Third and final part. Continued from Long Gone.
The tears didn’t bring Whit back. The tears didn’t tell Sam she was sorry. The tears didn’t do her tired body any good. But the tears were warm, and she let them flow. She needed time.
Elle knew that enough wrong had already happened, and that she had to bring back together all that was left. She had to bring Sam back, she had to cleanse Whit’s memory, and she had to prepare for her burial. She had to tell Whit’s family in the best way possible that Whit died trying to escape from the drugs, and she had to accept that her best friend… was gone.
Elle fingered the green envelope. This was the last time Whit had tried to communicate with someone she realised. And then Elle remembered the other envelope inside. She ripped the tape away, and peeked inside.
She felt inside, her fingers struggling to hold the tiny thread she had seen. When she finally pulled it out, it turned out to be the charm Whit had made Elle for Friendship Day in fourth grade, but had had to take it back because Sam had protested that he hadn’t got one.
The tears had dried. Elle picked up the phone, rubbed her very swollen eyes, and dialed a number she never had to look up.
“You’ve reached Sam. Leave a message after the beep!”
“Hey Sam. It’s me. I want to talk so whenever you’re back-”
He was there after all. She had wondered for a moment where he would have gone the day after Whit’s death. He’d probably be venting with soda. All alone.
“Hey. Sam. Uhh… Whit died.”
“Umm… yeah, I told you that yesterday.”
“No, she died fighting it.”
Elle breathed out. She told him about the letter, and about the charm, and how she wanted to make things right again.
“This really sucks you realise that? She was at it for months! And she survived every dangerous night in the hospital! And then , when she wants to change, she… Damn it!”
“Hey. I know. I just wish we had been there for her.”
“Oh I was there.I went over cause she said she couldn’t sleep,and she did soon after, while I was there, and I realised she wasn’t… breathing… when I tripped over her foot and she didn’t… I was there.”
Elle didn’t know what to say. So in Whit’s final moments, Elle had left her best friends and been busy where? Sleeping?
“Okay. When is the funeral?”
Elle hoped against all hopes that she had at least not missed out that.
“I’m still planning it. There’s her family to talk to and frankly, I don’t know how I’ll-”
“I’ll do it. I’ll do all of it.”
“Okay El.” She heard a smile in his voice, and she felt better herself.
“Oh and where are we meeting then? Coffee shop?”
Elle smiled as she replied, “Yeah. In ten.”
“Okay. And don’t forget to bring the flowers and stuff. To say sorry.”
“Yeah. I’m sorry Sam.”
“Forgiven. See you in ten.”
And the line clicked.
Elle had just got up to change, when the phone rang.
“Oh and one more thing El.”
“Bring the key.”
“Yeah. I will.”
Sequel to the post You’re Welcome.
Ella walked lazily to the kitchen and tossed some frozen food onto the gas, to make it edible. Or close. The lines of her rough kohl had spread and she rubbed them even more, till the smudges under her eyes became hideous.
The neon-clock wasn’t lit any more… it was ordinary. Just like many things of the night become. Just like their conversation had become. Ordinary.
Whit was dead, and it was ordinary. She had thrown Sam out, and it was ordinary. Probably for the first time in her life, she had woken up in need of an agenda, and with neither of her best friends in a position to talk to, and it was ordinary. Well, it wasn’t particularly new… or special. She had to see it coming… What they had, Sam and Whit and her, it was long gone. And she had known this day was coming.
You don’t just walk away from the people you love. You don’t just let them go either. But Whit had walked away and Elle had let her go, and Sam had been just indifferent. That was when the troubles had begun.
Whitney had taken to drugs. Sam had left them both for Europe, and posted happy pictures with unknown friends regularly. Elle had decided to be just as stuck-up, and she joined the ballet lessons she had promised Whit she would do with her.
It had taken them only a month to see things weren’t going too good. Whit was in hospital every second day, Sam was on the phone with Elle worrying about Whit, and Elle was the arrogant girl in the ward room, acting like it was her job, and nothing more, to get Whit out… only for her to fall back again.
One month and Elle, Whit and Sam had needed those infamous round-the-couch meetings. They had to “talk about it”.
Elle emptied the contents of the pan in the bin. If she ever got beyond the look, she could never get herself to eat that smelly food. She would order out. Again.
The bell rang. Elle cursed. That early in the morning, with her eyes as they were… but whoever it was, deserved it. Everyone has their pace in New York, and hers was slow, big deal!
She opened the door, and peeked outside. It was a delivery. She signed for it, thanked the guy, checked him out and came back in. She recognised the handwriting on the envelope. A fat envelope, green and rubbed around the corners.
She couldn’t place it, but she had seen it, she knew. Slowly, as if the handwriting had sparked need of investigating, she checked for signs on the envelope to guess where it came from. Nothing. She tore it open, and out stumbled some sheets of paper.
There was another envelope, and a long piece of paper, which she opened first.
Elle drew her breath in, as she read the first few words.
It was Whit.
I’m sorry Elle. I tried to say it, to you and to Sam, but I didn’t. I can’t ask you to understand, I can’t ask you to believe in me every time I do something that I KNOW is wrong. So I have decided to do this, and I feel it’s my duty to tell you somehow, though this isn’t the best of means.
Please try, and let me go El.
I’m leaving new York. I’m going East… I’m gonna try and explore… who am I kidding, I’m running babe. I don’t think I can do it in here, where I know you’d be there to watch my back, or Sam to take care of me if you fight me. I’m gonna try and escape, and for that I’m choosing to leave you both stranded. And like this.
I’m sorry El. I really am.
Lots and lots of love,
I’m sorry babe. You guys were my family and I’m running out on you. But maybe, it’s for the best. I have to try.
Elle let the tears come. Whit had wanted to change, Whit hadn’t been lost.
Whit had wanted to fight the drug, to make things better and now she was dead.
The tears had come, even if they were a night late.
Elle wanted to call Sam back. When Whit could want to fight it, how could Elle let it win? How could Elle let her friendships stain?
But now, Whit had died, before she had a chance to make things right, Sam and Elle had fought, and everyone was alone, and hurt.
But the love had long gone. The faith had long gone. And they had let it go.
Jameson was the ideal man. He kept a cat and was good to her. He owned a farm but he was no tiller. He let the people divide the produce when his idle gardening sprung tomatoes and chillies. He was regular to the local church and was a god-fearing man. He had no vice, save for one, that he was single. And the entire town frowned upon that. Jameson, the common verdict was, should choose a wife from the town’s dandies and complete himself. Only no one dared mention that in front of him.
“Mr. Summerhouse! Mr. Summerhouse, sir!” a young boy’s voice echoed in the silent building. The culprit then came into view, skidding inside the isolated house in a rush that seemed out of place in the tranquil.
Presently, he found the man he was calling for at his usual place, behind a desk with his head in his hands.
“Mr. Summerhouse, sir?” the lad repeated. “What is it, boy?” came a low groan from inside the cupped hands.
“It’s Jameson, sir… he’s- he’s dying.. again…”
On the mention of Jameson, Mr. Summerhouse sat up and frowned. Then a moment later he said “Stick, boy” and dusted himself. The boy brought him his oak cane, more for show than need, and Mr. Summerhouse clasped his fingers around the familiar brass knock. Then he sighed and set off with such speed that the boy ran to keep up.
“Gladis, where is he?” Mr. Summerhouse demanded, as he entered Jameson’s house. The cat purred and jumped up the stairs, like an athlete hearing the shotgun go off and lunging for the finish line. Mr. Summerhouse climbed behind her and his cane cracked on every step. He closed he door as he entered the room where Jameson lay. The cat coiled in the armchair, content with her role.
Mr. Summerhouse stood by the door and watched his son-in-law and felt morose. Jameson… his son-in-law…
“It’s happening again sir. She’s got me.” Jameson’s voice, weak with pain, broke through his thoughts.
“It’s been a long time Jameson. Why is she back?” Summerhouse asked though he knew the answers.
“It’s October sir. She’s back because its October. Elise is back.”
It had been a year ago. Elise Summerhouse was the happiest girl in town. Jameson had proposed to her, but they had kept it secret from everyone, they wanted it to be quiet. Mr. Summerhouse had got to know eventually though, he always did. But he approved so he kept their secret. That was last year. In October.
“James, is she talking to you again?”
“Not yet. She wants to say something-” the man was tired and his words broke “-but she can’t.” Mr. Summerhouse’s face fell.
A few days after she had proposed, Elise had gone to church and stayed there all morning. When she returned, she wasn’t like her usual self, she seemed worried. When Jameson asked her what the matter was, she joked she couldn’t decide what flowers to cover the church in for their wedding. He’d laughed though he knew she was lying.
Jameson groaned. He clutched his side and moaned and called out to Elise, in a whisper.
“Does it hurt?”
“Not as much as last time.”
“Son.” Mr. Summerhouse had tears in his eyes.
“Son, can’t we let the townspeople know?”
“What would that do? No sir, I don’t think she’d want us to tell.”
Mr. Summerhouse nodded, and let Jameson suffer. He wouldn’t allow a doctor because he couldn’t let anyone know. And he wouldn’t let anyone know because she wouldn’t. He wouldn’t betray Elise. Even in death.
Jameson gave a sudden loud cry, then covered his mouth, and inquired with his eyes. Mr. Summerhouse went over to the window and looked out. No. No one heard.
He looked out the window… a year ago, in October…
He could see the church top in the distance. A year ago, it had been weathered. Now, it had been painted a clean white, hiding the years it had lived. Just like it hidden Elise’s secret.
Elise had been talking to the pastor. She had confided everything in him as a child and she didn’t stop as a maiden. She had told him about the marriage but someone else had heard. A painful story… a jealous man, who wanted Elise for himself, had confronted her one evening behind the church and when she refused all his advances, he had killed her. Just like that.
Jameson had arrived just in time too see the ends of his black coat disappear around the corner, but he couldn’t follow, he was much too concerned for his beloved.
She was stabbed.
Jameson let a tear slip. “Sir… do you think… do you think she’ll ever forgive us?”
“For not being there with her… for letting that man…”
“I believe she won’t blame us for something we couldn’t control.” Even as Mr. Summerhouse said it, he knew he would forever live with the guilt.
Jameson hadn’t forgiven himself either. She had died that night.Elise had. Jameson had gone after that man. But that didn’t make it better.
Jameson cried freely now. He clutched his side tighter, touching the wound refreshed his memories. The wound he had got when he found the man. It had been a dark night. Jameson knew him. He left him, bleeding to death, slowly and painfully, stabbed just like he had stabbed his Elise. But Jameson had got a wound himself, and he had had to do a rough stitch himself, he couldn’t go to a doctor.
Every now and then the stitch would hurt. But Jameson didn’t want to get better. He would willingly embrace death. None in the town knew about this secret Jameson, this paining Jameson. No one knew about his love. And they wanted him to get a wife.
They didn’t know he already had one. Just the one.
“Sir-” Jameson tried through gasps of breath. “Sir, would you forgive me? Could you, ever?”
Mr. Summerhouse moved briskly to his side, and looked him in the eye.
“Son, you’re the only family I have now. For Elise, yes, I can forgive you, I did long ago. But for Elise, you will have to live James. You’ll have to stay strong.”
“How do you know sir? How do you know she doesn’t want me to die and be with her… why would she want me to live…”
“She comes to you every time you’re about to die. She tells you to live doesn’t she? Last year, when you got that wound, she was there all the time, wasn’t she? And now…”
Jameson cried shamelessly.
“I love her Sir. I do.”
“We both did.”
And the days rolled on. And the days just rolled on.
The smell of death hung in the air. A yellowish mist descending, reflecting the light from the head-lamps of the parked car, choked the surrounding air giving it a deathly taste. It was just after the first hours of the morning and across the horizon Aurora’s chariot raced, heralding the coming of the sun.
Among the stone tablets that protrude from the ground lay a lifeless body, or what was remaining of it. Shovel after shovel, earth is heaped onto it; concealing the evidence. It is only when dawn breaks that the body has been replaced by a mound of earth and the perpetrator safely away, hidden among the hordes of the city populous. And by the time the warm of the sunshine broke through the stale air, he was one among them, walking shoulder to shoulder.
Half an hour and the undertaker had reported the scene to a place it didn’t belong. The crime department. This was no crime. This was art. The hand that took the life out of the body vaguely visible under the earth was of no ordinary criminal. It took a mastermind to plan and execute, to think and design this.
A grave on a graveyard. A grave taller then its marker. A grave above all others- a symbol of the highest kill.
The crime department can only shiver. And suddenly the emphasis changes- a murder had been committed and a murderer was walking free. And all everyone wanted was to desecrate his craft and put behind bars the artist.
Cameras flashed at the crime scene, where the model of a case stood inanimate and the horrors seeped free. Queasy hearts couldn’t take the intensity of that creation and they called him a lunatic. The sunshine was still lingering by, trying to dry the stale feel but fear held a firm grip.
Much to a complete distortion of majesticity, yellow plastic tape was pulled, sealing off the home of the dead and unsettling them in their earthly beds as incompetent crime detectives frowned.
Somewhere among them the winner smiled as his work of art became their nightmares. Giddy with his guilty pleasure of the night, the artist becomes restless under the noon sun. He can never live it down, this last kill, he knew. It had been his calling card to honour his victims with disgrace, but the earth he piled on his face this time, the grave he erected, was by far his best. He wondered if they would dig him out in peace or with sad in their hearts.
Neither. They had a crime to investigate and as much as they wanted to make it all vanish, they had to risk increasing it all when in the evening the heavy noisy machines pulled the dirt back.
All the while the single black stone on which with a rough hand was etched ‘Lies Dead’ stood witness to the procession, mocking them. An invitation, almost a triumphant scribble calling. This was his hand, an act of defiance to proclaim his victory and superiority over his victims.
Yellow tape fluttered still, but cameras relaxed, dirt spreading to surrounding graves, the black stone submerged below, the last lights of day plunged in the sky. And as the sunlight pulled out of the disturbed graves, it fled up to the zenith and further away, gasping for condolence. Dark took its place and greeted its yellow horrors and sat, marvelling at the day old work of art.
Things had changed that day. A day had dawned and drowned; and a body lay naked of its grave. A killer had come and gone; leaving his mark- the hallmark of excellence. And the citizens’ utopia had been destroyed, reality of a cold world creeping in. Now they knew he was there, walking among them. He was the man without a face, the monster behind the curtain. The first round went to death. Justice had yet to try its hand.
By Ruchika and Peter 🙂
For a homework assignment recently, I was to write a short scifi story. This is what I wrote. As usual, my teacher will give me no comment. (I have yet to decided if she loves my work too much, hates it too much, or simply doesn’t understand.) But that’s not what I expect from you! Keep the responses coming!
“Captain Nuan is approaching base, sir”, reported a nervous men aboard the Starship Falcon. Just as the words left his mouth, the Control Room sprang into frivolous action, such command had Captain Nuan. Acting Captain BRown broke into perspiration. If the battle wasn’t enough, he now had Captain Nuan on his hands. Perfect! Captain Brown realised powers he had in him that he had never known existed before. “All hands on deck. I want Alpha Team V and Eagle Team I on launch pads. Control and detain! Control and detain!” Once he had given instructions for the battle, he turned to prepare for Nuan. And Nuan demanded strong security. “All prison cells to be double guarded. Take personnel from Life Unit. Admin on freehold, now!” Brown yelled into the mic hoping to hide his anxiousness with authority. He had only just given the orders when a tall, lean figure beamed into the Transport Pod on the ship. Without a word, Captain Nuan marched through the labyrinth of tubes and stepped into the Control Room. Fresh recruits dropped their jaws, as was often the case when men discovered that Captain Nuan was in fact a lady. Brown stepped down from the wheel and Nuan made her first announcement. “All personnel on Starship Falcon, this is your Captain, Verity Nuan. All hands on fighting positions. Let the battle begin.”
Under the command of Captain Nuan, the battle progressed smoothly, as if the Captain had the measure of the opposite army and knew all their moves already. Captain Nuan frowned not once, nor did her voice once rise above a stern command. Orders were passed left, right and centre to specific units and Nuan knew everything about everyone in the Control Room. First Mate Brown obediently carried out his Captain’s orders and the half burned, half crumbling Starship emerged with a new hope of victory. And then a fatal blow to the right wing of the ship complicated matters. Nuan had given the order “Hard to Port” as the missile had been launched, but the breaking ship had been slow. Finally, the time had come for a difficult decision. The ship couldn’t fight for long without a right wing.
“Abort, Captain?” asked Brown quietly. All eyes were on Nuan. She was silent. She stayed quiet for a minute, while the crew awaited her orders.
“Steer to Starboard to 45 degrees. Launch the Revolae. On the double.” Nuan got up. “But Captain, Revolae is a hand triggered missile. Who is to steer her?” Brown was hysterical.
“I am. Now.”
Three minutes later, an awed, and shocked crew looked on as the opposite army blasted away to burning pieces into space and their Captain was one of them.
As I sit here wondering how stupid I could be to not clarify that doubt on the Shakespeare post, about his sexuality affecting his credibility, I find today’s story. You see, this is one of the best controversies I ever came across in my life, and I remember spending considerable time when I was really very young, deciding whether I should believe it or not.(In fact, it may be one of my earliest decisions. Like, before choosing my favourite colour.)
Have you heard those tales of people dying by unjust ways and their ghosts coming back for sweet, and very bloody, revenge? And if you commit the mistake of not sharing their story when you read it, and hence defile their memory, you too will die that night, always in the darkest dark? Yep, that’s what I am talking about.These stories usually are pretty scary. And when I saw the following text in a comment on Facebook, the memories came back.
(The comment has not been modified, barring grammatical errors of spelling. Really don’t want more of that on my blog, and I make many.)
ONCE YOU’VE READ THE FIRST WORD OF THIS YOU CANT GET OUT. READ ON OR DIE TONIGHT AT 10:35 P.M.
9 years ago a person named Jerry got dared to sleep in a house that was believed haunted.The next day his friends waited for him outside the house. They had to go inside and search for him. They went through every room exept the attic. He wasn’t supposed to sleep there. He was supposed to sleep in the living room. They went into the attic. They saw Jerry’s corpse and they just left because they were scared. But that night they all died because of their friend. He killed them all for making him sleep in that house
If you don’t send this to 11 comments you will die tonight by Jerry. Example 1:A man named Stewart Read this and didn’t believe it. He shut off his computer and went through his day. That night while he was in bed he heard something outside of his door. He got up to look. And now he’s dead. Example 2: A Girl named Haley Read this in the morning and she got scared but she didn’t send it. She wanted to know if it was true. She went to school (She was only 13 years old) and that night she died.
If you don’t post this on 11 comments tonight Jerry will ‘visit’ your house.
Okay, if some of you need to take a break and go post this, I understand.
Okay. So when I was arguing my stand on these matters, I finally decided that I will NOT be ruled by such notices that do nothing but invoke fear, and since then have never once shared any story. And here I am, alive and sound. Though who knows, I may be pushing my luck? But I refuse to let myself be carried away by rumours. If you got to kill me because I’m sensible, dear ghost, you really are full of it.
But fear, and religion I dare to say, have long been the “opium of the masses”. (Karl Marx :D) So I can’t judge the people who do share such comments.
However, the deathly stronghold such comments have! Marvellous! I can not boast of complete fearlessness myself, even with my conviction against such rumours. They ARE pretty scary.
And even my very able very smart cousin was once hell-bent on the existence of Bloody Mary. And this cousin we are talking about is actually so intelligent, she convinced me not to pull out a red colour-pencil in the dark ever or write in red in the bathroom. God, I dreamt CHILLING dreams that night. And with a vivid imagination, that MEANS something! Great job, Pakhi, you got your sister!
So check this space tomorrow. Either you will find a short update, with me gasping of how I made it, Thank Lord if he/she exists, or, if you really do not find any post, consider I pushed my luck too far and am very much taken, finally.
A long long time ago
When the lands were dry deserts of sand
There was a fable that echoed through
And hark! I’ve caught it in my hand!
This fable now is no ordinary tale
And I plan to make it not close so
But listen all come and listen you’ll see
The way the desert cries with me
In this dry desert cold and barren
There was a shepherd’s son
Who with neither direction nor purpose
Walked aimlessly down the dunes
He walked up and he walked down
As he had long lost his sheep
And he cared not for the world anymore
And walked on with his blanket sheet
The blanket sheet was all he carried
And that was all to his name in the world
Until that fateful night when he stopped
At the banks of an oasis, and stood curt
He stood and he stared for all he cared
He would rather die than give up his sight
For near the high palm trees there lay
A maiden dead and frozen in the night
And there she lay as still as the sand
And there he stood as moved
And should you have seen them as they were
You would say it was but a picture
Now the shepherd’s son knew not much
He knew not of the world at all
So he understood not that since she had died
He was of no use to her
The shepherd’s son could only feel
A strong strong motion of empathy
For he knew what cold it felt to be alone
When none but the moon above did shone
So the shepherd’s son will all his heart
Walked over to the girl and touched a scar
That stretched ever so fierce across her face
He did discover emotions new
Love and anger burned anew
And the shepherd carried the silent guest
To the shade of the palm trees and put to rest
But oh he knew not of death and pain
And believed a dead hope so profane
That he would bring the maiden about
And she would live if the years be his
The shepherd caressed the scar so deep
And put water to her lips and hoped she breathe
But the maiden rejected all he did
And gave him not even a word as gift
And the night pushed on not waiting for him
Who would give his life for the maiden with him
Who had no reason to do what he would
But he would, oh he would
The shepherd heard the wind rush by
And soon it too was laughing by
How vain it was to help the girl
That the desert had rejected there
And the shepherd’s son slept a sleepless night
Till morn came and he woke to find
His work no good and then he cried
And as he cried and as he cried
He silently silently slipped and died.