The cat’s familiar (2/2)

Part 1

‘The Shack’ was a wholly inaccurate name for the witches’ place. It was a bungalow covered in vines because of course it was, and it didn’t appear as big on the outside, but it was huge on the inside. Labyrinthine, almost— maybe it was my dizziness from the broomstick ride but… oh god, the broomstick ride. 

When I was all dressed up, had locked my apartment’s door and come outside, I’d seen the five women with three vehicles. Stella leaning with her shoes crossed against her light-devouring black, evil-looking motorbike, Isha killing time reading a book balanced on the steering wheel of a pretty car with a blue-and-green gradient finish, Camila riding shotgun with a cigarette between her long carmine nails, Jenny in the back with her elbow resting on the window, absorbed in the few flowers in my building’s small front garden and Magistera Seleni checking her pocket watch, her other hand holding a broomstick, and Catpurrnicus sitting solemnly near her feet.

Stella straight away refused to let me ride her bike. Jenny offered me to sit in the back of the car. Magistera didn’t say anything but her expression indicated the broomstick was open, but not the best choice. 

Of course I picked the broomstick. Continue reading

Mind your language

“Okay,” Angie cracked her knuckles. “I got this. I’ve done this every year, and I’ll do it this time as well.” Her nimble fingers were poised over the keyboard, ready to strike as soon as an idea presented itself. 

Indira walked over to the workstation. She was a bit older than Angie, but they both seemed to be the same age; not just in appearance, but, as Angie liked to say, in their heart and soul as well. She thought ‘heart and soul’ sounded cool. Indira huffed. Anything was cool when Angie said it. 

It wasn’t that they hated each other— far from it. They were practically siblings. It was either ‘hey I’ll help you bury the body’ or ‘yours is the body I’ll be burying.’ There was no in-between.

The second was what Indira was feeling today. Since the past few years it’d always been Angie, Angie, Angie. At best, she was riding shotgun. At worst, she was forgotten in a corner of the house. It wasn’t fair at all— she was a grown woman, she had been the first one here, she was the one who opened every single door and window. She loved Angie, true, but not at her own cost. Today presented a perfect opportunity for confrontation.

“Can’t think of anything?” she slurped her fennel-cardamom chai loudly.

“I- I don’t know, it’s just—“

“Sabe que tu corazon conmigo tu hace bom bom, sabe que sa bebe esta—” Espina was skipping around the house singing— no, shouting —the rap part of Despacito for the third time. In an hour.

“Maybe I could if someone would stop screaming lyrics they don’t even know the meaning of!” The walls felt Angie’s frustration, but the little girl, barely three, didn’t seem to take a hint. She continued rapping at the top of her babyish voice.  

“Tsk-tsk. She’s just a child, Ang dear, who you enabled.” Indira sat down on the empty chair, crossing her legs. “You seem tired. Maybe you should let me take the lead today?” she tried not to let her desperation show.

“No, I—” Angie put her fingers through the handle of her coffee mug. “I’ve gotta do this. It’s my job. I can’t let Her down. Not today.”

“Oh, please. You’re overworked as is. Besides, you do this all the time, and today’s a special day. If you do it, it won’t be anything… different. It’ll be just as usual. Take a break. Let me help you, Angie.” Indira seriously hoped she wasn’t sounding like one of those thinly-veiled Bollywood femme fatales.

“No, no, no. You don’t get it, Indu. You haven’t done this in, like, forever. You’ve done this, what, a couple of times in the last six, seven years? I do this at least every couple of months or so. I’m meant to do this. Besides, even if you do it, we both know what’ll happen. She will get tired, She will think it seems too…” Angie paused. She didn’t want to trigger the woman sitting in front of her. “…unlike Her. You’re best at the more sociable part. Why don’t you do that?” She smiled, hoping that’d clear any hints of an insult. Nobody wanted a pissed-off Indira.

The smile did not help.

Continue reading

Breaking and Entering

(600 words, approx)

“Looked.”

“What?”

Yuto peered at the sign hung inside the window. “It is written ‘looked’.”

Cynthia shook her head. “It says ‘locked’, not ‘looked’. Besides, we don’t need a sign to know that, do we?” She went back to picking the lock. He was a foreign exchange student, here till next September, but still getting used to the English language.

Yuto frowned. “I think this, what we do, is wrong.”

Continue reading

First contact

Mel has met a person on the internet who claims to be from the planet Hagfar orbiting Centaurus Lambda in the Carina-Sagittarius arm of the Milky Way galaxy. She’s been chatting with him for a while, and he is tired of trying to convince her of his alien-ness. Finally, she decides to stop bothering about it, because even if he’s trying to prank her, he’s a nice person to talk to, as she’s learnt in the last twenty minutes. 

Continue reading

Killing the Creator (part 20)

Click here to read the previous parts.

“She knows, Al.”

I closed the door of the motel room behind me. Al was sitting cross-legged on his bed with his eyes closed and his brow slightly furrowed. He looked like he was meditating, but I knew better. He was going through the pictures in his iris-cam.

He opened his eyes to look straight at me. “What?”

“She knows.”

Continue reading

Killing the Creator (part 19)

Click here to read the previous parts.

Reminder: If you haven’t yet, submit your entry for The Raw Poetry Contest. The deadline’s 14th June 11:59 P.M. IST, so hurry.

It’d been a week since Al almost died. He was back to normal now and seeing how much he’d missed out on the ‘fun’ activity of researching in my absence, I’d convinced him to look up more about the midnight man at the cyber cafe, while I went to play with the girl we’d tried to kill. Correction: were trying to kill.

But the Creator wasn’t playing today. Pragya had gone to visit a relative with her parents, and that left her just me to play with.

Continue reading

Killing the Creator (part 15)

Click here to read the previous parts.

Al gulped. “Tell me you’re just messing with me, Spruce.”

“I wish I could, Al.” I spread my hands. “But that’s what they all said.”

“They could be lying,” he said hopefully.

“I hope for our sakes they were.”

“Isn’t there any way to, like, sever the connection?”

“Not that I know of.” I sighed. “I think our best course of action now would be to poison the Creator and get the hell out of here soon as we can. Maybe the midnight man will abandon us if we travel to a different world altogether.”

“Maybe? We can’t risk our asses on a ‘maybe’, Spruce.”

“I personally prefer ‘maybe we’ll live’ to ‘we will definitely die’.”

Al gave his trademark slight frown which indicated he agreed with me but didn’t want to say so.

“Right then. Let’s see where botox gets us.”

Continue reading