Backspace – A Short Story

backspace

Hello again.

Twice in one month, right? Well, it’s Christmas. Season of giving et al.

Just wanted to upload a short, short story (that’s not a typo) I entered into a competition some years ago. It got longlisted. But it didn’t make the shortlist. When you read it, you’ll probably see why. LOL.

The story is along my genre – science fiction.

Enjoy.

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

I checked my timepiece, making sure for the hundredth time that I’d configured it properly.

Then I leapt off the balcony of my apartment, 30 stories up. A one-way, express ride to the bottom.

I felt giddiness tear through my body. I was falling, flying, free at last.

I’d read so much about this moment, the fear that grips the heart just before taking the leap, the helplessness as your body darts through the air like an eel in the savanna, your body rumbling in exhilaration as you race to your own death.

Maybe it’s the perverse rush of adrenaline, but every book I’d read about this was right. As you fall, everything becomes clear. You think straight. Your memory works right.

And I was gaining speed.

Thoughts ran through my mind like a train trying to make up for lost time.

I thought of my wife and the first time I saw her, smiling her disarming smile.

Lara.

She was singing at the karaoke bar with her friends, so full of life, and showing off the longest, firmest legs I’d ever seen.

Athlete legs.

I remembered how anxious I was when I approached and offered to buy her and her friends a drink. I probably had more adrenaline coursing through my blood stream that day than right now as I fall to my death.

I remembered our first hug, first kiss, the first time I knew I loved her, and the first time I told her; the way she feigned shock and said nothing. I remember my glee when I found the “I love you too” note she’d slipped into my pocket later that night.

I remembered watching her walk down the aisle towards me, firm short steps, her smile still as captivating as ever. She was my soulmate. Everything about her screamed it.

I was shooting through the air now, and the train wasn’t letting up.

The memories came in flashes now.

I saw us having our first fight. I saw the fights get worse.

I saw the first time I hit her; also saw the first time I hit too hard. I felt the shame that coursed through me when she returned home from the hospital, limping.

It’s my fault she’ll never run again. I’m the villain in her fairytale.

In a few minutes, I’ll hit the ground and make a mess, my brains will probably make the front page of the PM news.

Good.

Every brochure on timejumping you’ll ever read never tells you what the final seconds of your life will be like.

My account is probably the first on record. So you’re lucky to be reading this.

Just before hitting the ground, I felt myself ripped into what felt like a thousand tiny parts. Then all of a sudden, I was watching my body fall, like I had walked out of my own body. For a moment, I was in two places. And then none.

The next thing I knew, I was on a bed, couldn’t move. And I was also naked – I could feel a draught all over my nether-regions.

I could also hear voices.

Robots.

Cool, so I didn’t have to be embarrassed. Not like I wasn’t comfortable naked. I had reasons to be confident. But let’s not get into that.

“What time is on his timepiece?”

“February 25, 2010.”

“Client is ready. Prepare to reload him into time stream.”

The next thing I felt before everything went black was the feeling of being churned and then spread thin.

………………………….

25 Febraury, 2010.

Lara was celebrating, having the time of her life. Her ten months of training had finally paid off – a slot on the track team and a shot at the gold at the Commonwealth Games in April. She was rocking out with her friends on the karaoke stage, singing her heart out.

They belted out song after song till the customers in the bar started giving them the stink eye.

Finally, the girls made their way to their table. Food and wine covered the table but they hadn’t ordered anything. Lara gave the waiter a puzzled look.

“Courtesy of the Oga at the bar,” he said pointing.

A handsome young man sat at the bar, smiling. Then he raised his glass and mouthed “cheers”.

Lara and her friends mirrored him, raising their glasses as well.

Lara looked at the table again. It was filled with all her favorites. Even the wine. Especially the wine.

She looked at the man again. He smiled at her. Then he got up and walked away, not looking back.

“Who’s that guy?”

“I don’t know. But I have this weird feeling I’m supposed to.”

[END]

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Grieve: A Short Story

Grieve Short Story

Hello.

It’s been a while. As we wrap up 2016, and as things wind down (or wind up, if you’re the type who attends every end of the year party you’re invited to), it’s time to put some thoughts to paper.

In the coming days, I will be sharing some thoughts about 2016, the highs, the lows and many lessons learned – professionally and personally.

Till then, here’s something just for you.

Today’s post is a short story I wrote about two years ago. I honestly don’t know what I was passing through when I wrote it. I hope you like it. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section.

……………………………………………..

Her window pane rattled.

It had been so long since Femi threw pebbles at her window. Almost three months.

She smiled.

She ran down to meet him, throwing herself on his neck, as his arms slid around her, driving all the months of loneliness away. The same loneliness that the soap operas, the ice-cream and her friends had failed to expel.

She pulled back slightly, looking into his eyes. She leaned in to kiss him.

But he pulled away from her.

Fear shot through her, setting off her alarms.

“Do you have a girlfriend?” She asked him.

“No.” The question confused him. “Do you?”

She shook her head. Still puzzled she said, “I’m trying to kiss you dummy. So why did you pull away…?”

Femi smiled. “I just want to see you. I haven’t seen you in so long”. She laughed, an easy laugh, a farewell to the hell of the last 3 months as he lifted her and spun her round and round.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“We can’t continue this way. How long will you be gone this time?”

She was lying down on the couch, her head in his lap as he ran his hands through her braids.

“About 4 months.”

Her heart sank.

“I can’t wait that long again.”

She’s lying. She will. She knows she will.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Black.

It’s curious how it’s called the color of death.

The dead don’t see. They can’t appreciate the solemnity of a funeral.

The crowd of bodies arrayed in black, attendees at the solemn event desperately holding onto every bit of memory of the deceased. The sight of the coffin being lowered earlier in the day was a glaring revelation of their own mortality.

She stood in the corner, trying her best to look inconspicuous. Probably shouldn’t have worn the heels though. Her yellow is the kind that always gets attention and the heels made her fair legs ride high, a sharp contrast to her black dress.

Eyes glanced regularly her way. Experience had taught her where to look when people stared at her. But experience rarely teaches us how to deal with loss. Is there even a way to deal with it?

Strange thing about funerals. Grief and loss wear out the heart but company makes it a little bit bearable and these people were milking every ounce of respite from one another. A symbiotic gathering, if there ever was one.

Her heart was the only one which stood out, unable to connect with the room of strangers. It kept shattering and aching viciously in a looping vacuum.

She didn’t know who to talk to. She had no one. She was an unknown.

Femi’s mother stood in the corner, fighting back the tears while Femi’s sister gave her moral support. Femi’s friends and other family members filled out the room. They made small talk, exchanged condolences, gathered in small circles.

She caught someone looking at her, a man. He had the look in his eye, as if he maybe recognized her, however unlikely. Nobody knew her. She’d never met anyone in Femi’s family, never been introduced to anyone in his life, not even his friends.

She’d been his best kept secret.

When she finally decided she’d had as much as she could take, she headed for Femi’s mother to pay her respects.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” she said.

Femi’s mom blinked away tears. “Thank you my daughter. I don’t know you. Were you friends with him?”

“Yes, I knew him,” she wasn’t sure how or if to proceed further. “He was an amazing person.”

The mother nodded, managing a smile.

Lara left immediately after. When she got into her car, the noise of the world outside faded. She was now all alone.

And then almost in slow motion, her face broke into ugly tears, her countenance mirroring her heart after so long.

The tears flowed freely.

And the weight pressed her down and pressed her hard, pressed her till she couldn’t stay up anymore. She lowered her head till it rested on the steering wheel.

The car’s blaring horn and her wails were her farewell ode to the love of her life.

END