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Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Machine- Finale

[ The wait is finally over. Here is the final part of "The Machine". Thanks to all you guys for showing the interest that you did in the story. This is turning a little boring, so lets effing get the story on!! CURTAINS UP!! :D ]

He approached the machine. The machine sat on its black side, strangely seeming aware of his approach. He reached the machine and put his hand on the “rinse” knob. This was it. He had suspected throughout about the machine that there was some quality about it, something sinister that separated it from anything else that he had come across in his life.
He had been a loner throughout, so much so that he wouldn’t even find his name if a story was written on him. All his past stared at him like dirty laundry. He remembered every beating, every scrape, and every stigma that his brother had given him. And strangely enough, they were negatives. All of them. Not one drop of goodness in the sea of sickness.

This would be very nasty.
(what are you thinking no no no no stop)

The best part was no one would know.
(everyone would ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod)

He turned the knob.

Ronnie’s smile suddenly froze. He stood rooted at the spot where he was for a second. A kid from across the road stared at him.

That was the last thing he saw.

His body spun like a lolling top and fell into an alley, away from eyesight. The kid across the kid came running hoping to draw out a few stray coins that may have rolled out of his wallet. The wind had stopped blowing now. Everything seemed to be stuck for a moment. And then it began to blow again. The kid came in and stared into the alley where Ronnie had fallen.

He was greeted by bare earth.


The younger brother walked into what had been Ronnie’s office yesterday.
‘ You ought to be ashamed for coming in perpetually late, Ronnie’, the boss said.
The younger brother, who had ceased to be the younger brother just, gave a polite smile.

‘It won’t happen again sir’; he said and closed the cabin door behind him.

At this moment, the people at Mc Donald’s had been going around doing their chores. There had been no Ronnie’s younger brother working there. Ever.

Never did.


A smile had been playing on Ronnie's lips for a while. He now knew what the machine did.He always wanted to get rid of the bad things in his life….his misery, his pain, his grief, his memories…his existence. The machine had helped him get rid of all this and much more. He never would be a loser in life again. Ever. The machine washed.



Almost a year later.

He walked into a chemist shop. The guy at the counter, who had known Ronnie for a long time, greeted him. He laid his hands on the table, and bent towards the shopkeeper, a style that had been Ronnie's; something he had grown up seeing. He finally opened his mouth,

" I want a...um...give me a.."

"Yes?",the shopkeeper said patiently.

He nodded his head sideways. Not good. He looked up and said,

" I...I cant remember..."


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Machine- Part 4

When Ronnie came home, his brother had already left. The washed clothes were kept in a neat stack. He went and pulled out the shirt, the one that had a mark of his midnight ramblings. The mark was there. Either the machine was a flop or his brother needed a shot of the “elder brother ” vaccine. He walked over and flipped through his set of clothes. Spotless. This was not going the way it was supposed to. This was not according to plan. This had to be corrected. The way he had corrected him when he had caught him stealing money. When he had refused to go down on his knees. When he had tried to rebel. This was going right over the fence. Gone.

His brother was almost home.


Ronnie had not gone towards the washing machine when he had come home. He did not remember why he was not supposed to, but he knew he had to stay away. Then his younger brother walked in. There was plenty of violence where Ronnie only laughed. Some moments later, it was done. Ronnie walked out of the room, knowing that his end had been achieved. He had taken revenge off his younger brother. He had taken revenge off the machine too, but he still failed to remember why that was required. It was a washing machine. Nothing but a dumb piece of electrical hogwash. What was wrong with this idea then? He was glad to have left the house. That he surely was glad of.


He lay bleeding. There were bruises everywhere. He had been done in pretty well. He sat there, against the wall, laying curses in his mind. He did not deserve this. But, for the first time in his life, remorse had come horse riding with revenge. His body burned with hurt and hatred. He would do something this time. He knew that the machine did not clean anyone else’s clothes. He knew that the machine was on his own side. But now, he wanted the machine to do him a favor.

A very important one.

[final part coming up tomorrow! Stay put! :) ]

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Machine- Part 3

At the same moment, his brother was sweating it out at the McDonald’s. A surge of energy seemed to hit him, like a secret bolt of lightning, customized to fit into his head. He saw his brother touching the machine. He saw him placing his hand on the top of the machine in high definition in his head.

This was not right.

It was his machine. No one could touch it. His thoughts almost had a dreamlike quality. His brother was mean to him and that was okay. He worked around the house and his brother seemed to lie around and that was okay. It was His machine and he had touched it. Now that was not ok.
It was evil.

He left without saying anything.


Ronnie stood there for a while, trying to comprehend. His brain felt like spaghetti. The machine did not feel like one. He hated it. He could feel hate, dripping out of his system, like a leaking tap. He did not want to be around it, especially when it tried to pull one of its stunts again.

(Are you insane? You sure are getting old Ronnie!)

He did not want to be around anymore. He wanted to be out of this place. He moved away with slow steps, facing the machine as he did it. He had a feeling that the machine would jump him if he turned. He slowly found the door. The machine seemed to be eyeing him, completely realizing that this was no friend. And Ronnie resented that thought building up inside his head. So he just tried to find the latch and shut that thought out. He finally found the latch and turned his back to the machine.

He felt eyes on his back. Staring and hot.

The door was open when he came, and Ronnie was gone.
He moved swiftly towards the machine, almost dashed. He went and touched the machine, almost caressing it. The machine was special to him. It was the one thing that was his and did not belong to his brother. He knew the machine was on his side. The machine would do right. The machine would only do his chores. Now that was a childish thought.

(Only your chores? You are going insane! Next is flying turtles!)

He thought of trying it out. But, he would begin with his brothers’ clothes. His could come later. With all these thoughts gurgling in his head like a stuck up drain, he put in the clothes. The knobs seemed to stare back at him with a cold gleam. He turned the knob and waited.

First there was nothing.

The machine then started. It began with a slow hum and was picking up sound in a steady crescendo. Soon the whole room was filled with its drone. Nothing unusual. It still did not sound like a ghost story. Nothing out of place was happening.

Not here at least.


Ronnie ambled through the streets still trying to get a hang of the situation. What had happened in the room was already fading. Fading. Fading?
He felt the memory slowly seeping out, a blob of paint trickling out from an upturned can.
He tried to hold it back. Soon he could remember that something had happened in the room that had made him freak out, but he could not remember what. Then he remembered that he was out here because the room was not the place he had wanted to be in.
Soon he realized that he was not supposed to be in the streets in the first place. He suddenly turned and started walking back. And he almost hit a car too.


[to be continued]

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Machine- Part 2

He went into the shopping arcade with only one thought in mind: costly. ‘This better be worth a real bunch’, he thought. As he browsed through them, he saw one of them standing all to itself. Not talking to anyone. It only stared at him. Knowing somehow that it was destined to go to his house. Wait…. not Talking to anyone? Was this supposed to be funny? He went close and checked it out. A dark black, it sat, waiting. As his hand made contact, a vision flashed though his head. A face, eyes almost popping out and mouth open, in an unending scream. And then it was gone. For a split second, he thought it was his brother and then the thought was gone. A strange warm sensation, like that of a house on fire, coursed through his veins. This machine was his. It was meant to be. Just like the smell in your shoe. But, he did not choose the machine.

The machine chose him.


The machine was delivered the next day. It stood at the corner, dwarfing the little table kept beside it. It almost seemed to throw an air of authority around the room. Ronnie just cast it a glance and that was that. It did not exist for him. For him, only clean clothes existed and his brother, who cleaned them, existed. For his brother, the machine was supposed to be a way out. ‘Tough chance there buddy’, he now thought. The washing machine was not his Nirvana. It was his way into a tampered paradise.
He got up to check the machine.

The machine looked despicable to him, to say the least, what with a black hose and black knobs. He tried to touch it and did too. Only, the feeling that he got was something he had not expected. The machine felt cold. Its surface seemed to be alive. It seemed to pulse with something hidden deep inside. And in the second he made contact, he seemed to feel the machine inside his head. Looking. Groping. Like it could think.

Like it was human.

(to be continued...)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Machine- Part 1

“I want a washing machine”, he said with finality in his tone. This had to happen, maybe a little later, but it was destined. The reason of this outburst was owing to the recent string of events that had cropped up in his life.
First there was Ronnie. He would have been more than happy to pretend that he did not exist but there were life functions associated with this…this thing. He ate and he slept. He spoke when the food was out or if he needed something. Chairs and tables did not eat, nor did they talk back. This guy did. He did not socialize but strangely required three pairs of clothes everyday. He slept enough to make the table in his room feel that it was moving around a lot more.
His clothes had been piling up and so were Ronnie’s. It would take Ronnie over a year to run out of clothes and he already had. And for some strange reason, he was fated to wash clothes for both of them. Why? He was the younger brother. It seemed like washing clothes of your sibling came like a precondition when you were born after him. Just like the price tag, which would always have to be in some hidden corner when you bought stuff from the mall. Like a secret smell, which lingered when you took off your shoes at the end of the day. It was just…. there.
So just when the pile of clothes had started resembling a Tibetan monastery, the thought had struck. The earnings were rather emotional, but this was important. Hell, this was priority. So the thought had been presented in front of the finance minister. And that had taken some courage.


“Get it”, he said and threw the credit card at him. This was a dream. He surely couldn’t have his brother’s card that easy. There was a catch. And then it came, a rush of pelting rain on a rather turbulent sea. “ Don’t make a noise after you get it and yeah, you start with the dishes too then. Also there is the phone bill that you would need to submit. I hope you remember the maid is out for two weeks starting tomorrow, so yeah.”

“Yeah. I am an idiot. Yeah. This is what I had been pining for when I asked for the washing machine. Yeah, I so totally want to be treated as a complete knucklehead. Yeah. HELL YEAH!!”

He did not say this, but his head could actually have blown off with the vocal warfare in his head. He just pinched his lips praying that his brother would turn into a lump of foul smelling dung and that he would exact revenge. His first did not come true. The second did.
(to be continued...)

[ This is a long story so I am putting in up in parts. Keep 'em feedbacks comin'! :) ]

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Fall, fall, fall, fall…

The words kept ringing in his ears, in his head, a forgotten church bell in a forgotten village. They rose to a crescendo, immersing his entire being into the sound of the single word. He had been falling for a while now. It seemed he had been falling for eternity. He was getting used to it now; the darkness around him, the flickering stars which went past him like fleeting memories. Everyone got used to it eventually. Everyone would.

Everyone after all, had to fall.

Fall, fell, fail, fallen.

Angels fell from heaven and turned against the Creator. An apple fell from the tree and gravity took birth in a fruit orchard. Against a manger did the light of a star fall, where God himself decided to fall into being. Faithless are the fallen, for they fail to fulfill the foretold fortunes of the feared.Man failed, a spectator to the crumbling walls of his self created social machinery. Women fell from grace to be burnt at the stake when men decided their fall from honor at the hands of a deprived society.

And thus became the fallen.

He came to rest among desolate looking trees that had almost lost all their leaves. He did not want to open his eyes, in case his sense of stability might be stirred back into action. A fleeting wind, cutting through his defenses decided to ruffle his hair. Something cold, a snowflake perhaps, brushed his cheek and finally made him open his eyes. It was gray all around. The sky matched perfectly as it slowly melted from soot to the color of ash.

Fall had just begun…

[This was a writing exercise where the only cue was the word "fall". Go figure! :) ]

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


The day looked sunny, unlike other times, and the sun was seriously contemplating doing a good while in the sky for now. Sunlight spread as far as you would see and covered everything in a poached blanket, sunny side up. The garden was being tamed, as junior decided to steal past out of the gate, hoping to escape by his dad unnoticed.

" I hate to say this big guy, but we need to talk", he said, trimming down the hedges from wilderness into cityscape mode. "Almost out", junior thought, but froze exactly where he was.He knew this would come sooner or later. Thanks to his English teacher, it had decided to beat all predictions and slap him straight across the face instead.

"Whats this that I keep hearing about you from your teacher? You writing scary stories an' all? Ghosts, lifts, rats, god knows what! You are not going far with that kind of talent my son! The teacher says that she had asked you before to kick the habit and write like other kids but you refused? Am I making any headway or am I talking to the gate in front of you?"

Junior stood where he had been frozen into his present state due to his dads words. He stuck his hands deep into his pockets and wished he was somewhere else. The birds on the trees around his house looked down, making comments at him,for being scolded in broad daylight. Not funny at all. His left hand found a loose thread and decided to pull at it while the tirade from his father continued. He kept staring hard at his feet, hoping they would turn into claws or some such.

" Other kids write happy stories", he continued. " They write about lost puppies finding their owners, friends hanging out together in parks and things of that sort! You choose to write about deserted highways, hospitals and I don't know!! Ghost journals?What are you getting at young man?"

" Ah jeez Dad! I like writing about them. I mean, isn't it cool to talk about rats and highways which are empty and.."

"Enough!", he said, cutting through icily. " Another of those short stories and its not going to be my mouth that would do the talk. My hand might do some talkin' the next time!!"

He went back to the house and decided to sit on the story that was pending for his next assignment. He wrote a story which had ducks, a pond and some kids fishing. There was nothing dark about it. In fact, it was a very happy story. Till the time, one of the edges caught fire on its own. He immediately stubbed it out and put his hands to his temples. He had his answer.And it wasn't a happy one.

He hung his head and decided that it was time to finally get his legs moving. He went out of his house and sat on a pavement the whole day. He saw people go around, running, milling around like little insects around a candle. What was the hurry? The sun, in the meantime, having got a cue from the kid decided to slowly hide behind some buildings and let darkness come in. The stars, finally braving the night, came out one by one, salt crumbs from a shaker on a used dinner table.

A slight gust had picked up, sweeping up lost paper planes and forgotten toffee wrappers. It was time. He would be standing exactly at the same spot as always! The little kid hurried his steps, as he braced himself for the explaining he would have to do. This was not going to be easy. He had heard of punishments which were so scary that kids often had them as nightmares. He closed his eyes and hoped that this would be a dream. He opened his eyes to the footpath he was on, something that was soon going to turn into a nightmare.

He stood there leaning against a lamp post, the only lamp post which seemed to be switched off in the whole lane. He wore an overcoat and his skin resembled the pallor of faded tomatoes. He breathed deeply and kept his eyes down. A passerby would have taken him to be a crook who hangs out at night with bats. A little stub seemed to be poking from the back of the coat.

His hat almost managed to hide his little horns.

The kid now stood in front of him staring at his clawed feet, the ones which he wanted. He did not know how, but it had to be done. So he did.

He breathed out and began, "forgive me father, for I have sinned..."

[ The story was inspired by echo's comment to change the content on my blog.A big thanks for the idea. And the update did not happen earlier due to a heady mix of busy and lazy. Laters.]
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