Small Talks #FlashFiction #6

 

Small Talks 

500 words

The mall was scrambling with people as always. So many faces, so many shops.

So what were the odds of me running into her in that very shop, in that very moment?

“Hey!” she screamed. But in a calm way. “Hi! How are you?”

“I’m alright,” I managed, not so calm. “It’s, uh, it’s good to see you. Shopping?”

“Nah. Just checking out boys.”

I opened my mouth to speak but closed them quickly. There was a knowing smirk in her face.  I laughed, rubbing the back of my head. “I’m just going to believe you didn’t mean a satire.”

“I did not.” Her dramatic tone said otherwise. “So. Where have you been these days? What are you up to?”

“I’m, uh, I’m just… hanging in there, you know?”

“Mm-hmm, I know. I know all about those.”

“And you?” I said. “Did you land that bank job, by the way?”

“I did,” she nodded, not so excited. “It lasted for exactly eight months.”

“Why?” I wasn’t one bit interested in knowing why she could not continue her dream job for more than eight months, but I was afraid of the awkward silence.

She began explaining about something to do with her career plans and then about her passion and then a hefty argument about how passion and career were two different things not to be mixed. Textbook stuff, really.

“Do you think I shouldn’t have quit the job?” she said.

I snapped. “Huh? Oh.” The fuck would I know. “Are you happy?”

She made a thinking face. It suited her well. She was a smart woman, and the last thing she needed was my wisdom. Perhaps she too was afraid of that silence. “Hmm. Not any more than I was before.” She shrugged. “But I do get time for a plenty of mall visits!”

“And isn’t it all that matters?” I made a dramatic arc in air with my hand.

She laughed.

Ah, and finally it was there. The part I dreaded the most. That awkward silence.

She watched my face. I mean really watched. Like there was no pressure on her mind to bring up something to talk. Like it was just okay to stand and stare at each other. Like it didn’t spark any old memories. Like she didn’t care.

My mind, on the other hand, was doing thousands of computations, trying to come up with anything smart to say. The mall is exceptionally well-lit today. Was that stall here a few days ago? Don’t you think the babies shouldn’t be allowed in here?

“How’s your husband?” Oh, great. “I mean… how he’s doing? Not, uh, not how he is.

She smiled. “He’s good.” She shook her head as if to say ‘meh’. “He’s all right, actually. He says marrying me has been, um, really painful. Worst decision.” She forced a few extra nods at the end of that statement.

I let out a snort. “You always have the right things to say.”

She feigned a bow. Then a moment of silence later, said, “I miss you. Well, sometimes. Can’t we be like this… again?”

I didn’t bother thinking about it. I had done it enough. “No.”

She nodded. I knew she understood that. Ever so practical, the two of us. Too practical, some would say.

Silence.

“So,” she said, smiling a sad smile for the first time. “I guess I’ll run into you some place else then?”

“I look forward to it.”

Advertisements

The Invader #FlashFiction (No. 4)

 

The Invader

As I watched around my room, silent and tranquil, it struck me for the first time that I’d perhaps won the war over the cockroaches.

The battle began three days ago, with a single spray of a bottled pesticide. Soon after, the roaches had begun coming out from the hiding, in numbers I never imagined possible. Showing up beside my bedside, my bookshelf, my work desk, and at every nooks and corners of the apartment. And I would go running around with the spray and a broomstick like a lunatic, but it would never be enough. Every half-an-hour or so, a gang of them would crawl out, as if swapping one hide-out for the other, going right beneath my feet, teasing me.

I could have stopped it all, you know. When the first wave of invaders had just begun showing up, when they were few and fragile.

But I’d chosen to do nothing. I wasn’t much at home – I left early and came back late in the night from work, only to have a good night’s sleep. So I didn’t care if a few cockroaches roamed my kitchen – a kitchen that I barely used. I imagined myself to be this good-hearted but crazed philosopher type, who meant well even for the pest infecting his home. Awwww. And I felt quite happy about it.

But the matters had quickly escalated from then on.

The bloody pests had begun taking advantage of the liberty and hospitality I offered. Lately, they had stopped even being scared, and would come out from their hiding at any hours, nibbling away at my food or climbing onto my body while I slept – one of them even tried to chew on me one night. Guess, I didn’t make for a good dinner, and it left me alone with only a nasty wound.

Perhaps, it was their way of showing appreciation, I wouldn’t know, but it frightened the hell out of me.

Consequently, I raised the war. I sat with a broomstick beside me, at all times, and squashed up the petty insects every time they dared approach me. And I sprayed the hell out of them from each of their dark corners and secret hide-outs. Then I gathered all of them together, and I watched them burn.

But now as I watch them writhe in the toxic air I sprayed all over them, and listen to their body cringe and creak in the heat, (and with a deep satisfaction in my heart as well!) I can’t help but feel like a sadist.

See, it wasn’t their fault entirely. It wasn’t like they had entered my home without my knowledge. They made it abundantly clear that they had come. But I had chosen to do nothing. Then, perhaps thinking that I was totally cool with this, they had begun raising their families, building homes, and had finally found a life for themselves in my little apartment.

Come to think of it, they had been living there more than me. No doubt, the next generation of them must have been totally convinced that it actually was their home, and I was the hostile invader who showed up at odd hours of the night with a broomstick and a funny scream.

The Hanging of the God #FlashFiction (Day 3)

 

The Hanging of the God

Shavik stood on the dais raised at the center of Hangman’s Square, where he was to be hanged momentarily, and felt a tension rising in the air.

The tension was twofold.

One, of the ruling aristocrats, seated at the front row and the high seats, who longed for the execution to go down swiftly. Two, of the common folks, who had gathered around the square to be with their messiah in his final moments, praying for a miracle.

Dark clouds had gathered up above, as the square began to fill up with more and more of these common folks. People who had long lost interest in any cause but their own daily survival. Who had seen enough disappointments to have forgotten what it even felt like to hope.

Shavik was God to them, and their final hope of salvation from the Extremist Regime. And even now, Shavik could see it in their eyes, they were convinced that he could not be killed. He could tell they were here expecting a miracle.

And therein lied the problem.

Shavik was no God. He could fight with them, but if he continued to fight for them, alone, as their messiah, the cause was going nowhere. He could not win alone, and he could not get the people to fight to win, with their hopes resting upon some miracle from a false God.

They had to know that their backs were against the wall, and no one to save them but themselves. For the real rebellion to rise, the false God had to fall.

As the first drop of rain hit the earth, Shavik smiled at the real Gods above, if such a thing even existed. This was perfect.

“This is where I bid you farewell,” Shavik cried out. “For long, you have considered me your God. But in the next few moments you shall find it to be utterly untrue.”

A wave of laughter hit him, coming from the aristocrats seated at the front row.

“And as you open your eyes to this truth, I want you to realize, that it was one common man, of flesh and blood, as you all, who shook the Extremist Regime to its very core.” He spat. “Now as you make note of that, I want each one of you to ask yourself a question.”

He saw the aristocrats leaning in. “Ask: what if instead of one man, there had been thousands? What if I had all of you beside me at the March of Silence?

“Enough!” someone screamed. “Pull the handle.”

“But do not despair for this is not the end,” Shavik shouted.

The rope came around his neck, and the crowd erupted in one unified voice of complain.

“Today, as one Shavik falls,” he screamed above the crowd, “a thousand more will rise among you!”

Then the bloody floor gave away. Amidst the roars and jeers of the crowd, the loudest noise Shavik heard was a sharp creak of his own neck.