Death By Euphorbia


(Photo Credit: Crispina Kemp)

Kapuscinsky, following his methodical route, arrived at the Fairy Gardens. Spreading a tatami mat he set himself down in close proximity to the Euphorbia shrub.

“Sally I have decided to let the cat out of the bag.”

A thorny branch shot out and caressed Kapuscinsky’ s neck tenderly. When a second one enveloped his neck from behind, he knew something was not right. Two more determined branches wound around his neck and as the terrified botanist tried to scream, no words escaped his mouth. As his body convulsed in pain and eyes dilated devilishly, the thorns sliced the skin in his neck burying and burrowing deep within his throat. Torturous gurgles escaped his mouth and blood began gushing freely from the corners of his mouth.

A shellacked gardener later discovered a badly gutted throat, wrinkled tatami mat and a docile and tame Euphorbia shrub next to the dead with no branches.

(Word Count: 150)

Written as part of the Crimson’s Creative Challenge #13 More details regarding this challenge may be found HERE.

Huxley’s World?

(Photo Credit: Sue Vincent)

Krish contemplatively made his way to the centre of the garden. A small circular table wound around the trunk of an old dwarf tree canopied by a profusion of weeping roses. Looking up at the tree, Krish mumbled in a low voice, “weeping roses.” In a sprawling, twenty first century, state of the art, Avant-garde campus, which was paying obeisance to the artificial, this was the only recourse for natural solace.

With a corporate code reading like a Where-Ayn Rand-Met-Francis-Galton horror manifesto, the humanistic element in MacroLarge Inc was not merely absent, but completely eviscerated. Employees and their future lay defined and governed purely by the binary – hired and fired. Even the hiring and firing activities had no human involvement or manual intervention. Resembling a bleak and terrible variant of the Voight-Kampff tests in the Blade Runner movie series, aspiring entrants and the anguished terminated were both made to sit in front of a small rectangular box imaginatively termed the ‘FUPOD’. An acronym for ‘Future Potential Decider’, the FUPOD spat out a pre-programmed set of questions designed to test the expressions, emotions and intellect of the examined. Based on the answers, an algorithm powered by a highly potent Artificial Intelligence process, charted out destinies and fates in just under ten minutes. Based on the outcome of FUPOD, people had either taken home obscene paychecks or thrown themselves under trains.

An alphabet-soup of acronyms governed the days and dictated the nights of the employees. While a Micro Analysing Decoder (“MAD”), subjected every click of a keyboard to intense surveillance, the Swipe Layer and Virtual Enabler (“SLAVE”) programme, monitored on a minute-by-minute basis the time spent on professional and personal tasks, including bathroom breaks and visits to the mothers’ rooms. The Tracking Innate Connectors (“TiCs”) using advanced technology usually reserved for implants, tracked every facial expression exchanged between employees. An innocuous raising of an eyebrow in frustration or a barely perceptible nod of the head in acknowledgement triggered a hidden alarm thereby warranting a visit to the Chief Security Officer, and perhaps, even followed by a dismissal.

Being one of the most highly valued programmers in MacroLarge, Krish was to a large extent insulated from both the rigors and stresses that were otherwise the preserve and plague of the less privileged. However, an activist vein in him had popped and in a moment of both madness and epiphany he had decided to throw to the winds his accumulated net worth, Employee Stock Options and a glittering future.

Just before leaving his cozily and artfully furnished chic office he had executed a program that would let loose a rampant tribe of e-virus, which by the time was put to rest would have caused incalculable damages to the Company’s shares, its investors’ wealth, Wall Street predictions and most of all to Krish’s own future.

But this had to be done. Krish was stepping into a BRAVE NEW WORLD.

This is a response to the #writephoto Prompt – Fragrant curated over at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. Click on the link to read other stories inspired by the image.

From Belief to Benevolence

boleyns bull

(Photo Credit: Crispina Kemp)

The tales surrounding the stone bull gathered both mention and momentum. While the deprived and the depraved made a beeline to the statue, the curious and the cynics alike flocked in drones to compete for the animal’s benevolence and blessing. Man, woman and child braved blazing sun and pouring rain just to circumambulate the monolith, place a couple of fragrant incense sticks on the small pedestal doubling up as a makeshift-altar in front of the statue, before depositing an offering in a spherical donation box.

“Illnesses termed incurable are eradicated while souls mired in poverty are now leading a life of respectability” the unassuming tour guide explained to his group of awe-struck and amused tourists.

One of the tourists, removed his floppy hat and wiping the sweat off his brow asked, “Isn’t this blind belief?”

“No Sir. In fact this is the very belief that cures blindness.” replied the guide.

(Word Count: 150)

Written as part of the Crimson’s Creative Challenge #12 More details regarding this challenge may be found HERE.

The Lego Serious Players

(Photo Credit: Renee Heath)

Three deck chairs provided a glorious view of the sun set. The plunging orb cast an orange hue around the mountain ranges overlooking the sparse shrub land. The mobile caravan, a mere euphemism for being a hair’s breath away from being homeless was parked a few feet away from the chairs. One of the world’s largest technology companies that took concepts such as Lego Serious Play and NLP with the same gravitas reserved for welcoming heads of States, was planning its “Hackathon” in the open plains.

The family stood no chance. The eviction notice was only a few heartbeats away.

(Word Count: 100)

This story was written as part of the FRIDAY FICTIONEERS challenge, more about which may be found HERE

 For the complete list of entries, please click HERE

Soul Strolling

(Talinn, Estonia | Daniel Pettersson, Google Maps)

Parveen leisurely ambled her way through the narrow cobblestone alley that led to the breathtaking park at Kadriorg. Kadriorg itself was a quaint, leafy and benevolent area within walking distance from the Old Town. Parveen ran her hand through her red-tinged and woodgrain inspired cascading locks. Ribbons of auburn gold were streaked throughout her hair. Otherwise a girl of astonishingly simple wants, the one luxury which she liberally allowed herself to indulge in was dabbling with hair colours.

Taking out a worn out notepad that had dog eared pages, she scribbled, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” Invictus – her favourite poem.

A girl with a maturity belying her age and a resoluteness that was a latent spark of fire, she never carried a camera with her nor used her phone to click pictures. Moments and memories mattered more than Instagram and Facebook!

(Word Count: 150)

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw

For the complete list of entries, please click HERE


The Witness

(Photo Credit: Ted Strutz)

“Can you see the hood open as wide as the jaws of a hungry shark?” The terror was palpable in Venky’s eyes and rivulets of sweat streamed down his cheeks. “The black car came crashing in through the trees before coming to a standstill. The hood sprang open and the murderer just floated out from its confines with a sickle in his left hand and the head with fresh blood still dripping from it, in the right.”

Inspector Shaun and Detective Ivan looked at each other.  The land in front of them was desolate, barren and absolutely empty.

(Word Count: 98)

This story was written as part of the FRIDAY FICTIONEERS challenge, more about which may be found HERE

 For the complete list of entries, please click HERE