“WHY DON’T WE TAKE A TRAM?” PART 2 of 2

For part 1 of 2  https://pratheekreddy68.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/why-dont-we-take-a-tram-part-1/

(the characters below are fictional but not the places and the experiences!)

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Done with the cathedral that I awaited all day, instead of feeling lighter, I felt heavy, as if I gained all the experiences of those old days, little lost. It was like being rummaged into the past that then became a part of me.

Well, finally we were… at the proverbial crossroad. We didn’t plan that part of the day. I do not know why! Maybe for all the rush that we were in in the morning. Instinctually, I pulled out the map as if it were the solution to every problem anyone could ever have. Unsurprisingly, I found nothing more than labeled colors scattered around in tiny bits.

“So what are we gonna do now?” Pankaj – as if I am the map now! But then, an interesting idea struck me (god bless the cathedral).   We are in Belém. A short walk to anywhere and we can catch a tram or an elevator (nothing more than a tram but just that it takes people up and down the steeper streets of the city). It was six in the evening. Can roam around in the trams and be back to Belém for those egg tarts by eight just like the driver said – I thought.

“Hey,” I said, still looking into the abyss, “why don’t we take a tram?”

“Really?” He asked considering the suggestion.

I laid my thoughts out to him and the next moment, we were walking away from the monastery searching for the streets where we could find the trams. On the way, Pankaj stopped what he was saying and went to an old man sitting on the bench by the road to ask and quickly enough, I stopped him. “Lets do it ourselves.”

“You got a hell of an adventure in you suddenly!”

I thought about the cathedral again.

We walked a bit more and found tramcar tracks flowing down a steep street down to the road we were on. As soon as we turned into the street and took a few steps, a tram going up the street stopped for people to get on. We ran and climbed up the old metal steps on the tram. And then, it moved, with ease into the Portuguese street with the beautiful European buildings that looked like a piece of art each, with their tiny metal railed balconies and full bloomed flower pots.

It’s hard to call them ‘trams’ actually. It’s always only one short cabin not connected with any other, each running individually, up and down the streets. The yellow colored metal cabins were iconic of the city for they were so common and so much used by the people.

Unlike Pankaj, I did not get a seat when I got up but soon found one by the window. And the same feeling returned from the Hippo Trip. I felt lonely… and strong and self-assured. Strange and shocking to me, the sun doesn’t set here until eleven in the night. And while we were in the tram, the clouds spread themselves out into the naught and made way for the evening sun and the thin layers of rain water on the streets glittered sharp golden.

We took the tickets till the last stop and sat in desultory comfort, having no worry that could bother us. The street went higher and higher before it started descending down steep and the tram went along with it. Pankaj got up from his place in the front and sat beside me, “look at those cafés, brotha,” he said, pointing to the many cafés that were by the road, calm yet with so much activity, friends nurturing their friendship, lovers loving, families laughing their own private laughter and artists thinking deep with their cups of coffees in their hands.

“We gotta sit in one of those today. “

I thought for a moment and approved, “Why not! The Café that the cab driver suggested is just like these. I’ve seen it on the way.”

“Yeah? Okay then!” He said and after a long pause, “hey… do you see that man sitting there in the front?”

He pointed towards a man who I guessed must be in his early fifties, with his hair grey here and there. “Yeah, what were you talking to him about?”

“Listen, this guy says he studied Portuguese law, was a lawyer for a few years, got disgusted, and went to London to study Art History. Isn’t that crazy? A lawyer turned art historian who now writes for a magazine.”

“So technically, he’s also a writer and a journalist!” I said as stoically as possible.

He rolled his eyes in thinking and said, “yes!”

“What about him?”

“He said he was jobless so came out just to go around in the streets. And he agreed to join us for dinner. It’s cool right?”

I didn’t give a second thought to it, “absolutely. Seems like a hell of fun.”

He went back to the man whose name I forgot to ask and resumed his conversation and I leaned onto the sill and watched the street go by for another hour. The tram reached the end of the street. We paid for another ticket to the last stop and alighted the tram, at the same place where we got on.

On the street, standing by a shop that sold souvenirs to tourists, we introduced ourselves.

“José Miguel! Do I pronounce that right?” I asked.

With an equable smile that radiated temperament, he said, “absolutely. That’s hell of a way to pronounce for the first time. It’s a Mexican name by the way.”

We walked back down to the main road and arrived at Café Niccolo. It was modest in space but dripping with Portuguese adornment everywhere with paintings of navigators on its thin walls and full-bloomed flowers and green leaves everywhere inside. A typical café, it was not rich but was friendly and accommodating.

We have let José order the food for we had no idea about what was good. While we talked over a continuous flow of issues, the food arrived smoky with its aroma spreading all around. The diet ranged from fish to beef to prawns and the best part of it, there was not one vegetarian dish available. José and Pankaj gulped down their food with a bottle each of chilled beer. I’m a teetotaler and far from alcohol, I do not enjoy the idea of having a cool drink. As much as I get pestered into alcohol by my friends, I have abstained myself hard against it. In fact, the first conversation between Pankaj and Me when we met in law school was on our shared hatred towards alcohol and how we supposed a ban on it would better the society so much. As it can be seen, I wouldn’t mind people drinking before me, and so would I not in calling Pankaj a hypocrite either.

Our stomachs to the brim, we suspended the egg tarts for tomorrow and decided we’d go back to our hotel. José too had to head back home as fast as possible to his waiting children.

Soon, Pankaj and me were standing outside the café and it was 10:20. The sun was half set and from outside the café, it was a view.

“Evenings beautiful here aren’t they!” Pankaj said from beside looking deep at the sun.

“Want to see the other half set?”

“Do we have time?” he asked and I was sure he wanted me to say ‘yes’.

I took my eyes away from the glittering semicircle and turned towards him, “look! It’s not too often that we’d tour Lisbon. High probability that this if the first and the last time. Would it be a bad idea if I said we walk individually – you in some direction, me in some other, and both meet at the Carmo Lift in Roccio Square at say…” I looked at my watch.

“11:30?” Pankaj asked and I could find excitement flowing from his voice.

I smiled in approval, “lets meet at 11:30.”

“I’ll probably go that side between those buildings…” he said and started walking away. I turned the other side and looked intently at the houses around. To my left was a busy street whose end I couldn’t see. But a kind of affection radiated for it felt like reading a novel of Charles Dickens about his eighteenth century Europe.

The sun was almost set and the last rays of crimson lit one side of the buildings. I took the street and walked, looking at all the shops and Cafés that passed by on either side. I walked slowly randomly changing the streets as if I knew the city since birth. After a few minutes, I entered some kind of a Centre where there were huge fountains in the middle with gigantic pedestals over which men of history were standing tall in stone.

Amidst the many shops, I eyed one that sold souvenirs for tourists just like the one we had seen at the tram. I went inside and waded through the number of eccentric items on the racks. Returning the smile of the stout old woman at the counter who ran the shop, I approached the perches that held miniature versions of Portuguese attractions and took the Torre De Belém in my hand. Admiring its bitsy size, and the exactness to the real one, I bought it for 4.5 euros and moved out of the shop.

Just outside the shop, on the other side of the street, three youths were playing saxophone, drums and a keyboard and people walking by the street stopped for a minute or two, enjoyed the music with a grin of content on their faces, put a few euros in the bowl full of coins and went ahead on their way. The music was pulling and I stopped there for some time listening.

While the tune played on and on, I thought of the grumpy and sullenly look the driver who dropped us at Oeiras Station in the morning put. What could have been the reason! And suddenly it struck me, like a kick from behind. “Oh my God, we forgot to tip him,” I thought clutching my forehead. I almost laughed out loud about it.

Simpering and laughing inside for what I had done hastily in the morning, I put 5 euros in the bowl by the trail and proceeded, back onto the street and turned right by an antique shop; with the smile remnant on my face. The sun had then completely set and the night had taken over. And I kept walking on and on!

………

For part 1 of 2 (the first part)  https://pratheekreddy68.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/why-dont-we-take-a-tram-part-1/

“WHY DON’T WE TAKE A TRAM?” PART 1 of 2

(the characters below are fictional but not the places and the experiences!)

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It was 9:15 in the morning and we missed the bus. I almost finished my breakfast and Pankaj told me this. I remained cool, unlike him with his hands on forehead and worry all over the face. These days, I seldom get tensed or frustrated about things, they cripple my thinking when it is most needed.

Putting the cutlery into the plate for good, I said, “Then lets make the day exciting”.

Pankaj pulled the chair and seated himself before me, “What do you mean?”

“Remember what you said in Spain?”

“Nope!”

“You said, a tourist can never truly love a place, only a traveler can!”

Recollecting his own words, he smiled with his eyes to the floor. He jerked his face up decisively, “We need a map,” I nodded my head returning the smile, “Lets explore.”

It was after seeing Spain that I and Pankaj came to Lisbon, not very far, the second in the two cities we planned to visit. Frankly, I did not read or listen much about the city or about Portugal before, except the faint remembrance of Pankaj telling me something about Portuguese egg tart that tastes scrumptious (his choice of words), when in law school.

With no longer the co-tourists with us, we rushed through the palatial lobby of the hotel to our rooms, swapped the flashy clothes with some airy shorts and tees. Being a lawyer comes with a lot of weights – most of it of the heavy black suits that we wear each day to work. In those tees that we wore, it felt different… it felt easy.

I approached the beautiful lady at the hotel reception who must be in her forties and asked for a map. She handed it over so quickly as if she had been waiting all along for us to ask. Seeing us struggling for tourist spots in the map, another receptionist, a hefty, pale but a well-mannered man, suggested places from behind the counter in his broken English that we marked hastily… thees… veary naice… beoutteful place… ‘ave thoo veesith…

The hotel generously arranged for us a cab that took us to the train station in Oeiras. We wasted no time on the way and conjured up what seemed to us, an itinerary for the day that was both concrete as well as flexible to our timely whim! In no time, we reached the station. I got down, wearing the rucksack on my shoulders, out into the sun that was brighter than the day before, wished the driver farewell and walked into the station with Pankaj. Puzzling to us, the chauffeur gave a very insolent look to us as we left. I ignored. And in the sun blaring upon us, I knew Pankaj ignored too.

Though well equipped with automatic ticket machines, vending machines, etc., the station felt small and dingy and not having many travelers, abandoned too. Pankaj and I did not dare use the automatic ticket machine with all those names of places in Portuguese. Besides, we really wanted to communicate with people; their suaveness was something we were barely accustomed to in India and it struck us too pulling to pass up – the way they respond with their faces tilted and a beautiful smile all over them as if nothing in the world could be better.

“4 Euros, 50 Cents,” said the petite woman, pushing the tickets to us from behind the glass. We headed to lane 1 and waited there in the open air for the train. Unlike inside the station, there were many people waiting just like us, on the platform.

“These chaps are quite diversified!” Pankaj said observing intently the people around, his lips making an inverted ‘U’.

I joined him in observing – “I do see a few black people and a few Americans around here but I have to say, the Portuguese maintain great integrity in their language and ethnicity.”

“Meaning?”

“Meaning… above ninety-five percent of Portugal population is Portuguese speaking.”

Nodding his head, “you do have a point there… But where the hell did you read that?”

“I was surfing the net yesterday and thought, you know, getting interested in the country we’re in isn’t a very bad thing!”

The train came with great speed and stopped instantly and all the passengers boarded. I was surprised we did not get seats. Absolutely against my notions, the train was too crowded. Anyway, we just stood there cuddled between so many people my mind unable to think. Though this was the case, there was something very uncommon about the train that didn’t make me think low of it. I was appreciating everything when I was in. I do not know how or why. The world seemed to be like some pleasant decision I have taken.

Amidst the rush, I found a woman standing, resting on the a seat that she missed to someone else and I asked, in the politest possible way, “Excuse me, how many zones is Cais de Sodre?”

“Uhh… Three zones,” and a customary smile.

Pankaj added to the girl, “Can you prompt us when we are there, please?”

The girl plucked an earphone from her ear that must be playing some Portuguese melody, not understanding what he said.

I interrupted, “He means, can you tell us when we reach Cais De Sodre?”

“Yeah, sure!”

In a few minutes, we were off the train in the destination station. Another perusal at the appropriate part of the map, a mile’s walk on the road by the calm Tagus River and we reached Alcântara, where we planned to take a ride on the Hippo bus. Hippo trip arranges buses, which travel both on land as well as water, or the way we called them, the amphibian buses! We did not exactly know the itinerary though.

We bought two tickets and waited for the yellow bus to be ready. Slowly, other tourists joined, bought tickets and in no time, we were on the bus while it started. Pankaj and I ran to the last seats for we knew they had the best view. I was resolved I wouldn’t take my phone out for photos.

First was a city tour for about forty-five minutes and then the same bus enters onto the water in the River Tagus – that was the plan. The bus started whirring past the small and beautifully ornamented shops on the streets while the guide explained to us, the city with all the humor added. The cold air from the huge window hit on my face and I gaped at every building, every public square and the statues they had, as the bus cut through the city on the beautiful roads paved with assorted stones.

I was trying hard to understand the localities, with little success though. But at that moment, I felt alone… the most beautiful kind of loneliness if I may make some sense. Even the thought of getting off the bus in some time, made my gut feel sick for the ironical loneliness was too comforting to pass. I just put my elbow on the sill, forgot about the feeling and let the air hit my face harder, pushing my hair back and the solitude entice me.

Through with many streets and beautiful squares, we got back to the main road by the river that had many historic monuments, memorials and towers protruding from it onto the wide river. And then, a grand symphony started playing loud in the bus and slowly it had slid into the water. All roared with cheer, me included, as the bus made its way into the river. We sailed in the waters for over half an hour listening to the guide explain us all those historic buildings by The Tagus.

We turned back when we reached the end of the river where it meets the Atlantic Ocean, heading back. For a second, I wished that we didn’t turn back, that we touched the waters of Atlantic Ocean. Just that it could have been memorable. Anyway, we were back on the land as if saved from sinking, and reached the place and disembarked where we started.

To my shock, it was 1:45 in the afternoon already. Welcomed back to the land by the dark clouds that have taken over the sky, the sun went missing. “Its gonna rain today…” Pankaj said, “It’s gonna be awesome!”

I felt irritated by the thought of rain. I always despised it for the way that it made things uncomfortable – sticky clothes, dirty roads, droplets all over the spectacles and a very, very gloomy city. “Oh, I hate this. Does it have to be only today.”

“Come on,” Pankaj stretched the words, “don’t be a drama queen.”

“Drama queen? What’s that supposed to mean?” He walked as if he didn’t hear me, “You said rain was awesome and then you call me a drama queen?”

“Get some testosterone!”

This guy is the most difficult one I have ever befriended. Difficult to be with and even difficult to let go off.

We walked almost half a mile for a taxicab stand and approached a lone taxi standing.

“Jerónimos Monastery,” I said to the driver from the half open window glass of the black sedan.

“Mosteiro dos Jerónimos,” he assured in Portuguese and indicated us to get in.

“You know, you don’t ask if he’s willing to take you,” Pankaj said as soon as we sat in.

I looked intensely waiting for him to continue.

“You can just get in the car and tell him where you’d like to go.”

“What if he doesn’t know the route”?

“Dude,” he gave me his signature look that says – how much dumber can you get – “he uses…”

“Okay!” I interrupted, “he uses a GPS”.

We started off to the monastery from Alcântara. It started to get dimmer and dimmer around in the afternoon for the clouds ruled the whole of the sky. The driver, an old man with no hair above him, drove so deeply lost in his driving. “Hi,” I started the conversation in quite an awkward manner, “can you suggest us some good restaurants around, if possible”?

“Oh… uhh… you are going to Mosteiro dos Jerónimos which is in Belém. If you want to eat lunch, there is a café Niccolo, nearby.” And got lost in his thinking again, “there is a café nearby called Pastéis de Belém. Most famous for uhh… Pasties de nata. You know Pasties de nata?”

I did not. Pankaj cut in, “yeah, yeah… the egg tart!”

The driver replied with great exclamation, “Oh! Okay! Egg Tart. Yes, that’s what you call it.”

“So what’s special about this place?”

He swerved the cab on to a street and said, “It sell… uhh… the best egg tart in Portugal. You can have a good dinner there. So go out in evening and come back by eight uh clock. Huge line for the egg tart… but try!”

“Sure,” I said, “thank you!”

“No problem,” he stuttered.

The taxi dropped us at Café Niccolo, not a very Portuguese type of a café but was quite different in the taste that it served. We had some burgers with coke and some deserts – nothing exquisite, and extra tipped the waitress for good service.

Soon, we were before the brilliant Jerónimos Cathedral looking at it in awe, at its historical architecture and gothic style. We went along with the moving crowd into the cathedral. It was a tall and wide cathedral stretching long, with all sorts of historic scenes, voyages, sailors, battles and other religious and Portuguese carvings over its stonewalls. It was lit by candles and was crowded with tourists.

As soon as we were in, we realized two things. One, that all have come in groups of at least more than five and have arranged a guide for themselves, two, that we cannot do without one. So, I started being the lawyer that I was and pried into a group, which seemed peculiar. It was diversified and none knew each other. I pulled Pankaj along and curtly stepped inside and joined. Now, we have a guide too, a tall, bald-headed man with Portuguese slang but a perfectly grammatical English.

“Hmmm!” – Pankaj said – “Impressive move!”

The guide took us through the importance of everything in the cathedral cum monastery. It was particularly surprising to see Vasco da Gama’s tomb inside and to imagine his bones underneath. On the huge glass windows were the typical evangelical paintings in rich resplendent colors. One such striking painting on a huge glass window that was on the right side, was of Vasco da Gama praying, along with his co-sailors, before embarking upon a sea voyage to nowhere, that later turned out to be India, in 1498. Then, on the other side was the actual church with people praying. I did not have many words to talk to Pankaj or anyone at that moment but to think only intensely about what I was seeing.

The sculptures in gold, the decrepit utensils made of precious metals and stones and everything inside was a work of brilliant historic sagacity. I do not know what it was, but the composure of the cathedral was inspiring and very enticing to my heart – it was attracting and pulling stopping me from leaving.

After an hour of admiration, we all moved out and the guide did not stop there but started to preach about the outer peripheral magnificence of the cathedral, about its dimensions, the carvings and statues on the front, with a statue of King Emanuel I and above it, another of a mother holding a baby, that suggested assurances of protection and help when navigators of the olden days needed it.

For part 2 of 2   https://pratheekreddy68.wordpress.com/2015/08/18/why-dont-we-take-a-tram-part-2-of-2/

LOWLY SOULS BLUE – Short Story (Part I of 2)

For Part 2 of 2, LOWLY SOULS BLUE – Short Story (Part 2 of 2)

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6:11 pm – Louise Powell’s watch showed diligently like always. She was tired from work at the Smithson’s bakers in London just like every day. The evening bus had arrived at the bus stop, twenty minutes late as usual. She held on her shoulder her smirched satchel firmly, that smelled of the bakery: the flour, dough, sugar, cream, and customers; nothing unlike everyday. On this day, not like any other day of Louise’s life for about half a year, the rickety yellow bus with weary tires and weary passengers’ faces welcomed her differently.

She climbed the bus and reached for the conductor for a ticket. Handed him the exact change she daily kept ready and waited for a ticket while the embarking and the exiting passengers made chaos in the bus. The ticket didn’t yet reach Louise’s hand. She sensed something wrong. Realizing the conductor had mistakenly given it to a woman who grabbed the chance and curtly sat in her seat, “You!” she startled everyone in the bus, “you stole my ticket.”

The woman gave a strange look pretending to not know anything. “Mister” Louise now to the conductor, “where is my ticket?”

“What ticket?” the conductor replied puzzled.

“It’s me who gave you the money. I want my ticket. That woman has stolen it.”

The driver was furious for the delay by the conductor to signal to start. The tired, rustic passengers were furious with the whole goddamn commotion and of course the delay. Louise was furious for her stolen ticket.

“It’s my ticket that woman holds. She has stolen it from the conductor.”

Then the conductor was furious, “Don’t play around for a ticket not even a shilling, woman. I didn’t see you giving me money and I do not make mistakes when it comes to tickets.” He said in anger to Louise.

The women, sitting in the seat behind the conductor, acted completely oblivious to what was happening, having more knowledge than anyone in the bus, to the same.

“Shut up, you crazy woman.” “What in God’s name is the problem there?” “Get the hell out of the bus and do your stupid business outside” the passengers yelled in thousand different voices.

Reaching over all these voices Louise shouted shaking with anger for her ten-farthing ticket, “Well. Ask this woman, this thief, the cost of the ticket. Yeah?” she turned to the woman, the thief, “you say that, bitch. How much does the ticket exactly cost?”

She had been caught; she knew that and for the same, she couldn’t be furious at being called a bitch. Stumbling for words, she couldn’t help but look down at the ticket in her hand for the answer. The ticket was handed over to its rightful owner and the bus boom started, leaving a pile of smoke from behind. It was heading to Dunningham village, a beautiful village in the suburbs, an hour distant from London. The year was 1929 and the great depression was burning blue.

 

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LOWLY SOULS BLUE

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Trevor sat by his study with his desk before him that held a typewriter, a stack of pieces of paper, a pen by an ink-pot and a few books; two fictions and one biography of Leo Tolstoy. The room was this unpublished struggling writer’s office for about a year now. He hadn’t written anything published, a lot that was publishable though. Why he hadn’t published was a secret he kept to himself. As to his wife, Louise Powell, he was a pathetic writer for the only obvious reason that he had published nothing. Same was the case with relatives on both Louise and Trevor’s side.

Trevor was, and had always been lonely and silent with not more than just a couple of friends. He had been mistreated numerous times by high school bullies to thugs on the streets. People knew he had nothing to give them, and that they got nothing with him, which had ironically been the main player for all mistreatment. A person, from whom people expect, is a powerful one, one who has got something to give. But Trevor: just a weak suburban who spends most of his time in his small lonely study, spawning nothing. People did not have any idea about what was going on in this little, lonely room. His greatness did not see the daylight outside yet; for again reasons he kept to himself.

The great depression was resulting in utter chaos outside. Farmers to teachers to lawyers to businessmen – everyone were drastically affected with the economic infection. Books were the last thing people bought. Only a couple of big playing publishing houses were accepting manuscripts. If at all anyone had to publish a book, it had to be through private self-publication. People thought Trevor lacked the money to do so.

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“World is hell outside. Hell it is. Filled with thieves, dacoits, robbers, pilferage all around, thieving all around,” Louise reached home with all these words mumbling to herself furiously.

Trevor stood by, looking at her and she looked back at him, “what?” she spat out. “Why are you burning me with those stupid eyes of yours?”

“Nothing…” A long silence pursued. “You look angry today” he said hesitantly with no expression on face.

“What else should I be looking like? With you at house, our poverty, Aunt Paulette dying, the people outside behaving bloody, what else do you expect me to look like?”

“No. No. Nothing.” – Trevor’s usual reply to his wife’s bursts of anger. These spasms of fury of Louise have increased to unbearable levels since six months after she got to know of her Aunt Paulette’s condition at the state hospital. Trevor always lost his hold on words when this happened and as usual, remained silent and took all the anger spat at him and insult made of him, by his wife.

 

“Did you get any letter from Phifficus?” Louise asked Trevor while he was busy typing.

Taking the hands off the typewriter instantly, “What letter?”

“Did – You – Get – Any –Letter – From – The – Bloody – Landlord?” she raised her voice in rage.

Trevor looked at the floor as if gaping in the air for answer and replied, “I haven’t checked.”

“Why the hell can’t you do one thing right? It is me who has to do every thing. And – and – and I should thank you for giving me the honor of being the sole breadwinner of the house too. You earn not a dime with those stupid books of yours… crazy books…. all day in that room… doing nothing…” she walked out of the house to the letter box hung to the gate outside.

To her fear to come alive, there in fact was a letter from Phifficus, the landlord who had lent Trevor and Louise a huge loan a year ago.

She opened the letter…

       I write this to inform you that you have crossed all bounds of my patience. You have been given time no one else had been. Yet, I receive nothing. I expect you to acquit yourselves of all the money I have given along with the interest in a week’s time. Else, I will turn your life sour. Take this from me as a word. The whole amount, I remind you.

 Phifficus”

        It felt like the whole world around her is going against her, routing her every single second. The air all around felt splenetic with insidious sense to destroy her. She threw the paper on the road outside the gate and rushed into the house blood burning hot.

“Hey, you, mister. Stop that tittle right now. What do you think you are doing?” she shouted to Trevor as he sat still helplessly by his typewriter. “I do not know and I do not want to listen any reasons from you. It’s time you start doing something to make things better and not sit there at that idiotic desk like a lousy hippolompic hippopotamus, you lazy…”

“Louise… Louise… What the hell is wrong with you? Please stop it. You are rusting me from inside with those words of yours. Please think for a second how I feel about things. I feel awful with the way things are now in our lives. Believe me I do feel awful.”

“Then get that sleepy ass of yours off that chair and find yourself a job that would help change things around. I cannot live this way in this house…”

“I am earning. I am not wailing my time away. I write to…”

“Write. Great. Write,” she mocked, “stub that writing down the commode. What does it bring? You earn peas with it. And dare you talk about the book you are writing. You must be the most foolish man to think this recession would recede. Have you any brains? For God’s sake forget publishing those insane books of yours. Find a job that pays, for heaven’s sake.”

Arguments pursued and Louise subdued her husband every time shutting his mouth up. Trevor, insulted, walked calmly out.

“Where the hell are you going now.”?

“To the factory to see if my job application got accepted” he replied desultorily hiding his face from Louise, in shame.

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For Part 2 of 2, LOWLY SOULS BLUE – Short Story (Part 2 of 2)

An honour and immense pleasure to be read by you… Keep reading…!!

WATERS OF THE NIGHT STILL

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The princess lifted the gigantic latch and pushed the huge door to the back of the palace, where people were not allowed to venture, with all her strength. It moved open making sounds of decrepit and rust as if it had not been used for ages. The architectural edifice was gigantic as if a mountainous sized rock smoothened on the outside with rectangles of bricks carved all around – the top of what is not easily seen without hurting a neck.

She stood there is abject silence devouring the beauty of what she was looking at, lit by the full moon, as if she had to be quick for someone might see her there and usher her back into the palace. Before her were five deep steps down, followed by naturally outgrown lawn wet with the night. She stepped down the stairs blowing the petal of fire in her lantern. The wet bouncy lawn of the night gave relieving cushion under her feet, making her feet realize in all senses that she no longer was on the hard stone floors of the richly touted palace.

A few meters away was a narrow stream of about a little less than twenty feet in width. She walked towards the stream surprised. The full moon reflected itself brilliantly from the water dark with the night, the glint as if hitting her eyes. Why isn’t the stream flowing? Aren’t these waters supposed to move? She put the lantern down on the grass not caring for the wet, pushed her thick multilayered gown that flowed fluently down her hip to her feet, towards her body and sat on the lawn. It felt as if the mist all around in the still and eerily silent air was warming. The moon moved a foot away on the water as she sat and the crickets were the only things breaking the otherwise chilly silence.

She pulled her thighs together and strapped her knees tight with her arms for snugness. After observing the waters for long, she started to recognize the tiny ripples formed as infinitesimal insects jumped in and out from the narrow border of wet dark mud between the lawn and the stream. She looked at the moon over her, amidst the dark sky with stellar twinkles all around and then back down before her. The moon was bigger and more luminescent on the even darker waters, still. Such a beautiful sight! Stupid myths and lores about the palace backyard!

Suddenly, arose beside her a twittery sound. And then a little wails but playful. Her eyes were now to a couple of rabbits playing. They were pushing one onto another, grunting softly and then again with their tender light limbs, away from each other, both bodies falling onto one another. The natural beauty of the play beside her was just too much for her to take in. She sat there, eyes locked in awe to the tender rabbits, ivory furred, as they played with each other. She then pushed her feet out her brown leather shoes and put them on the wet lawn wringing the grass as she pushed her bare feet into the lawn left and right cozying them of the warmth. This way passed the whole night as the rabbits played on beside her – and the full moon radiant on the heavy calm waters of the stream.

It was morning and the sun had just routed the horizon, with its first light piercing through the air heating everything. Where in God’s name did the Princess go? – the chambermaid murmured on seeing the princess’s bed empty. Then pursued a long search. The prince was worried to hell. The chambermaid had no option but to check the cursed backyard of the palace. The latch was locked from the inside but irrespective, she had to see. The door sounded less rusty as the chambermaid walked down the five steps onto a dilapidated, muddy ground with a few tiny tufts of grass here and there while the early morning sun went up.

The stream was flowing from her right to left with a brown tint as it collected the loose wet mud on its narrow banks. She heard some playful purring on her right. It was of the rabbits. They didn’t stop their mirth yet. The maid thinned her eyes curiously piercing her look to the white fluffy rabbits. She could sense but faintly something unearthly – after all, it was the unholy back of the palace she was on. Her eyes finally could detect the mouths of the rabbits that were dark blood red out all around from their noses to their long chins. Another closer look at the stream, by the rabbits, and the chambermaid’s eyes grew unnaturally large as she breathed to the top of her lungs with her tight fist beating on her chest. Her body jerked, paralyzed by the gory. –The Horror –

 

 

THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (Part III) final

For part I, THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (part I)

For part II, THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (part II)

 

Virginia’s mind was bursting. After successfully arguing with Miss Gisela about her not going to the wedding ceremony, she found some time alone. Its kind of queer how humans normally wish to spend their last time on earth, alone. But to her dismay, there was not an inkling of loneliness at the time. She felt as if ghosts haunted her; ghosts before which she felt powerless – helpless. She got up from her study desk in frustration and floundered herself into her bed. She got into her rug and looked out of window hoping in madness. She sat there floundering. The window didn’t help.

 

Kristopher read a poem about how love is the most essential thing that has to exist between people and things. The poem he wrote said about if life is a human body, then love is the blood, if life is a plain baked cake while love is the sweet cream that you add and other many analogies. All the people roared with bright smiles on their faces oblivious to what was happening on the other side of the coin. Maybe their smile wouldn’t have evanesced even if they knew. It was now Renea’s poem. She blushed before starting. Tiara must be the only one in the crowd that must’ve understood it was false.

When a woman loves a man, they have gone

To swim naked in the stream

On a glorious July day

With the sound of the waterfall like a chuckle

Of water rushing over smooth rocks,

And there is nothing alien in the universe.”

 

Tiara’s eyes grew large. Her body jerked.

Ripe apples fall about them.

What else can they do but eat?

 

When he says, “Ours is a transitional era,”

“That’s very original of you,” she replies,

Dry as the martini he is sipping.”

For a second, she thought she was going to faint. She pushed herself back to senses. The crowd’s cheer grew even louder for the poem was about Kristopher. But Tiara stood perplexed there amidst all the mayors’ guests. Something pulled her back. Two slow steps backward. It was her legs. She turned around and ran leaving Miss Gisela Smith puzzled in the zest.

 

Viry sat calm on her bed; trying to control herself. At this time, she shouldn’t find any reason to do that, but, that is the point. She sat there by the window, her eyes locked to the snow outside that was falling as if slowed down. Time seemed to be slowed down. As if she was blocked in the second and each moment is struggling into the next and not flowing like they always did. She was motionless for some time and then, took the needle that was on the window and held it in her fingers.

 

Tiara ran to Kristopher’s office. She stood there at the reception gasping for breath.

“No prince inside to barge in today.” The receptionist said.

“I’m coming from the prince’s… prince’s…” she stuttered for breath.

“Marriage?”

“Marriage,” Tiara said, nodding in affirmative.

“Strange.” The receptionist mocked.

“None of your business.”

“You’re right. None of my business.”

“I’m going to ask you just one question.”

“And my answer would be, ‘none of your business’”

“Shut up that abhorable sewer,” to this, the receptionist’s face changed angry, “Where are the letters…”, Tiara still gasped, “where are the letters from Virginia going?”

The pen fell from the receptionist’s hand onto the ground breaking with a ‘click’.

 

Virginia moved her eyes form the needle to the corner of the cotton mattress she was on. She brought the needle trembling to the corner and started to pull the strings of threads out from it. In a minute, the mattress was open and a few plumps of cotton found their way out. A teardrop fell on the opened mattress from her tired eyes, held by a clam and still expressionless face. Another tear. A few tears and then they flowed down her cheeks.

 

The wed had been locked. They married. Flower petals were shot up into the air, people cheered deafeningly and all started getting sloshed; glass after another of wine. The air was interspersed with flower petals. Beautiful, tender petals of Roses, Tulips and Stephanotis were flying all around and people on the ground celebrated with lot of gusto. Bottles of champagne were tossed open. Kristopher and Renea remained blushing while all the youth gathered around them and tried pulling them into dancing to the lilting heavenly wedding tunes played by the best musicians of the village. There was no cap to the mirth here while the same was absent to the sorrow on the other side; of the coin.

 

In tears, Virginia pushed her hand into the opened, wet corner of the mattress and pulled out a bottle… of poison…

 

Anger rushed augmenting through Tiara’s blood knowing Renea’s thievery of Virginia’s poems; she stole all of them: through the receptionist. First thought was to go to the wedding and inform the guests of this treachery. But something told her going to the wedding and making a scene was an absolutely bad idea. But she had to rush and she knew where to, since even before she went to the wedding. She got herself into a horse carriage and harassed the driver to get to Viry’s fast. An hour and a half ride through the spacious roads of the village biting her nails in distress and she arrived. Something felt funny at the house.

 

Tiara slowly pushed the door creak open, breaking the eerie silence. There was absolutely no hint of activity or sound inside. The house was in a mess. Papers were all over the floor and so were Viry’s clothes. A current of fear ran through her spine. She made her way through the mess into the kitchen and ignored all the utensils fallen slovenly on the granite floor. It all looked so unlike Viry, as if the house was burgled. Her foot kicked a raspberry tin on the floor making a small *tang* that seemed like the loudest sound ever, shaking the already trembling body of Tiara. She waded through all the uncouth to Viry’s room. On the bed was Viry as if fallen and frozen in the position with a fist-sized bottle, empty, fallen by her side.

Tiara ran to the bed and fell on the corpse wailing out her lungs to the dreadful thing that happened. She moved her head vigorously as if cursing the Providence, held the corpse tight to her breast and cried… like no one ever, for anyone, could.

 

 

Epilogue

It was evening and the last few rays of sunlight lit the Poppy sea beach. They scorched crimson in brilliance originating from scarcity. The sea made calmer waves. She looked at a family of four, afar, enjoying on the beach. The children were running back and froth in the water and onto the sand giggling those childish little giggles. Those happy giggles… must be bliss to the mother – thought Tiara sitting on the warm, wet beach sand. The sun was descending evenly into the unknown horizons depriving her of the already scant light rays. Her life with Virginia seemed like the day; as if setting into void. As if all those happy moments she enjoyed with Virginia Clarke, all those chirpy laughs and happy friendly talks and shared sadness were fading into the night. Descending down. Half of the orange ball settled down pulling the other. But the sun doesn’t set for good – ever, thought Tiara Adams. None can stop it from rising again. Yes. The sun will show itself again; with brilliance it had never before shown. A new day will be born, like always. Virginia will live… forever… She will be happy…. Where ever she is….

Tiara got up from the beach, dusted her back off the wet sand. She walked back smiling. The crab didn’t stop making its way out of the hole recurrently while the sun had set. And the stars had shined.

 

IT ALL ENDS HERE…!!

 

PRATHEEK REDDY

 

 

 

* Poem “Somewhere Or The Other” by Christina Rossetti

* Poem “ When A Woman Loves A Man” David Lehman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (part II)

for part I, THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (part I)

 

Tiara was waiting in the palatial anteroom along with other few people wanting to visit Kristopher. The other few people also included the Chief Courtier along with his dwarfy assistant. After a few minutes, a guard came from inside and insinuated something to the busy receptionist in denial.

The plump receptionist took her eyes off the papers she was shuffling and announced perfunctorily, “The time for meetings is done for today. Visitors are requested to find their way tomorrow. Timings remain the same.”

The Chief Courtier, disgruntled, got up sulking and walked out in anger mumbling all sorts of taunts. While everyone started leaving with weary faces, Tiara stood there amidst the frantic, observing the receptionist, the guard standing by the door to Kristopher’s speciously magnanimous hall and the people leaving. Ideas after idea stroke her mind impelling her forward to the receptionist. With a pretentious calm look on her face, not taking her eyes off the half open door, she asked the woman, “I am Tiara Adams, one of Prince Kristopher’s closest friends and there is something very important to talk about.” The receptionist nodding in dissent opened her mouth to deny her entry into the hall. In a moment, her mouth froze open while Tiara rushed past the guard into the hall.

Kristopher was slumped back in his chair with his feet on the table, which descended onto the floor on seeing Tiara. “Tiara,” he said with a bewildered look, “You can’t enter like this. I am not open for any talks now.”

The guard uttered in fear, “Shall I take her out of the room, sir?”

“Get out of here you moron” he shouted in rage and turned his angry face to Tiara, “And what’s the matter with you.”

“Don’t play dumb Kristopher. You know what the matter is – better than anyone ever can.”

Trying to control his fury, “Just tell me what it is. Don’t play around” he said.

“Since you fancy pretending so much, let me talk you through it. When was the last time you’ve seen Virginia?”

Kristopher gave an exasperated look and opened his mouth to speak as if to strew the matter with ridicule while Tiara not giving him a chance to, questioned, “Huh? When was it? Do you understand what you are up to at all? You better not mess with Virginia – the best girl anyone could ever love. Oh, how you ruffle that flower in your evil hands” She said with a disgusted angry look. “What for? For she loved you? For she yearned to marry you? Or was it for she spent months together dreaming a family with you? What had she done that you are acting this way with her? She must’ve written a million poems for you by now… only to know you aren’t interested in replying to her with one. I pity that poor thing that thinks you are reading them…” she stopped to take a breath. She turned her teary eyes away from him, brought her hand to her eyes and continued, “That poor thing… do you feel any sort of concern for her?”

“Sit down Tiara. Sit down you. Let’s get things clear now.”

Pushing his hand off her, that tried to sit her, “That would be great of you. Let’s get things clear here and now. Renea Mccullough is a whore. That whore who cheated how many men into love. This time it’s you. That evil…” Kristopher cut her through with a loud growl. “For God’s sakes woman… I do not feel anything anymore towards Virginia. Call me all those colorful names you want. I can’t feel her love no more. You don’t understand that, do you? I am with Renea now and that’s the end of this matter.” he said in a wild frenzy, “We are planning to marry too… So clear your mind of any notions of me seeing Virginia again. Does that suffice you Mrs. Adams?” Repenting instantly what he just blurted, he brought his hand to his face.

Tiara was taken aback. She collapsed into the sofa behind her. She brought her eyes to him, “W-w—w—w-what? W-w—what did you just say?” In utter astonishment, she muttered as if to herself, “This defies comprehension. What the hell did you just utter? There is no way in hell I am going to let you utter such. You will kill her.” Looking back at him, she said with angry tears in her eyes filled with fear, “You will kill her.”

“Look Tiara, Viry is a good…”

“Dare you call her ‘Viry’, you insidious bastard.”

“Tiara”, the prince shouted in defiance stepping forward, “take control of that abhorable tongue of yours you…”

“I think I’m done here.” With the anger burning live on her face.

“Yes, you are. You so are. And let me tell you your presence here is the least wished for now. So make yourself exit before I…”, Tiara exited in disgust before the prince reduced the sentence to mumble addressing her exit, “I call the guard in.”

——————————————————————-

The evening sun was scorching crimson on to the typewriter as she sat in her balcony and typed away seriously. A few birds greeted her from the air on their way back home from their day’s play, worms warm in their stomachs.

“Those worms are dead nevertheless.” Her mind said. “And probably none of those birds wants to fly in that stupid tandem with their leader in the front. Maybe all they want is a free, unrestricted flight.” Beauty was hard to seep for her by now.

Tiara entered the balcony, “What…” she said, pretending to be hesitating, “are you writing?” the hesitation was to find out how Virginia was doing. And the birds flew out of her eyes’ reach.

“A poem.”

Tiara read…

“When a woman loves a man, they have gone

To swim naked in the stream

On a glorious July day

With the sound of the waterfall like a chuckle

Of water rushing over smooth rocks,

And there is nothing alien in the universe.

 

Ripe apples fall about them.

What else can they do but eat?

 

When he says, “Ours is a transitional era,”

“That’s very original of you,” she replies,

Dry as the martini he is sipping.”

“Awe, Viry, you don’t have to do this.”

“So, is that it? His plan? Leave me behind and move forward?”, Viry asked calmly, ignoring Tiara’s comment upon the poem.

“Whom are you talking about, Viry?”

“Tiara…” she took long gasp before saying his name, “Kristopher, who else.”

“I’ve not spoken to him, Viry.” She lied.

Breaking the scene, Miss Gisela Smyth, Virginia’s aunt entered the balcony with bright exclamation on her face, “Tiara Adam! What a pleasure it is to see you. But I have to chastise you for your scarce. Gone are the days when you used to spend most of your day here, aren’t they?”

“Nothing such Miss Gisela. It has ever been a pleasure seeing you. How is your health?”

Miss Gisela spoke in a typical English aunt way, stressing her neck back and sounding as if mocking, affably though, “Look at my girl Tiara, Viry. She’s enquiring of my health. I’m doing fine just as ever Tiara baby. You wait here. I’ll get us three some tea for a conversation.”

Grabbing Miss Gisela’s absence, Viry asked her again, “What did he say?” There was an unusual calm in her face while she asked this. What commotions were rumbling inside is an enigma.

“Nothing Viry,” she replied. After a long silence, “Are you angry with me?” Another bout of long silence. The sun was descending. “To whom were you writing that poem,” she asked to break the silence, as stupid as the question was.

“The poem?” Viry asked looking into the abyss.

“Viry, don’t tell me its for Kristopher.”

Viry turned her gaze away from the missing birds in the sky to Tiara. And of course said the only thing her friend wanted her not to – the only name she wanted herself not to say! – “For Kristopher!”

“Are you angry with me Viry?”

“For what?”

“For visiting Kristopher.”

Miss Gisela interrupted again; this time with some tea and biscuits. The three then indulged in a modest little rapture. Viry, after many weeks has shown her cute smile – for reasons unknown though. Tiara couldn’t help smiling in aroused happiness seeing her friend.

Later, when Tiara rose to leave, Viry couldn’t refrain from calling her.

Tiara turned around in curiosity, “Yes, Viry?”

She said with her eyes locked to Tiara’s face, “I can never be angry at you.”

————————————————————————-

It was a rainy day and someone knocked on Tiara’s door. She put the newspaper aside and opened the door to the rumbling that the raindrops spawned and to a kid soaked in rain. In his hand was a wet envelope. He didn’t speak.

“What is it young man? Who are you?”

The kid’s spirits naturally rose with joy at the word ‘young man’. “Miss Gisela had sent me on an errand to you”, he said raising his hand that held the envelope.

“I assume the purpose of the errand is to give me this envelope.”

The kid or young man as he liked to be called replied sincerely in affirmative. She opened the envelope with the kid before her and skimmed through the matter. But no. She had to give it another good reading; not to understand which she already did, but to digest and presage. Her expression changed serious and she gasped tiredly throwing her hands down. She looked at the raindrops that were hitting the ground outside for a few seconds and replied to the kid waiting for direction. “Say to Miss Gisela that I say yes”, she said in a desultory and dejected way.

With barely any comprehension of what had happened, the kid ran back perniciously away in the rain.

Tiara opened the letter gathering strength to read for one last time.

To Tiara baby,

As you must’ve already known, the Prince has formally proposed to the mayor to wed Renea McCullough. Do not get surprised when I say the wedding date is day after tomorrow itself. The Prince for reasons unknown wanted to put the wedding ceremony in low key. And you know how close the chief courtier is to me. He had sent, yesterday, a formal invitation through a soldier cadet to me. Can you believe? They have sent a soldier cadet to invite me. Now you can’t expect an old woman to go alone to the wedding: to the palace ceremony lawns. So this old woman decided to take you, my baby, along with her. Meet me tomorrow in the evening and we shall plan the day next. Isn’t it a real honor to go to the wedding ceremony of our beloved prince?

With love as ever,

Gisela Smyth

————————————————————-

The Roses and the Tulips freshened the morning air with their faint fragrance while the Lilies glinted the sunshine on their dewed petals. A honeybee levitated all around an orchid oblivious to what was happening on the ceremony lawns of the palace. Miss Gisela along with Tiara just arrived at the place. Miss Gisela, like every other guest enjoyed to the utmost, the royal welcome. Various flower petals were dispersed from the top on to the guests and all had been served the Mango Tart before entering the function: a gesture of honor and respect. But of course, something quite opposite and awful was going on in Tiara’s mind. She could surmise from all that was happening and also her feelings that what awaited wasn’t as sweet as the Mango Tart. It could also be as sour as Renea McCullough, the bride; or as many consider, a c*nt.

The mayor had arrived from the palace just then and all rose in respect. Tiara’s head spanned. It was as if the whole world around her was going into abyss. All she could remember then, were her friend Viry’s immoderate happiness the first time she kissed Kristopher, her ideas about her future with him, the millions of poems she wrote to Kristopher and the hours she spent selecting the best to read them to him in the evening that they spent on the wet sand of Poppy sea beach. And then she thought about the tears she had shed and wails she had wailed when Kristopher ignored her. But she talked gaitily when she knew he was marrying Renea. She was perfectly nimble and agile in her talk after she knew she lost Kristopher forever. Something was wrong. Something wrong was lurking behind the labyrinth of puzzling circumstances Tiara was put in.

While Tiara was eclipsed by these dreadful thoughts, a lot had happened before her on the wedding dais. The bride and the groom arrived to a great cheer from the crowd. All raptured raising their glasses that held 380 year old wine in them. The priest had read the prayers and then was the time for the bride and groom to exchange a few poems. What pursued then stupefied Tiara to devastating levels.

 

For part one, THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (part I)

For part three, THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (Part III) final

THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (part I)

THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD

 

Centuries deep into the past rested a village. And rest it did by the shore with great peculiarity and magnificent size. Yet it is a village ‘cause the “villagers” wish to call it so. It was a very developed village where no horse ever went hungry (forget about the folk) and all the denizens were well versed in English. The mayor Kelvin Pearson (who resembled more a king than a mayor with the colossal power and inextinguishable riches he possessed) is very stern, just like his ancestors, when it comes to tradition that is credited by many to be the fore-player in success of the village. No outsider was ever allowed inside the village, nor did the inmates ever venture out. All the villagers took great pride in being at Hannderberg and never wished to ‘stain their hands’ by stepping outside just like they did not allow any outsiders in.

But what really defines the peculiarity is that this village of ours possesses a poetic magic. The land, the air, the water, the people, their breath, their thoughts, the animals, pet or wild, possess a mystical essence of poetic sense in them. The young and old all converse their feelings and emotions in beautiful poems. People become friends through poems and friends become lovers through poems. Every ear in the village is always docile for a sumptuous feast of poetry. In the air was always a lexical magic working its way into the people’s minds soothing their inner souls and calming their ruffled hearts. The more emotional the poem gets, the closer the people get.

This is a story of ages, ossified as history, long back. Welcome to Hannderberg. Welcome!

——————————————————————-

There has never been that a loud shore in Hannderberg. The waves of the Poppy Sea were booming onto the shore with great rumble; pushing themselves forward thumping the bed. The weather was sultry and the evening sun was descending down the horizon dispersing strong crimson all over the sky. A crab made its way out of its hole for the hundredth time and Virginia observed it every time it came out and went in perniciously. Tired, her misty eyes turned towards the sea. It had been two hours since she sat there on the wet sand.

Tiara came and sat beside her, by the crab that was still continuing its momentary peeps out of its hole. “What happened, Viry?” Tiara asked, “Did he not come?”

“No”, said Virginia Clarke, smiling, with her eyes still to the sea.

Tiara’s expression changed serious – sympathetic. “You don’t have to act before me, Viry.”

Virginia’s smile changed slowly into a wince, her lips twitched and tears welled up in her eyes. “He never comes Tiara.” She said in a quivering soft voice tears rolling by her cheeks, “He never does.”

“Don’t say so Viry. He loves you.”

Virginia turned her face towards Tiara and she had an angry look which was quite rare; angry look as if originating from long suffering, as if from helplessness of her state, “No he doesn’t,” she said, “He doesn’t even care.”

“Don’t utter such abhorable words Viry.” Tiara said with a sense of authority over her friend. “You do know how much he loves you. He used to spend days writing poetry for you… just to impress you. Did you forget all that?”

“Why doesn’t he see me then?” she said with her voice transcending the sound of rumbling waves while a tear dropped down, “I waited on this shore for him to come for weeks – on this shore where he read his first poem to me. What have I done that he ignores me this way. Tell me what it is that I have done, Tiara? Why don’t you do that?”

Tiara Adams, finding no way that could assuage her friend’s sorrow, stared at the quarter set sun while Viry wept with her face in her hands. Beside her were papers filled with Virginia’s poems… To Kristopher…

 

Somewhere or other there must surely be

    The face not seen, the voice not heard,

The heart that not yet—never yet—ah me!

    Made answer to my word.

 

Somewhere or other, may be near or far;

    Past land and sea, clean out of sight;

Beyond the wandering moon, beyond the star

    That tracks her night by night.

 

Somewhere or other. may be far or near;

    With just a wall, a hedge, between;

With just the last leaves of the dying year

    Fallen on a turf grown green.”

————————————————————————–

It was eleven o’ clock in the morning and the weather outside was serene though with not a glint of sunshine. Mayor Kelvin just returned from a hunt in the eastern woods that he enjoyed whenever he was happy; mostly after his administrative accomplishments. His personal maid was waiting in the hall to receive him. “Good Morning my Lord.” She wished fervently, “was the hunt relieving? How many tigers this time?”

Handing his bow to her, “Aaaaah. I was skeptical when Trevor said tigers were scant in those eastern woods lately.” The mayor said, “He was right!” and sat on his plush sofa in the center of the hall.

“Oh, what a coincidence! Good Morning Trevor, we were just talking about you.” The maid said delighted, as Trevor, the right hand of the Mayor in all his governance issues, came for his daily meeting with the mayor to apprise him of issues at hand for the day.

“Good Morning, sir.” He said obsequiously. With no response from the mayor, he began, “Sir, starting with today’s events, the official…”

The mayor cut him in between, “Trevor, where is Kristopher?” he said looking at Trevor with concentration, “When did he decide to abandon his father?”

“He-he-he had been acting quite out of sorts lately, your mayoralty.” He said, “The apprentice wanted to meet him yesterday to discuss few errors in the revenues but he wouldn’t stand him for a second. He just shooed him off.” He then said hesitantly in a low voice as if not to be heard by the maid, “I heard he is busy with a girl names Renea Mccullough!”

“What did you say her name was?”

“Renea Mccullough”, Trevor repeated servilely.

The mayor rose from the sofa and turned against the maid and Trevor towards the wall behind the sofa looking at the photos of six of his ancestors hung on the wall. “Stifling all day with ladies of the country? This is not what Pearsons do. I sometimes doubt if he is not my blood.”

The maid stepped forward, “Don’t think such your mayoralty. He is so young. This is what all young lads of the village do. Maybe he will understand things better as time passes.”

“Are you alright?” the mayor turned around towards the maid and boomed; “Only a lunatic would call a 21 year old a ‘young lad’. Since time unknown, we Pearsons have been proving ourselves to be worthy of governing this village. We rule this vast land because we are unusually strong in our ideals. But this son of mine seems to have none of those qualities.”

Kelvin sat himself back on the sofa and fell into deep fatherly thinking about Kristopher while Trevor and the maid stood before him patiently.

Kevin Pearson lost his wife to Lymphocytic Leukemia when Kristopher was seven. But unlike normal human heart’s tendency, Kevin had shown young Kristopher little lenience. On the other hand, Kevin, by the dawn of his adolescence, had proven himself to be a stunningly quick learner. He had learnt all martial arts of the village at a very young age and had been declared precocious when he understood all governmental principles and could even apply them appropriately. But lately, he had been restless with the work his father had been relegating to him. He started to yearn for freedom from work. The importance and the pride in doing his father’s work that he found once were evanescing now.

 

For part two, THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (part II)

For part three, THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (Part III) final