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.

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I checked my wristwatch, 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.

Despite myself, 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 jumping, the engulfing helplessness as your body swims through the air like an eel in the savanna river, the exhilaration of racing to your own death.

Maybe it’s the perverse rush of adrenaline, but every book I’d read about this was right. At the moment you take off go, 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. She was singing at the karaoke bar with her friends, so full of life, and showing off the firmest legs I’d ever seen.

Athlete legs.

I thought of how similar the mix of emotions coursing through me are to the ones that pusled through my veins when I approached and offered to buy her and her friends a drink.

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 the glee I felt finding 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. Our hearts were saying the same thing that day – you’re my soulmate.

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; 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.

I don’t care.

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 getting sucked out of my body into my wristwatch. For a moment, I was in two places.

There was my body, still in free fall. On the other hand, I was watching said body falling. I was literally zipping along beside my own body like a synchronized diver in the wristwatch.

I even saw my body plunge facefirst into the walkway at breakneck speed.

I was right, my body did make a mess. I was in the wristwatch though, if that makes any sense, and it just zipped through the floor like it was made of water.

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 one big reason to be confident. Let’s not get into that.

“What time is entered on his watch?”

“2010/02/25.”

“You want to wager what bad decision this one made to want to timejump?”

“No. You aware I lost the last two bets? It seems I don’t come preprogrammed with the aptitude for this.”

“You should get an upgrade. My new firmware comes with one. Anyway, 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 mini-stage, singing her heart out.

They belted out song after song till the customers in the bar started giving them the dirty look.

Finally, the girls made their way to their table. Bottles of wine and plates of food covered the table. Lara gave the waiter a puzzled look.

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

A handsome young man, weary with twice his life memories sat at the bar, smiling. Then he raised his glass.

Lara and friends mirrored him with their glasses as well.

Lara looked at the table again. It was filled with all her favorites – down to the color of the serviettes.

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]

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.

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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 and 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 alarm system.

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

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

She shook her head. Still puzzled, she said, “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 past 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 his hands played with 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, 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. She probably shouldn’t have worn the heels though. Her fair legs rode high, a sharp contrast to her black dress. Eyes glanced regularly her way. Experience had taught her where to place her eyes 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, 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 could know 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 solemnly, managing a smile.

She left immediately after. When she got into her car, the noise of the world outside receded. She was alone. And then almost in slow motion, her face broke its steely frame, her countenance yielding to her heart after so long.

The tears flowed.

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 against the car’s steering.

The car’s blaring horn was her farewell ode to the love of her life.

END