MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “short stories”

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.

When time stops

rope bridge sapa vietnap“Come on!!” she bounced impatiently in front of him, her face beaming with excitement. The adrenaline pumping in his body made his heart feel like it wanted to pounce out of his chest. He looked ahead, trying to avoid looking down.

A rope bridge extended in front of him. It was everything but what you would describe as ‘safe’. But this is what she described as “an adventure”. “Something different; something spectacular; something out of the ordinary,” she had told him.

Come on!! It’s either this or skydiving!”

“I’d much rather do the latter at the moment,” he replied trying to contain the tremor in his voice.

“Well, if a step breaks on the way we might do both!” She joked, but deep inside she was as scared as he was terrified.

He paused for a moment, allowing himself to inhale the amazing scenery that surrounded him. It was all so serene; so quiet; so calm. It was as if time had stopped.

That is how he always felt with her. As if nothing and no one else mattered. It was a record for him. Falling so deeply and feeling so much in such a short time. But it was one he was happy to break again and again if it meant being with her and experiencing so much more than he could have even imagined before she came along.

“Come on! It’ll be dark soon.” She extended her hand as she pranced ahead bravely feigning a first step.

“Wait!” he called out.  He took her hand and aligned himself beside her.

Together.”

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Record

Split between worlds

http://perfscience.com/sites/default/files/styles/nodeimg/public/field/image/Mars_Jupiter_Saturn.jpg?itok=QJIicVzwJupiter was born and raised on Saturn but fell in love on Mars. She knew well what it meant to be split between two worlds. Literally.

 When she was born, her parents, native Saturnians, decided to give her the name of another planet, simply because it seemed so majestic from their view of the solar system. She grew up on Saturn, a planet where everything had the shade of blue. From sky blue, to aquamarine, to turquoise, to dark blue, to blue black even. She liked her planet a lot. But Jupiter was restless. She wanted to go out there and explore. She was certain there was something more out there. Something other than just this blue.

 She soon found herself on Mars, a planet filled with shades of red – ruby red, dark red, pink red, rose, coral red. She decided to stay a while and discover a different way of life. Variety always intrigues. Together with that, however, she found a breath of fresh air and a soulmate that made her heart beat a little bit faster.

But he was on Mars. And her family was on Saturn.

The distance was minimised by rapid-speed vehicles that helped make the light-year journey seem like crossing over to another neighbourhood. But it still entailed travelling between planets. And no matter how often or how long she stayed on one, it never seemed enough. So Jupiter decided to do something. She took out her heart and split it in half. She gave one part to her family to remember that even if she wasn’t constantly physically present she was always with them. The other she replaced in her chest and flew to Mars. Her soulmate would complete the other half, and she would always be whole when she returned home.

Mishaps to fortune

https://us.123rf.com/450wm/Prometeus/Prometeus1508/Prometeus150800012/43156028-venetian-masquerade-carnival-elegant-lady-wearing-beautiful-lush-dress-and-venetian-mask-stands-in-a.jpg?ver=6Carol had purchased five tubes of glitter. It was silvery-blue, like the one she had so often imagined adorned the bodies of fairies. She was going all out this year. It might seem as an extravaganza of a costume, but she wanted to feel good and in doing so, she wanted to breathe life into a fantasy. That entailed living it out in full.

But karma has it that some things don’t always turn out the way we imagine them too.

The first clue was when the heel of her shoe broke, while she pranced around the house in her fairy dress to make sure she could walk a sufficient amount of time as a few inches taller than her natural height.

The second was when the hem of the dress got caught at the corner of the living room table, while she was spinning, tearing a very noticeable hole at the bottom of the transparent tulle.

The third was when she noticed that most of the glitter tubes had for some reason cracked open, filling the inside of her shopping bag with a splutter of gluey tinsel.

Carol gave up. She sat on her bed crying at her misfortune. All that time and energy she had spent; all those images she had concocted in her head of her entrance to the masquerade party; it all vanished in a few seconds.

She now no longer had a costume to wear and had lost all desire to join the carnival this year.

A cup of tea and an hour later, nerves calmed and rationale restored, Carol decided to search the attic for a costume. Surely there was something forgotten up there.

She wanted to dress as a fairy, but found something even better – a Venetian princess costume. And with just the right amount of glitter on her chest and shoulders, she embodied the essence of the renaissance itself.

Some things indeed don’t always turn out the way we imagine them too. But sometimes this happens for something even better to occur.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Glitter

The perfect gift

http://5pz91qmfi1-flywheel.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Screen-Shot-2015-09-03-at-1.49.24-PM-640x250.jpgWhat does anyone really want on Valentine’s day? What does anyone want on any day, really? Because 14 February, in essence, is just another day. But it happens to be one on which couples suddenly remember they’re in love, and singles feel the need to demonstrate why they’re better alone.

Susy and her husband had agreed that they were in love all year round, and they would show it to each other as often and as much as they could. For them, this was just another day on which they had an extra reason to go out and enjoy themselves.

Jonah was racking his brain for days trying to find the perfect gift for his wife. He wanted something special. Something different. Something memorable. Apart from the standard flowers and chocolates in a heart-shaped box, that is. So he decided to take her for dinner to a restaurant they had never been before, but one which was acclaimed and seemed to match her liking. She was the person who would get excited with the little things, so she was bound to be thrilled.

Susy, on the other hand, had difficulty in planning the perfect gift. Because what amounts to perfection? She thought of a framed photo of them, but couldn’t chose just one. And she didn’t want to fall into the commercial trap that took over this specific day.

So she did something different.

She took the day of work on the eve of V-day and stayed home to surprise him. She prepared his favourite dessert and planned a relaxing walk along the beach at sunset. The sparkle in his eyes and the smile that stretched across his face when he found her home, unexpectedly waiting for him, was all she needed as an acknowledgement that sometimes the perfect gifts aren’t things; they are moments, people and actions that show us we are loved and cared for.

Something to hide

gondola08She was tired. In fact, she was exhausted. But he refused to acknowledge it. He failed to see how she strived to make her daily routine seem so effortless, while she was camouflaging the pain in the smile she always wore.

He worked hard. And she worked even harder. She tried to support him as much as she could, without asking for anything in return, other than a simply gesture of appreciation, a humble ‘thank you’, a hug and a kiss.

She was sick. But he failed to see it.

Not even when her light was dimming, could he see that he was losing her. She didn’t speak out, of fear that she would upset him too much and that he would overreact, as he usually did when trying to gain control of a situation.

Instead, she allowed herself to wither in the silence of her progressive departure. He was too fixated on his own beliefs to see that something was wrong. And it was only when she left that he realised what had happened. That fateful morning when she was no longer there. When the sky darkened and clouds brought on a tremendous storm.

But it was too late. He had allowed her to drown in her own secret, alone, because she loved him too much to make him worry.

She left with a photo of their last trip together hovering over their bed as an eternal memory.

The loudness of insecurity

girl-umbrellaIt was the first time Max had found himself in a psychologist’s office. He was postponing it for too long; he needed someone to listen to all the things that had accumulated inside him and were causing him stomach aches. The main problem he had to face was that he cared too much – he over-thought and over-worried about anything. Maybe this doctor would be able to show him how to care less, or at least how to not allow things to affect him as much.

Outside in the waiting room was a sign on the wall, a blue canvas with the inscription “Confidence is silent. Insecurities are loud.” It resonated with Max, as he thought about all the people in his life who annoyed him the most and who he wrongly permitted to distress him – they were all people who claimed center stage, those who thought that everything should be about them, who adopted an attitude close to that of a bully, and who pretended to mask their low self-esteem in (often overly) socialization.

For an hour, Max poured out his feelings to the person he had just met sitting across him in the small, yet cozy, room. He found himself telling him stories and emotions that he had never even admitted to himself. Psychologists, he realised, have a way of making you feel comfortable enough to share your inner most thoughts without dwelling too much on what you’re saying.

When the psychologist’s turn to talk came, Max took out a small notebook to write certain things down. They may have been just phrases, but they would help him in changing his own attitude and facing the situations he was forced to deal with on a daily basis.

“Insecurity is an ugly thing. It makes you hate people you don’t even know. More so, insults are the last resort of insecure people with a crumbling position trying to appear confident. Insecure people seek approval. They try to talk everyone down so that can feel superior. Don’t allow yourself to fall into that trap. Try, as much as you can to ignore them. Just don’t interfere in their lives so that they won’t interfere in yours. Remember, you only give them more power the more attention you devote to them. So simply turn the other way. Demonstrate your own confidence by shying away from the spotlight; let it chase you, not the other way round. Do something different instead: build people up, remind them they’re worthy, tell them they’re incredible; be a light in an often too dim world”.

Max left the office feeling uplifted. Sometimes, all it takes is some words of encouragement to view the situation in a different aspect.

Resisting the mind

roger-bultot-flower

©Roger Bultot

“It all begins and ends in your mind,” she once told him. “What you give power to, has power over you”.

Right now, he was fighting not to call her. To tell her how much he missed her and wanted her back.

There was still snow on the porch outside. She would have been thrilled by it.

And her orchid by the window was waiting for her too.

He stared at the dials on the phone; Ralph Waldo Emerson had said, “we gain the strength of the temptation we resist”. But he did not feel any stronger. Quite the contrary.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Also part of Daily Prompt: Resist

Keeping it simple

https://tphogan.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/fountain-pen-blank-paper.jpgPen in hand, he stared at the blinking cursor on the white background. He was stuck. There was nothing to write about. They told him to keep it simple. But simple is not as easy as it seems.

His head was swarming with fairy tales of magic and dragons and princesses and kings and monsters. But they were all asleep somewhere, unable to be driven out of his head and brought to life.

He fixed his posture, straightened his back and inhaled deeply. He then slowly let out the air that had refreshed his lungs and looked hopefully at his computer screen.

Still nothing.

Where had it all gone? He was a person whose imagination ran wild and who could write about anything at anytime. But not now.

His emails bleeped away with newsletters and greetings from colleagues, but all he could hear was the clock ticking and his deadline drawing nearer.

All he had to do was write about something, anything. It was supposed to be simple. Supposed being the key word.

He moved to the couch to clear his head. But he soon fell asleep. Two hours later he leapt up like a damaged spring and raced to his computer.

Something. Simple.

Sometimes the things we take for granted, the simple things, are not merely as simple or as easy or as abundantly available as we may think.

He had found his topic.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Simple

Post Navigation