MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the category “Short Stories”

Looks and truths

© J Hardy Carroll

It was once a tall, bushy tree this one”, he said as they were walking about old ruins.

In a princess’ castle!” she added all bubbly.

Analine was still young with a vivid imagination and the innocence of a sweet child. She concocted stories in her head about a dream world and retained the optimism that it could be realised.

She would soon grow and learn.

That the world isn’t always as prudent as it looks.

That not everyone is happy when you are.

That appearances don’t always reveal true intentions.

That intuition is usually always right the first time.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

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The Reindeer Whisperer

He was Santa’s favourite gnome. And the only one the reindeer responded to. Perhaps because he sneaked extra carrots to them when no one was watching. And he listened when they complained they were being overworked.

So, when two days before the big job the reindeer protested and organised a strike, the gnome was the one who was urgently called to resolve the solution.

The reindeer had a list of demands, which included lighter reins, more food, and greater petting time.

The gnome listened carefully and took note. He promised Santa would compromise and fed each with a carrot marshmallow to lighten their mood. He vowed they would get an entire month of rest after the job was completed and that they could choose their relaxation destination themselves.

The reindeer conceded. The gnome was a good negotiator.

So all was resolved. The reindeer were content, the gnome was satisfied with a job well done and Santa was ready – he was actually so pleased he gave the gnome a promotion to Reindeer Counsellor.

Different is also good

© Dale Rogerson

It was going to be different. A destination none had even heard about before.

But that was the beauty of it. Exploring new places together. Boldly going where they had never been.

She didn’t mind, because she was with him.

He didn’t worry, because he was with her.

The important thing was that they would spend this time together.

And it is well known that unity makes force. With them united, they had nothing to fear.

It was different. But it was also wonderful.

Snowy and freezing outside, but warm and cosy inside.

With laughter and love to spread around.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Good elf gone bad

Santa’s little helper was a cute elf, a bit shorter than average but compensating for it as a hard- and quick worker. He was the elf everyone turned to to get anything done. He was organised, punctual and disciplined. And also found it very hard to refuse anything assigned.  His elfies kept telling him that it was a mistake not to be able to set boundaries. But he thought it would be rude to turn down someone for a job he could easily do. The little helper failed to see that it was a matter of mental health to set limits to himself and others regardless of how quick and easy anything may seem to him.

Life appeared to pass seamlessly for the little elf. Until one day. That day when everyone suddenly wanted something from him, and they needed it asap, meaning yesterday. The little helper was overwhelmed, overstressed, and overagitated. Like a pressure cooker steaming, it didn’t take long before he erupted. And before the day was over, the good little elf turned bad. He was  yelling and refusing to do absolutely anything, finally expressing the feeling that he was being seen as a push-over and was expected to do anything and everything simply because he thought it rude to say no.

The situation was resolved only when Santa took his little helper on a sleigh ride with Rudolph to calm him down. A flight over a starry sky always helps. The elf finally sincerely said what he felt about the way he was treated. Santa was understanding and promised things would improve.

It is a very thin line between accepting everything and nothing, but often the reaction when we overcome the boundaries we fail to set can be eruptive.

Soulful soft toys

©Lisa Fox

It didn’t matter that they were old. They still encompassed the warmth with which they were given and received.

The soft toys were a symbol of affection. To those who loved them for their fluffiness and cuteness, they were so much more. A company for those moments when you want to be alone and say nothing, a consoling familiar ‘thing’ to hug and make you feel better.

They held within them the essence of the person who gifted them. Because the bearer knew well what to choose and when to deliver it.

They were hung out to dry. Refreshed, revived.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Facing the world

© Sandra Crook

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Sure? We can…”

“No.”

The response was absolute. She’d rather be alone. It was just one of those days when she couldn’t quite decipher what was wrong.

He gave her a couple of hours.

Then he pulled her into a tight embrace – he knew this relieved her tension and said “let’s go.” He allowed no opportunities for questions. They weren’t important. And it didn’t matter.

About an hour later, they arrived.

It was the quiet place where their first date developed. It served as a reminder that it was them against the world.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Getting lost

Have you ever sent someone in the wrong direction?

I stared at her, troubled, not knowing what to answer. Or rather, how to answer that politely.

Jenna was amazed at how many people would ask me for directions on a single outing. And that’s in a neighbourhood I don’t even know very well. Heck, I don’t even know my own neighbourhood.

What do you mean?” I responded perplexed.

I consider it an achievement if someone asks me something and I actually know where it is to tell them!

I’m the kind of person who gets lost two blocks down their house.

Yes, it happens.

When you have absolutely no sense of orientation whatsoever, getting lost is the easiest, simplest, and the most rational thing that can happen to you.

I was once told to “just continue straight ahead down the road” to the Metro station, and I got lost somehow, having to ask Google, the GPS, and a passer-by for help, in order to reach the desired destination 15 minutes later.

It happens.

And it is absolutely natural.

We’re not all born with a tracking system or a compass inside our heads.

It’s not easy finding your way around.

It’s actually an accomplishment getting somewhere without a GPS, and if you manage to go alone (helpless) a second time around, it is really something to be proud of. Let alone if you take a different route to get there.

So, you can just imagine the confidence booster it is when someone asks you for directions and you genuinely know the correct answer to help them get there.

Of course, you’ll get a few people lost first before you consolidate the route in your head to be able to pass on the knowledge.

But that’s just something that happens too.

Genuine Smiles

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There was a difference between when she smiled wholeheartedly and when she simply forced it. Her aunt knew how to read her. She was just like her. The fake smile caused more muscles to tense. It was strained and didn’t seem natural.

We all have moments like that. When we feel obligated to smile and be courteous when in fact we feel nothing like it at all.

Charlotte saw so much of herself in her niece. Joy lived up to her name most times. But when her aura clouded, it could be sensed a mile away.

“The secret to maintaining that smile is to keep the child inside you alive”, Charlotte said.

Joy tilted her face like a cat in awe.

Think about it: when we’re simply living in that moment, blurring everything around us to the point that nothing else exists beyond what we’re doing and who we’re with at the present time, aren’t we happier? We shift all our focus to that precise period of time that we don’t care about past or future or anything else that causes us concern and stress. We feel relaxed, playful, carefree, and genuinely happy. Your heart is open to love and…well, joy, and your mind is thinking positively by default. You view the world brighter because you’ve turned the mood switch to that direction”.

Joy smiled, her head turned back straight. The smile was authentic this time.

She didn’t need to say much. Charlotte understood anyway. She gave her a hug. One of those long ones where you wait for the other person to let go first and so you stay entangled for what seems like hours, laughing while you feel each other’s heart vibrate. The embrace was so tight, Charlotte could actually feel the crack that had marked Joy’s emotions.

We’re all loving people the way we wish we were loved and hurting them the way we wish we were not hurt”.

How different the world would be if we could – even for an instance – see things from another’s point of view, step in their shoes and view their perspective. How much better everything would be, if we could just let our pride aside for a minute and show some empathy to the people around us, particularly to those we say we care for the most”.

Sometimes, love has a way of coming back to you”, Charlotte added, loosening the squeeze.

If it’s meant to be, it won’t miss you. There is always a way if we truly want it”.

Maybe

Life is full of unpredictable twists and turns.  You can never be sure what will happen, and that’s exactly what also makes it exciting. That you’re never bored. But you should always be prepared. Mentally, more than anything. To embrace the notion that whatever comes your way, be it good luck or bad luck, will be dealt with for what it is, and time will tell how it will develop. Even a misfortune can turn out for the best if you’re open enough to view it that way. Lamenting about it certainly won’t help.   

To illustrate, here’s a Chinese fable:

Once upon a time there was a Chinese farmer whose horse ran away. That evening, all of his neighbours came around to commiserate. They said, “We are so sorry to hear your horse has run away. This is most unfortunate.” The farmer said, “Maybe.” The next day the horse came back bringing seven wild horses with it, and in the evening, everybody came back and said, “Oh, isn’t that lucky. What a great turn of events. You now have eight horses!” The farmer again said, “Maybe.”

The following day his son tried to break one of the horses, and while riding it, he was thrown and broke his leg. The neighbours then said, “Oh dear, that’s too bad,” and the farmer responded, “Maybe.” The next day the conscription officers came around to conscript people into the army, and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. Again all the neighbours came around and said, “Isn’t that great!” Again, he said, “Maybe.”

Like Alan Watts said, “The whole process of nature is an integrated process of immense complexity, and it’s really impossible to tell whether anything that happens in it is good or bad — because you never know what will be the consequence of the misfortune; or, you never know what will be the consequences of good fortune.”

Bad and good experiences are all part of life; we need one to appreciate the other. And whatever happens, we’ll never know the consequences it may bring in the future. We just need to trust the process and believe that things will turn out as they should.

Life-changing flares

It takes courage to get up in the morning and convince yourself that today will be the day when something so wonderfully extraordinary happens that life will never be the same.

It takes guts to be so cheerful before you’ve barely opened your eyes.

Leo was one of those guys.

He was that person who sang as he shaved before going to work. Who made breakfast for the family on weekends. Who hardly complained about anything, because ‘what good would that do?’ He was the one who could literally turn your frown upside down because when you saw him, you wished there were more of him in the world.

Linda was a girl with mood swings. Like any female, she was easily affected by hormonal changes, to the extent that days of laughter would be preceded by spurs of inexplicable irritation or followed by moments of melancholic sobbing. There was no real explanation for any of it. She was, however, a person who would wear her heart on her sleeve; she would do anything she could and more to take care of the people she loved. She would organise surprises and be happier for the emotion felt rather than the gift itself. She was a person who would go all out, and despite what she said, she secretly hoped someone would do something similar for her too.

When they met, the flare lit up inside both instantly.

Leo asked her if she believed in fate. “What if everything we lived was precisely to lead us to this very moment, so that we could meet right here, right now?

What if we’re one connection away from changing our entire lives?” was her response.

She smiled and his entire world lit up. His heart fluttered and she blushed, her eyes glistening with happiness.

It wasn’t always easy. But they tried. Together. It required finding the middle line. Making compromises and retreating when fighting would not lead anywhere.

I need you to be happy, because we can’t be sad together,” he told her when she felt blue.

If you laugh, I’ll smile,” she would reply.

And step-by-step they would make each other better.

In life we don’t need extravagance; just one person to turn on the light. Everything else will follow.

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