Flash Fiction: “Small Talks”

 

Small Talks 

500 words

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

So what were the odds of me bumping 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.”

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Don’t Talk to Strangers #FlashFiction (No. 5)

 

Don’t Talk to Strangers

420 words

Mom says to not talk to strangers. She doesn’t want her little girl anywhere near them.

Maybe that’s why we live in a poorer, isolated part of the town. Mom says it suits us well. Behind an old Hospice, shut down years ago, we live in a small group. Us, Mom’s few friends, and their few children — the only people I’m allowed to befriend.

But what I really long for is to get to know the strangers out there. That girl who jogs every morning around the park next to the Hospice, that boy crossing the street with earphones plugged in his ear, that driver honking helplessly at the cow that won’t move an inch.

I wonder what it’s like to be among them.

Frankly, I am bored with this life Mom has chosen for me.

Don’t go there. Don’t come here. Don’t talk to him. Don’t disturb him!

It’s like she doesn’t want me to be close to anyone but herself!

So one night, when I saw this young man, smoking away a cigarette by himself on the park-bench, I knew I had my one chance. Mom was at work, night-shift as always, so sneaking out wasn’t a problem.

I walked up to him, silently, afraid he would consider my approach as insolence. I extended my arm to reach out and paused. Will he scream at me? Shoo me away? Complain to Mom?

I let out a breath to calm myself and placed a hand on his shoulder.

He looked back slowly, first turning to my hand on his shoulder, then around at me. He stared at me indifferently, one eyebrow raised.

Then he looked up ahead, back to enjoying his cigarette.

I wondered if his mother as well told him to not talk to strangers.”Sorry to disturb, sir.”

The man paused, and turned around. This time, looking right through me.

I was hurt. Yes, I didn’t look as good as he. I was dirty and badly dressed. But that was no way to treat me!

Tears rolled down my cheek. I’d never felt so sad in my life. “You don’t have to be mean,” I said, sobbing. “Just wanted to talk.” Before long, I was wailing like a dog right in the middle of the park.

“What the fuck!” The man now jumped, mad eyes turning all around. All around except at me.

I wanted to disappear. Right into Mom’s arms.

“Mom was right,” I screamed, running away. “Mom was right!”

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.

 

#FlashFiction #FF1 (360 words)

 

Made for Each Other

Jiten placed his tongue on the gap left by his missing front tooth and tasted salty blood. He spit it out on the sink and looked up in the mirror at his dark eye patch, his sore lips, and torn cheek. He was a mess alright.

The sad part was he couldn’t quite remember what exactly it was that set off the bloody fight, despite his resolve and desperation to let nothing ruin his plans for the evening.

He watched the clock. 7 pm.

Great. Not only beaten up, but late as well.

He closed his eyes and and exhaled a long breath. He looked back up in the mirror and straightened his tie and his suit. Then gave his gelled hair a slight push behind the ears. Beside his missing tooth, and squashed face, he didn’t look so bad.

“Stay cool. Stay cool. You’re okay,” he spoke to the mirror, then turning away, “Yes. Just say you fell off the stairs or something.”

When he entered the front door of La’ Mirch, a wave of awkward stares welcomed him. He suddenly felt conscious. He must have looked like a carnival showpiece. All buttoned up and sleek but bearing an amusing physical anomaly.

He scanned among the rows of tables and found Number Five.

Kavitha sat there, at one of the two chairs, looking away from the door. It was his first date — in fact, the first time ever he was meeting this girl in person — but he could tell it was her, even from behind, from her carefree, uneven haircut he had come to adore from her profile picture.

“Hi, Kavitha,” he said, walking round her back, cursing the heaviness of his lip and his lack of self-restrain in fighting for a cause that he couldn’t even remember anymore. “Sorry, I had a bit of—”

He stopped short, blinking hard. The girl before him, oh it was Kavitha alright, sat with two dark patch under her eyes, swollen lips, taped cheek and an awkwardly bent nose.

“What the hell happened?”

“I, uh… I fell off the stairs.” She watched him with curious, swollen eyes. “And you?”