Home Tales of Imagination Carlos Castenanda & the Cowrie Shells

Carlos Castenanda & the Cowrie Shells

by Venky

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(Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding)

Ever since Erwin read Carlos Castenada, he had become a believer, a devotee, and an unrelenting worshipper. His only avowed objective and burning ambition in life became a need to connect with the supernatural. He even constructed an architecturally abominable wooden structure – a sanctuary – in the middle of a sprawling expanse of green over which he had the title rights.

The words, In a world where death is the hunter, my friend, there is no time for regrets or doubts. There is only time for decisions.”  was tacked onto the wall of his abode. Dropping out of his promising PhD programme in nuclear fission technology and theoretical Physics (much to the jaw dropping chagrin of his peers and consternation of his professors), he had retired into a reclusive existence, with Mescaline for refuge and the books of Carlos Castenanda for relief.

On a lethargic morning where the rays of the sun were obscured by a canopy of brooding bank of clouds, Erwin entered his dwelling, shut the door, bolted the windows and scattering sixteen cowrie shells on a rectangle drawn with chalk on the floor, sat down with eyes shut tight.

When the police found him, the floor was empty.

(Word Count: 200)

Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story of around 200 words based on the photo prompt given (above). Hosted by Susan Spaulding. For more details, visit HERE.

To read more of the stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

Thanks to Susan Spaulding for the marvelous photograph

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James Pyles September 30, 2018 - 4:53 pm

I read Castenada back in the day, but really couldn’t get into him.

venkyninja1976 October 1, 2018 - 12:44 am

I stopped for the fearing of getting too very enmeshed!

Susan October 1, 2018 - 1:10 am

How very serendipitous that just a few days ago, I came across a quote by Castaneda. I don’t remember ever hearing of him before and now twice in one week. The symbolism in your piece was lost on me, but the story was beautifully written.


venkyninja1976 October 1, 2018 - 3:31 am

Serendipitous indeed! Thank you so much for the kind words. The symbolism is just an ancillary means to enhance the mystique!

Abhijit Ray October 2, 2018 - 11:04 am

Beautifully written prose. What happened to Erwin and what happened to cowrie shells?


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