MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “short story”

The rain of fate

ted-struts-in-the-rain

©Ted Strutz

They had planned this trip for weeks and they were determined not to allow the weather to change anything. They had packed everything and filled up the car, persuading themselves that they would have the time of their lives.

The rain evolved from tiny drops to thunder and hail.

They were told to turn their lights on and be extra careful at the harbour, particularly when entering the ship.

The sea itself became restless.

“Maybe this isn’t such a good idea?” Matilda already began to worry. Perhaps destiny did not want them on that ship.

It’ll be fine,” he replied.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

The cat on the pier

http://media.gettyimages.com/photos/view-of-cat-sitting-on-pier-picture-id565807123?s=612x612Hannah was surprised to see it there. It appeared silently right next to her. She didn’t even realise it came. But they always seemed to appear when needed the most. It was usually a dog that care around bouncing all happily without a care in the world. That she expected. They always had a way of cheering you up. Just by looking at them and the way they run around wagging their little tails. Some even look like they’re laughing. It was just impossible to stay mad or upset at the sight of them.

But this, this was strange.

The little cat sat there, straight up, tail wrapped around its front legs. It was fluffy white and seemed indifferent to everything that was going on around it. People tried to call it, but it listened to none.

Then it turned its little head, its small, round, golden eyes reflecting the setting sun’s rays. And it met her gaze. Hannah was dumbfounded. She couldn’t believe it was ever possible to feel such serenity through a simple gaze, and indeed, from a four-footed creature. The cat tilted its head sideways as it continued to stare into Hannah’s eyes.

Hannah took out a handkerchief from her pocket and wiped the tears that were still dripping from her eyes. The cat slowly got up and moved towards her, arching its back and beginning to purr. Once close to Hannah it began to brush against her, asking for some patting. Hannah touched its head with the tip of her fingers. With a single move it rotated its head around her hand and moved ever closer, its purr now reverberating on Hannah’s body. It was soothing. The cat managed to divert all of her attention on it that she soon forgot the reason she was so upset.

They sat there for a while, the cat purring at her side, and Hannah patting it, relaxed and calm. They watched the sun set into the sea, and then the cat suddenly got up, stretched and disappeared, as silently and abruptly as it had arrived.

Destruction in the dark

dale-rogerson4

©Dale Rogerson

They had gone to the exotic island looking for calm, relaxation and an escape from everything. Instead, what they found there was far from it.

As the full moon rose behind the clouds, sirens were heard – police, firebrigades, ambulances, you couldn’t tell.

Natives said they never before had seen such a destruction. A fire raging in the centre of town, people screaming, panicking, not knowing what to do. Viewing the commotion alone was enough to make you agitated, even if you were just a bystander.

For days, stories of witnesses, of survivors, of victims’ relatives would haunt everyone’s TV screen.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

 

Un-wilting

un-wilted rose

©MCD

The rose had entered her home on an anniversary. She was delighted because she didn’t expect he would remember, or more, that he would bring her something to celebrate. Instead, he surprised her with a beautiful crimson rose and a romantic dinner at a beachside restaurant.

Although every girl loves flowers, there is the downside that they don’t last too long. And unless you allow them to dry up so you can keep them a while longer to remind you of a lovely memory, most flowers simply wilt away after a few days. If you’re lucky, they may last a couple of weeks. But that’s pretty much it.

But this rose was different.

Five months later it was still there. Standing firm and tall in its square glass vase, not having dropped a single petal. The only thing that changed was that it’s colour had become darker.

She was amazed at how it persisted. And she boasted about it to her friends, secretly hinting that it was a sign of a strong and loving relationship.

He was happy to see her eyes glow every time she looked at the un-wilted rose. But he reassured her it did not mean that others wouldn’t follow. It was just that where they come with deep emotion, they survive for longer.

That’s usually the case with most things. When you take care of them they endure.

The off-course bus

http://ttvalueinvesting.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/route.jpgIt arrived on time and appeared just like any other of its type. It had four double doors symmetrically situated across one end, large windows, and an advertisement painted across both sides. From its exterior, it seemed like a normal bus. Even inside, it did not differ from others – it had enough space for passengers to be seated or standing and it was in great condition. Almost new. But there was something that made this bus special. You couldn’t tell at first. And most of all, you never expected what would come.

You would stop the bus at the stop and get on, maybe even find a seat. You presumed it would take you to your destination – the city centre – relatively quickly. But half way there, the bus would suddenly change course. If you were too distracted in your own thoughts it would take you a while to realise you were off course. Others would acknowledge it as soon as the bus took a “wrong” turn. Some passengers would react. Others would stress that they would be late for their appointments. Some others would simply remain silent, waiting to see what would happen. The driver would not respond to any.

After a while, you would realise the bus was not going to the city centre. The passengers that reacted intensely would soon tire and be quiet. And as the bus took an unknown route, almost all passengers would begin to plan scenarios in their head of where they would end up. These ranged from a serial killer bus driver that would throw them off a cliff, to a surprise destination where a millionaire would host a party to advertise a new acquisition. You would conjure in your head whatever you wanted, but you would be well aware that expectation was always the root of all disappointment. So you would try and pretend that you didn’t care where the bus was going.

After a long while, the bus would return to its course and, taking double time, would end up at the city centre, where it was supposed to be going in the first place. But, during that route, all passengers would have calmed down and, lost in their thoughts, dreams and mental to-do-lists, would not realise they had arrived. That was the point of this bus – to make you understand that what matters most is the route and how you get to your destination, not so much your final point of arrival.

The surprise bomb

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0031/8592/products/Mystery-box-Black-closed-David-Blaine.jpg?v=1493223671Don’t touch that!” The fire chief yelled as he ran towards Levi. The latter raised his glance in fright and froze in place. Wasn’t this what he was trained to do? To prevent bombs from detonating?

The fire chief raced to Levi’s position, gasping for air as his glove-covered hands passed over the black box. His fingers barely came into contact with it, but he was already trembling as if the lives of thousands of people who worked in that building depended on it.

All residents and employees of the tower had been evacuated and for the past twenty minutes, it was only the fire fighters and bomb squad who were found within those walls. They could feel the time ticking menacingly away and with every second that fled, they felt their breath grow shorter.

This was the fire chief’s ultimate act. He was going into retirement the very next day. This was his last mission. But it was Levi’s first. As experienced and as calm as the chief was, Levi was exactly the contrary, trying to masque his anguish and fear through a calm demise.

The fire chief opened the box with fingers shaking and sweat dripping from his forehead. He didn’t know what to expect – it could be anything, from a ticking bomb to a mere post-it informing of a prank. He wished it would be the latter. But instead, inside the box he found a smaller black box, and inside that, another even smaller. His temperature began to rise as his cheeks flushed. Levi looked on with eyes wide open. He could feel his heart pumping eager to beat out of his chest.

The fire chief took the smallest box in his hand and with a move worthy of a surgeon carefully opened it. Inside was a cupcake. That’s right. A small muffin-sized cake with icing on top. He examined it on all sides and was assured that it was a harmless dessert. That is when he finally lifted his gaze.

His men were standing around him, giggling and waiting for his reaction. It took him a while to figure it out. They had surprised him with one last adrenaline-rush. But all this was, was a farewell party.

Levi smiled. If only all bomb detonation missions would be as easy and happy-ended as this one.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Detonate

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.

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 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

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