Mayank was lost in thought when Avni slid a plate of honey glazed pancakes in front of him. Last night was the goriest of them all. He saw her walking around the house with knives. She even stabbed herself in the leg a few times. What scared him the most was her nonchalance to the pain that must have followed! It was almost like her body wasn’t feeling anything anymore. 

He took the plate and bit into one of the cherries with no courage to glance over his shoulder. He just peeped through the edges of his eyes to know that she was, indeed, smiling one of her brightest smiles. 

In a way, that was a relief. Had long since he last saw her happy. 

He grinned to himself and took a bite of the pancake and then turned to her. 

But… she… her smile was painfully wide… eerie… She looked annoyed. Her eyes seemed bigger and darker… like she was having one of those fits right in the morning. 

Before Mayank could have done something, he felt a strange fire building up in his throat; choking him down to his guts. He wasn’t breathing easy, just about enough to stay alive! It felt like someone wanted him to go through the labors of death, without ever falling into its arms. 

Mayank rushed to the kitchen for a glass of water. Nothing helped.

Water. Honey. Nothing. 

He had no options left but just to let the fire eat him up. He turned around to find Avni standing there, right behind him; her pupils had now grown large enough to eat up all the whites in her eyes and make them look like a black hole. A strange, creepy black hole which will seduce you enough to yearn for a trip down to its edge, yet will scare you enough to wish doom upon yourself just to escape its sorcery. 

“Don’t you love me, Mayank?”

Mayank tried to speak, but his words died in his mouth. His tongue had been a grave to his emotions lately… that day was no exception.

She repeated, 

“Don’t you love me?”

Another attempt to speak; succumbed to the fire! 

She placed a hand on his cheek, brushing some tears away, looking right into his eyes. 

Her voice cracked as if she was at the edge of tears. 

“You know, Mayank! I know you don’t love me. But I love you…”

She leaned forward, diving deeper into his eyes, “… And I always will.”

Her palm started to grow hotter… and hotter… and hotter… and soon, his cheek started burning just as bad as his throat. 

She dug her nails into his cheek… deeper… deeper… until she reached the bone. 

There was blood all over the floor. 

Alas! He couldn’t even weep to that!

“I wake up to nightmares these days!”

“Nightmares?”

“Yeah! Random flashes of pinching white light come charging at me until I fall out of breath and wake up gasping!”

“Hmm… Screwed!”

“Is it?”

“Yeah!” Mayank shrugged. 

“How much?”

“You are acting so weird, Avni!”

She was… Indeed, acting weird. Mayank felt like he was waking up to a stranger every day. Her eyes had a strange fire in them. The flames were cold… cold enough to turn your existence into ashes. 

In the middle of some odd nights, Avni would wake up to frightening fits of rage, throw stuff around the room, break lamps, pull the curtains down… only to fall to the ground and cry for hours. 

When this first happened, a month ago, it scared the wits out of Mayank. A conversation with Avni, and he immediately knew that she had no idea about the entire event. He searched online, read texts only to draw and settle for vague conclusions at the end.

Soon, the horror faded away, and everything got back to normal. Avni didn’t have any of those attacks for weeks until she gave into another one of those last night.

Screaming. Wailing. Tearing up. She fumbled around the room; all of this, while Mayank pretended to be in the deepest of his sleep, his hand pressed against his lips to keep him from yelling out her name. If that man would ever be asked about the terror of oblivion, he will talk about that night. Nothing kills people more than love anyway!

Unlike last time, Avni never got up from the floor. Everything went quiet… so quiet that he could hear her wheeze under her breath. His heartbeat was high, too high for comfort! Silence rang in his ears. 

Another night of stinging torment. Another night of hushed tears. He was exhausted!

You were that lazy sip of wine under the beaming silver of falling stars. You would swirl on my skin, tingle my tongue and tease my throat till my lips would break into a dimming smile and my eyes would spill love.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
My fingers traced… they traced the chiseled edges of your jaw just like they run over the cracked hem of my wine glass.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
You were special…⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
You… you were the rare cassette. One that’s worthy of honoring every vintage collection. Kept in a case of shimmering gold; draped in velvet.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
You would sing the songs of pinching nostalgia, paint the walls with colors of retro sepia and calm my nerves like forbidden magic.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
You were rare…⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
But then… every writer has a fancy oil lamp in her room, and I am no exception!⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Every night, I feed some oil to its fire. It burns with somber brilliance and dies by midnight.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Every night, I stare at its dying flame like a doomed lunatic. I stare long enough for its soul to haunt my eyes every time I blink.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Every night, I witness fate! I listen to its hushed lessons as it howls back at me!⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Flames die, you see!⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Now… sitting beside those dying flames, sipping on wine out of my crooked wine glass and listening to a stuck cassette tape… I know what made you leave…⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Flames died sooner than I wanted them to!⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣

 

These days, I find myself swooning over lazy afternoon naps. I may have found a strange solace in the cruel lucidity of my dreams. Well, it’s strange how sleep is my refuge in ‘our’ memories, away from the worn relics.

So, this afternoon, after I was done meandering in my beautiful dreams, I woke up…

I woke up to the taste of honey, dancing at the tip of my tongue.

An hour later, I stood there, with hot pancakes piled over my plate and the memoirs of my peaceful sleep hanging down my lashes. Warm soul hugging-fragrance of pancakes bathed in the gleaming yellows of honey… and that is how I paint winter on a white plate of bone china.

The glass jar sat in a lonely corner of the mahogany table, basking under hushed shadows of the evening twilight. Sliding into a chair, I grabbed a spoon and unscrewed the lid.

First spoon…

Second spoon…

And the third one to waltz on its way, from the tip of my tongue to the cusp at its end.

And… Ahhh! It stung! I gagged at the bitterness, stomped the plate against the table and then leaned back in my chair, frowning at the sugary scam that just stabbed me in my throat.

Right in front of my house, there is an old Sheesham tree. It has been there for years now and I wonder if it has ever heard me cry in the silence of lonely midnights… for, when I wake up to the dawns of such nights, I find some wilted leaves mourning at the ground underneath and the tree feels a little naked without them.

Four years ago, I walked up to it and drew a heart against your name, with the tip of my finger. Oh! Don’t worry, no one came to know… but, now when I walk past that well-kept secret…

The wind blows;

Leaves rustle;

And I look at the tree and sigh back… We have a language of our own.

I mean… of course, it has seen it all! From that dreamy smile, when you walked past that door for the first time… to that sly spark in my eyes, when our lips touched; from those quiet questions that yearned to leave my lips, when you left the door frowning… to that lonely sigh when you didn’t choose to return.

I am afraid… it knows way too much for comfort! I might have failed to hide the piercing hatred my eyes spat in the last four years.

I am afraid that the tree breathed in the poison of my rage, flowers wilted in the ruthless fire of my pain and some lost bees took that nectar away…

I am afraid… that those broken pieces of my heart burnt in my throat today… I am afraid that you left our story behind… and it lives here with me… I am afraid!

We live in a lost world.
We are wanderers, miserable vagabonds!
We feed on anger and breathe out fires, then cry at the sight of burnt cities and homeless hearts.
We gulp tears and our eyes bleed, then we frown at the sight of spilled gore.
We smoke ashes, bathe in swamps, wear mere shreds of envy and then flaunt our prides.
Such is our foolery.
And, in a world as lost as ours, we dream of love and preach its beauty.
Sing it to glory.
I believe; hiding behind our quest for bliss, we are at strife for a ‘home’.
Enraged by our solitude and grieving our nostalgia…we are demons!
We are demons, hiding behind a charming bouquet of scented paper roses.
We hawk those flowers and break inside the deserted hearts of our patrons, vowing to fill their void with nectar and honey.
But….
We are hungry bandits!
We rob them off their peace and leave them to suffer in the torment of heartbreak.
Dear ‘home’,
I know; I know that you are lost in this pack of howling misers and you fear the day when you will have to wake up… to the nightmare of a shattered heart and an empty soul.
I know; I know that you want to find your ‘home’, as much as I want to find you.
But… what assures you, that our greed won’t take over and we won’t abandon each other, as soon as we catch our breathes and the sores on our feet stop oozing blood?
What assures you, that our ‘forever’ won’t be just another voice in the piercing cacophony of lies and that our ‘happy ending’ will not abide to the taunting title of ‘crippled rainbows and fantasies’?
Dear ‘home’,
Don’t you fret the horror… It may be lying at the end of our quests?
Isn’t ‘homelessness’ a bliss, when the walls of your abode chase the daylight out of your life?
With love,
From the ‘home’ that you may never find.

Last year in December, I gathered my courage and dived into this amazing and exciting world of blogging! I decided to publish the chapters from a story I wrote three years ago.

For me, the blog was just an escape! Honestly speaking, I could have never imagined the kind of response that the story received and since then, the journey has been nothing but magical!

Because of the lovely support from all of you, the ‘writer inside me’ got the opportunity to venture into the realms of poetry and I found my home there!

This blog and all the lovely people who have joined me here in the community, mean a lot to me! “From the quill” changed everything and it is the best thing that has ever happened in my life till now!

But, with all the bittersweet emotions in my heart *cue emotional music*, I have decided to leave that title behind and change the name of my beautiful baby *self-obsessed mom* *hehe* to “Life in yellows”

You don’t have to follow or subscribe again! It’s just a change in the domain name and the aesthetic of the blog! You will keep on receiving notifications regarding new posts and the content will still be literary and poetic!!

I am so happy to have you along on this wonderful journey! Your love and support mean the world to me!

So, without further ado, let us begin with the new chapter!

Shall we?

 

The night smothered you,
With the smoke that rose above,
The burnt remains
Of your tender heart.

Now…
Now, your lungs ache,
Your guts lie,
Tied in knots,
Churning,
Wringing your life out of you.

Coiled like a foetus,
Drenched in tears,
Is that you?
Who carved these scars
Deep… in the tenders of your skin.
Is that a memoir
To your unworthy sin?

Pulling your hair,
Clenching your jaw,
Is that you?
Who strangled that beauty,
Over the rotting remains,
Of the fantasy of a paradise?

I know…
I know my friend,
You’ve waited for the dawn…
Like the staunch nightingale,
Waits for the last of the amber,
To fade away.

Don’t you fall prey,
To your bouts of fear!
Don’t you dare concede,
To the taunts,
Blurted by the deadly demons,
Of your crippling anxiety…!

For…
The dawn mustn’t shine
On your grave….

“Do you believe in ghosts?”

Yeah…

They live in my closet,

And yours too,

Don’t they?

 

There are nights, when I wake up,

Lying in this pool of sweat,

Or… is that blood?

I never chose to know…

 

Those eerie nights, I hear then growl,

Or… is that, their kind of a scream?

I never chose to know..

 

They must stare at me, from the creek and crevice,

Of the worn wood,

To know that, I am trembling with fear,

To know that, they need to howl,

Sing those tears.

 

There are days when I hear them knock,

Knock on my mind,

Knock me, off my ground,

In a ditch of worms,

Eating me up.

 

Perhaps… they’ve been dead since the dawn of the last summer,

But they are waiting for me,

To bury them,

… And, what am I waiting for?

The night of the next winter?

 

They are dead, yet alive enough,

To have an appetite,

To fantasise a feast,

the want… to feed on my soul.

 

They are dead, yet alive enough,

To be ridiculed for their deeds,

To be cursed for the gore,

Yet… to be called a part of my heart,

The corpse of a dead Ghoul.

Deep…

Deep down in my heart;

Buried in my soul;

Are the truths to my lies…

 

Lies…

Those lies which I hurl;

Hurl at the world,

When folks try to sneak in,

Through my lamenting eyes;

Seeking the way to my vulnerable

heart…

 

Vulnerabilities…

They are an enigma, aren’t they?

 

In this world, we conspire…

Force people to bare their fragility;

But strive to armour ours…

 

We…

We are fools…

And the pursuit of power and strength;

That’s our folly…

 

The bait in the rat race,

Is nothing…

But, the most splendid of all the lies,

That ever escaped the mouths of the “Wise”…

 

For… the forts;

They were never our strength,

But a futile attempt, an illusion…

Played at the invader,

An attack on his frailty…

 

For… Not even a single ounce of blood,

Was shed for victory…

But… we bled our way to the doomed oblivion,

Just to run away from defeat…

It was a dark and lonely night.

The sky would have been a vision to behold with all the lovely stars, and a bright full moon…. if…. only if, it wasn’t bequeathed with an awning of heavy storm-ridden clouds.

The air was taught… It prophesied a demonic storm.

There I was, beside the lake… kneeling down.

My arm bled…body covered in scars and bruises.

My hand, pressed against my chest as I gasped for breathe.

My eyes squinted as the pain rendered me numb and senseless.

Everything seemed like a blur.

In front of me, my sword had lain for years, waiting for me…. desperate for victory.

It was a blade of Honor, it shone with brilliance, a luster like no other…. except, now, its shine was a gleam of crimson…for…it was now drenched in blood.

I gathered my strength. My body lost its power, but …. I couldn’t have lost my desire to conquer.

I stood up… Limping….my legs quivered.

My hands clinched around the hilt of the blade.

I swayed it, in all the ways known to my kind…. like a sloshed fool … hoping to kill my rival, once and for all.

But…alas, the knights of obscure wisdom shouldn’t dream the dreams of their reign.

Another sword came flashing, piercing through the air. The assailant aimed at my calf and knocked me down.

I was lying there… helpless… grunting curses at the silhouette of my enemy.

Suddenly, the clouds withdrew their rebellion.

The Moon enlightened the world… revealing the face of my opponent.

It was me.

I hated myself.

 

Click here to read chapter-1.

Stella stood in front of the door; her hand was resting on the door knob and her eyes were closed…not to hide the gloom that ruled her heart for the past seven years…but to feel the warmth of the sun that had just dawned on the sky of her life.

“Are you sure?” asked Alex as Stella signed the cheque.

“I don’t think that I have any reason to not be sure!”

“But, didn’t you save this money to start your own company?”

“I did! But, when I was saving this money, I was wasting my life like a wreck, ignoring my happiness, my family’s happiness. In the last seven years of my life, I have tried to live a fool’s dream! I was trying to barter smiles for applause; I was trying to give away the beautiful life that I already had to buy a much cheaper and a fabricated world, a world of mirages, it does not even lets you see its voids before you become as hollow as this world! If giving away this money brings back those smiles on my parents’ face, then I don’t think that anything or any reason is valid enough to stop me from repaying this debt!”

A wide smile graced Stella’s lips as she relived that moment! She was proud…proud of her decision…she was proud of the fact that now, she knew what she really wants from her life.

That moment, that serene moment…as she stood in front of the door of her room, was the happiest moment of her life.  Nothing beats the beauty that lies in the strength needed to rebuild the fortress of your life.

She took a deep breath to feel the happiness that surrounded her and pushed the door open. She, then, slowly opened her eyes as she stepped inside her room. She witnessed every memory coming back to life, greeting her on her arrival. The woody scent that filled the air soothed Stella’s senses. She wanted to freeze that moment, then and there.

She felt like a traveler, who just returned from a long journey; she just came back to a home that she left behind in her endeavors; a home, that she once despised for its comfort and beauty, for the fact that it lacked adventure! That adventure, which was offered by the rugged roads that waited for her, outside the four walls! She left this home for them…but today, she could fight the world to call this home her own!

“Help me!”

Stella turned around to find John struggling with the luggage.

“Oh! I am sorry! I forgot that you were getting the luggage out of the car!”

Stella helped John and kept the bags on the table beside the bed. Tired from carrying the suitcases all by him, john threw himself onto the sofa. Meanwhile Stella got busy in unpacking her suitcase. To make some place for the clothes, Stella decided to examine the closet. A huge blow of dust came on her face as she opened the closet door. She started coughing.

“Oh God! This place has to be cleaned!” she managed to utter those words while she still coughed badly.

“No need! The lawyer has completed all the paperwork. Just sign on the dotted and we will be free!” John played with his fingers as he said that, trying to avoid making an eye contact with Stella. He suspected that after meeting her parents, meeting Alex and listening to their story, she might have changed her mind. His fear found a very firm ground in his head when he got to know about her decision to repay the debt using her life savings.

Stella gave out a deep sigh. “I am not selling the house!”

From her tone, she sounded uninterested to voice any further arguments in this regard. She expected her boyfriend of five years, and now his fiancé, to take that affirmation as obvious. She wanted his heart to answer that question before his mind would have even decided to give birth to it!

The fact that it was still unanswered, felt like a sword through Stella’s soul. The fact that john still expected her to sell the house was a red-flag for her, and definitely not the first one! She came across a similar red-flag when she saw a change in John’s expressions on hearing her decision to pay back the debt!

She knew that John was not on the same page as her…but this time, she was determined to not move even a single page to please him!

“I knew it!” John’s lips twisted in anger, his brow frowned in frustration. “I knew that you were an emotional fool! Oh God! How stupid am I? How did I even expect practicality from a person like you?” John was blazing with anger. He jumped up from the couch and started pacing back and forth as he attacked Stella with those words.

But Stella…her armor was strong; it was made with her deep emotions. An armor made of reasoning can be broken with an arrow of a strong argument, but an armor made of emotions is unparalleled!

“You can call me whatever you wish to! I am not selling this house!” Stella’ eyes oozed out the firmness of her decision.

John felt helpless! He kicked the side-table as he exited the room. The vase on the top of it fell down and broke into a thousand pieces. This time, those pieces were not a metaphor of her broken heart… but they represented the fall of that hollow and vulnerable Stella, whose part she played for the last seven years.

A tear left her eye to pay the due condolences to that Stella, and then she resumed her work as she gulped the rest of her feelings!

“Pass me that blue color!”

”Yes Sir!” Stella exclaimed as she passed the tube of color to her dad; she went, stood beside his canvas and started looking at his face!

“What are you looking at?”

“The face that I yearned to see for so many years!”

“Well! My face has wrinkled a lot since then!’

“Makes you look cuter!” Stella pulled her father’s cheek as she said that.

David took some blue paint and stroked it on Stella’s nose.

“Dad!’ He smiled and giggled.

“Don’t you trouble my daughter!” Emma entered the room with four glasses of juice. She kept them on the table and handed over a glass to Alex.

Stella noticed his plaster, “Hey! How is that so white? Why haven’t I drawn on it already?”

Stella picked up a marker and started drawing on the plaster in his hand. Emma took Stella’s place and started watching David paint with keen interest, her hand resting on his shoulder. They both looked at each other and smiled every now and then.

Looking at these smiles filled Stella’s heart with joy!
“They look so happy!”

“Yes! I can die for those smiles!”

“What about you? Are you happy Stella?”

“Yeah! Of-course! I am very happy! I am still pursuing my dream job and helping my father with his art gallery at the same time! I can’t even explain how much joy that brings to my heart! I won’t lie! Travelling every weekend is a little exhausting, but it is totally worth it!” Stella said that with the widest smile on her face!

“Do you have any idea about how beautiful you look when you smile? Start smiling more often, Stupid!” Alex said that as he pinched her nose.

Stella giggled and continued her drawing.

The wounds of her past were still red. She was still not over John…but her heart was not dead and barren now . Her heart was waiting for love to blossom!

She knew that Alex liked her…she liked him too!

But…she was not ready, her heart was not ready to risk a beautiful relationship, to exhaust its purity, force it to fill the wounds of her heart. She knew that she had to heal herself first, fall in love with herself again…and then allow love to cover her scars!

She smiled as she told that to herself!

THE END!