(PHOTO CREDIT: MorgueFile May 2018 1421077743edokn)
The piercing shrill of the alarm clock jolted him out of a pleasant slumber. Lazily slapping the alarm button to cut out the shriek, he slowly tumbled out of bed, stood and stretched both his arms upwards, all the while yawning with a mouth agape. It was Thursday. A day of fisticuffs, battered containers and broken bones. Thursday was also the only day in the week where the community bore-well spluttered into life coughing up water.
Some inexplicable combination of ground water non-cooperation coupled with the perfectly understandable intransigence of the local municipal council contrived to create a unique situation where the hand operated bore came to life only once every 7 days and that day was Thursday. Hence on every Thursday, amicability transformed to animosity, friends turned foes and neighbours turned nasty!
To avoid beating up his nearest competitor & get beaten, he had decided to rise earlier than everyone and take his rusty iron container to the bore well. As he slowly trudged towards his destination in the dark, he could already hear the flow of water & the working of the bore.
There would be a fight after all!
(WORD COUNT: 192)
This story has been written as part of the FLASH FICTION FOR THE PURPOSEFUL PRACTITIONER- 2018 WEEK #34 Photo Prompt, more details about which may be found HERE
The photo credit is due to PHMorgueFile May 2018 1421077743edokn
The muted and yellow glow of the solitary lantern hanging from a makeshift hook on the wall struggled in vain to pierce the unsympathetic veil of the dark. Vidya sitting on the damp and cold earthen floor of the thatched hut mechanically stirred the pot of boiling gruel with an old and twisted ladle that had seen warmer nights and cooler days. The firewood on top of which the pot was delicately balanced was the last stack left. “There is no more wood left in the house”, she exclaimed directing her remark at no one in particular.
Shashank, once muscular & strapping but now frail and bony, looked at his wife and responded, “I will go and chop a few pieces of wood at the break of dawn tomorrow”. Both knew that it had to be before the blazing sun towered over the horizon lest the energy sapping heat tire Shashank to submission. He turned his gaze towards the only cot inside the hut on which lay a human form wrapped in a rag tag bundle of hastily assembled clothes. Ravi, their two year old son. A child deprived of nutrients, bereft of warm clothes and devoid of happiness.
The crops had failed yet again, courtesy a crippling drought that brought small landowners and crop growers such as Shashank to their knees. The remorseless sun kept beating down on their acreage thereby putting paid to hopes of a decent harvest. Meanwhile the co-operative banks which had loaned them funds against the security of a future reaping of produce were fast losing patience and had even taken possession of a few farm implements and mechanical harvesters of a couple of farmers. Shashank thankfully did not own any mechanical accouterments.
Hope was fast dwindling like the stock of fuel feeding the one lonely lantern. A whistling wind began battering the hut from outside and as a few gusts made their way inside through the ‘un-thatched’ and ‘unpatched’ roof and walls of the hut, the one lonely lantern started swaying with a violent rhythm and the flames flickered impatiently.
As the light from the one lonely lantern extinguished itself, the last thing Vidya saw was Shashank staring intently and unblinkingly at a container of fertilizer which could, under dire circumstances also double up as a potent poison. Poison enough to snuff out the lives of two adults and one unsuspecting little child.
(This post has been inspired by the plight of farmers in India who are exposed to the remorseless vagaries of weather and the capriciousness of money lenders. Unable to bear the pressures imposed by nature and invoked by fellow human beings, a plethora of them resort to the only means available to rid themselves of misery – suicide)
August Writing Prompts
(Photo Credit: Yarnspinner)
With a head feeling like a ton of bricks and every bone in the body creaking like doors in the Addam’s Family Mansion, Antonio made a feeble & futile effort to bring himself onto his knees. The beating had been severe, savage and spontaneous. Blows rained down upon him as fists made contact with jaws, knees kneaded into abdomen and boots cracked open hapless ribs. Even a state of extreme inebriation did not help in dulling the sense of excruciating pain. But what hurt the most was the malignant abuse that accompanied the bashing:
“Get lost you bastard”; “The doors to the performing arts are closed to you forever filthy drunkard!”;
He knew he was filth; he knew he was abusing his liver in a manner which would make even George Best seem juvenile.
He also knew that there would be “No Entry” to the very temple of fine arts which he himself had founded.
(WORD COUNT: 152)
This story was written as part of the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (“FFfAW”) Challenge #179, more about which may be read HERE
Photo Credit: Yarnspinner
PHOTO PROMPT © Carla Bicomong
Each lambent lantern that floated past the invigorated humanity was given a name by my head racked by tumult and turmoil. It was a baptism of absolute significance. A christening that had to be done with great purpose lest one forget the ‘floaters’.
‘Hope’ slowly meandered away in lockstep with ‘love’, as ‘friends’ made a determined push to get away as far as possible from the river bank which was by now a cacophony of shrill voices and shriller laughter. Yet I could see my ‘laughter’ drifting further away from me every passing second.
Then I stopped.
(WORD COUNT: 97)
This story was written as part of the FRIDAY FICTIONEERS challenge, more about which may be found HERE
The credit for the breathtaking photograph goes to Carla Bicomong