing and picked up a red leaf. Her fingers were tossing it over, making random lines and circles on it, while she herself was drowning in the deep circles of memories, dark impressions which had wilted her, withered her.

She hunched down, sat in the little clearing and picked up a red leaf. She could hear them, calling her, searching her. And here she was hiding in this little clearing in the mid of these thorny bushes. She sat quietly trying to suppress her giggles, when anyone of them passed from there. There were many leaves and little wild flowers. She started playing with them, forgetting entirely that she was playing something else, while the rest of the children too forgot her, young as they were, as soon as some movie began. Her little fingers carefully picked up the yellow and red flowers from the ground and tried to fix them in the braid. She would adorn herself and would surprise everyone. With the red and yellow flowers against her swarthy skin and olive green frock she looked heavenly. Carefully she emerged out from the hiding, running zealously towards the home, excited as she was, to surprise them all. The afternoon road was quiet and sun had enveloped everything in a lazy heat. As a ripple breaks out in silent waters, she ran with little steps. Redness sprouted its branches on her angelic visage. She was a bud, half opened, about to bloom into a full flower. But suddenly the sun drowned in the darkest of waters, the yellow and red flowers fumed into black ashes, the gleam of her eyes got lost in some ghoulish hollow. The petals shattered, the bud would never bloom. Covered in olive green tatters, she crawled to reach her home, blood dripping down from between her thighs, leaving behind traces, traces of …

A tear drop fell on the little red leaf, and settled on the dry surface like a glistening pearl. A squirrel which had came very slowly near her, finding her perfectly still and lost, and was about to snatch the leaf from her hands, at the fall of the tear, got really frightened and in no time ran away from there. The hasty movements of the squirrel forced her to laugh, but the laughter only deepened her pain. The fear of the squirrel reminded her more intensely of the black day and a sudden outburst of tears wrapped her. She sobbed and cried, tears flowed freely, endlessly, but at the same time she felt a strange lightness. Something which she had not felt since. The tears had washed the little red leaf, it was dry still, but was dazzling brightly under the sun.

© Muntazir
Picture Credit

Categories
Short Prose

A Withered Flower

She had not seen her for the past two years. Two years, such a long time. It passed like two centuries, in a jiff. Each minute burdened her soul and months passed unnoticed. The nights refused to pass and days kept sliding. Flowers withered and fell and withered. Dogs wailed and sighed and wailed. She had not seen her for the past two years. Two years and her anklets tinkled in the empty room. Hands waved in front of the white mirror, but it reflected only white walls, the walls which refused to scream. They were silent. Silent as a deserted house. She lived in a house, longing for a home. Two years and her arms ached to carry a beating heart.

The milk she had kept for boiling, over the gas-stove, rises and rises and flows down all over. The smell reaches her through the passage. It makes her feel nauseated. She had never liked this smell. Was it because of this disgust of boiled milk’s smell that her breasts are dry? But she loved to drink milk. Her daughter would have loved it too. Why was she snatched away from her? She was not dead. She herself had felt her little heart, rising and falling with each breath. Yes, she was not dead. But they, they never listened to her. They told her that her flower was withered and they buried it under the ground. She stood up, untied the anklets from her feet and threw them negligently over the table, where they  failed to land. Lost in another world, she blindly moved towards the kitchen, through the hall. It was empty, like the rest of the house, but she moved with such an effort as if she was making her way through loads of stuff. The more she tried to remove them from her way, the more they blocked her passage.

She felt a wetness touch her feet. She looked down, and a silent scream choked her throat. The white tiled-floor was all covered with blood, red human blood, and it was making her feel nauseated. She felt sick. Her eyes followed the course of blood, but what she saw was more than she could ever take. On the gas stove, in her own kitchen, boiling in a black rusted pot, was her daughter – formless, featureless, only a piece of flesh – boiling. From it were flowing  bloodstreams, ceaselessly through her entire house, painting the white walls red, making her house a home. The silent room echoed laughter, laughter of hundreds of masked doctors. They had once snatched her baby, she won’t let them do it again. She ran towards the pot and in the hot boiling blood, which had now turned black, inserted both her hands.

Her baby. Her baby was now in her arms, she kept it on her breast and felt her warm heart melting. For the first time in two years, a teardrop fell out of her eyes. She had screamed and kicked and yelled, when they had snatched her two years back. She wanted to cry but tears never showed up. She thought her heart was stone, but today the stone melted. She wept and sang and smiled and the whole house, which was silent for the past two years, echoed her voices and rejoiced. She kissed the flesh, again and again all over, till she started recognising her baby’s features, her little face, hands and feet. It was the happiest day of her life. She wanted to dance. She will dance. She ran to get her anklets. She bowed down to pick them up from the floor, but the beads had scattered. The music had stopped.

© Muntazir
Picture Credit

Categories
Short Prose

One Day

She was not sure about where she had gone wrong. She looked at the drawing closely, added few strokes here and there, darkened few areas and added little more details, but she was still not satisfied with it. Where had she gone wrong? It was irritating. She wanted to do crazy things. She wanted to throw it away with great disgust, she wanted to paint it black, she she just wanted to destroy it in some cruel way to satiate her anger. She had worked the entire week on that piece, but it was perhaps the worst she had made in her entire career. Whoever looked it, no doubt went off the boundaries in praising it, but in every praise, in each word of appraisal she heard a mocking satire, she saw faces laughing at her, telling her what a failure she was. She wanted to scream at them, she wanted to scream at everyone. Everything, she thought, was making fun of her. She realised how the yellow of the walls of the studio matched with the colour of her dress. She now, on looking closely at the walls saw how the pattern engraved, instead of adding any beauty, gave the room an ugly look. She was surprised at this, as she herself had suggested this pattern to be engraved on the walls last year. Now, it repelled her so badly. She wanted to run away from it. She wanted to run away from everything. Each known face scared her to death. She wanted to shift to some distant land where no one would recognise her, where her name will be just some ordinary name. There she would colour her skin green and lie undiscovered on fresh grass or would paint her lips blue and plant innumerable kisses on the vast sky, unseen from the worldy eyes. She would paint herself brown and would drown herself in the mud. Perhaps some day, some potter would collect her to make toys for little kids and she would get dispersed in thousand different villages. She would paint herself yellow and would dance amid the daffodils. Perhaps the bees and butterflies will also dance with her. Perhaps those little creature would detect some trace of sweetness in her which was long lost. Lost. How much she has lost. How many she has lost. Were they never meant to be hers or she has simply lost them? Or is it she who is lost? She will run away, she will run away from everything, to a world where the sun never sets, where the nightingale sings eternally; to a world where she would sing with the thrush, flow with the rivers, cry with the moon, and smile with the stars. Will they accept her as their companion? Or will they too repel her? Will they too leave her? Will she ever find a world where she would live peacefully, where she would be loved eternally. Love. How beautiful this emotion is. How pure, how serene. She has always felt like the child who tries to catch the flash of light falling on the wall. The moment he thinks he has caught hold of it, the flash moves away and he keeps on running behind it. She too is running, running since ages. Where? She knows not. But she knows that one day she will be able to get hold of that flash, one day she would reach its source itself.

© Muntazir
Picture Credit

Categories
Short Prose

A Sweet Escape

The cold breeze pricked her cheeks, making her shiver with pain. Reality is harsh. Sleep is a sweet escape. But the wind would not let her sleep. Like the snooze of an alarm it was constantly nagging her. She wanted to smack it hard on the ground and laugh at the shattered pieces. Atleast, she would not remain the only broken thing in the room. She had even started to enjoy the foolish thought, but the next icy blow slapped her hard, as if wreaking the vengeance.

She wanted to sleep. She was tired. It was a long day. A long hard day and she was tired, tired of doing nothing. She wanted to sleep. She had wanted to sleep the whole day, but sleep would just not listen. It seemed to her that sleep was sleeping herself. Was she too tired? Was she too in pain? If so, she would relieve her of it. She would caress her in a warm embrace and tell her that she was not alone. She would plant a light kiss on her forehead and fill her voids. She would even sing to her a lullaby in the same sweet voice she could hear now. Yes, exactly like this, this calm angelic voice. But, but whose is it? Whose hands are caressing her forehead? Who is snuggling her in this warm embrace? Whose baby is she becoming? She cannot see, her eyes are getting heavier, everything is getting fade fader…

© Muntazir
Picture Credit