A Picture Complete!
Clouds swiftly came across and draped the moon shining so brightly in the night sky. The wind howled, and mist started to cover nature's surroundings, warning the wayward wanderers of its intentions. It was Halloween night, and mischief was about to knock on someone's door.
Chapter 1: A Message to the Past
"Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say. But they could, when they listened very closely. And they would sneer every time they heard it. Half-human, half-robot. Robosapiens, is what I called them. I was stuck, floating amongst the galaxies, because they had taken over the planet, and made it their permanent residence. It's been years. No. Decades. Uggh, I've lost my sense of time. I don't know how long I've been stuck here. All I can say is that I'm starting to get streaks of white in my hair. All of my colleagues are gone. It was all my fault. My colossal belief in my team blinded me from the inevitable deep betrayal that has now led to the destruction of our mission. I distinctly remember. It was Tuesday, January 20, 1998. I was in the lab, when I realized our mission had been compromised. I was accused of trickery and deception. I was declared a traitor, and overnight I lost my family, my reputation, and my career. My attempts to prove my innocence were futile. It had been too late by then. Within days, the Robosapiens had burned the entire city to the ground. In the blink of eye, everything had turned to dust. I had no choice but to run. The last few mortals that were trying to blend in with the Robosapiens, were eventually discovered, and killed. I was hiding behind the ruins of a house, when I caught glimpse of the program key injected in to the backs of these half humans, half robots. The red code. My eyes widened with horror, as I realized that this is not what I programmed the Robosapiens with. The green code had been replaced with the red code. Someone must've tampered with the Robosapiens while they were still in their initial stages. Nobody else had access to them except for my group. I was lucky enough to escape their blood-hungry eyes, and managed to pack as much food and water, as I could, and got into my space shuttle, and flew in to outer space. The human species is extinct now. Everything has been destroyed. Earth is full of nothing but half-human breeds that are animalistic, and vicious in nature. They know nothing but except, killing for pleasure. I'm now floating amongst the billions of galaxies, running on the last few sips of water, and munching on the scraps of food left from whenever. I can't remember how long it's been. I've been screaming, praying that someone might've survived. That someone might hear me. But to no avail. Just me and my solitude. But they can hear me. They're not upset that I've managed to escape them. But rather they laugh. They mock. They sneer at my state. My will to live. My fight with whatever little life I have left. You are my last hope. I've enclosed the instructions and the timeline of our mission. If you have received this, then my plan has worked".
The Parasite Train
The aroma of coffee had dominated the air, and forced her to give up her state of slumber. She opened her eyes slowly, battling the piercing light that was blinding her. She blinked a few times , allowing the man's face to come into focus. She jolted up to sit up straight. There was a man looming over with a cup of coffee in his hand. He was wearing a navy blue suit with a small golden broche pinned to his chest pocket.
Had Father been the Dearest
I often wonder if fathers really know how important they are in their children's eyes. Society tends to portray them as second-class parents who just exist after the mother. Nobody really appreciates the anticipation of a father-to-be. Maybe because they don't carry the child for nine months, nor do they nurture it, nor feel it grow inside their body, nor do they nurse it. But fathers are always anxiously, nervously, anticipating the arrival of their child. Counting each day, hour, millisecond. It is this anticipation that is often overlooked, because their bodies don't pay the price for birthing a child.
My Passionate Affair with Gol Gappey
If you're from the subcontinent like me ( India, Pakistan, Bangladesh), you know that nothing beats gol gappay in the summer. Nothing beats a crispy stuffed ball, full of flavours bursting in your mouth. My first intense relationship was not with a man, but with gol gappay ( water balls). It was the summer of 2009. I was a young and innocent desi girl. My relationship with Gol Gappays was friendly and cordial at the time. I would have them occasionally, when we went to Gerard Street, or at a wedding. It was that year, when I had watched a Bollywood movie called 'Rab ne Banadi Jodi' . There was a scene where Shah Rukh Khan and his love interest stop by a Gol Gappa stall to have some gol gappays before they head home after their dance class. They both challenged each other who could have the most gol gappays. One plate after another, they devoured the Gol Gappays. In the end, Shah Rukh Khan had won. It was then, my craving for gol gappays had turned intense. I stayed up many hot July nights tossing, and turning, thinking what was once friendly, and innocent, had now turned intense. These crispy balls filled with smashed potatoes, chickpeas, curd, sev, and tangy-spicy water were now tempting me, luring me towards them.
A Brief History of Dragons
'There weren't always dragons in the valley. Nor do they belong there. They were a gift to the Princess for her sixth birthday. But the Mad Wizard changed everyone's fate.... However, it is not in our hands to undo anything that caused this to happen in the first place. Only the Mad Wizard, the Princess or the Maker can do that. But there have been no signs of the Maker for the past 300 years. His whereabouts are unknown. Nobody knows where the Princess is either. Some say that the fire-breathing creatures have eaten him, while some say that the Maker may be alive and trapped in the valley.”'
The Lady and the Night Barn Owl
The sky was pitch black. There was light mist in the air. There were only a few lampposts alongside the distant road that allowed for some visibility. It wasn’t long until she was being dragged by her hair, across the dirt into the barn. The barn was old, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by a few trees, just a little distant from the road leading into the city ahead. The barn had not been maintained well. The red paint on the walls from the outside had already started to peel off. As the man dragged her weak body inside, the smell of death, and decay overpowered the remaining life in her. She was bruised up and wounded. The white walls were dirty, covered in residue of dirt, and stains of blood. The roof was hanging low, with mold in the corners of the rooftop. She saw a bracelet lying in the hay scattered across the ground. She understood that she was not the first one. The man stopped in his tracks and let go of her hair. Her weak body fell flat onto the ground. He walked over to the left. There were instruments for the barn lined up against the wall. A shovel, a whip, a bridle, a saddle, and other things, but she couldn’t tell what they were. She heard clattering. The man was frustrated because he couldn’t find what he was looking for. He walked out of the door to go look for it. The huge door of the barn was left open. She had no strength to get up, or to even lift a finger. She knew there was no chance of escaping. A few moments later, an owl flew into the barn. It was white, with a heart-shaped face, and brown specks on its white fur. It was a Barn owl. She was looking at it, very weakly, and it at her. She remembered learning about Barn owls in her Environmental Science class. They were predators. And they liked to hunt at night. And they don’t live more than 8 years. The man returned, wearing a hazmat suit, with a chainsaw in his hand. The lady knew this was it.
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
There was a strange tranquility in the air. The night was young, and the moon was shining. Its light was glistening on the waters, and on the white blankets of snow surrounding the road they were driving on. The road was deserted. It was a long one too. It wasn’t long until the clouds covered the moon, and the snow started to fall. The car was being driven slowly as the snow started to fall more heavily, and the wind was no longer calm. It started to get gustier. They all wanted this to be over as quickly as possible. As quietly as possible.