Category: Short Stories

A Winter Morning

I am a hopeless winter-person – you know, when a person goes overboard in hauling around shawls everywhere, wearing cardigans even when it’s barely cold, wearing socks while sleeping and using a heater or a hot water bag at night to warm the cold feet. I know I am not the only one so I decided to write this piece in order to give a shout out to all those beautiful people who love and adore and cherish winters as much as I do.

***

A Winter Morning

I wake up, suddenly from a dream, and feel the need to get some fresh air. Slowly I get out of bed, not wanting to wake him up as I know he had trouble sleeping early last night. But as soon as I set my feet on the wooden floor of our bedroom, I feel a sharp sting of cold and before I know it, it makes its way stealthily snaking and spreading through my toes and ankles, tickling the bare skin of my feet. I stand up quickly trying to find my slippers when a gust of cold breeze hits my face from the window beside my bed, suddenly my heart swells with happiness – winter is here!

Forgetting what I was about to do next, I quickly make way to the wardrobe, pulling it open frantically, taking out one of my favourite shawls – a pale blue one, oversized and thick. I slip into my slippers pulling the shawl over my shoulders and rush to the study room, which sits next to our bedroom. I open the curtains of the enormous window on the other side of the room overlooking the front garden of our home and the giant of a Gulmohar tree which happily covers half of the view. My hands tremble just a tiny bit with excitement and what I see fills my heart with such an enormous amount of content that  I haven’t known in a long time. It’s still somewhat dark outside, but I can see the faint orange-purplish glow of the rising sun slowly and steadily coming in view. I stand there in awe as the chirping of the birds gets louder and the leaves of the trees start rustling with their activity. The sun keeps rising ever so slowly as the world around me wakes up from their lazy dreams and cosy beds.

Both my cats come to me and rub against my legs purring with as much content as I feel from being a part of this beautiful morning. I sit down in front of the big window on the shag carpet and so does my little beauties. I scratch their backs as one of them settles in the crook of my folded legs and the other one curls right next to me on my shawl, her warm back resting against my thigh. They both start purring in a familiar rhythm, the younger one kneading on my legs looking lazily at me, while the elder one looking out the window considering if she should chase the birds off or sit in the warmth of my shawl.

The birds’ singing is louder now and it feels like they are calling out to the sun. Right then I smell heaven – the aroma of coffee wafting from the kitchen downstairs, not the instant one, but of strong espresso. I can also smell the faint undertones of hazelnut and smile that he has opened the new packet I bought 2 weeks ago. He was asleep when I woke up, but I think my shuffling through the cupboard woke him up and while I was enjoying the view with my furry-little girls, he went down and started the coffee machine. I think I fall in love with him a little more in that moment.

I look around me, then at my girls purring and sleeping and cuddling around me and when, at last, I hear the gentle footsteps of him coming upstairs, the smell of coffee leading ahead of him, I look at the sun that is almost risen completely now, showering me and the girls in its beautiful bright yellow rays that are filtering through the Gulmohar tree, I say a silent thank you to the Universe for all my blessings because at that moment I have everything that I have ever wanted, and will ever need, right there in that room with me.


 

Please note- This material is subject to copyright.

Book Review: Nameless Book: Everyone Has A Story by Deepthi Ayyagari

Author: Deepthi Ayyagari
Release Date: 30th October 2018
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Short Story Collection
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 76
Publisher: WordBuzz Publishing
Blurb:
Everyone has a story. These are stories about people like you and me, about relationships, love and life. Stories that will make you laugh, cry, and feel deeply about. Some of them, you will not forget for a long time to come…

REVIEW

★★★★

Nameless Book by Deepthi Ayyagari is a collection of short stories that explore the broad themes of emotions and life intermingled with witty narration making it a breezy read. It was a very quick and refreshing read as the author did not burden the reader with the needless sentimental baggage of characters keeping her narrative as well as characterisation light yet eventful.

Ass the stories are full of life and essence and I enjoyed them all very much. I was able to read this book in less than an hour and would highly recommend it to those readers who are looking for a quick fix that they can read in their work-break or commute. Honestly, any person who enjoys reading will have a great time reading this book so I recommend it to everyone.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Oddity Of The Magicus Eye: Mokuura (Part #2) by Patrick Malum

Author: Patrick Malum
Release Date: 18th October 2019
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy, Young Adult, Space Fantasy, Serials,
SeriesOddity Of The Magicus Eye (Part #2)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 96
Publisher: 
Blurb:
The epic space fantasy serial continues!

Following the events of PATTERNS, the two children of Etheron are in terrible danger. A dark force swells in the heights of the Forty-Ninth Council, putting the galaxy in turmoil. The fate of everyone depends on one broken man.

ODDITY OF THE MAGICUS EYE is a monthly space fantasy from exciting new author, Patrick Malum. Be sure to first check out Part 1, also available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited, and visit the official Oddity website for more.

REVIEW

★★★★

Oddity Of The Magicus Eye: Mokuura by Patrick Malum is the second episode in the serialised epic fantasy series Oddity Of The Magicus Eye and the sequel to Oddity Of The Magicus Eye: Patterns (Part #1).

This book was every bit as fun as the first one and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it from start to end. The book picked up where the last one left off and the reader is thrust into the action-filled world of Etheron. I enjoyed the plot as well as the narration and felt that my connections with the main characters deepened quite a bit as I read this part. So I have a lot of hopes and expectation from the next instalment in this series.

The best part about this episode-based series is that the author doesn’t repeat the plot points over and over again as is normally the case in book series. Being short episodes it is a given that either the reader is keeping up with the release of all parts and reading them monthly, or reading in all in one go, so there’s no unnecessary narration dedicated to the ‘catching-up’ of the earlier part(s).

I’d again recommend this book as well as the series so far to all space-fantasy, epic fantasy and sci-fi readers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

 

Book Review: Strange Weather by Joe Hill

AuthorJoe Hill
Release Date: 24th October 2017
Genre: Horror, Supernatural, Dark, Short Stories
Series: 
Edition: Hardback
Pages: 448
Publisher: Gollancz
Blurb:
Four short novels from the author of THE FIREMAN and HORNS, ranging from creepy horror to powerful explorations of our modern society.
One autumnal day in Boulder, Colorado, the clouds open up in a downpour of nails, splinters of bright crystal that tear apart anyone who isn’t safely under cover. ‘Rain’ explores this escalating apocalyptic event, as clouds of nails spread out across the country and the world. Amidst the chaos, a girl studying law enforcement takes it upon herself to resolve a series of almost trivial mysteries . . . apparently harmless puzzles that turn out to have lethal answers.
In ‘Loaded’ a mall security guard heroically stops a mass shooting and becomes a hero to the modern gun movement. Under the hot glare of the spotlights, though, his story begins to unravel, taking his sanity with it…
‘Snapshot, 1988’ tells the story of an kid in Silicon Valley who finds himself threatened by The Phoenician, a tattooed thug who possesses a Polaroid that can steal memories…
And in ‘Aloft’ a young man takes to the skies to experience parachuting for the first time . . . and winds up a castaway on an impossibly solid cloud, a Prospero’s island of roiling vapour that seems animated by a mind of its own.

REVIEW

★★★

This book turned out to be an okay read. I had a lot of expectation from this one, mostly because I had heard a lot about Joe Hill’s writing but also because he is one of the offsprings of my favourite writer. Overall, I liked the concepts of the stories, but what I did not like was the way they started to feel “lost” after a good beginning. The writing was good, no doubt, but the narration seemed to have faltered a lot as the story reached a certain point and then it went downhill from there at a fast speed.

Snapshot – 3/5 – Being a king fan, I felt this was very much like his works. I liked this story, but do feel that the ending was a slog. Hill could have totally ended the story 10-20 pages before and it would have been a great read rather than having over-stretched it.

Loaded – 1/5 – I read the first 2 pages and I left it there itself. I didn’t find the writing very appealing in this one nor did the story made any sense to me (I mean it is a short story, it has to make some sense in the first 2 pages, right?!) So… DNF

Aloft – 4/5 – A very good story. I loved the backstory more than anything else but overall, I really enjoyed this one. This book was a big relief and felt like a glass of chilled water in the desert heat as after such average stories, it was good to read something Hill is famous for – his unique imagination and style.

Rain – 3/5 – I really liked the beginning of this story and thought that this one would be my favourite one from this collection but towards the end, it started to feel like a burden and I was not sure where was it even headed to (something that I felt in the first story, Snapshot, too.)

You can also read this review on Goodreads

ARC Review: Treading The Uneven Road by L.M. Brown

Author: L.M. Brown
Release Date: 15th March 2019
Genre: Short Story Collection, World Fiction
Series: 
Edition: E-book
Pages: 206
Publisher: Fomite
Blurb:
The stories in this linked collection are set in a small village in the Northwest of Ireland in the early 1980’s and 90’s. A by-pass around the village has rid them of their once busy traffic. The residents feel forgotten by the world. The need to reach out and be heard is explored in every story, from the young woman who starts to have phone conversations with her husband’s gay lover, to the dyslexic man who confronts his cruel teacher years later.

The collection is not only about the characters need for salvation but it is about a society that is unraveling. In Amends, we hear about the Bishop who has fathered a child. A priest is beckoned by a dying man to be mocked. The world inside and outside the village is changing. In every story the characters need to make a choice on how they might carry on.

REVIEW

★★★★+1/2

Treading The Uneven Road by L.M. Brown is a beautiful collection of short stories about a small town in Ireland in the early ’80s and ’90s. I had a very good time reading this book and the thing I found most impressive about this story collection is that each and every story bore a plethora of emotions that were very real and relatable. Being from a small town myself, I enjoy books that display the lives of people in small towns, the highs and the lows of living in a close-knit and ever-watching society. So I really enjoyed this book.

All the stories were related in some way or the other and so they felt more like chapters than individual stories which was another thing that I liked as this made the overall theme more interesting. The characterization was good, the writing was good and the pacing was very good. I’d say this book would make for an excellent coffee table book.

I’d recommend this book to everyone who loves exploring new cultures and distinct works fo literature.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: For The Lover Of Stories by Charlie Avinash Nicholas

Author: Charlie Avinash Nicholas
Release Date: 20th April 2017
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Cross-Genre – Poetry Collection & Short-Stories,
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 316
Publisher:
Blurb:
Dear you,Welcome to my double feature. “For the Lover of Stories” contains two of my books:

1) “Sanity’s War” is an anthology of interlaced short stories and narrative poems. It depicts epic battles between kingdoms, against nightmarish forces, and within broken souls.

2) “Strange: And Other Accounts From the Taboo War” is a novella of short tales, poetry, and letters. It deals with the Unsung Heroes’ battles against the Grim Reaper’s strange sons.

Review

★★+1/2

For The Lover Of Stories by Charlie Avinash Nicholas is a cross-genre contemporary fiction that is an unusual and somewhat interesting collection of poems (mostly narrative), short stories and epistolary texts and overall it was an okay read.

The writing was okay, not great but not bad either, and the content of each and every chapter was also okay, but because of the different types of texts, I felt a bit disconnected from the book. The tone of the book, which was basically dark and war-based, some literal some metaphorical, was something I liked, but the real problem was that I wasn’t able to relate to any of the characters in any of the texts. Microfiction is tricky and I wasn’t overly impressed by author’s brevity in this book (which is actually a combined version of two books.)

If you like reading cross-genre fiction and won’t mind trying out both poetry and microfiction by a new author then you can go for this one, though I can’t say for sure if you might like it or not.

this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon

Graphic Novel Review: Manga Classics – The Stories Of Edgar Allen Poe

Author: Edgar Allan Poe
Adapted By: Stacy King
Illustrator: 
Several
Release Date: 17th October 2017
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Short-Story Collection, Graphic Novel
Series: 

Edition:
 PDF
Pages: 308
Publisher: Udon Entertainment
Blurb:
The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe is a brilliant collection of some of his best-known stories: The Tell Tale Heart (a murder s haunting guilt), The Cask of Amontillado (a story of brilliant revenge), and The Fall of the House of Usher (an ancient house full of very dark secrets). Also included in this collection are The Mask of the Red Death (horrors of ‘the Plague’), and the most famous of all his poems: The Raven (a lover s decline into madness). Best read in a dimly-lit room with the curtains drawn, Poe s brilliant works come to life in darkly thrilling ways in this Manga Classic adaptation.”

Review

★★★

The Stories Of Edgar Allen Poe is another adaptation by Stacy King, who has adapted several other Manga Classics including Sense And Sensibility. This was my first encounter with any of Edgar Allen Poe’s works, and to say that the stories creeped me out would be an understatement considering that I write horror and creep-worthy fiction myself.

To be honest, this book did not please me like some of the other Manga Classics did; maybe it was because I wasn’t able to connect with Poe’s writing, or maybe because there were only a couple of stories. Either way, I didn’t like this book enough to get and read other works by Mr Poe because having previously read Stacy King’s other adaptations, I know that that it wasn’t because of her or the illustrations, which were beautifully done, to say the least.

The illustrations, as mentioned above, were awesome and spell-binding (literally!) They felt eerie and many times I stopped reading only to examine the illustrations more closely as they had such amazing details. Unfortunately, I received a very early ARC edition of this particular book, so some of the illustrations were only in black and white. Nonetheless, the illustrations were remarkable.

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If you’re anything like me and dread reading most fo the classics, then go ahead and give this one a read. It never hurts to have read the condensed and illustrated version of the most famous works of one of the greatest authors of their time.

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Review also posted on: Goodreads and NetGalley

Her

It was a cold, cold day and Emelia was stuck inside her SUV in a snowstorm. It was freezing outside as well as inside. She had been sitting in the car from last 48 hours.

She turned off the heater a while back because she knew the battery of her car won’t last if she’ll keep the heater running for long. According to the reports she heard before getting stuck in this hell, the storm would last for several of days. So far, it had been only 2 days.

The last two days had been the worst days of Emelia’s life, or so she thought. In the initial hours, Emelia refused to believe that she was stuck in the car in the middle of nowhere in a fucking snowstorm. But after a couple of hours when the wind continued howling like a hungry dog and the snow kept falling like there won’t be an end, she realised that she was stuck. Stuck here for good. Soon after this realisation followed panic.

For the next few hours, she cried for help; screaming her lungs out and almost rupturing her vocal cords. She tried to break the glass of her windows, but her fingers were already starting to get numb. Moreover, the glass of her SUV’s windows was not easy to break. This exhausted and frustrated her to no measure. She kept at it but in vain.

Hours later, exhausted, she closed her eyes giving up and that’s when she saw Will smiling at her. The smile she fell in love with, the smile that takes all her worry away, the smile she wanted to go back to. And then it dawned on her that the only thing that will keep her going was hope.

Yes, she can survive this and yes she will make it back. A lot of people do, and that too in much worse situations. So she forced herself to believe that she can too. In spite of the swelling in both her feet and the lower half of her back, in spite of the numbness spreading throughout her arms, she told herself, that it will be over soon.

She tried to focus on the conversation she had with Will just before she left her home – “I need a break, Will. Just a week off from being a wife. I’m tired and you know it. All I’m asking is for you to let me be alone for a few days.”

After a few hours of argument, she was able to convince Will, like she always does, to let her go alone to the Rhode Island. She made him promise to not call her, and knowing that he will, she left her phone at home in the drawer of her study table. How she missed her phone right now. If only she had her phone with her, everything would be fine. Will would come running to rescue her and this nightmare would be over, forever.

But now, that was not possible. Unless someone was stupid enough to leave their home in such a storm and come driving down this stupid forest, that Emelia wanted to explore before driving to The Resort in Rhode Island, no one would know where she was.

She’d been crying a few hours ago, but now crying felt too laborious in such a cold weather. What really scared her though was not the cold that was shutting down her nervous system, or the storm that covered her car with thick snow, or the fact that it was a forest and some big carnivore animal might be lurking around her car. No, she was a strong woman when it came to these things. But what did bother her was the gloom of the sunless sky and the scary sounds the wind was making every time it went swishing around her glass windows. And also, the feeling, deep in the pit of her stomach, that something was terribly wrong, other than this unfortunate situation in which she had landed up, something was not right.

At one point, she thought she heard something, a sort of wailing. But as brave as she was, she still felt fear grip her insides. The glass of her windows was completely covered in fog and snow and it was difficult to see what was outside. She was just able to tell that it was soon turning into night.

The wind was whipping wildly outside, and there it was again. She heard that wailing cacophony again. She sat straighter, and in order to ignore the blood-curdling sound, she started to hum a lullaby that her mother used to sing when she was a child. She tried to literally force herself to sleep, but the cold made it impossible. But the lullaby which she always found comforting, sounded like a death song which was both disturbing and frightening.

All of a sudden there was a loud thud just outside her door. She felt it as much as she heard it as if something heavy hit the door. She tried to peek outside through the frosted glass, but nothing was visible against the grey backdrop of the gloomy dusk. She thought it was some wild animal. Slowly she rose from her seat, and without making any noise shifted to the seat on the passenger side. She was sure that the darkness would conceal her movement.

She tried to calm down her thudding heart telling it that it was nothing but an animal and there was nothing to fear. But when she heard the sobbing of a woman just loud enough to make the hair on her neck rise, she knew, it was no animal. And just then the sobbing turned into a high pitched laughter, so crass and intense that it made Emelia’s teeth chatter.

She looked intently at the glass window on the driving side and thought that she saw a hint of a shadow – a shadow woman with a scarf draped over her head. But only for a second before the outline turned into black smoke and transformed into a shapeless mass.

Frozen, she knew that it was no woman; it was someone else. Someone who is not a living person because no living person will sit and sob and then laugh in the middle of a snowstorm, outside a car that is stuck in the lonely forest in the middle of the night… It was Her, whom no one was supposed to see…


Genre: Supernatural

Note: All views and opinions shared in this post are my own.

Please feel free to give your feedback in the comments section below.

You can read my other stories here.


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Book Review: Tears Of The Ancient And Other Stories by Jason R. Koivu

30374957Author:  Jason R. Koivu
Release Date: 7th June 2016
Series: –
Genre: Fantasy, Short Stories
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 128
Publisher: C Street

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Travel to new lands and visit old souls in Tears of the Ancient and Other Stories, a collection of short stories filled with demons and dragons*, betrayal and tomfoolery, a whipsmart goblin and a comedic mushroom!

**It’s more like an oversized lizard, if we’re being honest.

Review

Tears Of The Ancient And Other Stories by Jason R. Koivu is a collection of Fantasy short stories that turned out to be a really pleasant book.

As a fantasy lover, I absolutely adore reading about different creatures, worlds and concepts and this book gave me exactly that. I loved the first story; it was about a human-obsessed goblin who was really smart but was not liked by his fellow goblins. I felt so bad for him that by the end I forgot that I was reading a short story. I could have read a full-length novel on just this story. Another one of my favorites was the title story, Tears Of The Ancient. It had a beautiful concept and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

I liked the writing style as it had an easy flow to it that made reading this book a pleasant experience. Author Jason did a wonderful job in crafting each and every story with beautiful detailing work and perfectly setting the tone for each and every story.

I enjoyed most of the stories, and the only complaint I have is that there were not enough stories for a fantasy lover like me. So I  hope that the author comes up with another such beautiful book soon.

I’d recommend this book to all the Fantasy lovers and to everyone who likes reading short stories.


Goodreads and Amazon

Derelict – #Blogbattle

BlogBattle is a weekly short story challenge in which participants write short stories using a single word for inspiration. You can visit the BB’s blog to find out more about it: Blogbattle: Inspired To Write.

This week’s word is Derelict.

Derelict

sad-girl-1382940_640

Genre: Dark Fiction

The smell of his sweat repels me. The sweat-soaked hair under his arms makes me want to gag. They touch my cheek even when he doesn’t move. But I can’t let this repulsion show on my face. I have no strength to fight with him anymore tonight.

I love him, I remind myself for the thousandth time tonight. I love him. It’ll all get over soon.

I turn my face slowly and look at his face trying to understand what’s going through his mind. He looks shabby and I miss those days when he used to shave and take bath every day (or every other day at least.) He’s turned into someone else entirely. Someone I don’t know. Someone I don’t want  to know.

He laughs at something making an animal sound that starts from his stomach and vibrates in his throat. Sitting this close to him I can feel it when his laugh rises from his belly and comes out of his mouth like he’s throwing up, spittle flying in the air.

I feel his rough stubble on my forehead and try to wiggle out of his suffocating half-embrace. He looks at me annoyed and tightens his grips. He looks at me for a minute before smirking and turning back to the TV.

I can feel the remains of his stale breath on my face. I exhale deeply and try to calm down my nerves. I love him and deep down somewhere he loves me too. 

I try to console myself, but when I think about what he’s become I can’t stop the tears from welling up in my eyes. And in that moment I hate myself. I begin to loathe what I’ve done, regretting the decision of leaving Ben and Adam for this bastard.

But I will not run away this time because this is what I deserve for leaving my baby and my loving husband behind.

***

Please note: This is a work of fiction. 
Any resemblance to any person or thing is purely coincidental.