Sunday, 29 March 2015

Gold Rush!

I wrote this four days ago.  Hope y'all like it!


Image Credits: http://www.incrediblesnaps.com


GOLD RUSH!

The whistle blows, it blows, gun fire,
You run as fast as you can,
Looking not behind you,
But at the five runners in
Front of you;
You must beat them, beat them!
One fell -- luck favoured you.
The second -- you might not --
He looks back, grimaces,
Runs faster, losing breath, swears,
Bends down, adrenaline
In the air,
You can do it -- gaze fixated, you can, you will;
Crowds cheering, some jeering, lose not your nerve,
Four to go, hang in there -- run,
Run!
Second lap, whistle sounds, the crowd

On their feet
You cannot let them down, down
The third one goes.
"Look at that one fly!"
The second still fighting to be first,
He doesn't see you streak past him,
Until after;
First one looks behind him, a hint
Of panic; you see a chance -- seize it!
Nothing stops you -- faster!
Gold.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The Wall: Part Four

For Part One, click here.
For Part Two, click here
For Part Three, click here



She sat huddled in a corner. The day's events had drained the life out of her--she laughed sadly. How ironic, she thought, that this thought should occur to her mere hours after being told that she was immortal. 

The boys had asked her to stay with them, and she had agreed wholeheartedly. She couldn't see why she should not have.  She needed friends now that she knew she was going to be stuck here for the rest of her life anyway. 

“Rose," her father had said to her once, when she was smaller, “Be good to everyone you meet, because the countries of the world are taking up arms against each other, and might be at war with each other very soon. By then, it will be too late to apologize for past wrongs.  Be kind." The tears had dried on her cheeks.

And her brother, two years older than her, he was her rock, her guide, she would go to him when she wanted to talk about her troubles at school, or things she thought her parents would not enjoy hearing.  He humoured her even when she could tell he didn't find her words very interesting.  Where was he now? Was he even--no! She would not allow herself to think--she must be strong.

Now she allowed her thoughts to drift towards her present condition. Really, the High Council had no right to change them, much less this fundamentally. Then there was also the off chance that they were lying.

How was she to know? There was no way for her to find out stuck in this stupid bunker.  Of course, there was no other alternative really, now that the Earth was ridden with nuclear radiation from the--oh, yes, there'd been a war, too. She shook her head. After all these years of living peacefully--although they had seen the war coming, given the tension between certain countries--it was still very sad that humans had chosen to end this way.

But her mother had said that after a great fall, there was almost always a great triumph.
She'd been careful to remember the ‘almost'.

Was it possible, however remotely, that they would go home sometime?

Home.

The word stung.  She took a deep breath of the artificially purified air.  Everything was artificial here.  Except intelligence. Humans had learned not to mess with robots after the Fall of 2020, and that was enough to stop them from building advanced humanoids ever again. Now it was just machines--vacuum cleaners, computers, ACs. Innovation in the technological sector had been stalled for years after that, or so the governments said.

Of course, if they had found a way for humans to stay immortal, they wouldn't run around with banners proclaiming it.

Funnily enough, they still hadn't found a cure for cancer. That would have been on the news. 

She tried to stop the morbid thoughts racing through her mind, but there was nothing else she could think about except her family, and where they were, and other questions she had no answers to.







(To be continued...)

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The Wall: Part Three

“Quick, get Rose."

“Two times in one day? That's weird."

The boys huddled together, facing the screen, waiting for Rajesh to come back with Rose, listening inattentively to the woman asking her assistant to spray that Everlastant thing in the room. Finally they saw Rajesh and Rose running towards them, out of breath.

The woman was apparently angry at her assistant for letting the flowers in the vases dry up, but the boys couldn't have cared less.

“Hide her," Peter whispered urgently, “Or make her sit on the other side of the screen, where they can't see her, that'll work. Rose, if you will--"

“Ahem, may I have your attention, please?" The woman coughed as she adjusted the notebook on her lap.

“The High Council has to tell you something very important regarding your... stay... here."

“So the High Council is finally talking to us after days of requesting an audience, eh?" a blond-haired boy called Brandon muttered. A few of the guys laughed.

Another screen materialized out of thin air; it flickered to life. Eleven men and women sat around a table in hard, wooden chairs.

A smallish woman wearing a lime green cardigan and a pink skirt (oh, she looks positively ravishing, thought Rajesh sarcastically) cleared her throat and began speaking in a manner that made her look quite constipated.

“As you are all aware," she said in her nasal, British voice, “this meeting was called to inform you of the circumstances under which you have been living all this time." 

She took a deep breath, gasping for air.

“Most of the human race has been destroyed by the outbreak of a nuclear war." The other High Councillors bowed their heads at this sentence.

“Now, since you all must be wondering, this is a bunker flooded with sunlight that is gradually dimmed, then evening is simulated, and then at night we need only turn all the lights off, creating the illusion of a full day.  Of course it would not be possible to house you aboveground as that is in perpetual darkness because of all the radiation and debris. It is with great effort we have managed to keep the air here breathable, with comfortable temperatures." She coughed before continuing.

“The High Council has devised a plan to ensure the continuity of the human race." She looked at a middle aged man sitting at the centre of the table, who nodded solemnly.

“We have made all the people residing in such bunkers immortal, and none of you will try to get out. It is for your own good. We regret to inform you that you are the only surviving members of the human race."

There was an eerie silence for a few moments after that. Every passing second felt like hours. 

And then there was pandemonium. A few of the Council members shot themselves, crumpling to the floor. They promptly jumped to their feet two seconds later. Chaos reigned long after the High Councillors had stopped talking. They had set their screen to Public Address so that the people in all the bunkers could hear them.

People were screaming, crying for their families. To live long was a blessing, but to live forever without your loved ones was a curse. The human race had long since understood the grief that came with immortality, through mere speculation alone. The fact that they had to live the rest of their lives here did not help.

“Shall I?" The woman asked the man in the centre, moving briskly towards a lever in the middle of a panel of red buttons. He nodded.  She pushed the lever down.

They heard a faint buzzing, clicking sound, and then nothing.

Peter rubbed the wetness out of his eyes and looked around at Rajesh--he had tear tracks running down his cheeks. Quentin was sobbing into Winston's shoulder, who was staring into space with a blank expression, as if he hadn't yet registered the High Council's words. Kurt fiddled with his hands, the way he had when he was nervous at school. Brandon rocked back and forth on his feet.
He looked at Rose. She had her head between her knees, and she was shaking.


And he had nothing to say to her.

*


(To be continued...)

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Wall: Part Two.

Hello, everyone. The Wi-Fi has been down for quite some time, and I don't know when it'll be back, which is why I hadn't been posting much lately. 

Anyway, this is the second part of my story called ‘The Wall'. Hope y'all like it! 

The Wall: Part Two

“The High Council requests an audience." A woman's shrill voice perforated the silence.

“Yeah, right, like you need to tell us that every time you come in anyway, ever-present so-called High Council," Ned grunted.

The boys sniggered, and glanced up at the screen that had materialized out of thin air in front of them.  

The woman sighed and inhaled deeply. She wrinkled her nose in disgust. “Nayla, would you spray some Everlastant around here? I can't believe this room was used only yesterday. Oh, and bring in some fresh flowers from the gard--"

“Hey, lady, just bloody get on with it, will you?! We don't have all d--"

“The High Council will NOT tolerate the use of swear words--"

“YOU AND YOUR BLOODY COUNCIL CAN GO TO HELL! NOW TELL US WHAT TO DO WITH THE GIRL!" Kurt shouted into the microphone. 

The woman was shell-shocked, and still staring at the boys with wide eyes, took out a black spiral notebook and scribbled something down.  
But she recovered quickly.

“The High Council will tell you that. I am not authorized to."

“Then why art thou 'ere, eh?" a boy with jet black hair and green eyes smirked. She was scribbling furiously. ‘Uses arcane words...'. Presently she looked up.

“I was merely told to... request you not to hurt the girl."

“'Course we won't," this time it was Peter, the oldest, who spoke. “But tell us why."

“She is very important. That is all I can tell you."

“And us? What about us, why are we here?" 

“The High Council will tell you that." And the screen went black.  

“That was a very informative conversation. Jeez, why don't they just tell us everything?"

“D'you think we should go ask the girl? She might know."

“Yeah, I think so too. They never said anything about not talking to her. I'll go." 

He got up to his feet, his tall frame rising like a shadow out of the darkness. A gentle breeze blew his dark brown hair into his eyes, and he frowned. He saw a door before him, and knocked softly.

“Can I come in?"

Inside, the girl's head snapped up. Her eyes widened in surprise. 

“Yes."

He opened the door. The girl sat huddled in a dark corner (well, almost everything was dark here) and she was looking at him; her sea-green eyes had a tortured and haunted look in them. She was beautiful, different... magnetic. But she would look more beautiful if she were smiling.

“Hey," he said gently.  

She was still staring at him intently. Gosh, those eyes, he thought. They reminded him of Maui, where he'd been on vacation a few....months... or years ago. He didn't quite remember.

“Why am I here?" the girl asked him fiercely. She hadn't looked like that much of a fighter when he'd led her back to that room that day when she tried to escape. But then, some people never fail to surprise you. 

“To be honest, I have no idea. I think all of us were sent here a few months ago. There seems to be no way to escape, since after you tried to get out, some kind of alarm went off, and we got a call from the High Council after that, telling us to...er...keep a closer watch on you."

“Oh," she said simply. Then she asked, “We?"

“Me and the other guys they sent here with me."

“Really? I haven't heard anything from outside."

“Maybe this room is insulated or something, I don't know." 

They didn't talk for a while, each staring off into different directions.

“Don't you get bored in here?"

“Not really. You learn to live with your thoughts once you realize you're alone."

“Would you mind if I came to see how you're doing more often? 'Cause it must be pretty bad staying in here with nothing to do, and no one to talk to."

“Oh, I wouldn't mind. A little light in this endless darkness wouldn't hurt."

“....I remember reading that somewhere..."

“It's from a book by Spruce McHall, called Desparado."

“...Oh, yeah, now I remember. ‘The human tendencies to cling to another human, in times of loneliness, when normally it would not be appropriate, are fascinating.' That was a good book." 

“Indeed it was."

He looked at her. She looked at him, trying to remember if she had seen him before. And then she smiled.  

He got up and walked to the door. He stopped.

“What's your name?"

“Rose. What's yours?"

“Peter." 
He left.

She remembered where she had seen him. The memory was not very pleasant. Before she'd been sent here, she had once known a boy named Jason. Jason Domiguez. He'd been after her for ages. Her eyes were hypnotizing, he'd said. There were days of passing notes in class, and phone calls in the nights, but she wasn't crazy. She'd seen the signs one day. Although dating at her age was normally not advisable, and you weren't really expected to be very committed to someone, Jason Domiguez was cheating on her, she just knew it. And she wasn't going to allow that. 

So she decided that the next day she would tell him she didn't want to date him anymore. She would use the it's-not-you-it's-me tactic, the I'm-just-not-ready tactic, and he would have no choice but to let her go.

That was where Peter had come in. She'd known him for a few days before that. Apparently Domiguez had been bragging about his various exploits to his friends, too, the slimy git. Peter had had enough character to actually come and tell her. For that, he'd gotten into trouble. The next thing she knew, Peter was in the hospital with a broken nose. It had been bleeding when he'd come and told her, so she was surprised he hadn't gone to the school nurse first. Domiguez was suspended for causing physical harm to a fellow student for two weeks, Peter changed schools because his father had got a job somewhere, and so she was never able to thank him properly. Yet here he was, of all places and times to be in, with her. Fate worked in strange ways.


“Oi, guys, he's back," Kurt called out to the rest of the boys as he watched Peter walking towards them. He raised his eyebrows. Peter shook his head. 

The guys sat down in a circle waiting for lunch, which was flown here by helicopters from who knows where. 

“So how'd it go?" Winston asked.

“She doesn't know anything. The first thing she asked me was why she was here. She says she's okay, but she looks kinda lonely in there. I've been thinking we should invite her to the Council Meetings."

“But those are, like, random. Pop up outta nowhere at the worst possible time." 

“Hmm..."

They heard a whirring sound right above them. The helicopter dropped their food packets in the centre of their circle.

“I fink we shid let 'er shtay with us," Ned volunteered through a mouthful of food after some time.

“What?! But she's--" one of the younger guys (his name was Quentin, but he said everyone called him Q) started, but stopped abruptly when he got dark looks from everyone around him. 
He realized most of the guys were older than him, and probably did want a girl around, if only for variety.

All the boys looked back interestedly at Ned. 

A tense silence followed.

“Okay, I'll ask her tomorrow," Kurt said, opening his own sandwich bag hurriedly.

“I'll go," Peter mumbled. He stared off into the distance, at the high walls that were surrounding them. A light bulb had just gone off in his head a few moments ago. He knew where he'd seen her. He'd been trying to--‘save' would be the right word here, he thought-- her from Jason, a fair-weather friend who became even more unfriendly after he'd told him off for cheating on yet another of his ‘catches'. He remembered that conversation as if it had happened yesterday.

“Aw, dang, Pete, remember I was telling you about that chick I saw at the park? I think she likes me," and then after a pause, “I think I like her too, man. I took her for a drive a few weeks ago, and almost every day after that, and, well, we....talk."

“Jason, you have a girlfriend who is in love with you."

“Yeah, I know, but did you ever catch me in love with a girl? I don't play for keeps, man."

“If Rose finds out, you're screwed."

“I know. But it's not like you're gonna tell her, is it."

“It just might slip out sometime."

“Dude, what the hell? All these times you never said anything and now you're all--"

“ She's a nice girl, you shouldn't do this to her!"

“ What's in it for you?" And then slowly a look of comprehension dawned on his face, and he punched Peter in the nose without warning.

“OUCH! JASON, YOU S--"

“YOU'VE BEEN SEEING HER BEHIND MY BACK, HAVEN'T YOU? WHAT'VE YOU BEEN TELLING HER?! YOU MORON!"

“Jason, just listen to me, I haven't been seeing anyone--"

“SHUT UP, MAN! JUST SHUT UP!" and Jason had stalked off without a word. Peter's nose was bleeding, and his insides felt on fire. Hurt and revenge burned through his veins. He was going to tell Rose. Now.



“Hey, Peter, everything okay?" He snapped out of his reverie. 

“Yeah, just... yeah, I'm fine."

“Dude, you looked like you were gonna kill someone," Winston said, eyeing him cautiously.

He snorted. “I just remembered where I'd met Rose before." The boys scooted to face him.

“Rose?" 

“The girl." 

“Ah, so you guys are on first-name basis already, huh?" Rajesh Subramaniam (his aunts from India all called him ‘Raj' or ‘Mani', so certain someones in his eighth grade class-- before he'd moved to the U.S., had insisted on fusing the two, and from then on his nickname was ‘Rani', which was not a very masculine nickname to have) ventured slyly, raising an eyebrow at him.

Peter rolled his eyes. “My friend was cheating on her."

“And you, being an immensely moral being, could not tolerate that." Ned grunted.

He chuckled. “No, I couldn't, so I told her exactly what he was doing--"

“So let me get this straight. You just decided to save her from your friend, AND lose your friend, AND make her see you as an older brother." Rajesh interrupted, ticking each point off on his fingers as he went.

“Hah! Buuuuurn!" Several of the boys chorused. Apparently saying burn was still cool. 

“--You'd have done it too, if you knew what he was doing," he countered in mock anger.

“Chill, man, we were just messin' with ya. But really, it was that bad?" 

Peter recounted the story of how Jason had given him a bloody nose, and was surprised to learn that Jason had been suspended for a few weeks after that. 

“How did these guys know we'd been fighting?"

“Dude, everyone knew-after word got around that Jason was suspended, that is. Anything to do with Rose, and the whole school knows about it. Come to think of it, she must've been the one to tell them. Gee, you guys would make a pretty good team, y'know? Like vigilantes out to end the Reign of Terror of The Slimy Cheating Undeserving Boyfriends." Rajesh answered.

Everyone laughed. A few slapped Rajesh on the back. “You're a smart kid, you know that?" Winston said, snorting. 

“I got all ‘A's on my end of year exams, dude. First in my class." Rajesh said nonchalantly. But he was smiling.

“The High Council requests an audience."


*










~ rain.

The rain Has forced me to contemplate  Upon myself, my deeds, and my shortcomings. My inherent hesitation Whose roots I do not remembe...