What Now?

Warm wind came to tell me that the temperature was favourable for us to carry on with everyday work now. The month was February. Words were arbitrary. And they were flowing backwards.

These were not supposed to go first. I kept the better ones somewhere in the refrigerator, but zombie chicken ate those I think. Their fate shall be told in due time anyways.

Now is not the day we had been feeling strange. It was a month ago. The sun was rising in the east as usual. The moon ricocheting light and influencing the tide as always.

Nothing was wrong with anything in the world. I, however, had a natural inclination to die.

Blasphemy, right? I know, I know. Like all natural things, though, this feeling did not materialize out of thin air. It took millions of years of terrors and heartbreaks and agony for me to feel this way. You cannot materialize “feelings” anyway. You just, well, “feel” them.

Enough about feelings now. The thomp of children’s feet juxtaposed against the tunes of the guitar music serene light took me back to the day the first time you took me in your arms, told me that you love me.

Or, to be very specific and literal about it, “When life leaves us[you] blind, love keeps us[you] kind”.

Hmp.

I wonder who it was meant for, though. Your love for me, or your own kin? I wonder a lot more of these things, which would actually sh(r)ed a lot of so called pretty songs under the white purifying light of sado-masochistic misogyny. These ain’t my ideas, though, just pieces of trash food for thoughts I’ve been picking up on my pursuit of surviving from your agonizing “love”. 

Sorry dove, I got carried away. Words are flowing backwards.

So you picked me up and told me that you love me. It was the first time our eyes met each-other’s, and I felt a connection so deep and so holy that it warmed up my soul and melted my tiny heart. But soon your momma called you for dinner so you put me down and ran away. That was the first sign of true love you blessed me with, or, should I be arrogant enough to say, I blessed you with as well? I don’t know about you, but I have not forgotten a single touch, a single smile on your sweet sweet face ever since. I cherish them always, and play them inside my head all the time like a broken record, and…

But you grow up so fast and so soon, and I can only look up in sheer wonder then. You get stronger, run faster on the fields, and you know so much. I saw you next when you were talking to your friend just outside the gym after a steamy workout, hanging from his hands upside down blood rushing to my head yet I forgot all about it when I saw you now, and I said, “hi”.

But you didn’t reply to me then. You didn’t even look at me or a tubelight smile like you used to. I thought you couldn’t listen. I also tried some telepathy, I think (I know, I used to believe in these silly stuff then). Anyway, that was the first time I felt heartbroken, truly.

Still I did not remove you from my thoughts, I thought of you every day and every night, so much so that I could not even sleep sometimes. And when I did fall asleep, I used to dream of you- of all the sweet things you said to me once, of how you loved me more than anyone.

The next time I saw you, the sun was yet to rise. It was on the mountaintop, and you rose up the earliest with a packet of cookies in your pocket to give to your sister on her way to school- in case she leaves without breakfast again and feels hungry on the way. I saw you from the flowerbed near the pavement you were standing on while I was chasing the imaginary butterflies, as usual. And I saw you watching me too, and smiling at me. But it was my turn to ignore you this time because you did not notice me the last time. Your smile, like always, made my heart melt though. And for a minute I felt the butterflies were not so imaginary after all.

Soon after that you left the valley, and took all the sunshine away from me like you always do. You saw me then (or I think you did) in many places you went to. You saw my enchanted feathers being used in an epic quest to defeat the dark lord, in pretext that I would burn to ashes and be reborn again anyway. You saw my tail hair being adored in beauty pageants, and you saw me enter your kitchen window and chirpalot and you saw me fly away as well. You also probably felt my presence in your early morning wakes as I waited for you downstairs like I always do, waiting for you to leave your apartment door packed tightly in your winter clothes, and I would follow you like a shadow, and maybe then, only then, you will…

“No more. Please, no more!” I woke up to the voice of my own screams. I felt your hands… no… it can’t be you… pulling and tearing my skin apart from my entire body… my back… my stomach… my scalp… till I lost consciousness again. And again I saw you in a dream.

It was by a river now. The wind was gentle, and the water flowed slowly. Sun was in the sky, but she was not too hot I think. And there I saw you, walking on the river bank, walking towards me. You looked into my eyes for a while and touched my blood covered face- wounded by the lashes by my master whose wife called him a whore and whose burden of weight, in this old age, I could carry no more, so he lashed it all out on me instead. You caressed my face for a while, then put your forehead on mine, and we both wept slowly. That was the closest I ever got, ever since all those years ago, of me loving you and you loving me, mutually.

Another scream escaped my dry throat then, and I woke up again. This time I saw the man, or, was it a woman… I couldn’t distinguish in my hallucination… slowly transform into you, and I closed my eyes because I could not bear the sight of you like that or hear what you were about to say to me next:

-“Plenty is his bounty, and you were born for me. So I, hereby, in the name of the All Merciful Lord, command you to allow me to slit your throat for my numerous benefits. Do you consent?”

I heard nothing. I saw nothing. I said nothing.

(All Merciful Lord was bit by zombie chicken too, by the way. And then he suffered from chikungunya, but he is much better now, kicking and thriving as usual. That story is also to be told another time.)

-“Open your eyes and answer me, fiend! I know you are listening. Do you consent?”

-“You know I can hear you? Can you hear me too?” I asked, shock-stricken.

-“Of course I can, you moron. You think I am the most intelligent, most passionate, most kindest one for nothing?”

-“Oh,” said I, and closed my eyes again.

He, or she, or they (no way it was you!) was telling me more holy (and sometimes unholy) stuff like that and asking me for my consent or whatever, but I just kept my eyes closed and my mouth shut and pretended not to listen. I allowed my imagination to drift me away to the day the first time you took me in your arms, that day on the mountains, all the vivid dreams I dreamt about you throughout my life, until I felt a sharp knife cut open my carotid artery, jugular vein and windpipe in a single swipe, and my blood flowed freely onto the earth, into the river, formed serene clouds and bled twin rainbows on the horizon.

Trigger Happy

“I am here to blow your brains,” said the alien to me, freshly landed from an outer galaxy.

It was a strange looking alien, not one of those typical, one eyed aliens you randomly bump into, but the alien looked just like me. Yet, for some strange reason, I could not figure out if the alien was a he or she or maybe both or neither. So I asked-

“What’s your name, Mr/Misses alien? err… should I call you mister or misses?”

“What’s a name? What’s a mister or misses?” replied the alien.

“umm … are you a boy or a girl? What’s your gender?” again I asked, insistently.

“What’s a boy or a girl? What’s a gender?”

I saw no point in arguing with this freak, so I walked away.

Next thing I know, I was walking on the street on all fours, looking for food while the homeless man lifted me up on his shoulders and I barked. Then he was taking me somewhere, I don’t know where, and when someone tried to take our picture I heard the man shout: “Hey you! Get off of my face son of a…”, and the guy lowered the camera and smirked at us. Now I was holding my mother’s arm, crossing the street, while she signalled the cars to stop with her left hand. So I signalled to the right with my tiny right hand, asking the imaginary cars to stop and let us cross safely.

The deep blue sky reflected on her deep blue eyes. It made no effect on her sentience whatsoever. The colors were exactly the same.

Drip-drop-droplets of water falling on the washroom tiles as I kept banging my head against the hard metal nozzle of the water tap. “I miss you so much,” I was telling myself, “but nobody here would understand.” I don’t know if I was right or wrong, though. The temporary homes of the homeless people are neatly arranged below the flyovers now. I see them every day on my rickshaw commutes. Their daily necessities hanging down the steel strings… bells ringing… sometimes a little kid refusing to eat lunch getting scolded or beaten up by his/her mother and the cry amplifies, ricocheting on the streetside stores and your fingers crushed between the door… shocked expression on your face… emergency taxi carrying you to the hospital…

“Get your goddamn senses together!” shouted the colonel. “You think you are so special!? You’re nothing, son. You’re an ant!”

He sounded downright offensive, yes, but I saw his point, aimed at the enemy trench ready to fire at a moment’s notice, while I stood on my hind legs trying to get a better view of the battlefield, quite uncommon behavior for a hexapod. Now my food was getting delayed, tea was going cold, so I sought the scent of my mate before me and crawled along the narrow line, following the footprints of oh so many comrades who crawled before me, some eaten so that you can learn to swim better, some burnt or crushed or hypnotized by the ventriloquist to be used as a puppet for the next show, and when the show is over the audience applauds and encores for more but it was time for me to go, so I called an autorickshaw and waited. I waited till summer was gone and autumn came and the leaves were all red and dry. They fell on the ground and I started walking into the fog with a chill running down my spine so I said fine, if you wanna rob me then why creep behind, come affront and get it done with Mr. Robber. Again I realized I had made a mistake because it was the same alien, asking me-

“Tell me miss, have you ever tried your hand in short fiction?”

“A short what?”

“A short fiction. They say you must write one to to introduce me before your world.”

“Who said?” I was beginning to question the alien’s authenticity. I felt smart that way.

“They,” the alien pointed to the other side of the road. “Those people standing over there, they want you to fly them over the mountain.”

“What mountain?” I wanted to ask, but suddenly my voice was muffled. I was flying over a snow-covered peak, I felt people on my back shouting, “breathe fire you useless dragon, breathe fire NOW.” So I coughed and watched the ice burn into ashes. People on my back cheered and hollered and my work there was done. The snowy mountain was a volcano now, the volcano will burn the icy land and make it habitable for humans. 

“Good job, you can go now,” they said. 

They also patted my back a few times I think. I don’t remember. I tried to fly away but my wing felt so stiff now. I tried to open my eyes but the sky was dark. Then I felt a hand grabbing me and lifting me up and suddenly everything was bright light and a voice said, “I bought it from a discount shop, looks quite real doesn’t it?” Things were getting clearer and I realized I was in a room and I wanted to scream and say, “I AM real and I will burn your pretty face if you don’t put me down mother******!” This very human-like trendy profanity seemed to have had its effect because I did not feel molested no more but everything was so peaceful. 

Everything was so quiet now. Life was going on. I realized that everything I had was already taken from me and there was nothing more to hope for. People stood neatly in the queue to enter the killzone while I watched their progression, still and motionless in the circuit of a CCTV system, waiting for an accident that was already designed to happen.

Love Works

God knocked on my door last night. I opened up wide to let him in. And voila! There he was, with all his glory, with his head turned sideways, blushing a little, looking a bit shy, saying-

“Hey buddy, would you close the door and come outside for a minute?”

“Why god why?”, replied I.

“Well, you know, the ‘others’ might be listening,” he blushed again.

-“Sorry, the ‘others’ who?”

-“Well, you know…”

I made a straight face at that point because I have had enough, and I slammed the door shut on his godforsaken face.

But that wasn’t the end of it, was it?

No way. God appeared to me again in a dream that night, with all his might, saying, “I’ll punish you for what you have done. You’re gonna pay for it, son. You gon pay for it all…”

Then I woke up sweating. Drank a glass of water to find the day was new again and the sun was gleaming outside my bedroom window. Afterwards, I had a healthy oatmeal breakfast and forgot about that encounter with the deity almighty entirely. Instead, I started thinking about love.

Hey, but, God IS Love, no?

Perhaps.

Then why does it never work?

It’s always us doing all the work.

Love does nothing! Just sits there and…

But I was so damn wrong. Love was already there.

Love was in the air.

I was already breathing love and exhuming the fumes all around me. Some would inhale it with all its blessings while some would wear strange mouth barriers and deny its fundamental value in our lives, going to the kitchen market only to buy it back to our homely domes where love enters the freezer, finely chopped into symmetrical cubes for later consumption. Sometimes after a good & healthy dinner of love we’d put it on our hair, or in the tyres where it will ensure us safety, productivity, prosperity, harmony and…

Bam! I was flung onto the steep climb of Sultana Kamal Bridge (No, not the yellow one from Extraction movie. The REAL one). Anywho it was equally dangerous, my head with a helmet crashed onto the freshly pitched pavement and I was darn lucky that an intercity bus or a raging truck didn’t run over my puny body… or was it not plain luck but divine intervention that rescued me so? While I was thinking these stuff, some local kids encircled me to see the freak show and one of them chuckled, “I told you you’d be punished for what you did, didn’t I?” -”Hey, what did you say?”- I tried to get up and chase after him but there was no one else there but only you again, love. And you said over the telephone-

“Shhh. Stay absolutely still. I’m going to kiss you now.” 

-“But, I’m at a party right now… maybe later tonight when I go home?”

-”You just have to ruin it every time, don’t you?”

-”I… I’m sorry…”

But sorrow doesn’t cut it. It never did. Why would you feel sorry for someone who can only feel the feelings but never can articulate it very well? Why would anyone feel sorry for those who can look you in the eye with only the hope of receiving some affection, or maybe a dream come true, or make new dreams to fill up their souls with but never a plea, not even a flinch, just humble (!) submission to the almighty greedy and his…

-“Hey, are you talking about me, boy?” -a cloud roared.

-”Huh? What? I didn’t even say anything!” -I was bamboozled by this disturbance.

-”Well, you were thinking out loud. You know I can hear all your thoughts, right?” -the cloud roared twice this time. It was about to rain.

I tried to get my shit together and hurry back home before the downpour, but it was too late. Clouds started pissing on me with their full force, sometimes crack laughing, sometimes whispering in a conspiratory rhythm, “I got you noww, I got you nowww. Ahhhahahahahahaaaaa”. I didn’t even know if I could get back home in one piece because it was all dark, the rain blocked my eyesight and the sights of those monster vehicles raging behind me, ground below me soaking wet making the tyres betray and nearly slip, but soon it all didn’t matter anymore because the world slowed down until everything slowly disappeared and you were again here and I complained to you, as if we were kids again-

“I used to love the rain you know. Why are the clouds doing this to me? Why are they pissing and laughing and… hey, is it ‘his’ doing!?”

-”Shhhh. Don’t be silly. You still love the rain,” you said in your usual soft, calming voice, “Look around you. The rain does not belong to anyone. The rain falls for all.”

-”Like you ‘belong’ to no one? We opened up to each other so much, still you left me. You left ‘us’ behind. You don’t know how much that hurts.”

You sighed then, because maybe you thought I was doing the same old whining again, but after a moment, you said-

“That is not the reason I walked away. You started idolizing me, like ‘he’ had been idolized over centuries. Please don’t ever do that again, my love. Not with me, not with anybody or anything else.”

I didn’t know what to say after that, as usual. So I put a stupid smile on my face and said, “You look beautiful with your animal friends.”

“I miss you too,” you smiled, and at that moment I knew. I knew that I will always fight for you, whether it’s the ‘you’ in there or the you inside of me. 

Maybe then you would say, “Won’t that be a waste of time?”.

But I would protest, “No, it would be a life worth living…”

.

.

.

.

The story was supposed to end here, because all cute stories end with a cute, happy note. This story, however, is not a cute story, for we (or I… whatever…) still have to atone for our sins. There remains one final encounter with the Lord in all his vengeful might. Hence let us summon him, oh fellow chanters, chant with me, here comes the heaven, here comes the light, with all his glory, with all his migh…

-”Stfu you cu**! How did you like my piss oil? I hope it drenched you well. I shalt lynch you 1st in soy sauce, then deep fry you with bread crumbs and eat you now.”

-”Hey now wait a second,” I no longer trembled before him but said like a concerned citizen, “You like delicious stuff right? Something juicy, something spicy?”

-”Yeah, duh! But why?”, God sounded a little confused I think.

-”Well, how’d you like your own juicy, light-y taste? Have you heard of cultured meat grown from stem cells? Now you can literally eat yourself!”

-”Wtf! You aren’t messing with me, are you boi?” -said he, raising an eyebrow.

-”What noooo! You gave us brainz to invent all these crazy stuff, remember?”

-”Aight, valid point. K I’ll go check it out.”

Then poof! God vanished. And ever since that encounter, I never saw him again in my life, never felt his presence, not even once!

Now you can talk all yada yada all day about sins & atonement & all, but I did the right thing there, you see? I gave God the very thing he always wanted- the taste of his own yummy flesh. We were all ‘created’ from his light? No? Which was later mixed with mud & minerals and other yucky stuff and turned into flesh & bones? And ever since said ‘creation’- he’s been taxing on us- eating us- or more like, eating gazillions of sentient ‘replicas’ of himself. So why can he not simply go ahead and eat himself, if technology and human prowess makes it truly possible?

Yeah, why not? Win win for all.

Mommy happy. Tummy happy.

Ta Da!!

Trance of the darkness

He was walking across the empty streets in a late night of December. The fog covered the horizon under its cold rug, but even the bitter cold was no match for his adamant notion. He walked and he walked, he kept strolling on the foggy streets in a relentless motion.

Alfred was no stranger to this land. In the warm days of summer and in the blissful days of spring, he walked on the streets as a young child. This place was more neat and lively back then. Birds flew in gentle flocks in the clear blue sky and the ground was full of shimmering butterflies. The melody of the earth was evergreen in his heart. “Chantry food corner” was right around the block, and beside it “The Bookworm’s Den”. With an exciting book in one hand and a sandwich in the other, he used to sit on the park bench all day long and let time fly. Often the fluffy little cat named Curly would crawl up on the bench and sit beside him, demanding his attention and some share of the bread through its devoted meows & glazy green eyes. Sometimes the beautiful little neighborhood girl will come by the park to greet Alfred with her enchanting smile. The familiar face delighted Alfred more than anything else, and the two children, Alfred and Joanna sat on the bench and talked about every awes and wonders of the world while curly snoozed peacefully by their side.

But it was all in a distant land of his imaginations now. A fast supercar honked past him, dazzling all his senses in this sheer cold. Alfred’s father used to take him to long drives when he was little. He was always full of surprises, the old man. They would often go for a random ride to the countryside, where the road and the green met with each other in a serene harmony. “Look around, Alfred” –his father used to say, “This is where you can find your soul.” Alfred looked around with his curious young eyes. He could see a flock of herons sitting beside the deep blue lake. A kingfisher dived over the water and flew away with a prey on its beak. Sunlight tried to sneak through the deep green leaves of the tall, dancing trees and a soothing breeze was blowing. Alfred wasn’t so certain exactly where to look for his soul, but the heavenly atmosphere surely ignited a surreal illusion inside his imaginative mind.

A street dog barked on the roadside, shattering his thoughts. The flickering lampposts were burning the streets through their pale orange hue. Alfred could see a dark figure coming from the opposite direction, though he could not figure out what it was. He heard the hoot of an owl. In his village home, in the night he used to listen to the owls calling. Sometimes the foxes will howl and his little brother would get scared. But Alfred was never scared, he enjoyed the owls and the foxes as much as he enjoyed the lilting stars of the night sky and the beetle-tingling seduction of the night. In-between all that fantasy and all the surreal song of the dark & silent night, he didn’t even realize when he fell asleep, with his fearful little brother firmly grabbing his shoulder for shelter.

The figures were slowly closing in. There were three of them, Alfred counted. All wearing hoods and walking slowly in this silent cold night, making no noise of their footsteps. As they walked past Alfred, he realized that they were three workers walking back to their resting place after a tiring day. The men were sweaty and gasping for their breathes even in this freezing temperature. But just like Alfred, they paid no attention to the cold and kept walking like three eerie dark figures.

“Pass the ball, Alfred!” –Jonathan shouted. “What’s taking you so long!?” Alfred & his brother, Jonathan used to play football in the playground with the neighborhood kids when they were at their teenage. Jonathan was three years younger to Alfred but by the time he was sixteen he was as energetic as a bull. He was the captain of his school football team and won the inter-school tournament thrice. Alfred, as always, was drowned in the world of his imaginations. But the bond between the two brothers was forever strong. He would cheer for Jonathan in every game he played, and Jon would surprise Alfred with books from his favorite authors as soon as they were published. They only had each other, after all, since their mother passed away and left them to their father before Jon even reached his teenage years.

Alfred could feel the presence of a small alive object following him. For a moment he thought it was curly, but that was not possible. It has been ages since he last met that little kitten. The small café was replaced with a multistoried restaurant, and there was a tall shopping mall on the place of Alfred’s favorite book store. Joanna left the country after college, in pursuit of a better life. Alfred was happy for her, they used to talk over phone for a few months since she left country and they traded post cards. But then both of them got busy with their lives. Alfred began his career as a journalist and Joanna was a social activist in the Netherlands. “One day we’ll meet again”, Alfred hoped. “We would have so much to tell each-other then.”

A gentle meow grabbed his attention again. It was a poor skinny cat asking him for some food, coughing and shivering in this cold. The infirmity of the poor thing melted Alfred’s heart, but he couldn’t think of anything to do. No hotel or store was open this late at night, and Alfred was pretty starved up himself. Thus he covered the poor creature under his blanket where it rested with its eyes closed, and then he continued to his destination.

He was on the cross-road near the clinic, trying to figure out a way to feed the poor kitten, when he saw the speedster from earlier erratically rushing forward on the night streets. A little slum child was playing on the road, few meters ahead of its path. A sudden rush of adrenaline pumped through his veins. Putting the poor kitten down on the sidewalk, he sprinted to the spot as fast as it was possible. But it was too late by then, the fresh blood from the innocent child’s flesh melted the cold concrete, and no sound came through its vocal cord. Alfred just sat there, all his physical entity frozen and all his dreams lost. The speedster was turning around, its headlights now turned off and unhurriedly creeping towards them like a ferocious demon. The kitten crawled out of the blanket and slowly came near Alfred in search of his company. The three creatures sat close to each other in the middle of the three-way junction in a late December night, patiently awaiting their obliteration.

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