MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the category “Short Stories”

Fear of the unknown

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“Come on, let’s go!” His voice was anxious, masking the excitement and enthusiasm of a well-kept secret only he knew.

She was reserved, almost scared. Where were they going? Why? What would be there? How would they go? How long would it take? Her mind was a whirlwind of questions. She probably appeared dazed too, perhaps betraying her confusion to the outsider. So much, that it prompted him to reassure her. “It’ll be fine. Don’t be so afraid. It’s going to be fun!”

He took her hand and led her to the car. He smiled at her, his eyes glowing. She smiled back nervously. “Sometimes you don’t need to have all the answers,” he said.

When the car stopped, he turned towards her. She was gazing outside trying to figure out where they were. “Close your eyes”, he said. She was almost shocked. “Come on, close your eyes. You’ll ruin the surprise otherwise. Don’t you trust me?” It was a cheap card to play – the trust issue – but he knew she would cave to it. “No peeking either!”

She gripped his arm as he led her out of the car and up a grassy hill. The fresh air penetrated her nostrils and filled her lungs with oxygen. It helped her get her mind off the fact that her heart was pumping mad with anguish about this unknown event.

We’re here,” he said. She timidly opened her eyes.

In the middle of a picture-perfect scene – green valley, tall trees in bloom, colourful flowers, peace and quiet – there lay a picnic feast waiting for them.

She laughed wholeheartedly and jumped in his arms.

“Sometimes not knowing too much is the best way to keep calm,” he winked.

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Acts of Kindness

©Renee Heath

How can we turn that frown upside down?” Grandfather asked the young boy with his right hand extended before him. In it was a red candy-stick. The boy immediately smiled as he grabbed the sweet.

It was incidents like this that had remained imprinted in memory.

Like a hot beverage to soothe a bleeding soul. Or a tight hug from a person you loved to make the troubles go away.

It was even excursions for camping in the mountains to clear your head.

Eventually, he realised it was not the things themselves that mattered. It was the acts of kindness.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Only out of place

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A pessimist forgets to laugh. But an optimist laughs to forget”. He was of the latter type. You never quite knew though what he was trying to forget. He wouldn’t let you in. Perhaps he was afraid of what you would find. Or that it would ruin the image you had of him, of the person who was positive about everything and who always found a silver lining behind every cloud.

He was sort of like that magical nanny Mary Poppins who was “practically perfect in every way” and who brought excitement and thrill to everyone around her.

He too believed that there was no better time than today. There was no reason to complicate things and agreed that “anything can happen if you let it” because “everything is possible, even the impossible”.

One day his wife found him sitting in silence staring outside the window into the rain. She asked what was wrong. He answered “nothing”. She was shocked. Nothing is a word that can mean anything and everything. And it is never what it connotes – it is never really nothing. So she decided to follow his path of thinking. “Nothing is ever truly lost or gone, it is only out of place”. She stopped and saw him sigh. “When the world turns upside down, the best thing to do is turn right along with it” she uttered. He immediately turned his frown into a wide smile. He was touched that she had adopted his mentality when he needed it the most.

He believed that there is always a different point of view to things if you simply change your position and look further. After all, wherever you stand, there is “nowhere to go but up”.

Road Trip

©MCD

It was still dark outside when the suitcase was pulled out from under the bed. A change of clothes and some basic toiletries were thrown hastily inside and the zip closed.

The dream had woken him almost in shock. It was as if something was calling him there.

In his sleep he had seen a puppy, a months-old dog that had found him by chance when he was staying for a while at his uncle’s farm. They bonded in a way that seemed karmic. And then, just two days before his rural stay ended, his four-legged friend disappeared. The sadness that had overwhelmed him made him not want to return to that farm since.

Until today. Now something was pulling him there.

There was no time to dwell on the thought. The impulse was enough to get him going.

It was a drive that lasted almost all through sunrise to sunset.

It was a lonely road trip, dominated by scenic valley views, week-old snow and lots of fog. Driving through the mist, he arrived at the farmhouse with his heart pounding. He hadn’t told his uncle he arrived. He was ecstatic with the surprise.

But someone else was even happier. Jumping up and down next to the horses and wagging its tail rapidly with joy.

It was a grown dog now. And he remembered. Because when it’s meant to be, it lasts a lifetime.

May you always…

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There are certain things you (can) do to get your mind off certain circumstances. Especially when those thoughts cause a change in mood, dishearten you and bring you down. One of the most recommended one is to clean the house. It is the best way to keep yourself occupied. Plus you get the added bonus of having a clean lodging afterwards.

When Marie put on her rubber gloves and took to general cleaning, she never expected the surprise she found wedged between the living room wall and the bookcase.

It was a note folded in four. It appeared worn in the sands of time.

It was handwritten in a blue pen with calligraphic lettering that revealed sentiment in the script.

May you live each day as if it is a wonder. May you revel at each new experience. May you never cease to learn, to read, to live. May you always be inspired by everything around you so that you too may be the inspiration for those around you. May you acknowledge your worth even when others don’t.  May you never stop caring for others, no matter who they are, small or big, two-legged or four-legged, bigger or smaller. May you dream, aspire, struggle, accomplish. May you comprehend that we achieve something even in our failures. May you be brave enough to survive the hardships, take the tough choices and be courageous enough to change things when it is time. May you always smile. May you never stop believing in magic.

It was signed ten years ago. Love, mum.

The mended glass door

©Dale Rogerson

There was only one room in the house that was forbidden. In fact, he had never seen anyone trespass it.

It was the first thing anyone who would stay there for a night or more would be “advised”. To “avoid the mended glass door”.

No explanations were given. They were considered superfluous.

Ben was the only boy who dared break the rules. He was considered a “problematic” child, one tormented by inner demons crated by the unhealthy environment in which he was raised.

His lifestyle was reckless because he had nothing to lose.

Not even when he opened the door.

Frozen paws

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There was no sign of it in the morning. Even before the sun was out, there was frost in the atmosphere and it was freezing. But it was expected to stay dry. It was in the midst of winter, however, and snow was always a possibility.

Not even a half hour had passed when the first snowflake hit the windshield.

The Chihuahua inside the warm vehicle got excited. As if it had understood the magic that was happening. It began to hop on the seat, stretching out its little tongue as if to lick the snowflakes that began to mount on the glass in front of it.

The driver next to the small dog was smiling. Not only because of the white scenery that began to spread rapidly now; but mainly due to the unexpected reaction from his four-legged friend.

When the road began to become more slippery, they slowed down. Caution was required.

That was when the little dog pinned its eyes outside a certain spot on the window and began to bark. Its tail was elongated like a needle.

The driver stopped and got outside.

The snow was even denser now. You could almost feel it falling on you. The Chihuahua managed to slip outside just before the car door closed.

There in front of them, near some snow-covered bushes was a furry bagel-like-circle. You could barely make out its pointy ears and fluffy tail. The snowflakes had almost engulfed it.

The dog’s owner approached cautiously and extended his hand. The fox opened its eyes. It didn’t move. Perhaps it was too scared. Or perhaps it was too numb from the cold. Its piercing blue-green eyes almost begged for help.

The driver picked it up without breaking the circle it had sat in. Inside the warmth of the car, the fox fluffed up its fur and almost appeared to smile.

The Chihuahua was happy. It didn’t want to be enjoying the luxury of a refuge when some other co-animal was freezing outside. Just because you’re safe, doesn’t mean everyone else is too.

Nature’s magic

©MCD

When Grandpa got up with the rising sun, he did not expect that the front door wouldn’t open. Neither the back. He knew it was going to be a difficult day. But for some, it would be exactly the opposite.

He tip-toed into Jenny’s room and gently shook her to waken her from dreamland. She half-opened her eyes and stretched every inch of her small body.

Good morning, Grandpa,” she whispered.

There’s a surprise outside your window,” he smiled.

She jumped out of bed and looked outside.

Everything was white. An impeccable white blanket had covered everything as far as she could see. It was snowing all night and it continued to do so now. They were snowed in.

Grandpa was concerned because they were somewhat isolated in the village and their resources were scarce. He was planning to go into town today, had the weather permitted it. But few things in life usually go according to plan.

Jenny was excited; she was jumping up and down and rushing to put on warm clothes in order to run outside. It was freezing, but enthusiasm always keeps you warm.

Come on Grandpa, let’s go build a snowman!” she called as she tried to open the door.

The old man used a shovel, back-aching and almost sweating in the sub-zero temperatures, striving to open the door.

When he succeeded the little girl ran outside and dived into the snow.

Grandpa smiled.

There wasn’t much he could do anyway. He just had to wait for assistance. So they might as well have some fun in the meantime.

Snow beautifies everything. It is nature’s magic that fills your soul with wonder.

The jar of colour

©Priya Bajpal

It was always on the table. Ever since it was set there in a ceremonial style by the two of them.

No matter what happened after that, the fights, the disagreements, the shouting, the heartbreaks, it was there. Left there as a constant reminder of the good times.

Because the bad tempers would pass. And the light would be restored.

The glass jar of coloured papers represented exactly that. The positivity of our lives. The need to realise that it is not all black and white. That there is colour. The one we create and we are responsible for maintaining.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Desire and action

©MCD
©MCD

It was snowing when he set foot outdoors. If it was up to him, he wouldn’t have, but his mother forced him to go out in search of the required groceries for lunch. He was the sort of person who always found excuses not to do something. He would constantly say he wanted to but it was simply not possible because of a series of pretexts he would cough up at the moment.

Procrastinating was Tommy’s expertise. But as he matured, he found that there were things you could simply not postpone. And the less you did, the more reliable you would become and the better status you would obtain as a person and as a character.

But the most memorable lesson, he learnt in a cabin in the woods that day he went off-track.

It was a wooden cabin below the snowy mountains. Adjacent was a lake in which two magnificent swans were found. It seemed almost mythical. He approached in hope it would offer solace from the extreme cold.

Above the front door there was a sign that read “When there’s a will there’s a way, when there’s none there’s delay”.  He knocked on the door and waited. Then he knocked again. There was no response.

After a while, as his hands began to turn numb from the cold, he decided to search for a back door.

There was one with an “entry” sign above.

Inside was a carpenter. One of the type he had only read about in storybooks.

It took you long enough,” he told Tommy as he led him to a seat near the blaring fireplace and offered him a cup of steaming hot tea.

 Tommy looked perplexed.

Had you figured out the meaning of the sign sooner, your hands wouldn’t have turned so pale from the frostbite,” the carpenter explained.

Simply stating your desire or intention to do something does not make it real. It’s when you act upon it that it happens. And that is what matters. Because others can’t see your intentions, they can only judge you by your actions”.

Tommy was beginning to understand. This meeting was not by chance. In fact, he had never seen this cabin in this part of the valley before.

“Stop denying the fact that you’re delaying things. Or simply not doing them. The time to act is now, not later. You don’t know what will happen later on. If you can do something now, why are you waiting? What for? There is always time to do something important. To show others you care.  If you can act, and if you’re going to use your intention in your defence later on, why procrastinate? If it is significant, you do it. That is what others will see. And what matters most, is what you show”.

Tommy drank his last sip and was ready to leave.

There was nothing he could say. After all, this meeting was not for him to speak, but to listen.

“Character is built on the strength of your actions”, he heard the carpenter say as he waved him goodbye.

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