Friday, 12 September 2014

Flash Fiction Challenge: The confession

On August 14, my friend and fellow-blogger Yvette Banek posted a Flash Fiction Challenge on her blog In so many words… daring the rest of us to come up with short stories based on three curious illustrations she produced. I chose the one below. I don't get letters in my mailbox anymore, just bills and menu cards. So I thought I'd read Nala's letter, instead. 

The deadline is September 14 but I think it’s better to be the early bird than fly in late. Thank you, Yvette. It was good fun.

© Robert George Harris

Nala looked at the scented letter in her hand with growing distaste. It was written in beautiful longhand but the hand that wrote the letter had blood on it, her husband’s blood. She didn’t mind the blood—she wanted him dead—so much as the sentiment that oozed out of the letter, like sweat through the pores. It was starting to annoy her. As she began to read it for the third time, there was a wicked gleam in her eyes, a sudden flash of evil, a germ of a terrible idea, and suddenly she was no longer the lovely woman god had made her.
My darling Nala,
At last, you are mine, all mine. No living soul can come between us now. How I have longed for this day, when you and I can be together forever, in our own little heaven filled with love and beauty and passion. Isn't life wonderful more than it has ever been till now? We are free, my beautiful Nala, truly free, to love and be in love as we were meant to be. Can you imagine what this means? I love you and I can’t live without you. You know that, don’t you, Nala? Do you feel the same way about me? Please tell me you do. My god, Nala, I have never been so happy in my life!
Nala folded the letter and sat there, the letter in her hands, her hands in her lap. She looked out of the window and saw the Merchants across the street holding hands and preparing for their evening walk, in the fifty-fourth year of their marriage. She wondered if they were still happy. They must be if they were going out. She looked at the letter, opened it, and continued to read, loathing every word and line and feeling stifled every minute.
I didn’t want it to end this way. I wanted you but I didn’t want to take an innocent man’s life to get you. Not Lin’s. He was such a good man, such a caring husband, and my best friend, and I killed him for you, for us, and for our future. I will have to live with that for the rest of my life, Nala, but I don't mind because you are mine now...
Nala stopped reading. She rose and went to the almirah and took out a bulky envelope. She reached inside and drew out her husband’s will that proclaimed her as the sole heir to his vast fortune. She read the will and was soon lost in the little details, wealth, shares, properties, business, a fleet of cars, yacht, private planes, stud farms, and two Great Danes. “It’s mine now, all mine, every bit of it,” she clutched the will to her heart and smiled at herself in the mirror. This was my dream and it's finally coming true, she thought.

And then her gaze fell on the letter. She felt instantly disgusted. Hirsh never meant anything to her, even if he thought he did. He was just a toy and she was done playing with him. It was time to play the big game.

Ten minutes later, Nala emerged from her sea facing bungalow and got into the waiting limo. “Cotton Green Police Station,” she instructed the driver. Outside the police station, she was met by her lawyer, the finest legal brain this side of the equator. They went inside.

“I know who murdered my husband,” she said softly, almost inaudibly, and handed over Hirsh’s lovelorn letter to Inspector Rosario of the crime branch.

Somewhere outside, she heard someone playing The World Is My Oyster. She swayed on her feet imperceptibly and began to hum the song in her own way—
The world is my little oyster and no one can take it away from me.

14 comments:

  1. What a cow - and what an idiot to have fallen for her! Great stuff Prashant, really enjoyed it - thanks!

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  2. What a beautifully written story, Prashant. Very impressed with how much you told in so few words.

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  3. Love drives us all, whether love for another, or love for money! Well told tale!

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  4. Fabulous, Prashant. I couldn't stop reading. Love makes the world go round. Sometimes even thwarted love. I'm so glad you took up my challenge.

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  5. What a great story Prashant. A vast amount of information and emotion shown to us in such a short story. Not an easy task. I loved it!

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  6. Nicely done, told with great economy. I had to look up the word almirah.

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  7. Like Moira I learned the definition of almirah. Never heard or seen that word before. Learned it was from the Hindi. No wonder I never heard of it! We call it a wardrobe or an armoire.

    Nicely told little tale. What a wicked city woman. Hope the Great Danes give her a run for her money.

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  8. Nicely done, Prashant! And I like the story ending with The World Is My Oyster. Nice touch.

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  9. Prashant - really, really, good - really, really enjoyable.. More please!

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    1. Sergio, Patti, Charles, Yvette, Rebecca, Moira, John, David, and Col — thank you very much for your wholesome praise of my short story.

      Moira and John — an almirah is a traditional steel cupboard with a full-length mirror on the left and a door handle on the right. Most Indian households have an almirah or two usually handed down from parents and grandparents. Some of these cupboards come with space for coat hangers and a locker for the family jewels. The current trend is the wooden wardrobe that takes up less space than an almirah.

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  10. Good story, Prashant. What a devious female.

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    1. Neer, thank you. Yes, devious and now rich beyond my imagination!

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  11. What a poor, deluded man and what an evil woman. You painted a great picture with words, Prashant.

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    1. Tracy, thanks for the appreciation. Flash Fiction is tricky to write and not easy to pull off.

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