What’s wrong with Jimmy?


Read my simple short story till the end…


Today, Jimmy has been barking more than usual. Much more. In fact he’s not stopping at all. As I work in my backyard – raking leaves, watering the plants and collecting lemons – Jimmy barks non-stop.

That is unusual given that he is quite used to seeing me around working the way I’m doing today. On most days, as I go about my little tasks, I can see the big dog looking affectionately towards me from over the fence that divides my house and his house. I mean, his master’s house.

It’s as if Jimmy knows me well. Many a times I have thought that they tie him up here at their backyard and forget him, therefore he feels happy to see me. Less lonely. But today, he’s been behaving like a stranger. Or is it that today I seem to be a stranger to him?

Just as Jimmy barks continuously and I speculate on all possible reasons for his weird behavior, I see my neighbor come out of the house. I pause the hosing of plants and take a step forward in a gesture of hello, waving my hand slightly and uttering a soft ‘hi’. But it seemed as if she didn’t see me.

Hence I move further ahead near the fence while Jimmy continues to go berserk. My neighbor too now steps forward, seems to be coming towards her side of our common fence. Has she seen me now? But all she does is spread out the washed laundry on her clothesline. She’s situated almost face-to-face but literally ignores me. Possibly she blames her dog’s barking on me, I think to myself.

I shrug my shoulders and get back to the task of shearing a plant. Upset mood means less focus and I cut my hand. Not a huge cut, and luckily it didn’t hurt at all. Surprising that there’s no bleeding either. But it’s time to go indoors as the weather is getting hot.

As I step inside my house, I remember something. Today was one of the very rare days when I woke up quite late. So much so that my son had already left home for his day. He must have taken whatever lunch or snacks he could think of. Thus feeling guilty I whinge to myself, that at least he could wake me up.

I suddenly have warm feelings for him. I had not seen him this morning so I try to call him on his mobile.

As I get connected, he says “Hello!”.  I can hear his voice saying repeatedly “Hello!…Hello!!”… but why can’t he hear me saying hello?

“Who’s there?”, he asks.

“It’s me…mom! Can’t you hear me?”

I raise my voice, almost shouting. But no. He cannot hear. A bit upset over this too, I decide to call later.

What kind of day is this? May be a face-wash or a bath will refresh me. P1040905 crp nI walk listlessly towards the washroom, and as I open the tap on the hot water side, I touch the flowing water but cannot feel the hot water. Now, please don’t tell me the water heater is also playing up!

No warmth or coldness felt as water slips between, or rather through my fingers and palm. Surprised and still washing my face, I suddenly look at the mirror. I can’t locate myself! Where am I?  Nowhere. I can’t see myself. I can’t! I’m not in the mirror!!

Dazed, I thump down on the bathroom floor. What’s this?
I suddenly know what it is. I had ceased to exist. I didn’t wake up in the morning. I touch my arms, my legs and my face in frenzy. I am real. No. I am not real! I am not real!!


I sit there for long. Finally, as I gather my calm, I decide. For now I’ll continue to work in the kitchen, finish the meals I was preparing for my boy. He’s now a big boy. My little boy. My baby. I will cook his favorite dish. He may not be able to see me when he comes back but hopefully he can eat it.

Tears roll down my eyes and my vision gets blurred as I think of the days ahead when he won’t ever get any food made by his mama. And one day he will get married but I won’t be able to attend it. Thinking thus I drop the cooking pot.

Thud!!  Bang!!!

The bin man outside had banged the empty rubbish bin on the ground with a loud bang. I wake up with a jerk. Too baffled, I look around. I’m on my bed. I can hear my own thumping heartbeat while my both hands are clutched together on my chest. Sweat dripping down my burning forehead, and streaks of tears down my cheeks. I am crying. I cry even more on getting back my life. I thank God. I thank God a million times for this precious life.

Life is precious. Every moment is a treat. But…you never know for how long this benevolent life is going to treat us with its goodies and when it’s going to trick us by suddenly deciding to withdraw its treats all at once.

Taste life…touch it…smell it…see it…and hear it!!  That is life supposed to be for us flesh and blood beings. Even a ghost can do all the thinking and brooding”, I find myself uttering out aloud.

My voice fascinates me. The sound of it seems so melodious now. I always took it for granted. I have always postponed practicing singing.

I jump out of the bed with enthusiasm of a new-found life and peep into my son’s room. He’s still asleep. Walking up to his bed and lovingly touching his head and tangled hair, I now know for sure that today at least I’ll be able to treat him with one of his favorites…veg-rice. Who knows about tomorrow?

P1050922 shrt

WPC: Treat (Veg-rice)

~~~ ~~~

That was my quick short story for Halloween Trick or Trick
Please feel free to share your thoughts about my post. Not the best picture of vegetable rice but that’s how it came out…:)

© 2015 Alka Girdhar

Extracted Promises & Rocks That Talk

My previous post…Solid as a Rock…was/is my first ever story on this blog. It was a Flash Fiction in response to this picture with two rocks/stones.

Actually, that day I had simultaneously written three stories for this picture. It was Sunday and the story writing mood had set in.

Here’s the second story “Extracted Promises“…and the third story “Rocks that Talk


Extracted Promises

It was quite an effort to bring her mortal remains all the way from another country to this small sleepy town, but ever since I did that, I’ve been feeling some kind of contentment.  After all, it was mom’s last wish – to be buried near her favorite rocks in Katooba.

As I finished the religious formalities with the help of other villagers, I stood gazing at the ground where she now lay covered.

I wondered, “What was so special about these pieces of big stones?”  I had asked her but she had never disclosed.

Rituals accomplished, as I was about to walk away, an elderly man who looked much older than my mother, came up to me.

He said, “I had done the same for him. Buried him here last year.”

“Who is this ‘him’?  I asked curiously.

“My nephew”, he said looking at the ground.  “These two were great friends”

The man disclosed that he had known my mom and her friend from the times when they played together, grew up together. He had overheard them saying that they may part ways but they’ll come back and be laid to rest next to their two favorite rocks.

“So you see, they had promised each other and now we have fulfilled it”, the elderly man tried to give it all a satisfying closure.

“Gosh! So she was fulfilling a simple promise!!”, I spoke loudly as my eyes popped with surprise.  “Oh! How poignant!  Why didn’t she tell me? Why did she feel I would not understand her.”

But I wondered…Do I really understand her even now?  Mom was very attached to dad, and dad looked after her very well.  So was she just fulfilling a simple promise of an innocent friendship bond?

There could never be any answers to this question, for they both were gone now.

But at that moment I felt I didn’t know my mom enough.  And she didn’t know me either.

*** ***

Rocks That Talk

The two boys passed by these rocks every day while going to their school. As they approached the stones, like most other days today again they started arguing.

The younger six year old repeated what he always said. “How many times will I have to tell you they talk?”  His hand pressed on his ears, he said convincingly, “I have heard them with these ears”.

The older of the two retorted, “Baah!!  You and your funny stories.  As iiiffff….c’mon I have more common sense”

“You don’t wanna believe?  Up to you. The other day I even saw two eyes on the head of the taller rock. Look closely. They are real”.  He emphasized the word ‘real’

“And why would I believe you?  Stones talking. Stones with eyes. Hah!!  What an imagination this boy has!!”, he said shaking his head.

Then something came into his mind. He changed his path abruptly, to turn towards the rocks.  ”Let me check”, he said.

On approaching one of the two rocks, the older boy started slapping the stony surface, while laughing jeeringly. He took out a sharp compass needle from his geometry-box.  Carving and scratching at the rugged surface, he said, “Look they are not talking!  Are they afraid of me? Huh!!”

The younger boy looked at all this in fear and awe, as the older boy walked off still holding the open stationary-box. The two walked away, now with their backs towards the proud stony structures.

A few steps gone and they heard a voice from behind – “Stop!!!”

Their feet jammed.  The younger boy was calm, for he had heard these voices before. The older one sat down shakily with a thud. The contents inside his geometry-box scattered all around him noisily, breaking the silence of the valley .

*** ***

You have previously read my articles and poems. Do let me know if story-writing is my forte or not.

Thanks for reading!!

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