Contest 8: With Bloody Hands I say Goodbye

bloody-hands

This contest is CLOSED. Last date for entries was Wednesday, 12 November, 2014. The winner will be announced on Saturday, 14 November, 2014. If you missed this contest, don’t worry! The next one will be around the corner shortly.

Welcome to Contest 8. All this time, we’ve been using ‘grand’ themes for our writing contests, such as peace, and we’ve largely ignored the humble writing prompt. So this time, I thought it will be fun to give out a simple text prompt and see what kind of stuff people write based around that.

Topic

The prompt we’re going to be writing on is this:

With bloody hands I say goodbye

This is a six-word story written by Sam Miller in response to some challenge or the other. These six-word stories, I’ve found, make great writing prompts. (Remember Hemingway’s ‘For sale: Baby shoes, never worn’?)

The idea is to write a piece based on the theme communicated by the sentence. Here are some ‘rules’:

1. Ideally, the sentence must appear in your entry, preferably at a pivotal point. You can mess around with the tense of the verb, so ‘said’ or ‘will say’ is also acceptable.

2. If you’re struggling to fit the sentence in your piece as it is, then feel free to change it as long as you stick to the theme of saying goodbye with bloody hands.

3. Any form that you’re comfortable with is good. That means poetry, mood piece, fiction or essay.

4. Word limit, as usual, is 300 words.

How do you enter the contest?

It doesn’t get simpler. You leave a comment to this post. If you leave two comments, they will count as two separate entries. The maximum number of entries you can submit is three. If you leave more than three comments, I won’t tell you off (I’m too nice for that) but I will only pick the first three.

What’s the prize?

A Flipkart e-gift voucher worth 500 Indian rupees. It looks like this.

Flipkart-Voucher

No, you can’t touch it, but you can buy things – especially books! – with it. If you live outside of India, your choices are limited to e-books because Flipkart doesn’t deliver internationally (yet).

How is the winner selected?

Each comment will be rated on three things:

1. Clarity: We should understand what you’re trying to say. Good grammar and punctuation will help. So will a reasonable structure to your entry. Beginning, middle and end.

2. Personal Touch: We’re interested in getting to know you better. So go for depth, specificity and honesty. In narrative pieces, the deeper you take us with you into the scene, the better it is.

3. Beauty of the writing: Make your words sing. Give rich sensory detail. Describe well. Transport us to to your world. Be cogent, crisp and clear.

The above three criteria are ranked in the order of importance. So clarity is more important than personal touch. And personal touch is more important than evocative writing.

Rules/Guidelines/Suggestions

1. The closing date for comments/entries is Wednesday, the 12th of November, 2014. The winner will be announced on Saturday, the 14th of November, 2014.

2. When you enter comments on this blog, you will find a separate text box asking for your email. I recommend that you enter your email into this, so that I will have a way of contacting you in case you win. Rest assured that I will not use your contact information for any other purpose, shady or otherwise.

3. Sexually explicit or offensive material will be deleted at my discretion.

4. Avoid plagiarism. I will check for it, and remove entries that I think are lifted from elsewhere.

And finally…

Have fun! If you think this is the sort of thing your friends would enjoy, share this post with them and invite them to participate. You can share it with just a click on the sharing buttons below.

See you in the comments!

Image Courtesy: Prezi.com

Comments

  1. WITH BLOODY HANDS I SAY GOODBYE
    —————————————-

    With bloody hands I say goodbye
    You shudder anew with tremendous fear
    At the depth of the coldness in my eyes.
    Once held close – now no longer dear
    Was it all a dream, or mere lies? You fear.
    You’re convinced I’m going to walk away
    Without a backwards glance or shedding of a single tear
    And once I’m gone- it’s there I’ll stay
    Nothing to cry about- no one a seer
    In a place where day is night and night is day
    Where thoughts of you will fade away.

    I wonder how we got this far,
    Given how we started out amidst the stars.
    From the very first- ours was a connection of the heart
    Never did I think that you’d depart.
    I shut my eyes,I float away
    We’ll never ever meet again another day.
    So, with bloody hands I say goodbye
    It ain’t so easy, I’m no William Bligh.
    You think I leave without a care
    Please trust me to be more fair.
    I see the hurt deep in your eyes
    You think I’ve surrounded you not with love, but lies.

    It’s not our fault that arrow felled you,
    Seemingly out of nowhere, it shot straight into view.
    And in a split instant, before we knew
    It had gone straight into your heart, right through you.
    There was nothing I could do
    I couldn’t pull out that arrow without hurting you.
    My hands tremble at its point of entry
    I am kneeling besides you, a helpless sentry.
    As your life force fades away,
    I pray we’ll meet another day.
    I’ve loved you most pet, it is no lie
    As a living ghost… I now say goodbye.

    -Vinisha

    Like

    • Hi Vinisha! Loved this poem, especially the firsts stanza. By the time I reached the third, I felt like the images and words were repeating, like ‘lie’ and ‘heart’ and so on, and I felt the rhyming was a little forced (entry-sentry), though creative. The first stanza, though, I re-read a couple of times, and also parts of the second. I think you have a good eye for the specific detail, so maybe you should try writing prose as well, with the same mindset? Maybe in the next contest?

      Thanks for sharing 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I looked up from the stress of the continuous 4 hours at the operating theatre. The bright lights of the hall hit me hard. The strain on my hands were heavy, but the bigger burden was that I carried in my head. Two days back I was a normal human being going about his task like everybody else. I never thought I would reach a point like this when I would be so torn between my conscious and guilt.

    With all my effort and resolve I reach for the scalpel. The treacherous and elongated past few hours were finally coming to an end. Whatever skills I had learned from the temples of learning from across the globe was utilised to its fullest. Every trick I had up my sleeve was exhausted. Every now and then the same repetitive thought orbits back into my mind, would any of my other colleagues have done a better task of it all. Would the situation have been a paradox of what it was now? If so, will I ever be able to live with that guilt? But my practical mind quickly interjects and pushes the thought away and convinces me that I have done all that I can and now more than ever I need to focus at the task at hand.

    After a gruesome 4 hour ordeal, my scalpel will decide the result of this bloody surgery.

    A whole half an hour later, the doors of the operating theatre opens. A tall figure with his head down and shoulders sagging goes towards the wash basin to clean his hands. If you could read his mind or were close enough to hear his whisper, I am sure you would have heard the words “With Bloody Hands I say Goodbye”.

    — Vinod

    Like

    • Hi Vinod. Thank you for sharing this. You did a good job, I think, of maintaining the tension of the piece. Until the last paragraph, I was looking forward to what happened next, even though at the back of my mind, because I know the prompt, I had an inkling of what would happen at the end. That’s not to take away anything from your writing, though 🙂

      I did find that your writing tense switched from present tense to past tense a couple of times. For instance, the first paragraph starts with ‘I looked…’, and in the second paragraph you say, ‘I reach for my scalpel’. That apart, I enjoyed reading it.

      Like

  3. Rohit Bhasy says:

    I didn’t want it to end this way…

    After all that we’ve been through…

    Do you realize how much I loved You?

    Didn’t I give you all that You ever asked for?

    And yet, You did this to me?

    I’d have liked to walk this journey of life with your hand in mine

    Unfortunately…

    With Bloody Hands…I say Goodbye 🙂

    I place this rose on You…You loved roses…Didn’t You?

    Like

    • Hi Rohit! Thank you for this. I couldn’t quite guess the underlying emotions here. How does the bloody hands bit come in? Did the mourner have something to do with the death of the person? Or had he/she just been present when the person died? I suppose you wanted that mystery to be present. I would have liked a longer piece, though. I still remember reading through your Teachers’ Day post and giggling away 🙂

      Like

      • Rohit Bhasy says:

        Thank You Sharath! The bloody hands here meant that he killed her. But yes, now when I re-look at it, the last line does seem confusing in context of what actually is happening.

        Like

  4. #1: With bloody hands I waved “Goodbye”..

    I had painstakingly plucked out the bloody feathers from the turkey. It was time to wring it’s leg, twist and then chop it. This needed to be done with finesse, after all it was Thanksgiving tomorrow.

    Laura came running from the bedroom, to get her phone that had been ringing incessantly. She picked it up and ran inside our room. She had been doing that a lot lately, running to dark corners with her phone, whispering. She thought I was stupid, I did not understand. I also knew what her friends thought about me, that I was slow in the head. Isn’t that why I was a house husband? A 6.5 feet, giant of a man, who couldn’t even get a job. Who spoke slow, in slurs and could not use big words.

    I grabbed the turkey leg, twisted hard and yanked it out of the socket. I imagined doing that to the beautiful long legs of my cheating wife.

    Laura finished plotting her next rendezvous with whoever that asshole was. She stepped out and started wearing her boots. She was going to leave me here with the kids and a handicapped turkey.
    I twisted and yanked out another limb, before using both my hands to slowly crush the turkey’s bones. I then took a slicing knife and started skinning it. Somehow, the act was giving me great pleasure, yes this is the hell unfaithful whores need to go through.

    I wondered where she met him, in some cheap trashy motel or at his home. Was he married or some single vagabond?

    Laura kissed the kids and walked up to me. I was readying the turkey for it’s final fall from grace. I imagined Laura suffering the same fate, imagined myself as the punisher in black leather overalls. She gave me a big kiss and handed me set of keys while she spoke into my ears, “Tonight, arrange for a babysitter and come to the Hotel Waldorf, room 302. I will be waiting for you with nothing on but my stilettoes.”

    My eyes widened and heart galloped at the thought of Laura naked. I twisted the turkey’s neck and instead of neatly chopping it off, I yanked it hard. Blood sprayed into my hands and on the slab.

    “And I will be wearing only black leather…baby!” I spoke. She laughed and walked away swinging her hips.

    And with my bloody hands, I waved her goodbye.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh, Lakshmi, I liked this very much. It’s good that you’ve not revealed enough about the wife herself. At the end we’re left wondering if she’s really cheating or if it’s all in the man’s mind. I would have liked just a little more characterization of the narrator, just to drive through the ‘unbalanced’, naive nature of the man, but I’m nitpicking here. I loved the way the scene flowed from start to finish. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this 🙂

      Like

      • Thanks Sharath.

        Your prompt made me think of a situation where a seemingly innocent act draws sinister parallels. And of course, you know my love for blood and sore.

        As for more characterisation, 300 word limit is limiting 😦

        Like

  5. It feels like a whiteout as I squint my eyes into the sun. The sensation is tremendous and extremely painful. Pain. I realize that there is a shooting sensation of pain near my abdomen as I am jolted back to reality with a rush. The sun is really a halogen light as I feel myself cold and sweaty on a leather mattress. Green. I am covered in green clothing and I hear beeps around me.

    Like the blossoming of an old wound, realization dawns on me and hits me with such intensity that I cry out, pain forgotten. The woman in white overall rushes to me and puts her restraining arms on my shoulders. The pain of my body is inconsequential when I fathom the pain of my soul. How could it not be? I just carved out a part of it. As my sobs subside, a new fear grips me. How will I face my family? But I am so tired that I close my eyes and pretend that I still have that little soul in my womb.

    The woman in white overalls, which is – now I realize, a saree, tells me to get up and get dressed. I nod woodenly, dress up and walk out of the clinic, driving back home. Sushant is waiting for me desperately as I walk barely able to control myself. I had not let him come with me.

    “Avni? Is it..are you? You should have let me be there…” Sushant holds me tightly and I know he is crying too.

    I nod and breakdown in his arms. A part of me had to go because my own body attacked it.

    With bloody hands I say goodbye to my child that never was.

    Like

    • Hi WOH, thanks for sharing this. There are slightly loose elements at the beginning and the end of your piece, especially where Sushant comes in. This is quite natural. I think Chekhov once said that after he writes a piece, he removes the starting and the ending because that’s where ‘authors do most of their lying’.

      Having said that, the middle bit of your piece, especially from the third sentence or so, are just brilliant. You’re writing with strong verbs now, and I can see that you’re making a conscious effort to write in active voice. Keep it up. I liked the overall balance between thought, description and action in your piece that keeps the reader rooted to it throughout. Well done 🙂

      Like

      • Wings of Harmony says:

        Thank you Sharath! 🙂 It was a great prompt and all the credit goes to you, with respect to active voices 😀

        Like

  6. I’m not just tired. I’m beyond exhausted. I wait in vain for the director to call, “Cut!”
    How many retakes will it take to satisfy his need for performance perfection?
    The question, as it glides and flits across my poor, sleepless, muddled mind is rhetorical.
    I know we’re in purgatory. Limbo, if you will. A quiet sigh escapes me.
    I hear, “Retake!” shouted!
    I’m officially out of sighs now.

    I mop my brow. The heat generated by the halogen lamps is sweltering. The air shimmers and shape shifts before my eyes.
    I look around, as casually as I can, trying not to be too obvious.
    It’s plain old water I seek.

    “Focus, dammit!” I’m shocked, not by the hissed words, but by the venom in the tone.
    I look down and nod imperceptibly. Perspiration now steadily drips off my brow onto the pristine white sheet shielding the “patient” and there’s no nurse in sight to mop my soaking brow.

    There she lies, eyes shut. A barely perceptible frown furrows her brow as she senses my sweat drip into her covers. To the camera’s eye, a perfect shot.

    “Silence! 3, 2, 1… Roll!” Shouts the director from his bullhorn.

    The nurses in attendance finally spring to life! One hands me a scapel from the prepared tray. Another (finally!) dabs at the beads of perspiration on my own furrowed brow. I glance at Helen. She looks back at me coldly. I mentally heave a sigh of relief, and make a swift, decisive incision. As blood spouts and gurgles over my surgical gloves, I softly whisper, “Goodbye”

    Interminable seconds later, I hear the words I feared I wouldn’t hear tonight, “Wrap!”
    Cheers erupt.
    I nod and bow to the non existent gallery.

    There’s a sudden renewed enthusiasm as the crew bustle about ensuring a quick pack up.

    I glide over to the wash basin, tossing the soiled gloves without a glance, like a basketball pro, into the trash can beneath, on the way over.
    I strip off my surgical gown, wash up and head for the exit.

    “Dina! Wait up!”
    It’s Akhil, my better half. I turn and watch him approach.
    “Will you please tell him I can’t make it to his football match tomorrow?”
    I wait. He waves a file at me. “Adjustments,” he intones blandly.
    I grin. He nods his thanks and walks off.

    I have snapped and he’s so oblivious, that if it weren’t so tragic, it would be hilarious.
    I know, as all wives do, when a partner strays. I even try to find excuses. I don’t want to think about or acknowledge my possible part in the farce that plays out as our marriage.
    Like all moms, I guess..
    I draw the line at Akshay.
    I cannot bear to be the bearer of bad news to him, yet again.

    Well, things are about to get shaken up. No more a doormat.

    I drive back home in relative calm, confident that the clean up company does a thorough job burning all the soiled things in The
    Incinerator.

    I’m faking sleep, when Akhil’s unsure footsteps hesitantly tread into our bedroom. He hasn’t been here in several months. Ever since they signed Helen on for the project in fact.
    He gingerly sits at the foot of the bed.
    When I flip on the side lamp, it startles him into looking directly into my eyes.
    And then he knows. He went too far.

    “You’re free to come to Akshay’s game tomorrow, right?”

    “Yes,” he shudders.

    The tables turned, I switch off the lamp and fall into a deep dreamless sleep the first time in months.

    Like

    • Hi Vinisha, so you ended up writing a prose piece after all 🙂 I liked the structure of the scene in general, and the pace at which it progressed. I didn’t understand the resolution well enough, though. What made Akhil decide to come to Akshay’s match after all? And why did he come to the bedroom even though he hadn’t come there for months? Did the main character actually kill Helen as part of the shoot? It seemed to me that there are some questions left hanging. Writing-wise, though, it was good. Maybe you should start looking at writing longer paragraphs? I see that you like short, almost one-line paragraphs in your writing.

      Thanks for sharing 🙂

      Like

      • To answer your questions Sharath, I wanted to leave it a bit open ended, so that the reader has to pause, think and participate.. 🙂 in the resolution of the story.

        The simpler answer is: Yes, the main character eliminated Helen.
        With his muse gone, the director, who is in a state of shock, returns to the daily grind of living with his family, as he did before. His return is more from a sense of belonging to the routine, which comforts him, and lulls him into not pursuing the more troubling questions which may occur to him.
        He hides behind routine.
        Hence his return to his room, as well as his re entry into his son’s life.

        Like

  7. “Give the ones you love wings to fly…” I lie in bed, pondering over the Dalai Lama’s wisdom. I come to a sudden decision.

    I will.

    Perusing my options, I see that they’re limited. Limited to two precisely.

    I reject the more obvious bedsheet and palm the thermometer. My night nurse looks in on me, checks the footnote on the chart which suggests making me as comfortable as possible, and turns around looking for..

    I hold my breathe, eyes closed in feigned sleep.
    I feel the air shift as through slit eyes I watch her shrug and leave.

    It takes but a split second for me to crack the glass vial against the iron frame of the hospital bed.
    Swallowing the contents I await my departure.
    My ears begin to bleed.
    The nurse rushes in seeing my hands seeped in my own blood.
    GOODBY.. My whisper fades away along with my own consciousness.

    Like

    • This is an interesting touch that the character’s own blood has smeared his hands. Generally, when one hears the prompt, it’s always someone else’s blood that one thinks of. So I think you gave it a nice twist by having the character kill himself (or herself?). Once again, maybe a short paragraph or two describing just enough backstory would have been good, so that we understand the character’s motivations a bit better. Thanks 🙂

      Like

  8. pradeepthyagaraja says:

    With Bloody Hands I say Goodbye!!

    Remember all those good times we had,
    As if, we were made for each other by god,
    Every moment is fabulous, I am so glad,
    It was such a surreal feeling that I had.

    The last Valentine’s Day, I can’t forget,
    You were like an angel in that beautiful red dress.
    You said, “I love you more than my life”,
    Oh, what a joy that brought upon my senses.

    Red was your favorite, your passion,
    I couldn’t comprehend what you said that day.
    “The fire, The Rose and The Red Blood”, is
    What keeping us alive every day?

    “I wanted to see your red and I need to know”
    This is what you said, when I was feeling low.
    I didn’t realize that, you want to see my blood?
    All I can do now, is, wish I was dead?

    Now I am a ghost, wandering through your doorway,
    I too wish to see your red in my bloody way.
    I need to know, because it looked blue and felt blue…
    And I lost control, now it’s all wasted too…

    But, now I know, I was wrong.
    And to my dismay, you have gone already.
    But I still see the stains of your red
    On my hands, that I feel gooey.
    Forgive me my love,
    With these bloody hands I waved you a goodbye!!

    Like

    • Hey Pradeep! I liked a few parts of this poem, though I think the structure could have been tighter. The rhyming pattern breaks every now and then. But there is the occasional good bit. What I liked was the image of blue blood, that represents poison (I guess?), and also the stanza which ends with ‘I didn’t realize that you wanted my blood; all I can do now is wish I was dead’.

      Like

  9. Lakshmy Panchapakesan says:

    “How could I do that?” he thought. “How did it happen?”

    For him it had all happened in the blink of an eye, his hands had seemed to move in their own accord, clutching the knife on the table and plunging it deep into the mam, he had not so lovingly called ‘Father”.

    He had regained his sense only when his mother had screamed in a bloodied voice “STOP! STOP! ARJUN! DON’T! LEAVE…… ARJUN!”

    Only then did Arjun stop stabbing his father. Years of anger had materialized in front of his eyes as he surveyed the destruction he had caused. He had kept it all in and now it had come out, seconds before, as he had stabbed his father to death.

    He saw his mother, her face expressed horror, but apart from that her jaw was bleeding, and her right eye was blackened.

    The emotion of bitterness filled him, as he saw the damage his father had done to his mother for not giving him proper food. “How could she do it!”, he thought, “After all, he spends all the money drinking and never bringing a penny home! How can she run the house?”

    “Arjun”, his mother called out in a shaky voice.

    “Go beta, go away fast! Before the police come here and take you- my life, away”, she said it a desperate voice. “I will take the blame; you go and live your life away from the filth of your father”.

    “GO! DON’T JUST STAND HERE!” She screamed out in extreme anxiety and broke down.

    Arjun just could not leave his mother here, but he knew it had to be done, he knew his mother wouldn’t come and so he packed a small duffel bag and turned to leave only to see his mother standing near the door with money in her hands.

    “Take it and start a new life”, she said, now fully calm and composed.

    He resisted, but his mother shoved it in his hand and pushed him through the door.

    He turned around one last time and whispered, “With bloody hands, I say goodbye.”

    – Lakshmy Panchapakesan

    (Hi! this is my first entry. it is a bit over the limit… 350 words. I am sorry for that)

    Like

    • Hi Lakshmy! Welcome to the blog, and also the contests. No problem about the extra number of words. We actually have a token award for the longest entry, so it’s all good 🙂

      I liked the piece overall, and especially your own take of the ‘waving goodbye with bloody hands’ thing. I could feel myself be present in the scene, but what I could not empathize with is the character’s need to kill his father. A certain amount of development, perhaps, where you give the reader details of why his father is a bad man, would help. But then it would become a much larger scene. So as a writer, I guess you have to decide how and how much detail to give.

      What I liked is the irony at the very end: he is going to make a new life out of the money earned and stained by the blood of his father, whom he killed. Thanks for sharing your writing with us.

      Like

      • lakshmy pancahpakesan says:

        Hi,
        thanks for the review …..
        well, i did mention that the father drinks all the time….and beats up his wife…..
        but i guess, i wasn’t clear enough. Anyway thanks for informing me abut the error. 🙂
        regards,
        Lakshmy

        Like

  10. Rohit Bhasy says:

    I’ve been suffering for long now…
    It feels like being trapped inside a dark tunnel which has no light at its end…a sense of hopelessness…do you know how it feels? No, I don’t think you do…its too late now.

    Looking back, it really didn’t have to come to this. Had things gone my way, i’d rather be living the life I wanted to live. My parents would’ve been proud of me, she’d have been with me, instead of the cash rich idiot she is with, i’d have succeeded in making a career in music…been reasonably well off financially, living a life to my satisfaction…that was not to be…God!…huh…i wonder if he really exists…i’ll know in a few moments from now. If i meet him i’ll ask him ‘what the fuck was that all about?’ I am sure to hear a sermon…but anyway…

    Life has become like a mountain to climb. One which has no peak…its hidden somewhere beyond the clouds. Though at times I feel i’ve reached the top…I somehow can’t touch the peak, let alone set foot on it…I am a man with not much patience. So I call it quits.

    That blade stung as it ripped through the veins of my left hand. I was damn scared of needles and blades. Wonder how I could muster the courage to pull this one off.

    I thought i’d fall unconscious immediately after, but this ones’ taking longer than I expected. Shall I try the other hand too?

    Slash!!!

    Oww!!! Fuck!!!

    Weird..i am typing all of it verbatim!

    Well…am feeling slightly dizzy now…the floor is wet with blood…its dark red…almost blackish…i never donated blood…i’d have known of the colour if i had.

    Good that my parents are not home. I’ve set music in the background for a dramatic effect…’eternal sunshine of the spotless mind soundtrack’

    It stings as I type this…and its getting difficult now…the phone screen is all wet with blood. I am having a hard time typing. Touchscreens are not suicide letter friendly…

    I think i can’t type anymore..so here are my final words…

    Mom and dad..i’d be a better son next time..I promise
    You…hope all that money runs out and your boyfriend turns bankrupt.

    To the world…
    I was the one who tried and failed and didn’t bother trying again…no patience you see…

    Adios!

    With bloody hands I say Goodbye!

    Its turning black now…feeling weak…

    Like

    • I liked this entry better than your previous one, Rohit. More atmospheric, more story in it, and more readable. The reasons for the character doing what he’s doing are mentioned, if not developed deeply. I liked the little hints of wry humour in the piece too (God will give a sermon when asked what life was about, phones not being suicide-note-friendly, etc).

      A technical point of improvement: try and not use the ellipsis so much. Usually a full-stop will work as well as an ellipsis. Generally, the ellipsis is used when writing stream of consciousness pieces, which I suppose you can argue that your piece is. But I suspect it is more of a habit that you’ve fallen into. (I remember the same thing about your previous entries too.) So try writing in complete sentences, with periods at the end of each. You will find that your piece may read better.

      Thanks for sharing 🙂

      Like

  11. All people are different yet the same, they said. It could not have felt truer as I passed these crowds who enthused over the annual fair. The bright lights made me oblivious to the dark and the noises of merry made tranquil nights a fairy tale myth. People sallied across stalls exhibiting great ardour to invest in these beautiful products of human creativity. Most women dressed themselves in bright sarees which looked like the waves of a calm ocean. A woman caught my immediate attention, as she was busy between adjusting her dress and holding back her child. The child tried to drag her towards the sugar candy stall while she put up her best to protect her modesty. As I strolled further to the rides, a group of youngsters looked delirious as they dropped off the giant wheel, indeed things are never like what they seem. There was a man at the ornament stall displaying his best convincing skills to his partner who, by the looks of it, was enjoying sapping the life out of him. As I went further, there was an old couple cheering their grandchild as the child went round the merry-go-round. These sights momentarily relaxed my soul. I pulled a cigarette into my mouth and set fire to the other end, it always kept me warm, even when I was away in the mountains to train. Just as I proceeded to the centre of the fair, the busiest area, I set my foot across a wire and while in journey to hit the ground, a strong hand gripped my arm and saved my nose and cigarette from being quashed. He looked at me, smiled and asked me if I was okay. His young wife and little kid looked at him in awe of his abilities to save a fellow human being. They reminded me of my wife and kid, who waited for me in a far away land. The distance measured in immense pain but we were to meet soon, in fact very soon. I nodded my head signalling a thank you and went ahead. I reached the centre and looked around the fervour crowd which felt like a deep reverie. Everybody were gleaming happy souls, none looked like they knew hardships. I could have been one of them had my life not been set on fire by a flying machine that bombed my town 3 years ago. Everything I had was destroyed and all I am left with is this miserable desiderium. This was a debt I had to pay back the humankind. I closed my eyes as I put my hand into my overcoat and pulled a wire gently. With these bloody hands, I say goodbye to these new faces whom I never met before and will never after.

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    • I actually think this is a good piece, Ashish, and it would have been much better if you had just put in paragraph breaks at the appropriate places. I enjoyed your description of the fair – it was specific, and it had focus. You moved from one image to the other very well, and at the end, the reveal does come across as a surprise. The writing starts off strong, but falls off a bit and becomes looser as the scene progresses, especially in the last two-thirds. But overall, I enjoyed reading it 🙂

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  12. Bhavesh Jeewani says:

    I was forged in fire, at temperatures I had learnt to withstand. I had learnt to bear pain. I became strong though it all. I was supposed to hold blocks together and help structures survive. They depended on my tensile strength for shelter.

    It was a daily ritual for many like me. Some of us helped the painting adorn the wall while others stuck into country houses. But I was destined to travel.

    I ended up in Rome, seas away from where I first took my present form. I overheard my owner speaking excitedly to his wife, “I am going to make many more like these. We will be rich”. I sighed. I was to be confined to the walls of his factory and would have to wait to get to the field. Often, I felt miniscule – a speck in the larger scheme of affairs. I questioned my being, the purpose of my existence and felt no-good.

    I remember the day being Friday. My owner was out for his customary mid-day Namaz. The King’s men had come knocking and wanted stock for an important event. The owner’s wife picked up the nearest box she could lay her hands on and handed it over, fearing that they are not made to wait for long. As luck would have it, I lay in that very box.

    Moments later, I stood soaked in his blood, wanting to melt into the very form I was forged from. This was not the purpose I had envisioned for myself. I was hammered in without my consent. I was the reason for his blood being shed. He bore immense pain till his soul left him. He bid goodbye to the mortal world, his hands dried by blood, only to rise up two days hence, on Easter.

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  13. Erica Silver says:

    ‘How do you feel now ? ‘
    The question hung up in the air, as there was shouting, screaming and utter confusion around. There were injured people everywhere, as the panic and the sheer feeling of helplessness spread around. The pungent , metallic odeur of blood tickled my nose, and made my stomach churn.
    But the biggest confusion of all, the biggest helplessness of all wreaked havoc through my heart.

    ‘Are you feeling alright, I asked?’, said the paramedic again, this time placing her hand on my shoulder to bring me back
    to reality. I turned around and focused on her face…. She had deep, big brown eyes, just like….
    It is not possible to say his name out loud. “Yes”, I reply, so I would not have to look into those eyes. How can I ever look deep into those eyes, ever again, after all that just happened.

    It seems so insignificant now, why I had called him here today. How unnecessery the entire drama… Why did I want to break up with him again, I thought, looking for an answer.. My brain refused to cooperate with me, but finally bought the frangment back to me – because I felt he was not ‘the one.’ I wish I could explain it any further than this, but that’s just it. I had no explanation to go with it.

    I guess my body language had conveyed to him that something was wrong. He had looked deep into my eyes, those beautiful beautiful eyes, and had asked me what it was.. Just as I had begun to put forth the speech I had edited and re-edited in my mind, words had just refused to come out… As I had taken a deep breath and opened my mouth, he was on top of me.

    I just could not figure out what had happened. As I had pushed him off me, and heaved so I could give him a piece of my mind, I saw the destruction and blood everywhere. I also saw him, bleeding away, writhing in pain. I applied pressure, so he would stop bleeding, and yelled for help… But well, everyone seemed to be doing the same.

    He had grabbed my hand, around my wrist and looked deep into my eyes. ” I dont know why, but I got the feeling today that you were going to break up with me… But I know now, it isnt possible. Look at you, you feel my pain like it were your own and your tears come from the deep sorrow and love in your soul….. I, dont think, I will survive this. But I am glad you are here, when my lights do burn out. I will be your bloody ass-hole to remember..quite literally.”

    Stupid Idiot! Even at this moment, all he could only think of was his poetry and his humour. And he slowly went away forever, chuckling at his own joke.
    I wish now, that I had said something, kissed him one last time, said that I love him, one last time, as I realised it with every dreadful passing moment… But I had just stared on, trying to stop that blood, in a desperate attempt to ‘not loose’ the man I love.

    As I sat there, staring at the blood on my jeans, I realised that I had completed the task for what I had come here.
    I had said goodbye forever, albeit with bloody hands , and a shattered heart.

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    • Hi Erica. Welcome to the blog, and to the contest too. Hope you will return and enter all my future contests as well 🙂 I liked the ‘writing’ part of this piece very much. You have a good sense of narrative flow, and your paragraphs are mostly well-positioned. What I did have trouble with was the believability of the whole story. It did not come across to me as believable that the guy would kill himself over a break up. Certain men do, of course. But I think in this story, you’ve not painted this boyfriend of yours as ‘that’ kind of man. So a little bit more thought towards developing the character – so that his actions don’t come as a surprise – is perhaps necessary.

      Otherwise, good piece. Thank you for sharing!

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  14. I am the greatest of the greatest,
    This vast empire I rule.

    To take care of my subjects,
    Is always my mission
    But,
    To expand my kingdom,
    Is my eternal ambition.

    Soldiers I train,
    Strategies I form,
    To win, to win, is the aim,
    That alone is the road to fame.

    Many a battles I fight,
    I kill enemies in sight.

    This great war,
    I just won,
    Proved me the strongest emperor,
    This land has known.

    As I walk,
    Through countless dead bodies,
    Soldiers of mine,
    Soldiers of my enemy,
    But humans in fact,
    With no reason to die.
    Kingdoms they would not gain,
    Fame they would not attain,
    But sorrow, death, tears,
    Now clouded their nears and dears.

    I feel no thrill, at my win now,
    I feel no pride, at my strength now,
    I feel no joy, about my empire now,
    All I can see,
    Blood, blood and blood everywhere
    In front of my eyes,
    In my mind,
    And in my heart.

    Now, this second,
    To pain, to death, to war
    I, the Great King Ashoka,
    With bloody hands, say goodbye.

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    • Loved it, Aparna. I wonder if it would have been better if you had not referred to Ashoka directly at the end, and had made references to Kalinga and other such ‘Ashokan’ artefacts so that we could make that inference ourselves. There was a nice ‘sing-song’ about the whole poem, and I glided through it nodding my head to the rhythm. Once or twice it broke and jarred, but that’s okay. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  15. “With Bloody hands I say goodbye”

    – “Bye” replied the Butcher’s daughter. Its her first day to school.

    – [to my sins] as the priest heard it from the box.

    – thought the murderer when he noticed that the wetness is not water.

    – lonely lover slitting his veins alone in the bath.

    – Gynecologist said, holding the baby, alive and kicking.

    – “Just lick the ketchup. Don’t spoil your shirt” Mothers never change.

    – The hammer missed my father’s coffin nail.

    – to my savior behind bars

    – epitaph of the unsuccessful revolutionary

    – tyrannt standing at the gallows

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    • Hi Nitthilan! This is different in style to what you write normally, so I enjoyed it, even if it’s just for novelty. I liked the ‘butcher’s daughter’ and ‘lick the ketchup’. The hammer missing the father’s coffin nail sounded nice to the ear, but I couldn’t grasp the meaning behind it. Do you mean that the hammer missed the nail and got the hand instead?

      Either way, this is a nice, interesting way of writing based on the prompt. Very good 🙂

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  16. The rush and the hustle of the worker in the construction site could be heard from a distant. That miraculous bell shaped plant was rising up the ground, it promises to lite up the lives of people residing in and around the area of construct. The plant was for the benefit of the people, state, country and so on, this was a promise made by Jay, a young political enthusiast and a leader who was obsessed with the power bestowed on him by his people.

    He had greater intentions, eradicating his people’s plight was one of it. The people in turn saw a bright leader in Jay. This plant was an answer to the agony of Jay’s Janata.

    But great work comes with greater risk. There were this organization, which protested against the plants construction and were meanwhile educating the locals about the havoc it will shower on any event which can lead to a crack in the plant.

    Jay, on the other hand went blind with his power. The thrive towards a better future made him deaf too. His pride has overshadowed his logic. And it happened, the worse, 8 richter scale earthquake !! Nature wrath has cracked open the bell shaped nuclear reactor. Radioactive particles were oozing in the atmosphere.

    Jay too was under the clutches of the disaster. The first cough of blood on his lips made him realized what he has done. It was irreversible, he knew it. It was too late for him and his people who believed in him. Staring through his bloody window and his heart about to pause, he utters with a scattered voice.. ‘with bloody hand I say goodbye’. The only thing he was seeking was forgiveness before he could close his eyes, but fate was cruel. All was left was the bloody land and the cold body of Jay…

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    • A dark, dismal tale of power and ambition. Maybe a warning as we run out of fuel and turn towards nuclear sources? Hopefully we will design them well enough so that damage done by earthquakes can be managed. Thanks for sharing, Keshab.

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