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Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “luck”

The magic candelabra

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©Janet Webb

It was a present from her aunt who always had an aura of mystery surrounding her. She used to dress in sparkles, long, airy dresses and dangling earrings. When she was young, Janet believed her aunt was a descendant of a gypsy witch. But a bit more elegant.

The candelabra decorated her windowsill ever since she moved into her own house. And she believed that it brought with it some of her aunt’s magic. It was in there that she found love and got married, got a promotion, and even won the lottery. It couldn’t have been a simple coincidence.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

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

Lucky disorientation

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© Jan Marler Morrill

There is a reason she was told not to go out alone, even during daylight. She had no sense of orientation whatsoever, setting out for the beach and somehow reaching the mountains.

On that idyllic island, she realised what her horoscope had described as “luck or fate”.

On that white and blue deserted back alley is where she found him. Standing like a Greek statue under the scorching sun. As if he was waiting there for her to arrive. His eyes shimmering in the sun. She smiled, accentuating her dimples, and she could see him blush.

Her name was Aphrodite.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

The curse of a leap year

29_02_2016 Google DoodleThere is this question that will often set your mind in motion: “what would you do if you had an extra day to live?”

Every four years, we get that extra day. An additional 24 hours to do pretty much anything we want to do.

So, how do you spend it?

Do you stay in bed a little longer? Do you try to get more work done? Do you enjoy more time with friends? Do you exercise? Do you laugh more?

Do you experience what that extra day is there for? To realise how lucky you are to have survived so far and to be strong and healthy enough to continue even further? To be able to surround yourself with people you love, doing what you enjoy, and relishing every single moment?

Some say a leap year with that strange extra day is a curse because it is so rare. But, like everything in life, it’s all a matter of perspective.

And however you spend your day(s) is also a matter of choice.

Just remember that whatever you choose to do, do it with all your heart.

Wishing Well

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/ee/93/dd/ee93dd154b2f7bb2f5a1360a11bafe95.jpgThe young boy looked into the well. The old man had told him it would only grant him one wish, so he should choose wisely.

Before uttering what he most wanted, the young boy had roamed the village and asked its residents what they would wish for.

There were those who said they would ask for more time.

But the young boy thought that those who wished for this were those who mismanaged the time already given to them.

There were those who would wish for more money.

But money, he thought, was a commodity of which more could always be earned.

There were others who would call for luck.

But that is something the boy thought could not be controlled – falling upon the right people, the right circumstances, the right opportunities. You just had to keep your eyes and mind open to recognising them.

Everyone asked for more of something.

The boy believed that you can work hard to achieve more. But all that requires one thing that is essential and irreplaceable – good health.

So if there were only one thing for which he could wish for, he would wish for that: for being healthy, to be able to realise your dreams, to show the necessary courage to go further, and to fulfil everything your heart desires.

A worthy meal

champagne-and-oystersHe spent his last £30 on a plate of oysters and a glass of champagne.

He didn’t mind that he would now be broke. It was worth it. The oysters were exquisite and the champagne was bubbly and fruity. Not that he had anything to compare them to.

He had just arrived in the country he now called home. He was one of the thousands who believed fleeing from the only home you know was the single chance you had for a tomorrow. The future was all he would think about when he stepped his trembling body into that rocking boat. He didn’t know where he was heading to, but looking back at the fire burning his village, he knew forward was the only way he could go.

Life is full of surprises, they say. For when he reached the shore, the informal “welcome committee” consisted of one of his cousins who had arrived a couple of years ago. Following a reunion that alternated between tears and jumping jacks of joy, he soon found a new home, even if just a temporary one.

However, finding work was not easy. There were so many unskilled workers asking for jobs, the competition was so great, that it all came down to who would accept less.

His first job interview failed because he couldn’t understand what the employer was saying.

His second because he couldn’t respond fast enough.

His third because he did not give adequate replies.

His fourth because his reply to the question “where do you see yourself in five years” was “alive”.

His fifth because he was too old for the job.

His sixth because he had no experience for it.

His seventh because they had already hired the person before him.

He needed money somehow. He needed food. His stomach was already grumbling and he could not continue to live off his cousin forever. It was not proper. All he had left was £30, which he insisted that he would soon pay back no matter how much his cousin refused. His meals had consisted of bread, cheese and apples, as little as he could eat a day in order to save the cash. But he was now drained. He needed a proper meal.

Autumn had settled in and the brown crispy leaves crackled under his feet as he tottered pensively along the central avenue. The rain began to fall, slowly at first, caressing his stress-sweated face, and then rapidly like a torrent attempting to cleanse out the pain of his soul all at once. He stood still in the street, as people all around him rushed for shelter. He had lived through worse. A little rain would do no harm. On the contrary, it was welcome. The avenues began to fill with water like empty tanks fill up. The hundreds of fallen leaves had blocked the gutters, tapping all the water into the streets. There was no outlet for the water that was now raging from the dark sky.

He looked around and saw cars struggling to move ahead, pedestrians getting soaked. And there was so much noise – the honking, the screaming, the thunders, the rain…

He looked down at his feet, which were by now in a puddle of rainwater mixed with black-trampled-on-leaves. Right in front of him was a blocked gutter. If he could just remove the dirt, he would manage to alleviate some of the gushing water and perhaps restore calm. He took a fallen branch from a nearby tree and began to clear out the gutter. He then proceeded to the next one further down, and the next one. By the time he reached the top of the avenue where all the fancy and elitist restaurants where, the rain had diminished to a drizzle. Exhausted as he was, he stopped to check the result of his feat. The roads had mostly cleared from the rain, everyone seemed less annoyed, and it was quieter now.

The smell of wet leaves reminded him of how hungry he was. He stepped into the restaurant in front of him and ordered a royal lunch. He didn’t care people looked at him disapprovingly. In his one month there, he had done more for them than they had even thought of doing for him. It was time to live in the moment. When he saw a municipal worker approaching him with an applauding smile on his face, that was when he thought that just maybe, that moment would give something back.

The story was an entry in the Guardian Masterclasses blog competition.

Exorcising the black cloud

dark-cloudIs it true? That if one thing goes so wrong that plunges you into pessimism and depression then a whole string of things will follow? As if the entire universe is somehow conspiring against you?

Why doesn’t it ever conspire for you?

Maurice was pondering these thoughts as he stared at his half-burned down apartment.

He had burnt the toast this morning – the toaster was already broken, so he placed them in the oven instead, but miscalculated the time needed. So he threw out the two black squares and went out to the bakery at the end of the street to get something fresh. On the way, he stopped by the kiosk to get a newspaper and had a 5-minute chat with the seller there. But by the time he got back, it was already late. Apparently, the oven had not been shut-off properly and a burnt piece of toast had managed to creep its way into causing enough trouble.

The rest of the week was horrible for Maurice too.

He missed a deadline at work and was heavily scolded at. He got food poisoning from not defrosting properly some fish. And he couldn’t sleep at night because of all the thoughts swarming in his head.

Why didn’t anything ever go right for him? Why was nothing ever working out in his favour? And most of all, why did nothing ever happen as he wished?

So how would he manage to exorcise this dark cloud of bad luck that was hanging over his head?

It was a drag and lately he could feel it suffocating him all the more. He felt so crushed by sadness that he didn’t want to do anything. He wanted to leave the house but didn’t have the energy too. He wanted to sleep to forget it all, but couldn’t because the minute his head hit the pillow all these thoughts attacked him like a platoon of angry fighters.

He read a series of articles in the magazines he had piled up in his bookcase and confirmed what he already knew – he was on the verge of collapse. It is not just the physical stress that can do that to you. It is the psychological breakdown that delivers the final blow.

So he decided to adopt something new – to find the positive in every situation, no matter how bad the latter was. He began with the burnt-down flat. The positive was that it was a chance to renovate. And the fact that he was alone while all his friends were away? A chance to do some self-exploring and perhaps even find new friends. He just had to manage to get out of the house without that cloud over his head.

It was the only way he would allow the light back into his life.

The breaking point

11146-broken-pencil-tip-1680x1050-photography-wallpaperHarold was a man with exceptional patience. He possessed the remarkable ability of retaining his calm even in situations where it was most likely to lose all control and begin to scream, either out of panic or of agitation. Yet, he managed to radiate a tranquility that was truly rare in such times of increasing uncertainty and turbulence.

That was until one Friday. It was also the 13th.

Things started out badly that day when he broke the mug he had been drinking coffee in for the past few years and which had become his favourite. He should have seen it coming then, the streak of bad luck, but he chose to ignore it. Optimism was always the best course of action. He convinced himself there was no use worrying over anything he could not change, and especially a mug, which could easily be replaced.

But then he went to work. And that is where it all fell apart.

On his desk he found an invoice charging him an extravagant amount for services that supposedly were provided, but he recalled very well how last week he had a row with that specific manager for not delivering the agreed services, forcing Harold to in the end do all the work himself. Why was he expected now to actually pay for work he himself did?

Harold began to fidget nervously, feeling his heart beat increase significantly.

The next blow came when he realized that he was literally robbed of cash from his bank account because his Internet provider had on a whim decided to increase the cost of services three-fold.

But the real “icing on the cake” came when his boss stormed into his office infuriated, blaming Harold for something he had not done. Or rather something Harold had advised not to do, yet no-one listened to him, and now a major client had withdrawn investment. Someone always had to be blamed. And it was usually the calmest and quietest one that gets chosen as the scapegoat.

Harold erupted.

That was when he began to constantly feel angry and irritated. About everything. It took even the slightest of sounds to tick him off. He was fuming about the injustices that always fell upon him; how he was always blamed for things that went wrong, even when it was not his fault. He was annoyed at how nobody ever did their job or at least what they proclaimed they would do but always wanted to be paid the full amount no matter the quality or quantity of what they delivered. He was livid about how others always wanted you to adhere to your part of the agreement but never lived up to their own. But most of all he was enraged about how corrupt the human soul really is, having no qualm or remorse whatsoever in outright stealing, cheating and deceiving the other.

Harold had changed over the course of just a week.

He could no longer sleep at night, haunted by these thoughts that swarmed his mind like Erinyes. Even when he did manage to doze off for a while, he would wake up drowning in his own sweat with his heart racing, suffering panic attacks in his very sleep.

Nothing could offer any consolation any more. It was the curse of realizing no matter how good you are the bad somehow always end up getting their own way. He was tormented by things he was wronged about and, although he knew nothing could be done to change them, for some reason he could not let go or forget about them.

He had to move on.

All it really takes, is to find one person who will demonstrate that not everybody is the same. To be able to restore your confidence in humanity, your faith in kindness, and bring back the smile on your face.

For Harold that would arrive a month later. At a bar a few blocks from his house. In the form of a beautiful brunette who had also suffered many injustices in her life and who described herself as “walking bad luck”. Combined, they would change their destinies.

The leather bag and the half-ticket

Bus ticketEvery time the smell of leather filled his nostrils, he remembered that incident on the bus. He was well aware why he had associated this pungent smell of processed skin with a means of transport. It was all because of the new leather bag the woman sitting on the front seat held full of pride that so dominantly inflicted its scent onto his subconscious. Whatever the case, despite the churning of his stomach every time that smell encountered his nose, he could not help but smile as he recounted that particular episode.

It was a day he was heading off for the airport for a business trip. He had scheduled his parting time from the town promptly, in order to arrive at the departure lounge with plenty of time to spare. There was always some unexpected adventure to happen on the way. It was bound to occur with his peculiar strand of luck.

And it did.

Once on the bus, he presented the driver with 1.5 times the amount for the ticket, as he did not have the precise change. The driver searched his pockets, his fanny pack, his side-lockers to find the right amount of coins to give back. All the while, our traveler waited, trying to hold on and not go sliding down the bus aisle due to the clumsy driving that was taking place at the same time. That is right where the woman with the pungent leather bag was sitting. He remembered it precisely because she wore a huge black hat with a black feather sticking out on the right side, and he recalled wondering what on earth was in that bag that could actually fit the crocodile out of whose skin it was made.

The bus reached the next stop and the driver was still frantically searching for change. He turned round and asked the passenger sitting behind him if he had some cash. Then he asked the traveler for some too. The traveler remained dumbfounded. If he had the cash, would he not have given the exact change needed in the first place and avoided this commotion?

Change was finally found and deposited in the traveler’s hand. Now all that remained was the ticket.

“Hold on. It’s not that simple”. The driver seemed confused and in disarray. So was the traveler. What on earth was going on?

At the fourth stop since the traveler had embarked, the driver got out of his cabin, took a ticket, validated it in the machine, tore it in half and gave one end to the traveler and the other to the old man sitting behind the driver. “I’ve run out of reduced-price tickets, so you’ll have to share one,” he said as he calmly returned behind the wheel and continued his shabby driving, satisfied he had sorted it all out.

The traveler gazed at his half-ticket in amazement. This was a first. But, he simply took his bag and moved a bit further down the leather-smelling front to finally sit down for the rest of the bumpy ride.

Even after disembarking from that bus, he could still smell the leather bag right until he entered the shower later that evening at his foreign destination. He had also kept the half-ticket. Just in case no-one believed him when he recounted this story.

Also part of Daily Prompt: Smell You Later

La Hora Gris

La Hora GrisThe first time she died it was around noon, on a stifling hot day. Her carriage had ran off-track. Something had scared the horses and they sprinted off course, almost inverting the carriage as they went, knocking it on obstacles right and left. She was already injured when the carriage fell sideways onto a giant rock off the stone-covered road. The horses were so terrified that they continued to run at full speed. So fast, that they never even realized there was no more ground left to trample on. And the carriage fell off a high cliff. And that was their end.

The second time Teresa died, it was during a tornado. It was monsoon season, and everything happened too fast. As the saying goes, ‘when it rains it pours’, and there was certainly hail that day too. She was caught in a stone-house, not built to last such natural disasters. She could see the whirlwind approaching, but there was nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. The feeling of getting caught up in this monster, was like being pulled into a roller coaster from which you can’t escape. And then it all goes black. And you remember nothing more.

The third time, death came silently. Teresa was aboard a large cruise ship with her boyfriend. They had just gotten engaged in the most romantic of ways – he had even arranged fireworks for her – and she was over the moon. They were cozy in their cabin suite, falling asleep in the early hours of the morning, when something immense, hard and bulky crashed onto the ship. They hardly felt the water filling up their room, and it was only seconds before this force of nature took their last breath.

Teresa’s fourth encounter with the Reaper was during a car chase. She was after a known-fugitive. She knew this meant a promotion, recognition and acknowledgement that she was good at what she did. And that women could be just as good police officers as men. But when she finally trapped the fugitive and there was no way out, out of seemingly nowhere, he fired a gun that hit her straight in the heart. Her consolation lay only in the fact that she managed to fire right back and get him for it.

They say if you have one encounter with the afterlife, you would always remember it. Teresa had five. And she remembered every last minute. Even the shark bite that took her fifth life, when she tore her foot in the ocean outside a reef she set to explore. She remembered how she screamed and splashed, but there was no-one around to hear her because she had drifted too far out.

But somehow, she never remembered what happened afterwards. After the light at the end of the tunnel appeared. After she had crossed over.

It always felt like waking up from a dream. She was simply starting a new life, as if that was where she left off. It was strangely natural. But she never gave it too much thought.

Until now.

Lately she had always been tormented by a thought – an obsession that penetrated her very being. It was the only thing that terrified her. La hora gris. The grey hour. When it is neither night nor day. But when it is better to fall than rise. That was how it had been imprinted in her brain. That hour of day scared her, more than anything.

It was that hour that she felt her end would come. Her final end. That hour that would take away everything from her. And that is why she rarely kept anything other than the clothes and jewelry she wore.

She spent a couple of years worrying about this fatal moment.

Until she met a man on the pier by her house. He appeared oddly familiar, and for some inexplicable reason she felt she knew him, deeper than any other person she had ever known. She felt a connection with him. A mysterious, incomprehensible feeling of trust, affection and attraction for this man.

And it was all realized when during that grey hour, he came towards her, smiled, and said: “Don’t drive yourself crazy and enjoy this moment, because you never know when life is going to hit us again.”

Instantly she knew. He had been with her all this time. He had accompanied her through all five lives. He was the carriage driver, the owner of the wooden shack, her fiancé, her police chief, her scuba instructor. He had failed to protect her all those times. But now he was right there. And everything would be all right.

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