Being ‘Normal’

My body shivers as I get off the train to look at the strange spectacle of human faces from the corner of my eyes. Unmasked and fearful of making eye contact, some people seem to rush down the streets while others keep close to the walls, their heads down. Assailed by sunlight, I walk in circles, wondering if I should cross the street to my office. I breathe with relief as I notice the essentials of life outside my office. Masked and relaxed, my eyes crinkle into a smile at my teammate as I walk confidently to my seat.

This was written for Charli’s Flash Fiction Challenge for Carrot Ranch. This week’s challenge is to write a story about a new way to office. Has the office changed? Can we return to normal after big changes or time away? Go where the prompt leads!

Double Ennead Challenge – When the Night Disappears

Photo by Asad Photo Maldives on Pexels.com


The songbird croons and hums

expressing an ache

for the waning night from the depth of her soul

as she glides to the hole

at the break of dawn.


The rose shrinks its petals

and clings close to leaves

holding on to the last traces of the night.

blushing at dawn’s bright light,

dew oozing to stem.


The boy pretends and squints,

hiding in his quilt,

eventually, he picks up his school bag

and adjusts his class tag,

walks the sunny path.

The double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES. This month’s theme is to write a double ennead based on a magical experience. You may choose the end rhyme scheme you want. Thank you, Colleen, for this opportunity.

Contentment – Flash Fiction

Marie felt intense hunger as she marked the papers. She took out her snickers. She just had a little time before she got ready for second grade.

“Excuse me, teacher.” She turned at a low voice. It was Mina, one of the shyest girls in first grade.

“Yes, Mina?”

“I didn’t get the fractions you taught today.”

After ten minutes of explanation, Marie was satisfied that Mina had understood.

“Here, take this.” Marie smiled as the girl’s face brightened at the snickers.

Though a little late, her heart was filled with contentment as Marie walked to the second grade.

This was written for Charli’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge. This week’s prompt is to write a story that seeds generosity.

The Unnamed Negotiator

The police inspector stood amongst the rioters, negotiating.

“They started it first,” screamed a youth leader.

The inspector told him what would happen to his future was he arrested. Anger reduced, they jeered at him. He was not the aggressive cop they were hoping for.

“Did you open teargas?” thundered the commissioner.

“No signal, sir.” The inspector cut the call and stood between the rioters, talking in soft tones, reminding them not to fall prey to their passions. Their mockery turned to exhaustion and they dispersed in the midnight, as a lonely figure walked back to his police car.

This story was written for Charli’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge. This week’s prompt is to write a story that rethinks the hero. Thank You, Charli.

The Spring Music

The earth gently opens

to show frail patterns

of leaves, green and purple, basking in their poise

before pulling back to

guard their sibling blooms.

Quails chatter in a calm

extinct birds’ language,

showing off their tanned wings to partners, hushing

at the delicious spray

of dew on their beaks.

Huge mountains and plains still

while oceans whisper,

as skies pour down, drenching tiny and huge lives

soaking the brownish sand

in colors of joy

The poem above has been written for Carrot Ranch Double Ennead Monthly Poetry Challenge. Thank you, Colleen, for the opportunity.

Late Realization

Sam completed his homework as his sister waited patiently with her Math problems. After helping her, Sam organized the table for the primary school students he tutored. He could hear his mom typing away in the next room. She was also training to be a Montessori teacher. Sam thought about their lives a year ago. His mother spent all her time on TV soaps while Sam and his sister fought over petty video games. His father, the sole breadwinner, labored until he fell sick with Covid. Now Sam wished his father had been around to see his ‘responsible’ family.

This was written for Charli’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge. The prompt this week is to write a story that takes place a year later.

Flash Fiction Challenge – Before the Call

Maria savored the hazelnut chocolate, eyes closed, as each bite melted in her mouth and warmed her heart. She wore her favorite pink lace dress, which now hung loosely around her thin body. However, she no longer cared about her weight.

She touched the pink pearls her husband had given her long ago. They were as fake as he was. But, she had kept both.

Maria walked around her beloved garden, feeling the twilight breeze on her face.

She leaned back and took a deep breath. Then she dialed the clinic to ask for the result of her diagnosis.

The above is my response to this week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge. The prompt is to write a story of 99 words about deep wishes. Thank you, Charli, for giving us the opportunity.

Unremembered

I sit in the General Hospital, waiting for my turn when I hear a loud wailing. Expecting to see a child, I am shocked to see an elderly lady in a wheelchair, crying with her eyes tightly shut. I am deeply disturbed and could see that the other patients are uncomfortable too. This incident reminds me of an old cleaning lady in our condo whose eyes glistened as she told me how lonely she felt as her children and grandchildren lived far away. There is another instance of a man in our neighborhood who is dreadfully scared of dogs but has to walk his daughter’s dog, as she is too busy to do so. As I walk away from the hospital, I see an elderly man staring into space.

His treble

the language

of wrinkles