The Final Conquest

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Perched on my favorite rocking chair in the wooden porch of my small house, I was swaying back and forth. A backward stroke of the chair, and dark shadows engulfed my charcoal skin. The magic of physical laws brought it back to its initial position and sparkling sunshine made my face glisten. Darkness after light… Light after darkness…

I closed my eyes to relish my victory. Years of protests, neck-breaking efforts, and innumerable insults had borne fruit. We were free at last. Screens of every gadget I owned were live with a single news.

“The feminist movement has destroyed misogyny once and for all. The last group resisting the change surrendered yesterday night after a heated debate between the two leading parties ended unanimously in the favor of women.”

It was a bittersweet moment for me as a thousand disturbing images flashed across my eyes.

Beautiful feminine features made hideous by the pettiness of male ego. Uncountable pregnancies aborted forcefully and an even greater number of forced pregnancies. People tearing one girl’s scarf and forcing it on another. Glass ceiling, domestic abuse, honor killings, acid throwing, marital rape, sexist comments, and varying shades of sexual harassment. I had seen it all, experienced it all, and fought it all.

It was now a decade ago when one of my male colleagues had said it in defense of his gender but the low blow still stung me. We were having our usual lunch break discussions about the increased surfacing of rape case. He said, “If somebody has a key and they find a keyhole, they insert it in there. That is natural.”

I’d wanted to smack his deplorable face but I acted exactly how my gender did when angered and triggered; calmly but sarcastically. “That means if I find a bat somewhere, I can hit your balls real hard with it because you know it’d be very natural too,” was my tart retort.

Looking back at it, I was burning with anger at the audacity of that piece of sh** when a small crowd disturbed my solitude by blocking the sun. There were other lights though — flashes and cameras. “Ma’am we want to interview you.” Journalists! I thought.

“Go ahead!” I relented.

“Do you think men are your enemy?” asked a kind looking bespectacled man. His glasses were slipping down his nose after every other second.

“No!” I declared, “My biggest supporter throughout the movement had been a man. In fact, it was his brilliant idea that proved to be the stepping stone of our success.”

“Do you mind sharing that secret with us?” he asked visibly thrilled at the opportunity of asking me questions and even more so at getting prompt responses.

“I would love to,” I replied, “It’s not a secret, really. Do you know how the biggest reform came when men began supporting our cause and safeguarding our rights?” I saw him nodding vehemently, which was a dangerous risk, considering the condition of his horn-rimmed glasses.

“The man I am referring to had advised me to teach the womenfolk to raise feminist sons and that I believe did the trick. The opposing party called us whores and the poor men who stood for us were called impotent or gay. My great mentor used to say gays and impotent men are much better humans than these pathetic excuses of men who lack even basic decency I’d chop off my dick any day if it made me such an arrogant bastard.”

“You talk about your mentor a lot. Why didn’t you ever reveal his identity?” It was a different journalist this time.

“I didn’t want him to get hurt,” was my curt reply.

“Does him being a man bother you ever?” asked the guy with the slippery glasses. Good question, I thought. Something bothered me about my mentor but his gender was not it.

“No!” I replied, “Feminists believe in equality and not female Supremacy. We advocate humanity.”

They wanted to ask more questions, but I had had enough and thus excused myself. I retreated inside my home. I needed to talk to my mentor.

“Why am I a man?” He asked me.

“You know why,” I said evasively.

“No, I don’t,” he said, “Is it because the world wouldn’t listen to a woman?”

“No, not the world! The women wouldn’t have listened to another woman,” I admitted reluctantly.

“So you created a visage of a man who ‘helped’ you?” He said in a fake deep voice.

I nodded and said “The world had ingrained women to listen to men for so long. Therefore, I used our psychology to bring us some happiness. I could have saved them from men but how was I to protect them from themselves?” My eyes brimmed.

“It’s all right! You did great,” My reflection told me in a voice that was a distasteful mockery of Liam Neeson.

I smiled at it. No longer was he a figment of female imagination — a man who understood.

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Originally published on Medium

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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 

The Politically Correct Coward

The dead screen of my old Nokia phone sprang to life as my rather annoying ring tone pierced the silence of the empty auditorium. I ignored it.

Ba Dum TSS

Another beep. My 6-year-old niece had set this tone when she was visiting me with her Mama. I kept the tune because it reminded me of her and made me smile. I am a sentimental fool. I often wonder if my students have any idea how ordinary a person I am. They idolize me for my radical philosophies. Little do they know, I only play a part, since impressing them is my job. The other day, I heard one of the boys comparing me to Iron Man. I have no such delusions. At the most, I am Groot — the little one!

The phone stopped buzzing. Safe to handle, I thought. A few missed calls and two messages from the same number! I opened one of them.

“Your short story has won second prize. Congratulations! Time to celebrate. PBS.”

PBS was my editor-cum-publisher. I should be dancing joyously for my huge accomplishment — international recognition and an actual prize! I tried to smile but my cemented jaws did not permit me that indulgence. The spacious hall felt claustrophobic. I pocketed my phone, hung my bag, and left the lecture hall.

I needed fresh air. I decided to walk home instead of taking the bus. I retrieved the manuscript of my story from my satchel. I had been carrying this copy with me since the past seven years. PBS got his hands on it just a year ago. Before that, it had visited the desks of at least 50 different publishers. At one time, my friends used to joke that every publisher in America must have read and rejected my story at least once in their career.

“What is the most common interview question for an editor/publisher’s job in America?” one of my comrades told this joke on every gathering.

“What?”

“Have you rejected Khizer Hassan’s story? And if the applicant’s reply is in the affirmative, they hire him on the spot.” My friends are jerks!

I glanced at the loosely bound white sheets, heavily edited by PBS. I read one particularly red paragraph.

The h̶a̶z̶e̶l̶ colored eyes of the little boy were devoid of all emotion except for hatred. The abhorrence was a reflection from the weapon pointing at his chest. The P̶a̶l̶e̶s̶t̶i̶n̶i̶a̶n̶ boy had acknowledged defeat. ‘Perfect’, thought the war photographer as he captured the expression in his camera. It was art, for which he will win many awards.”

I looked away in disgust. My cellphone was now ringing incessantly. Congratulations were pouring in. “Finally! =P,” my clown of a friend had texted. I put it on silent mode. I forced myself to look at another paragraph.

The woman was begging them to spare her. Yet, their hateful lust was not familiar with mercy. T̶h̶e̶y̶ ̶p̶u̶l̶l̶e̶d̶ ̶a̶t̶ ̶h̶e̶r̶ ̶h̶e̶a̶d̶s̶c̶a̶r̶f̶,̶ ̶l̶a̶u̶g̶h̶i̶n̶g̶…”

There was no other mention of the character’s ethnicity/religion in that part and so there were no other edits either. My house was only a few strides away. I decided to stop at the nearby café for a cup of coffee. As I went through the rest of the story, sipping my scalding espresso, I registered various replaced, marked, and deleted words. I̶s̶l̶a̶m̶,̶ ̶M̶u̶s̶l̶i̶m̶s̶,̶ ̶F̶a̶i̶t̶h̶,̶ ̶P̶a̶l̶e̶s̶t̶i̶n̶e̶,̶ ̶R̶o̶h̶i̶n̶g̶y̶a̶,̶ ̶K̶a̶s̶h̶m̶i̶r̶,̶ ̶I̶s̶l̶a̶m̶o̶p̶h̶o̶b̶i̶a̶, so on and so forth.

PBS had cleansed it thoroughly. There was not even a shadow left of the context I wrote it in. I recalled my meeting with him. I was visiting my sister in the States when he had called me. He needed to discuss the story with me.

“Khizer,” he had said, “Great literature is never specific. Reach out to everyone.”

“That will just murder my perspective,” I had protested, “The pleas of my people will drown in the sea of this generalization.”

This offended him. In those 6 years, he was the only one to recognize the potential in my tale. I didn’t want to tickle him the wrong way. Yet, I couldn’t stop feeling that he missed the whole point of my work.

“Everyone has rejected your story,” he said. “Because of its political incorrectness. Stick to your stubbornness and you can spend the rest of your life with this manuscript dangling at your side.”

He hurled the pages towards me, gesturing for me to leave.

When I reached the door, he added, “Or you can always publish it with any of your local publishers.” He sniggered and lighted a cigar.

I can’t say if his demeaning behavior made me do it or my desperation to see the work of my life in print, but next day I submitted the story to him.

“Publish it,” I told him and he beamed with victory.

“Keep the edits,” I added in a small voice, rather unnecessarily. He returned me the battered manuscript. He had a soft copy.

I was home now. I found the published version of the story and read the heart wrenching tale. I could tell that every mother reading it will shed tears at the little boy’s death. Every mother, I thought, Muslim, American, Israelite, Indian… I pictured how the rape of the innocent woman will break everyone’s heart into a million pieces. The suffering of humanity will move them. They will tell each other what a touching story this Asian guy has penned. “So relatable, given the current situation of the world,” one of them would say, imagining the atrocities their race might be facing. “So true,” their friend would reply thinking of their own pains.

Nobody will grasp my side of the story. Being politically correct has robbed me of my opinion. I know it’s a nice a story but not the one I wanted to tell.


Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, entities, or actual events is purely coincidental.

 

Originally Published at Medium for our WringoInk Project

Genre, Current Events.

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SPPRIG Testing Laboratory

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“Natural selection,” the voice said, “is obsolete now.”

Zac was struggling to focus on the words that were resonating all around him. Despite having memorized them by heart, he had to listen to them daily because according to ADLTHood 101, he had yet to internalize the concept.

“After extensive research, it has been concluded that Nature has turned too soft in deciding what to keep and what to discard,” the words continued. “Therefore, We had to intervene.”

Zac had no idea who these We were. Neither any of his acquaintance knew. The only thing they were aware of was that We were important and right. There was no question about that. Zac was too much of a conformist to question who’s, how’s, and what’s of the system. He was not a rebel, at least not until he had met Aby!

“By our method, only the best will be allowed in this world,” the metallic voice summarized. “Misery will be eradicated, once and for all.” Zac had once again missed the point and he knew that We would know. He will have to attend this session again tomorrow. He was not worried about it because he had just spotted Aby and judging by the sheepish look on her face, she will be attending the class too. He waved at her and she smiled.

“May you see the birth of supreme race,” he greeted her.

“And you,” she replied.

“Today?” he asked her in an undertone.

“Too dangerous,” was her reply. Before he could completely wear his disappointed look, she added, “but I want to.”

This made him happy but in an attempt to show it, he ended up with a comical expression on his face that was a mixture of happiness and disappointment. Aby couldn’t help but laugh. Zac was born with a genetic defect that slowed down his gestures. Therefore, he was often caught between two emotions that resulted in a confusing look on his face. Aby thought it was cute. On the other hand, Zac found it even cuter that instead of inheriting her mother’s dominant gene, the love of his life had her father’s recessive ones. She was bald. This made her unique because according to what science he knew, this was a sex-linked gene. Yet, he had never set eyes upon a woman more womanly than Aby!

They both knew they were not supposed to be like that. We had told them often enough about their defects but failed to instill a feeling of regret in them. It was mainly because the whole world was like that. Everyone had their own set of deficiencies. Since they had never seen for real what Wedescribed to be the perfect human being, except as models in labs, on technological devices, and as monumental structures on every street, they thought it was just an impossibility and an exaggeration.

“Meet me behind the great statue,” he told her. “The one at the end of your street.”

She blinked and was gone.


“You are beautiful.” He was drawing intricate patterns on her hairless head with a SpecPo, which was a pointer with fluorescent ink in several shades. He was holding a mirror in his free hand to let her see his art.

This is beautiful,” she almost screamed examining the now-finished mandala of vibrant colors on her head. It was the latest fashion trend and Zac did the best replicas of the designs she pointed out to him, from the international magazines.

“Shhh!” he warned her. She suppressed her giggles and clicked his photo from her DigCam.

“No way,” he almost yelled looking at the photo. “Is this the expression you will draw? It is ugly!”

“Fuck off!” she said. “This is such a singular expression. I have never witnessed you being scared, amused, and turned on, simultaneously.” His eyes twinkled and she busied herself in drawing magic on a paper pad. He produced an electronic cigarette from his pocket. They puffed on, taking turns.

“Zac,” she said after a few minutes. “If we got caught, horrible events will ensue.”

“How about we register for a compatibility test?” he suggested.

“I don’t know, Zac. There had been zero cases of love marriage in the previous centuries of which we have any record,” she was unsure. “Rom/Jul were the last ones to think about the L-word and you know how We had staged a series of evil stratagems leading to programmed deaths.”

“This is why I propose to follow the rules,” he tried to convince her.

In order to ensure that children with only the best genetic makeup were born, We used compatibility testing called SPPRIG. It stood for sex, philosophy, psychology, religion, intellect, and genetics — the characteristics that were evaluated in this test. It was based on the latest scientific research and was supposed to generate the ideal results. Data of thousands of people reached them and they ran a set of tests on it. There conducted interviews, blood testing, psychological checkup, and medical examinations. Only after that, were two people allowed to copulate.

“I am positive that our SPPRIG will be acceptable,” said Zac, hopefully.

“You do realize that so far, none of the marriages arranged by We have succeeded in terms of love,” she said.

“Look, they are not interested in love, I agree. But if our SPPRIG score is convincing, they might let us do it,” he told her. “Our sexes are different for the starters,” he joked. She rolled her eyes at him.

“Philosophy and religion are not an issue either,” he counted on his fingers. “You know our family backgrounds, schooling, and beliefs are similar”

“Hey, you missed the psychology P,” she intervened. “Also, what about intellect and genetics. There is no way to estimate those parameters on our own.”

“I ran a few tests on my tech toys using our data,” he told her. “The results were promising.” Zac hesitated and then added, “I have a friend in the SPPRIG headquarters. He will make sure our tests come out alright.”

For the first time during this conversation, she looked hopeful. “What is his id?” she asked.

“Pac. The one with two pair of hands,” he said. “Let’s do this!”

She nodded.


“Bos”, said Pac, “These two are a perfect match.”

The one called Bos smiled. He took the application form from Pac and stamped it.

“Denied?” asked Pac, shocked.

“My dear Pac,” said Bos mockingly, “do you really believe that SPPRIG is about compatibility?”

“Then?” inquired Pac.

“It is for controlling their willpower”, came the reply as Bos’ characteristic multiple laughter sounds rang out in the walls of the SPPRIG Testing Laboratory.

Originally published on Medium

Her and the Cat

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Characters

LADY 1: A middle-aged woman with graying hair. She is corpulent and looks tired. She used to be a looker in her younger days. You could tell that by her twinkling, honey colored eyes. She is the wife of a decent and wealthy man. Yet, she never stops complaining.

LADY 2: An elderly widow with a small and thin figure. The Police had caught her husband smuggling money. They had taken him to the jail, but he committed suicide before being presented for a trial. He could not bear to see his reputation go to pieces. His widow became a snob afterwards. She denounces every person who dared to challenge the societal norms.

HER: A woman in her late thirties, she is not much to look at but has a cheerful demeanor. She is the spinster of the neighborhood. People are always criticizing her for her odd behavior because she is always happy. The society does not accept her. A unsuccessful person has no right to laugh without constraint.

THE CAT: A thin black cat


Scene I

Setting: Two women sitting in a lavishly decorated drawing room. The table in front of them is laden with delicious food items. The hostess is indifferent to the food. However, the other lady keeps helping herself, trying one item after the other. They are busy talking —

Lady 1: She keeps moving her fingers in her brown curls. She has a habit of batting her eyelashes after every sentence she speaks —

“So I was saying to dear husband last night we should change the entire designing of our house. I think it direly needs makeover. He never listens though. He is a miser if you ask me and yet I love him.”

She bats her eyelashes.

LADY 2 stuffs a pastry in her mouth and gulps it down with a cup of tea.

“Dear God! That is awful business. Does he not know one must keep up appearances?”

She shakes her head in disgust.

Lady 1“That is not his fault, you see. In fact, I only blame myself and my stars since nothing ever goes well with me.”

Lady 2“That must be the fruits of your elopement. You know what I say? Abide by the eternal rules of society and you will be fine.”

LADY 1 stares at her rude friend.

“Or else you might end up in the prison house, swinging with a rope, right?”

LADY 2 opens mouth to retort but stops as something outside the window catches her attention —

Lady 2“Forget our little quarrel. Look who is outside your window — so gay and bursting with optimism.”

LADY 1 glances in that direction. As she sees the spinster waving enthusiastically at her, she rolls her eyes and sighs. Reluctantly, she invites her.

LADY 2, facing the audience —

“I hate the guts of this unnaturally happy girl but I am glad she is invited. The sacrifices we have to make for the society!”

The spinster enters the room —

Her“Hello young ladies. You know I had been out on a stroll. What a lovely morning it is, isn’t it? You see I went hopping around the place, talked to some birds, enjoyed the wind as it played with my hair, and just loved the hell out of the delicious breakfast at Dennie’s. What did you two lovely girls do?”

Lady 1“Just talked a bit.”

Her“A bit? You two must have some gossip to tell, right? Come on share some with me.”

LADY 1, muttering —

“We are not a chatterbox like you.”

The Spinster looks hurt.

Lady 2“She means we were just discussing our problems and all. She wants to change the look of the entire house as it does not make her happy but her miser husband won’t allow. I say that is a blasphemy to not go by the current, which says this house needs renovation.”

Her“Oh but it is lovely just the way it is. You (she points a finger at LADY 1) just like being unhappy and you (points another finger at LADY 2) just want to please a society that does not approve of you either.”

This sudden outburst shocks the two ladies but the truth wounds them and they retort.

Lady 1“When are you getting married, dear? Don’t you think it is about time?”

Lady 2“You do know you shouldn’t be working like a horse all day long. It has made you less of a woman, you know.”

Lady 1“Now I see all the wrinkles peeking form under the layers of your makeup.”

HER: interrupting LADY 2, who was ready with her piece of razor sharp jargon —

“I am happy the way I am. Thank you very much; I don’t need a man to take care of me. I can decorate my own house as per my wishes without having to beg to a husband and I do not care one dime about the society’s opinion.”

Despite her heated words she has not betrayed a shade of anger. They were addressed rather calmly and that irritates the two ladies. She smiles at the pair of annoyed women kindly and exits.


Scene II

The spinster enters a house — her house. Every inch of the tattered building is covered with gloom and dirt. She leaves her basket of roses at the door of her bedroom. There is a mirror fixed on the side wall of the room and a black cat is sitting in the corner of the room.

HER: looking in the mirror —

“Hi, you hideous creature. How was your day? It’s time you take your medicines, you know the darkness is coming to engulf you.”

She opens a drawer of her bedside table and takes all the pills form the bottle. Gulp gulp gulp, the water sends each pill down her throat.

HER: Standing with some difficulty notices THE CAT —

“Why are you still here? Don’t you think I am ugly? Look at my wrinkles. Come on why don’t you hate me like the others.”

THE CAT: staring at the spinster —

Meow… (softly), Meow… (soothingly), Meow… (reassuringly)

Her“Come here. Lets lie down here on the floor, just the two of us — the outcasts!”

THE CAT obliges limping towards the woman, revealing that her left hind leg is missing. The two stay together hugging each other as they take a nap.

An hour later…

The CatMeow…

Attempting to wake her friend up but there is no response.

The CatMeow… Meow… Meow

With confusion and anger but there is no response.

The CatMeow… Meow… Meow

With frustration but there is no response.

The CatMeeeeeeooooooooowwwwwwwww!!!

Forlornly.

The Shark’s Den  

Once upon a time, sharks flew across the sky and what a sight it was!

Hue — the painter produced the finest painting of his life while Click — the photographer captured an inspiring shot. Bard — the poet crafted the most memorable couplet of his life.

Finally, Cloe decided that something must be written on the beauty of this view as well and Cryptr was hired to write an awe-inspiring piece on the magnificent scene.

In short, everyone was so busy in imprisoning the moment that they failed to notice the happenings that unfolded next. Had it not been for a small girl standing on the shore, the vanishing act of the sharks would have remained a secret. However, as it so happened, Zaph — a 6-year-old, inquisitive girl witnessed and reported the incident.

“MYSTERIOUS VANISHING ACT OF FLYING SHARKS, REPORTED BY A KID”

The headlines of the newspaper next day were definitely far from routine.

“Mommy, where did they go”, asked the little girl from her visibly shaken mother.

“Now, now dear”, her mother had replied, “Sharks do not simply vanish into thin air. I wish you had not inherited that ghastly imagination from your father’s side. Sometimes you talk exactly your Aunt Muriel and God forbid she is 26 and unmarried. What a disgrace!”

Hogwash, thought the little girl, the sharks had definitely gone to some place fun and mommy just simply do not want me to go there. I will find the place though.


20 YEARS LATER at THE SHARK’S CLUB

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Shuh shuh shuh

A woman with a perfect hourglass figure was swimming in a corridor that was full of water. Suddenly she stopped in front of a room as a tingling sensation engulfed her. She inhaled and an acrid metallic smell welcomed her nostrils.

Blood… raw blood. She realized.

I will probably just throw up, she thought but she could not give up now. She had waited and worked for 1.75×10^5 hours to prove to her mother that all of it had been real and she was not going to let it slip through her hands now, even when what she saw was more disturbing than her mother’s demeanour. The scene was shocking enough to rob anyone of their senses — a group of sharks were playing poker in one corner while the others were tangoing. The dancing made them look even scarier than their usual appearances.What really made her hair stand on end was what they were eating — steaks — human steaks! She knew this was the place the mysterious sharks had come to when they had vanished 20 years ago. She could see a portal in the room and every now and then, sharks were zapping in and out of it..

She fumbled with her shapeless bag for her digital camera and found it after a while. It was waterproof. Holding tightly on to it, she took several shots. Some were vivid enough to serve her purpose and satisfied by her efforts, she decided to call it a day and swim away from the lair of danger. Her oxygen/nitrogen mixture was depleting fast and she knew she must hurry up to reach her crew in time in order to avoid detection by the shark bodyguards protecting this mysterious underwater club.

However, before she could so much as take a step, she saw 50 rows of teeth. She was tempted to swim right inside her.

Is that a smile or…? Her thought just trailed off as she heard the deep manly voice.

Source

“Henrie I smell a human”, declared the most handsome Shark sitting on the throne, “Catch the prey, bring me some fresh food and do not forget to play with the prey!”

She was caught and tied soon. You cannot out swim a fish, for god’s sake.

“We are about to eat you, Miss”, said one of the sharks.

Now they are stating the obvious, thought Zaph. Finally, they told her to sign a document, which was written in proper English. This was an educated lot. She read the document. It was an undertaking:

Dear future Homo sapiens,
I, a breathing human of my time, confess to have brought the wrath of nature upon you and myself. All your miseries are a direct manifestation of my careless liberties with the Mother Earth. Now all the creatures are raging a war on you because of my atrocities. I pray you lose.
Yours not-so-truly,
A loathsome human.

Zaph blinked in disbelief.

“I’m not like the others, Sir”, she began but had no idea what name to use for addressing the gigantic shark sitting in front of her. He bared his teeth giving her a clear view of his power. Struck by inspiration she said, “Sir Mighty Fangs, you are the owner of the best and the sharpest cutters in the world. May all the fine edges of the strongest swords turn blunt in the face of your fangs. Please, let me go and I promise I will work for your cause.”

There was a pause.

“She is a human and they are naturally shrewd and cunning creatures”, counselled one of the sharks.

“You should not mind planting a spy among my kind.”

“You must return our photographs”, said one of the Keeper sharks and snatched away Zaph’s life work away from her.

Reluctantly, they relented to let her go.

“Look at how your double chins are showing in this picture, boss”, chuckled the Counsellor shark as he commented on one of the photographs captured by Zaph.

That was the last she had heard of the Shark world.

A FEW YEARS LATER

“Zaph dear, eat some. It is just fish you know.” Aunt Muriel was saying.

She replied with a “No, thanks.” It has been a while since she had been declining such invitations. Every time when she even pretended to dig into any form of meat — red, white, or any other, her knife would break. Apparently, the curse was real.

Dissuading her Aunt, however, was not easy, she realized after being tempted to relish the seafood for the third time.

She finally said, “I’m a vegetarian, Aunt Muriel, so no thank you.”

Zelda — a Venus flytrap was growing nearby but Zaph did not notice its presence even when it caught a spider and emulsified it with its digestive juices. The vicious plant communicated something to the cultivar thriving nearby. The news broke fast.

“So she thinks we’re delicious?” said the old Mr. Elm.

“I would love to show her my delectability”, said the Cactus.

 

 

The Story was originally published on Medium 

To Play or not to Play! Week 4, WRNGO—2017

  All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
—As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII

Hello everyone!

Here I am with this week’s report on our WRINGO challenge. Our 4th week was unfortunately a bit low on production—but only in terms of quantity. The quality, my dear friends, is as good as always.

It was because of some unforeseeable circumstances that two of our writers failed to produce their share of  writing but the other three had definitely attempted to make Shakespeare proud (that is a bit far-fetched, I know).

William_Shakespeare..jpg
William Shakespeare, while devising ways to kill off each of his remotely likeable character in a story

Shakespeare devising ways to kill off every single remotely likeable character of his story.

My continuous references to the Bard is not because the genre for this week was poetry! It was the second toughest thing in the world of literature—we had to write plays and that also in a word limit of 300 to 1000. Who makes such ridiculous rules, right? Ok we do!

Anyways here are the three plays that were submitted and it was definitely our first attempt at writing a play. I, for one, was scared out of my wits and had almost skipped this  round but then my love fro writing talked me into doing this experiment anyway. Go on, lovely people, read these to have some good time:

Play 1: A Planned Coincidence

When a South Asian decides to get married, he does not only require the consent of the girl but also her parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, neighbours?, and any stranger happening to be in vicinity. On the other hand are the problems faced by South Asian women—is it necessary that I marry the first person accepted by my family ? or is it necessary that I marry ?

These desi social problems are explored by the writers in this one short scene.

Play 2: Her and the Cat

When does a person just stop pretending to be happy? For how long can you fight a society that is not willing to accept you ? What happens when loneliness takes over?

Read this saddening story of a woman and her cat.

Play 3: Murder: A Thoughtless Guide To Taking Lives

A heavy satire on politics of the world. When chaos and motives mingle what are the results? This is a must read play with interesting characters such as Putin, Obama, Nawaz Sharif, Kiera Knightley, Imran Khan, Trump and some more.

Here is an excerpt from the play that will definitely catch your attention:

The Universe is a great establisher. It creates and enforces balance on its own. Our decisions here, the terrible ones we’ve made, the crazy ones we should have made, and the right ones we’ve avoided… out fear… uncertainty… or cowardice…have unbalanced the scales. They have taken their toll on time.

This is all from this week. For the next week, brace yourself for even more variety. We got a free space and each writer is free to follow their desires. I am excited already and I bet so are you. Why don’t you check out out previous work ?

If you are looking to read some great plays by other than Shakespeare then try these two that I simply adore—Pygmalion by G.B.Shaw and The Importance of being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.

Also do not forget to check our amazing Facebook page.

Ciao till next week. Happy Reading!