By: Mehreen Ahmed
People say that the wheel of fortune revolves in two directions. That it slips backwards and sometimes moves forwards. After about three decades, old Brown’s fate was about to change today. And it happened mysteriously enough. There was no logic as to why or how things occurred; they just did, without any rhyme or reason. Circumstance lent itself favourably, leading to his success on this fateful foggy winter of 1875.
A sound of fury distracted them; none other but the wind lashed across. The horses swerved a bit off course, but Brown’s young apprentice Peter handled it skilfully. Brown took his wallet out of his shirt pocket and looked at a picture. This was the picture of a little girl in a polka dot frock. He put his wallet away.
Peter had been here before. They were on their way to the Carpenter abode. After about an hour’s ride, they could see their house. It sat on a vast land which was now in view. Their cart drew closer to the house; the horse trotted gently down the gravel path and stopped under the porch, at a pull of Peter’s reins. With a sigh, they looked at one another. Peter and Brown disembarked.
Someone flung the front door open. Lydia and Jim Carpenter, came out and greet ed them, but not Rose. Slow trepidation pumped in as their heart-rates went up.Read more
By: Mehreen Ahmed
The city’s spirit is aptly sensed, by none, other than Gil, in Midnight in Paris. La Ville-Lumiere or “the city of light,” as Paris sometimes is called, is full of cultural sophistication and sensuous get up; something it owes largely to fashion, the glamour glitz and a tradition of fine arts. A city decorated with gardens and a regal past, as well as a place where kings and queens have lived, ruled, and fought bloody revolutions. Just as the Tuileries and the Chateaus symbolize the splendor of the royal heritage, the huge endowment, the French revolution, marks a turning point in history, as documented in Dickens’, The Tale of two cities and Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel.
Of course, we already know about the much needed French history; how the mighty rulers perished under the guillotine. However, it is quite a different feeling to visit those sites in the flesh. These streets have taken me back to the past; I see though a porthole of my mind’s eye, the passing chain of events; the artists, writers and the poets mingling, having coffee together and discussing topics, both enlightening and eternal; Edith Piaf, Flaubert and Maupassant; I almost see Flaubert writing Madam Bovery. Those very words, as he crafts them patiently, into the delicate artistry of writing:
y: Mehreen Ahmed
Once, there lived three friends, Una, Ulle and Ursula. While they were all outgoing, Una was a bit shy, Usha was not and Ursula, the happy medium, perfectly poised between the two. Ulle’s vivacity sometimes angered Una to the hilt. One day, they went out to have coffee and as they were looking for a place to sit down, Una said haltingly as always that she wanted to sit at the far end of the room. This enraged Ulle.
“You’re really awkward, you know!” She said. “And why can’t we sit in the middle?”
“Because, I’m embarrassed.”
“Who do you think would look at you?”
“May be no-one!”
By: Mehreen Ahmed
Meaka woke up with a cold sweat. By the clock sitting next to her on the bedside table, it was three in the morning. She lay there in the dark, cold and sleepless thinking of getting out of bed. But somehow she could not. Her limbs would not give an inch and yet her brain kept saying otherwise. It felt as though it was racing — and racing it was like crazy.
In the semi-darkness she looked across the room — an empty chair. Her gaze fixed on it almost asking it for a solution but this overwhelming inertia was hard to knock off. Restlessness seized her when she finally got out of bed. It was four`0’ clock. Just a few hours from now, she was meeting a friend for coffee. Quietly slipping into her sandals she grabbed her dressing gown, opened the door softly and went into the living room closing the door behind her. She turned one of the blinds poles to look through the narrow blade slits. The dark sky over the horizon had only just started to glow. Meaka waited for the sun. It steadily came up spreading some of that hue across the sky. She was going to have breakfast with Riana soon. A strange sort of pleasure possessed her at the thought. Last week’s coffee meeting was such an eye-opener; none of Riana’s stories moved her so much, as did this one.
By: Mehreen Ahmed
One black wintry night, Piccolo -Xavier bumped into someone while crossing the road. Once he was across, the person on the receiving end was not visible anymore. It seemed that in the Parisian dark alley, it had just melted into darkness. When he peered further, he saw a black coat disappearing around the corner. Piccolo-Xavier started to run; however, the more he ran, further the person moved away. Breathing heavily he stopped to rest when his gaze shifted towards a shiny object that seemed to appear on an uneven asphalt footpath. As he stooped to pick it up, the lead was gone.
It was a locket with a broken clasp. He opened it to see what was inside. In the insufficient street lamp, he saw that it was a picture of a girl. This object could be of sentimental value, Piccolo-Xavier thought. But the black coat was long gone and there was no way he could return it to the owner.
By: Cacy Ann Minter
I didn’t know where I was when I woke up. I was aware of a pressing sensation on my chest, but couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. I tried to look around and realized my field of vision was limited to the area directly in front of me. I couldn’t move my arms or legs, or even swivel my head from side to side. I heard voices speaking frantically, but it was as if they were off at a long distance, as if they were at least a football field away. Other than the slight pressure on my upper body, I had no sensation or feeling whatsoever, other than a kind of heaviness I figured was just my brain coping with the paralysis I seemed to be experiencing.
I could see an open expanse of sky so I assumed I was lying prone outside of my car. I thought back as far as I could remember, but for the moment was just drawing a blank. Suddenly, the hazy form of a woman flashed into my view, moving just as quickly out of my range of sight as she had entered. Waiting patiently, I saw her hover in my line of vision once more, flashing a penlight into both of my eyes. At the time I didn’t think about why that bright flash of light didn’t blind me or cause me to blink, but I would later come to know why.
Kaylee grasped her mother’s hand as they made their way up the icy stone walkway. Snow covered the edge of the path where flowers usually blossomed during the spring. She watched her step so as not to fall and ruin her new pink puffy coat. It was her first Christmas present of the year from her parents. Even though Christmas Eve wasn’t until tomorrow night, the frigid weather allowed for Kaylee to receive her coat a few days early.
While one gloved hand clung desperately to her mother, the other held just as tightly onto Bunny. Bunny went everywhere with Kaylee since she was two. The stuffed rabbit’s ears were tattered from months of teething, and his yellow coloring faded from hundreds of journeys through the washing machine. Kaylee held him by the ears and raised her arm just high enough to keep his fluffy bottom from dragging on the cold, wet ground.
By: Rebecca Laskowitz
There wasn’t much time left. Philip knew this. The entire village knew as well. What did they have? Hours? Very unlikely. More like minutes. Minutes that flew by with increasing speed as the enemy drew closer.
Philip looked at all they had accomplished. The walls were high and foreboding, but size was not enough to prevent annihilation. Strength was the key factor to guard against the great enemy, and Philip prayed to the gods that the fortress held strength.
The villages that had once stood here obviously lacked the strength needed to keep the enemy out. How many fortresses—great fortresses built with the blood and sweat of great men—had stood here before today only to be wiped away by one pass of the great enemy? There must have been hundreds, maybe even thousands, of towns that have been destroyed. Completely and utterly erased from the map.Read more
By: Christopher Brancato
To most people it was just another Monday, but this wasn’t the case for a selected few. The day started like any other for Mike Johnson. Mike would wake up, organize his attire for the day on his bed in a very civil manner, jump in the shower, get dressed, and head downstairs to read the paper over an oversized cup of coffee. Mike was glancing through the pages before approaching an article that seemed oddly familiar. The caption read “Five Car Pileup Leads to the Death of a Police Officer.” The reason why this article seemed so familiar to Mike was because Mike happened to pass by this ghastly scene as it occurred the night prior on the way home from the office, but was stricken with fear, that he impulsively continued en route.Read more
By: Amy Priddy
George woke up that morning with a splitting headache and found himself in a whirlwind of confusion. He rubbed his eyes and seemed to glare back at the sunlight pouring through the shutters. George hated the sunlight and almost everything else that morning entailed. He flopped out of bed, put on a worn out blue robe and tied it around his sagging midsection. After his wife died he had promised himself that he would work on his appearance, but the thought of actual work made him queasy. He went to the mirror and frowned at the wrinkles around his eyes and meticulously tried to rub them away with his finger. It didn’t work, of course, and his face continued to hang there lifelessly.