Akash opened his eyes with some effort. The bedroom was still pitch dark. Was that a loud thud that woke him? He turned over his phone. Four a.m. Maybe his girlfriend, Miya, was back from vacation? But she wasn’t supposed to be back for another week. He thought of getting up and checking, but his eyes were too heavy. He strained to hear any other noise. When he heard nothing, he pulled the blanket over his head and went back to sleep.Continue reading Visitors
Julia was pissed at me today. She didn’t say it, she never does. But I could tell from the way she put her orange juice on the table with a thud, the way she looked at me in quick glances when I asked her about her plans for the day, and the way she hit the gas extra hard as she drove out.
When I think more about it, I realize she’s been mad at me for many weeks now. Ever since I accepted the position. First, I thought she was jealous that I was now making more money than her with easier hours. But no, it’s more than that. I’ve heard her chat with her friends when she thinks I am not listening. “I can’t believe he took a position with them.” I heard her say once. “He was never an idealist but to actually work for one of them?”Continue reading The Secretary
The boy felt swallowed by darkness whenever the moon hid behind a cloud. Wind blew through the thick forest like the raspy breath of old men back at the village. The wavering flame from his torch barely showed the narrow trail he followed.
“Who goes there?” A loud, harsh voice came from a bush a few steps ahead of him.Continue reading Traveler
The ceremony for announcing the royal wizard was always done in open-air, for reasons Ashna never understood. It was autumn, and a cold wind blew through the deer park. Ashna sat in his chair in the front row with the rest of the council wizards, shivering a little. He drew his cloak closer around him. He could hear the throng of people standing behind him, whispering, gossiping, speculating about the next royal wizard. He was in the running for the post, but that didn’t mean anything. The politics of the court had its own flow, its own shape, and Ashna had long back given up on capturing it.
Instead he focused on the remaining leaf of a tree he could see at the end of the deer park, behind the king’s make-shift throne. The leaf fluttered violently in the wind. Ashana felt it and tried to hold it with his mind. It was difficult, given the distance and all the noise. He focused his attention more and excluded everything.Continue reading The Shape of Magic
Mark couldn’t hear anything, but the flood was visible in the distance. Calm and slow. It seemed to be approaching the first few downtown skyscrapers. It felt like a silent movie.
“Get out now, dad!” Joan was shouting outside the car.Continue reading The Flood
The screams grew louder as Stone-man ran towards the room. Large flames danced around him, now leaping forward, now going back, teasing him with their carefree somersaults. The room’s door was engulfed in flames, he couldn’t get the boy out from there. If Mer-woman was here, she could hold the fire long enough for him to get the boy out. But she was outside the house, trying to douse the right places so the whole house wouldn’t collapse.Continue reading Stone-man
The earth was destroyed. No matter how I busied myself in the chores, the thought kept coming back to my mind in a periodic cycle like the chimes of the innumerable clocks on the planet I once called home. I am on a little spaceship like a few thousand others, moving towards unknown destinations in all directions of the galaxy. I pushed these thoughts away and went to check my monitor for the exploration routine as I had for ten years. But that day was different.Continue reading Dancing with the Stars
Mark Johnson stared at the gifts strewn across his office desk. In the center lay the leftover cake from the party, mangled from the assault of many forks but with the letters “py retirem” still intact in the middle. How many years spent at the company? Twenty? Somewhere around that. His memory was getting slower every day. In the last few years, people often had to remind him their names, and on several occasions he had mixed up the invoices of clients. It was time to retire, time to move on.Continue reading The Curse of Wyrd
Trees along the road brooded on their faint shadows as night drew nearer. Vish walked up to the door of Mr. and Mrs. Mehra’s house and knocked gently. A few seconds went by. His eyes wandered towards the doormat on which he had once spilled a cup of tea. Then the door opened.Continue reading Anatomy of a Goodbye
It was almost dark. As Megan parked her car in the driveway and got out, she saw the movers take out a green couch out of the house. A little pang of nostalgia rose in her, then swiftly dissolved into an overwhelming sense of liberty. In the past one year, she had spent many hours lying on this couch. Most of them had been miserable.Continue reading Moving