Creative February 21 – The wrong bus

(flash fiction)

The wrong bus

She was late and therefore ran to the bus-stop. A bus was just pulling in and she glimpsed a ‘3’ at the end. ‘What luck!’ she thought,’ that she could catch the bus after all.’ She got in, swiped her card and was surprised to see that the bus had many empty seats. Usually she has to hunt for a free seat at the back of the bus. She plopped down into a window seat with the seat beside her empty, reached into her bag for her novel and started to read. She had a good half-hour before her stop arrived and she was at the climactic part in the novel.

When she looked at her watch, 20 minutes had passed. She glanced out the window and a stab of panic lanced her heart. The landscape outside was frighteningly unknown and the realisation came swiftly that she had caught the wrong bus. But just to confirm she turned to her neighbour, a man who had taken the seat sometime along the journey and whose seating she had barely noticed. “Which bus is this?” she whispered.

He looked up from his own book and looked at her, recognition flooding his eyes. “Marya?” a huge grin was already dimpling his face and his eyes were twinkling with light. The years melted right before her eyes and she was back in high school and dating Peter but things were not going good and they were breaking up and going their separate ways. And now here he was, looking at her as if he wanted badly to give her a hug.

A year later they are married. And whenever she starts to tell the story with “one day I got into the wrong bus ….” He interjects laughingly, ‘the right bus, say, the right bus.”

~~~

P.S. After I wrote this my mind said, ‘What’s the point, where’s the moral of the story?” My inner voice says, “the Universe is a playful place. Be playful.” Amen to that!

Creative February 19 – Passion of Christ

(written as a collection of haiku)

from near and afar
they all came to hear you speak
tempestuous words

smouldering coals they fell
into hearts devoid of hope
setting them afire

little by little
there grew a conflagration
of souls impassioned

souls awakened
powerful force, rulers realised
they had you killed

but you unquenched
like a forest fire spread
your love blazing bright

from heart to heart
burning away the dross
leaving only love

showing us all
that to be Christ-like is
love, nothing but love

~~~

Creative February 18 – The last tribesman

The last tribesman (flash fiction)

Boisa sat on the edge of the cliff and looked out at the ocean as the sun slowly crept up the horizon. It was as though a live painting was being created on the sky with colours snatched out of thin air. But his feeling of wonder was tinged by deep sadness. He knew he would die soon but the cause of his sorrow was not just the knowledge of personal mortality. All the wisdom his ancestors had acquired by living off the land and sea that had been passed down the line through generations, all the rituals unique to his tribe, the language his people had fashioned on their own, the culinary practices they had crafted around the bounty of nature, all of this would also be lost. Boisa was the last of his tribe.

It had occurred to him the previous night, as he lay in bed remembering his parents, his young wife who had died at childbirth and the rest of his tribe who had been wiped out one by one by some unknown disease, that there was no one left to carry out his funeral rites. There was no one left who knew how to respectfully transition his body back into the earth and administer his spirit’s return to the spirit world and conjoining with the spirits of his ancestors. It made his shiver and turn cold on the inside, the thought that his body would lie for an unknown number of days, unfound, pecked apart by birds of prey, ravished by maggots, his bones exposed, while his spirit roamed lost with no loving spirit to gently guide it back home.

He looked down at the churning surf, a long way below his feet, hurling itself against the rocks. His ancestors had always prayed to the sea, for the bounty of fish and crustaceans, to keep their huts safe from the wrath of the waves. The sea had been their provider and guardian angel. The sea was kind, he felt that in his bones. The sea was wise, he felt that in his spirit. It accepted all. He would be safe in its huge watery arms. It would know how to release his spirit from its embrace into the arms of his loved ones. The sea would be his final resting place.

When he looked down again, he felt a sense of peace. His decision was made. He would wash himself, paint his body and play the drum. Then, he would gather his spear and bow and arrows and dance as his tribe would for celebrations. The spirits of his ancestors, he was sure, would arrive on his thus calling. The leap into the depths would then be easy for they would be waiting to take him home.

 ~~~

Inspired by a deeply saddening article in the Guardian, which said that four years ago the last member of a tribe called Bo in the Andamans died, rendering the tribe extinct.

Creative February 13 – The edge

For today, flash fiction.

The edge

The two ducklings are friends, one slightly older than the other. They are not yet adults but are old enough to go paddling on their own, their mother having taught them to look for food.

One day the younger one, looking into the far distance over the river, says, “I wonder what lies beyond that.” The older, looking in the direction of his gaze, replies, “I too have been thinking about that and so asked my mother. She said it’s the ‘edge’ and we must go nowhere near it. Her voice sounded ominous”.

“But why? Why must we not go near it?” The younger is impatient in his curiosity.

“I’ve seen twigs and leaves disappear into it and when it rains, the sound it makes becomes louder, so the ‘edge’ must be a dangerous place.”

“Has anyone gone there?”

“No. Everyone just obeys the rules.”

“Let’s go and find out. Then we can come back and tell everyone stories of how it is beyond the edge.”

“I don’t think my mother will be very pleased if she finds out if we are planning such a thing.”

“Let’s not tell her, let’s not tell anyone.” The younger is very excited now.

“I’m not so sure. What if there’s something out there that makes that loud noise. It could eat us alive?”

“What if there isn’t? How are we going to know unless we find out?”

“You go find out and come back and tell me.”

The younger is a bit deflated. He can’t muster the courage to go alone and his friend’s decision seems final and so he decides to shelve his plan.

But his curiosity won’t give him any peace. Everyday, he takes breaks from his foraging to gaze longingly at the water bubbling and disappearing into the ‘edge’. “It must be going somewhere and wherever it’s going there will still be water and food. If no ducks live there, there might be even more food, so why did they make this silly rule?”

A few days later, it’s morning and all the ducks are out paddling and diving for food. The younger one slowly and imperceptibly moves closer and closer to the ‘edge’. His friend, not suspecting anything paddles along. When they are away from the others and quite close to the ‘edge’, the younger declares, “I’m going to the ‘edge’. I’m going to find out today what lies beyond.”

And before his friend can even react, he paddles furiously towards the ‘edge’. The water has picked up speed, as though it’s all excited too about going to the ‘edge’. It is now flowing faster than the youngster can paddle. He stops paddling and gives in to the flow, turning back to steal a look at his friend who is staring at him, beak agape.

When the duckling turns again, he is at the tip of the edge and the next instant he is over it. For one long wondrous moment, as though time has moved into slow-motion mode, he gazes at the river, gleaming in the morning sunlight, as it snakes its way through the valley. The mist embracing the sides of the hills are melting and snaking up towards the sky, wispy-fingered. In the long distance, sunlight is glinting off the windows of houses. Before he hits the rocks below and gets smashed to death, free-falling over the tumbling masses of water, just one thought takes over his entire being and fills it with lightness, ‘beyond the edge is such a magical place!”

~~~