Flash Fiction: The Transferer


Back in 2008, Livejournal conducted a flash fiction contest where 500-word-stories had to be written on the theme: journal. They gave us a sop saying that all selected stories ‘might’ go into a published book, and we were allowed to send in more than one entry. I sent in five.

I’m serializing them on this blog. This is the fourth story. You can read the third here.

02 October, 1869

They say speaking of your sins washes you clean of them. How I wish I could speak to someone about mine! I’ve tried. Believe me, I have. My wife, my brother, my best friend; whoever I talked to looked at me like I was a shaman.

That’s why I’m writing this down. I hope you – whoever you are and whenever you’re reading this – would understand.

Oh, how I wish the trishul of Shiv had bored into my flesh before that day – the day on which I stumbled upon the divine secret of soul-transference.

Don’t laugh. This is not the kind of transference you come across in juvenile street-plays. This is real.

When I transfer myself into a person, our very spirits entwine, giving me pleasure of the degree ordinary bodily union can only dream of providing.

I’m sorry if I sound vague, but here I’m trying to explain music to the deaf.

For the first few days, then, like a hookah addict, I pranced around from body to body, unable to stop partaking of the sweet celestial juices each soul held within it.  But today – how was I to foresee what happened today?

He was just like any other man – short, sharp-eyed, clean-shaven. His soul was pure, if a little strong-willed. He was apprehensive when I entered him – though I cannot read minds, I can read emotions, for emotions are vestiges of the psyche. I soothed some of his nerves, because whatever he had planned for that evening was evidently of monumental importance to him.

Even the sight of the revolver did not set the alarm bells off in my head. Maybe I was a fool, or maybe his soul was influencing mine, just as mine was influencing his. I don’t know.

As the evening approached, he became more and more restless, but I did my best to calm him down. At one point, I sensed a wave of defeatism wash over him, and I daresay if I were not there inside him, pushing, he would have given up.

How I wish I had left him at that point. But no, I lingered on. I was there inside him when he nudged his way to the front of the crowd, when he bowed to the bespectacled old gentleman. I was there inside him when he pulled out his revolver and shot, three dreadful times.

I could stand it no longer. As I flew out, I heard a feeble, dying voice: “Hey, Ram.”

I don’t know who the man was. Transference is not an exact science. I don’t always visit living souls. I sometimes fuse with souls of the past, long since passed over. Maybe I occasionally also visit the as yet unborn.

I don’t know. Do you – do you know?

But it doesn’t matter. I’ve learnt a lesson. Mere humans can never hope to use this holy process responsibly. So I will stop. I won’t tell anyone. The secret will die with me.

So will my sin.

Image Courtesy: Supernatural World View


  1. Interesting story, but the ending and message could have been more convincing. How can this sin be the soul-transferer’s?

    Mere humans can never hope to use anything responsibly. That’s why education and enlightenment was reserved for only a few, that too after a lot of mental and physical training, in our history.

    Destination Infinity


    • Thanks, Rajesh. One thing I will point out (if you had not noticed it in your first reading) is the date of the entry. It is on 02 October 1869, the day of Gandhi’s birth. So the person who is writing this entry has gone into the future and seen Gandhi’s death. Maybe he’s responsible for it too, after a fashion. Because he is the one who forces Nathuram Godse’s hand.

      An early attempt at science fiction/fantasy. Quite derivative in the concept, I agree 🙂


  2. Although this story lacked the punch of the others in the series, this was also quite well written, especially the concept of soul transference.


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