MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “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

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.

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.

Cat in a bag

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He hadn’t been around for days now and Mrs Claus was getting worried. He was the smallest of the litter, although the feistiest one and,truth be told, he was her favourite.

But it was three days now that he had not shown up, not even during feeding times. She had asked his mother and brothers, but would only get a vague reply from his sister. She was probably just asking for more food.

She looked everywhere for him. In the toy factory, in the elves’ dorms, in the sleigh, in the kitchen, in the cupboards, in the sweet shops, everywhere. He was nowhere to be seen. And the worse part was that no-one else had seen him either.

Mrs Claus decided she had to call for reinforcements.

So she told Santa that her favourite kitten had gone missing.

What if he’s been catnapped? He was the cutest of the lot,” she said in despair.

No, no, he is around here somewhere,” Santa tried to reassure her.

They called out his name, rang bells and food plates, but nothing.

They even asked the reindeer, but to no avail.

As snow began to fall heavier outside, Mrs Santa became all the more worried that he was somewhere alone and cold.

But then, just as it happens with all things you look too hard for and then you find them when you stop searching – the little cat appeared on its own.

It was Santa who first spotted him when he saw his toy bag juddering on the sleigh. He knew it was not any of the toy robots, because they had no batteries installed. As he raised the opening of the bag slightly to peek inside, he saw two bright eyes staring back at him. They were accompanied by a faint “meow”. One that Mrs Claus heard, however, and rushed over just in time to see the little lion walk merrily out of the bag, unaware of all the commotion he had caused.

Sometimes it’s the smallest things that cause your heart to skip a few beats. It is only then that  you acknowledge their importance.

A monster within

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He was nicknamed “The Monster”. He had the look to support it. He was tall, dark with hair that covered his neck and a beard that hid his face. His eyes reflected his own resignation with the world.

He preferred not to socialise as much as possible. And for that reason he usually only briefly left his house during nights or moments when he knew everyone else was away. He wanted to avoid social contact. He would much rather endure loneliness than the criticism he was bound to hear from others.

People judge from what they see. We all fall into stereotypes and prejudices. People don’t understand what is beyond appearances.What forces people to become what they are or to act in the way they do.

No existence is all roses and sunshine. Dark clouds do come along. There are moments and circumstances, people and behaviours, attitudes and perspectives that force us to react, to erupt, to lose control. It takes a lot for a silent stream to become a raging current. But when that boost arrives, the flush is torrential and it carries with it everything that person has for so long suppressed. It takes a lot of strength to feign that everything is fine. To pretend things are OK when they’re not. To hide all the pain from everyone else. But what hurts most is when the people near you don’t understand. When they do not react to your call. When you explain the things that cause these scathing wounds, that have for so long been a problem, and yet they still don’t comprehend the severity of it all. Or they simply do nothing. If you care you act; you place what you value most above all else. Sometimes, it is our own expectations that cause us the most disappointment. Because not everyone possesses that same open-heartedness, nor the same perspective on things. It is such situations that bring out the worst in someone. That feeling of being under-appreciated, misunderstood and wronged. That others are given more importance than you. That no matter how hard you try, you can’t get through.

It is situations that create our character. That will define whether the monster or the angel within us will dominate. But they are also the ones that cause us to react the way we do.

Not all people are monsters. Some just carry a monster inside.

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