STORY THREAD; Dec 3 – Dec 9, 2015 Flash Fiction Writing Contest: “Triangle(s)”

Please note: In December the Flash Fiction Family will be taking a Christmas Break from Dec 17th to Jan 4th, 2016.
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This post is for STORIES related to the writing prompt: “Triangle(s)” (any interpretation). Critiques, comments and feedback are encouraged on the LinkedIn Comment Thread; non story comments here will be deleted.

The point of these friendly contests is to hone our craft and create successful stories within a predefined set of limitations. There is no monetary compensation.

Please Note: comments may be considered “published” in regards to other contest requirements.

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Story Submission Rules:

  1. One story per author. Stories must be in English, unpublished and your own work.
  2. Stories must fit into a single comment box and must be under 1000 words.
  3. Voting starts Wednesday morning at 9:00am PDT / 12:00pm EST / 10:30pm IST / 5:00pm WET/GMT/ 4:00am AEDT (Thursday) and ends the same time on Thursday / 4:00am AEDT (Friday). Send your votes via email LIFlashFiction (at) gmail.com. Winner will be announced in the Comment and Story thread. You may vote only once and cannot vote for yourself.
  4. The winner shall name the next week’s writing prompt.
  5. In case of ties, co-winners may be announced and the moderator shall select a winner to name the theme.
  6. The winner has three days after the announcement to contact either Alice Nelson or Carrie Zylka via LIFlashFiction(at)gmail.com with the next theme/items of their choosing.
  7. See How to Participate for complete rules and disclaimers.


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14 thoughts on “STORY THREAD; Dec 3 – Dec 9, 2015 Flash Fiction Writing Contest: “Triangle(s)”

  • December 5, 2015 at 5:01 pm
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    THE TRIANGLE

    Huang made things out of wood. He made shelves, tables, chairs, cupboards. Now he was making a cot.

    He was sawing some thin lengths of wood to make the bars. His wife, Mei, beaming a smile of infinite happiness, waddled into the small workshop with a pot of steaming hot jasmin tea. Huang downed his tools and joined Mei at the table in the corner.

    Before sitting he placed a gentle hand on Mei’s stomach, which he did at every given opportunity – a new ritual for them both. Huang’s smile was possibly even wider than Mei’s. His smile kissed hers, and they sat together at the table, enjoying their tea and each other’s company, and sharing aloud their dreams for the future.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    San was born three weeks later. The couple had been trying for a baby for many years. Mei was in her 40s and they had virtually given up hope before the minor miracle occurred. But perhaps because of her age, there were complications.

    The local doctor said he’d never seen anything like it; a newly-born’s short but traumatic journey from the womb into the world, he said, meant that it was impossible for a baby not to emerge kicking and crying. But San was different. He was entire and seemed in good health, but for this crucial detail: he was born asleep.

    All kinds of treatment were tried, but the tiny soul remained oblivious to the world he’d entered. No one could give Huang and Mei any idea of when San would waken, or if he would at all. Their dreams for their child were put on hold, and with time and the uncertainty of it all, they began to fade.

    Huang continued to make things out of wood, and Mei continued to make simple clothes, which they sold at the market to provide for their meagre subsistence. San slept on in a small back room of their modest little house.

    He would take Mei’s breast in the early months, and liquefied food later, but only reflexively; there was no sign of any awareness of Mei or Huang, despite the lilting songs she whispered to him, and the delicate games Huang tried to play with him. They loved San unconditionally, but friends and neighbours noted that the smiles had gone, replaced by blank, unvoiced despair.

    On the way back from the market one sunny day, at a fork in the path through the woods, Huang saw something glinting in the undergrowth. He clambered through the thick bushes and stooped to pick up the object that had caught a ray of sunlight; it was a small triangle, like those used to teach music in schools.

    Huang frowned at the incongruity of finding such a thing in the middle of nowhere, shrugged his shoulders and resumed his walk home. As he walked he inspected the triangle and saw that it was made of a shiny metal that certainly wasn’t iron.

    Mei’s first impulse when she saw it was to tell Huang to sell it; it was silver, or something even more precious, she said, and the money would ease the precariousness of their existence. But Huang was reluctant; he had a feeling that he hadn’t found the triangle by chance, that it was a kind of omen.

    Huang spent the night staring at the ceiling of their bedroom. The next day he set to work; Mei hadn’t seen him so enthusiastic since the time she’d been carrying San, three years before. Huang worked throughout the day and by the evening it was complete: a mobile, made of wood and material offcuts, with the triangle at the centre.

    Mei helped him to fix it to the ceiling above San’s cot. Huang took a piece of wood that hung next to the triangle and struck it gently: TING. He was hoping that the sound, and what he was convinced was the inherent magic of the triangle, would wake his child. But San did not stir.

    Huang stayed by the cot all night, striking the triangle on the hour, every hour. The next night, he was at his son’s side again, striking the triangle, on the hour, every hour. But nothing.

    Mei told her husband that he must give up this madness; he would make himself ill, and then where would they be. Huang was inclined to agree with her, but said that he would try it for one more night. And so he did.

    Towards dawn of that third night, Huang struck the triangle one last time, and seeing that his son would still not stir, he shuffled sadly to bed, a broken man.

    He was woken at dawn by Wei, shaking him excitedly.

    “Listen, listen!” she breathed.

    From San’s room came a glorious sound:

    TING

    TING TING

    TINGTINGTINGTINGTINGTINGTING…

    .

  • December 6, 2015 at 5:51 am
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    Exam Nightmares

    ‘Maths is Fun’ is printed in bold on the cover of the examination booklet.

    The words mock her.
    Fun; who says?

    Maybe it is for some; for her?
    Not so much… truthfully, not at all!
    Feeling sick in the stomach does not reflect the idea of a fun time ahead this afternoon.

    The supervisor indicates that the exam time starts now.

    This is it!
    There is less than two and a half hours to prove to one and all that the months of classroom attendance, weeks of intense study and additional tutoring have not been wasted.

    The world as she knows it, has stopped solely for this event.
    The room is quiet but tense and the air charged as thirty four students concentrate to complete their papers within the given time frame.
    Her world may have stopped but the wall clock has not, ticking away the minutes and seconds regardless; en route to sealing her fate in this component of the syllabus.

    With trepidation she looks down at the exam papers in front of her. Two words leap out and terrify her; trigonometry and geometry.
    She nearly loses her composure, her brain threatens to freeze over and ultimately send her to her doom.

    Furtively she looks up and around her. Everyone else seems focussed, calm and busily reading and writing.
    The only sounds interrupting the silence being the rustle of a flipped page, the tiny clatter of a biro placed down onto grey laminated desk top.
    There may be the sigh of exhaled breath; the shuffle of a foot against a chair leg and if she listens very intently she just might pick up the sound of cerebral cogs turning inside the heads of thirty three other students.

    Quickly she brings her eyes back to her own papers. There is no way she wants anyone else to realise that she is struggling.

    She concentrates on appearing under control.

    How to work out when side measurements are a triangle or not a triangle?
    What is that triangle inequality theorem again?
    Is the one side longer or shorter than the sum of the other two sides?

    It’s so simple and I can’t even bring it to mind, she mentally panics.
    Alright, tackle a question you can answer confidently, she tells herself.
    Stop your silly nonsense and calm down. To panic only spells doom.

    Tick tock…tick tock…

    A glance at the clock; ten minutes have already been lost.
    Back to the paper and get on with it.

    She licks her thumb pad and flicks to the next page, trying to stay calm enough to keep a clear head.
    Words that jump out at her are;
    Obtuse
    Acute
    Equiangular

    ‘Ha; they are types of triangles of course.’

    Phew!
    Just recognising triangles relaxes her enough to give a bit of slack on the tight band forming across the forehead, allowing her cerebral cogs to turn at least a tiny bit.

    A pyramid in maths is a three dimensional arrangement of triangles to form a polygon.

    Polygon; a lovely word; she finds her mind meandering off to Egypt.

    There she starts recalling important scraps of information like what is the equation that works out the complete surface area of a pyramid?

    Renewed panic!
    Come onnn…!

    Surface area (SA) equals base area plus something or other…

    Meandering is her greatest fault and now of all times she is doing it again.

    How often during this year had the maths tutor asked her to repeat what he had just said?

    ‘Sorry sir, could you say it again please?’

    He was a dedicated maths tutor and quite patient with her, considering.

    He would shake his head and now she recalled one lesson where he said,
    ‘You are gazing out of the window. That is twice in one lesson period.
    Just how do you think you are going to pass at the end of this year?’

    ‘Sorry sir.’ She had blushed.

    One of the boys had shot his hand up to answer the question that she had no clue about.

    ‘Show off!’

    She continues her musings about that tutor and remembers how she had felt embarrassed about being caught out by him yet again.
    He was very cute and today she would like to do well for his sake, to contribute to his job satisfaction and to show him with this exam that his concerns had been unfounded.

    A clearing of the throat brings her abruptly back into the present.
    She tracks the sound to the exam supervisor and meeting his stare she realises it has been directed at her.
    She nods in response.

    Tick tock…tick tock….
    Twenty minutes has passed and no question on her paper has yet been fully answered.

    The next question throws up more frightening words;
    Isosceles
    Cosine
    Tangent – ha, that’s me always on a tangent… Oops, concentrate.

    It is no good.
    She pictures herself doomed, encased within her own polygon tomb, only herself to blame and all because of her inept failure to grasp the mathematical concepts that are confronting her.
    Yes entombed forever within her polygon, a tiny unheard voice pleading for release from deep within its sealed interior.
    Her mind and body will soon succumb to the oppressive darkness and eventually she will fade away and die, starved by lack of maths knowledge.

    How will she become encased in a pyramid?
    Within two hours she will have constructed her polygon.
    Will it be equiangular?
    Probably not; her triangle measurements will probably end up being oblique.
    Each unanswered equation, each incomplete answer builds another step and when the examination supervisor calls time her tomb will be complete.

    Dear reader, that mathematics examination was years ago, school is over; she did graduate and has long since moved on.

    ‘Sorry sir, for you I would have made the effort… if I had applied, if I had tried, I could have and I would have, but what was the point?’

    Now let me escape this nightmare memory of triangles and return to my beloved words.

  • December 6, 2015 at 11:53 am
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    Matthew is in love; in all has eighteen years he has shied away from emotional attachments, but this one hits him with the force of a hurricane. Arthur occupies all his waking thoughts and even invades his dreams. Matthew is confused; all his preconceived ideas have been thrown into chaos. He is no longer his own person.
    Arthur, for his part, is taken by surprise, battle hardened and cynical; he has been everywhere and done everything. Never in a thousand years does he think he will fall in love with someone young enough to be his son, but there he is, in mid air and unable to stop the momentum.
    Matthew is on course for a promising degree, but he is prepared to abandon his studies, rather than be parted from Arthur.
    Arthur, being older and wiser, tries to persuade Matthew to go back to college. The tearful young man is torn between his ambition and his love for Arthur.

    “Here’s what we’ll do,” Arthur consoles him.
    “We will each have a tattoo, it will bind us together, and wherever you are, you have only to look at it and know that I am thinking of you.”

    “But you won’t be with me. I don’t think I have the strength to survive university if you aren’t there with me.”
    Matthew sobs.

    The tattoo artist shows them various designs, but they settle on a simple triangle.

    “This triangle on the back of our hands symbolises three things.” Arthur says.
    “ At its base, there are two corners; one is yours and the other is mine. Then, at the apex is the Celtic symbol of eternity. It signifies that we are together even if we are physically apart.”

    The first year at university is difficult for Matthew. He has no problem with his studies, but he finds his new surroundings confusing. He feels somehow out of place. It is difficult to fit in, all he can think about is how soon he can be reunited with Arthur. Scotland is a long way from Winchester and train fares are prohibitive on a student grant.
    Arthur, without the steadying influence of the relationship, sinks into a depression that is only relieved by drunken binges. He has a few unsatisfying encounters, leaving him full of regret and self-loathing. He comes to the conclusion that Matthew deserves better. After one particularly sordid encounter he decides to sever all ties.
    Arthur lacks the courage to tell Matthew face to face that their love affair is over; he stops writing and phoning. Matthew is devastated. He doesn’t know if Arthur is alive or dead. He is unable to concentrate on his studies; all he can think about, day or night, is Arthur.

    ‘Why has he done this? What did I do wrong?’

    In the long summer vacation he hitch hikes to Edinburgh and spends the whole holiday searching the gay bars from Edinburgh to Glasgow. No one has heard of Arthur.
    Totally disillusioned and broken hearted, Matthew returns to college. He sleepwalks through his degree course, only half alive.
    Slowly, with the help of the college counsellor, he comes to accept the fact that Arthur has abandoned him.
    Matthew knows deep down that his relationship with Arthur was special, and he makes no attempt to pursue other friendships. Arthur cannot be replaced.

    ‘He may have abandoned me, but I’ll never abandon him’ he thinks sadly.

    He gathers together the threads of his shattered life and, after graduation he finds a job and moves to an upmarket area of Winchester where, having no other interests he applies himself to his work.
    Matthew being of a meticulous and obsessive nature, his attention to detail is noticed and he progresses rapidly up the career ladder. Outwardly all is well but he is quite unable to forget Arthur, and a deep anger festers in his heart at what he sees as the injustice of the world.
    He is awakened in the early hours by a sound from below. Matthew knows he has locked all doors and windows. He listens for a few minutes, and when he is sure there is an intruder, grabs a baseball bat and creeps downstairs. A sudden surge of anger grips him as he sees a dark figure rifling through his desk. Raising the baseball bat high in the air he brings it down with all his might on the intruders head.
    There is a sickening thud and a sound like eggshells cracking. The burglar falls senseless to the floor.
    Matthew starts to shake; his legs no longer support him. Sinking down in the nearest chair he sees a pool of blood slowly spreading from the burglar. There is no pulse.

    “My God, I’ve killed him.”

    He knows he will not be able to move the body on his own and decides to call the police. ‘After all’ he thinks, ‘it was self defence.’
    The case goes to court and Matthew is charged with manslaughter. The first jury fails to agree on a verdict; five of them press for a guilty verdict, but the other seven disagree.
    Another jury is summoned with a similar result. The case has attracted much publicity; many people are on Matthew’s side. Eventually the third jury agrees on a guilty verdict and the judge passes a sentence of ten years in Strangeways. Arriving at the prison Matthew is led to a cell, measuring about ten by twelve feet with a set of bunk beds, a stainless steel toilet, single table and a wash basin. As the steel door clangs shut behind him, his new cellmate rises to shake his hand. With a shock Matthew recognises a triangular tattoo with a Celtic symbol at its apex.

  • December 6, 2015 at 2:43 pm
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    Delusions

    Neena cut the sandwiches and packed them. I helped her pack and she said, “You are really excited about this picnic, aren’t you?”

    “Aren’t you?”

    “With the kids it’s no picnic,” she smiled.

    I was living at their place since last three months, and was enjoying myself immensely, when I got to do the thing I loved. Make love.

    Neena tried to stop the affair her husband had, but she didn’t know it was me her husband was having an affair with.
    I tasted a triangle of a sandwich. It was delicious. If nothing else, she cooked well. Her only grace point. But soon I would get rid of her, and that would be the end of obstacles. We wouldn’t be a triangle anymore.
    So we were off in the hatchback.

    I planned to take him on the high Silonda trail, while both she and the children would have fun rides around park. The small waterfalls was another nook for us. You might think that was all there was on my mind and actually it was.
    It was an hour’s drive, but we reached there much later with the unwarranted traffic halts.

    “So let’s have something to eat I’m ravenous,” I said.

    “Uh so soon… okay then,” Neena spread the sandwiches, cupcakes, and refreshing cups of coffee. I felt ready for the day’s action.

    Sudheer insisted after a while we should join them.

    “Don’t be silly,” I told him,” I want to see the waterfalls high above and then the caves are also fantastic as you said.”

    “We will have to hurry,” Sudheer said.

    “No time to stop and stare!” I quoted. We reached the top and there was lush vegetation to entice us. I pulled him into the dense area and said, “Why are you wasting time; we never did at the house.”

    “Stop it! I won’t go ahead with your devious plans anymore. I have pledged to stay away from you, and if you insist you will have to leave our house.”

    “Oh but I was just joking, I know this is not the place, you must be scared.” I quipped.

    “Whatever ! Are you coming, I am going to join the kids?” and he walked as fast as possible uncaring of whether I was following or not. I was sure it was the place that inhibited him. Once home, and she left for work, he would come back to normal.

    We reached home and the kids chattered about the trip.

    The kids had taken lots of pictures and a selfie in which yours truly was missing.

    Once we reached home, I went to my room after giving him a hurt look. He ignored it. I Tomorrow, she would be away, and I would take my revenge then. Love’s revenge is sweet, I would pretend to be angry, then he would be sorry for his behaviour and then…..uh well you know! Finally she left for her work. Thank God! If you think I should be ashamed then you’re mistaken, I wasn’t.

    He came for lunch the next day. I tried to act cold and uncaring. Then I said, “Darling?”

    “I think you better come to your senses. I have realised I don’t want to cheat my wife with anybody least of all you, my aunt!”
    “You didn’t think of that some months back,” I was indignant.

    “Yeah but I realised and that’s it!”

    “You can’t dump me like that, I won’t let you.”

    “Then you will have to leave the house.”

    Pure rage enveloped me. From the knife set I took the sharpest one and went after him. He backed off. I followed him around the table. I attacked him at his extremities. I would bobbit him if necessary, unless he agreed to my terms, but he asked me to be sane.

    How dare he? I slashed his body five, six times and he was bleeding. I felt a moment of sympathy that passed away, as my passion took over, and the fact that I would never have him again.

    Suddenly the key turned and I knew she had come – the bitch! I threw the knife and ran to may room.
    She screamed and screamed like a shrill parakeet, and I came rubbing my eyes.

    “What happened? My God, who did this to him?” I said.

    “Don’t believe her, she slashed me.”

    Neena quietly dialled the police. I didn’t know it was on her speed dial.

    “Why would aunty do that?” she asked looking askance at her husband.

    “He seduced me when he came to the town for business and what was I to do? I was all alone and helpless.”

    “Don’t believe her,” Sudheer pleaded.

    You mean she is the woman – you had an AFFAIR – YOUR AUNT!! You said it was over and all the time you were having a gala time right under my nose. You BASTARD!

    The police came in then and took me away. If I could burn her with my eyes she would have been cinder by now and so would my ex-lover. And, truly, I wasn’t his real aunt but his step-aunt.

    ***
    Sudheer was recuperating in the Everest Hospital and Neena looked after him. She brought him home and a maid answered. He was happy things were normal then he saw the bags.

    “Why are your bags packed,” he asked Neena.

    “Did you think I would stay with you after that? I don’t want to be anywhere near you now, and I will send you the divorce papers.” Neena said calmly, “I will ask you for a huge alimony so be prepared.”

    “Please don’t go. I had stopped the affair, she tried again today, and when I refused she attacked me.”

    “You deserve that. You’re a scumbag and I wouldn’t be surprised if I hadn’t come, she would have killed you. That ‘s what you deserved.”

    With that Neena banged the door, as she stepped beyond the line of a married woman’s life.

  • December 7, 2015 at 1:17 pm
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    Tessellation
    © Emmanuel Malho 2015 (revised)

    Tom and Jane were walking. It was late night of a hot Sunday in October. Little ever changed around here. The lovers just returned from a shark cage diving in Gaansbai. The sightseeing was breathtaking, and the event’s memory would never be erased. Tom still had it in his mind. They were in the reinforced steel cage, but the clear feeling of security tessellated when a white shark ignored the bait and went right at the cage. Tom feared for his life and held to Jane but all the shark tasted was steel. It ran away from defeat. Only one turn to get to the street where they lived now. A man running with some errands passed through them and almost took Tom down.
    – Hey! Watch it! – yelled Tom. They’d be home soon. – My love, it’s getting late – he said, stepping up his pace.

    Randall and McAvoy were in the streets, not too far away. Randall, the big, muscled African, in his mid-thirties and McAvoy, the European skinny man in his almost thirties with a full grown beard. Both hiding their knife in their left trousers pocket and their gun by the waist. Wearing their hooded jackets, they’d wait for unprepared tourists to pass through and steal them. They were playing cards on a dust bin.
    – Hey, five minutes before our shift starts – reminded McAvoy; obviously nervous. It wasn’t the first round, but McAvoy was always nervous on rob nights.
    – You always sweat the details, man. Get a hold of yourself – Randall quickly hit his partner’s head. McAvoy shook his head and put his hood back.
    – You’re right. If it didn’t go wrong until today, why would it go now, right?
    – Exactly – his partner answered.

    Two floors above and in the other side of the street, Tiffany was teasing Adrien passing her bare foot along his leg under the table. Adrien was a tourist from France and this was his last evening in town. Tomorrow by 11 am he’d be flying back to France. The dining room was sweetly scented, dim lighted and the ambient was set with a soft music. “What a poor sight”, he thought looking at what seemed two thugs and checking everything was in its place. He met Tiffany a day ago and invited her for a dinner at his place. A few minutes ago, the gorgeous redhead came with an emerald dress and candy pink lips. He promptly took her to the dining room and took her chair so she could sit.
    – I’ll be right back with dinner – he said close to her ear, as she sat. A minute later Adrien was back with Spaghetti Alla Carbonara and a bottle of white Gavi di Gavi.
    – This is the traditional recipe – he winked. Two minutes later, they were both eating pasta and Tiffany was teasing him.

    – Hey, look at those two – said McAvoy. – They really look in a hurry, let’s go so they don’t get by too late!
    – Alright, let’s go! – Randall replied.
    McAvoy crossed the street quickly. He sneaked behind them, and when they reached the alley where Randall was, McAvoy violently bumped them into the alley. It took quite a swing for McAvoy and he lost his balance right after. He was always trying to switch positions with Randall, but they’d always agree that Randall looked more like a menace wielding any – or none – of the weapons than him. So he’d simply put the victims in Randall’s reach.
    – Well, well. Packing up, are we? Randall grinned. Tom and Jane were still on the floor, recovering from the bump. McAvoy was already up, pointing their knife at them.
    – Come on lads, I ain’t got all night. Wallets to my partner’s side. Don’t do anything stupid and we won’t too, aye? – he said, juggling his knife towards them. Tom felt the killing instinct in McAvoy’s eyes as in the white shark’s.

    Both Tiffany and Adrien had a little too much wine. Who could blame them, if it went so well with dinner? They got up and slowly danced to the music. His hand on her lower back, her hand on his chest. They could feel each other’s temperature rising by the second. She started to caress his chest, and he held her tighter. Using the music to set his pace, he silently led her to the living room’s window. Once they got there, he quickly turned her on his back and against the window. He kissed gently her shoulders, towards her neck, keeping the pressure from his hips on hers. He was about to pull her underwear down when she suddenly makes him stop.
    – Adrien, look over there! Those guys are stealing those two! – she said, terrified. He looked. The man being robbed seemed familiar to him – he was the one he almost took down not too long ago.
    – Well, we can’t do anything. Might as well enjoy it. I bet 500€ at least one of them will die – he said, keeping on the pressure.
    – You’re such a jerk! – she fixed herself and started pressuring him with her hips too. – YOU might as well enjoy it.

    Jane threw her handbag towards Randall.
    – Thank you, miss. You really look like you’re getting hot beneath all those clothes.
    – Yeah, he’s right – agreed McAvoy. – Might as well have a peek – he said, while Tom threw his wallet to Randall’s feet, powerless. McAvoy approached Jane and pointed his knife to Tom:
    – Don’t move.
    The second McAvoy touched Jane, Tom managed to get his knife McAvoy’s knife through his own chest and fell. Incredulous, Randall fired his gun. His aim wasn’t that great and Jane’s body took Tom’s bullet. Randall’s perplexity gave Tom enough time to point the knife to Randall’s chest, but Randall flipped him in one arm swing. At point-blank distance, Randall didn’t miss his second shot. He ran for cover, as he heard sirens.

    – I guess you owe me 500€.
    – Shut up and take what’s yours for tonight – Tiffany said lifting her dress

  • December 7, 2015 at 3:05 pm
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    We knew there was a problem up ahead… the Captain of the yacht looked preoccupied through his refracting telescope “It’s all fog and no wind”, he said in his thick Pontiberry accent. Rhona came up in a skimpy swimsuit with a wrap, just covering what Dad would call her “Essentials” “What’s the problem, Cap'”, she said seductively. Dad blushed and Rhona laughed as she popped another Champagne bottle. she looked through the spyglass and gasped. “I don’t believe it we are in the Bahamas and it’s foggy!”. Marcus, my brother came up too, to see what all the hassle was about. The Captain (Whose name was Mr Johnson) continued to drive the boat into the fog. “Now you two”, said Dad, “I don’t want any panicking. We all knew how Rhona got when the ship hit powerful waves; but said nothing and just nodded. I glanced at Rhona she was happily pouring a glass of champagne. “Land-Ho” Shouted Mr Johnson suddenly. We all got up. to look: Sure enough an island was dead ahead and we were about 40 meters from it. We. Threw the dingy into the water and made our way to the sandy beach
    When we reached the Island the thick air suddenly lifted and we saw there was nothing…literally nothing for miles. even the yacht was gone. “Looks like you’re here to stay”, came a voice. then out from behind the trees came a woman with short brown hair, a suede jacket, jodhpurs, flying goggles on her head, and a very pleasing smile “I’m Amelia” Dad looked like he was going to have a stroke “Earhart?”, he said quietly not quite believing it . she smiled and put out her hand “That’s right” Mr Johnson shook her hand vigorously ” Always been a fan” he said. “But you haven’t aged a bit” she laughed a light tinkling laugh “That is the only befit to the Bermuda Triangle: It keep’s us young, eh Glen?” Glen Miller in a moth-eaten suit appeared “does anyone have any cigarettes? Said the american band leader. still as young as he was when he went missing. “They say you died of a heart attack with a prostitute, in 1940” Glenn laughed “No, sir, I flew over here in 1940 and been here ever since”
    ” As have the crew that survived.”, said Amelia and a whole lot more. I afraid this is your home now too. D.B Cooper, came out from the trees as did a few Airmen. Then a surprise for Dad as Jim Morrison came out from the shade too. “You died in Paris!”, he said. “No, man, I just let the world think I did” he smiled at me and I felt myself blush, “No-one ever looked inside the coffin in Pars” laughed Jim “So an empty coffin is in Poets Corner” I was flying secretly to Rio, when the plane crashed here” Rhona came forward “God I love your music!”, she gushed. ” Amelia and Glenn took us to the village and told us a few things. “You’re now stuck, like us here” Marcus and I looked at each-other. “No-one can see the Island”, said Jim. “But we will never age? “chipped in Dad. “No”, came a reply. But you have to fit in with our rota. I mean let’s face it”, said Jim with a smile “You’re in the Triangle forever”

  • December 8, 2015 at 6:59 am
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    Spin Cycle.

    For a split-second he sat there frozen with fear, caught with his pants down, as it were, completely unprepared. He stuttered out an explanation, or tried to. “B-Buffy, come on now, it’s-it’s not what it looks like. Please, please don’t be like that Buffy. I can explain.”

    It started out innocently enough. He met her at the Laundromat. The owner introduced them and told him her name was Sydney. She was open and friendly, talkative even: Something unheard of in that part of town. Every time he had to do his laundry, Sydney would show up. He didn’t know how she did it, maybe she lived across the street, or had spies, but she always appeared, was invariably friendly, and in no time at all was practically throwing herself at him.

    She treated all the other patrons with disdain, especially other men; and she was beautiful, there was no question about that, she was absolutely beautiful. His first few utterances were so pathetically lame, he couldn’t believe she gave him the time of day. “Well hello to you too,” he said. “Do you live around here?” ‘My God,’ he thought, ‘what a stupid question.’

    Their brief but friendly encounters soon became a regular thing. If it wasn’t a tryst, then I don’t know the meaning of the word. He felt guilty. And why shouldn’t he? He knew it was wrong. Not that they did anything—physically wrong, he just knew it felt wrong, he knew what was in his heart. He was as unfaithful to Buffy as if, as if…

    One day, he impulsively enticed her to his home. “Come on up,” he said. “I won’t bite, I promise.” She’d purred, almost like a kitten, and followed him fearlessly up the steps. Before he knew it, she was in the apartment and they were alone. Once again his tongue betrayed him. (Don’t get ahead of me.) He was simply at a loss for words. She gazed at him with her big green eyes, holding him in a veritable trance. She could do whatever she wanted, yet all she really seemed to desire was his company, his warm embrace. After awhile, she would get up and sit by the window, staring out at the street with a mysterious smile on her face.

    He knew it couldn’t go on this way. Sooner or later he’d have to confess. He’d have to confront Buffy with the truth, the awful fact that their relationship was no longer exclusive. It kept him up at night, sitting on the couch, swirling a glass of wine in his hand, staring at the wall. Sooner or later, he’d have to come clean; be open and honest with her. He knew she wouldn’t take it well, if she took it at all. He dreaded the prospect and kept postponing it, week after week after week, until it became easier to pretend than to be honest. He loathed himself for his cowardice. How could he do this to her? After all they’d been through together? He wasn’t just a coward, he was a bona fide asshole as well. The proof was overwhelming.

    But he only entertained these thoughts at night, when he was alone. Whenever Sydney was around, he pushed those thoughts to the back of his mind. If you saw her you’d understand. If you saw her eyes, her hair, her magical grace, her unmistakable animal magnetism, you’d feel the same way too.

    And of course, you know how the story ends. It was inevitable. One day, when he was least expecting it, Buffy came home while Sydney was there. She came to a halt and practically froze in the doorway. Her face went slack and lost all expression, then a cloud seemed to cross her face. She shook her head, first in denial, then disbelief, and finally doubt. She took a step back, as he got up and began walking towards her, arms outstretched, reaching out to her. She huffed; it was a disdainful, dismissive sound, the sound of disgust and rejection.

    “Buffy wait, no. I can explain,” he said. “I can explain.” But it was too late, it was—all wrong. In that instant he knew it: The shock, the shattered trust, their relationship would never be the same.

    The dog-walker tried to urge the yellow Lab forward. “Come on Buffy. Come on girl. Let’s go inside.”

    From inside the apartment he urged her forward too. “Come on Buffy,” He managed to say. “Come on. Don’t be like that, Buffy. She’s just a cat.”

    They were a tragic trio, he, Buffy and Sydney. But life goes on.

  • December 8, 2015 at 9:13 am
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    Elly looked up, the cabin door of the 747, Miami to Porto Rico, was being locked for take off. She made herself comfortable for the long flight.

    Melissa the head steward offered her a drink, then went about her duties. As she went through the plane checking for departure readiness she noticed a young lady sitting towards the front on the right. Melissa shock her head and smiled. A few rows further back on the left she came to a complete stop and looked back over her shoulder, to see if either of the girls had moved.

    Thinking: It couldn’t be. Her mind must be playing tricks on her or something odd was happening. This was going to be an interesting flight.

    On Her way back through, she checked again. Each girl had her head turned away so it was hard to tell. Melissa decided to check the manifesto. “First class, 6A, Elizabeth Glenn, 13C, Elizabeth Farrier, 36H, Elizabeth Brooch. They couldn’t be sisters, Cousins maybe?” With no time to worry about it, she went back to work.

    Lizzy adjusted her belongings below the seat in front of her, putting her headphones and phone in her jacket pocket. She noticed the steward looking at her funny, wondering what was up. Pulling out her ticket, she checked her seat number.

    Billie thought of herself as tough, not much fazed her, but flying wasn’t her thing. She had only been on a plane a handful of times, the last couple were no fun. The turbulence had made her sick, take off and landing gave her horrible headaches. Why she’d agreed to this trip she wasn’t sure. Yet something deep inside told her she was meant to be here. Billie was busy trying to breath, closing her eyes, she didn’t notice when Melissa stopped in front of her and starred.

    Melissa gave the safety instructions as required, then took her seat for lift off, but she couldn’t get the young ladies out of her mind. Once things leveled off, she kept busy in first class and the cock pit.

    An hour into the flight Melissa was called to the forward. The Captain wanted her to inform the squad they had been diverted a few hundred miles east, to try and avoid a storm. They should take their time serving the refreshments. Once around the danger they would try and make up for lost time. The Captain also let her know, they would be flying just inside the edge of the Bermuda Triangle. He would do all he could to stay on the perimeter.

    Melissa went back to checking on First class passengers. In 6A, the petite, wavy auburn haired, beauty was sleeping peaceably. Her jeans and sweater, clean and tidy, like they’d been dry cleaned. This would be a good time to speak to the rest of her crew. As she passed 13C, she looked over to see a very similar cinnamon coiled haired, gal, asleep in much the same position as her first class guest, even her top and slacks seemed the same, maybe not as refined.

    “Hmm, had the girl moved, no she couldn’t have gotten here and fallen asleep that fast.”

    Melissa spoke to her team, heading back up the other isle, at 36H, the same young lady, or was she just in the same outfit, why was everyone looking alike today? Seemed a bit more agitated. Melissa stepped forward to see if she could get Billie anything. That’s when she noticed the clear crystal blue neck-less and the girls piercing green eyes.

    “Excuse me, may I get you anything?”

    “I seem to have a headache, if I can just sleep, I’ll be fine.”

    “We have an eye mask. I could get you one, it might help. Do you have any relatives on this flight? We could rearrange seats.”

    “No, I ‘m traveling for work. I’m to meet my boss in Porto Rico.”

    Melissa wasn’t one to believe in superstitions or tales of disappearances, but looking at this girl and the other two who looked so much like her, a story came to mind.

    Long ago there was a shift in weather patterns, the earths land broke and drifted apart. The great city of Atlantis built a covering over it and evaporated. No one knew where it had gone. Twenty years ago a Professor claimed he’d found her. He brought back a gemstone, from under the sea, with three pyramids inside. The king and Queen had triplets and each wore a side of a powerful pyramid, the three new baby princesses had also gone missing. Legend was, one day they would return and restore power to the great city. If they managed to bring the other gem too, not only would it give power but they would reign for the next thousand years.

    Something about these three look a likes began to concern Melissa, yet, they seemed to know nothing about each other.

    Melissa brought Billie the eye mask. The minute she slipped it on, Lizzy woke with a start. She got out of her seat and headed for the bathroom. Elly stood looking confused and walked towards 13 C, stopped in a daze, stretching. As Lizzy exited the restroom Elly returned to her seat.

    The Captain called Melissa. He told her some unforeseen force was drawing them closer to the center of the triangle. Melissa pulled out her cell phone, searching for the Story on Atlantis. As long as the princesses gems remained in some sort of a triangular distance; they would be sucked into the depths of the sea like a magnet. Who knew what would happen if the girls stood by each other in a tighter triangle.

    Was there any way to break the pull? If the girls knew nothing about each other maybe there was a chance.

    Breaking news:
    A 747 flying from Miami to Porto Rico has vanished, somewhere over the Bermuda Triangle.
    All 400 passengers and crew are believed to be dead.

  • December 8, 2015 at 4:04 pm
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    The Meeting in the Middle of the Triangle

    © Anika Madison 12/08/2015 (998 words)

    Forty-five year old Leon Wallen lives in the penthouse suite that covers the entire top floor of luxury apartments located in Miami Beach. No one knows why a single man needs so much space. The only reason the building owner needs is that he has a ridiculous amount of money.

    Twenty year old Lucy lives in the far left first floor apartment with her divorced mother Leona who inherited “old money.” Many people believe that Leona was born without a personality trait. They believe Lucy’s father married her to enter into the “old money club.” Lucky for him Leona was too in love to ask for a prenup.

    Leona is very protective of Lucy and tells her that she is not to have a relationship until she finishes school next year. Her pending graduation gift is the $100,000 a year position waiting for her at a company that Leona’s wealthy friend owns. Leona knows that Lucy doesn’t want to work in any of her family’s companies so this is a way out. A very lucrative way out.
    Twenty-four year old Lawrence lives in the far right first floor apartment with his cranky widowed father Arnold. Lawrence entered into the “new money” club when he made his first million at the age of thirteen. He and his mother came up with a product that stores had trouble keeping on shelves. Once his former “good for nothing” son became a millionaire, Arnold became a proud father and a roommate.

    Lawrence’s mother passed away from breast cancer two years ago. Before she passed, Lawrence was made to sign a document blocking him from receiving the remaining thirty million they made together before his 25th birthday. The only way he could receive it sooner is if his father agreed he was mature enough to handle it.

    It is 9 pm on a Friday night. Lawrence and Lucy are getting ready for their special night. Lawrence puts on one of his many red shirts. Red is Lucy’s favorite color. He is the proud owner fifty-two red shirts. Lawrence’s favorite color is blue. Lucy puts on a form fitting blue dress that she pulled from her closet filled with a sea of blue.

    Lawrence and Lucy meet in an apartment Lawrence secretly purchased. It is located in the middle of the luxury apartment building. Because Lawrence had an old reputation of choosing to party over his studies, his father watches over him like a hawk and Lucy’s mother watches over her to make sure she is not dating. Therefore the two had to date in secret. Lawrence’s friend Sheila lives in this apartment as a cover. She clears out when Lawrence and Lucy meet.

    Friday night is the only night that Leona and Arnold go for their weekly night out. Therefore, Lucy and Lawrence are free to meet. Leona always leaves at 6 pm and returns at 9 am the next morning. Arnold leaves at 7 pm and returns at 10 am.

    The following day, Leon meets James Warren who owns the luxury apartment building. James is frantic because he is about to lose his second business and needs to unload this building. Leon agrees to buy it. James secretly knows of many residents that will be moving soon and has no prospects to fill the empty spaces. The men smile and shake hands not knowing that the other knows of the pending mass exit. Leon already knows how to fill the empty spaces.

    The next morning there is an announcement for a residence mixer in the main conference room of the building. The residents gather that evening to meet the new owner. Leon meets with the residents and answers their questions.
    Three months later after the last of the old residents vacates their apartment, the new residents slowly begin to move in. They fill all of the vacancies within the next three months. Leon’s wealth climbs to new heights because of his newest occupants who all have deep pockets and agree to pay higher rents.

    One Friday night, Lawrence goes to his secret center apartment and finds Leon waiting for him inside with Sheila. Lucy enters moments later to find the men having a serious conversation in which she is asked to join. Sheila sits silently on the chair next to them listening attentively.

    At the end of the meeting, Lawrence and Lucy’s rent goes up 20% and Sheila gains a friend with benefits whose name is Leon. Lawrence tells Lucy he will pay her additional rent himself. After everyone agrees to his terms, Leon agrees to keep their secrets. He leaves with Sheila as they begin their new “relationship.”

    The following year Lucy celebrates her graduation and a month later Lawrence turns
    twenty-five. Per their individual agreements, their parents release their holds and two are now free to openly live their new lives. Lawrence introduces Lucy to his father and Lucy introduces Lawrence to her mother in Lawrence’s center apartment. Their parents are shocked by this secret relationship and their plans to marry. Arnold and Leona fess up to their own secret relationship, recently eloping and soon moving into their new home. The couples decide to be happy for the other as they are all relieved that they no longer have to keep any secrets.

    One month later, the couples move out and into their new homes. Lawrence and Lucy live far west in a luxury gated community. Arnold and Leona live far east in their own luxury gated community. Sheila lives in a luxury apartment in the northern part of the city. She began working with Lawrence months earlier and made her first million.

    Two months later, Leon meets with two residents that he has been watching having an affair in Lawrence’s old center apartment. The married woman and married man live in Lucy and Lawrence’s old apartments with their respective families. The center apartment is now owned by the woman’s female friend. She just became Leon’s new friend with benefits.

  • December 8, 2015 at 6:26 pm
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    The Window

    The little girl with long wavy waist-length black hair loved her bedtime. Her bed was under a window on the first floor of a beautiful duplex house. Her parents adored her as she was a single child and was born late into their marriage.

    The six-year-old had a vivid imagination which always helped her weave stories that mesmerized her friends at school, especially the gap-toothed fat boy. He loved her stories more than any of her friends.

    A year ago, a magical phenomenon transformed her world. One fine night that summer as she lay down watching the star-studded sky from her window, she felt floating off to another world. She somehow knew that neither was she awake nor asleep. She didn’t know exactly when it happened but her square window had changed shape and was now a triangle. She was not shocked at this change. She realised that she was walking down a carpeted floor of a huge tube like room. She met many people there walking, just like her.

    She stopped one man who looked to be in his late 30s and asked, “Where does this lead to?”

    He replied, “Go see for yourself!”

    He was not rude but merely abrupt. He walked past her and she continued forward. There were some people who were coming back too.

    She ran up to a teenaged girl a little distance ahead of her, “Where does this lead to?”

    She smiled and just shook her head.

    The little girl paused in her stride and looked around her. She realised that with every step it was becoming harder for her to walk fast. The path was raised as she went along.

    No one seemed particularly inclined to talk. She walked ahead and came upon the circular opening to the tube like room. The fantastic view on offer was a huge expanse of sky which was much nearer to her and far brighter and studded with zillions of stars than she had ever seen. In the very next second she awoke to find herself in her bed and the window was, as usual, square.

    The next night she was eager to go to bed. She hurried through her homework, gobbled up her dinner and ran upstairs. Her mother called after her, “Baby, please wash up before you go to bed.” Without breaking her run, she replied, “Yes, mama!”

    She quickly washed up and changed into her night clothes and lay down on her bed. For a long time she waited for the window’s shape to change. But it did not. Eventually, she fell asleep.

    A week passed by and she realised that expecting for the window to change shape did not warranty it. When she shared her disappointment with her gap-toothed friend, he soothed her by saying it did not matter. But in her mind she was certain that the change in the shape of the window and her strange experience were somehow related. Later that night as she settled down to sleep she felt as if someone was shaking her awake. She saw that her window was a triangle again and she was now inside a room which was all creamy white in colour and a housefly sat in one corner. She had seen houseflies before and knew that they were tiny in size. But she was shocked to see that this one in front of her was the size of a giant. She asked the fly, “Am I watching you through a microscope?” The fly replied, “No, but you are delirious with fever.”

    The little girl felt cool touch on her forehead. Shivering, she opened her eyes. She saw that her mother looked worried and there was a doctor near her bed trying to take her temperature. A thermometer was gently put under her arm. The little girl lay cuddled in her mother’s lap and tried sharing what she saw. “Mama, the fly told me I had fever.” Her mother soothed her brow with another damp cloth and softly told her, “Baby, go to sleep, you have been chattering in your sleep.” And gradually the little girl fell asleep.

    For the next two days, the little girl lay in her bed day and night and kept wishing for the window to change shape.

    Another week passed and now the little girl was fine and had resumed her school. One night, she just knew in her bones that she would have her triangular window that night and that she was going to have a unique experience.

    She found that she was walking through a wide path in a jungle that was full of tall trees with thick foliage almost hiding the sun and dense underbush. But she was a brave girl. She walked past a particularly tall tree which had its branches covered in beautiful looking vines with large heart shaped leaves. The vines bore white flowers with wine red coloured cores. And nearby, she saw a small bush with tiny white star-shaped flowers. She bent to take in the aroma of those flowers when something caught her attention. She turned to see that the tree with the vines was walking towards her. Soon she saw that all the trees were walking. And that was the moment when she realised to her shock that there was not a chirp of a bird nor the sound of an animal in that jungle. All around there was an eerie silence. She woke up breaking out in cold sweat. It was a long time later that she fell into a dreamless sleep.

    The morning came with a loud crashing noise and screams. The little girl quickly tried to jump off her bed only to find something poking her in the back. Terrified and almost frozen to the spot, she dared to look over her shoulder and saw that the tree that had always overlooked her window was now split vertically into two and one of its halves had crashed into her magical window.

  • December 8, 2015 at 10:18 pm
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    That’s Amore!
    By Alice Nelson ©2015

    He held the strange flat object in his hands, looking it over very closely. Since the being called Orgon had been observing the inhabitants of earth, he had seen these objects many times.

    What he noticed was those that possessed it, seemed happier than others. Orgon deduced it held some kind of drug which altered the moods of the humans. He studied it carefully, specifically the large triangular symbol on the top of the object, it seemed to be the key to what was held within. In each Earth sector there were similar objects, with the same triangular shape; the only difference were the symbols imprinted on them.

    These flat objects of happiness, as Orgon called them, came out of box-like building, where the humans would go to obtain them. Orgon was currently observing one of these boxy edifices which had the symbols, M-A-N-N-Y-S on its front facade. Orgon wasn’t quite sure what the letters signified, but the Earthlings in this sector seemed to prefer this building over others in the area.

    Orgon watched the earthlings go into the large structure, looking weary and tired. Only to resurface excited and joyful. He wanted so badly to go inside himself, but his kind are under strict orders to observe only, never engage with the earthlings —ever.

    This was Orgon’s first assignment on earth, many of his ilk had visited before, and they came back resenting the humans. But none ever mentioned the flat objects of happiness, this was a surprise to him, and Orgon didn’t believe this planet held any surprises. Unlike those before him however, Orgon found the humans to be endearing; in particular a female of the species called Daphne.

    Daphne was employed at the structure represented by the symbols M-A-N-N-Y-S. She handed out the flat objects of happiness to the “customers” who frequented her establishment. There was nothing like this in his world, and Orgon wanted so badly to participate.

    Orgon was good at not being noticed; he’d taken on a young male human persona in his twenties, wearing a baseball cap, and a material called jeans; with a t-shirt to cover his torso. Orgon’s duty was to hide in plain sight and observe.

    But he found himself spending more and more time outside the M-A-N-N-Y-S structure, mainly observing the Daphne creature. He was intrigued by her, Orgon knew she was special, but he didn’t know why. He was under strict orders not to focus on any specific human, but it was hard not to focus on her.

    Each earth week, Orgon would report back to his commander the things he had witnessed; lately Orgon had been neglecting those duties. As he stood outside of M-A-N-N-Y-S waiting for the fetching Daphne to arrive, Orgon entered a partial report into the small computer device he hid within his backpack.

    “Hello.” A female voice said from behind him.

    Orgon was an observer, no human should’ve been able to sneak up on him like that. He turned to see the Daphne female standing there smiling at him. Orgon had not programmed a human voice to use, and went through many iterations in a matter of seconds before saying in return, “hello.”

    “I’ve seen you out here the last few nights,” Daphne said mischievously. “Come on in and get out of the cold.” Orgon thought her to be what humans call, “beautiful.”

    He was surprised that she was one of the few who could observe the observer, this would make her an interesting subject for his leaders back home. But if he reported her ability, they would take her, and he’d probably never see her again. So Orgon decided to leave this out of his next report

    “I..uh, well.”

    She took him by the arm, “Come on in, it’s going to be really cold tonight.”

    Orgon wasn’t supposed to fraternize with the humans, he was on assignment, and he especially wasn’t supposed to frequent their establishments. But he could not resist this Daphne, and when he entered the structure, Orgon turned off his transmitter.

    Once inside, he noticed the bright lights and festive atmosphere. There was music, and laughter, and thousands of the flat objects of happiness lining the walls behind a waist high counter.

    “Sit.” Daphne said, “I’ll bring you a drink.”

    Orgon knew he had crossed a line, and once his superiors found out, he would most likely be banished to live on earth forever. This was supposed to be a punishment, but Orgon wasn’t so sure it would be. Never had he felt such freedom at home, where his kind didn’t smile much, laugh or listen to music. Orgon wasn’t a fool, he knew earthlings could be violent; he had seen war and death like he never experienced on his own planet. But in his estimation, the joy and love they experienced, far outweighed the darker aspects of the human condition.

    Daphne put away her belongings and threw on some kind of cloak that she tied around her waist. Smiling she walked to Orgon’s table and said, “Welcome to Manny’s Pizzeria, the best pies in town.”
    On the menu Orgon saw the triangular shape he had seen on the flat objects of happiness.

    “Ah, M-A-N-N-Y-S.” He said to himself, “It’s a human name.” And Orgon smiled, the first real smile of his very long existence.

  • December 9, 2015 at 12:44 am
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    Breaking Point – Revised

    Sein barged into Tara’s flat as she opened the door. “Where is he?” He asked pushing her out of the way. His face looked like thunder. He strode into each room, opened and closed the wardrobes and looked behind the doors.

    “Can you explain what’s going on?” Tara gritted her teeth and clamped her lips as she followed him.

    “Where’s that man? Where is he hiding? The children tell me that you’ve go someone in the flat.”

    “So.” Tara narrowed her eyes and furrowed her brows. “You went home and remarried. I feel sorry for your wife.”
    Sein grabbed her at the back of her neck and pulled her to him. Tara winced and shook herself away.
    “I’m no longer your wife, your possession. You don’t own me.” Tara shouted at him.
    “You’ve moved on with your life. Why should I not? There’s nothing left between us except the welfare of our children.”

    “You’re still one of my wives. A man can take as many wives as he wishes.” Sein said in a thunderous voice whilst stabbing her with his finger. “You stole my children, divorced me and moved away without my permission. I won’t forgive you for that.” He was calming down.
    “We’ve gone through this before.” Tara backed away to kept a safe distance from him. “Stop blaming me. You created this situation. I caught you looking at porn and chatting with prostitutes on the internet and texting those women. You lied to me. I believed you when you said you were looking and applying for work on the internet”

    “They were harmless chats. Everybody does it.” Sein explained.

    “Everybody goes to work and you don’t.”

    “I can still deport you. You married me so that you can move into this country. You’re a liar and a fake.”

    “For 3 years I put up with your unreasonable behaviour. I can’t stand the sight of you anymore…”

    Furious, Sein started to trash the pile of materials that the factory which Tara worked for from her home, had delivered.

    Tara grabbed her handbag and rushed out of the flat. She shivered as she made her way to the factory. She could see him at a distance. crawling in his car when she looked behind her to check if he was following her.

    “Sein knows about us.” She spluttered to Billy, the factory owner and her boyfriend. “He doesn’t know about you but he suspects that I am seeing someone. He had a mad outburst in my flat. I had to leave. I think he has followed me.”

    “I’m not scared of him.” Billy held Tara shoulders and squeezed them. “I think we should get married.” He proposed. “He will stop harassing you because I’ll see to it if he does.”

    “I’ve got so much on my plate at the moment.” Tara got closer to Billy and held him tightly. “He scares me now. He is okay as long as he knows that I live on my own and looks after the children. He is not himself anymore since he suspects that I’m trying to rebuild my life.”
    “He can’t have what he likes unless he works for it and deserves it. You’ve been more than kind to him, Tara.”

    “I realise now that he has been watching me. I see him everywhere I go. I would bump into him in the supermarkets, in the park and at the school gates. I have seen him behind me as I drove on the road. It’s so unnerving now that I know what he’s up to. I think that I must move house. He knows all the ins and outs of my flat and has a spare key. I don’t want him to surprise us at night.”

    Billy wrapped Tara in his arms. “ Move in with me and you should be safe.”
    Tara raised her chin to him and nodded.

    Months later, after an evening out at the cinema and a meal at the restaurant, Billy was unlocking the door when Sein jumped in front of him, and pushed his face on Billy’s.
    Tara let out a scream. “What are you doing here? Where have you left the children? ” Tara shouted.

    Sein started to punch Billy. Billy wrestled him onto the ground whilst Tara called the police. Sein managed to free himself and sprinted out of the premises.
    Tara put a restraining order on him. The grandparents, begrudgingly, collected and brought the children back home every fortnight. Tara thought that her problems with Sein were sorted.

    On that fateful night, Sein surprised Billy and Tara in their bedroom. He had climbed into a window and got into the house. “Wife thief, slut!” He swore as he shot Billy several times. Billy lifted his arms and legs helplessly as he tried desperately to get out of bed. Tara thought she was having a bad dream. As Billy sunk into the bedding with choking noises, Sein seized Tara by the arm and threw her on the edge of the bed and raped her. Tara did not fight him, thinking that Billy was at least alive and safe if she obeyed Sein.
    She coiled into a ball and whimpered whilst Sein bragged on Facebook about his deeds, “I’ve just killed Billy and raped Tara. The coward couldn’t even get up to fight me.”

    Within minutes, with the sirens on, three police cars cornered the place . Tara seized the opportunity to escape from the room as the police asked Sein to give himself over.
    He jumped into his car and raced away until the car somersaulted into a ditch and he was killed.

    Years Later, the weekly cleaner whilst dusting a photograph, asked, “Is that your husband?”
    Tara shook her head, “He was killed because he loved me. I will never forgive myself….”

  • December 9, 2015 at 2:25 pm
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    Oh, This Bloody Triangle!

    I ardently loved two women in my life. I needed both of them, neither of them I felt could ever be replaced in my life. Both of them zealously loved me, were caring and devoted to me. They were prepared to do anything for me. I could not think of a life without either of them. Both of them were be-all-and-end all of my day to day life. One was my wife and the other was my mother. When I compared the two of them, my mother always won, though I was not a typical Indian, mama’s boy.

    My wife, Leena was good in the bed, a fantastic cook and a fantastic mother to my two sons. She could be termed as pretty and a buxom beauty. The only problem with her was that she was a perfectionist and did everything meticulously well, whereas I was a happy go lucky fellow and somewhat erratic. This often exasperated my wife and she took every chance to berate me, “When will you learn, what kind of lesson will the kids learn from your wayward behavior?”
    And she invariably ended her diatribe with, by half crying and half screaming and with a somewhat choked voice,” It’s I who tolerate you, no other woman would ever do so!” I wished so much that she would come out with a different lamentation sometimes, but it never happened. They say, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. So, I was that way unlucky.

    I continued to live my life my way and her passion for nagging me never declined.

    Whereas, my mother always ignored my shortcomings and foibles, her approach used to be- Oh, boys are boys It does not matter or take it easy. Often, she just kissed me and laughed it off. Whenever, I really went wrong, she counseled me in a loving and convincing manner. People told me that she used to nag my late father. I never believed them.

    Often, I was the reason for the spat between Leena and mom, but it always occurred on weekdays and never on weekends. Leena took her best chance to complain against my mom when I took her in my arms at night and I pretended that I agreed with her and felt guilty. She did it with all the more gusto when our wrestling match was all over and she stopped only when I deliberately snored.

    My mother never talked about her spat with Leena as she knew that it would upset me. Whenever, I talked about it, she just shrugged her shoulders,” It happens in every home between a daughter-in-law and mother-in-law. Why you bother your head when we always patch up and I give all the credit for that to dear Leena.”
    Then she laughed,” This is we women’s idea of fun and frolics. Peace at home makes us feel dull and drab” Still, it made me pensive.

    One day, when I was drinking in a pub along with four of my buddies, I happened to bring this topic. Everyone gave vent to his pent up emotions. A long and quite boring story, we had to listen with full attention. Finally, it was the turn of Jang Bahadur Singh, who was otherwise quiet most of the time. He made some weird unintelligible sounds, coupled with hands, shoulders, head and ankle gestures which attracted the attention of everyone in the pub. They felt aghast because little did they know that Jang Bahadur Singh’s wife was deaf and dumb and he was mimicking her.
    .
    We came to the conclusion that all of us were sailing in the same boat. We realized that the triangles of our woes and distress, though different in sizes, but congruent. This gave us a pep to order for the last peg; a double one.

    We staggered out of the pub, unconscious of the fact what discordant music; we were going to face from our respective wives when we reach home.

    We were buoyantly singing and dancing.

  • December 9, 2015 at 5:25 pm
    Permalink

    THIS STORY THREAD IS NOW CLOSED.
    Thanks to everyone who participated, and for those who would like to enter next week’s contest, check back here tomorrow after 9am PST to find the links for the new story thread.

    Now it’s Voting Time!!
    Please submit your 1st – 5th place vote (In order), for this week’s Writers Hangout Short Story Contest to LIFlashFiction (at) gmail (dot) com no later than 9:00am PDT / 12:00pm EST / 10:30pm IST / 5:00pm WET/GMT on Thursday/ 4:00am AEDT (Friday).
    Results will be posted later that day.
    Placing “Triangle(s)” in the subject line is helpful but not necessary.
    REMEMBER IF YOU DO NOT VOTE, YOUR STORY WILL NOT QUALIFY.
    Please note: your email address will never be disclosed, shared or sold, but may be used for administrative purposes.

    Good Luck Writers!

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