Day 5

Stereotypes: a ruthless dictator who enjoys an occasional walk in the forest, bird-watching and fishing.

After commanding the military to execute everyone in a ten mile radius around the palace, to be merciless in pulling the trigger on those who dared stand up against His Majesty, the Invincible Power of a Thousand Years, the Ruler of Five Seasons, the Guardian of the Sun and the Possessor of Supreme Knowledge; to be ruthless in shedding blood of revolutionaries who had once proclaimed his name under the night sky as their true leader, of impregnated women whom he had blessed with a sleight of hand, of fathers who had fought his War of Seven Years, of virgins who had drunk the elixir of vow, of mothers who had sacrificed their sons to his health at the altar; General V, for that was his name and cognomen known to his kingdom, scandalously retreated to the enchanted forest that lay in a vast expanse behind the palatial corridors.

The forest was dense with trees that grew the length of a hundred years, and amidst the wild grass that could cut into skin with its piercing edges and the flowers that expelled a poisonous scent enough to kill a full grown man, did the General find respite. Here he would fashionable settle himself on a large throne made of bones of ancient warriors, and in complete solitude, watch the living, breathing nature around him. The General had forbidden hunting in the wild that he had come to acquire after bewitching the natives and as the natives were fleeing the General had ordered them to be massacred and hurled into the Great Fire that had been burning ever since his blood had become royalty. The General observed the innocence of the chirping birds and often wrote detailed expositions on the winged creatures, which was published by the Royal House in form of a heavily bound book, and placed in the Royal Public Library for the public to witness, dispelling awe among the ignorant and the wary. Once the General had taken a fancy for the trees and had resolved to climb one to shed his fear of heights, and despite his mother’s constant admonitions, he managed to climb one but half-way through he had heard his lovers’ wails and a nation waiting for his fall, waiting for the General to break his neck, he descended the tree and later on, in a private ceremony, named it The Generals Ascension. The silent lake in the forest was the General’s most favoured place to be and the fishes his most trusted advisors as he would find solace in their quiet habitat, picturing swimming with them in soundless waters, away from the disloyalty of his men, and the hatred of a kingdom he had ruled over for so long that history books would have to be rewritten since no one recalled the names of earlier rulers, who were they, what had they done for the kingdom, which battles did they win and how many seasons did they lose? The General was all they had known their entire lives and the lives before them, and the lives before them, and the lives to come.

 

(Inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Autumn of the Patriarch)

Eta Carinae

(Influenced by and Dedicated to Gabriel Garcia Marquez; written in a wakeful sleep)

Eta Carinae was born in the year 6369 when the ice was new and the world was still in danger of being hit my passing meteors so giant that the Orion people had to live in caves and eat off the walls the limestone and granite of centuries past as their ancestors had, built and nourished off the elements. The moon had a faint distant glow and whenever Eta Carinae would look up at the sky she would recollect the stories of her childhood as narrated to her by her grandpa six generations removed, as if she had just gotten up from his embrace, his words still warm in her left ear as Eta Carinae was deaf in the right. It was her right palm into which Grandpa Aurigae would whisper the fables of times when there lived on earth nothing but gigantic, wise trees and they would climb mountains to set counsel and settle matters, and reside in caves made of lunar dust and eat rocks that fell on earth time to time, and of stellar light that would once every thousand years visit the Orion people in form of an animal so bright and large that Grandpa Aurigae and his comrades had to travel miles and miles to enter its mouth, pay their homage, make prayers and upon returning it would take them a hundred years more to find their families and if somebody died on the journey they had to extract his soul from the body and bury his soul under a tree that aligned with the witch head nebula. Eta Carinae had always wondered about the tree that had the power to dispel good and evil to the most distant realms of the universe and when she came of age to water the caves and feed the crops she would often sit under the night sky, and with her index finger scratch the moist soil under her and draw directions to the possibilities of the location of the tree which she would remember by reference to the star she sat under that night, the plant or weed that grew to her either side, the direction of the wind and the color of the soil and as she was called back every night she would lick off her fingers and remember the taste of the earth. The Orion people had a dislike for eating what they walked on and Eta Carinae’s secret was so deep that she wouldn’t even whisper it to the herbs that grew at the opening of the cave until a meteor struck the cave into smithereens and the Orion people after cursing the meteor began crushing its soul and started building rugged houses out of its body and often Eta Carinae could hear the beaten wails of the meteor that were soundless noises to the Orion people like a dying animal. Once the meteor rose to life but the Orion people quickly beat it to its slow death and when the wise Zeta Oph got up in the morning without a roof over his head, panic suddenly spread through the Orion people as one by one they woke up with their heads under the sun, their scalp melting into their faces and their hair on fire screaming for help, blind in eyes and soundless in ears and their tongues could only regurgitate high-pitched wails which the wise Zeta Oph quickly silenced with a flick of his hand and commanded the Orion people to seek refuge in another mountain cave but the Orion people had gotten used to the comfort of the houses on earth and the nearest mountain cave could take a hundred years to travel to after which they immediately resorted to making smaller, humbler houses with pebbles and stones and rocks to which the wise Zeta Oph objected and asked the Orion people to not touch the rocks and leave them as they were in case they incurred the wrath of the rocks. The Orion people at first questioned the wise Zeta Oph and upon meeting his persistent silence decided to dismiss the inclusion of rocks in their plan but Eta  Carinae, who had been silent all along as they talked and discussed the matter on her right side, heard quiet whispers in her left ear which made her taste her tongue and she made up her mind to go to the wise Zeta Oph and inquire about the old, solemn tree she had been trying to locate.

Day 4

He solemnly put his head against the window and closed his eyes, reminiscing days past. His heavy built shoulders heaved up and down as he breathed loudly, giving an air of repressed superiority. He was wearing a khaki textured shirt that reminded him of his long lost son – lost on a foreign land, fighting a foreign war. His hair were held back in a pink band, a careless knot that he hurried through to get out of the two by four situation but the smell had distinctly followed him. He looked around at the sombre day that lay ahead of him, let out a deep sigh, and closed his eyes so that for a brief moment he could, without any excuse, journey back into the past.

 

“I like your hair tied back”, he mumbled to himself under his breath. He opened his eyes as words let out a mist of cold air from his mouth that hung onto the foggy window for a moment and then disappeared.

Could it be possible she had heard him this time? They say winds can carry words along distances and travel through time.

He closed his eyes again.

He felt the warmth of his wife’s cheeks against his.

 

The smell of fresh flowers enlivened the room and their embittered hearts. He sat on the chair next to the bed and with his damp hands, began playing with her fingers.

“Did you?” she asked with half open eyes, in a frail voice. He had been used to her loud whispers.

“Yes, my love”, he replied and reached out for the box on the table.

He took out the wig and gently placed it on her chest from where she could see it. She gave a faint smile.

“It’s just like mine,” she said, gently stroking the strands of hair that lay on her chest in a heap.

“Would you?” she asked.

He stood up from his chair and placed the wig on her head.

Her eyes looked up at him inquiringly.

He had given her one last smile.

 

He opened his eyes and rummaged through the shirt pockets for an office card. He sighed and closed his eyes again, recalling what was imprinted on the card he had acquired after a persistent search. He had to get off the bus. Distances bored him, and sitting down even more so. The lifeless bus lay before him as he resolved to cover the rest of the distance by foot. The pale stretch of pavements on either side of the road welcomed him. Seconds passed into minutes and half an hour later he found himself standing in front of the business he had so patiently waited for to become a part of. Written in neon, overhead, on a small four by two board was:

 

Wildean Wigs Co,

Mitty and Sons.

 

Word Count: 473

I used the term “Wildean” because Oscar Wilde would dress flamboyantly and I’m assuming he would wear a wig too. Though this has nothing to do with the story or my character. And, I used “Mitty” because recently I had watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Again, no connection! Just thought the inclusion of recent experiences would aid me in getting more personal with my character. 

REVIEW 1

How was the central character portrayed and was this portrayal clear and interesting?

Yes and unusually so. This made the character more interesting.

What made you think this piece was a story and did you want to read on?

I would have liked to have known the back story yes. I think this story ended just in the right place. The two by four situation has e puzzled though, I’m not sure of its reference.

What were the most, and least, successful aspects of the writing?

The most are the questions it had me asking myself about what had gone on previously. The least, well there isn’t one really other than what o mentioned above.

REVIEW 2

How was the central character portrayed and was this portrayal clear and interesting?

This character interpretation is very creative, and the one character I picked for myself. I’m glad I didn’t use it, I could not have done that character justice. The inner dialogue works well. The character contrasts that pink hairband as masculine, then the softer side of a burly man by enjoying the scent of flowers and his calm language int the scene he imagines. You have used the previous lessons to good advantage.

What made you think this piece was a story and did you want to read on?

The wigs, in this story, are prominent and ties in well with the ending. So, I will have to say more than the curiosity of the back flash, is the tie in with the sign. I want to know more about this character and his family.

What were the most, and least, successful aspects of the writing?

The inner dialogue is good, and signals the flash back scene…which I think is the best among all the scenes. The transition to memory is, confusing. I think the placement of the sentence, ” He felt the warmth of his wife’s cheek against his.” Could possibly be a stand alone sentence, to have the effect the writer is looking for. Or, making it a continuous sentence with, “He closed his eyes again.” would keep it within the paragraph and, I think, transit into the memory easier.


The ragged old lady had two cats; one clung to her shoulder, and the other was wrapped in a warm embrace around her left arm. Amusingly enough, on her right arm, she carried a Pekingese dog in a leather bag which would bark ceaselessly till, in a hoarse voice, she would shout “Shut up you filthy little bugger!” Silence would ensue for a few moments till the dog would start whelping again.

For a few moments, I kept observing her with a keen eye. Had she not caught me staring at her horde of animals, I would have given a much more vivid description of her pets. But, she did. She gave me the strangest look one’s facial expressions could muster. It was a look of disgust mixed with utter hatred! Her eyes pierced through my soul and I felt a chill run down my spine. I quickly averted my eyes, but sensed her gaze was still glued on me. 
The dog had finally shut up and the whole bus had drowned in silence. I did not dare look back at her even from the corner of my eye, when all of a sudden I felt tiny, cold, paws on the nape of my neck.