Stories about fiction

Wake up to sleep

I drew a portrait, And called myself an artist. When I did not have time to draw anymore, Did I become any less of myself?   This skin shedding, This habit leaving. This growing up, This looking back, The self is here. Oh, but look! The self is missing from itself again.   I misplaced myself in time. You are now trying to erase yourself from the past. It just won’t do. This filling of flesh into tomorrow, Leaving today, to tuck itself to sleep, Alone. But wait – Don’t leave just yet. Stay for a while.   Tell me, What did you learn? What did you bury? How did you grow into yourself again? But more pressingly, Did you love? Did you breathe in the green today? Did ...

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They were each other’s “meant to be”, but not “forever”

Souls have no concept of time. No clocks. No calendars. Age dilutes us, makes us only watered down versions of ourselves. All of us become a little misplaced, a little lost under emotionless, bleached beams of the sun. But these old souls… These speakers of a forgotten language… Resiliently seek the missing half, as if written on each other with permanent ink. Continuously counting constellations, forgetting boundaries and reaching for the stars as they reach for each other. With “his” madness rumbling in “her” heart… Dangerously hypnotic, wildly naïve… Yet equally distant. Equally impossible. These two souls were each other’s “meant to be”, but they were not each other’s ...

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Red Birds: A lament to love, a rant against war and an ode to pacifists

Red Birds is about the destruction that inevitably follows love. Many say this Mohammed Hanif novel is an anatomy of the wars men wage and the carcasses of pain women and their children must sweep up, each with their own indignities, but I don’t. I am sure it is an ode to the unloved. Take Major Ellie for instance, the mediocre white man who is the glorious pilot of a plane that could buy say, a city in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan. Ellie wipes out cities with the courage of his right thumb prompted by an X ...

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Dishonoured

For every person, there is one emotion they can never handle with ease. For me, that emotion is anxiety. As I stand amidst the neon lights and blaring music, my hands are sweating profusely and my eyes dart from corner to corner in search of a means of escape. My heart is clogged with a lump that threatens to emerge in the form of tears. The atmosphere around me is so loud that I feel my own personality melting into the beats of the drums. But no matter how much I wish to, I can’t drink away the troubles of ...

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He was a broken chapter in her favourite novel

The footage said it was 9am when the car crashed – turned to nothing but blood and the smell of painted metals burning in the air. Two days, 18 hours and seven minutes later, on an icy November morning, Mark lay in a coffin, dead as a doornail. It was a small wooden box, with the lid clasped on its top with a neat hand. The initials engraved on it were those of Mark’s name and everyone at the funeral admired them at least once in secret, thanking the Lord no one could hear what they were thinking for fear ...

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When did they stop being a family?

The dark blue sky was aglow with a thousand shiny stars. “How pretty are the stars!” mused Mehnaz. She sat alone on the bench. No one was around, or at least, no one she could see. She took a cigarette out from her bag; it was the last one she had left. She searched for the lighter but couldn’t find it, so she kept rummaging through her bag until she finally concluded it wasn’t there. “Damn it!” Infuriated, she threw the cigarette on the grass, returning to her musing. A little while later, she picked it up and put it back in her bag. She ...

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What a ‘great’ start to the New Year

Amongst the silence, a flash of light rose into the air, exploding into a colourful flower of glitter. It was followed by several other explosions that lit up the midnight sky. The crowd roared, screaming, “Happy New Year!” Music blasted in the background as people danced and cheered. They shared their New Year’s resolutions, as it was a beginning of a new chapter of their lives, where they had to decide if they wanted to be a new version of themselves and live life to its fullest, or just continue with their same old routines. Large LED hologram animals danced in the ...

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Amidst the cold, chilly world, their hearts were warm

The sweet smell of gingerbread cookies filled the chilly air in the crowded market on Christmas Eve. A choir of young men and women stood in lines, singing cheery Christmas carols in their melodious voices. They wore black robes over their dresses and held gold candles in the palm of their hands. Amidst the crowd, a lush evergreen conifer tree sat in the middle of the marketplace. Beautiful ornaments of all colours covered the tree and glittered under the dim light of the tiny fairy lights which twinkled in warm shades of yellow, red and green. To complete the look, a large ...

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A brave, untamed, reckless kind of love

She looked up at the swaying inferno over her head and wondered, ‘did the flame in my heart… set the trees on fire?’ A lazy chill creeped into the air. Not the bite of winter, just a nip to announce that a brand new season was at hand. A lonely streetlamp cast an artificial glow onto the French pavement, illuminating fallen leaves in a garish of warm yellow light. Twilight bathed the Seine as the streets of the most romantic city in the world gilded in gold. The walkway ahead of her twisted like a silk scarf; twirling, leading into the horizon. The ...

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The only reality in a world of make-believe

They say if you look at a person long enough, they will look back. It was a cold winter night. The kind where frosted beams of moonlight ascend as an enchantress and cast a spell with a mystical silver wand. Cool air driving away heat faster than bodies could replace it. The whole world slowed down under flossy, dove grey skies and people wrapped their arms tighter, pulling shawls, coats and themselves a little closer. Breaths became visible, almost tangible, under sporadic streetlights, as late autumn leaves crunched like sugar under hurried steps. The carnival crowd kept flowing in waves closer ...

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