In Context

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“A little context goes a long way.”

_ J. M. Barrie,

The Founder of Secret Literary Society (SLitS).

Written on the pale wall, the slogan greeted her on the first day of her job. She was standing in a dimly lit, narrow reception area. It was desperately in want of a receptionist as there were no visible directions about where she was supposed to go. She gathered her teal patterned muffler and covered her face as a protective response against her nerves, which were threatening to overcome her resolve for a yearning for the signature hustle and bustle of a London evening filled her. But there was only the mild noise filtering from the bar above to keep her company. Previous day’s events ran before her eyes like that of a play she had watched repeatedly.

She was clutching a letter in her hands that congratulated her on securing a position. A position which she had never applied for. But it incited her interest many degrees more than the prospect of engaging with an unknown family and educating their children. A tedious but also the only other means of earning for her. Curiosity coupled with the greed of being called the 1st woman to be selected for the work of such a unique nature motivated her. She looked at the letter again for reassurance. .

The SLitS Headquarters,

October 16th, 18____,

Ms. ______,

As per our previous correspondence, we offer you the said position. Consider this letter your official appointment. Please take note that you, under no circumstances, are to show this to anyone. If you want to decline, then burn the letters and speak no word about them. However, if you were to accept, then we request your presence at The SLitS Headquarter (basement of The 1888 Bar) today at sharp 20:00.

May the Power of Words shine over you!

Director,

Secret Literary Society.

(SLitS).

She ventured forward and after a few minutes located a spiral staircase leading deep into the building.


 

A year later

She was standing in the lavish garden of a grand mansion that she was to enter in due course. The paper in her gloved hands read,

“Story-telling is not mere escapism. It is more real than reality; truer than the truth.”

Chilling air cut through despite her heavy corset, abundantly ruffled bustle skirt, and a copious amount of hosiery. Her ample bosom peeked out of the sensuous V-neck of her bodice, which was tighter than the pursed lips of her mother, when she lost her temper. A Gainsborough hat covered her curls, except for a few strands that were let loose purposefully. While her figure was plump in all the right places, her face — if not flattered with hair — heavily inclined towards corpulence.

She looked about her anxiously. It had taken her more than the standard 3 days to avail the invitation to this ball. She had almost lost hope, except in her line of work, one did not have the luxury of giving up. She sighed and threw back her shoulders before she entered the royal venue with a lady-like gait she had been practicing for a month.

Blood-red carpet covered the floor of the gigantic hall. Draping the 7 feet tall windows, the satin curtains in a shade of deep burgundy shielded the room from the gloomy weather outside. Within a few moments, she had detected her target and was moving towards him but was hindered by her hostess. As guided by her mentor at the SLitS headquarter, she fended off the emergency by cutting her off mid-dialogue without appearing curt or disregarding in the least.

She noticed that the night was advancing fast. Soon the mad chaos of colliding bodies in the jolly ritual called dance will ensue. It would be impossible to get hold of her target then. She decided that it was time to make her move. But —

“A woman of exceptional beauty in a room full of prospective grooms, interested not in even one of them only falls short in terms of suspicion to a handsome bachelor, with a large income and handsome disposition yet who was not pursued by a string of women,” said a velvety, almost intoxicating voice.

She stopped dead in her tracks. Her eyes closed in a gesture of frustration, not unlike someone who was caught in the midst of performing an illegal deed. With great difficulty, she brought herself to face the watchful eyes under the drooping upper lids of this man of extraordinary eminence.

He was towering her 5 ft. 4” figure by a good 8 inches. Devoid of his wide-brimmed hat, sporting a tuft of curled hair neatly separated in a straight middle parting, and dressed in a silk frock coat of indescribable brown hue, he looked a character from the 17th century.

“Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde,” she curtsied and offered him her hand.

His Grecian features transformed utterly as he boomed with laughter and kissed her outstretched hand.

“It is odd you presented your left … ” He lost consciousness mid-sentence. Her backup had caught him and transferred him into another room before he had completed his fall.

By the time, Wilde came to his senses, a crucial piece of information had been exchanged between the 9th Marquees of Queens-berry and a charming lady who was never again seen in the same circle. It was an information that could char the name of a certain Lord Alfred Douglas for debauchery of inconceivable nature.


 

May 25th, 1895

“A few years and his work would have bestowed upon him success and popularity,” she told a mysterious man in black, “Why did we do this to him?”

“I may not have foreseen the level of injustice they perpetrated on him,” said the man but without even a shred of remorse in his voice. “Nonetheless” he added, “Our actions have only made him immortal.”

“Because that is our job,” she retorted, “We kill wordsmiths to immortalize them.”

The man had had enough. “His work is larger than his life and our sins,” he told the girl he had recruited a few years ago, “Besides,” he said adjusting his bowler hat on his head, “He isn’t dead, yet.”


 

A strange woman visited the most controversial prisoner of his time. What a scandal! thought everyone at the prison.

The powers that be had wanted to keep the whole affair a secret; thus, it was on every tongue like the other secrets of the literary world. Why was every great writer afflicted with misfortune? Why was there always a back-story about the best of storytellers? These were more than mere coincidences. Spicing up the lives of great writers was the job for which our protagonist had been hired!

“Why have you come here, dear lady?” questioned a prisoner whose glory and dignity had been drowned in a gong that still echoed “Shame!” “Shame!”

A veil covered the face of the woman in black, but he knew who she was. He looked down at the gloved hand more lethal than the most venomous serpent living in the depths of the African jungles.

“Apologizing will not absolve me or undo my deed,” she said in a sepulchral tone, “I want you to remember who you are irrespective of what happens in this dreadful place.”

She offered him her hand again. This time it was the right one.


 

De Profundis,” wrote the queer prisoner on a sheet of paper that night.

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Originally Published on Medium 

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Blown Out of Proportion — Wringo Ink.

Here is another entry from our #WringoInk. project.
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Monday:

She was reading something. We were in a library surrounded by books. I was glad she was there. Finally, there was a girl who loved literature. She was into Camus and Beckett; would you believe it? I mean she belched at the mention of glittering vampires and impossibly romantic love stories just as my dream girl would have done.

I could imagine her narrating my favorite story. It was the uncensored version of a famous fairy tale where the shrewd elf was tricked and raped by the shepherd’s little girl. Throughout the story, the little girl was portrayed as a simpleton. Itwas only at the end the plot twist was revealed. It boiled my blood how the modern version was a hunky-dory retelling with the elf turning into a handsome prince marrying the village girl. Talk about making things palatable!

“You should be in dramatics. You read lines with emotion”, I told her.

She said something but I didn’t quite catch it. I was busy watching her small red lips curl into a smile.

I could tell she liked me.

Tuesday:

I was sitting cross-legged on my writing table when my phone beeped. However, I didn’t care much because she was in the room too. She was singing a song I had never heard before. Great, I thought to myself, now I will think of her whenever I will hear this tune.

It was 9 a.m. and I could see sunlight filtering through my window and landing right on her. She was wearing a silver satin dress that she had worn on the party last night. It was glowing because of the golden beams that were reflecting off the fabric’s surface.

I was beginning to fall for her.

Wednesday:

I was lying on the sand. The moon must have been wildbecausethe waves were creating a havoc. Yet I could see the force of water die down as it touched the tips of my bare feet. I felt as if I was part of a best-selling fiction. She was lying right beside me, whispering mesmerizing poetry into my ears.

This relationship was definitely progressing.

Thursday:

She was going for a coffee with her otherguy friend, Z. She said she had a surprise for me. Maybe she wanted me to be her boyfriend. Was she asking Z for advice before making that decision? I thought. He would tell her I am a nice guy,I smiled.

I was definitely in love with her.

Things were going great and we’d been together by nowif only reality had not arrived from the foreign lands of my dreams. It was back from its vacations.Urgh.It was knocking on the door of my sanityincessantly. I had to answer.

Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday

“You should be in dramatics. You read lines with emotion”, I had told her on Monday.

“Dude, what the hell? This is just a Facebookpost. You gotta chill,” she had said while laughing.

We were sitting with 5 other people. It was a library alright but our college library. Love has the power to alter a few imperfections.

There was a Tuesday song for sure but…

“Listen to this guys:

#myfavoritenumber #myfavoritesinger #themusiclegend”

She had shared her favorite song on our WhatsApp group. She had been talking about it all night at the party. She had promised to share it on the group, of which I was also a part. Just not the onlypart though.

We had our English Literature class onWednesday. She had volunteered to read “I saw from the Beach” by Thomas Moore. It was broad daylight. The whole class was her audience but I was the only one who was listening. Listening too much, I presume, and imagining even more.

On Thursdayshe was successful in giving us a surprise. I was shocked to the point of devastation.

“Z and I are dating”, she had told us. The two of them were bursting with laughter.


Today is Friday:

I am going home. Alone. I see a girl waving at me. What does she want? I think, probably waving at someone behind me.

Somewhere a villain will trick a sweetgirl. Not all fairytales have to be unrealistic.

It is high time I should stop blowing things out of proportion.

Originally Published on Medium.

The Confessions of a Celestial Being

This story is written as part of a writing challenge–WRINGO (writing BINGO), which is proposed and played by my office friends. There is a grid with different genres for each grid. Every week, we are assigned a genre that is decided by a dice-roll. I will be  sharing my stories here. 

Genre for this week is Romance. 

I loved her–the Earth, I mean.

One fine moment in space, I told her so!

Now you may think that it was a very hasty decision on my part but that is not the truth. I had observed her for several centuries before deciding that she was indeed the one. It was a very calculated decision and not an emotional one at all for she had life (something that is rather extinct up here). Emotions got involved, but later–when she rejected me.

Somehow, it had made me want her even more. Perhaps, it had always been the reason. For you see, I was very attractive, I still am, actually. Nobody up here in the Universe had ever been able to ‘resist’ my charms.

Earth, on the other hand, had never been bothered by my worldly or perhaps otherworldly beauty. It seemed as if she was made from some other matter, which rendered her immune to my gigantic force of attraction. God knows, she was different. (This is where I sigh and fail to stop thinking about her).

Anyways, so without wasting any time in sending her the positive radiations to be caught and responded by her love RADAR, I decided to sneak right up on her, as per my custom. She refused to even face me. I still remember every single detail of that agonising encounter.

“Let me engulf you with all your splendour, Madame”, I had said in the loftiest tone I could manage amidst all the noise and chaos the particles (foreign, indigenous, and hybrids) of my body were making. They were jiggling up and down, cheering me, ready to welcome another member to the family. I felt confident despite the disorientation in my shape and size.

But, something unexpected happened. Mother Earth responded to my sincerest confession in the most unbelievable manner, that isshe DIDN’T. The most attractive entity in the Universe made her a proposal and she didn’t even pretend to acknowledge. Now let me make something clear to you all here. I am not an ordinary phenomenon. Thousands of maiden galaxies would have sacrificed their carefully crafted sensual symmetries for me but Ms. Earth was an arrogant bitch!

So it all happened and then came the emotions—anger at being rejected, hope that she was playing the ‘hard to get’ game, and finally a doomed feeling of emptiness. The cycle kept going on and I learned that only the first confession is hard to make. Later, you just start enjoying the derogatory behaviour of your beloved. Happened with me too and I started to look for reasons to ‘trigger’ her. I would not let go a single chance to shake her to her core. Yes, I can do that, I have mysterious powers. Interestingly enough, her inhabitants-lovers (what a whore, right?), haters (you can’t possibly have any fun without those), and children (illegitimate *shudders*) trembled at my every touch. What is even funnier is that they thought I was God. Just mess a bit with them, and these earthlings would readily start worshipping you. Now I am not God, not even close but who could possibly deny that degree of attention? God, perhaps!

This game was fascinating enough to keep me going. I almost stopped worshipping her but then one day she just decided to walk up to me. I thought that my opportunity has just arrived and I was all set to ‘grab’ it when she opened that mouth of hers, which turned out to be bigger than her other assets.

“I don’t even like you, hole.” Her hateful tone was forceful enough to destroy the whole Universe.

I, however, engulfed it, thanks to my very accepting nature and said, “Why do I repel you so when I have the most appealing existence in the whole cosmos?” “Also”, I added hastily, “I am well-connected.”

She ignored my last remark. “My people”, she began pointing towards her chest. Two gigantic mountains distracted me and I could no more concentrate on what she was saying. She sensed my perverseness and shuffled to cover her generous heap with some greenery and cleared her throat. “The thing is you are dark and my have enough of that already. With you by my side, the future will be darker.”

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Source: Safely Endangered Comics

She allowed that to sink in before continuing, “By the way, I am dating Moon for now and I occasionally flirt with the stars as well but you know who my real target is, right?”

“You will burn”, I tried to say but couldn’t. After all, who would have listened to a BLACK HOLE?

The End

Important: To read other writers’ take on the genre, visit https://medium.com/@logicowringo. You won’t be disappointed!!! Happy Reading =)

Footsteps

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The noise of the sea,

Could not reach them.

They only heard,

The crashes made,

at the beach.

 

He kept on walking

With rapture.

Leaving behind

small traces,

For a man of great stature.

 

She followed him.

Careful to fit,

Her big feet,

Into the marks he left.

 

Oblivious of the tumultuous waves,

They walked on paths,

That life paves.

 

But then he turned,

saw her,

and smiled.

“Dont follow me like that”

He told her,

She obliged.

 

He kept on walking,

But now backwards.

She kept on filling,

his footsteps.

This made new images on the sand,

Resembling not their separate feet.

But something in between.

 

She knew what he had meant.

He did not want her lost,

In between his footsteps

On the sands of time.

 

Time

passed.

Scene shifted.

 

The two of them

Still walk on shore

But their footsteps

Are not followed.

Only the ruthless

Tides now meet

The small imprints,

And the large feet.

Valentine’s Day

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She claimed to have fallen for me,
everyone at the college said so.
I was not sure.

I saw her eyes,
when they were on mine
were transformed
into a brightest star I once saw
from the roof of my home
oh my humble home
The smallest place to dwell
and I heard a bell!
she only loved
my borrowed clothes,
my stolen boots,
My shiny watch
from a wealthy cousin,
A charity gift.
she only loved
An image of mine
I let it pass….

on February 12th her friend told me
That she was expecting some gift from me
I madly made a wretched decision
to buy the reddesd cherries for her
To show my passion and profess my love

I started saving some notes,
stole some more,
counted all my previous dough
To give her on February 14th,
The reddest cherries of them all

One night before that fateful day,
my mother went all funny, I say
and asked for my precious money
I asked her, why?, she did not tell,
I declined but ‘nothing’ she uttered

Next day I saw a heinous sight,
My mother’s body in sunlight.
Drenched in a pool of red
half dropping from her bed.
the color of her vomits
was the Pure and Red
I threw my money but
Kept my promise
of giving my love
The reddest cherries.

She accepted them with my apology,
They were pressed on my way to her
In red she was dressed
The juice dripped from her lips
which were tightly pressed.

I saw her as my eyes flood
drinking up my mother’s blood.