To The Sun And Glory – A story

15492617_1798368837068878_4013302870783024467_n ©copyrights to picture belongs to Nikhil Achu.

  The day was on its way to reach its peak. The glittering Sun hiding and peeping through the white old clouds who were moving swiftly through the open sky. Trees and grass were green shining in the light, allure in the wonderful morning. A huge mansion almost being able to touch the old clouds stood upright, grey and shining with happiness. Indeed the bright Sun spread its merry all over. 

 An old man opened the door of the mansion, warm light left his face beaming. 

“Wonderful morning it is.” He told himself. His short white beard shined in the sunlight. Pale skin became paler with the light. He smiled very pleasantly, as he did it every morning. But now he had to get back to his work. The old man went back into his mansion seeking his room. The large wooden furnished room glimmered in the morning, offering a warm welcome.  He walked into the room smiling and with a mind full of happiness.

But all those happiness went down when he saw something was missing. His face went dull, his smile faded. Fear filled his eyes. He kept looking on his desk, searched under the table, the chair, inside his drawers. There was nothing. He knew that was not the place he kept it. Still, he had to look everywhere. 

“Where is it?” He shouted out loud. His face became red as an apple and a volcano about to rupture. The voice almost shook the mansion, a lady of late forties suddenly appeared at the door side. 

“Is there a problem, sir?” asked the lady with a little hesitation. 

He barely heard her voice under his temper. The very fine morning was now darkening. The lady moved towards the old man. In the middle, she was stunned by another image to the right side of the room. Her pupils dilated and were gasping for breath. 

“Oh!” She walked even faster to the scene. Still in shock. Looking towards a broken cupboard, and peeped over her shoulder to look at the old man then she called out in a trembling voice

“Mr. Sarvan!!” then a shrieking sound came out of Mr. Sarvan’s mouth out of fear that could not be expressed. The lady now was dialing someone on her phone, her hands shivered as she placed the phone to her left ear.

“Police station!!.” She spoke out loud.

It took some time for the police to reach the lonely mansion that was way far from the city. They were sure of the address as there were no other residents on this part of the State. And the name of the mansion suited its location “Lonely Mansion”.  The car stopped at its doorstep and a stout man came out followed by another tough looking man, both were in uniforms. They knocked on the door even though the door was open. The lady walked towards them.

“Are you the one who called us?” Chief of the policemen asked just to make sure. The lady was afraid to see two policemen at front door even though she was the one who called them. 

“Yes,” she answered them after a short moment “come on, this way” through the living room they climbed up the stairs to a large room that smelt like a library. 

“Is this your house ma’am?” asked the policeman.

“No, this is Mr. Jaron Sarvan’s home, I am his housekeeper,” she told them as they walked into the room. 

“There,” she pointed towards the right corner of the room, where there was a brown cupboard broke open.  The policemen walked towards the cupboard and investigated it. They kept looking around, observing the scene, searching for shreds of evidence.

“When did the break-in happen?” asked one of the policemen. 

“I didn’t hear anything, it was perfect yesterday. I saw it when Mr.Sarvan called out today morning.” She was not sure but still managed to give an answer.

“Is there anything missing?” they kept questioning.

“Yes, 50,000 Rs. It was kept safe in here,” she answered.

“Anything else,” they asked.

“Yes, My Pen!” the old man who had a drooping face filled with pain and despair, leaned on to the table with his hands on it supporting his body. He looked at them. The policemen walked towards the old man.

“Good morning, Mr. Sarvan” greeted the chief policeman.

The old man frowned at the chief.“Not a very “good” morning it seems. I lost my Pen.”

“Oh! actually, sir, I asked if something else of value was stolen.” responded the policeman scratching his head, who now thought the old man was trying to be sarcastic.

“That’s what I said. I lost my pen. It was very much valuable to me. You know nothing about it. I left it on my table yesterday night and this morning it is missing.” He felt annoyed by the Chief’s words.

The policemen were not ready to continue questioning him, they doubted his sanity. But they had no other way, there indeed had been a break-in that too on one of the most important people in this Country and a huge amount was missing and of course a pen!.

“Okay, so what kind of a pen is it?” the policeman asked him for further details.

“It is a fountain pen, black in color. It looks old and weighs more than a usual fountain pen.” His eyes glowed with such power and kept on saying every single detail of the pen until the policemen stopped him. They had everything written down and went to investigate around the mansion. The old man went back to the chair near the table. 

Several minutes past, the policemen returned. They didn’t look like they found anything. Still, they loitered around the room. Questioning both of them.

“Well we didn’t find much to support your grievance, anyway we’ll report to you if we find something.” said the policemen and went away in their car. The lady walked them out and after they were gone she went to Mr.Jaron Sarvan. He was a popular fiction writer, very popular and a former Member of Parliament. One of the most influential people of this Nation. She didn’t know why he was so depressed about losing a pen. Anyway, that was not her matter to run into. 

“Sir, don’t worry. I am sure they will find what was lost” She spoke out to comfort him but he was not in a mood to hear sympathetic speeches.

“Miss Farana, you may go home. Take a leave. I will call if anything is needed.” He spoke in a low desperate voice, that was only a step above a whisper. The man was helpless, she could not leave him in such a situation. That would be cruel. 

“What? I can’t leave you in this way, sir!” she was weeping “What if it happens again?” she tried to make Sarvan let her stay there. But he could not. It was not that he didn’t like her, She had been with him for the past 9 years. But now it was time for her to go.

“There is not much to take away from me,” he told her with a pale and cold face, his eyes were red with sorrow, his hands shivering. He slowly walked away from the room. Late that day after making the breakfast and lunch Miss Farana ended her relationship with the Lonely mansion. It broke her heart to leave him like that. But if he insisted, she must obey it.

Months passed by,  the old man stayed home. Nobody has seen him out in the city. Even his friends had rarely seen him after the event.

One day the Lonely mansion’s doorbell rang. Its sound echoed through the lifeless walls. It took a long time for someone to answer the door. Then the old man came to open the door. His face was paler than before, all wrinkled and his beard long and snow white.

“I am from the police department,” the man introduced himself to the old man. “you must be Mr.Jaron Sarvan. I am here to take you to the station.”

“Why?” the old man was puzzled by the policeman’s words.

“We have found the burglar that broke into your house,”  The policeman replied.

The old man’s eyes glittered like gold. His mouth, helpless to utter a single sound. For a moment it felt the old man was no longer old. Like his younger days stood before him.

“If you could come with me now” asked the policeman to the old man.

“Yes, yes,” the old man, at last, found his sense to speak something. He walked out with the police officer in the dress he was in, not even bothering to change.

“The door, aren’t you going to lock it?” The officer was confused about the old man’s doing. The inspector has told him that the old man may act unusual so to be nice to him. And he did. He went in closed the door and locked it. Keeping the key with him. The old man had already got into the car waiting for the officer. 

“Let’s go” he shouted out loud to the officer like a kid waiting to go out for a vacation. The officer had serious doubt on the man’s sanity. Anyway, he got into the car and drove off to the police station.

It took some time to get to the police station, he could see that the old man was restless in the back seat. Smiling and talking to himself. He looked happy and lively. It only took less than a minute for the old man to get to the inspector’s office once they arrived at the police station. The inspector was sitting in his chair reading something while the old man rushed into his office. He was surprised to see the man of that age in such an excitement.

“Oh! You’ve come. I thought you never went out of your mansion” said the inspector mocking the old man.

“Did you find it?” asked Mr.Sarvan not at all bothering about the inspector’s sarcasm.

“Yes, we did.” He asked his assistant to bring in the culprit. The assistant went into a room and returned with a lean and tall man of early thirties. His face was sweating and shabby hair fell over his forehead. The assistant handed a package to the inspector. He opened it and showed the old man the money the tall man had stolen.

“I am sorry, we can’t hand over the money to you now.” Said the inspector. The old man’s face fell, he was very disappointed now.

“Is that all?” asked the old man, not at all impressed on the inspector. “Didn’t you find my pen?”

“No there was no pen, but found all the money he took,” said the inspector with honor.

“I don’t want the money, where is my pen?” he asked the inspector. He stood still, not responding to the inspector. Then the old man turned towards the burglar.

“Where is my pen?”

The burglar looked helpless, he was already exhausted, his body was weak. His mind, all broken down.

“I didn’t take any pen.” He managed to speak.

“Don’t lie,” the old man now became uneasy. “WHERE IS MY PEN?”

The old man flew over to the burglar’s side. With his clenched fist, he punched the burglar right under his left eye with all the power he got. He fell down almost unconscious. The inspector and his assistant held back Mr.Sarvan. First, he tried to resist the officers, but he was old and weary his young days were far behind. They bought him to another room and made him sit there.

“My pen, My pen” the old man repeated to himself his grief. He was crying like a baby. His body was shivering, hands falling down with the loss of energy. The inspector felt so sad for the man. He went out and called the old man’s son, who was now a Member of Parliament.

An hour passed and there came a young, tall and a fair guy with black hair and a cleanly shaven face. His dress shouted out his position. He walked into the office and sat on the chair even before the inspector asked him to.

“Good morning sir,” the inspector greeted the young man. The inspector explained everything to him, everything from the beginning. The young man was patient enough to hear it all even though he didn’t like it.

“Where is he?” The young man asked after a long wait. The inspector asked his assistant to get the old man. He returned swiftly with the man. The young man had a grim look on his face. He was really unhappy to hear all these nonsense.

“I’ll take him,” he said and walked towards his father and held his hand. “And drop all the charges against him and the burglar.” The inspector was bewildered by his superior’s orders. But he had to obey it.

“All right,” The inspector replied. The Young man and his father walked out of the police station to a very expensive car that had a Red beacon light on top.

It was a silent ride. The old man still in the thought of his lost pen and his son who was displeased of his father’s nuisance. Anyhow he tried to keep his patience till he reached his home. They went to the Lonely Mansion.

The car stopped and they both got out. The old man didn’t bother minding his son, walked to the door. It was locked, he searched for the key but there wasn’t. The man searched everywhere for the key. There was nothing.

“What? You lost the key too?” asked his son. “What is wrong with you, huh?” He was longing for this conversation, now his patience ran out.

“There is nothing wrong with me” replied the old man not even turning back to his son. 
The young man was angry now, he didn’t come all the way just to hear nothing.

“I had to leave the meeting today to release you,” said his son who was blaming his father for creating inconvenience and for abandoning the Parliament meeting.

“I didn’t ask anybody to release me, I was not the prisoner,” the old man replied calmly and not turning back. His son walked up to him and grabbed over his shoulder and turned him over. 

“Look at me,  I am getting married next month. I don’t want the world to know that my father is insane and had lost his mind,” argued his son.

The clouds were darkening, the sun was no longer bright and young. The old man’s face darkened, his wrinkles were likes waves in the ocean. His eyes were red of pain and sorrow. He now understood that he was no longer needed for his son. That he turned out to be a burden. But above all, he knew that his pen will never be found.

“I am sorry for what I did, I never thought what it would do to you or your career.” He cried. His son felt sorry for him. He held his father’s hands in guilt. 

“No, I am sorry. I shouldn’t have talked to you like that.” They both looked each other for a moment. “Come stay with me, father.”

The old man thought about it for a second. He already knew the answer and told him no. They didn’t argue anymore. Then a police officer came with the key, the same officer who came to call Mr.Sarvan from the Lonely Mansion, as he locked the door and kept the key with him. Later, his son went back to his world leaving the old man to his own world. He insisted on calling back Miss Farana but Mr.Sarvan refused him. And the old man lived there alone for the rest of the days.

Many moons passed by the Lonely Mansion, one day the old man came out of the mansion. Dressed all fairly, like he did in his younger days. He went straight to the police station. The inspector was startled to see the old man in such a dress. He had all the pride and honor that he owned while he was the MP. The old man asked the inspector about the burglar. The inspector first refused to give away the details, but Mr.Sarvan kept to asking him at least his address. The inspector gave it to him. He thanked the inspector for his nobility and loyalty. Then he left. They knew where he would be going. The inspector called Mr.Sarvan’s son.

It was a long ride for the old man to get to the burglar’s place. Yet he enjoyed it. He seldom went for long trips at this old age, but this time the matter was pressing him. At last, he reached a local market that was near the place where the burglar lived. He went to a shopkeeper who was now a little more energetic by seeing a rich man in their market. 

“What can I do for you, sir?” the shopkeeper asked Mr. Sarvan very kindly.

“Have you seen this man?” Mr. Sarvan showed the picture of the burglar to the shopkeeper. The man’s eyes gleamed. He knew who it was.

“Yes, Komen. He was here just now.” His eyes searched around the store. “There he is” pointing to the shop opposite to him. Mr. Sarvan saw a tall man with long black hair and a beard, almost like his own but only blacker with a little boy in his hand.

“Thank you.” He told the shopkeeper and gave him 100 Rs. The shopkeeper was delighted and wished for the old man to come again later and ask for some other man. Mr.Sarvan walked towards the burglar. When he reached near the man, he patted on his shoulder.

“Komen?” asked Mr.Sarvan. The Burglar turned back and he was shocked, his eyes filled with guilt and there was a wound under his left eye, that the old man gave him at the police station.

“Yes,” he told suspiciously, he didn’t know why the old man followed him here. Anyway, he knew it was not good. Mr. Sarvan smiled. 

“Do you remember me?” asked Mr.Sarvan with a pleasant smile. “I know you do”

“Yes,” Komen felt free when the old man smiled. “Is this your boy?” asked Mr.Sarvan bending towards the child in his arms. A beautiful boy that looked exactly like his father. Towards him, a young woman came who was beautiful, wore a nice and subtle dress. It was his wife. 

“Yes, his name is Shegar” replied Komen. Mr.Sarvan kept on talking to three of them very pleasantly. After some time he asked Komen.

“Can I have a minute with you?” Komen nodded agreeing. He gave the child to his wife and walked with the old man towards the bus stop where there were benches to sit. They sat there for a long time silently. Then Komen broke the silence.

“I am sorry. I didn’t want to steal from your house. But I needed money. It was very urgent.” Komen confessed himself. Mr.Sarvan smiled at Komen.

“It’s all right. Everyone steals, I have done it too when I was young.” He went back to his younger days when it was all survival of the fittest. He was born in a very poor family, his father and mother left him when he was a child. Grew up with the kids in the slums. Robbed and did some dangerous things in life to survive the cruel world. The Old man kept on saying things.

“One day I pickpocketed a college professor while on a bus. He caught me red-handed but he didn’t tell anyone on the bus or to the police. He took me to a restaurant nearby and bought me food that I had never ever seen in my life. I was sure he did that because I looked empty.” Mr.Sarvan wiped off the tears that flow over his cheeks.

He gave me a pen that was in his shirt pocket and told me “You have many choices. Everyone does. Either you can stab a man with this pen, as you can see it is really strong or sell it to someone, it is really expensive or use it for what it was meant to be used for.” I didn’t utter a word. He went away after paying the bill. Several days passed and I gave serious thoughts about it and came to decision, I was going to use it for what it was meant to be used for.” He paused for a second and continued.

“I went to a local school, completed my high school education and got an admission at One of the best colleges in the country. And started to write in a newspaper, published many books, and became the MP. All with the pen he gave me.” Mr.Sarvan stopped when he was out of breath and went back to see all of his achievements. Komen interrupted his thoughts, he didn’t want to, but he needed to.

“I am sorry, It was my mistake you lost the pen.” He held the old man’s hand and wept like a baby. Mr. Sarvan comforted him, they went on talking for a long time then a car stopped right in front of him and Mr.Sarvan’s son looked out through the window. 

“Are you coming?” asked the son to his father, like his father used to do when his son was waiting for the bus when he was in college.

“yes! yes!” He was delighted to see his son there. Mr. Sarvan turned to Komen and said:

“I came to tell sorry to you, I never should have hit you. That was not my way. Please forgive me.”

“No! it was my fault. You should not apologize for my mistake.” Komen stopped him from saying anything more. “Listen up, I will find you your pen. I swear.” The old man smiled and nodded.

He told goodbyes to the Burglar and went away with his son. 

  Many a Sun shined over the Lonely Mansion, one day a letter came in search of the old man, it was from Komen. He opened it immediately and there was a letter with a pen tied to it. His eyes were shining like the sun. His young age returned. Excitement and happiness groped him. The letter said: 

“I found it”  

He felt really happy that could not be expressed to others. 

Years went on like that and one day a police officer appeared at Komen’s home. Komen was frightened to see an officer at his doorstep, you know he was a burglar and was caught once. The officer didn’t say much just gave him a big packet. It was too small for a package. He opened it and found a letter from Mr.Jaron Sarvan’s lawyer. It said:

Letter sent on behalf of Mr.Jaron Sarvan(late)

  I am unfortunate to inform you that Mr.Jaron Sarvan died four months ago. His will was read two days before the letter was sent. He asked me specially to write this letter to you along with the part of share that was left for you. If any unclear, write to me in the address provided in the envelope.

PS: The part of the share is in the packet.

Komen was dreadful to hear such a news on a fine morning. Still, he was puzzled for what he was left to. He opened the packet and there was another letter, he opened it and a pen fell to his hand. The same pen he had taken, and returned to the rightful owner, was now in his hand. The letter inside was the same letter Komen sent to the old man. Only there was something added to it.

“I found it”

yes, you have, now it is yours. Remember everyone has a choice. Use it wisely.

Komen’s eyes filled with tears he pressed the letter and the pen to his heart and cried. His son walked to him and asked why was he crying. Komen kneeled before his son and embraced him and cried. He was happy but sad. He felt despair first, now a light shone on him. A new world stood before him. He kissed his son and told him:

“I found my choice, son”. He smiled.

 

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Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage – Lord Byron

 

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
⁠There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
⁠There is society, where none intrudes,
⁠By the deep Sea, and Music in its roar:
⁠I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
⁠From these our interviews, in which I steal
⁠From all I may be, or have been before,
⁠To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express—yet can not all conceal.

                                                 

                                               May God be with you always.

The Postcard Stranger – A Short Story.

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The evening was drawing near but they weren’t losing their hang of it. Marli with his friends was watching football in his home. His parents went to visit their relatives so his house became a fan park that day. The match was played by the local clubs and it was a final matchday. They could not afford to miss it. Marli’s football fever was intense, he used to play for their city club but he was ruled out for the tournament and they have reached the finals. So there in his home, he watched it with his friends, enjoying it. It was almost 6’o’clock when the match ended and Marli’s team won the match by a huge goal difference.

“Boy, that was a match,” Gono said to the group. Gono used to play for the college team but never made it to the Club. Marli was anyway happy for the result, even though he could not part with it.

“I forgot to ask, Raghu. Where were you last week? You didn’t come to play” asked Marli.

“Oh! I went to my grandfather’s place. It was fun and mysterious.” Said Raghu with great pride.

“Mysterious?” the whole group wondered at the same time. Raghu felt awkward hearing them say it together. But he smiled and said yes.

“What happened?” they asked again in the same voice.

This time Raghu told them everything his grandfather told him. His grandfather used to be in the police department. He was a fine officer and have received a gold medal for his valor.

“He told me about many of his investigations especially the case of the postcard serial killer”.

“Postcard?” asked Gono. “How can a postcard be a serial killer?”

“The postcard didn’t kill people. It was the name of the killer. He used to send people postcards before killing them. “

Marli was getting a little frightened. He was always afraid of thieves and killers. But was not ready to stop Raghu from completing the story.

“And the best part is he was never caught”. Raghu told with a big smile on his face.

“That would be enough” Marli stopped him. Everyone laughed. They knew Marli was afraid of all these things.

“Don’t worry, Marli. That was a long time ago. Even if he wasn’t caught, he’s probably dead by now” Gono tried to comfort Marli. But Raghu wasn’t ready to drop it. “but, you know, he may be dead. Still, his ghosts are lurking around.” Raghu laughed.

“Get out now” Marli became angry and kicked Raghu out of his house.

“Alright I will go, but be careful you are alone here.” Raghu kept tampering Marli’s thoughts. Marli searched for something to throw at Raghu, but by the time he got one Raghu and his other friends were nowhere to be seen.

“Idiots,” He told himself of his friends, smiling at his own fear. Marli slowly closed the door and locked it and went and lied on his bed with his cell phone in the hand. A little later he heard the doorbell or thought he heard one because he had his headphone on so he was not that sure. Anyway, he went to see if it was true, but no, there was nobody outside. Just his thoughts. But on the way back he saw a small yellow paper that resembled a sticky note. It was lying on the ground where they were watching football. He walked to it and picked it up. It said:

“Hello”

“what is this?” he thought to himself and turned it over and over. There was nothing else just the word hello. Marli knew it was Raghu’s play. He tore away the paper and went back to his bed but in front of his room, there was another card just the same paper he tore away. It said:

“Hello?”

The joke was going way too far. He tore it and walked to the front door and opened it. For his surprise, the door was locked. He tried the keys, but it didn’t open. Pushing or smashing was noway applicable as the door was made of steel. He could only dream of opening it with a push. The night had arrived and darkness spread over the world. Marli went to switch on the light. The light didn’t work.

“What is wrong with all these things?” he asked out loud for he was frustrated with all the jokes. Marli walked towards his bed to pick up his phone and call his friends. This time, on the bed there was a postcard, that was yellow, old and dusty. It bears the words:

“Don’t go out

Was that a threat he didn’t know. He turned it over and a sudden fear groped his soul and was slicing him to pieces. There were blood stains on back. He dropped it and ran out forgetting his mobile phone. Marli knew there was someone inside his home. Was it a prank or not? he was mentally depressed. He was sweating far greater than when he used to play football. His head was feeling dizzy, his hands shivering.

“THUMP!!!!” His heart started to pound even faster when a large noise like a plate falling on to the ground and breaking was heard.

It was surely from the kitchen because there were no plates anywhere else. He hid behind the door and peeped over the sides to have a view of the kitchen if someone comes out. A slight view of the kitchen was available from the room where he was now standing.

“THWACK!!!” another sound from the kitchen was heard, this time like a bang on the door or window. He hid behind the door and stopped peeping out. To his right, something peculiar stood. It was small and yellow. In a second it slowly flew to him and lied before his feet. He didn’t want to look or pick it up. But he couldn’t control his urge. In a swift motion, he picked it up. A dark fear went down his throat when he read it.

“I am not where you are looking”

He ran out to the door and tried to open it. Marli didn’t want to die today, not like this. He really pushed the door out. Nothing would happen, he knew that. Still, it was worth a try.

There was no other option for him. To pick up the mobile phone was out of the question. There was no way he would go into his bedroom. He ran straight to upstairs. There was just one bedroom. That had stayed locked for many years now. Nobody in his house went there. Nobody liked it, that was the truth. Like it or not, it was the only option he had.

He pushed open the door with all his power and it opened with a little creak. As soon as he got in he closed the door and locked it and sat at the far corner of the room. There was nothing else in the room except some old scraps and newspapers, a window opposite the door. Marli sat there for a long time. He was thirsty, but he would not go down. Hours past, the darkness got stronger. There was no source of light in the room. But he needed to try his luck and walked towards the switch, for his delight the light was on and he had a better view of where he was. He slowly came back to the place where he sat. Near him laid a bundle of old newspapers. Marli slowly pulled out a paper on top. It was really old, almost a century old. On the front page, there was a news headline that made Marli go mad. It said:

“The postcard Killing counts 127 and more!”

It didn’t end there, from the inside fell a yellow postcard with two words written in blood.

“Got you!”

Marli’s eyes were staring on to the postcard, his hands were shivering, his shirt was fully wet of sweat. He could have died of fear but his attention was taken by a bang on the door. A loud thumping continued for a long time. Marli knew he was trying to break in. There was nothing he could do to escape. The only thing he could do was pray to God for everything he got in his life. After some time the thumping stopped. Marli rejoiced, there was no more sound or any letters. He sat there for some more time. He thought he must now go to the room and get his cell phone. He slowly walked to the door, but suddenly the lights went out. Marli threw himself back into the newspaper bundle. He expected a blow from the door. But through the window on his back, a red face with black tongue appeared with an ax in hand and said in a devilish voice.

” 128 “

Marli knew what he said, he would be the 128th victim. He screamed so loudly that he fell to the ground unconscious.

It was all black.

Marli slowly tried to open his eyes and saw his phone ring. He looked around not knowing where he was, then it came to him that it was his room, there was a pale sunlight. It was evening.

“Oh! a nightmare” he said himself. He was sweating, utterly thirsty. His heart was beating faster than he had ever known. For one second he went back to his dreams just to make sure it was a dream. He again heard the phone ring.

Marli stretched his hands to take the phone and answered it.

“Hello,” almost a whisper. There came a loud voice from the other side, it was probably shouting.

“Where were you, I have been calling you for an hour,” It was his mother.

He slowly looked at his phone. Yes, there were 19 missed calls.

“Sorry, I think I was just having a bad dream,” he told his mother everything he saw and heard. He heard a mouthful for roaming around with friends like Raghu, he always heard that. His mother never liked Raghu, she says “he is an evil person. Anyway now he knows there was evil around and met him in person in his dreams. He sighed.

That night he went to Gono’s house and went back home only when his mother and father got back.

 

 

A classic – Horatius by Thomas Babington

Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the gate:
‘To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his Gods,

‘And for the tender mother
Who dandled him to rest,
And for the wife who nurses
His baby at her breast,
And for the holy maidens
Who feed the eternal flame,
To save them from false Sextus
That wrought the deed of shame?

May God bless you, my friends

Ps: I only took the lines I thought that I needed to share it with you.

Out on a Curfew – A Story.

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world, farewell

Thorin Oakensheild (the Hobbit, J.R.R Tolkien)

vehicles on road between buildings
Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

The door took some time to open, he was really tired and was slow as a turtle. hunger conquered him not helping to take another step. He really needed to get out but that was worse than the hunger. A quick decision was evident, die inside his home of hunger or go out find food and die a warrior’s death. He made his choice as you can guess, he went out.

The man’s name was Rohal, he may look older but was touching the twenties. he lived alone or was made to live alone of some unprecedented reasons. Before telling that I think we should follow him, to find where he will be going. Let me introduce the kind of situation he is in. Rohal lives in the city of Nargal the capital city of the state Garmar. The city was a battlefield a week ago. the rebels of the state killed the mayor of the city and had taken over the state secretary’s office. the government had no other way but to impose a curfew on the capital city. several of the rebels were arrested and killed by the National Security Corps and several innocent people also had to give their lives being in the middle of this mess. Now the curfew remains after one week and is supposed to remain for another two weeks.

Most of the shops were closed, many of the residents had to migrate with strict checking and the remaining few were made to stay in their home from 6:00 pm to 10:00 am. anyone who comes out in this time period is either considered a rebel or an enemy of the state. so I guess you have learned what the situation is so let’s go back to our guy.

He was running low on his supplies and had to take a refill only to find out the shops has not opened for the past week. He thought he would wait till the morning and find some shop or ask some people around if he finds any. He slowly opened the door. he felt a cool and dark breeze on his face. Many a night it has been since he has felt such a breeze on his face. for one second he went back to the time when everything was calm and peace. He used to go out every night roaming around just enjoying the night. But now it was not the time to enjoy, a single mistake would end in his death. Rohal went down the stairs, he lived upstairs in an apartment as we may call it, for him it a pigeonhole not enough space for his huge dreams. And this time he went out through the windows as he thought it may be safer. there was an outpost just outside his building, now he was getting out through the opposite direction and he was sure there were no guards on this part of the building or as far as he can see.

The stairs made a lot of noise, he didn’t bother jumping for he was able to jump really high and make hardly any noise. I told you he used to roam around during the night and roaming around in the night requires some noiseless jumping. the jump, as he expected was quiet that gave him the boost to walk without any sound for the next 10 or 20 meters. the city was so crowded in its older days, as a result, every building stood so close to each other, there was only a little space for one to walk through the sides. Here and there he peeped and rushed, like a cat in the dark. He walked in shadows like DEATH. As soon as he passed the street he could see that every house was either burnt or demolished, the remaining were closed and locked from outside, it was of the residents who migrated, so they could get back to their home when everything is peaceful again not have anything of their property inside being robbed.

The moon was shining over him, giving the guiding light for his adventure but that imposed a serious threat on him. the light will only make him exposed to the soldiers or the rebels who were strolling around. With some effort and time, he was able to get past the series of demolished houses. There at the edge of the road stood four of the soldiers with large guns and an armored vehicle at rest. His heart started to pound really fast, he was afraid if the sound of his heartbeat would give away his position.

“I should go to them and tell them of my need”. He first thought. “after all, they are here to help us”.

He stood hidden beside a waste bin that had almost burnt its 50 percent of its body in the last battle. there he gave serious thoughts to it. His hunger was not compromising with him. the man needed to find out something to eat or he is going down without a fight.

“No I should not” he then told himself “I don’t think they will help me, I have broken the curfew and this place is the main lock town of the rebels. they certainly are not going to treat me good.”

“I guess I will have to find out my own food,” he said and started to look for a way. He was standing at a dead end. the only way was past the guards.

“I can’t certainly ask them for permission to pass.” he tried a joke to ease his pressure and seemed to work a bit. He knew this place, he had walked and jumped and ran all over this place before…. before….

His parents died down the road he was standing. He left that thought and suddenly he found his way. there was a house that was half destroyed in the front, and he could climb up and go past the guards without them noticing.

“Yes that will do,” he told himself. He slowly went towards the half broken house. Every step needed to be taken carefully and swiftly so as the guards should not see him, not even his shadows. Rohal climbed up, it was not that hard, maybe the easiest of all he had climbed. Now he was crawling through the rooftops silently. Even cats would have had their envy on him. The destination was so near, just a few more yards and he could get down still, it was not clear if there were any guards below.

“GET DOWN!!!!!!” a loud scream of a guard below crushed all his opportunities. His heart was now having a rock and roll concert, the adrenaline rush was so high that he had even forgotten of his voracious hunger. Every single nightmare came to him, all the dreams he had, all the years before him, everything was now going down. He knew he won’t give up without a fight. At first, he thought he would give a run, but no now he heard another shout.

“Lay down your weapons,” screaming was the soldier, Rohal was puzzled, he didn’t have any weapons, even if he had there was no way they could have seen it. then there was gunfire and a loud cry. He didn’t dare to look down. that may have given out his position. but he knew one thing, the guards will now look for people streaming around. So he had to either wait there till the guards become calm or make a run for it. For now, the hunger was coming back at him.

“Go, run,” he told himself, for the first time in his life, before thinking anything else, he made a run. And an excellent run too. the Jump was perfectly timed and was able to make it across the street and to the gardens of a lonely home. He didn’t look back he kept walking forward till he reached the backyard of the lonely home. then in the shadows, he turned back to see, there was one soldier with a gun looking around and guarding a man fallen down, there was blood so he must be the man who was shot. the guard didn’t seem to have seen Rohal, that was his jump.

Rohal walked towards a wooden outhouse, the door seemed to be open(as it was not locked from outside). He went to the door and knocked if someone was there. there came no reply. he tried to pull the door still nothing happened. Now with a great effort, he made the pull. it worked. the door was now widely opened and there stood a girl with a knife in her hand. she was about to scream, sensing the upcoming danger Rohal told her not to scream he was a friend and not here to attack. the girl didn’t seem to believe.

“I am really hungry, do you have anything to eat? please,” he asked her. she felt sorry for him. His face showed the trouble he was in.

“Why should I give you anything to eat?” she asked her

“Because I am one of you. please.” and he gave her an account of everything that happened.

She looked like she believed it, but maybe not. anyway, she gave him a pile of bread and a piece of butter. he didn’t leave a second to think. As soon as she handed it to him, he grabbed it like a snake biting onto its prey and started to eat it at a speed she has never seen. He was choking now and then, she offered him water which he accepted very willingly.

Within minutes it was over, now he thought of returning, she asked him to stay for the night as going out may be dangerous. But he thanked her wholeheartedly and was in debt of her forever.

“Farewell,” he said and into the shadows he vanished. She was amazed by what happened, never have something like this happened in her life ever.

Rohal had a long way back, on the way back there was only one thing in his mind to get to the place where his parents died, murdered to be precise. There it was the main road right in the middle. His parents used to work for the City court, They were both lawyers. When the rebels got hold of the State secretaries office, his parents along with a handful of people were brought down here and publicly executed for everyone to see. He never thought something as such a thing would ever occur in his life. but it. He could still see the blood stains on the roads or they were just the part of his mind that played with him. He touched the road slowly and patted it. He still remembers the time seeing their dead bodies. It was cold and unhappy, not the way they used to be. He lied there right in road thinking about everything

“We’ve got someone down here,” said a guard from a distance. they surely meant Rohal. But he didn’t bother. He just lied there. Tiredness slowly groped him squeezing him hard.

Then a group of soldiers rounded him. they were confused about a person lying on the middle of a road. He was still motionless.

“Hey get up.” one of them shouted. there was no response. they walked closer and repeated their question. from a distance, the girl could see everything happening.

When the guards found there was no response they walked to him and everyone aiming their gun at him, one of them rolled him over face upwards. then suddenly Rohal had an idea, he silently, whispered “help”. and lied motionless. the guards thought he was a hostage of the rebels and escaped. they took him and put on their vehicle and rode on. she was watching and was very terrified of what would happen to him.

They took him somewhere.

Two months passed, peace started to roll over the city of Norgal. Rebels were captured. The city was slowly recovering from their wounds. the girl that lived on the outhouse of the lonely home one day was walking through the streets still in the shock of the battles in the city, heard a call from up a building. she looked back puzzled, there she saw that stranger who came to her one night, a guy who was so hungry and would walk to the end of the world to find what he needed.

“Remember me?” he asked.

“Yes,” she told with a smile, not knowing what to say to the man upstairs. he began to climb down and stood before her.

“I thought they took you?” she asked in such curiosity.

“Yes they did, But I had it all covered,” he told her with great pride. the guards thought he was hostage and men of state(as they called the friendly ones) and took him to their camp. After days of close observation, he was permitted to leave. By then the curfew was removed and everything came to order. He explained everything to her without breaking a breath, and she heard him with great interest and walked down the street, Or to their new life together. I don’t know maybe they may live together and tell their stories to their children, who knows? let us leave that to fate or to me!

The letter of life – A short story

brown paper envelope on table
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The new house was far better than the old rabbit hole down the street. this one was well furnished and I didn’t need to buy anything new to make it home. although it was for rent the house already felt like home. one or two friends from work came across to help me with unpacking and arranging everything. it was almost evening when the things were arranged and cleaned. the house was big enough for me, two bedrooms(as I only need one), one kitchen and a living room. there was a small backyard, where I could do my yoga and exercises.

Oh! I have forgotten to introduce me. My name is Shirley and I work at a newspaper company. Not an editor or a journalist. I am more like an assistant type. So back to the story.

My friends left after tea, they had night shifts at work. I was resting in my couch picking up the newspaper going through it and suddenly my doorbell rang. I stood up thinking.

“guests already”

I didn’t have much friends in this new city nor any neighbors nearby. so I felt curious. As I walked to the door the bell rang again. I opened it and saw nobody. then suddenly I saw the letterbox was almost open, I guessed it must be the postman. but there were no posts after 4pm. I know these stuff I work at a newspaper company. then I went to the letterbox and there was a letter. I picked it up and it was not the type of letter you get every day.

The envelope looked old and rugged like the one we see in epic fantasy movies. I walked inside as soon as I ensured there was no one else around. I opened it and the letter was thesame as the envelope, old and suspicious. it said in black and bold letters:

Welcome, my dear”.

the letter was really weird, it was the year 2018 not many wrote letters, nobody has ever written letters to me and not especially calling “my dear”. I thought the letter must be delivered as a mistake. I kept it where I found it but for my surprise, there was another letter, the same envelope, and everything. I opened it to find if there was something else. it said.

” don’t worry, my dear”.

I became really frustrated somebody was seriously pulling a prank on me but who? there was not many who I was close with. In fact,I have been in this city for just 5 weeks. I stood there for some time to find if someone was going to do it again.

nothing happened for an hour or two. I went back to the house, made my dinner and got freshened up. It was past 7 o’clock and the day had been rough and tough along with those anonymous letters I was really tired. so I went to the kitchen to have my dinner. It was good and my body was really impressed with the food and sleep wrapped all over me. For one last time, needed to see if there was another letter. So I went to the door and slowly looked over to the letterbox. I was startled by the view. there was someone at the gates. A black figure, there were no lights so I wasn’t sure if it was a man/a woman. I looked at it, that thing was like staring right at me, even though I could not see its face or literally nothing.

I thought it was my mind playing with me I closed the door and locked it. that night I slept on the couch with my mobile phone in my hand ready to call the police if needed. but nothing happened. And I slept fairly.

It was 7am,  I woke up late. I had to hurry to the office. I didn’t get my breakfast or my tea but I was able to get there on time. the day was fine and comfortable as I had adjusted to its nature. It was almost 6pm when I got out of the office and took a cab to my house. I was really tensed what if I see the man again? but there was nothing, not even a bird. I got out but I really had to check the letterbox. I couldn’t control my urge and pulled open the box and there the letterbox was completely stacked with letters. not leaving a tiny little space for another letter. I was frightened. I didn’t want to open any of the letters but as you can guess I took out one, just one. the envelop and letter was the same as the older ones, but it had a different message:

“I knew the girl who lived here before, she was very dear to me. I want you to be dear to me as well!”

the last sentence felt like a threat. I needed to call the police, but I thought I would wait this evening. If the guy comes and I will be surely calling the police. I went in and tried not to look out.

the night came and I didn’t open the door or looked outside. I watched tv and ate my dinner but before I went to bed I needed to make sure no one was around.  I slowly went to the door, but even before I could open the door, there outside the door I could hear a loud breath like a bear or something. I looked through the window near the door. there a tall man all in black stood he was looking straight to the door. I kept staring at him. then suddenly he knocked on the door.

I, out of fear made a cry and he heard it. he saw me looking through the window. Now he was staring at me through the window. I went searching for the mobile phone and luckily found it before any mess. I called the police and told about the man. Within minutes the police came. but they were not able to find the person. they asked me everything and I told them everything I knew, they showed me a photo of a person old and stout. it was the man I saw outside. they told me who he was.

His name was Hoarn. he once lived in this house along with his wife. he was a drunkard and one day killed his wife. For that, he was sent to prison and after 10 years got out. And came back to this house only to find out the house was sold to another person. A woman who lived here gave permission for him to live in the backyard as he had nowhere else to go, after some time for some reason he killed her too. he was never caught. And now I live here so I could guess what he was up to.

The story was well enough for me to get out of there, and I did after two days. No one came on those days and I moved to an apartment near to my office.

A year later I saw the man again, in the newspaper. He was caught red-handed trying to kill a man who lived there after I moved away. I could only think of the luck I had. After a few months I married a guy near to my apartment and from then I had never lived alone. But I got a letter one day after a long time. But there was a date and an address in it. It was dated on the date when the guy was caught by the police and it was addressed from the state prison. It said:

“Live, my dear”.