The Other Side

It’s another cold wintery evening, I’m out here in the park with no internet and just my phone. And I now know what the real definition of shrinkage is.

People have all kinds of weird hobbies; it is almost imperative that you have some or the other hobby. Me? I love to watch.

I watch movies, series, documentaries, and people. Especially people. Somehow I have the right knack in this aspect. Maybe it’s genetic; my parents have always been keen observers. It is almost creepy at times but who cares. I will now proceed to extrapolate a story based on uneducated guesses and featuring a guy who was walking 15 ft ahead of me. He went away when I reached the park. Bear with me.


John Doe was a twitchy man that evening. He walked fast, perhaps trying to keep pace with his heartbeat. Which was fast. His hands kept opening and closing as if trying to grasp at invisible tits. At one point he took out his phone and unlocked it and locked it and put it back in; like he was at home and it was his fridge. Home. The very word seemed alien to him; surely there was a place in the world where he could attain peace? No, there wasn’t. John tightened his coat and took a left after he’d crossed the park. Everywhere around him, silhouettes shifted against the shadows.

She’d been right. Always, unerringly right. If there was a god, he’d be wrong, but not her. Never once had she lied to him. He was a different story altogether. Even after their marriage, he’d kept his second life, this life, secret from her. Jane.

In government circles of the more clandestine nature, people like John are known as sleepers. These sleepers are deep cover agents conditioned from the very start to infiltrate and, as needed, destroy target communities/groups. His wife, Jane, had no idea her jolly and voracious husband was one of these. She died with that lie.

On her deathbed, John took one look at his wife, the same face he’d seen for seventeen months, and yet that day he saw it and he went crazy.

He had made the most common mistake all agents make. As his wife inhaled one last time, as her eyes searched for his eyes, it struck him that he’d fallen in love. As she ceased to live, his love for her came alive as never before. He cried for seven hours that night.

Then he went to work. She’d been mugged not far from here. He pulled schematics and talked to the locals. He poured his heart into it. And then today he’d found her. A girl named Donna had been missing from the usual mugger meetings that exact night. He was headed towards her lurker spot.

John knew he was about to commit something that his superiors had never heard of, let even approved. He didn’t care. In any case, they probably didn’t even know what he was doing. His handler, a strict, loyal man named Nathan, worked at the local supermart as the head manager. It was the perfect cover. But he was a long way from here.

John reached the cul de sac and cautiously stepped in. His brain displayed the mugshot of Donna clear as crystal. An eye for an eye. His hand reached for his combat knife and stayed there; he could have it out in a jiffy if he wanted. Then he saw her.

She was Donna, there was no doubt about it. Her face was exactly as shown in the picture. The only difference here was that her throat was partially torn open and her head was turned the wrong way around. He knew he wouldn’t find a pulse.

“You cannot stray from the cause and hope we don’t notice, my friend.” A high-pitched voice said.

John’s grip on the knife tightened. “Nathan”, he said.

“John”, Nathan said. “This was a bad idea.”

“She was my wife.”

“She was a means to an end.”

“What now?”, said John. His knife waited in his hand, poised.

“Good night, John.” Nathan zipped into focus from John’s right, and there was a sudden pain in the middle of John’s eyes, and then he died.

Nathan put the one-handed crossbow away and called his superiors. Everything would be taken care of. Then he went home and slept soundly.


Thanks.

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The Boi Who Lived

[this one is inspired by a tweet and a reply I saw earlier this week. Please stop reading right now if you haven’t read/watched the Harry Potter series]

[Disclaimer: read the fine print at the bottom of the about page, and don’t skip to the end, thanks]

The house, or perhaps more appropriately, the dilapidated room, was silent for the moment, suggestive of the occurrence of a trigger event, of something that should’ve been left unspoken being given a voice. And then, in a sudden burst of anger…

“Jesus, Lily!”

“Fuck you, James! Fuck everything! Stay the fuck away from me!”

“What the shit?”

Lily Potter gasped loudly, clenching her fists around the sheets. “My water just broke, James! Help me, please…”

James Potter, her autist husband, looked at her with an expression reminiscent of a sad underpaid clown; happy, retarded, and angry. “But…”

“No buts, James, Jesus fuck! I need medical attention here! If not that, at least gasp some marital attention!”

James stared at the heaving belly in front of him, and told himself to work out more. Then he looked at his pregnant wife, so pure, so beautiful, such a goddamned slut…

“No.”

Lily stared at him, aghast. “You what?!”

“I will not tolerate this blasphemy in this house. I see that you just made up a spell and accelerated the birthing process tenfold, but I fucking hate this. Just you wait…”

“By Dumbledore’s pubes, James! Gandu!”

“This child will never be born, Lily.”

“It’s literally aaaargh popping out of me at the moment, James.”

James ran his eyes along the shelves and cupboards as his wife started thrashing around. Made up spell or not, the baby was coming out faster. “We bought that bloody invisibility cloak last week, yeah?”

Lily paused. “Mighty good discount they gave to us too. Why do you ask? Oof” This last was punctuated by another huge heave. “Labor pains, James…”

“Ah, sod it. Where’s the hanger that came with it?”

Lily’s eyes instinctively danced around the small, darkened room, searching for the last place she’d seen the hanger…but then her brain slowly registered the deeper meaning of James’ words, and she swivelled back to look at him in horror. “Go fuck your patronus, you bastard!”

James laughed, albeit mirthlessly. “Oh hah hah, Lily, that was a really poor choice of words. Now, then. Where’s that darn hanger?”

At this juncture, Lily began to scream. James waited to see whether this was a cry for help or just another welp. It was, as it turned out, both. The boy was showing himself.

In a jiffy, James was at his wife’s crotch, peering at the orifice. Yes, he told himself. Yep, that’s the one.

Unable to restrain himself any further, he pulled out his wand, which he had adoringly christened Dick, and shoved it at the opening, hoping to fatally injure the foetus. It was too late, he told himself. The boy would be out any minute now. Too late…

But even as the tip of the wand (Dick) made contact with the fleshy part of the baby, he felt a current pass through him, and his hand, seemingly of its own accord, jerked around in a zigzag shape, almost like a lightning bolt…

Lily, during all of this, had been screaming like a magical banshee but when the touchy business took place, she kicked gingerly at James’ face. This caused James’ spectacles to fall off, and he left them alone for the time being.

Owing to cinematic liberty, the little baby then pulled itself out and landed in its mother’s arms, who then cut off the umbilical after uttering a phrase that sounded like chaman chiknus. Always wanted to use that one lol, thought Lily. 

James had recovered now, and he strode up to mother and child, an angry look on his face.

Lily immediately switched to her vulnerable mode. Large eyes, sorry face, the whole shebang. “Look here, James.”

“Ohhh I’m looking, all right.”

“Just listen. No matter how or what went wrong here, we have to protect him. He’s our son now.”

Our son?”, scoffed James. “Bloody generous of you, no?”

“Just look at him, James. He’s so pure, despite his origins. And he’s growing so fast, lmao the spell turned out pretty cool.” And James looked. The baby was still ugly as fuck, but he couldn’t deny a certain peaceful quality to it. And it was growing, for sure.

“Aww, alright.” Lily sighed in relief. James went on. “What do we call him then?”

“How about Larry?”

“Larry Potter? Eh, wouldn’t make much of a movie title. How about Harry?”

“Perfect. Oh, look, he’s about to speak.”

Both parents (allegedly) looked lovingly at the baby as it opened its mouth to utter its first words. They hoped it would be some awesome enchantment…

Harry the baby boy, however, had different plans. Inhaling slightly, he snorted. “Wizards are trash.”

Both parents groaned. “The worst baby ever,” said James sadly.

“He lived, though.” Lily smiled wistfully.

“No one will hear of this.” James glared at his wife firmly.

Lily nodded in agreement. “No one.”

James Potter, though, was cooking up a master plan in his brain that would ensure that no one could blame him for anything that had transpired on this day. Damnit, I’ll have to call in Hagrid’s favour.

And so, as the camera panned out, Harry, his mother, his father (not in frame), and James Potter, all went back to their jobs of acting normally. They were unaware of a silent, seething, balding figure just outside, who harbored dire plans for the both of them.

Because no one could know that Voldemort’s secret son thought that wizards were trash.

The End. Evanesco.

[All in good fun, I guess]

Summertime Madness

[this is one of many (2) writing prompts I received from fellow Twitter users, and I have taken full permission from the concerned individuals (haha not really)]

The brick colored brick building sat right where it was supposed to sit, unmoving, surprisingly stable, heating up under the angry Kolkata sun. They called it school, and every (pre)teen hated it. At any given point of time between 8 am and 5 pm, there were hordes of irritable students fidgeting their way through the stupid syllabus.

One of these kids was Aaradhya [last name not available]. He [male] was particularly annoyed that day, having had to jerk off in the school washrooms, thrice, with no material. Absolutely furious, one might say. He sat there on the termite-ridden desk, listening to the math tutor and wondering about the stock market and thinking about Schrodinger’s pussy. It was all good, as far as he was concerned.

The classroom door was pushed open abruptly at that moment, and a young, reedy-looking professor walked in. The math tutor half-shrieked, half-gasped, looking petrified. “Oh! Mr. Banerjee! Almost gave me a heart attack there!” Mr. Banerjee, cool as he was, snorted and whirled to face the class. His hand shot up, index finger pointing at Aaradhya. “I need this boy”, he said. The complete batch of bored students was suddenly glaring at Aaradhya, clearly not bored anymore.

Adjusting his glasses, Aaradhya stood up. “Me, sir?” “Yes. Follow me.” With that, the professor strode away.

Aaradhya, pouncing on this seemingly weird opportunity to leave class, hurried ahead, awkwardly nodded at the math tutor, and skidded out into the hallway. Mr. Banerjee was twenty paces ahead, so he picked up his pace and followed him.

Now Mr. Banerjee was a new guy, in his 30s and pretty much the poster boy for a smart economics professor; all the teachers were supposed to secretly hate him for being at a high level of the school food chain at such a young age. 

“In here, quick”, he said, opening up a door. And even as Aaradhya stepped over the threshold, a word popped into his head and his face changed. Oh, shit.

Mr. Banerjee saw that too, and grinned. “I’m no pedophile, kid.” Aaradhya was shocked but also relieved. “No, I don’t like kids but I have a certain…affinity for older women.” Aaradhya crinkled his nose, thinking, What an absolute madarchod. “Ah, I’m just kidding. I just prefer South Indian women.”

The room they had entered was a pretty basic classroom, completely empty except for the chewing-gum-riddled furniture and stale farts. Mr. Banerjee rushed to a side door and pushed on it. The door swung on its hinges and poof! seemed to melt away into nothingness. What the…

“Come on, kid”, Mr. Banerjee beckoned to him. “We need to be quick.”

“But…but there’s nothing behind the door! And I’m not sure that door is supposed to be there…”

“For heaven’s sake! Trust me, we need to go right now!”

So Aaradhya ran into the door, feeling like an autistic Harry Potter (basically the same thing). As soon as he made contact with the shimmering darkness, he felt an unseen force pull him into the void and he was thrown into a… conference room. One moment he was touching the door, the next he was sitting in the chair left of the empty chairman position in a red-themed, posh-looking conference room. It was cool​ here; a welcome relief from the heat. But where exactly was “here”?

Looking around, he realized he was alone. “Mr. Banerjee?” he called out meekly. No answer.

The next minute, there was a blurred, swift flurry of motions and then the conference room was full of 30-year-olds to 60-year-olds gazing solemnly at him. Maybe he was drunk. Maybe his arch-nemesis had put some drug in the morning upma. He wasn’t even sure he was real at this point. He noticed Mr. Banerjee sitting diagonally opposite to him, smiling.

The chair at the head of the table was occupied by a burly, confident man. He stared at Aaradhya as if judging him for his sins, while the latter thought about how if Simba the lion had a human counterpart this huge man would be him. The man looked away at the gathering and spoke. “The committee is now complete.” 

Aaradhya was baffled. “Wha-”

“All will be explained, kid. I hope you’ve noticed that you’re the youngest member here, the second youngest one is-” the man nodded at a 20-something guy wearing a dark hoodie, sitting at the far end, watching everything quietly, “-him. This here is the most clandestine committee of all time. You, Aaradhya, are now part of The Guild.”

“I’m not sure I’m supposed to be here. And I’m probably not the perfect guy…”

“Oh, we’ve seen you at work. You’re in the perfect position to be one of us. You understand how exactly money, and the world, for that matter, works, and that is a good enough criteria for us. And though you have a lot to learn,” The man cleared his throat conspirationally to hush down the murmuring that had grown around the table, much to Aaradhya’s indignation, “you shall be just fine. We were all chosen at your age, brought in by a mentor. There have been exceptions, however”, another glance at the far end, “but yeah, it’s all good.”

“And what are we…um…The Guild, supposed to do, exactly?”

The smart Simba man laughed, as if it was a very naive question, and the answer was but obvious. “Why, save the world!”

Aaradhya squinted from behind his glasses, and then many things happened at once. Mr. Banerjee tapped his wristwatch, the Simba guy nodded, another flurry of motion and all the people disappeared. Aaradhya was left alone, watching the empty chairs around him, feeling lonelier than ever, his mind a harsh kaleidoscope of what not…

Thunk!

What the hell do you think you’re doing, Aaradhya!?!” And all of a sudden Aaradhya was aware of a stinging heat on his neck and he was back in class, drooling off to sleep, and the math tutor was screaming at him…

“Uh.. I need to talk to Mr. Banerjee?”

“What?”, scoffed the tutor. “He called in sick today.”

“Oh.” So it was all just a figment of his imagination, like that time he had envisioned Mother Teresa in a sheer cloth…

Disappointed, Aaradhya left school early after telling his teachers he was feeling sick, and cycled back home. His parents were at work. He entered the hall, went straight to the kitchen, and gulped down half a liter of cold water.

He returned to the hall, only to find Mr. Banerjee, looking fit as hell, sitting in the couch, grinning up at him. Aaradhya staggered at the rush of images in his brain.

“You! The door…the room…the people…”

“Yep. All real. Sit down. I have something for you.”

“Sure, I think I’d better sit down. What is it?”

Mr. Banerjee’s face turned serious. “Are you up for it?”

Aaradhya thought about his bland life and the numerous times he’d wondered about snorting cocaine off the school principal’s tits. He shuddered.

“Oh, I am. I definitely am. So what do you have for me?”

Mr. Banerjee leaned forward with an expression less suited to a professor than to a superspy, and cracked another toothy smile. “An assignment.”

End.

[Note: everything here is fictional apart from the main character and the thinly veiled existential scorn. Thanks for reading.]