A Damned Soul And The Vanishing Light

Despair. Greed. Rue. Loneliness. Remorse. These were some of the few thoughts in the hollow head of Jack. It seemed like he’s been roaming for a long time now, not knowing where to go. Day after day, night after night, he would simply walk and walk and walk. His thin jacketed figure with a large head is led by a dim light that showed him the path he followed.

In the land of Canada, somewhere in British Columbia around Vernon, a young Harsha strolled astray after he lost his way. He and his party came for a trek but his nosey bum made him a lost cat in a foreign land. When the day hit twilight, he found himself in the middle of nowhere after some futile attempts to find his mates. It began to get colder as the light faded. As he walked further, he saw what looked like a small farm with bright globes and a man-like figure, working there. As he neared and the image became clear, he saw a guy covered in earth and cloth. Hesitant but in need of help he approached the farmer who was busy watering his pumpkins, big and red ones.

Jack noticed a shy figure without turning his head and crowed, ‘You are not a Vernonite, are you?’ in a rough, mysterious voice. ‘An unfamiliar face, in a familiar land,’ he added.

Gasping into his senses, ‘No sir! I’m from a faraway land. I came here with some friends, but I lost my way. Can you please tell me where I am, and how I can find my way back?’ he muttered.

‘You seem like another Jack, but are you stingy?’ he questioned Harsha.

‘I don’t know what that means, sir,’ he answered with a feeling that he was wasting his time with an old man.

‘You sure don’t! You are not from around here,’ Jack rasped. ‘Why don’t you come to my cabin and take a little break? I have some pumpkin pie,’ he added.

As they entered the cabin, Harsha noticed a scythe in a corner and a frail horse hooked to the fence. It’s an old place with minimal furniture, dim lighting and a few unfinished Jack-o’-lanterns. A musty odour hovered all over the cabin like that of a coffin.

‘So kid! How did you find yourself alone in this empty land?’ asked Jack as he cut the pie to serve him.

‘If it weren’t for my dead phone, I wouldn’t have been so lonely. Facebook is always spying on us, don’t you think?’ chuckled Harsha.

‘I don’t understand the current trends, but I’m sure that isn’t a good thing,’ reckoned Jack, with a dead look behind his veil as he offered the pie to him.

‘No, it isn’t sir!’ replied a confused Harsha.

As darkness spread across the skies, the cabin seemed a little more bright. ‘The pie is delicious. We don’t have these kind of recipes back home,’ said Harsha.

Where are you from? You don’t seem to know much about our place,’ said Jack.

‘I am from the land of spice, India,’ said Jack, finishing his pie.

‘Oh, India!’ exclaimed Jack as if he was ambushed by memories. ‘I’ve been to Bhangarh Fort in Rajasthan. Spent a good amount of nights under those stars. The air there always seems to be singing a lullaby,’ roared Jack as he retrieved his thoughts from a long lost time.

‘Are you aware that it is haunted?’ questioned a puzzled Harsha.

‘Oh, is it? It seemed like a grand yet cosy place to me,’ said Jack coming back to his senses. ‘Nothing ever bothered me much. I’ve always lived life as I seemed fit. Maybe that’s why I’ve been a loner amidst a hundred cries. Looking back, I think it was all a mistake. My greed and deception yielded nothing but eternal misery. Well sometimes, surviving is not enough; you need to live,’ groaned Jack as he carved out a Jack-o’-lantern with amazing agility and precision.

‘Don’t be too harsh on yourself sir. I’m sure life works your way,’ said Harsha in an attempt to comfort his unknown blues.

‘You are a good kid, son,’ said Jack as he handed out the lantern. ‘Always be on an honest path,’ he added as he placed burning coals into the lantern. ‘Go straight and follow the path shown by this lantern. You’ll find back your company,’ he said and patted over his shoulder.

Thanking for his courtesy Harsha stepped out of the cabin, a little aghast by his instructions. He walked past for a few minutes and soon enough he came into sight with a search party shouting his name. He kept the lantern on the ground and ran towards them in delight.

Everyone questioned where he had been all this while and expressed how worried they were. Harsha narrated his tale and looked back to show them the lantern and the cabin near the farm. He saw them turning to dust into eerie silence as the lingering taste of the pie began to fade. In a state of shock, he stammered trying to phrase his thoughts.

Strangely, it started to snow in October. As they walked towards the camp, he peeked back and let out a horrified gasp. At a distance, he saw Jack swinging his scythe on his horse racing away and his face now unveiled. In place of his head, he had a pumpkin with glowing ember, oozing out smoke which gazed back at him before vanishing out of his sight…

Desire For Dessert

The cold winter night was just getting started. A tall man with a thick beard tucked in his coat came walking down the lane towards ‘The Restaurant’ where he had a date waiting, apparently to cool down his scorched needs. He felt more energetic than usual and his senses seemed to be heightened, due to anticipation perhaps. Sighing fogged breath into the dark night, he entered The Restaurant, towards his reserved table.

Bracing the chilly breezes, walked a woman reflecting the epitome of elegance. Her maroon coloured longline overcoat kept the warmth of her bosom alive. Her black boots and matte red lipstick mirrored a deep desire. As the clock started ticking five past eight, she moved in through the glass door towards her reserved table.

* Two days earlier *

At an art gallery in a lazy town centre, Sheela stood gazing at a painting, rooted to the ground.

‘Does it intrigue you that much?’ a deep-voice came from her left.

Startled, yet sealing her emotion, she inquired, ‘And who might you be?’

A dull hum found it’s way out of his throat as he started to talk, ‘It took me three months to capture her beauty with my brush and just four days to complete the man.’

‘Well, you certainly did a fine job. Her contours are very natural. You are brave enough to challenge the perfect sizes of women’s magazines. You didn’t shy away from depicting body hair either, which was unnecessarily made taboo by the shaving companies. The carnality in the man’s eyes with a red tinge and the way he is embracing her from behind as if trying to engulf her into him and her ecstatic gaze into his deep lust filled glare is magnificent. The flow of her hair and the chiselled torso of the man, the emptiness all around show that they’ve been lost in ecstasy of the sin of lust. Tell me, what’s your name and who were you thinking about when you painted this?!’ Sheela shot a magazine of words mixed with questions towards the man as he stood there as if struck by lightning.

‘You sure talk a lot when triggered, my Lady!’ he retorted only to be given back a cold stare from those dark eyes lined by mascara.

He continued, ‘Well, more than brave, I am real. I identify myself with my works rather than a name, so today call me Desire. I wasn’t thinking of anyone but, I would’ve completed this painting way sooner if I’d known you earlier.’

Taken aback, she shifted her gaze towards the painting and back to him before she spoke. ‘It’s not too late. You can get to know me now.’ she said in a brassy tone. His lips stretched through his mane as he found it hard to maintain eye contact.

‘Join me at The Restaurant, two days from now, at seven-thirty for dinner,’ she said as she slid past him, without turning back.

* Now *

She walked towards her table giving a shy smile to Desire, as he called himself, and sat down on the chair.

‘Man sure is a slave to his sins. I couldn’t stop thinking about you,’ he said as soon as she seated herself.

Giving a short chuckle, ‘Hope I didn’t keep you waiting for long?’ she enquired.

‘Two glasses of wine in an hour later, I’m starting to think vanity is one of your charms,’ he said.

Her matte red lips pressed against each other as she called the waiter to order. A thin and tall person came to them. She ordered a salad and he ordered a sandwich, and as the waiter turned back, she caught him staring through her wantonly released top button. ‘It’s hot in here!’ she sighed as she took out her coat, exposing her supple skin that tracked through her sleeveless Cami up to her ample bust. She wanted to seduce him so bad, that he would be left burning in fires of libido, at a point where he would no longer hold back and pounce upon her, pinning her against the wall, with hands held back and as their hearts synced each other’s beat, kiss into the abyss of youth. She wanted to drag his flames down to her and burn for eternity.

She was brought back to her senses only after the waiter served their food. As they began to eat, they talked pausing only while chewing and gulping. He flirted a little, telling how exquisitely she carried herself and that art would remain limitless when he looked at her. She smiled and asked, ‘Are you a poet too?’

He replied, ‘No and yes. I am becoming one as I stare through your heart.’

Dazzled by it, she munched on her salad a little harder, squirting her mayo over the side of her chin. He instinctively raised his hand to wipe it down. As he brushed her velvety chin with his harsh hand, the lecherous but sensitive fingertips invaded her lips. He continued to do it, as there erupted a rush of blaze along their loins. ‘Your lips have the same feel of a juicy orange pulp, it’s bow dipping the right amount pulling my heart’s strings. I wonder how they would taste on my lips.’

‘Only one way to find out,’ whispered Sheela.

As he attempted to move towards her bridging the void, suddenly the waiter interrupted, ‘Ma’am! What would you like for dessert?’ and she looked into Desire’s eyes…

Seekers

The evening sun sank across the horizon, along the banks of river, as Arjun stretched his arms while admiring nature’s beauty. He gazed at the fishes as they danced along the currents.

His nineteen-year-old mind bore many heavy thoughts ever since he was five. As he walked back, he reminisced about the alchemical facts he learned at the district library.

Alchemy is truly a fascinating science, he thought as he flipped through the pages of the old notebook he stole from the library. It seemed more like a journal with few pages torn off and some obscure figures and record of various research notes based on alchemical experiments and a map that marked a place called nidhi, which was about 68 kilometers from his town. Apparently, it belonged to a Dr.Rishi, whose whereabouts are not known. No one knows to which time he belonged, whether he is alive or dead now.

He decided to hunt for the treasure and went to catch up with his friend Jay. Though five-years older than him, Jay always found him interesting. With a tough man look and eyes that gave a serious threat, people often found him intimidating. His ambitious nature attracted Arjun, who found him as a rather pleasant company. And he owned a Jeep, which was more than enough reason to take him on this hunt.

Jay was standing on his terrace looking up at the sky, smoking a cigarette, by the time he reached the place. Jay seemed to be rather surprised by his visit.

‘What brings you here?’ Jay asked in a deep stern voice.

‘Just checking if you are okay or got beat up thanks to your risky attitude,’ he retorted.

Jay grinned as he puffed up those white clouds of cancer. ‘Are you free tomorrow?’ Arjun asked. ‘More like, can you drive me? I am in search of a treasure,’ he asked.

His eyes gleamed like a cat with those words and asked, ‘What sort of treasure?’

‘I found this journal of some kind of alchemist and there’s a map marking our treasure,’ Arjun replied.

‘Some kind of alchemist!’ Jay scoffed. ‘Yeah, some kind of alchemist,’ said Arjun with a dumb face.

‘Are you out of your mind or that bored to go out on a lunatic maze based on some whimsical mad man’s words?’ Jay exploded.

‘Oh, come on! It isn’t that bad and he isn’t whimsical. And it’s no maze either. It’s just a place about sixty kilometers from here.’

It is easy to convince a jobless Jay that too on a weekend. He loves to drive and when given with a destination he’d be more excited than ever. ‘All right!’ he said, ‘but you should pay for the fuel. I ain’t gonna dump myself with your mess,’ he added.

Elated, Arjun thanked Jay and asked him to be ready by 5AM tomorrow to set out on their quest. ‘A journey of questions, treasured with answers,’ he thought.

So, they set out the next day early morning, on Jay’s proud wheels or Hell-sling as he used to call. They both got into the Jeep and raced out. Jay played AC/DCs Thunderstruck, on the stereo. ‘Without air conditioning this ride is sure going to be a sling in hell,’ Arjun thought.

So as they neared their marked area, Jay enquired, ‘How are we supposed to find this location?’ which brought back Arjun from his lost senses. ‘um.. let’s see! We are supposed to be looking for Golden grass. Oh boy! There’s gold in the clues too. We are definitely going to hit big!!’ Arjun exclaimed. And Jay tried to hide his smile hard with those words.

‘So, golden grass might refer to a Savannah terrain. But do we really find this terrain in our region?’ Jay blurted. ‘There must be. Otherwise how can it be a clue, ‘Arjun retorted. ‘Try to be a little optimistic Jay. I know you have three favourite colours and all of them are black, but still…’ scoffed Arjun.

True to the map they found the so called Savannah terrain by the mountain with carved up stones. They parked their vehicle and walked up to the mountain towards an old wooden cabin. Jay’s heart raced with anticipation. He yearned for indefinite youth. ‘I’d be damned if I found that elixir. I’d be the most powerful creature on this planet and I can always earn more gold,’ he thought.

As they entered the empty cabin, all they found was broken furniture and some painting that depicted a Huge Tree. Arjun stumbled over a bump as they neared it and felt a cellar underneath the floor. There, they found a lever shaped like a wheel. On pressing it a latch opened which paved way into the cellar. They crept into it and found a carving which stated,

In a moment called present,
Where do you require power?
Why do you need gold?
The only power is courage.
The only gold is time.
Experience the root, trunk and leaf
Of the tree of life…

They walked out of the cabin disappointed but enlightened as if their deepest desires had been answered. ‘Not all treasure is Silver and Gold,’ Jay cited Jack Sparrow’s quote. They didn’t know if the impact was due to the words or the point of life, but they were pushed deep in thoughts. Neither of them spoke as they routed back home but were filled with a strange joy in their hearts…

The Numbered Days Of A Neighbourhood Hustler!

The lonely night blinked alone
as did the beat of my raging heart
She knew it was time
Gone were those days when she would shine like a star…..

Attracted were the ash faced moths
Who clashed with a desire
That burned away with age
Now left with flightless wings

She lit in various colours
In ways that suited her mood
Sometimes red, sometimes blue, sometimes yellow
Always heaving dark shadows

A shadow where her heart hid
From the looks of the stinky moths
Masked as her pimps
And men in cloth

Days passed faster
Teaching who is the master
Her charms faded
As the wind bells chimed

Her light is now more of blue
And less of yellows
She cursed the bugs
Those spineless pests

None of these matter now
For she is about to die
Only to be recouped with another bulb
Which burnt the same

After death
She’ll be thrown alongside trash
While her tungsten flickers
In a helpless cry for acceptance…

Ironclad Embrace

This is Maya.
Maya’s mother is so protective.
So much so that not even air can enter her ironclad embrace.

She couldn’t sing.
She couldn’t dance.
She was not even allowed to see other people.

Because it might attract attention.
And she was forced to tell herself,
“What should I do?! I am so beautiful. I am supposed to like it even if my own mind rejects it…”

    Saying this was supposed to brush off her sorrow and loneliness.

She was not even allowed to die
For her life is so precious
So much so that even death laughs at her plight.

So lied Maya.
In her porcelain tiled skin ready to break.
Beautiful outside and dead from inside…

Buried Voices

Dear Maya,

It has been a while since you breathed your last. I have been devastated and happy at the same time since then. Devastated because of your absence and happy because I was able to love you for a lifetime and more, like I promised. Perhaps, my sorrow has a silver lining after all. I always believed that ‘to love is courage and to be loved back is luck’. I am happy that both have happened to us in the same time and at the same place. To be able to love you is the most beautiful thing that happened to me in this world.

Now, I am burying this letter here so that if there ever comes a time for the land to tell a tale, let it be about us. Our story of love and fight to keep it true and how it bloomed with every sunrise. And if I ever take take another birth, may it be to love you again and again. There is no better way to spend life than love. And every moment I spend with you is like being born anew. May my wishes reach you in all best ways possible.

With love,
Dr. Blue.

Summer Rain Cannot Make Dead Flowers Bloom

Years into clinical practice
But this night, his skill couldn’t save his friend
From the clutches of the cold fate
Devastated, he said,
“Why is it raining in summer?”
As he gazed at the sky
With his head held high…


These many drugs to treat pain
But none to cure the void left by him
For the living bear the grief of deceased
Long after they are gone
Where should one go
To fill this empty space,
O’ man! So strong yet so fragile…

A Lover’s Note

It was a gloomy day!
We stood there by the ocean looking at each other
All we could hear were those monstrous waves crashing over the cold rocks
All we could see were the dark clouds encroaching from the horizon
It seemed as if like a picture taken up from the images of apocalypse
How terrible it may seem, it was beautiful!
Beautiful because she was there standing
She was there laughing…

And as this loving memory faded
I found myself in this wrinkled skin
With aching knees and a walking stick
I still wish I died the moment she left
Instead of waving an empty goodbye
And suffering this eternal misery
I still remember how it felt the day she left
Like being burnt alive as my heart got crushed while it was still beating her name…