MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the category “Short Stories”

A peacock’s strut

meep-by-the-window

©Jean L. Hays

It was one of those days, when you look out of the window lost in your thoughts. A strange bird caught her attention. It reminded her of a saying her grandfather used to tell her: “be a peacock in a world full of blackbirds”. It was a prompt to refuse to be ordinary.

But in our world today, everyone believes they’re a peacock. Strutting along, gleaming and boasting of their supposed abilities and good looks. “Appearance is deceiving”, she pondered.

She looked closer at the bird. It seemed ordinary. “A peacock that rests on its feathers is just another turkey”.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

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Erasing a memory

https://image.shutterstock.com/image-photo/moscow-russia-july-05-2016-260nw-1059717869.jpgSarah woke up one morning remembering nothing. She had completely erased him from her life, as if he had never existed for her. She had wished so hard to forget him that, one day, she eventually did.

She recalled nothing. None of the romantic dates, the surprises, the laughter, the trips, the flowers, all the things they did together somehow never existed in her memory. It was a slate wiped blank. And together with it, so had all the heartbreak, the quarrels, the violent outbursts, the tears, they had all vanished.

She felt serene.

After all, how could something you did not remember affect you, let alone hurt you?

She decided to go for a walk in the park. Oblivious to the fact that it was right at that park lake where they first met.

Now, even if she saw him, he would mean nothing to her. He would simply be a stranger among the many strangers living their own lives around us.

Plus, what – really – were the odds that she would bump into him? Of all the hundreds, thousands of people we walk past every day?

She stopped to gaze at the small, delicately sculpted fountain in the middle of the lake. For some reason she was always mesmerised by it.

You know it was created by an unfortunate father after his daughter drowned in this lake chasing a duck? He let her out of his sight for a moment and that’s when it happened. Sometimes that’s all it really takes. A moment”.

The voice sounded oddly familiar. But she couldn’t recall from where.

That was his conversation-starter that time too. But Sarah didn’t remember that.

Neither did Todd.

He was standing next to her in a khaki trousers and salmon-coloured shirt loosely hanging over it. His smile radiated the sunshine. He winked at her and her heart fluttered.

But something was holding her back. As if telling her “no”. It was an inexplicable restraint.

She smiled shyly and walked away, saying nothing. She hoped he wouldn’t follow her.

She was searching for a prince. And he wasn’t it.

 

A day of discovery

the-met-roger-b

©Roger Bultot

It was a day they had taken off work, one of the few they could ‘steal’ during this period. They decided to spend it productively: visiting a museum. She was convinced that no one could change their future or better manage their present if they could not understand where they had come from and what had happened in the past. “We have a rich history and it is worth exploring”. He was persuaded.

The day turned out to be a discovery of things he never even knew existed. And that was more than enough to change his entire life perspective.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Cat prints

http://www.shotleybridgeprimary.durham.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/151/2017/05/paw-prints.jpgShe may have been sleeping when the human brought the cake in the previous night, but she soon realised there was something going on in the house. Phone calls, secret card writing, the sound of wrapping paper… there was a lot of hassle around.  And it wasn’t easy to lie somewhere undisturbed and out of the way. Plus there was the added annoyance that no one was paying any attention to her.

She meowed a few times, but all the people who had somehow gathered in the house simply ‘shooed’ her away with that irritating high-pitched-supposedly-sweet tone of voice.

Surprisingly, the humans went to sleep early that night. Perhaps they were preparing something for the next day. She had to find out what it was. And most of all, she had to discover what had been snuck into the house.

On the kitchen table, there was something inedible like numbers. It didn’t taste very good with the first lick so she left them there. But how do you get into the fridge. A few days ago, she had found a strange way of opening the fridge door. It had taken a lot of effort. Good thing she had spent most of the day sleeping under the living room table. She had all the energy required to jump up and down until that door finally opened. And… there it was. Right in the middle of the fridge. If she stood on her back legs alone she could see it. It was round and white with a few colours. It seemed creamy. If she could just stick her tongue onto it and taste it. But she lost balance and her right paw fell onto the side of the cake. She barely saw her paw print on the white rim before the kitchen lights were abruptly turned on and someone walked in yawning. She managed to quickly sneak under the table and then run out of the room just as the waking person realised the new print on the cake.

The scream woke the entire house up.

But that didn’t stop the humans from having a very loud and festive birthday party.

The cat spent the day under the bed.

A green lifeline of tranquillity

bowl-and-leaves.jpgShe always believed a plant was necessary in every household. It was a symbol of hope and tranquillity. She had once been told that if she could take care of a plant then she could take care of a person. So she treated the little green lifeline as a precious friend, giving it a central position in the house.

This very plant was what taught her to embrace Thomas Jefferson’s quote: “It is neither wealth nor splendour; but tranquillity and occupation which give you happiness”. Gazing at it, she remembered that “worrying does not remove tomorrow’s troubles, but today’s peace”.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Seven of a kind

https://study.com/cimages/multimages/16/duck3.jpgThere were four of them. And in the next months, they became seven. Four yellow and three black. All they had was each other.

They followed each other blindly. Trust was no issue. It never was. That was what family was about. Trusting the other blindly. Unconditionally. Without question.

Sometimes they would split into small groups. Two-three there and another couple a little further away.

They would always find something to do.

And they would always come back together.

United.

Looking out for each other.

They were a family.

Seven ducklings.

Fluffy, cute and lively.

IF only we were all like them.

Escape boots

dadsshoesWhenever I wanted to get away…to escape from it all…from the mundane routine that was choking me, or bringing me down, I would put on these boots and go”. His voice was sore, as though it was suppressing all the pain he felt and from which he desired to flee from. The boots were a gift from a German friend. One with whom he would often go wandering in the mountains. It was the only way he could find some peace, some spiritual relaxation.

But now… If I could only remember where I left them”, he uttered almost in despair.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

White Lies

https://www.veracode.com/sites/default/files/styles/blog_post_resize_960/public/developer-vs-hacker.jpg?itok=rJjgPnyn“I don’t understand what I’m always doing wrong”, Jack told his psychiatrist as he made himself comfortable on the couch. “Well, let’s analyse it together then”. “You see, that’s what she always wants too. To analyse everything”. “So why don’t you? What do you have to lose anyway? Isn’t that what you come here for? What difference does it make that you talk to me instead of her? Your partner in life? That I tell you I’m a professional and you pay me to talk to me? She can do it for free”. “Yes, but I’m not obliged to tell her everything and she demands all her questions to be answered all the time”. “You’re looking at it wrong. ‘Obliged’ is not a word to be used in a healthy relationship. You’re supposed to want to tell her everything, to share things with her. That’s the point of having someone to walk with you in life. That you know all about each other no matter how insignificant that thing is. To the other, that ‘insignificant’ thing may be of great value. Think about this: when you ask a question – to anyone – don’t you expect that question to be answered? Don’t you want an answer? It is the same with every person in your life no matter the relationship you have with them”.

“But these bursts of explosion, they’re unnerving. I can’t stand them anymore”, Jack puffed. The shrink smiled and doodled something on his notepad.

“Instead of angering yourself so much over these ‘explosions’ as you describe them, wouldn’t it be better if you consider what it is that causes them?”

Jack prepared to say something beginning with a “but..”, but his psychiatrist quickly interrupted to continue: “Like Newton’s Third Law of Physics states: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If these explosions are someone’s reaction, have you ever properly considered what your actions are?

Jack sunk deeper into the couch. Silent.

“Think about all the things you do that you consider so normal. Think about the things that she – or anyone else really – do and that annoy you or have caused your eruption. How would you react if it was the other way round? If it was you who acted the way she or another person acted? Would you accept such a behaviour? You can’t simply expect to play the game only by your rules and customise everything else to suit your own needs. In life, we need to pay attention to everyone else too. To put ourselves in the other’s shoes and try to imagine how we would feel if we were on that other side”.

Jack seemed perplexed. The psychiatrist was not sure he was following his trail of thought. “I’ll give you an example: we live in times when unemployment is so high, youth in their 30s still live at home. How are they supposed to make a future for themselves, a family of their own in this situation? Would you be OK if you were with someone who was still living with their parents, or was living with you for a few days/weeks/ however long and still had all their things at their parents’ house? How would that seem to you? Would you accept it?”

Jack’s face became pale. He seemed to be understanding. “And what about the things you blow off, or cancel because of jealousy or rage? How can you then demand that the other acts in a different way, simply because you think you deserve a lighter treatment for the same ‘crime’? You want all your questions to be answered instantly but also want to decide on which questions you will provide answers to, even tailoring them to your own vision of what should be the truth”.

“But that’s because I want to avoid problems and don’t want to hurt anybody”. Jack’s response caused an ironic smirk to form on the shrink’s face. “Lying to avoid pain – these ‘white lies’ that don’t mean anything as everyone thinks, are the ones that often hurt the most. Because to be honest: a lie is still a lie. In whatever form. And a white lie simply demonstrates that you are undermining the other’s intelligence and capacity to comprehend the truth. Try being honest for a change and see how different and calmer everything will be”.

Jack was beginning to understand. The psychiatrist seemed serene, determined to make him see that it is not always one side that is right. Every coin has two sides, but it is only until you turn and see the other that you truly understand the value of both sides. “You receive from the world what you give to the world. Just because you are used to things being done in a certain way doesn’t mean that this is the correct one. You’re supposed to leave your mind open to change to assimilating new things, constantly. That’s how we grow, how we mature, how we improve”.

Life in full speed

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSCwsxz9lk0sa_BySWGKBRObwy312pHFAJb1D3pqfgJb4v9EkOBShe felt her hand slowly slip from his grip. It was that feeling you get when you see in your sleep that you’re falling and you jitter, often kicking the person sleeping next to you.

But this time it all happened so rapidly.

She fell into a thick mattress of bushes, treetops whose brunches scathed her bare skin. The scratches began to bleed and all of a sudden, she was running barefoot in a jungle, too scared to look back at what was chasing her with full speed.

She tried to scream, but there was no voice to come out of her. Her lungs hurt. She could feel the pain in her chest mounting. And it was so hot. So unbearably hot.

She was now walking, her muscles sore from the running.

She was panting. She didn’t know where she was going or why all this was happening, but her adrenaline levels were still high.

Back in reality, she was lying in a hospital bed, with two doctors over her head trying to get her to wake up from the coma she had fallen into after the car accident. Her husband was the one driving and the one who – free of heavy injuries – had tried to grab her hand to pull her out of the flaming vehicle.

Also part of Daily Prompt: Rapid

The dried-up creek

k-rawson

©Karen Rawson

It was an autumn morning without a cloud in the sky. It had been days since they had raised their gaze to so much blue. Today they were celebrating. It didn’t really matter what; there is always something to rejoice each day. So they decided to do something different. Life is only worth it if you take risks and believe you can succeed.

After what seemed like endless turns, they reached a forgotten stairwell that led to the remnants of a creek. It was muddy and dull.

This used to be a park. It was where I first saw you”.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

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