I Have Not Forgotten

I am really sorry for not reading, commenting and writing on WordPress for the whole month. It’s just that our teachers seem to think that we don’t have a life outside of college and due to their kind consideration, now we actually don’t have a life outside of college.

So much has been going on lately that I have not had the time or energy to write. I leave for college at eight,come home at five. I change, eat and start working on assignments and projects by six. And then I stay at it till 11:30 or 12 and then I just crash.

I also want to write about so many things that I just can’t pinpoint a single one.

So to tide over my frequent readers, here is the first chapter of the novel I started writing as a teeny-bopper back in 2012:

The Love of a Father – A Vampyr Story

Chapter 1: Survivor

A violent mob. The burning pitchforks. The shouts. That was what Leah Dragos woke up to on the eve of her mother’s death. She was asleep on the hard floor holding her still and cold mother in her lap. She wanted to bury her in the forest behind their hovel, but she was so tired and drained with the tears she had shed and the keening wails she had no control over, that she had dropped off in a dark, haunted, dreamless sleep. Now she realized she would never get to bury her in the way she deserved, because the noisy mob was almost upon her home.

She sighed, she wasn’t afraid; it was merely an inconvenience, a nuisance that these people were presenting her with. She was confident in her abilities to thwart a crowd of “witch” mumbling hooligans. But she would be left without a home. Well I won’t be able to keep the house anyway, where would I get the rent money from? A house, like that’s what it is, a hovel more like it. But the memories, yes the memories…. She was jolted awake from her daydream of good times with her mother and landed back in her bizarre reality, when a particularly loud celebratory cheer on her mother’s death went up outside.

She shut off her emotions then, just like she had so many times before. A trait of hers for which she was called witch. Like it’s the only unnatural one I have. She thought bitterly. Leah’s ‘abilities’, as her mother called them, were a source of fear and trepidation among the village folk. Some said she was cursed at birth, others said she was a changeling, switched at birth by a mighty witch. Others simply claimed she WAS a witch, just like her mother. A monster, a ghost’s child, a shape-shifter. Leah chuckled while she carried her mother’s tiny body to the rotting mattress on the floor. She covered her up in her threadbare shawl and set her hands on her chest.

A tiny pearly tear was all her hardened heart allowed to escape from her eyes. Sorry Mama, you know I love you, but I have to disappear now or it will be too late. Yes, she had a heart as cold as the relentless ice that hardened the ground as she ran from the back of the hovel into the dark woods, but she knew it will be what would keep her alive now.

She was so lost in thought and remorse, that she did not see the dark, lithe figure emerging from the house, with a bundle over its shoulder.

********

He looked at her face; it was starting to discolor now. Silly girl, he thought, what was she thinking sleeping at a time like this! But he was proud of the calm façade she had put on later, he knew how she was hurting, but she hadn’t panicked, she was clever.

He swept a lock of hair from his eternal lover’s face. Eternal? She’s dead! He chided himself on the direction his thoughts were taking. Now’s not the time to revisit the mistakes already made.

He rolled up the sleeves of his raven-black coat, and set to work digging his beloved’s grave. His superhuman strength made short work of it. He cradled Irina’s body in his arms, close to his heart for a moment, before lightly jumping in the cave and placing her on the wet soil. He climbed out and started covering her fragile body with the cool earth. She always was breakable, he thought amusedly, focusing on the better memories of their love, rather than the bitter ones.

He stood up when he was finished; throwing the iron shovel in a tree over his head like it was a feather.

Now to see what my progeny is up too….

********

Leah curled into a ball in the hole made by a hollowed out tree. This was her sanctuary, a place to come to when things got too much for her to bear. It was a beautiful night; the orb-like full moon was hanging in the sky, the stars twinkling. A cool breeze was blowing, but Leah was shielded from its bite by her tree.

She thought about the crazy turn her already crazy life was taking. She realized she would have to live on the streets now. The village was small, but Leah had an idea where she would be safest from the rapers and the murderers.

There was an old abandoned side of the village, named the ‘Ghost Street’ by the villagers. It was said to be haunted. An old legend was famous around these parts, that the mansion at the end of the street was once the abode of a blood-sucking monster, a Lord. His land stretched miles around his home, a village was established there. Apparently the village people revolted against him and burned his house to the ground, seemingly with him inside it. Some said it was his ghost that haunted the place now. Some forms of the legend claimed that the people who had tried to kill him were killed off one by one in painful ways, and they were THEIR spirits that haunted the place now. She thought about what the mansion looked like now, the stone walls were still intact, but the wooden structures were burned. There were abandoned and dilapidated cottages all around the mansion’s ground. Yes, ample shelter, she thought. And nobody would venture out there, the cowards that these people were. A few teenagers on a dare or drunken men maybe, but there were plenty of places to hide out there. She made up her mind and started to uncurl from her fetal position on the hard ground. She picked up her bundle, settling all she had in the world on her shoulders. A dress, a pair of shoes, her mother’s diary, and a book, the only one she owned….

But the most prized possession she owned was around her wrist: a delicate gold bracelet embedded with three blood-red rubies on the front. And at the back were the words “In Aeternitatem”. Her mother had told her they were of an ancient language, meaning ‘for eternity’. She was very protective about it, she had given it to Leah on her 10th birthday, and after that it had always stayed around Leah’s wrist. Once when she was 13, it was a cold and brutal winter, Leah suggested her mother to sell or barter the bracelet, and she had never seen her mother that angry.

Her mother never said who had given it to her, but Leah was clever enough to figure out it must have been her father. Like I should call him that, my sire maybe, not FATHER, what has he done to deserve that name and status in my life? If I could just find him, demand answers, SEE him! Hell, I don’t even know if he’s human!

She wasn’t aware of the shadow trailing behind her, chuckling lightly on his daughter’s thoughts, which were swirling about crystal clear in his head. Her mixed blood had always unconsciously provided her a shield to thwart his telepathy, but not when she was upset and overly emotional. His smile turned into a frown. She must really be hurting then, her mother’s death and her absent father who she thinks abandoned her, if only she knew how much I care…

Just as Leah stopped behind the last row of trees behind his old mansion, he heard the message his second-in-command, his creation, Roman, was sending him through their telepathic link. Sorry child, you’re on your own for now, he thought, sighing.

He whooshed around and disappeared in thin air.

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Through The Window of Reality

*A short story I wrote some time ago. I was on the verge of sending it to a couple of writing competitions. However, I thought that my story is too immature, too shallow and just not up to the literary standard of other competitors. I waited until the deadline and just as I was about to hit the send button, I stopped, and succumbed to my insecurities. And so here is another short story by unpublished wannabe author Raiha…*

Cynthia Raines was lost in the world of her imagination. In the humidly hot summer night, her nose was slick with sweat, causing her heavy eyeglasses to slip lower and lower until, frustrated, she had to push them back up her nose. Her hand went back to the keyboard of her dilapidated laptop as she continued writing of dragons, damsels and angelic knights. A dark awry curl tumbled out of her messy bun and onto her sticky forehead; she let out a grunt of discontent and again lifted her hand that had been hitting the keys feverishly, to tame the offending lock. She gave her glasses a push for extra measure, before resuming her epic tale.

Twenty minutes later, Cynthia, or has her friends called her, Cyn, glanced at the bottom of the screen to see it was close to two in the night. She had class in six hours. Plenty of time, she thought, to finish this chapter, and get the couple of hour’s worth of sleep she needed to function.

She got up and went to the tiny crammed bathroom in her painfully small studio apartment. Splashing cool water on her hot face, she grabbed a headband that was lying on the side of the sink, and placed it far back on her head to keep the irritating tendrils out of her face for good. Then she took two bobby pins and placed one on each side of her head clamping the legs of the glasses to her hair and fixing the glasses to her nose, as she had done so many times before. She made sure to place a shoe in front of the bathroom door to stop it from moving with the slight breeze coming from the sluggish ceiling fan, and making an annoying squeaking sound. Making a mental note to ask the landlord to fix the door’s hinges and its lock, she went to the fridge, filled a glass with cold water, and finally made her way back to her unsteady desk.

An hour later, with no distractions, she was close to finishing the chapter and was completely unaware of her surroundings, lost in words as she was. At first, she didn’t even hear the disturbance going on beneath her window. It had been barred for safety as it opened into an alley that gave her the chills and was the hang-out spot of many young delinquents. She was roused out of her literary stupor with the loud screeching of tires. Her ears perked up as she listened carefully for other odd noises in the otherwise silent night in the criminal-infested area she lived in. She was just about to go back to the good Princess Maya’s other-worldly adventures when she heard the distinctive sound of a bottle breaking precariously close to her apartment’s window.

Cynthia was scared. She stumbled out of her chair and slammed her hand on the light switch, leaving the room lit with only moonlight. She didn’t want whoever was out there to know she was up. She didn’t think it would have any effect if someone was coming to rob her, but she still felt safer now that her window wasn’t the only one still lit up at this time.

She inched closer and closer to the window and peaked outside. Squinting in the dark, she saw a body sprawled on the concrete ground. Great, she thought, another inebriated idiot thrown out by a cabbie, no doubt, when he didn’t have any money to pay the driver. In her analytical mind, she thought that this was the best guess. It would explain the tire screech, the thrown bottle and the unintelligible mumbles that were now coming from the person. She quickly slipped her hand behind the bars and snapped the window shut. She had opened it just a few inches so she could breath in her stuffy room, but she figured now that bearing the heat will be better than the chance of any other flying debris landing in her room.

She was just about to turn back and head to her illuminated laptop screen when she heard a strangled scream. The person beneath her window got on all fours and tried to stand up on wobbly legs. Cynthia was surprised to see that it was a woman and a feeling of dread crept up her throat as she noticed the blood-spattered and bruised stranger look up at her through the bars.

As her horror-stricken mousy eyes met the woman’s glassy hazel ones, she gulped. The tall woman’s mouth moved as if she had said something, before she slumped to the ground again, her back pressed against the brick wall opposite Cynthia’s window.

With a shaking hand, she again opened the window a few inches. Hearing the scrape, the woman looked up from beneath her hair, and she muttered a single word, “Please.”

With her compassionate heart in her throat, Cyn turned on her heel, flicked on the light switch and went to the door of her apartment. In her furry slippers, she rushed down the hallway, out the front door, around the building and finally skidded to a halt at the mouth of the dreaded alley shrouded in darkness. She cursed herself for not bringing a flashlight. Taking hold of her adrenaline-fuelled courage with both hands, she ventured into the darkness. Glass and other junk crunched beneath her feet, poking the soles of her feet through her thinly-soled slippers.

Feeling the constricting walls with her fingertips, she guided herself further in until the faint glow of her window illuminated her path a little. The huddled figure came into view.

She quickened her pace and crouched beside the barely-conscious woman at her feet. She reached out and gently touched her bare arm. “Are – are you okay?” Even she was appalled at the absurdity of the question that had tumbled out of her mouth. “I – I mean what happened? Is there anything I can do?” she rushed.

The woman looked at her finally and whispered. “Call…” “Call who? The Police? Oh my God! I should’ve done that earlier, I’m just gonna-” She was cut off when the woman grabbed Cynthia’s hand and tugged her down till their faces were centimeters apart. “No police. You got that? Please, no.” She said.

Cynthia furrowed her brow and was just about to interrogate the woman further when the stranger shook her head and leaned back with her eyes closed. After a couple of seconds, she opened them again and shook her head once more as if to get rid of the fogginess that seemed to envelope her.

“I have the number. I have to call him. Do you have your phone?” The lady asked.

Cynthia shook her head, “No, it’s inside. I can go and get it.”

She stood up and was just about to leave when she let her gaze wander over the shivering woman, clad in only a tiny golden sequined dress and golden stilettos. Her foot was twisted at an odd angle and her knees were scrapped. Her dress was ripped and rivulets of blood had dried on her forearm, coming from an ugly gash just above her elbow. Her black eye, disheveled hair and vicious hand prints on her neck left no doubt of what had happened to her.

Cynthia gulped, and briefly wondered if the woman was in the profession. She bit her lip, even if she was a prostitute, nobody deserved to be treated as this woman had been.

Her heart somersaulted in her chest once more. She bent down and placed her arm behind the woman’s shoulders. She tugged. “Well, actually, I’m not going to leave you out here. Come on, get up”, she grunted.

The woman refused to take hold of her weight and instead let out a wry laugh. “Don’t worry about me. Just call Andre, he’ll come get me”, she sighed.

Cyn, ever the stubborn girl she was, shook her head. “No, my conscience won’t allow me to leave you here. Even though it’s hot, you’re way underdressed and beat up to be out here.”

“Don’t waste time, girl, just go and bring me the phone. Better yet, I’ll tell you the number through your window and just dial the a****le and tell him to pick me up. Stay inside. Don’t come out again”, she said harshly.

Cyn narrowed her eyes. “No, I’m not a coward. You have two options, either I call the Police and an ambulance, or you come in with me.”

Cynthia was surprised at herself. She had always been aware that she was a humane person, but even she couldn’t explain the feeling this battered woman woke in her. She just knew she had to help her. She would never forgive herself if she abandoned her here.

The woman glared at Cynthia. Cynthia met the woman’s eyes with a defiant look in her own, and stood straight with her hands on her hips, staring down at the pile of golden hair and golden sequins.

She let out a sigh and held out her hand to Cyn. Cyn took it and pulled her up. Staggering in her stilettos, the woman towered over Cynthia. Putting an arm around her waist to support her, Cyn guided her out the dark alleyway and into the building’s small front hall. She quietly closed the door behind her and went to her room, the second in the hallway just down the hall.

Cyn guided the woman to the battered couch in her living room/bedroom/study room/kitchen and looked at her closely in her room’s bright light. Had the lady not been so screwed up, she would have been exquisite. Cynthia felt anger unfurl in her guts as she thought of whomever the bastard was that did this to her; to a fellow human being. She inadvertently let out a string of curse words.

Goldie chuckled a little. “Don’t be angry, there’s nothing you can do for me.  Just hand me the phone will you?”

Cyn quietly took her old cell phone off her desk and handed it to the woman. Holding it in her hands, with red painted fingernails, the woman looked down at where they rested in her lap.

A minute passed. Cynthia noted the woman’s need to delay making the call. “What’s your name?” she asked.

“Maya. My name is Maya”, she replied in her light voice.

Cyn’s eyes widened at the coincidence. “Oh. Oh. Wow, okay.”

Maya had a quizzical expression on her face.

Cyn sighed, “Well, it’s just I ah- know a very different Maya than you”, she said thinking of her delicate, pampered Princess.

Maya didn’t say anything, so Cynthia got up from the ugly couch and went in search of her first-aid box. After finding it covered in dust on top of the refrigerator, she went back to where Maya was staring off into the distance.

Cyn coughed quietly to snap Maya out of her thoughts and sat down beside her again, with the bulky box placed on her lap. She opened it with a creak and took out cotton wool, disinfectant and bandages. She squinted to read the insanely small print on the disinfectant while hoping it hadn’t expired and turned into fatal poison.

“It’s alcohol. It doesn’t go bad.” Cynthia snapped up her head at Maya’s voice.

“I’m sorry, what?”

“The disinfectant? Its main ingredient is ethyl alcohol. Alcohol doesn’t go bad.” Maya was definitely more lucid now.

“Oh. Right.” Maya shrugged and unscrewed the bottle. Dousing the cotton swab with the chemical, she started to clean the poor girl’s wounds. Starting with her knee, she paused when Maya let out a painful hiss.

“Don’t stop”, she said between clenched teeth. Cynthia resumed what she had been doing and winced when she came to the ugly gash on Maya’s arm.

“You might need stitches on that”

Maya rolled her eyes. “I’ve had worse. Just clean it and wrap it up.”

Cynthia did just that.

“What’s your name by the way?”

“Cynthia, but you can call me Cyn.”

“Well Cyn, I feel as if there’s a story behind that name. Tell me; what sins has a good girl like you ever committed?”

Cyn rolled her eyes. “I haven’t. That’s the standing joke. I’m twenty-one, I don’t drink, I don’t lie, I don’t cheat and I’m a virgin.”

Maya laughed; a tinkling sound that seemed surreal coming from the broken woman.

Cynthia smiled a bit before asking her seriously, “What happened to you?”

“Isn’t it obvious?”

“Well… But who was it? Why not go to the police?”

“I’m a whore, that’s why!”

Maya sighed at Cyn’s alarmed expression, and gave a sad small smile.

“You’re young Cyn; young and innocent. My story will do nothing but make you lose your faith in humanity.”

“Try me,” Cynthia shrugged.

Maya let her head fall back on the couch.

“I used to be a streetwalker.”

“Used to be?”

“Yeah. I quit. I took classes during the day, spread my legs at night. It got me through college. I quit as soon as I could.”

Cynthia balked at Maya’s indifference and crudity.

“So you have a job now?”

Maya squeezed her eyes shut. A tear escaped from the corner of her eye.

“I had a job. Until tonight.”

“Oh.”

“I worked at this pharmacy. I’m a chemist. The man who owns the pharmacy, his son… he…” She shuddered.

She opened her eyes and they were no longer glassy. Instead, she had fire in her eyes; rage.

“Richard’s a dick. Literally. He wanted me to supply him with enough crap to get him and his gang of friends high and tamper with the inventory so nobody found out.”

“What did you do? You said no right? Tell me you said no?”

“I couldn’t. He knew what my profession had been a few months back. He threatened he would tell his daddy, who would then kick my slutty ass to the street, as he put it. I couldn’t lose the job, so I did it. His dad found out though, through the cams. He called me in, said he knew his son had a problem, and asked me if I was supplying him. He said he won’t do anything if I told him the truth, so I told him the truth.” She narrated quickly.

“Then?”

“I felt free you know; guilt-free. So I went with my sleaze-ball of a boyfriend, Andre, to this club, to celebrate. He found me, him and his gang of a*****es. They put something in my drink and dragged me away when I was high ‘cuz of it…”

“Oh my God. How are you so, so, so okay?”

“Crying and complaining never got me anywhere, honey. They felt as if it was their right to do this to me, just because I had been a whore then, I was a whore now. So like the good little whore I am, I just lay there and let them take turns.”

Bile rose up in Cyn’s throat.

“They were four, including little Dicky boy. They did it in an alley behind the club and roughed me up a little and threw me out here when they were done. I just zoned out and went back to my street days. I felt as if I had just had another clie-”

Cyn jerked up from the couch and rushed to the bathroom. She knelt in front of the toilet bowl and puked. Tears were streaming down her face and her head was throbbing. How, how can it not be a big deal to her? How can someone do that to a person? How was she so calm?

She felt someone kneel down next to her and rub comforting circles on her back. Cynthia slumped back and looked at Maya with bloodshot eyes.

“What are you going to do now?” Cynthia’s voice broke as she asked.

“I’m going to do what I’ve been doing my whole life, I’m going to get up, dust myself off and move on.”

“Just like that?”

“Yeah, just like that.”

Cyn sighed and thought of her own life. Her parents had never been around. But then again, they’d been working nonstop just so Cyn could go to college. She didn’t have many friends. There were just a couple of people who understood her and her need to stay off the radar, confined in her own cavernous mind. She worked as a waitress at a family-owned café not far from where she lived. She didn’t have much money but that didn’t stop her from taking care of her needs and splurge a bit sometimes.

She was so lucky. So damn lucky.

“Where’s your family?”

Maya, still sitting on the cramped bathroom floor, shrugged.

“I don’t have any. I was in foster care till I was 15. I don’t know who my parents were; probably a hooker, like me, and maybe her rich client.” She said in a monotone.

Her mouth opening and closing like a goldfish, Cynthia stood from the floor and stared at the woman. “You’re so… so… ugh!”

“Stonehearted? Callous? A b**ch? Sure, whatever.”

“No, God no. But how can you be so… indifferent and so… strong?”

“I have nothing to lose Love; I just take what life gives me and try my best to deal with it.”

Cynthia rubbed her temples and stepping over Maya’s long legs, went to the bathroom door. She turned back, “You can take a shower if you want. I’ll lend you some clothes too.”

“Don’t you want me out of your hair?” Maya was surprised. This girl was so innocent, so trusting and such a genuinely good person that she felt ashamed even to be in the same room as her.

“I’m in no hurry. You obviously need a break from your life. And I obviously need a reality check. Stay, the Sun’s coming out. You can leave when it’s light”

“Well I would really love a shower” Maya said and Cyn could see the sadness and the helplessness on her face.

Goldie wasn’t as unaffected as she was pretending to be.

Giving the woman a sad smile, she walked out and shut the flimsy door. Walking to her dresser, she took out a soft tee-shirt and sweatpants. Maya was so much taller than her, that these would be more like capris on her. She hung the clothes on a pegboard she had installed near the bathroom door, because she hated changing in the tiny bathroom.

Taking a look at the clock, she saw that it was 5 in the morning. Sighing she crashed on top of the quilt on her bed and slept.

Two hours later, her phone’s alarm started screaming somewhere in the one-room apartment. Cyn groaned and just as she was about to sit up, the alarm went quiet. In her sleepy mind she thought nothing of it and went back to sleep.

It seemed as if just seconds had passed before she was being shaken awake. A strange voice was telling her that someone was at the door. She opened her sticky eyes to look at the gorgeous blond woman at her bedside and let out a little yelp.

As she sat up, all the events of last night, or more precisely, this morning came rushing back to her.

“Oh my God, she squawked, “It’s my friend Nan here to pick me up for class! Crap! She can’t know you’re here, she’ll freak out!”

Cyn stumbled out of bed and went to the door, opening it a crack. Before she could say anything, Nan’s loud voice could be heard “What the hell Cyn? Why aren’t you fucking dressed? It’s already ten to eight we are gonna be so fucking late!”

Maya wanted to take a look at Cyn’s potty-mouthed friend, but she stayed put. She didn’t want her innocent host to get in trouble for taking in a stray.

“Look Nan, you go on ahead okay?” Cynthia replied nervously.

“What, no! No fucking way, what the hell is wrong with you? You fucking know we have that test today! Did you even study for it?”

“No I didn’t! And see, that’s why I don’t wanna go, because I know I’m gonna flunk so I might as well just save myself the embarrassment!” Cyn said all in one breathe.

Nan narrowed her eyes. “Have you got someone in there? Oh-em-gee is it some guy? Is precious little Nan finally not a nun anymore?”

“What? No, no, I- uh- I haven’t got anyone in there.”

“You’re a horrible liar Cyn and you know it! You have five minutes, come out dressed and we’re going to Uni or I’m coming in there!”

Cynthia quickly tried to shut and lock the door, but Nan was too quick and jammed her combat-boot-clad foot in the crack. “Now I’m respecting your privacy here, because you know and I know that I can come in there in a second, no matter how hard you push.”

Nan was right; Cyn was no match for the tall and strong second generation Nigerian woman she had grown to love like a sister. Cynthia also knew why Nan was insisting her to come with her and getting late just for her sake. She was flunking, badly. Her book and job took all her time and she was on the verge of leaving college for good; if it wasn’t for Nan that is. If Cyn gave this test, even without studying, she might get a few, badly needed, marks.

“Okay, I’ll be out in five, I promise.” Cyn sighed.

“My foot stays right here buddy.” Nan said, with her arms crossed over her ample chest.  “You say goodbye to lover boy, I won’t listen”, she smirked, pointing to the earphones she had in her ears.

Rolling her eyes, Cyn retreated and looked at Maya, now sitting on her bed.

Without saying anything to her, Cyn gathered up her clothes and hopped into the shower. In record time she was out and dressed. Rolling her wet hair into a haphazard bun, she found her bag and keys and finally went to Maya’s side.

“You can stay here for as long as you like. I have class till 12, and then we can go to lunch once I get back!”

Maya just smiled at Cynthia and standing up from the bed hugged her fiercely.

“Goodbye Cyn. I hope you do well on that test.”

Cynthia, shocked at first, hugged her back and gave the woman a smile, already looking forward to seeing her again. She went to the door where Nan was sitting in front of the door and nudged her with her foot.

“Let’s go.”

*****

There was no sign of Maya.

At first, Cyn thought it had just been her imagination that had conjured up another Maya in her head. But then she saw the note on her desk.

Dearest Cynthia,

I’m not going to call you Cyn, because you, my dear, are everything but sin. You are pure, innocent and a ray of light in an otherwise dark world.

I’m sorry I left like that, but I had called Andre while you were in the shower. And don’t even bother to look, because I made sure to delete his number from your phone. Don’t try looking for me. Your life is so much different from mine; you will never find me at the places you will search. I’m so sure you will look for me, because I know you will feel as if you let down every human being on Earth if you don’t save me.

I no longer need saving. You have given me a perspective on life that I have never experienced before. Blind trust, faith in people you have just met and not judging someone who’s like me, screwed up so bad that I have no idea what you saw in me. Helping someone like me, cleaning my wounds and talking to me like I’m a real person, not just a dumb whore who has no rights! It made not just my day, but my life.

I hope you won’t think I intruded, but your computer was on and so I wish you and Princess Maya all the luck in the world. I hope you’ll remember me through her.

I hope I have not corrupted you with my tale of woe, and I also hope someday you will help millions as you have helped me.

From a person who will never forget you.

– Maya

Wiping the tears from her eyes, Cynthia was sure that she will never forget the golden girl either. Maya had taught her a lesson in life that she would always remember.

She straightened her spine as she sat down in front of her laptop and started to rewrite Princess Maya’s character as scarred, ‘slutty’, alone, strong and real – and blonde.

Years later, when she had become a renowned author and philanthropist for girls in the sex trade, Cyn had a framed, worn note on her desk, that people always asked the story behind.

All they got in reply was a small sad smile…

Angel

Luck has worked in my favor that a relevant daily prompt has arrived on just the day I had decided to post my story; the same story that I mentioned last week. This story is not about me or a chance I may have given to someone. It is fiction. A figment of my imagination where a woman has given a chance to a fragile man. Read and criticize. I will appreciate any and all feedback! This very short story is a first draft.

******

He had made me promise never to give up on him.

He was broken, and I was anything but that. His childhood was a nightmare. Mine was filled with overprotective parents, brothers and sisters. His wrists had scars. Mine had a bracelet my longtime best friend had given me. He had a history of drug abuse and rehab. I had a history of gold medals and achievement certificates. He was tattooed. I seldom let my hair out of its ever-present bun or ponytail. He smoked and before I came into his life, drank gallons of whiskey every month. I turned up my nose even at the smell of tobacco or alcohol. I was Yin. He was Yang.  And together we were each other’s equilibrium.

Still the job of balancing our relationship often fell to me. He would lapse into one of his dark moods, locking himself into the attic. He would be so quiet that only the wisps of cigarette smoke coming from under the door would tell me where he was. He would try to push me away. He would say poisonous words just to hurt me. He knew me enough to always taunt me where it hurt most.

And yet, he was my Angel. It was what I liked to call him. He had saved me from a mundane life of only working as an architect and listening to my mother rant about me being single on every Sunday brunch. He made fun of himself. Pointing out that his dark looks and darker demeanor was anything but angelic. And I would rebut by saying he was my Fallen Angel, thrown out by the Big Man for being too handsome. My silly compliment would be rewarded by a small smile. And that smile would be my achievement for the day.

My friends asked why I kept up with such a cynical, sadistic man, who couldn’t bear to see himself, happy. What they didn’t know was how every morning; he wakes me up with a small kiss on my forehead and a loving whisper in my ear, or how he battles his trust issues everyday and opens up to me nonetheless. How, because he could never say the words, he would leave me little notes telling me how much he cherished me. How he would sweetly apologize to me after one of his black moods. Those were parts of the enigma only I knew how to solve.

But today, today even I had reached my limits. I lay next to him, looking up at the off-white ceiling. With the thunder rumbling outside, the day had become even more dreary than usual. I felt a sob coming up my throat. All through our tumultuous relationship, I have never let myself cry over the words he says to me. But today I was hurt beyond measure. I was already raw with emotion, and he had ripped me apart even more.

Just a few hours ago, I had come back from a long stay at the hospital.

I had lost my child, our child.

When I had told him of the life we had made together, he had, as I had expected, locked himself up. But at the end of the day, he had come out and held me, and given me a slow wondrous smile. We spent the next two weeks in a bubble of happiness.

The bubble was burst in the worst way possible when I miscarried. The days I spent in the hospital, he never said a single word other than to ask me how I felt once or twice a day. Or to relay some instructions the doctor had given me. I knew he was hurt, I understood. How could I not when it was I whose body could not sustain the life God had blessed us with. I was distraught. I needed him. He was not there.

The day we came home, he blamed me and said to me that which I could never forget. Yet, I have vowed to forget. I will not rewrite his speech here or anywhere else for as long as I live.

But then when I lay there, his cold voice came back to me, and tears prickled behind my eyes. I turned my head to look at his silent profile. His perfect features, his neck that I loved to place kisses on, marred by an ugly scar that ran across it. I wondered, for the thousandth time, how he had survived. Determination. That was the only answer that came to me as I eyed his set jaw. Stubbornness. Will power. And as I waited for an apology that may never come, I decided that I was going to be stubborn as well and break a promise for the first time in my life.

Quietly, I turned and swung my legs over the edge of the bed. I looked back at my Angel one more time before I got up. I, like the stereotypical partner who walks out, was not going to pull out a suitcase from the closet and start filling it with a huff. Instead, I went to the door and with apparent resolve, opened it and stepped outside. As I gently closed the door, I heard the bed-springs creek.

I went down the stairs, grabbed my handbag and car keys. As I went out the front door, I heard footsteps thudding down the staircase inside. I stood with my hand on the doorknob. My resolve was weakening. But, I shook off the moment of weakness, squared my shoulders, turned and made my way to my red Jeep. I started the car, and without looking back, I drove off, leaving my Angel behind.

Despite my promise, I had given up on him, just like everyone else had.

*****

The pills had always been there. For depression, for insomnia, for anxiety, for this, for that. Ever since she had come into his life, he had seldom felt the need to take out one of the many bottles in the cabinet. She knew they were there, but she had never questioned him about them. She was like that, minding her own business. Until it came to someone trying to hurt the people she loved. She would attack then. Despite her calm appearance, she had a quick temper. It amused him. And at times, reprimanded him.

He looked at the bottle in his hands, and thought about the idiocy of the doctor who had prescribed them, knowing his history of suicide attempts. A smirk twisted his full lips into a menacing look. He laid on her side of the bed, on his back, looking up, just like she had been lying moments ago. He rolled the bottle between his hands.

He was a grown man, he was ashamed at what he was about to do. He imagined her eyes narrowing if she were to find him in this moment. She would snatch the bottle from his hands, and then place her hands on her waist. She would glare at him. A lecture would follow. Of his worth. Of how much he meant to her. Her eyes would soften then. She would pull him up. And then hold him. And say a hundred words of love.

It had happened before, when he had cut himself accidentally while he was shaving. She had entered the bathroom just as the first drop of blood had fallen. Her anger knew no limits; even that she didn’t notice the cut was on his finger, nowhere near any dangerous vein.

He prayed that his thoughts would come true. She would come back. He looked at the storm raging outside through the window. He prayed again. He prayed that she would be safe. He prayed she would drive carefully.

As he unscrewed the cap, his thoughts were of two warm brown eyes narrowed at him playfully…

*****

She thought of all the knives in the kitchen. Of all the scissors in the drawers. Of the razors; her pink ones, his blue ones. Of the cabinet full of drugs. And the licensed pistol she kept in the locker.

She slammed her foot hard on the brakes and sat with her hands clutching the wheel as all around her, rain poured down in torrents. She rested her head back and let the first few tears fall. Several minutes passed as she wept along with the sky.

She had made up her mind. She made a U-turn, and as she did, she called an ambulance to their residence.

*****

He had lined up the pills on the floor. A memory crossed his mind of when he was a teenager, lining up white powder in the same way as he lined up the pills. He thought of crushing the pills into powder, as a twisted tribute to his younger days.

Thoughts about her still plagued him. They said, and he himself had experienced, that when about to commit suicide, the mind goes blank. No thought remains of those who you are leaving behind. And yet his mind still would not stop conjuring up images of a pale face and a luscious body. Fat, she called herself. Sensual, he called her. She had issues of her own. But she was stronger than him.

His wandering mind came back to the present as he heard sirens in the night. He sat up alert. The sirens grew closer and closer until finally stopping just beneath his window.

And, as he threw his head back and let out a bark of laughter, he heard the familiar rumble of her Jeep followed by the loud slamming of a car door.

*****

“Wherever there is you, I will be there too”

Silhouettes And Eyes Wide Shut

The past week, I have had my eyes wide shut. Do you know that feeling you get when your eyes are trying their best to close on you yet you open them up by sheer willpower? Sometimes I felt like putting scotch tape on my lids like in Tom & Jerry, but I couldn’t take the risk of waxing off my eyelashes, so I left that idea alone. It was like I had opened my eyes as wide as I could, but they were still slits with heavy lids. So I shut off my poor laptop, that had also reached its limits and was overheating, and crashed into bed, only to wake up four hours later and start trying to wake up all over again. This routine continued for six exams, five days.

But I guess it was my own fault. If I hadn’t a) bunked classes, b) slept in class, c) doodled in class, d) avoided questioning teachers and e) procrastinated in studying the course material provided in the last two months, I might have not been in this situation. And if I hadn’t been a nerd in the last semester and gotten a 3.9/4.00 GPA then I wouldn’t have been bothered to maintain it!

Thankfully the gruelling week of midterm exams is now over and I can continue writing and getting lost in music.

As soon as I came home today after the last paper I immediately started to, for lack of a better world, assault my laptop’s keyboard in feverish strokes as the words kept flowing. The result was a short story written in two hours in what I have identified as my signature style, with no names, 1st person/differing POVs and lots of emotion, at least I think that’s how it is.

In all my excitement, I emailed the first draft of the short to Alienora, my mentor who doesn’t know she’s my mentor. Just now I have come to know that Ali, my mentor, (who doesn’t know she’s my mentor) is on a hiatus and that has left me confused on whether to post the story here or not. I wanted my mentor (who doesn’t know she’s my mentor) to read it first and tell me whether it ‘has meaning or is complete bull’ as I phrased it in the postscript of the email.

While I was writing this, I was listening (for the 100th time) to the song that was the inspiration behind the story. So, I have decided to share the lyrics with my readers first. Later on I may, or may not, share the story, depending on what my mentor (who doesn’t know she’s my mentor) says!

Silhouettes by Of Monsters and Men (give it a listen, it’s a lovely song!)

It’s hard letting go
I’m finally at peace but it feels wrong
Slow I’m getting up
My hands and feet are weaker than beforeAnd you are folded on the bed where I rest my head
There’s nothing I can see, darkness becomes me

But I’m already there, I’m already there
Wherever there is you, I will be there too

There’s nothing that I’d take back
But it’s hard to say there’s nothing I regret
Cause when I sing, you shout
I breathe out loud
You bleed, we crawl like animals
But when it’s over, I’m still awake

A thousand silhouettes dancing on my chest
No matter where I sleep, you are haunting me

But I’m already there, I’m already there
Wherever there is you, I will be there too
But I’m already there, I’m already there
Wherever there is you, I will be there too

‘Cause I’m already there, I’m already there
Wherever there is you, I will be there too
I’m already there, I’m already there
Wherever there is you, I will be there too

 

With Bated Breath…

… I present to you the first text of Leather, Spikes and Everything Nice! (I feel like a crappy teen writer, but whatever…)

As he waited impatiently in the decrepit parking lot, he finally spotted a shiny black Harley coming his way. It roared and stopped in an impressive maneuver a few feet away from him.

He saw, mouth agape, as she swung one shapely leg over the tank of the bike and pulled off her dark purple helmet to set free ribbons of black. She took off her black leather jacket and swung it to rest on her shoulder.

She started to walk towards him.

At first look, she was daunting. Tall; around 5’10”. Large; with his vast experience of the female anatomy, he guessed her to be a size 14 or borderline 16. Her ebony hair touched her elbows. A silver piercing shone in her right brow. Tattoos covered her arms, her back (what was visible to him), her collar bones and even the side of her face. The art on her body could almost rival his own.

His shrewd eyes missed nothing as he swept his keen gaze all over her. A black tank top was all she wore over a pair of dark battered jeans and combat boots. On her hands were biker gloves, and around her neck was a vintage-looking pendant on a long rustic chain.

Her skin was pale. Her eyes were covered with large dark glasses. A small nose adorned her oval face. And her lips, luscious as they were, were covered in blood-red lipstick.

Said lips were twisted into a scowl and her eyebrows were furrowed in annoyance.

He had to look as intimidating as she did, so he crossed his arms over his chest to look just so. He even glared at her a little. With his own impressive height of 6 and 4, he was sure he was doing a good job at appearing the typical alpha male.

She smirked, amusedly, at his obvious display of ‘I am a man and I’m not awed by you’ drama. She was half expecting him to start barreling his chest and yelling like a caveman anytime soon.

She stood within arm’s reach, took off her sunglasses to reveal her Heterochromia Iridia ridden eyes, and raised one dark brow at him.

Without saying a single word, she mirrored his stance.

Waiting for the spoiled motherfucker to start whining at why she was here, she tapped her foot impatiently on the concrete floor beneath her boots.

His eyes widened a little and he immediately lowered his arms to hang by his sides, just as she suspected.

That was why she gasped in surprise as, with a quick motion, he grasped her wrist and turned it upwards to loot at the scars that went crisscross to her elbow.

As his bottomless dark eyes met her own unusual ones, a vague thought flew through her mind that she might just have met her match…

The Whimsical World of Naiha

I  came upon the Facebook page Weirdness by Naiha, by accident. And as all good things that occur accidently, my find took me on an amazing journey as Naiha’s drawings were not just good, but exquisite.

Inspiration struck. I wanted to write stories on her drawings. Her characters have so much depth that my mind could not stop conjuring up interesting scenarios and past stories.

In short, Naiha’s drawings are like my muse, if that makes any sense!

We tried to communicate but could not do it effectively. So I decided to just go on and write this post, because I will surely explode if I don’t!

Pakistan has so much talent and looking at these digital paintings, you will surely be awed.

I am going to start writing on a select few of the drawings, and will be posting them here and also on Naiha’s page.

And I hope all my readers will show their support and like her page, especially if you want more amazing art to come your way!

Samurai

A drawing I really love. It reminds me of a more sensual, mature and modernized Little Red Riding Hood!

Oh the stories I can write on this!

What imagination…

Naiha says: ‘The Sentient. Exact origins are unknown. Once thought to be dumb because of the lack of speech organs the impression, however, changed quickly earning him his new name. Medium: The pencil’

The last one I’ll be sharing…

A taste of Naiha’s imagination. And combined with mine, let’s see what stories will be born soon!

Somewhere Only We Know

This is my first attempt at writing a short story. Over the years, I have wanted to write out my thoughts and ideas many times, but have not had the patience to do so.

This story, inspired by a song, was the first time I sat myself down to put pen to paper, or in this case, put finger to key.

Feedback and constructive criticism is not only welcome, but encouraged.

*****

The soothing sound of the water falling into the creek calmed my frayed nerves. The birds chirping and the cackle of leaves from under the rabbits’ paws were comforting. The animals had a life going on round me, while mine was in limbo. I couldn’t forget my past and move forward, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the future either.

I had tried moving on, but the past was always there, buzzing like an angry bee at the back of my head. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get rid of the buzzing.

And now, everything that I dreaded had finally happened. Isaiah knew. I guess I always knew he would find out, I knew he would come back, but I still wasn’t prepared. And to top it all off, I just had to be changing my soaked shirt at the time he entered, and he just had to see the scars. He had dropped the purple pansies he had brought for me; he still remembered how much I loved them.

Isaiah was probably looking for me, but I had run to my sanctuary as soon as his horrified expression clued me in that he was no longer ignorant of what happened in his absence. He shouldn’t have come back, I just hope he doesn’t remember the place we used to come to ten years ago.

I knew that I won’t survive a heart to heart with my older brother, not when he knows. He would be overly sympathetic, he would look at me with pity in his eyes, just like Marian did when I first told her.  Marian, my rock, I can’t even imagine my life without her. But more worrisome, was that he would take it all upon himself. Even I thought for some time that it was Isaiah’s fault, but it really wasn’t.

It was mother’s, just mother’s.

I was so lost in thought, that I didn’t hear the light footsteps until the person was behind me. Before I knew it, Isaiah had thrown his arms around my neck, and started sobbing into my shoulder. He was full-on crying, my strong brother was breaking.

I didn’t know what to do, how to react. Should I pat his back? Comfort him? Shouldn’t I be the one crying? What does one do when the brother they hadn’t seen for eight years comes to see you, and accidentally sees the scars on your back after hearing the stories of what happened to his sister he left behind? Get a hold of yourself; you’re a twenty year old woman, for god’s sake, not a scared child, I scold myself. But in a sense, that was exactly what I was, a scared child.

My childhood had been snatched away from me; I had suffered for so long, until I ended the lives of my tormentors. Yes, that’s what I am, a murderess. I did it four years ago, with a shotgun, his shotgun. I blew off his head after accidentally shooting my mother. What can I say, I was a girl of 16, and I didn’t know how to handle a shotgun. But she just had to try to save her pig of a boyfriend. I couldn’t help but feel guilty. No matter how much I hated my mother, I didn’t want to kill her. Although it had lessened over the years, thanks to counselling and the support of my friends’, it was always lingering at the back of my head.

Isaiah’s choked sobs subsided and he raised his head so that his beautiful grey eyes looked into my melancholy black ones.

“Bunny?” He said, addressing me with my childhood nickname, he had always called me Bunny, after I nursed back to health an injured rabbit I found at this very place. “Why didn’t you tell me? Call me? Written to me, just did something! I thought she had stopped! And I didn’t even know about her boyfriend! I waited you know, for some contact from you, when you stopped picking my calls or writing me back. But I couldn’t come back; I was in the middle of the ocean, and you always told me not too!”

“I know that.” I responded dully.

I honestly didn’t know what to do with him. Things had changed, I had changed. I wasn’t a bubbly ten-year old anymore. I was a scarred, broken young woman with absolutely no goal in life.

“Talk to me Bunny please! You could have come and stayed with me on the rig, like you did when you were twelve!”

Ah yes, that time. It had been amazing. Isa had gotten permission for me to stay on the oil rig he worked at. He had applied there when he was 18, gotten the job on a contract of ten years, and left before you could say “oil”. He had one month every year to come and stay at home, but he didn’t come, I told him not to.

He did come home after two years on the rig and took me back with him when he was 20, and I was 12. It was an amazing summer, me and him and his calloused work buddies, who were surprisingly as hard as a molten chocolate lava cake; frolicking in the middle of the ocean and visiting Disneyland when we went ashore.

But I was stupid enough to accept the call. Her call. She said that she would kill my pets if I didn’t come home right then. Apparently, he was getting bored and horny, and my dear mother wanted his entertainment, me, to return. I spent two days sweating about it, Isa asked what was wrong, but I didn’t, I couldn’t tell him. I knew he would come back to protect me, but I wanted him to be happy, and free. And happy he was on the rig, and I would never take that away from him. I was twelve, but my soul had always been old and wise.

My pets were everything to me at home. They meant the world to me. They were the ones who comforted me when I was torn apart. Not only mentally, but physically as well, when I lost my virginity to him when I was only eleven.

“Barbra please!” Isa’s voice brought me back to the present. “I would have thought all those stories were speculations, but I saw the scars, Bunny, just tell me if it’s true?” The desperation and the guilt in his voice tugged on my heartstrings.

“Where did you hear the stories from?” I asked in the monotonous voice that had for so long replaced my usually perky one.

“I went to Lu’s Florist to get you the pansies, and she told me, she sympathized with me! I thought old Lu was just delusional and had confused me with someone else, but then Tony’s son, Radley, remember I went to school with him? Well he owns his dad’s shop now, he told me! Barbra just tell me what happened, honey, I need to know what happened!” He said all this without breathing even once; he always used to speak so fast, I guess some things never change.

“Well you already know don’t you?” I wasn’t being cruel; I just didn’t want to tell him everything all over again. Once with the police was enough.

He let out a shaky breath. “I come home after almost a decade. And people tell me my baby sister killed our abusive mother and her boyfriend. Can you imagine what I feel like?” He asked quietly, barely holding on to his emotions. “I feel like a disappointing, worthless, piece of shit, who couldn’t protect the one person in this god-forsaken world, he loved with all his heart.” His words gradually turned into a growl coming from clenched teeth.

I knew it; I knew he would feel guilty.

“Isa, you don’t understand, it’s not your fault, but I just want to get over it, and rehashing the experience with you won’t make me feel better!”

“Bunny, baby, I think you need closure, just try to talk to me love. Maybe you will feel better?” He said hesitatingly.

I saw the utterly broken look in his eyes. He looked as if he had lost me. He hadn’t, I was still his baby. But I had lost myself, I didn’t know how to find myself again, but maybe, just maybe, we could do that together.

I looked at my brother, who had been like a father to me for such a long time, and took a deep breath; I had decided.

I was going to tell my brother everything, it would break him too, and then we will fix each other, like we used to in the past. Whenever our mother would hit us, we would come to this beautiful place and talk and cry and hold each other until we felt better again.

I scooted closer to him, and put my head on his shoulder. My dog, Snow, bounded over to me and put his head in my lap. I took in Isa’s familiar scent, closed my eyes, and began my long and painful tale of woe.

*****

I walked across an empty land
I knew the pathway like the back of my hand
I felt the earth beneath my feet
Sat by the river and it made me complete

Oh simple thing where have you gone?
I’m getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you’re gonna let me in
I’m getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

I came across a fallen tree
I felt the branches of it looking at me
Is this the place we used to love?
Is this the place that I’ve been dreaming of?

Oh simple thing where have you gone?
I’m getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you’re gonna let me in
I’m getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

And if you have a minute why don’t we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don’t we go
Somewhere only we know?
Somewhere only we know?

Oh simple thing where have you gone?
I’m getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you’re gonna let me in
I’m getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

And if you have a minute why don’t we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don’t we go?
So why don’t we go?

This could be the end of everything
So why don’t we go
Somewhere only we know?
Somewhere only we know?
Somewhere only we know?