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Short story

Cruel Intention

Mohit had not imagined performing such an act, even in his wildest dream ! He belonged to a very cultured family who knew the value of life, and how cruel it was to kill. But he had no choice. He was determined to do it that very night. It was a kind of retribution… to the fate his late father, the respectable Barrister Mr.Vikas Jain had to endure. “Baba didn’t deserve such a death…I will teach them a lesson…that blood-thirsty gang”, he thought angrily.

Even Sanjay, Mohit’s elder brother was not taken into confidence. There was always an innocence radiating from Mohit’s countenance, and naturally, he was under no suspicion, when he went to the attic that morning, and hid it in the secret spot. He had planned his moves carefully, and for a very long time now.

The old grandfather’s clock, now almost a collector’s item, struck six. The sun was setting, and darkness crept up stealthily, to envelope this bustling little town. Sanjay had just returned from work. A visibly nervous Mohit noisily slurped his tea, sitting crouched in a corner of the house. They didn’t exchange a word. They were always known to be thick friends, and at times, had even stood up to their strict father, defending each other in their pranks. Sanjay looked at Mohit closely, then quietly picked up the newspaper. It was almost as if Sanjay knew Mohit’s plan, and was saying “Don’t do it…”.

But Mohit had waited long enough…too long infact. He had to do this, before any more members of his family could be attacked by this heartless gang. They were hiding in every nook and corner of the town. Nobody was safe, even in the precincts of their own cosy homes. It was a common sight now, to see shutters pulled down early, windows closed before nightfall, and people sitting on high alert, ready to protect themselves, in case of an attack.

Shrewd businessmen were, of course, trying to make hay. Producing and marketing, weapons of destruction, of self-sustenance. The late barrister had, however, always believed in non-violence, and his sons were bound to follow his path. At least while he was alive. “But not any longer ! I am not a killer…but I’m not a saint either. I have to do this…this was my unspoken promise to Baba”, Mohit thought silently.

As night set in, the family finished their dinner and retired to bed. This was the moment Mohit had been waiting for. He quickly climbed up the rickety stairs and went into the attic. Nobody had noticed. Everything was going as planned. He picked it up, hid it behind his back, and walked down again. To his surprise, Sanjay was sitting on the sofa, watching TV. “Damn…how do I do it now ?!”, worried Mohit.

“Sanjay…you should sleep now..don’t you have a meeting tomorrow morning ?”, called Shikha.

Sanjay looked up, sighed and turned the volume down in a resigned manner. “Coming, Shikha”, he called out. He gave one final, glance at Mohit …”Don’t do it, don’t”. And left the room, shutting the door behind him. “Click”. Sanjay had bolted his door.

This was the moment. Mohit was left by himself. But he wasn’t alone. He felt their presence. He knew they could enter any house, any time they wanted. No walls, no locks could stop them. He knew, they were waiting to attack him too. The way they had destroyed Baba. “There’s no better chance”, he thought, and with a steely resolve, tightened his grip over the weapon hidden behind his back. He quickly fished out the match box from the cupboard, and in a flash of a second, did it. He was sweating profusely. “Thank God, nobody noticed..they might hate me today, but they will thank me for this tomorrow”.

Mohit was drained, with the mental exertion of the long day. He summoned the vestiges of his energy and hid the weapon in the darkest corner of the grandfather’s clock. “Just in case I need to attack , or defend anytime again” !

As Mohit walked out of the room, he realised the TV was still on. He took the remote to turn it off. The last advertisement on the TV was going on…”Kachua Jalao, Machar Bhagao”.

 

(We hope you liked it…

-Samba and Pallavi)

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Awards Short story

A rumbling, deep down.

I vividly remember that Sunday. The sun was blazing, though it was just the onset of summer. The park was brimming with happy families. Children frolicking in their bright and colourful summer outfits, parents lazing around the cafe, sipping mugs of chilled beer, and security men keeping vigil on the little monkeys.

It was then, that I first saw her. Like she had stepped right out of a fairy tale. Golden hair curled into little ringlets. Blushing pink lips. A deep dimple forming in her cheeks when she laughed that tinkling laugh of hers. The boys hovered around her like bees. They vied with each other, to crack jokes and make her laugh. One stylishly ran his hand through his hair, another leaned on the wall with a macho casualness, the third kept on his silly non-stop banter. She was patient with all of them. I watched, silently, from a distance, knowing I didn’t stand a chance.

I was already, hopelessly in love with her. But didn’t have the courage to do anything but watch from afar. ‘Oh ! Unrequited love. How often will you pierce my heart ?’ They say beauty is only skin deep. Why then, does nobody want to look beneath, and find the real me ? The warm, caring, loving soul that lies deep within. This is such a materialistic world, with shallow people.

My helplessness and anger made me feel hot, and the sun didn’t do much to help. So I decided to go for a swim in the pond. My stomach was rumbling.

It never fails to amaze me, this stomach…so irreverent to the emotions of the person. No matter what one feels – anger,sorrow, frustration – all of these take a bow before hunger pangs. And happiness, oh, that’s another excuse to gluttony.

The water was cool and refreshing, as I glided through it. I steered clear of the children, for their high-pitched chatter, cries and laughter that earlier seemed so endearing, now only aggravated the ache in my head.

I swam the entire length of the pond, when all of a sudden, I heard a shriek. The group of bees, er, boys, were gathered in a nervous bunch. People were talking in loud whispers.

“How did she fall ? Does she know how to swim ?”

“Mummy, are there dangerous creatures in the pond ?”

“Poppy, where are you ?”. (So, her name was “Poppy”).

“Somebody save her..please !”

Now was my chance. Nobody had noticed me yet. However, I was never one for limelight. I gallantly ducked into the water, and searched for Poppy. Gnawing hunger pangs had already drained the bulk of my energy, and I couldn’t see much, but I didn’t give up.

‘If I could spot her, but once … if I could just get hold of her, and never let her go !’

And then, as if in answer to my prayers, I saw a bit of pink cloth moving gracefully among the weeds. I swam with all my might, and saw Poppy trying to swim upwards towards the light. It was very silent, there, in what seemed to be beneath the rest of the world.

My heart pounded with excitement. I couldn’t help, but admire her to heart’s content. Her golden ringlets waved slowly, her graceful hands and feet moved vigorously. She looked charming … almost delicious. I dared to go very close to her. She caught sight of me. Our eyes met, and instantly locked. She opened her mouth … and let out a noiseless scream.

Then came this final rumble, from the depths of my stomach. I didn’t have a choice.

As I snapped up my lunch that day, I shed tears.

People called it “crocodile tears”.

(Shortlisted as a finalist for a Sulekha EYC contest – Didn’t win it though!)