River

They tittered away, thick as thieves, both being drawn to the chasms of vices, without them knowing of it. They had managed to pilfer two packs of cigarettes from the convenience store. Rinsed with a new-found caffeine rush, the two set out on foot to smoke their first cigarette, then the next, and then, maybe one more. One, armed with her writing pad and blunt pencil, the other her sketching book and a small chunk of charcoal.

They reached the banks of the hushed, deep river, the sun upon them. One was an expert with matches, so she lit the cigarette and dragged in her first tobacco-laced puff. The other watched on with curiosity. She struggled with matches, but was finally able to light hers. The wind over the water, brought in a mixture of smells; dead fish, putrid faeces, lifeless crushed grass. Their olfactory senses did not make anything of this foulness and instead concentrated on the burning tobacco. She was smoothly able to draw the smoke in and out of her lungs, the other grappled with the power she wielded between her fingers. She kept toying with the butt of the cigarette, watching the water slowly glide under the bridge. In between a hacking cough, she uttered, “This isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.” The other, nonchalant, blew something that came close to a smoke ring, and laughed, “You’re not doing it right.”

They went through one whole pack between the two of them, one getting a heady tobacco rush, the other hacking and cackling like she had slugged a bag of glass marbles. The nicotine in their blood streams now, they drew out their notebooks. One drew the other, with a piece of charcoal. The other, wrote the other, with her blunt pencil. They looked at each other’s work and guffawed at their tomfoolery. They ripped out pages from their notebooks and tore them into little pieces, littering all around them, laughing wildly all the while. As the clouds gathered over the blue river, greyness took over. “It may rain”, said one to the other. It was nearing evening, and evening meant darkness. One pulled out a little yellow plastic jar, which she had sneaked out of her father’s medicine cabinet. Both opened their mouths wide and carefully placed the pea-sized white pill on their tongues. They let the warmth of their tongues melt away the chemicals into their bodies. They waited. To be swayed, to fly, to float, to wing away like butterflies.

The pregnant clouds above them burgeoned the sky and down came the pitter-patter drops of water. They decided to stay put, watching the bits of paper around them getting muddy wet. With the continued onslaught of the rain, evening turned to early night. The city lights came on. Wet and cold, they felt no magic of the tobacco or the chemicals. They were disappointed. They walked back through the muddy puddles, under the swaying trees. They both grumbled, splashed, and howled at the rain. They struggled to roll up their jeans, way up to the knees. Their canvas sneakers were already indelible and they liked them that way. Deep inside, they felt a tinge of happiness, but none spoke of it. They decided to call it a wasted day and parted ways.

The next day, they again met at the river, with the leftover pack of cigarettes. They first popped open the yellow jar that contained the pearly white that would set them swaying and dancing and floating and gulped down the entire contents of it. Then, without waiting for the fog to clear from their minds, they lit a cigarette each and puffed away. They did not want to write or draw or rip paper today. They only wanted to float. One cigarette gave way to the next and then the next and before the sun had reached its peak, the whole pack was done with. They felt like they could climb a mountain, they felt like they could swim the entire stretch of the river, they felt they could cry, they felt they could laugh, they felt. Wading in the cold water, they both felt like everything was being washed away; they forgot that night of being violated, they forgot the running, they forgot the shivering, they forgot the fear. They let the water take over, until their lips turned blue. And then they floated, like they wanted to.

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Odium for the Podium

Born decrepit, a tired spirit,

A shabby soul, a foul mole.

Swinging on the branches,

As the storms passed by,

Holding onto self,

And nothing more.

At the cliff, it danced,

Like a swaying shrub,

Petrified of falling,

Yet savouring the surge.

As the moon rose high,

And the wolves howled,

The derelict searched,

For a sanctum of peace.

It made a home,

Warmed it’s cold heart,

Not knowing the pastures,

That lay underneath.

Scavenging and hunting,

Foraging and gathering,

The despair in its bosom,

Withered and died.

Six feet under, 

It buried itself,

The anger, the fear,

Turned into dust.

When it rained,

The drenched grave wept,

For six feet under,

There was still pain.

Running

She was but a little girl. Of unknown dangers, she hadn’t learnt. Gleefully, enjoyably, she ran amok other little children. She did not know there was a monster lingering on. She did not even know monsters existed. She skipped and hopped, laughed with a shrill cry, that only little girls are capable of. Unbeknownst to her play, afternoon turned to evening and before she knew it, she had wandered off into the dusky boonies. She was left alone now, all the children had heeded to their mother’s call for supper, except her.

The cold wisp of the upcoming fall made her long for her coat. The blades of the grass were feeling wetter with each step now. She wondered what she was walking upon. Her judgement was telling her to turn back and find her way home. But curiosity trumped her psyche. Very soon, she was in need of galoshes; the squish and the squirm was too much for the little huaraches she had strapped on. Her yellow dress and her light brown hair were starting to bear the brunt of the muck surrounding her. She finally began to fear, she longed for home, she longed to be safe.

The monster lurking behind her all this while sensed that the little girl was ready to prey upon. At first, his red eyes gleamed with gluttony. His breath sharpened as he got ready to pounce. His heart, or whatever that organ was that thudded within his dirty chest, paced at a thundering rate. He did not make a sound, slithering like a snake. The trees sighed at his soft maniacal laughter. His eerie presence was sensed by the little girl. She turned back and screamed, screamed like only a scared little girl can. The wilderness came alive with her screams. Torches were lit, pitchforks sharpened, and men, women and dogs, ran towards the squishy puddle.

Horrified, the monster froze. He did not know if he should hide or run. He looked around himself, he looked at the disapproving trees. He saw the slowly marching torches towards him. He decided not to make a run for it, not this time, when he had come so close to being discovered. He stood his ground, all the while listening to the little girl scream. He made no attempts to silence her, he made no attempts to calm her. He just stood there, waiting for the discernment. He discovered a small knife in his pocket and whipped out the shiny blade out of his pocket as fast as he could. He laughed and told the still screaming little girl, “Ally, my little girl, I was looking for you!” He slit his wrists and let the blood gush out; the red mixed with the murky water in the puddle. The slit wrists resembled a fountain of red, a raging stream of red, leaking wildly. Ally now looked at the unconscious man closely, lying in the pool of blood and dirty water, and wondered, “He looks like the man from the pictures mum showed me.” She began wailing, confused and scared. Soon, she saw her mother approach in the distance, carrying her yellow galoshes. The galoshes she knew her father had brought her, not so long ago.

Rampage

The dependence on alcohol develops over time. The dependence on controlled substances develops over time. The dependence on someone develops over time. The dependence on routine develops over time. The dependence on dreams develops over time. Over time, everything develops and deconstructs.

The man was in need of a bottle of bourbon. And some pills. And someone to talk to. He had everyone around him, but he was as alone as he had ever been. The capricious child, the sleeping zombie, the zoo he call home, were not exhibiting the usual inviting vibes tonight. he was in need of port-keying to another dimension. Why was this urge to escape so strong? He could not, He would not, but the fact remains, there was an urge. He was not ashamed of it. He liked escaping, into a world where everything he imagined was possible. And he imagined so little. He asked to be happy, without being unhinged. He asked to see the snow, without wearing a jacket. He wanted to get away from people and places.

Him, his solitude, just stare out the window. Morose and engulfed by the shenanigans of the world, he poured himself a golden elixir. Within minutes of gulping it down, he was dancing with the wolves, yodelling with the werewolves, flying with vampires and flirting with the witches. Aah! That elixir had brought to life all the merry things he so wished for. He no longer was gloomy, if only a tad unsteady. He looked around the same room he was in before and realised that the crystal had found its way to the ground, much to the chagrin of the old lady he lived with. He did not care. He smiled a sinister, satisfied laugh and ran into the snow-field, where, weeks ago, he had dug a hole, about six feet deep, now blanketed with brown twigs and snow. He laughed maniacally at his own grave and jumped in. He stayed there and wondered if he should put a window there, so he could see through. He wondered if the snow tonight would freeze him solid. He laughed at the thought of that and began to pack snow into balls, throwing it in the air and catching it over his dirty brown hair. He did this till he was tired. He did this till a wold cried in the distance. He laughed and howled back. He decided it was time to go, and he started to sit up, climb up, but the stormy snow did not help. He tried, he gave up. He let the snow take over and took cover in the snow. He lay down with perfect contentment, smiling with a heavy heart. He asked the snow to tell the sun to give a light kiss to his wife and son in the morning. He asked the snow to not melt and stay there, even when the sun shone. He thanked the snow and lay there in peace.

Three days passed, the-zombiesque woman that he lived with remembered that someone was missing from their house. The dogs smelled him out. He was smiling, albeit a purple-blue smile, the dirty brown hair, slicked by the snow. The body, as rigid as can be. His eyes were open, much to the bewilderment of the locals. They hadn’t seen many bipolar bears on the other side of the rainbow. A funeral procession was held, much to the dislike of the deceased, where hymns and hyacinths were laid. He chuckled from within his dark coffin, “What are they chanting about? I was a bipolar, and they all though I was crazy.”