Leveling for a Laboratory

Atilla the tractor 1

(Photo Credit: Crispina Kemp)

The excavator resembled a frowning caricature in red. But it was neither an Optimus Prime frolicking on fat wheels nor an improvised Avenger enjoying his moment in the Sun. The shredding of the copious proliferation of dense grass and ‘reclaiming’ the green acreage was the culmination of an exercise in perseverance, heroics and patience on the part of one determined and unrelenting environmentalist.

Siew Kuan had risked the intransigence of bureaucrats, insidiousness of deadly gangsters, the indifference of politicians and the insouciance of society itself in trying to securing this stretch of land that had deviously changed hands from the newly incorporated Institute for Ecological Preservation to a real estate magnate who unashamedly used money and muscle power.

Threats, notices, and corrupt offers later, the Courts had finally ruled in her favour. Now the observatory could be installed, the instruments procured and the laboratory made functional.

There, still was work.

(Word Count: 150)

Written as part of the Crimson’s Creative Challenge #30 More details regarding this challenge may be found HERE.

The Connection


Venky had never seen the philosophical side of Ash before and what he saw for the first time thus stupefied him. “Where do you think this bridge leads to?” she asked in an otherwise innocuous manner. Venky, looking at the dilapidated and neglected structure, replied, “to the entrance of the makeshift night market?” “On the contrary” said Ash, “this bridge leads to emotions, connects empathy and nurtures effervescence.” Venky could not think of anything to say other than a smirking “thank you Socrates!”

“Don’t you agree with my logic?” queried Ash. Looking stunning in a polka dot top and a worn out denim jeans she was the embodiment of beauty. Possessing big round eyes that were always searching for a hidden meaning, she made venky’s heart skip a beat every single time she met him.

“Well you do have a point” admitted Venky. “The pulsating atmosphere that brings the buyer close to the seller can only be described as a connection.”. Ash now with an excitement that was hard to control, did a little pirouette before exclaiming, “yes, but it’s not just that. You know that even though you would haggle and bargain you would give up just to put food on the table of the mother with three kids who is desperately trying to sell you a lampshade.”

“Don’t you feel like instilling hope in me whose only solace is YOU?” Venky could not hold it within himself any more.

“Only time will tell.” Ash increase her pace.

(Word Count: 250)

#TellTaleThursday with Anshu & Priya

For more stories for the week, please click HERE

On a Wing and A Prayer

Wacton church window

(Photo Credit: Crispina Kemp)

He was not taken to either reciting hymns or repeating incantations. His Gods resided between millions of pages in the thousands of books possessed by him. Manifesting in the myriad musty smells wafting out of the pages as he turned them over incessantly.  If he possessed a deified list, on top of its pile would sit – blasphemously – Ernest Hemingway, Ryszard Kapuscinsky, Walt Whitman, George Orwell, Feodor Dostoevsky and Aldous Huxley.

But towering above all his revered authors and their sacrosanct works, was an omnipresent and omniscient force. A tidal wave that engulfed him.  His Ash. While her presence was irresistible her absence was inexplicably magnetic. The more she went away from him the more nearer he was drawn to her.

This was the fifth day in a row he had arrived at the crack of dawn to light a candle mouthing a silent wish for her glittering future.

(Word Count: 150)

Written as part of the Crimson’s Creative Challenge #29 More details regarding this challenge may be found HERE.



The Ash Portal


(Image Credit: Inga Gezalian on Unsplash)

It was on a lazy summer Sunday that they found the portal. Yes, a portal. Having dined on some scrumptious fare at a quaint restaurant renowned for its pure South Indian vegetarian fare, Ash and Venky retreated to the Garden of Blaise. Supposed to be named the Garden of Bliss, the queer name was the courtesy of the grammatical ineptitude of the Registrar.

The minute their eyes jointly spotted the spherical transparent object nestled innocuously amidst a patch of unruly dry grass, they knew it was a portal. With a mixture of excitement and trepidation, they intertwined their fingers tightly and after a furtive glance to both their left and right, jumped into the void that reflected the brilliant blue sky and the tendrils of clouds. Venky was reminded of The Enterprise as the duo went careening, swaying, hurtling, flying and screaming towards the unknown.

Their flight came to a rude halt when they landed with a soft thud in what felt like luxurious foam. Floating in the middle of an incandescent span of turquoise water, Ash and Venky were surrounded by quietude, serenity and the strains of a melody which strongly reminded them of Beethoven’s ‘Fur Elise.” Suddenly the waters roiled as a three headed crocodile with baring teeth flew across the water and pulled Venky into the depths of the water. The last thing he could hear was Ash hollering.

Venky woke up with a jolt. It was exactly a day to the year since she left him.

(Word Count: 250)

#TellTaleThursday with Anshu & Priya

For more stories for the week, please click HERE

Ash – The Dubliner

2019-05-19 Terri Smeighs

(Photo Credit: Terri Smeigh)

It was her first day in Dublin and she was famished. The bloody flight was delayed by 3 hours’ courtesy a technical snag. ‘Technical snag’ – the refuge behind which every airline seeks to take cover to mollify angry and frustrated passengers. And in so far as Ash was concerned, it took very little to get her angry. A dynamite waiting to detonate, her nerves always seemed to be high strung. Ash, the very heart beat of Venky. The day he knew she would be going off to Dublin, his world turned topsy-turvy. He could not envisage a day without her presence; now he would be forced to endure a future that had Ash at its periphery.

He called her with a mixed element of anticipation and trepidation. “Hello!”; “Hello, hi” she answered. It was always Hello and Hi. “How was the flight? Where are you now?” “It is bloody overcast and I am at a quaint red bricked place that calls itself a steakhouse and am famished!”

Venky quelled a laugh that spontaneously rose from within. His Ash – bull headed, frank, candid and confident. He knew not how he would exist without her presence. But she never left him.

(Word Count – 199)

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, click HERE

Mother Nature and Hell Boy


(Photo Credit: Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash)

The dry wood satiated the raging appetite of the fire as the flames leapt higher and higher. The crackling sound as the firewood snapped was as crystal clear and resonating as a pistol shot. A menacingly howling wind exacerbated the calamity further as the whistling force spread the orange glow in all directions. As brave and determined firemen struggled with their hoses to douse what seemed to be a hellfire threatening to consume the entire forest range, this was Low Siew Kuan’s worst nightmare coming true. The Director for the Conservation of Bio Diversity and Prevention of Flora and Fauna, Siew Kuan had yelled hoarse about the perils of Climate Change.

In conference after conference, meeting after meeting she had painstakingly, patiently, and poignantly warned about Greenhouse gas emissions, via the greenhouse effect, causing the global temperature to increase and the climate to change. She warned that such an effect enhances the likelihood of wildfires.

“Hah” a CEO had snorted derisively in response. Undaunted and undeterred, Siew Kuan continued, “Why? Because warmer temperatures exacerbate evaporation, meaning the atmosphere draws increased moisture from soils, making the land drier.”

Capitalism however trumped Coniferous forests as companies continued their slash and burn policies. SK watched in horror as the antlers of a red deer stag were set ablaze making it look like Mother Nature’s own version of Hellboy. As the fire engulfed the deer’s elegant frame, Siew Kuan fled the scene with tears of angst and anxiety streaming down her anguished face.

(Word Count: 249)

#TellTaleThursday with Anshu & Priya

For more stories for the week, please click HERE

The Ash Track

SPF 10-28-8 Fandango 4

(Image Credit: Fandango)

“You have to walk if you desire to be fit”, Ash goaded Venky on as he huffed and puffed his way through the much treaded and cracked walking track. Rivulets of sweat streamed down his forehead, depositing themselves on his cheeks before plummeting down his Led Zeppelin T-shirt, which by this time was damp and soaked. The weather was not helping one bit. The sun blazed down with a vengeance and with an intent that was remorseless. But those ferocious rays were, but water off a duck’s back for Ash. Supremely fit she was a Greek sculpture. Kick boxing on Monday; Pilates on Tuesday; Badminton on Wednesday followed by an insane bout of Fly Cycling on Thursdays. Venky didn’t even bother wondering what the weekends were for her. All he knew was that she was a selfless soul who was trying to get his life back on track following a horrendous automobile accident that had shattered his hip and pelvic bones, and in the process immobilizing him for close to eight excruciating months.

If he had any radiance left in his being, it was Ash. His Ash. But he knew that he was not her Venky.

Will he ever be?

(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, click HERE