Twitch.

Twitch.

I wake up with the worst headache.

And my right brow has been twitching too. I’m either super dehydrated, or I’m in need of new glasses. The latter seems to be a very impossible mission right now, what with the pandemic and all, so I’ve to make do with some water.

I gulp down a huge glass of water and wait for the headache to pass. It doesn’t. An hour goes by. Nothing happens.

I’ve to deal with this twitching eye. It’s driving me mad at this point. I go to the mirror to have a closer look. It’s twitching harder than ever and I can see something poke through.

I clamp my hand to my head. Another hand pushes it away. Bloodied. And it has claws. I scream in agony as my inner devil rips out through the twitch and starts to consume me.

Frankennovel.

Frankennovel.

She’d gone missing one Sunday morning. Her husband had woken up to find an empty kitchen, and he’d thrown a fit and called her name, angrily, a bunch of times.

She didn’t show. Neither did she make the coffee that morning.

The husband called her cellphone and it rang shrilly, indicating it was somewhere around the house. He looked around and found it lying on the couch. And there was no sign of her.

He knew nothing about his wife. They’d been dating for two years and had only gotten married six months ago, but he knew nothing about her. He knew nothing about what she liked, or what her favorite color was, or what perfume she wore. He’d never made the effort to get to know her, really. To him, she was a waste of space, a spineless creature who only lived off his money, who did nothing constructive. But she also came from money herself, which was precisely why he’d married her in the first place, despite having fallen out of love with her months ago.

He made himself some coffee and started walking around the house. The silence was nice. Padded. Comforting. It felt so much nicer than having her yell at him constantly.

I hope she stays missing, he thought, sitting down on the couch. Something poked him in the side. It was a hard-bound leather notebook. He opened it and realized that it actually had stuff written on the inside in his wife’s handwriting. She seemed to have been penning down a story. Intrigued, he started reading. It was the story of an unhappy marriage between a corporate guy and a housewife who seemed to have a habit of cutting herself.

He winced at the gory descriptions of the woman cutting herself open and sewing herself back together. Every time the man made her feel small and insignificant, she cut herself deeper.

The story ended rather abruptly with the woman and the man in a verbal tussle. The woman seemed to be hiding something behind her back…

He was shocked when a woman – the same woman in the story – rose out of the pages of the notebook and stabbed him multiple times. The last thing he saw was the woman stepping back into the pages of the notebook and closing it behind her.

Short: “Becky With The Camera”

Short: “Becky With The Camera”

Becky’s had a crush on her best friend’s man, Jared, for over three years now.

One day she accidentally sends a screen grab of her gallery to her friend. The very next day, Jared ditches his girl for Becky.

Jared’s newest post on his feed is gorgeous. He’s shirtless and his skin is glistening. The caption reads – “Becky snapped this while I was in the shower, and boy, that girl is a keeper. No one’s ever made me look this good.” The photo is one of the pictures from Becky’s gallery, which Jared’s ex had immediately forwarded to him, demanding an explanation. The only thing she’d gotten in return, unfortunately, was a total termination of the relationship.

A famous underwear brand sees the post, and they contact him to model for them. Jared says heck yes.

His Insta blows up, Becky goes from being trashed as home-wrecker to being hailed as a photography hero, and her best friend goes into rehab for drinking a little too much. The things people do for a little social media attention, would stun you.

50 Word Story: Vegan

50 Word Story: Vegan

Read the first part here.

Mia had recently gone vegan, and had promptly grown as an influencer.

Unfortunately, Shay had caught her eating bacon at breakfast the other day.

“Thought you were vegan.”

“I am, for the ‘Gram,” Mia smirked, posting a photo of her milkshake to her feed. “Hashtag Vegan. Shay, go like.”

50 Word Story: Milkshake

50 Word Story: Milkshake

“Mia, look I got you a vegan milkshake! It’s yum, I tried it the other day.”

“Ooh, thanks Shay!”

It would be the last time Mia ever spoke again. By the time the rat poison showed up on the autopsy results, Shay had already left town.

Short: The Hotel

Short: The Hotel

Sabine was twenty when she got married. There were rumors that she had actually been forced into marrying Pierre, who was eighteen years her senior.

He was wealthy and Sabine’s mother wanted to get rid of her anyway.

Sabine was a vision in her beautiful white gown, which sparkled against the lavish walls of the big fancy hotel ballroom. Nobody noticed the desperation and pain in her eyes. Everyone was too busy marveling at Sabine’s wonderful luck and Pierre’s expensive taste.

No one knew when the fire started. The alarm never went off. By the time the firefighters got to the scene, the place had already burned down.

Fifteen years have passed since. They say if you drive down that road in the wee hours of the morning, you can still hear the blood-curdling screams of Pierre and his family as Sabine burns them down over and over.

The Other Man

The Other Man

It was day five. She didn’t want to tell her man what was going on with her.

Darkness fell, and her face changed. She felt the presence of something within her, consuming her, she felt her body start to contort. Her eyes fell on the mirror on the wall. In the low lights of her Hollywood vanity she saw her scleras blacken. Something else stared back as she looked at herself in the mirror.

It was less than a week to the wedding – all she could think of was how to get rid of the other man, this demon that had been taking over her body every night. Every night, at the same time.

The Patient

The Patient

Sometimes I want to actually talk to my mother, and tell her she was wrong. I’ve seen her cry quite a few times since I left, but I couldn’t really do anything. Sometimes I try to make my presence known, but I’m fairly new to this and I have no idea how to talk to the living. And my family doesn’t believe in ghosts.

What a sad life, eh?

Nobody believed in me when I was alive and nobody believes in me now either.

It’s been two weeks since I died.

I grew up in a family of doctors, and my dad, who’s now fifty, is the snappiest person I’ve known. My mum is the loudest woman I’ve ever met. She can scream loud enough to give any random banshee a run for her money. But my parents have only been this way with me. With other people, they’re nice as eff. And it’s weird to me.

I was supposed to be married in a few months, and every morning my Dad would body-shame me by way of morning greeting.

“You look like a skeletal vulture,” he’d say, “So ugly and malnourished.”

I wasn’t allowed out of the house and nobody took my symptoms seriously. See, mental health issues are always overlooked in Indian households. And when you’re unable to fall asleep, or eat properly and when the whole cycle of body-shaming and abuse becomes super intense, you end up dead.

Which is what happened to me.

I blacked out and fell down the stairs one morning. No one was home and I watched my body lie there for six hours before anyone found me. My mum screamed like a banshee but this time I wasn’t going to wake up, despite all the slapping.

It’s funny how they ignore the living, but try to revive the dead instead.

Dugga Dugga

Dugga Dugga

The festive season felt ominous for some reason. He hadn’t called. And he hadn’t let her know when he’d be home.

She’d been dolled up for hours: she’d had her hair, nails and makeup done, and she’d put on the new saree he’d got her for Pujo. But he was supposed to be home a few hours back and he wasn’t. And she couldn’t get through to him on the phone either. It kept saying that his number was unavailable.

An expert at overthinking, she’d paced ten times around the room and scolded herself for not having said the customary Dugga Dugga when he left. Bengalis do that a lot and it had been their thing too, and she was scared something must have happened to him because she’d forgotten to say it. But she hadn’t called either set of parents yet because she knew they’d worry. And they were all super old. At the same time she’d contemplated asking her father-in-law how much time it took to buy a few haadis of roshogolla and some boxes of sondesh in Kolkata on a Saptami evening, but that would have given the whole thing away and they’d have asked questions about their son anyway.

She was about to give up, when the doorbell rang, revealing a very haggard man in a now-wrinkled set of panjabi-pajama, who was panting and out of breath.

He looked annoyed and exhausted and sweaty as heck but she smiled and smothered him with kisses and hugs.

“Ah, Anu, never send me to buy mishti for baba-ma on any day of the pujo. My phone died, and the shop was crowded and I had to wait in line. Now let me go shower.”