Short Stories

Short Story: “A Matter of Choice”

 

The light in the lonely hospital room was dimmed, as always at this time of night. The respirator’s sighs and the beeps of the heart monitor joined in a lulling rhythm, only disturbed by the occassional dissonant beat. Beneath the bed, the machine pumping liquid food through a narrow nasal tube hummed the base line. A strange orchestra. Only the two IV’s dripped without a sound.

The sole beneficiary of this performance was the skeletal figure of man lying between standardised linen sheets. His features were taut, yet his hair, thinning after prolonged medication, betrayed that he was not as old as he looked. He would never be as old as he looked.

Short Stories

“Paradise” – short story

 

When the lonely road through the barren desert dunes led his pick-up truck into a luscious green village, Abdel knew he had taken a wrong turn. Which wasn’t possible on a road that had always been straight.

He stopped his truck in the village square to consult his map. By the well in the centre of the square, a group of women in traditional garb interrupted their nattering to observe his arrival. He ignored them and checked his route. It wasn’t new to him, but this oasis was.

A tap on his window. He rolled it down.

“Hello. Lost your way to Al Nadah?”

“Yes,” said Abdel, “although I can’t see how.”

“Do not question fate,” the man replied and opened the driver’s door of the truck. His hands, like his face, seemed old without showing wrinkles or other signs of age. “Come, you must be thirsty.”

Short Stories

“Statue” – short story

Once upon a time there was a sculptor named Kumar, who carved statues of spirits and deities for the temple in his village. One day, the pujari of the temple brought him a block of marble bigger than himself. The marble was cold when Kumar first touched it. The gaze of the pujari was cold and factual, too, but unlike the gaze, the stone warmed under his hands. He felt its grain, caressed its surface. Finally he put his ear to the marble block and listened.

‘Let me out.’

A yakshini they asked for, and a yakshini whispered to him from the stone. So he took up his hammer and chisel, and began to sculpt.

Short Stories

“Payment” – short story

Dry land was scarce since the Flood. What remained were thousands of islands scattered about the endless ocean. Of them, only few were large enough to support a town this size. Fiorello recalled the stories his grandmother had told him, the ones her grandmother had told her in turn. Stories about fields of grass and grain as far as the eye could see; stories of people who travelled by land to the cities that housed millions. Fantastic tales, but little more. All he had ever known was this island, this town. As a child, he had thought these shores were the end of the world. How much he had learned since then.

He stood on the terrace of his house and stared out over the ocean. It was a quiet day today, with a calm sea and pleasant breeze to dispel the heat. A promising day, too, because yesterday he had spotted a tiny black dot on the horizon that hadn’t disappeared when he blinked. This morning, it was considerably larger and growing still. If the wind didn’t change, it should make landfall by noon. Fiorello intended to be there when it did.