Her words prick like thorn
vulnerable liquid eyes deny
The horse flew ahead, eyes half-blinded by the fog. The exhausted soldier was in no position to command, though he led the horse with a weak hand. They had travelled for days, braving heat, storm and hunger. “Just an hour more” pleaded the soldier to a God he did not believe in. They reached the land of exile, at last. The horse slowed down at the sight of a boy. “Our country is free”, shouted the soldier with a last burst of energy, as he fell down, fatigued.
Thank you, Rochelle, for hosting Friday Fictioneers and thanks to Erin for the photo.
Steph adored oceans, rivers and even ponds. Apparently, water loved her back. That was probably why she was able to become a competent marathon swimmer. Starting with the English Channel, she was able to conquer the toughest of straits. Steph was called the ‘Queen of Channels’ until she encountered the Red straits.
Nobody had conquered ‘The Red’(as it was called) until then and the only teenage champion who attempted died mid-way in 1929. Surprisingly, her separated parents and old school friends came to see her off. Steph understood her enormous responsibility to her country and the hopeful crowd, as she dived into ‘The Red’ with a prayer.
After swimming for 18 hours, Steph was felt invigorated, instead of exhausted. She plunged on, with renewed energy, as she reached the middle of the straits. There were remnants of a wrecked ship. Steph ignored it and swam ahead, her goal in mind. All of a sudden, someone pulled her down. Seaweeds or sharks? Steph felt scared for the first time. As hard as she tried to rise above, she found herself going deep inside. There were further wreckages deep down- parts of an aeroplane. The last image she saw was that of a young man, wearing an outdated blue swimsuit. ‘The sea always claims its own.’ he said, shivering at the memory of 85 years.
This was written for Alastair Photo Fiction.
Most of you know KZ, but for those who do not – she is an impressive photographer and an amazing writer of short stories, haiku and haibun. KZ has a commanding vocabulary and plays with words. The best thing about her is that she is not scared to explore the forbidden or move out of the comfort zone. Her writing is not inhibited or restricted to a certain category.
Now KZ is publishing her long-awaited book, 100 Nightmares. If you are lover of horror, just don’t miss it. And you don’t even have to turn the page impatiently for the ending. The book is due in April and here is the cover description.
It takes a brief encounter with death to cause enduring nightmares.
A single well-placed blow could maim you for life…
One well-placed word could haunt you forever.
Microfiction is a blade—sharp, swift…
Sometimes it goes for the jugular, killing you in seconds.
Its silver tongue touches your throat and warm blood hisses before you could scream.
Sometimes, the knife makes micro-cuts on the sensitive sheath of your sanity, creating wounds that would fester throughout eternity.
Take my 100 words like prescription… a slow-acting poison.
Or read them all and die of overdose.
It’s your suicide after all.
K.Z. Morano is an eclectic eccentric… a writer, a beach bum and a chocolate addict who writes anything from romance and erotica to horror, fantasy, sci-fi and bizarro fiction. Over the past few months, her stories have appeared in various anthologies, magazines and online venues. Visit her at http://theeclecticeccentricshopaholic.wordpress.com/ where she posts short fiction and photographs weekly.
For more updates on the story collection like K.Z.’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/100Nightmares
He stared at the ship, called Victoria. Now was the time to attack, he felt. The ship was surrounded by fog and his men were ready with weapons, just waiting for a word from him. He was about to turn when a moment caught his attention. An elegant woman, aboard Victoria’s deck, was examining something. He, with an eye for these things, could clearly see that the ‘something’ was diamond. Then she carelessly tossed it to the river, as he stared. Now she held a chain, examining it. In a thoughtless frame of mind, he jumped into the sea to retrieve precious jewellery.
The next moment, a squad from Victoria jumped into the nameless ship. “You are under arrest.” thundered the commander. He called a number as the dumbfounded pirates were handcuffed.
“Task done, ma’am”
The elegant lady smiled, “All for some trinklets.”
This was written for Alastair’s photo fiction.
Emptiness! That is what I felt as I looked at the war ravaged land. I cannot tell you the name of the place so ravaged by state-sponsored atrocities. However, the once-beautiful city was littered with bodies while the few remaining survivors sobbed. No house had a child anymore; such was the government’s tactic.
from unknown place
This was written for the Ligo Haibun Challenge.
What if you just go to office and tell your boss, ‘I prefer not to”, if you are saddled with some mundane task? What if you refuse to do all work and still persist on going to your workplace? You do not want pay, but just occupy a place in your office, refusing to leave. Here, we all can imagine your boss’s next step. However, what would a 19th century employer have done in similar circumstances? He would probably just let his employee come and go as he wishes and even let him live there, till his patience runs out, of course.
You may have guessed that the previous paragraph speaks about Herman Melville’s, ‘Bartleby, the Scrivener’. Bartleby is a ‘copyist’ who joins the narrator’s law firm. He is diligent for a short period of time, until one day he refuses to proofread his work. The narrator is momentarily lost for words when Bartleby says, ‘I prefer not to.’ After a few days, Bartleby absolutely refuses to do any kind of work, complaining of a problem with his eyesight. His boss tries to get him to move out of his office, but in vain. He also discovers that Bartleby lives and sleeps in the office. Though he looks pale and seems silent, Bartleby holds a power over the lawyer with his passive resistance, ‘I prefer not to.’ His boss considers calling in the police to move Bartleby, but somehow does not have the heart to do that. Does Bartleby leave or does he start working again for the lawyer? What exactly is his problem?
Herman Melville’s short story dwells into the emotional imbalance of a young employee and its impact on those around him. Apart from Bartleby and the narrator, there are two more important characters, Turkey and Nippers. Middle-aged Turkey is efficient in the morning, but loses his temper in the afternoons, making mistakes. Nippers, a young man, is just his opposite, preferring to work in the afternoons, but idle away the morning with stomach problems. The narrator is a highly tolerant employer and there is no question of turning anyone away. Though hilarious in the beginning, the story turns sad and miserable. Behind Bartleby’s blank expression, silence and mechanical attitude, there perhaps lurks some vulnerable man with a dreary past. If you have not already read this, check it out now to find the ending to this sad masterpiece.
Here is the link.