Tag Archives: fiction

Day 10 of Writing 101: Before She Left

Before She Left

~A Short Story~ 

She was cleaning up the mess in her purse: old bank slips, shopping receipts, bus tickets. She took each out and observed cursorily, deciding whether she’d need it again. Then she tore up the slips in as small pieces as she possibly could and threw them into the bin.

Most of the bills had faded: they were printed on thermal papers.

What’s the point in giving bills which are going to fade, anyway? Aren’t the bills supposed to be permanent documentation?

She retrieved a bus ticket –a six month old one– from one of the pockets. It was from her last trip from her hometown to the nearest airport city. Six months vanished in a puff! Six months since she last visited her parents, her brother, and… him.

She didn’t tear the ticket – it was memory. And it was not on thermal paper. She pushed it into a different pocket in the purse, one she didn’t usually use to put the notes and the coins. There she found it.

It was an inconspicuous looking paper. If she was not scavenging, she would not even have noticed it. It was rolled up like a cigarette and flattened from being put in the purse.

She took it out and unrolled it. There was nothing on the side facing her – a blank page that must have contained how much she had paid at some mall or movie. She turned it over.

There, in blue ink were the lines. It was a written conversation. There were two distinct handwritings: one small, curvy; another bigger, looping.

All of it came back to her. She smiled as she saw herself scribbling it, beside the empty glass of cold coffee and some spilled chocolate sauce. The brown on the edge of the slip was testimony to the playful tiff they had over sipping each other’s coffee. They didn’t care if anyone was looking. They were lost in themselves.

***

He was told there was a parcel for him at the reception. He walked the steps instead of taking the elevator.

The girl at the reception smiled at him. Her name was Tias.

“There’s a parcel for me?” he said, returning her smile. Tias was new here. She matched her nail-polish her with her dresses every single day.

Tias shuffled through the drawer and handed him the package wrapped in shiny red paper. A white paper on top addressed it to him, in neutral print.

“Girlfriend?”

A hint of laughter touched the corner of his lips. He shrugged and turned away.

In his cabin, he opened the wrapper, taking care that he did not tear it off. She would recycle it, if she was here. Or better yet, add it to her box of memorabilia. He did the same, put it in his chest of drawers.

But she had never said anything about a parcel in the past month or week. He was sure it wasn’t another of their anniversaries – propose day, first trip together, first kiss etc.

It was a copy of The Fault in our Stars. Of course it was from her. Who else could it be! He turned over the cover page, sure to find a scribbling – after five years together, many things about her was predictable.

There was no scribbling. Instead, there was a paper, pasted on the inside of the cover page.

“Don’t go, please. I miss you already,” it said in his handwriting.

“I miss you already, too! I love you so much; I could never stay away long from you. Promise me you’ll fly to me every other month?” She had written.

“Of course, I will. Loads of kisses. I will visit you every weekend.” He now laughed at the absurdity of flying a thousand miles every week.

He read on:

“Ummmmm. Kisses and hugs. Love ya, baby,” she wrote in her small, curly font.

“Love ya, Cat! Ummmm.”

There was a doodle of a boy and girl holding hands underneath the conversation. She had drawn the guy. He had drawn the girl.

All of it came back to him. He smiled as he saw himself scribbling it, beside the empty glass of cold coffee and some spilled chocolate sauce. The brown on the edge of the slip was testimony to the playful tiff they had over sipping each other’s coffee. They didn’t care if anyone was looking. They were lost in themselves.

Copyright © 2015 Arpita Pramanick


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Day 7 of Writing 101: Homecoming

“There is more to a boy than what his mother sees. There is more to a boy then what his father dreams. Inside every boy lies a heart that beats. And sometimes it screams, refusing to take defeat. And sometimes his father’s dreams aren’t big enough, and sometimes his mother’s vision isn’t long enough. And sometimes the boy has to dream his own dreams and break through the clouds with his own sunbeams.”
Ben Behunin, Remembering Isaac: The Wise and Joyful Potter of Niederbipp

I was putting off going to the bank for as long as I could. But my daughter, Anita, is persistent. A new bank has come up near our house, and Anita suggested my husband and I create a joint account there. She has been pestering us about it ever since she came home on a break from office.

“Think about it, Ma. You hardly visit that old bank of yours. Why? Because it’s so far! This is near. You can deposit money on your way back from a walk.”

Today’s kids! They know their money better than they know themselves. At least mine does. Last week, Anita did all the necessary applications for creating the account. She had us sign numerous times on a form she downloaded and accompanied us to the bank to submit it. Today, we’re going to make the first deposit to the account. My husband was supposed to come as well, but his knee started to pain again. I used this as an excuse to skip the bank visit, but Anita wouldn’t budge.

The bank is about seven minutes walk. Along the way, Anita keeps blabbering about how much her insurance covers, how much she has kept in fixed deposits, etc.

All my married life, I never bothered about banks. My husband made not much more than was needed for us to get by. The meagre amount that we saved had been used up in Anita’s education. Somehow, this left a huge impact on her – she has made it a mission to have money in the bank. She wants to be prepared for emergencies. I respect her thinking. But I am too afraid of technology. Everything is computerized these days.

When we are inside the bank, Anita fills up a form for something called a remit card – it has to be used for depositing money. This bank does not have paper slips for deposit.

When we are done with the procedure, we are handed a green-coloured card.

“So, this is not ATM card?” I ask Anita.

“No, Ma. It’s a remit card. You can only make deposits with it. With ATM card, you can withdraw.”

Anita was insistent that I apply for the ATM card as well, but thankfully, cash withdrawal can still be done using paper checks! I want to avoid complication as much as I can. All those news about people being robbed after withdrawing cash from ATMs gets to my nerves. Then if you lose the card there’s hell to pay. I lost a SIM card once. We had to go to the police station for the general diary. God! They had so many questions. What a hassle!

Anita and I stand in the line for depositing cash. People, bored people, are standing in front of me. They look at their phones, touch and type. Screens and screens and screens. Mobile screens. Laptop screens. TV screens. All eyes are on screens now. Even the older folk like me have smart-phones. Whenever we meet a smartphone-savvy woman, Anita makes it a point to remind me why I should get one too. I couldn’t care less.

I am next in line to deposit the cash. I push the green card in Anita’s hand.

“What, Ma?”

“You do it. I can’t.”

“Of course not. You’re doing it.” She thrusts the card back in my hand. When did she become this stubborn? What if I do something wrong?

“I will guide you. It’s no big deal, you see.”

“You better do it. I promise I will watch carefully.”

“No, you can only learn by doing it. That’s what you told me when I was in school, remember?”

The man in front of me leaves the line. I cringe inside. Anita pushes me forward. On the counter in front of me there is a small machine, slightly bigger than a calculator. It has numbered keys, like in a calculator. And one red, one yellow and one green key. Behind the counter, a banker, a man with black-rimmed spectacles, is shuffling pages and typing into a computer.

“Here, swipe the card in this slot,” Anita tells me. I never noticed the small vertical slot on the side of the machine.

I put the card and run it along the slot.

The display reads: Please swipe your card.

I swiped it, didn’t I? What is the meaning of this message?

“Not this way. Here, let me put the card in the slot for you again.” Anita re-inserts the card and holds my hand in hers and draws the card along the slot. This time, the machine gives out a hopeful result.

Anita guides me through the next steps.  I type, with trembling finger, the amount I will deposit. Then I press the green button thrice. But where do I put the money?

“The cash, madam,” the banker says, as if reading my mind. “Five thousand rupees, is it?”

“Yes, yes.” I hand over the notes to the banker.

With a whirring noise, a paper slip comes out of the little machine. One end stays attached to the machine.

“Please hand over the counterfoil to me, madam,” the banker says while examining the five hundred rupee notes.

“Tear off the slip, Ma.”

I fiddle at the machine. The paper is so stubborn, it won’t come out. Oh, God! Can I do one thing properly? Why on Earth do these people make simple things complicated? Somebody please give me the old deposit slips!

“Madam, hurry. We don’t have all day,” says the man behind us in the queue.

“Here, let me do it, Ma. It’s simple, see?” She bends the paper towards the keys and tears it off at an angle. The paper gives in easily.

“There are small teeth on this side which cut the paper,” she says, “but if you do it the other way…”

Anita goes on explaining to me how I was doing it wrong. But I am not listening anymore. I am tired of feeling incompetent every day. Every day there is some change. New laws. New technology. The older I get, the more difficult it is to cope. With Anita so many miles away, my husband and I are lonelier than ever. Helpless, too.

On our way out, Anita says, “Wasn’t that cool? No paperwork. No hassle!” She is smiling. She is content with the inventions of her generation. She is proud of digital technology.

I look at her. She breaks out into laughter. “You should see the look on your face, Ma. You look like you have the flu!”

I feel too weak to say anything. My daughter pins her hands on my shoulders and looks at me in the eyes. “I know it is difficult for you, Ma. But trust me, it will get easier,” she says, “Especially now that I am here to guide you through everything.”

“Well, you won’t be here next week when your office starts, will you?” A stubborn tear makes it down the corner of my eyes. Anita hates to see me crying. She gets all furious. But I feel so lonely right now, I can’t help it.

Anita smiles. The smile touches her eyes. She had the same smile when she came home after winning the Best Sportsperson award in school. The same smile when she got her job and flew away to a different state. She wipes my tear with her finger and chuckles.

“What is it? Tell me.” I feel a rush in my blood. What is the girl thinking?

Anita takes out a white envelope from her bag.

“Ta-da!” She waves the envelope in the air before putting it in my hand.

“What is it, Anita? What is in the envelope?”

“My offer letter. I got a new job, Ma! Here! Now your daughter will work from home!”

“Really?”

“Really, really, really!” She gives me a hug in the middle of the road.

My daughter links her arm with mine. We walk on.

Sorry, she walks. I am flying! I am flying along the edges of the clouds.


Copyright © 2015 Arpita Pramanick

Working on with “The Da Vinci Code”: Cymatics, An amalgamation of Art and Science

In my previous post, I talked about Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. In that I said that the book would act as a starting point for me in my quest of finding answers. But I never knew I will chance upon so many wonderful things through it!

One of the reasons why I loved The Da Vinci Code was becuase it explained the Greek alphabet Phi (which often denotes the golden ratio) so nicely. I am a student of Science and facts like these never fail to pique my interest.

After reading the book, I decided to watch the 2006 movie based on the book on Youtube. The version I found was dark and sped up and I did not like it so much. So I watched this video instead. It is not the movie, but rather how the movie was made.

And what a wealth of knowledge the video opened for me! Through it, I learnt that Da Vinci may have been dyslexic.

Following the book, the climactic scene of the movie was shot in Rosslyn Chapel. This video, however, does not exactly follow the last leg of Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveau’s quest of the Holy Grail as in the book and the movie, but it presents to us another wonderful secret that may have inspired the architecture of the Chapel: Cymatics. [The video is rather long at about 44 minutes, so if you want a quickie on Cymatics, check out the last ten minutes of the video]

Wikipedia defines Cymatics as “the study of visible sound co vibration.” As a student of science, I know sound propagates as waves and vibrations are the origins of sound. But I had no clue that the various tones and pitches of sound were actually capable of forming beautiful visible schematics on certain mediums, which may have inspired some of the engravings on the boxes of the Rosslyn Chapel!

Though towards the end of the Discovery video, Nick Boyes, the conservator of the Rosslyn Chapel argues that Cymatics was probably not the secret behind the engravings in the chapel architecture, but perhaps as Richard Castle would say, “Wouldn’t it be great if it was?”

I am usually not so enthusiastic about fantasy, but at one point in high school I was pretty convinced that there was indeed some universal law that would unite every field of study: science, art, philosophy, and even religion! Cymatics tickles that teenage fantasy.

At the same time, The Da Vinci Code makes me ponder on the authenticity of history. Was the world really as we know it to be? I know some would call Dan Brown’s book a bunch of conspiracy theories, but the man truly has opened up avenues for so many discussions in so many fields. And that, my dear friends, is his success!

If you’re still interested in Cymatics, you may check out this short video on TED.com:

Do you know of any other field of science that beautifully explains natural phenomena? Please share with me!

Cracking the ‘The Da Vinci Code’

My brother started college last month. He wasn’t much of a reader until recently. He borrowed The Da Vinci Code from a friend and brought it home for me to read in the weekend.

And what a read it has been! I have always been fascinated by mystery (then again, who isn’t?). But this book is so much more than just a mystery. It contains almost everything that awes and fascinates me: mystery, symbolism, intriguing mathematical concepts, history, Art, architecture and exotic locations.

I come from a country which has been home to a people of different faiths for centuries. I have always been fascinated by other religions, especially Christianity. In fact, when I was a child and was learning about Christianity in history classes, I kept making the sign of the cross at every chance I got. However, my knowledge of other religions is only rudimentary (I am a Hindu). I have been meaning to start reading world history books (I vaguely remember the Renaissance period and the Dark Ages from school), but did not know where to start. It would probably be inaccurate to consider The Da Vinci Code as a history book, but for me it was a good start.

Learning about an alternate version of Christianity gives me a glimpse at how the religion has developed and spread. I understand that this book is only a work of fiction and do not believe everything that the author has stated to be true. In fact I researched quite a lot for the authenticity of the claims that Dan Brown made in the book (e.g. about Mary Magdalene and Sarah). But as an aficionado of good storytelling, I must say that Mr. Brown has done one hell of a job. He has cleverly included bits and pieces of history into the book. I have always enjoyed learning about the origin of words and found some good ones in this book (allow me to spill: I was most satisfied by the description of the origins of the word ‘horny’, for I have always wondered how it came to mean what it means in today’s context).

For a brief period in college I was studying the Impressionist Art for an article in my college magazine (which was unfortunately never published) and I enjoyed the Brown’s descriptions of The Last Supper, Mona Lisa, Madonna on the Rocks. I kept searching the images in Google to learn more. And I am so much the wiser because I read this book (but don’t you start to quiz me on Mona Lisa now).

In good story-telling, it is essential to ignite an interest in the reader to find out something more. I have been reading a few books in the last two months and though I have enjoyed them, not one inspired me enough to finish the book in two/three readings. I had been reminding myself what a fast reader I was when I was younger, and wondered what happened to my love of reading until I read this book. And thank God for that! I was really worried that reading had lost its charm for me.

As much as I enjoyed the story-telling, the characters did not interest so much. Maybe, for a Harvard professor, I expected Robert Langdon to be more clever. Apart from his knowledge on symbolism, I felt like he was like a child in the quest of lost treasure.

Nonetheless, Dan Brown has rekindled the love I have for reading and for that I must thank him. There were just so many pieces of historical information (like Opus Dei, Heiros Gamos) which I might never have known had I not read this book. Agreed, the views of the author may not be historically correct, but it is a starting point for me to read more. From here, I trust my mind to find more answers, and unearth more questions in the process.

Have you read The Da Vinci Code? Do you think it hurt Christian sentiments? Or do you feel that as long as a writer writes something that you truly enjoy, you will give the author creative liberty? Please share your thoughts with me.


P.S.: Today, 19th August, is the last day of the reduced offer on my first Kindle ebook, Bound by Life. Buy your copy on Amazon for just $0.99 today!

The 777 Challenge

I was challenged by Leanne for the 777 Challenge. Thank you, Leanne! It was sweet of you to remember me!

The 777 Challenge is a fun challenge to take part. Let me tell you all about it.

THE 777 CHALLENGE GUIDELINES

  • Find your latest work in progress (whatever it is!)
  • Scroll down to the 7th page
  • Find the 7th line
  • Share the next 7 sentences 
  • Are you done? Great! Challenge 7 buddies to do the same. 

Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

The challenge was a little daunting for me at first as I thought I did not have any long work in progress at the moment. Then I found the novel that I had started earlier this month (Note to Self: Get back to it, ASAP! *screaming*). Luckily for me, I was eight pages and about three thousand words into it.

The story is very random at the moment and hence the seven-line excerpt that I share might seem a little random as well. But please bear with me:

Suddenly, the neighbourhood plunged into darkness as power went off. “Awww geez!” her brother shouted and punched the bed.

After a few minutes, he came over to the balcony. Sampriti was sitting on a plastic tool, with her chin perched on the iron railings.

“Damn this power cut, Federer was playing so well.”

Sampriti couldn’t help but smile. Some things never change.

 

Now, get ready to meet my 7 challengers!

Kelli

Debolina

Marquessa

Iva

Belinda

Sandmanjazz

Juliette

I am so eager to read your pieces! Have fun with the challenge!

P.S: My book, Bound by Life, is now available on Kindle for $0.99 instead of $5.99! So if you haven’t bought a copy before, make sure you buy it  by the 19th. That’s when this promotional offer ends!

Bound by Life is available on Amazon.

 

Culebrita – A Guest Post

Hello Blogoworld!

Some of you might remember me introducing my blogging partner, Marquessa Matthews from Blogging 201 course. As part of the course, we decided to guest post on each other blog’s today! 

Today’s post is an excerpt from a novel that Marquessa is presently working on. The main character of the novel is a young woman called Delaney who decides to ditch the responsibilities of her “regular” life, throw caution to the wind by taking a work assignment in Puerto Rico and embraces her new found freedom of putting herself first

Please head on to Marquess’a blog for other excerpts of the novel.

Wish you a happy read! Also, don’t forget to check out my story, Rosenberg on Marquessa’s blog which is my guest post for today.


Culebrita

Guest Post by Marquessa Matthews

“I think I’m going to be sick.”

As soon as I took one look at that tiny plane, I stopped dead in my tracks. My feet were cemented to the ground.

“Isn’t there a ferry or a boat we could take instead?”

Alejandro strategically placed his hand on my lower back to keep propelling me in a forward motion. “We could but in the time it would take to get to Fajardo, with traffic, and charter a boat, we could already be at Ric and Emme’s. Are you afraid of flying?”

I shook my head as the three of us walked up to the foot of the plane, Nate pulling on Aleja’s hand to hurry us up.

“Under normal circumstances, no. But this plane has propellers.” As soon as the words left my mouth, my stomach started to do little somersaults.

“Taking a plane from Isla Grande is the best and quickest option. Don’t worry. You’ll be fine.” Alejandro leaned into me, kissed my forehead and took hold of my sweaty hand. “And it’ll give me an excuse to hold your hand the entire way,” he reassured me.

“Me too! I’ll hold your hand.” Nate bolted around us and grabbed hold of my other hand. Even if I wanted to change my mind, I couldn’t.

The pilot ushered us into the plane and helped us to get settled in. Alejandro teased me about my quickness to buckle up. I rolled my eyes at him. In such a small plane, I needed to mentally prepare myself for every bump and bit of turbulence we could encounter.

“How long is the flight to Culebra?” I tried to make my question sound cool and nonchalant but I wasn’t fooling anyone, including myself.

The pilot turned his head to respond but Alejandro cut him off.  “About 15 minutes.”

“Oh, that’s not so bad.”

As we taxied off, I held my breath, waiting for take-off. As promised, Alejandro kept hold of my hand to reassure me but Nate had totally forgotten his promise. Completely distracted with peering out the window, Nate had his nose smudged up against the window. The warmth of Aleja’s hand calmed my nerves. I had no idea what Aleja and I were doing as a “we” but it felt good. For once, I was determined to just go with the flow and not overanalyze the situation.

Before I knew it, I soon found myself doing the same thing as Nate. I was in amazement of the beautiful view below. The white sands and the turquoise blue and green water were absolutely breathtaking. Picture postcard perfection.

mm

Photo credit: S F photographs / Foter / CC BY-ND

Nate chattered away as he always did, pointing out of the window for me to look at this cloud and that boat. Alejandro wasn’t saying anything and when I turned to him, I caught him simply smiling at us.

“What?”

“Nothing,” he said and continued smiling. That smile that gave me butterflies.

I relaxed into the ride enough to let go of his hand, pull out my cell to snap a few photos of the scenery below.

“How are you feeling?” Alejandro was always so laid back. If he could bottle the Zen-vibe he always gave off, I would be the first one to buy it online. He always had a softness to his tone that stripped away any temptation I could have had to be anything but myself with him. And I liked that – a lot. Down to earth, intelligent, authentic and a surprisingly semi-introvert. For someone in his position, how could that be?

I could feel the plane descending. “Most of my nerves are gone, thanks to you.” I reached out and touched his thigh, probably lingering a little longer than necessary. I looked at the time on my cell. “Wait, this has been more than 15 minutes.”

Alejandro’s eyes twinkled and he grinned sheepishly. “I lied. It’s more like 30…”

With a grin like that, what else could I do but smile? “Don’t make it a habit. I don’t do well with lies.”

The touchdown was smooth and before I knew it, we were off the plane and into a town car that Ric had sent for us.

As we drove, my nerves began acting up again.

The first time Alejandro had invited me to Ric’s place, I had declined. But this time, Nate had begged me to go and the kid never took no for an answer without a valid reason. Alejandro hadn’t needed to convince me – his mini advocate had done all the work for him.

Sure, the three of us had been spending a lot of time together in our own little bubble but an entire weekend at his cousin’s place made whatever it was that we were doing a little more palpable.  I was more than a little nervous hanging out with part of his family in such close proximity for an extended weekend. Somewhere between “friends with no benefits” and an “intimate couple”, I wondered what Alejandro had told Ric and Emme about me tagging along.

It wasn’t long before we pulled up to a three storey house perched on a hillside not too far from the beach. The intoxicating views of Luis Pena Cay and the warm breeziness of the air, I had never imagined that life could get any better than my little beach house.  But it did get better. And it was stunning.

Ric and Emme were waiting outside for us and a little boy around Nate’s age was jumping around anxiously. We got out of the car and Nate rushed over to the little boy.

“It’s great that you decided to spend a few days with us.” Ric gave me a two-sided kiss and gave Alejandro a quick hug.

Emme’s face showed her surprise at seeing me. She quickly approached showering us both with kisses. “It’s nice to see you again Delaney. No one told me that Aleja was bringing a guest.”

No one meant Ric. Emme turned and gave him the eye.

Ric shrugged, looking guilty with his palms upturned to the sky. “Sorry, I didn’t think of it.”

Awkward.

“I apologize and hope that it isn’t a problem Emme. It was kind of last minute.”

Emme shook her head fervently, her smile genuine. “Of course it isn’t a problem. Any friend of Aleja’s is welcome in our home. It’ll be great to get to know you better. I just wish my absent-minded husband would remember to tell me these things.” She summoned the little boy forward. “Adrian, say hello to Delaney. Delaney is Alejandro’s friend.”

The little boy came forward, extended his hand and said, “Hello.” He was a cutie. It was obvious that looks ran in the family. I shook his little hand and almost immediately, he looked up at Emme. “Can Nate and I go play now?”

Emme gave him a nod of approval and the two little boys ran off towards the housekeeper who stood in the doorway.

“Why don’t we head inside too?”

As Ric and Aleja handled our bags, I saw Emme raise her eyebrows at Ric and he nodded to respond to some sort of secret code they had. I wondered what she was thinking.

The house had a beachy Zen feel to it much like Aleja’s but with a more open concept. Off-white walls, pastel accents to compliment the earthy toned furniture. Everything was simple, light and airy.

“Guys, why don’t you leave the bags at the bottom of the stairs while I give Delaney a tour of the house? Then we can all have a late lunch. Ric, keep an eye on Adrian and Nate before they get into too much trouble.”

Emme was definitely the boss of the house. Ric nodded and led Aleja away but not before he winked at me. Emme caught our exchange.

“Let me show you where you’ll be staying.”

The way Emme glided so gracefully up the stairs, there was no doubt in my mind that she was a dancer or ballerina. Or at least, she used to be.

“This section of the house is where our guests always stay. It’s pretty private.” She opened the door to a beautifully laid out bedroom that could have been featured in Coastal Living magazine.

A king-sized canopied bed filled one corner and the rest of the room was basically a living room equipped with two sofas, a mini bar and a flat screen mounted to the opposite wall. The French doors to the balcony teased a spectacular view of the cay behind the voile sheer curtains.

“Aleja usually stays in here and Nate always sleeps in Adrian’s room. If you haven’t noticed, those two little boys are inseparable, kind of like the two big boys. Then again, you and Aleja seem to be as thick as thieves too, no?” Emme smiled widely. She was reminding me so much of my straight talking Ella who I missed having around.

I couldn’t help but laugh. “Subtlety is not your strong suit, is it?”

We both laughed and I was glad. I could tell that I wouldn’t need to stand on ceremony with her.

“I can surely say that I have never, ever been accused of being subtle. That’s for sure. Will you and Aleja be sharing this room?” She looked me straight in the eye for a reaction.

My hesitation to respond was reaction enough for her. What was I supposed to say? I didn’t even know the answer for myself.

“I’m sorry for being so curious. It’s just that Aleja never visits with, uh, women friends. He only visits with Nate.”

“Oh.” I was the one surprised.

“That says a lot, you know. I mean the fact that he doesn’t make it a habit of bringing women here.” Were her words a warning more than a mere statement, I didn’t know but it didn’t matter – I got the message loud and clear.

Emme led me through the balcony doors and to the balcony doors of the room next door. The room was a smaller version of the room we had just left.

“If you’d be more comfortable in here, you could stay in this room. As you can see, this room shares the same balcony so the two of you could have some…privacy.”

“Thanks for the offer Emme. I wouldn’t mind taking this room.”

She looked at me for a long moment and absorbed what I had said. Without coming right out and asking the question she was curious about, I had given her the answer to what she wanted to know.

“You know, what I’m going to say is going to sound very “high school” but Aleja bringing you here, it shows that he’s comfortable with you – like family. It’s obvious that he likes you.”

And don’t mess with that, right?

“Well, Aleja’s a good man and we are … enjoying each other’s company.” I was hoping that we could we finish this conversation and head back downstairs soon.

Emme read my mind and led me back into the hallway where we had started. “Have you met anyone else in the family?”

“No, just you two and those other friends when we all had dinner at his place that time a few weeks ago. I also met a few people at that music event the other night but there was no family there.”

I was right! I told Ric that thought it was you in those photos I saw online.”

“Aleja did invite me to his parent’s anniversary party. A barbecue with his family and extended family next week?”

Emme’s mouth fell open. “Really? Well, well, well…That says it all. This is a really close knit family, Delaney. It felt like forever before Ric took me to a family function. Have you met Marisol yet?”

“Alejandro’s sister? No, not yet. Why?”

“Just asking.” Emme didn’t sound very enthused.  “Are you hungry? Let’s go eat. Then, we can relax for the rest of the afternoon by the pool or go to the beach. I’ll give you the rest of the tour later.” It was obvious that she was changing the subject.

We headed back downstairs and we did, my brain went into overdrive. Curiosity got the better of me and I couldn’t help myself.

“Emme, why did you specifically ask about Marisol?”

Emme waited until we were almost in the kitchen before turning to me. The patio doors off of the kitchen were wide open and I could see Aleja and Ric outside on the patio with bottle of Medalla in hand while the two little boys had their feet dangled into the pool, trying to kick splash each other.

“I’ll let you make your own impression of Marisol. That’s all I’ll say for now.”

Carefully chosen words from an outspoken woman who had no problem speaking her mind?

That couldn’t be a good sign.

©2015 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

Of writing horror stories

Two weeks ago I wrote my first ever horror short story. I was alone and staring at the computer screen. I had not written anything worth consequence since I came home and I needed to write something for Wednesday. For two days, I tried to come up with a plot, failing miserably. Things were different than usual on the home front as my brother was to leave home soon for college. It was difficult to concentrate.

Then I had the idea to write a story based loosely on a childhood story, one that my aunt used to tell me when I begged her for stories. She said it had happened with her sister, my other aunt. I used to listen to her in awe and horror. I don’t remember if I had goosebumps, but writing the story was a very scary experience. As I wrote, I clearly pictured what my aunt used to tell me and as I added my imagination and fleshed it into words, my heart quickened. I was scared to get up and switch on the light of the other room that led to the toilet. I needed to use the toilet badly, but I sat tight.

You see, I have never been a courageous person. As a child I was afraid of the dark. My cousins used to scare me with ghastly tales of ghosts and spirits. Even when I was in Kolkata, where I went to college, I had difficulty sleeping when my roommates were away. The clothes hanging from the rope in the room seemed to take life in the hazy light that seeped through the window at night. And I was so scared, so very scared!

When The Conjuring hit the theatres, it received rave reviews. I downloaded the movie because many suggested it. I watched the movie in broad daylight when my family was home, yet my heart beat faster in horror and anticipation. I had difficulty sleeping for nights afterwards. I cursed those who make horror movies. What do they have to do it, for God’s sake? How does one get pleasure being scared out of their brains?

Given my train of thoughts, I should probably never have written a short story in the horror genre. Especially when I had goosebumps writing it and my heart thrummed erratically. At the slightest noise I felt I had received a shock, every sensation had heightened so much during those hours. I was so glad when my mother and brother were home, in the middle of the story. I guess I could only complete the work because I was at a dead end as far as non-horror plots were concerned, my head was so heavy!

Once I had written it, however, I could kind of close my eyes to the horror and edit it objectively. I am proud of the story it became. I have received a few positive comments for it, so that made the experience better.

I still have questions, though, for horror enthusiasts. Horror authors, how do you form those scary sentences? Have you ever been frightened of what you wrote? Or am I the dumb one here to even ask this question? Do share with me in the comments section. Horror readers, please feel free to jump into the discussion as well! How do you enjoy watching something scary? I am eager to hear from you.

Day Three of Three-Day Quote Challenge

Yay! I am in the final leg of The Three-Day Quote Challenge. I was nominated for it by Debolina. A big thanks again to her for the nomination. I totally enjoyed doing this!

Today it is my turn to nominate three other wonderful bloggers. But before that here’s my final quote of the challenge:

Quote for Day 3 of 3-Day Quote Challenge

Quote for Day 3 of 3-Day Quote Challenge

Ever tried to have someone in your life who was hell bent to leave? What was the process of forgetting that person like? Is it only Time that heals wounds or does the Distance between you and the perpetrator of hurt count too? For the narrator of the story Elusive ( from Bound by Life, my first Kindle ebook), distance worked positively and helped him to forget his childhood ladylove.

But is the world so big that we can just forget and move on? To find out, you have to read Bound by Life. You can download the book here.

Now, time to announce my nominees!

My Nominees

Mr. Shreedeep Gangopadhyay  (The Violet Diary)

Ms. Swagata Mukherjee (Through my Eyes)

Ms. Jahnavi Chintakunta (Recharge your Day)

Dear Nominees, Please keep in mind the following rules for your quote-posts:

Rules for Three-Day Quote Challenge!

  1. Thank the blogger, who nominated you.
  2. Publish 3 quotes on 3 consecutive days in your blog. It can be your own, or from a book, movie or from anyone who inspires you.
  3. Nominate 3 more bloggers to carry on this endeavour.

Courtesy: Debolina’s blog

My heartiest congratulations to all the nominees. I am looking forward to your quotes. And don’t forget to pass on the baton on the third day.

Happy quoting!

~Arpita