Tuesday, April 08, 2008

55-Fiction - Part 3


He swung about to and fro, nimbly dodging his opponents’ attempts to cut him. However, with the speed and precision of a battle trained veteran, he cut them down to size with his sharp weapon. Soon, he was the lone kite fluttering about in the sky, as his master waved to the cheers down below.


He struggled hard to pull the pair, but they obstinately clung on and refused to buckle under his forceful attempt. However, after some desperate antics, they relented and went up his legs. He buttoned the pair of jeans with a heave of relief. Damn! He was growing fatter, and the 2-month old jeans didn’t fit!


The goldfish swam about wildly in its bowl, as it saw the cat advance stealthily towards it, licking its lips. As the cat began to place its hand in the bowl, something pierced its butt, and it jumped away with a huge yell. Jerry mouse was smiling at the fish, a fork in his hand.

Wherever you go…

I found Cheeka, the hutch dog, sitting on the pavement, its cute innocent face looking weirdly furious. “Hey! What’s ticking u off?” I asked. Cheeka grumbled “The pretty girl over there uses Hutch, and I followed her wherever she went. But her jealous boyfriend made her use Vodafone, and now he is with her everytime!”


The place was damn hot, and he needed to remove his attire. He found a cool cave hidden inside the small hill, and crawled inside. Slowly, he removed every inch of the stinky and dirty dress. After he had completely stripped, he slithered out of the cave, leaving behind the rough brown and black snakeskin.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The April Fools Prank

Henrik Lennart drove his brand new SAAB car across the winding road, savoring the salty breeze drifting towards the Scandinavian coastland. He expertly steered the wheel through the steep roads cut into the cliff, which lead to the small picturesque town of Hakkitm, a popular haven for the tourists from down in the city during the weekends. His wife Olega sat on the passenger seat next to him, her brown hair fluttering through the window with the crisp maritime wind, her face betraying excitement as her eyes took in the beautiful scenery. Occasionally, she shifted her attention to her husband and their doe eyed daughter Anna, who was sitting in the backseat, peering out of the window, her tender hands clutching the rim of the back seat window, mouth open in awe as she was bedazzled by the green blue ocean, the sunlight forming glittering sparks on the surface.

Henrik felt at home finally. His mind was a whirring machine of childhood memories; it had been years since he had left his hometown to try his luck in the richer cities of the mountainous country. The familiar smell of the sea and the alpine trees that dotted the face of the mountainside made his heart thud rapidly, as he continued to focus on negotiating the roads ahead. He smiled at the thought of seeing his mother and sister after a gap of 17 years. His pretty wife saw him smiling to himself; she placed a reassuring hand on his right shoulder, and gave him a beautiful smile.

“Are you nervous honey?” she enquired.

“Nah darling! The feeling of seeing my folks after a really long time is something that I can’t define. I am both nervous and excited at the same time.” He quipped. He peered in the rearview mirror, and said “Anna…. Are you excited to meet grandma and Martha aunty?”

“Yup daddy!” Anna squealed in innocent delight. “This place looks weely pretty mommy. I love the air moving inside the car” she said in her boisterous tone.

Henrik chuckled in response. Olega leaned forward, and he turned to her; they kissed for a few seconds, before he focused his attention on the driving. Within 10 minutes, they had arrived at the town.

Henrik stepped on the brake, as he drove the car beside the pavement, parking it in front of the grocer’s. He stood in his seat silently, watching the hustle and bustle on the streets, reliving the moments he had spent in the same area. The place looked completely different now; however, some of the shops remained the same, as he had remembered. The brown on yellow painted baker’s sign still hung above the door, though it was now old and weathered, and some of the paint was peeling away. The grocer’s shop also looked the same. He motioned to his wife to stay in the car, and got out of the SAAB. After brushing up his tweed jacket and straightening the cuffs, he strolled into the grocer’s shop, hoping to see Mr.Bruno, the grocer who used to give Henrik some chocolates, when he used to do odd jobs for the former. He spotted the grocer at his counter, discussing something with a customer. Mr.Bruon still looked the same, though his hair had grayed and wrinkles were forming on his face. Disguising his smile, Henrik walked over to the spot, and stood in front of the old man.

Mr.Bruno gave a casual glance at the new customer. “How can I help you sir?” he asked.

Mr.Bruno doesn’t recognize me… thought Henrik. Those 17 years had changed him a lot; from being a lanky freckled faced, long haired lad, he had become a smart, well built and suave man. Today’s April first; better give my folks a surprise, rather than let the cat out of the bag…It will be fun if Ma and Martha don’t recognize me as well.

“Good day. I would like to know where the nearest lodge is; I have come with my wife and child on vacation here, and we are expected to stay for another two weeks. The rent should be adequate and affordable. Also, I have heard that the Lennart Motel is doing a reasonable business here; however, there are some rumors about the disappearance of some tourists in this place. Is that true?”

“Yeah! But we don’t think the town’s got anything to do with these disappearances. I know everyone here, and no one will dare to risk losing their acceptance in this place by engaging in illegal activities. You know how careless most of the tourists are. Please be careful around here sir. And yeah, the Lennart Motel is still active; they offer a picturesque view of the sea. However, I suggest you try the Brossuc Lodge; they have a lot of facilities that would benefit any tourist, and their restaurant serves excellent sea food.” The grocer went on explaining about the spots to see in Hakkitm, as Henrik listened in rapt attention.

Ten minutes later, he returned to his car and got inside. “Dear… I will book a room for us at the Brossuc lodge; it’s suitable for Anna I guess. The grocer used to be kind to me in my childhood days, but now he doesn’t recognize me at all. We will go to the lodge, but tonight I am going to sleep in my motel. I bet Ma and Martha wont know it’s me, and I will give them a wonderful surprise on this April fool’s day.” He grinned widely.

Olega merely rolled her eyes; her husband never ceased to have wacky ideas up his sleeve. “Ok honey! As you say. I want to see your family as soon as possible, but I guess I don’t wanna disappoint you. Just spend some time with Anna, and go and see your folks in the evening. Please.”

“Sure darling!” He gave Olega a peck, and then turned to see his daughter looking at them, cuddling her teddy bear tightly. “Hey baby… today we will have a lot of fun. Tomorrow you can see grandma and aunty. Fine with you?”

Anna pouted at her father. “Whatever, daddy! I just want to play with you and mom today. I am bored of sitting in the car.!” Henrik smiled and playfully tickled her, causing her to break into childish laughter.

They booked a room at the lodge, and spent the rest of the evening boating in the lake, and going on a shopping spree in the town market. Soon, it was nearly seven when they returned to their hotel, and it was around 8 pm by the time they had their dinner and retired to their room.

Henrik left Olega and Anna in the room, and walked towards the Lennart Motel, carrying a big duffel bag with him. He walked through the nearly empty streets of the town, pulling up his fur jacket to his cheek, braving the biting cold of the night, lost in thoughts.

His father ran the Lennart Motel in his childhood days; he earned a reasonable profit, but never spent it on his family. Whatever his father had saved had been spent in whorehouses, and his father used to beat up his mother whenever she tried to tell him to give some money. Henrik remembered those sounds in the nights, where his father beat up his mother; he had hugged his younger sister of five years, holding her ears so that she would not hear the abuses and the crashing sounds outside the door of their small bedrooms. Henrik had to do odd jobs to support his family, while his mother quietly helped his father in the motel business, taking care of the rooms and cooking the food for the paying guests. He had decided that he would never be like his father, and had a desire to live a better life and in turn help out his mother and sister. However, he knew that his father would never allow him to leave town, so he bided his time, waiting for something to happen.

The opportunity came when he was about 15 years of age. His father had been caught in an uncompromising act with a girl, who happened to be the mistress of a local gangster. The gang had taken his father to their place and shot him blank point in the head. However, his family had no regrets about the death, and his mother assumed charge of the motel. Henrik, however, was not content with running the motel; his ambitions extended beyond the limits of the town. So one night, he bade goodbye to his young sister, and had left a note to his mother conveying his intentions. He had then slunk out of his house, walked a few paces away, and hid in the back of the grocer’s truck, which he knew would go to the nearby city for fresh supplies that morning.

He had reached the city, and hitched a ride to one of the posh cities downtown, where the real wealth lay in wait for him. There, he roamed about the city, doing several small odd jobs to sustain himself, sleeping in public places and utilizing his keen sense of observations to keep in tune with the current affairs in the town. However, his life changed after a year or so, when he had found an abandoned wallet in a park, and had returned it to the owner from the address enclosed inside it. The owner of the wallet happened to be a retail store baron, who had offered him a job as a token for his honesty. There was no looking back since then; he had become loyal to the baron, chauffeuring his car, doing errands for him and many other odd jobs. Within ten years, he had become a trusted member of the baron’s family, and had been granted a rich life. His master sponsored his college education as well, and there he had met Olega. They had fallen in love at first sight, and after two years of dating had finally tied the knot, and later on.

Once he had settled in life, his thoughts had returned to his mother and sister. He wondered how they had been doing all these years. He voiced his desire to his mentor, to return to Hakkitm and meet his family, and his request had been granted. He had taken enough money to last his mother and sister another 5-10 years, and had decided to take his wife and daughter along.

Henrik shook himself out of his reverie, as he came to the Lennart Motel. The old sign had been replaced with a neon one, and the walls were damp in parts. The whole building looked ancient yet sturdy, and the moonlight cast a bright glow on the upper floors of the motel. His heart thumping wildly, he strode along the hard cement pathway to the entrance, flanked by small lawns on either side. He entered the doorway, and narrowed his eyes, trying to adjust to the dim lighting inside the reception. He went to the desk, and pressed the buzzer atop it. Within seconds, he felt a rush of blood, as he saw his mother approach the desk from a side door. She looked better than ever, though her face looked tired and her hair had turned a shade of gray; a red scarf was tied around her head. She looked at him suspiciously, as he attempted to hide his delirious joy and put on a straight face.

“Yes?” she said in her familiar hollow voice.

“Hello! I am looking for a night’s stay here. Do you have a single bedroom available?”

“Yeah we do! The season has barely started, and there are plenty available. In fact, there’s no one else here for tonight.”

She noticed the young man staring at her intently, and felt a surge of unease. There was something familiar about him, but she couldn’t place it. Finally, the man spoke “How much for the room?”

“That will be 200 Kroner, sir” she replied.

Henrik opened his duffel bag, deliberately exposing its contents to his mother. He fished out five notes from a fat wad of money, nestled among some gifts wrapped in brown paper, and handed it over to his mother.

His mother accepted the money, her eyes momentarily on the bag. She plucked a key from the wall, and called out “Martha! Show our guest to his room.”

Henrik turned towards the sound of footsteps descending down the stairs, and he saw his sister after 17 years. Like him, she too had changed a lot. The puppy fat in her cheeks had gone; in their place were strong cheekbones, and she had an aquiline nose - the traditional Scandinavian woman features. However, he recognized the birthmark on her neck; the memory was so vivid and clear, and his joy knew no bounds as he finally saw how Martha looked like now. She saw him looking at her intently, and averted eye contact with him. She beckoned to him to follow her, and he gave a slight curtsy bow to his mother, before walking up the stairs after Martha. His mind took in every footstep of his sister’s, the outline of her features, her posture and the manner with which she carried herself. Things have really changed a lot, he remarked to himself.

On the first floor, Martha opened one of the room doors for him, and switched on the lights, before moving aside to make way for Henrik to enter. “Please make yourself comfortable Sir. Have a good night!” She said in a pleasant voice.”

“You too Ma… err Madam” he was about to say Martha, before he caught himself. However, his sister appeared not to notice this, as she closed the door behind her. He came to the door, and placed his right ear against it, listening to Martha’s footfalls as she walked hurriedly down the wooden stairs, and a few seconds later, he heard his mother and sister engaged in an animated conversation. He knew they were talking about it, and wondered if they would know it was their long lost family member.

Smiling to himself, he returned to his bed, pulled out a bottle of scotch, and took a sip of it, licking his lips in relish. Ma and Martha are going to be in for a surprise tomorrow… What a good prank to play today! I have made sure Ma sees the money; she must be itching to have some of it, and she will have it. And I hope Martha will like the gifts I have bought for her. I am still thinking of her as a little girl; now she looks so mature. What a day tomorrow is going to be! He took another sip of the scotch, and placed it on the lamp table beside the bed.

He laid in bed, deep in thoughts. Finally, sleep took over him, and he dreamt about his childhood memories. He was so deep in slumber, that he did not hear the key being turned in the door. He did not hear the door creak open. Two pairs of feet silently tiptoed to the bed, but he was oblivious to their presence, as they stood on either side of him. He did not feel or hear anything, until he felt something thrust in his face violently, that he opened his eyes wide in shock, gasping for breath. Simultaneously, he felt his heart being torn apart, as something very sharp was continually being stabbed into it, the warm red blood splashing all over his dress and on the mattress. He struggled to break free; to scream his throat hoarse, but his life was rapidly ebbing out of him. After a minute of violent struggle, blackness took over, and his body went limp.

Martha continued to hold the pillow over the man’s head, her face drenched with sweat. She paused to catch her breath, and looked at her mother in relief. Her mother looked at the dead body, the kitchen knife still dripping the thick red liquid. She wiped the sweat off her forehead with the side of her gloved hand, taking care to ensure that none of the blood came in contact with her skin. She looked at the duffel bag, which was lying on a chair, the money clearly visible, and a smile crossed her face. She nodded to her daughter, and Martha titled her head in satisfaction.

As though by an unspoken agreement, they gathered up the man’s belongings and threw them over his body, before wrapping the blood stained bedspread over it. Martha went out and came back later with a laundry trolley. They huffed and groaned, struggling to transfer the corpse to the trolley. The mother looked about the room, ensuring that nothing was amiss, and they moved out of the room, pushing the trolley forward, the duffel bag safely slung over Martha’s shoulder. The duo went to the back door, and stepped out into a patch of land, which overlooked the ocean at a considerable height. With their combined efforts, they tilted the trolley over the edge of the cliff, and the body plunged down the cliff into the deep end of the clear blue ocean. As soon as they watched the body sink into the water, Martha opened the bag, and gave its contents a cursory examination. “Ma! The man’s got enough money to keep us surviving for atleast 5 years!” She said in a gleeful voice. They walked back to the building, Henrik’s mother’s face impassive and without remorse, and shut the back door.

A week later, Mr.Orson, the retail baron for whom Henrik was working, was leafing through the city tabloid at breakfast, when suddenly he spotted Henrik’s name in a section of the tabloid. His eyes widened as he read the heading “April Fool’s prank proves costly for son!” He began reading the proceeding paragraph –

In a bizarre case of homicide, a mother and daughter murdered their son/brother, whom they had not seen for several years and hence did not recognize him. Apparently, he did not reveal his identity when he came to their motel, The Lennart Motel in the town of Hakkitm, on the night of April 1st, with the intention of surprising them the next day. He made the mistake of showing his mother a large amount of money in his bag, which unfortunately led to his untimely murder for the motive of getting that money. The duo had dumped the body into the ocean from their backyard. They realized the identity of Henrik Lennart, only after his wife Olega came to the motel the next morning, and unknowingly introduced herself as Henrik’s wife and had then enquired what Henrik had told them last night. The events that followed afterwards are not clear, but the mother and daughter were later found dead in their bedroom, having consumed excessive dosages of cyanides. Investigations are still being carried on, and the wife and daughter of the deceased have been detained at the Mayor’s residence. People should now think twice before playing with others.....