Posts Tagged ‘short fiction’

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It was summer. Of that and only that Mer was sure. It could have been any time of the day but sometimes she put it at noon, other times just before day touched dusk in a game of touch-and-go. The sun was bright and black kites were wheeling in the sky, coasting on air currents.

Mer skipped down the steps, clutching her laundry basket lightly. Too lightly as she found out as the basket slipped and clothes scattered and lay in heaps across pleated steps turning a corner. “Fuck, fuck, fuck,” she said, stooping to pick up the clothes. Instead she sat down on a step covered with muddy traces of foot prints, now imprinting her bum, rather large, that her grandmother would point at proudly and tell women with appraising eyes, “Now, these here are child-bearing hips.” Mer would demurely stay put waiting for the expanse of her wide hips to register.

He came up the stairs and peered at her from behind brown-rimmed glasses. His hair was spikey, just-mowed grass springing back. There was a strange familiarity in his gaze. Who knows? He may have been a lover, a brother, a husband in a past life. There was comfort in his presence as his feet wove past the strewn clothes and the upturned basket on his way up, he oblivious of the recognition that struck her, intense and urgent.

“Didn’t you feel it?” she asked before she could stop to his receding back that paused and turned around. She was struck by the efficiency with which her spongy brain, lungs, and larynx came together as one. Too efficient, maybe. A shadow of stubble had sprung across his jaws, strong and angular. Her grandmother would have approved. Angular jaws hold a man’s age up, she always said.

“That we know each other,” Mer added.

“I’d think so. You called my wife a whore,” he said.

Something like a memory fluttered its eyes open in the depths of her spongy and too-efficient brain. A thin-hipped pixie woman telling her to watch it. A swaying and belligerent Mer telling her a thing or two or three, whore being one.

His eyes slid down the steps and stopped a little way from her feet.

“You may have been talking about yourself,” he said.

Her eyes followed his. They rested where his eyes rested. A used condom nestled in the cup of her bra. So that is where it had disappeared. Not inside her vagina where it would grow unique flora and do what plastic did to those turtles. Mer would have liked to say something, caustic preferably and sulfur laced. But that bespectacled god was already a blur turning the corner.

Implicated thus, she sat, a buddha, a moment in time, a time in moment. Perspiration bubbled on her forehead and slid down its side, halting and losing momentum too soon. It had been summer. A high-pitched whistle fell in a sharp, straight note as a kite dived. The sky lay bare and blue.

© Anuradha Prasad 2019

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Delighted to have my short story, ‘Tarla’s Homecoming,’ published in The Bangalore Review’s May issue.

Grateful to The Bangalore Review’s editorial team for publishing it.

Follow the link to read the story –

http://bangalorereview.com/2019/05/tarlas-homecoming/

 

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My short fiction piece “A Scene of Grief” is up on “Literally Stories.” A thank you to the editors – Hugh et al for featuring it. Give it a read here – https://literallystories2014.com/2019/04/22/a-scene-of-grief-by-anuradha-prasad/#more-16938

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Roaring lullabies and foaming kisses, the sea her compass. Ruh walks along the edges of the flattening waves. The sand is dark, wet and salty. If she were to walk into the sea now.

She would be a little blob, her skirt spread around like a petal, a spreading stain. Then nothing.

But how long before the sea tears away the torment from her like dead skin?

She clambers into a boat without oars, red and alone, pulled up far away from the sea, which is getting closer now. The sand has dried; a crab on the boat’s rim. The smell of fish sticks to its wooden skin. Ruh settles into its abandonment.

A long time ago, there was a little girl who stood alone in the middle of a playground. An orb of dusty orange flew at her, almost knocked her down. A boy watched with concern and half a smile.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

The little girl laughed. The boy smiled and with him the world. Like starlings taking flight the laughter flew here to this desolate stretch of beach where a woman lay in a red boat. This moment changed forever.

Ruh awakens to a yellow moon, cradled in a boat, rocking gently, watched by a little girl. And just like that – the girl slips over and…poof, she is gone.

© Anuradha Prasad 2018

bengaluru fantastic

My short story ‘Sheela Makes Her Bed‘ is up on Muse India’s Jan-Feb 2018 issue. Grateful to the editor Smita for publishing it. I wrote it while doing a course on social issues and identities. Do give it a read 🙂

 

Image: Fanny Nushka Moreaux, Saatchi Online

Image: Fanny Nushka Moreaux, Saatchi Online

A girl whose name I can’t remember, we played house. I don’t remember her face – it may have been beautiful.

I only remember her mother’s sobs; the shock, anger and pain in her eyes. They left their house hurriedly, utensils clanging.

A crowd gathered to watch, neighbours leaned forward on compound walls. Take flight, birds on wire.

She was kind, this girl whose name I can’t remember. She straightened the crooked lines of the house I drew. Straight and sturdy the walls stood.

Years later…

A red-faced girl in love with a boy, asked me if it was true that this girl whose name she didn’t know and would never know had been raped. She smiled out the question, her eyes danced.

She was kind to me, this girl whose name I can’t remember and whose mother wailed.

© Anuradha Prasad