Sunday, 24 July 2016

Dead Imagination

I published this short story on my blog on September 2, 2011, and felt like sharing it again. Not many read it the first time. I wrote it off the top of my head one afternoon. I hope you like it.


The young man boarded the last train out of Churchgate station and took a window seat. He looked at his watch, 12.55 am. In another five minutes he would be on his way home, way up north of Mumbai. He was alone in the first-class compartment. He pulled his rucksack close to him and looked out of the window. There was nobody on the platform either. He glanced at his watch again, almost one. He reached inside his jacket, felt the white envelope, and closed his eyes.

“Give me everything you've got. Your wallet, your watch, your phone, your bag…everything,” a gruff voice said.

The young man looked up and stared into the barrel of a crude pistol held unsteadily by a filthy looking mugger with bloodshot eyes. He reeked of cheap country liquor.

“Now!” he barked.

“Go to hell,” the young man said.

“Well then, I'm just going to have to shoot you,” the hoodlum said menacingly.

“Go ahead. You don't scare me.”

The mugger pressed the gun barrel hard into the young man’s cheek, twisted his face and rammed it against the paan-stained window grill.

“Brave but stupid, aren't you?” he mocked. “I'm going to kill you and take everything, even your pathetic life that no one gives a shit about.”

“Shoot and get it over with,” the young man croaked.

The hand behind the gun shook before firing…once, twice, thrice. The young man’s head jerked back and his face disintegrated.

The train moved out of the station.

Red nails dug into the young man’s shoulder.

“Wake up! You fell asleep over your sandwich and you spilled ketchup all over the front of your shirt,” the girl said. “You better clean up fast, the boss wants to see you.”

“What?”

“Are you deaf? Didn't you hear what I just said? The boss wants to see you!”

“Why?”

“How the hell should I know?”

The young man stood up, brushed his shirt with paper napkins, and walked into the office of the resident editor.

“Close the door and take a seat,” the boss said. “Would you like a cup of tea?”

“No, thanks. You wanted to see me?”

“Yes, I'm afraid I have some bad news. Your services have been terminated with immediate effect. I'm sorry, kid.”

The young man came wide awake. “What? Why? Wha...wha...what did I do?” He stammered.

“I don't know, probably nothing. The board passes the sentence, I execute it,” the boss said and tossed a white envelope across the desk. “Sign one copy and hand it back. I'll give you a good recommendation. You'll be back in the newsroom in no time. Just not this one.”

“What?”


© Prashant C. Trikannad, 2011

18 comments:

  1. Nice work - anything else we might have missed?

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    1. Thanks, Col. Dug this out from the archives. This was my first short story.

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    1. Charles, life is no cakewalk in Bombay (Mumbai).

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  3. This is powerful, Prashant!! I really like the double story.

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    1. Thank you, Margot. I'm not comfortable with time zone or dream/nightmare stories. I have no idea how I wrote this one!

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    1. Thank you, Oscar. I could have written it in so many different ways.

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  5. That is a great story, Prashant. I am glad you posted it again. I really enjoyed it.

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    1. Thank you, Tracy. It was an experiment of sorts.

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  6. Prashant – That’s a good story. You’ve created some fine twists and an overall feeling of anxiety. There is always a sense that something bad is going to happen to that guy. Also, the white envelope appearing at the end was a nice touch. You have a good ear for dialog, too. Well done.

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    1. Thank you, Elgin. I feel greatly encouraged. This was a stripped-down story without character development and proper setting. I didn't give it much thought either during or after typing it out.

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  7. Nicely done, thanks Prashant - not sure if I did read it first time round in fact - :)

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    1. Thanks, Sergio. There's so much lacking in the story. It's just a skeletal outline, really.

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  8. Hope you share more of your work.

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    1. I will, David. I'm giving finishing touches to two short stories that, in my opinion, are a lot better than this one. They are also longer with some interesting characters.

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