The sidewalk

How did I miss this?

SING IT ALOUD

Swimming the infinite seas
the quest for the depth
and one more stroke by the clock
to find that place that’s mine

Been ready to scratch
and been ready to break
been ready to fling away
and been ready to butt
the frozen rain perennial

Sharpen the sword
reshaping for every blow
as if it were dancing
and i turn my head to the sidewalk
to see other people slow

I realized, they are but at peace
On the sidewalk as they ease
they’ve learnt to walk aside from rain
they’ve learnt to move without that pain
for they’ve found that place

the place they belong
making them forever strong
and i used to look at them
deeming winner my speed

and now I understand
all I’ve longed is to walk on the sidewalks.
for my sidewalk is where I belong

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Short Story #5

Genre: Dark fiction

Words: 670

The Robbery

a short story

by Sarthak Parajulee

 

My head throbbed as I staggered out of my bedroom.

The hall had an unnerving silence. The sort that follows or precedes a storm.

But my furniture were where they were supposed to be and none of the expensive artifacts in my collection were missing.

So no robbery.

Then why had someone drugged me?

Randev was my last visitor, as far as I remembered. And he did need money, according to the conversation we had a few days back. But I’d checked the safe in my room and the cash was still there.

So what the fuck was going on?

I trudged toward the main door across the marbled gallery, cold biting into my bare feet. My head screamed on every step and a deep burn had started in my gut.

But I didn’t have time for that just yet.

I pushed the door open and observed the perimeter.

The entire facility lay in a comforting tranquility. My luxurious sedan sat proudly on the front porch. And the two guards stood at their post in the main gate with all the enthusiasm of a koala bear.

I called out to one of them and waved a hand.

He came rushing. For all his military training, he panted like an old fool.

“Sir?”

“Anyone left the premise recently?”

He looked perplexed. “Recently?”

“An hour or two back?”

He shook his head. “No, sir.”

“You sure you’re doing your fucking job right?”

The color of his face turned white. “Sir… no sir. I mean, yes, sir.” He bit his tongue. “Mr. Randev is the only one to leave. But it was very early in the morning.”

“What are you talking about? He arrived early in the morning.”

The guard frowned, his fear turning into irritation. “Um, sorry, sir… but he arrived yesterday morning. He left this morning.”

My throat went dry and I struggled to find my voice. I could hear my heartbeat like drums playing in my headphones.

Yesterday?

I pressed against the side of my head and nearly lost my equilibrium. Gods, the pain!

The guard tried to come to my aid but I send him away and, somehow, managed to bring myself back inside the house safely.

I slogged to the center of the hall, with a hand under my belly, and slumped myself down on the couch.

My ex-wife was right. I was too fast on trusting people.

First, I hit Randev with my car, to which he reacts very politely and is generous enough to not file complain. Then he shows up at my office door for a fucking job and looks surprised to find me there. And for the first time in twenty years, my car breaks in the middle of nowhere and he shows up to drop me home.

Ha, ha, ex-wife. I looked skyward. You happy now?

With all the shouting and moving about, the pain had doubled up. It bit at the side of my body and I struggled to maintain my sanity.

What that sly bastard took away was beyond me.

In a delirium of pain and frustration, I saw the images of the other day when the two of us had a nice little chat over a cup of tea. Like friends long lost.

He had spoken of his problems and I had revealed my vulnerabilities. Usually the stuff you would share over two bottles of a whiskey. He had won my trust, after all.

He had lamented about his wife’s failed kidney so it was logical to think he took off with a load of cash. But I still couldn’t find anything missing so…

I froze.

A sudden horror crept up my body, all the way from my feet to the head like a slow volcano.

Slowly, I lifted the thin fabric of my cotton shirt above my waist.

There, at the side of my belly, I saw a long gash — well stitched, and already healing.

“Bloody motherfucker!”

Movie Review: Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Based on a novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka (All You Need Is Kill)

Writers: Christopher McQuarrie (screenplay), Jez Butterworth (screenplay), John Henry Butter Worth

Director: Doug Liman

Stars: Tom CruiseEmily Blunt

 

Easily, one my favorite movies of 2014. A fast paced, captivating, and involving sci-fi thriller.

The Story (SPOILERS!)

The aliens known as Mimics have conquered most of the Europe and are moving on the entire world.

Meet William Cage (Tom Cruise), an army PR officer, who is thrown in the line of duty with total disregard to his desire (or skills, for that matter).

In the battlefield (almost D-Day), Cage engages himself with an alien known as Alpha. And although he manages to kill it, he gets its juice (blood, gore, whatever) all over him.

He pretty much dies.

Only to wake up a day back in time.

Turns out, the freaking aliens have a way to reverse time each time one of their Alpha dies. That was their edge over the humans.

Good news? Now Cage has this power too.

He teams up with Rita Vatraski (Emily Blunt), a war hero and poster-child of the war, who had had those powers in the past but lost it after a blood transfer. She trains and guides Cage, as he dies over and over again, learning new things about himself and the aliens along the way and getting stronger.

Finally, together they seek out the den of the Mother Alien (an octopus thingy, only larger and way grosser) and kill it for good.

Afterthoughts

Edge of Tomorrow is an enthralling story of a man caught in time. It entertained me throughout. The concept of ‘Live. Die. Repeat.’ is not new in itself (remember Groundhog Day?). Nor is the concept of an unlikely hero put in a ridiculous steel suit and send out to fight the aliens (Pacific Rim, anyone?)

But a nice blend of these two concepts, a master storytelling, and some badass special effects provide “Edge of Tomorrow” that special edge over other sci-fi movies of the past year.

Major Characters

William Cage and Rita Vatraski are, undisputedly, two compelling characters with well-crafted character arcs.

Tom Cruise depicts William Cage and the role of i-don’t-want-to-do-this-shit hero brilliantly. He makes us live his frustration and cheer his actions. Action is something he’s always been good with and in EoT,  too, he holds back nothing (even at fifty!).

Over the course of the movie, he turns from a scared, poor warrior thrown into a lost war to a hero that the world needs, who, ultimately, saves the day. We sigh when he fails and we rejoice when he shows an act of bravery.

Emily Blunt is simply awesome as Rita Vatraski. She is one of the most captivating female characters you’re ever going to see in a sci-fi movie (and most badass). We are introduced to a snub side of her. You know that particular trait we find in characters who have seen too much war? Yeah, she’s pretty much called the “Full Metal Bitch”. But as the movie progresses, we get to see the “human” side of her. We can really feel her anguish over not being able to succeed when she had the power. And her reinvigorated hope when she finds Cage with that same power.

Most intriguing thing of all is the relationship between these two. Now Cage has known Vatraski for, literally, many a lifetime. But from her point of view, she has only known him for a few hours. That makes things difficult for Cage. He even starts to develop a feeling for her (as well he should after dying so many time alongside her!) but she has nothing for him. Poor William Cage.

The Tension

Despite knowing that our protagonist can’t possibly die (although that situation changes by the end), the movie doesn’t fail to keep the tension rising.

The conflicts are too graving!

Cage’s internal conflict about being a warrior he isn’t is nice — a typical trope but well executed. Vatraski’s internal conflict regarding her failure to use the power to a good use and her vow to succeed with Cage is interesting too. And then there is that superbad alien race threatening to conquer the world.

Important thing. The movie is about a day being lived over and over, but the audience, however, get to see a different side of things every time. A different exposition, a different character building, a different piece of information — the story moves quite differently each time. In other words, only Cage lives the same moments over and over, not the audience.

The scene do not feel redundant, so hat’s off to the editing team for that.

All in all

“Edge of Tomorrow” is a classic sci-fi thriller. A master story with a captivating plot, well-crafted characters, and well developed tension.

 

Book Review: Low Town by Daniel Polansky

Book: Low Town (First of its Name and the First in the Series of the Same Name!)

Author: Daniel Polansky

Genre: Noir/Fantasy (i’m told)

First thing’s first. (For those who’ve read the book; if not, kindly skip to next para) Low Town is a flawless, smooth read. But I can’t shake off this feeling that how closely it reads out like a game console. You know what I mean. Just think about it. The Earl is the place where the game is saved (where Warden returns every night to rest). We get information/messages from Adolphus (while Warden happily chomps at his food) and we set out on various mission for the day according to that. We meet various people who interact with us and help up gather up bits and pieces of the whole story. We solve one mystery at a time and learn something new about the world with every small mission and by the end of the game we are so confident of our abilities that we are ready to take on the main boss. Only, the main boss turns out to be someone else — and someone very close.

Just a feeling. Whatever.

Low Town is one quirky read. You’d think after reading the likes of Mark Lawrence and Joe Abercrombie you’d get the hang of the grimdark side of things.

Nay, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Low Town.

Low Town is a thrilling detective story done in a fantasy setting. It is a tale of disgraced hero (who only wants to peacefully sell his drugs) against the cruel law enforcers, selfish crime lords, immoral sorcerers, and useless nobles.

Firstly, I must take time to talk about the protagonist. Because he. Is. Simply. Awesome!

Meet Warden, ex-army and intelligence agent, who has fallen from grace and now is an infamous narcotics dealer. That in itself is one hell of a character trait to not get intrigued into. Add that to his charisma and you have a gem of a read. He takes the story to the whole new level. He’s funny. He’s quirky, smug, snappy, realist… and just plain smart. He reminds me of Mark Lawrence’s Jorg! Hell, I daresay that they are somewhat at par.

The story takes flight when a child is found murdered in the street, severely abused. One way or another, our poor hero gets thrown into the midst of things and before you know it he must now either solve the case of this children-kidnapping/killing or be prepared to be blamed for it. Luckily, he had been one hell of an agent before his fall from the ranks. His contacts as a drug dealer didn’t hurt either.

With every page, Polansky takes us an inch deeper into the secrets of the Low Town (and what a marvelous Worldbuilding this is!) and of our hero. Each page grips us more than the last. It only gets juicier when other-worldly creatures and sorcerers start playing their part and the whole story unfolds as an exhilarating adventure.

I have given it a solid five stars with only pitfall being that I could easily second-guess the culprit of the whole crime. Nevertheless, a rewarding journey!

The Cease of the Sane

 

Philosophical cons

The cause of the pain

Reflections inhuman

The cease of the sane

 

The dreams of the men

Their futile desires

Rain down on world

The ashes of fire

 

Pointless ambitions

The cause of the pain

Reflections inhuman

The cease of the sane

 

Sarcastic these thoughts

Screaming at night

Narcissist players

Caught up in fight

 

The needless struggle

The cause of the pain

Reflections inhuman

The cease of the sane