Welcome to the Short Story segment of WriteUp Cafe. Every month we would give a new theme based on which interested writers are invited to send in their entries. The theme could either be a small paragraph consisiting of 2 to 5 lines, a few unrelated words, a scenario or a simple picture. Read More
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Please send your votes for the best story of the month to votes.stories@writeupcafe.com. We are happy to announce our joint winners for Aug 2009 - The Scars left in Rain and She wants to live.
Congratulations to the winners...

Theme of the month for Sep 2009

NB. The theme for Sep 2009 is extended till end of Oct 2009.

A beach is the location, self doubt is the theme. A picture frame is an object that plays a part in the story.

Complete the story in not more than 2000 words.
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No Doubt.

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The night was dark and there was a slight drizzle. She stood there shivering in the rain. "If only I had listened to my inner instincts" she thought... but there were no signs of any regret in her eyes. They were as cold as ever. She had believed in the honesty of her guilt and the arrogance of her will but tonight her pride seemed to rule her senses.
He was the perfect one, the one she thought would stand for her whenever she needed a friend. He always knew things in her that even she didn’t know, things that she never saw in herself. He knew when to hold her hands, and when to leave her alone. If there was someone who knew how to cradle her dreams it was him, her perfect man.
That night everything was shattered though. She didn’t know relationship could be so fragile-even they came with a “Handle with care” label. And the shards that flew off it bore the address of her heart and they cut her deep, leaving deep gashes. “How could he do this to me? How can he change so much? “, she kept asking these questions and more as rain seeped deep into her skin. But as everything was clear now, she took refuge in her pride-“Hah! I will do whatever I want to!”
The drizzle was relentless and had almost succeeded to shot a chill down her spine on more than one occasions. As she walked back to her room on the top floor, she checked her watch. It was almost midnight. The whole of the hostel seemed asleep barring few rooms which seemed awake and brightly lit up. Her mobile held close to her breast, felt rough and wet; she felt the keypad against her palm. She unlocked the screen and it came alive, an azure screen and checked the last call to assure her of the grim truth-“Papa”.
“No! You can’t marry him!”, he had said.
“But Papa! We are friends for more than four years and I know him really well! Just meet him once, give him a ...”
“Can’t you hear what I said? I don’t want you to! You want to against my decision, no problem! Do whatever you want to. But let me tell you this, things will difficult between us Neha, really difficult.”
“What’s your problem? Why don’t you understand? Just tell me what’s wrong with him.”
“You won’t understand! I have seen world more closely than...”
“Oh don’t start that now!”
“Ok. You wanted my decision and I gave it to you. Is there anything else you want to discuss?”
“No Dad! You have given me enough for the night! Bye!”, she hung up. She had almost screamed on her perfect man.

He was sad. The Saint Gobain panes had frosted; the drizzle that trickled drew channels of transparency through the fogged panes. He squinted into the darkness of the night as the newspaper lay limp on his lap. So that was the reason why she had stopped her calling so lately, her Neha, her daughter. Someone dearer to her had come between them. And he was jealous of him, the one she called her love.
Shefali left him alone, leaving behind her memories as Neha.It was like she had scraped all the goods she had inside her and put them all in a lump of life that she carried for nine months. The day she gave birth to Neha, she was so happy that she almost suffered a break down on the hospital bed. Their first child, their daughter. And the first day itself, she had started planning for her studies, her birthdays, her wedding. Little did she know that a flesh so malignant and poisonous had already started budding inside her body.
It was after 6 months of Neha’s birth that Doctors said it was too late. The cancer had spread through her body with her womb as the epicentre. The girl child was lucky as it was left untouched by the tumour. And that night they didn’t sleep. She cried the whole night holding Neha in her arms, she cried through her lullaby, she cried while she fed her. She cried when she saw him trying to hush Neha up.
“I am sorry Akash, I am leaving you. I am sorry to give you all this. I am sorry for myself. My girl...”, she didn’t complete her sentence, she was unable to. All she did that night was cry. And he was there awake, next to her, watching Neha swing in her cradle.
She died after 6 months. Li’l Neha kept staring at everything that was happening around her from her father’s arms. How they wrapped her Mama in whites, how mama never opened her eyes, how Papa fed her from a bottle and how he made her sleep when they lifted and carried Mama away on a stretcher.
And since that day, Akash was Neha’s everything. Or Neha was Akash’s everything. They filled each other’s blank spaces that Shefali had left behind. Akash a mother to Neha and Neha taking care of her father like Shefali would have done.
Time framed the memories like a loyal slave. How he helped her take her first steps, her first day at school, her school complains, her questions, her answers, her first steps into womanhood, her first crush, her first confessions, her first dreams, her first rejections, her first celebrations, her everything. She watched him grow some day and turn childish the next. She loved the smell of Amrutanjan her Papa would apply in dollops on Mondays after coming back from office. The smell of his shirt, the sound of his footsteps, his leather strapped suitcase, his black Liberty boots, his aftershave, his favourite songs on the playlist. The fragments of her father sometimes made her forget that she had a mother a long way back.
And today all that was threatened. Some stranger wanted a share of their lives, wanted to share the time that was exclusive to him and his Neha. She had stopped calling on Wednesdays and Sundays. He was afraid that Neha was now slowly slipping away from him. Who then will wake him up every morning? Who then will sit next to him on the dining table? What then will he do on weekends?
He kept speaking to himself the whole night. ” No, it was unacceptable. No one could take her Neha from him. It was against the rules. And he had to stop all this. Fate was not to be allowed to push him another room filled with loneliness. No, he just couldn’t allow Neha to go away from him. He should choose the right one for her, he should choose someone who would keep her happy and let her stay with him. He was his father, how can his decisions be wrong? No, he was right this time also.”
It drizzled the whole night. He slept through the sound of the tiny drops puttering on the panes.
Somewhere under the fabric of darkness, two bodies intertwined, melted into each other, and tried crushing the warmth that had filled the spaces between them. The silence broke shackles with their moans-desires sparked hunger for passion and flesh. Colours flew in front of their eyes as lips dried for a thirst that they never knew existed. Words formed but stumbled upon each other, voices twisted out of recognition, caresses went unfelt. Love trickled as tears in their eyes, pain hid in the folds of their skin, fear crushed beneath the weight of their arrogance and trust. As they rolled on the bed the sheets wrapped around them, covering them from head to toe, throwing them into a strange seclusion- a strange loneliness that only they felt. She cried then, still wrapped around him as he sobbed with his head on her shoulders. As the drops of tears drained each other, forming rivulets of sorrow after mixing with the beads of sweat, somewhere under the fabric of darkness a heart stopped beating- the newspaper fell off his lap as he slept with his eyes on the frosted windows.

Great story! I especially love the imagery in the last chunk of the story;)

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