Countdown – A short story by Saanya

Countdown – A short story by Saanya

60 seconds in a minute. 60 minutes in an hour. 24 hours in a day. Just 1 day of 24 hours to go. Just another 86,400 seconds left and then, our days of comfort would be over. And we would be thrown out into a whole new world.
For 9 months (I think that’s what the familiar voice said), we had been in here; our safe haven, where all I had to worry about was not kicking too much, or my friend would get hurt. I hadn’t ever seen them but I could feel them. Their heart beating against mine. To be honest, I didn’t like them very much at first. They would always steal my food and they would take up my space. I couldn’t trust them either, they promised me once that they would move over but instead they just kicked me! Eventually however they grew on me. Literally. They grew on top of me. I felt the little buds on either side of their body grow into long skinny appendages, nudging into me, and the ball balanced on the top of them, grow 4 times as large. And as I grew with them, our friendship did too.
These changes concerned me at first. We were getting too big for our home and I feared we would eventually have to be evicted. One day as I wondered of what fate awaited us, a strange smell wafted towards me. I couldn’t place it but one thing was for sure; it was horrible. Confused, I tried listening out to what the people outside were saying, and they mentioned something like “meconium aspiration”, which didn’t help ease me very much. So, I turned to my friend and started to ask them, when I heard… choking? But that couldn’t be right. I tried speaking to them but they didn’t reply. Were they playing with me? I told them it wasn’t funny but they still said nothing.
So it had to be true. My friend, they wouldn’t lie to me like this. And that meant, they were choking. No, they were dying. And what was worse, I couldn’t do a thing. I felt something running down my cheeks. Something cold; the first cold I had felt. And I hated it. I tried to cry out… but all I could do was gurgle. I cried louder, but, yet another gurgle. I was running out of options, and fast. I felt like I was drowning in the very fluid that gave me life. My head was reeling, my eyes were saturated with that cold, icy liquid. I kicked out, unable to understand what was going on. I kicked out as hard as I could, begging for someone, anyone to help. I didn’t care if I hurt someone, I just had to help them. I had to help the one friend who had been with me since I first came into existence. But the truth was clear.
I couldn’t.

By Saanya

Together – a short poem to celebrate Love

Together – a short poem to celebrate Love

A warm embrace and a kiss on the head;
A single tear rolling;
A tiny laugh escaping the mouth;
A squeeze of the hand consoling.

From the tough to the luxury;
From the streets to a manor;
From nothing to everything;
Such is love’s banner.

And so comes the 14th February;
Valentine’s day as it’s called;
The day when the gift of love is rejoiced;
And the day when old stories are told.

And on this day peace reigns;
And flies forward the dove;
And distributed are chocolates and cards;
But most of all, distributed is love.

By Saanya

Hourglass – A short story

Hourglass – A short story

Hourglass

Some people want it. Some people need it. Most people think they have it, but like grains of sand it always trickles out from their grasp.

One day it’s there, another day it’s not. It compels death yet it persuades life. It pulls you away yet it inches you closer. It’s the only thing I don’t have enough of. The only thing I’m running out of.

Time.

And so, I found myself upon a crisp, white bed with the pungent smell of disinfectant shrouding me in its acrid fumes. My family was there. My friends too. Surrounding me, joking with me, telling me stories, hugging me. It would have been perfect. It would have been surreal considering the bleakness of the path that stretched before me into the dark mist. The only problem was, I couldn’t laugh with them. I couldn’t accept their embrace or return it. I couldn’t even open my eyes let alone speak. Such was the pain of the darkness that engulfed me. Such was the pain of the unconsciousness that conquered my every nerve and my every cell. Such was the pain of this coma.

Night once more blanketed the realm in its velvety blackness. I lay awake, staring at the darkness of my closed eyelids and felt the weight of it all press down upon me once more. I wanted to cry yet not a single tear managed to run down my pallid countenance. The monotony of being an observer yet not a participator, the agony of hearing everyone around me cry yet to be unable to give them any form of ease and the incident replaying over and over as though my brain existed only as a broken tape recorder; it was all too much for me. I wanted it to end. I wanted the torture to stop. A ringing began in my ears and once more, I found myself thrown back into the dark abyss that had become my one and only memory.

“Aspen! Wait for me!” my mother cries out. She rests her hands upon her knees and takes a gulp of air as she tries to regain her breath. Her face is flushed and she beams at me when I stop and peek back, “Honey, don’t run off like that. We’re on the road; remember what I said about road safety? And I couldn’t see you for a couple of minutes, I got so worried! Stay where I can see you my child!”

I can understand it now. She was hiding all of her anxiety behind the mask of a smile but did I understand it then? No. To me it was all just a game.
I smirk back at her and reply, “Well then you better catch up,” and I hurry off again, giggling.

My foolishness at the time disgusts me today. She warned me as well. If only I had known, maybe I wouldn’t have been so imprudent and reckless; but the truth remains that the incident is in the past and there is nothing I can do about it now.

I keep sprinting. The spears of wind blow into my face, tossing my hair into a haze of black and brown. The trees sway back and forth, the sound of everything except my breathing disintegrates. I close my eyes and laugh.

It was a moment of madness but it was the one moment that cost me everything.

I take another look back but instead of seeing my mom chuckling as I expected her to be, I see her visage painted with horror. I turn back around to face forward and before I can even make a full turn: agony.

The next thing I knew, I was in a hospital bed and I have been for 2 years now. My mom sometimes comes to my room and tells me what had happened on that day. How I had run out onto the road and been hit by a car and barely made it alive and how the doctor had said that I only had a few days left but I had proved them wrong…however, she never finishes the story. She always ends up crying towards the very end.

It’s such a strange thing isn’t it? The way it can leave you at your most vulnerable moment. The way it defines what happens and what does not. It’s the only thing I don’t have enough of. The only thing I’m running out of.

Time.

By Saanya Verma

Hidden Wonders of the World

Hidden Wonders of the World

To attain contentment, happiness and joy, appreciation is key
Don’t go leaping into the unknown, for it may not bring you glee
The greatest pleasures can come from the tiniest things, from a trivial sight or sound
To reap the seeds of happiness sowed, just look all around.

A small goodnight kiss before you sleep, the incessant chirping of the birds
The first sip of a beverage when you’re thirsty or a few complimentary words
Fifteen minutes more to nap, the sound of your old favourite tune
Sudden success when the expectation is failure or the shimmering of the moon.

No need for hurrying into the darkness, look before you leap
Often what you’re searching for is already there though asleep
Sometimes even the ultimate pleasure comes from the smallest sight or sound
To reap the seeds of happiness, just look all around.

Note: Recently one of the readers in the blog suggested that I should write a poem about the simpler joys of life. I thought this would be a brilliant idea and so I gave it a go. Hope you enjoy reading it.

Saanya Verma

King of the Castle (a short story)

King of the Castle

Forks of incandescent fury lashed out at the green carpet below. Meandering and weaving through the darkness, they thrusted themselves forward in scorching raids of infernos. A droplet of sweat formed on Tiera’s brow. The long, silky locks of her hair which had always glowed a radiant gold lay today limp and white. She knew what she had to do. Gleaming with saliva, her thin ruby red lips pursed in determination, she carefully began to lower the child to the water then hastily brought it back up again. She was shaking furiously. She had to do this. If she didn’t, nobody would survive. She caressed the baby’s face gently, staring into those red unfathomable pits that she had created from her womb. How had such a child been born to her? A child with a destiny so terrifying and gruesome. Her heart raced as she slowly bent down to the river once more. She loosened her grasp gently. Rivers flowed down her cheeks. The cold made her aware of everything around her; making every movement utterly unbearable. “Stay determined” she muttered bitterly to herself. And in the end, she did. She let go of the infant. Huddling up into a bundle of sobs she watched the baby as it drifted off into the darkness. A veil of mist set over her eyes and for a second she thought she saw a strange shine. Not just any shine. A red shine. A red shine of the child’s eyes.
Bella carefully collected her clothes into her arms. She stared at herself in the mirror. Gazing right back at her was a lady. Not just any lady though; one fit to be a queen. She wore a majestic gown of black. One of so many tiny details and delicate motifs twisting around, that anyone would have thought of her as royalty. And her hair, her hair exuded the very definition of splendour. Ringlets of chocolate brown locks fell to her shoulders, tumbling out into perfect curls, framing her pale, freckled features. Satisfied with her appearance, she ran down the steps and out of the house. Inhaling a deep breath, she sighed with relief. Elegantly, she strode over to the river and took a great gulp of the fresh water that she so loved. As she ducked her head under however, she saw an eccentric object floating down towards her. It was small, bundled up circumspectly in cotton cloth and as it came closer a gasp escaped her mouth. She picked it up and looked into its eyes. What beautiful blue eyes they were! She screeched with ecstasy and hurriedly brought it over to her husband, tears of joy forming in her eyes.
“Dear, look at what I have found. It is a young lad!”
Her husband looked awed. His eyes and mouth formed three round ‘o’s’ as he gaped at the child.
“But darling have you checked if anyone wants or knows this child?”
She choked up on his words. Losing this baby would ruin her life, and this was no exaggeration. She would never get a chance like this again, after all she couldn’t give birth. She would cry though the nights and sob through the days, as she had the past few years. She couldn’t let that happened. She had to lie, just this once. And so, hastily she told him that she had.
And that was when everything fell apart. When her mistake was repented by the entire village. And finally… when nothing was left.
The boy grew to be a handsome young one with hair as dark as the night sky and chiselled features that all would fall for. His face was like the moon, pale and white yet always shining. However, his eyes were the elephants in the room. If you hadn’t noticed them then you would have to be blind for they had grown to become the stars in the darkness. They were deep-set, like argentine lightning, with pale blue and white rays springing out from the iris and a sharpness one could only find in them. Unfortunately, however his personality did not suit his looks. Along with his splendour came a sense of unbridled pride, severity and iciness. He was always alone and frankly, he didn’t seem to care. After all, he was the king of the castle. No, the king of the world.

By Saanya Verma

Canvass

Canvass
Flowers covering the earth like a blanket, propagating from the ground;
With trees covered once more in a coat of green rather than brown;
When cherry blossoms bud and animals re-emerge;
And headphones are hardly needed for the songs are played by the birds.

A great ball of fire spearing all with its sweltering heat;
The only thought in people’s minds of the sea and the beach;
With temperatures rising high and tempers perhaps too;
And parks are full of people and the sky’s a perfect blue.

A grand monument of bark, its existence etched into the soil;
Upon its arms dangling coloured hands starting to coil;
Russet, golden and scarlet blended together to create;
A perfect scene of fall with details so ornate.

Finally arrives the time of year filled with soft, white snow;
With children rolling the powder into spheres and stacking them so;
Eventually is created, a man of frost and ice;
Such is the season of Winter, such is this paradise.

By

Saanya Verma

Note: In the last poem I had written “Spectrum”, it was suggested by one of the readers, that I should try my hand at writing a poem about Autumn. This seemed like a really cool topic so I expanded it a bit and decided to do one on seasons. In each verse I have attempted to depict the scenes seen in each of them and hopefully this has succeeded.