MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the category “Short Stories”

The anti-tech mute

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/13/ea/7a/13ea7a3fc1a0414aa846a48ff7c03be2.jpgHis name was Edison. He had it sculpted on a wooden plaque in his bedroom to remind himself of it.

It was years since he decided to retreat into solitude. At first, he saw it as a challenge, because he realised he was too drawn into the digital life of constant social networking, online media access, useless self-advertising and unabashed self-appreciation. He did not like the person he had become. He was hanging upon the number of likes he would receive on every post he made, on the number of followers his posts would receive, on the number of people who viewed the videos he uploaded. It was as if this invisible click by people he didn’t even know was what kept him alive. So he decided to do something radical about it. He decided to disconnect from everything and everyone. Those who really cared would find a way to contact him. Everyone else did not matter.

For two years, he had devised a lifestyle where his talk was limited to simple daily transactions to meaningless chit-chat with neighbours and co-workers. Everything else, was typed on a laptop.

One day, however, he woke up with a strange feeling. He felt his vocal chords had gone numb. He could not utter a sound. Was it true that you could forget how to talk if you didn’t speak?

He tried to shout, to scream, to say something, to whisper even, but nothing came out. Not even a screech.

He felt all his other senses heightened. As though the lens in his eyes with which he viewed the world had suddenly zoomed in and he witnessed everything in more detail, more clearly and with greater analysis. He began to notice things people did that he failed to see before. The level and tone of voice they used to speak to each other. He could comprehend simply by the sound and intensity of their voices and their body language what these people felt about each other. And he acknowledged that as a people we have become more aggressive, more aggravated, are more stressed and in constant agitation.

When he went home that night, he turned on his laptop, opened a new document and began to type. He may not have been able to speak at the moment, but that in itself made a fantastic theme for his new book: the new-age entrepreneur who became an anti-tech mute. He would find a way to raise a warning about the dangers he saw unfolding. And he would do so the only way he knew how.

Tempest in a teapot

https://zeenatsyal.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/butterfly.jpg?w=350&h=309She entered the small cabin and all that she could hear was water running. It was a soft trickle, soothing and peaceful. The cabin was just as they had told her – in the middle of nowhere with branches rooting out of its top. But inside, there were no roots to be seen and you had to search hard to see the water flowing by the sides of the wall.

She had gone there looking for serenity. It was something that she found it very hard to achieve in her hectic and all-too-stressful life. But lately her mood had become even worse. She constantly felt weak and upset and, worst of all, alone. She needed some words of encouragement, something that would lighten her load, that would lift her senses.

That day she had been enraged by a disagreement she had with colleagues. And then everything went downhill. She felt as if the tempest that was brewing inside her had just tipped over the teapot and a storm ensued. She had to get away.

The cabin was quiet. It had been a long while since she had remained alone with her thoughts.

She could hear herself breathe, her heart beating, and her pulse slowing down.

She allowed her mind to drift. Images came into her head of what she had been through, of what she wanted to accomplished, of where she dreamt to be.

She knew he was waiting for her. And it was not fair that she shut him out. He was the one who could calm her storms. But first, she needed to face the tempest alone.

When she left the cabin, hours later, she felt different. Renewed, relaxed, reinforced.

 

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

― Haruki Murakami

The maze reshuffle

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-RqdbxMGkQpI/UDhAenCh6dI/AAAAAAAAAtM/-arzm8l6Ty4/s1600/P1200633.JPGAndreas was trapped in a maze. He didn’t know how he got in there. Ever since he could remember, he was trying to find his way out. He was surrounded by high walls; by turns that led to dead-ends; by paths that kept closing in on him.

Every time he thought he saw some light at the end of a corridor, at a turn, something strange would happen, as if the entire maze would reshuffle itself.

And the way out changed location. Again.

Andreas grew tired. Nothing seemed to work. He would never get out.

He took a few moments to calm himself down. He looked around and saw the high green plant-covered walls stare imposingly down at him.

Suddenly a rainbow-coloured bird flew over his head.

Andreas stood up. That was his ticket out.

He raced behind the bird, eager not to let it out of his sight.

It seemed like hours he was running after his winged ally, when finally he felt the sun’s rays penetrating through the maze walls. And just before another rearrangement occurred, he was out.

He couldn’t believe it at first. He looked around and saw a large green field, hills on the background and fresh air breezing around him.

Then he heard a voice calling, “are you alright? Are you OK?

His girlfriend was gently shaking his shoulders as Andreas revived from the hallucination. He had fallen from the ladder he had climbed as they were renovating their home. An intense disagreement they had made him slip off a step after she left the room.

The maze dream made him realise that things in life are always going to be complicated. And the more we search for answers, the more life will change the questions. So what we can do is try to worry less, argue less, stress less and laugh a bit more. When we calm down, we will find the way out of any situation.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Maze

The palace of her heart

sandra-crook-1

©Sandra Crook

It was when she entered that building when she truly became a queen. That was the day her beloved partner taught her to dance the waltz.

It was at an official ball of the French embassy to which he had been invited as an external collaborator. She felt it was an honour simply to have been asked to escort him.

But he wanted more.

He always did.

And after their majestic-fairytale-ball, he did what every little princess dreams of: he fell onto one knee and presented her with a little black velvet box.

She had officially become his queen.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

To the moon

https://metrouk2.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/pri_36173762.jpg?w=748&h=519&crop=1

“You owe me a full moon”

He found the note when he returned from work that night. She wasn’t there waiting. She had told him she wouldn’t be. She had asked for a moonlight stroll that day. But he was called urgently into work. He could not refuse. There was nothing more she could say.

She had returned to her apartment convinced that sometimes work took priority over her and there wasn’t much she could do in these financially hard times. Work was getting the best of all of us.

The good thing about full moons is that they come every month. Like a female cycle. And there not all that different from each other. It all depends on the circumstances and mood you view them in.

He rang her front door bell at an hour when she certainly wasn’t expecting anyone. She was pleasantly surprised. He appeared at her door with a pink rose. She asked what he was doing there at that time. She knew he was tired after work.

I’m taking you to the moon” is all he said.

The lucky penny

http://dudespaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/lucky-penny1.jpgIt fell out of her purse when she haphazardly pulled out some money to pay for the tomatoes she had chosen at the market. She didn’t notice it of course. It was too small. Too negligible. But sometimes it is those seemingly inconspicuous things that make the largest difference, and it is thanks to those that you often gain a passport into another world.

A cat basking in the sunshine under the fisheries stall noticed its gleam as it reflected the sun’s rays. It rushed over to play with it, but as it pushed it forward with its paw, another woman walking hurriedly by kicked it out of its sight.

The penny rolled further down onto the street where a little boy bent down to pick it up, letting go of his mother’s hand. She squealed in fright as soon as she felt his hand slip away and rushed to regain control. The boy stretched his little arm to show her the penny, but a bike messenger swished by and tossed it out of his palm.

The penny fell into an old woman’s shopping trolley as she placed a bag of onions on top of it. When she went home the penny was retrieved together with the groceries and unknowingly remained on the kitchen table. It caught the eye of the old woman’s son who had walked into the kitchen to ask if she needed anything from outside. He placed it in his pocket, saying “you never know when it might come into use”.

It turns out he needed it to complete his purchase of his weekly pack of cigarettes.

The kiosk owner gave the penny as part of purchase to another man who had passed by a bit later on looking for “something small and sweet to chew on”.

But the penny fell out of his pocket later that day when he took out his keys to open the entrance door of his building.

The penny lay there on the front door mat, as if waiting for its next transport.

It was picked up by a young man who was arriving at his girlfriend’s house as she had promised him dinner that evening. She had even gone to the market that very day to purchase fresh groceries for the very occasion.

He gave it to her together with his greeting kiss, telling her that he found it outside and it would bring her luck.

She smiled, her eyes glistening at the romantic gesture. She placed the penny in a decorative bowl she had in her living room to ensure she wouldn’t spend it.

But you never know…

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Passport

Work (a) fortune

fatima-fakier-deria1

©Fatima Fakier Deria

You should be as lucky to work at the docks”.

It was something he heard his uncle constantly say, whenever he saw him once or twice annually. As a young boy he looked up to his favourite relative because he would always have an interesting story to say. Rather a bunch of them. He made life seem so spectacular, so adventurous, so….worth living.

But it was only when he grew up and actually got a job supervising the deliveries of a container ship that he finally understood what his uncle meant.

Life at the docks was different. It was simply…more.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers.

Also part of Daily Prompt: Fortune

The incomprehensible female nature

https://cdn.davidwolfe.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/overthinking_by_kijadoll-d6e39ct-e1444741767208.jpg“There is a girl at school that is picking on me,” barked Harriet as she entered the kitchen, throwing her bag on the floor.

She sat down at the kitchen table, silent.

Her young mother turned at looked at her. The little girl’s expression was caught between fighting a rage and restraining the tears.

“We’ve all been there, sweetie,” the older woman said soothingly. “And not just at school. It doesn’t really change much as age increases”.

“But these people only have the value you grant them. Try not to pay so much attention and you’ll see she’ll eventually stop. The more she sees she is getting to you, the more she’ll carry on like this. Just remember, we’re jealous and mostly envious of the people we think are better than us. So you have nothing to worry about. Don’t scoop to her level. Show her she is right to be jealous of you. And be the brave and strong little girl I know I have. I know it’s hard, but don’t stick to such issues for so long. We women have a curious way of overthinking and over-analysing everything. I think we spend over half our day doing that. And it is only women who have such issues with one another, pretending hypocritically that they love each other while they stab one another in the back. Just don’t get caught in the trap”.

“I’ll second that,” said the little girl’s father as he walked into the kitchen, warmly kissed his wife, and wrapped his arms around his daughter.

“Men have a different type of bond between them. One that women can’t understand. For better or worse we are simpler creatures. You women, though…” he sighed, “no matter how much time we spend with you, we’ll never be able to truly understand you!” He looked at his wife. “But regardless of the nagging and your incomprehensible nature, we wouldn’t know what to do without you, and we love you more than you know”. His wife smiled her blush away as her face illuminated.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Symbiosis

The forgotten mansion

gateway-jhardy

©J Hardy Carroll

It was this time of year a few years ago when the mansion’s garden sprung to life as the flowers and tress bloomed, splashing the entire neighbourhood in colour and granting surrounding residents with a sense of renewed optimism.

The silver gate gleamed in the sunlight, and was almost always open, welcoming guests into this “hint of paradise”.

But then it happened. As if a dark cloud settled over the mansion; everything crumbled. The garden was abandoned in sorrow, and the gate was closed.

The mansion was now left deserted, with only the memory of the life that once was.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

The intruding spring

http://static.wixstatic.com/media/454789_6bb4a3a05395479b9e1bac474f5a0268~mv2_d_4272_2848_s_4_2.jpg_srz_4272_2848_85_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzHenry woke up when a bed spring penetrated his mattress and scratched his knee calf. The sting was enough to make him jump out of bed. Then, he had to get up.

He wasn’t a morning person. Not everybody is. Despite the fact that he was well aware of the French saying that the world belongs to those who get up early (“le monde appartient à ceux qui se lèvent tôt”); he was more of a supporter of the Italian one that it is sweet to do nothing (“dolce far niente”).

This was one of those mornings when he’d rather stay in bed. Henry was the type of person who upon knowing that he had a list of things to do, could not find the urge to do any of them. Instead, he would find other things to do, making his list grow longer.

He was the person who would always find something to do. His problem wasn’t not having something to do, but rather never having enough time to do it. Sometimes even desire.

But today it was different. The intruding spring made him realise that sometimes it is better to get up early because you enjoy more of the day, particularly on mornings illuminated by sunlight. Plus, you often have the chance to spend more time with the people you love.

So despite the inappropriate wake-up call, the day would develop much better and by nightfall Henry would be glad he was pushed out of bed so early.

There is always a more positive side to everything; if you’re open-hearted enough to see it.

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