Friday, March 09, 2007

Gripped

Just outside my window, bathed in the magical flush of a very European sort of [it’s always European-bordering-on-English-fantasy, isn’t it? Enid Blyton was an imagination-grabbing fascist, I’ve decided] eternal-sunshine-of-the-spotless-spring-but-with-autumnal-trees, a gay bunch of butterflies floated about dreamily. For some reason they were all disguised as something else. Bits of flaking window sill, shavings of bark and leaves mostly, of every colour.

A filmmaker friend was droning on about his sabotaged project at my elbow, as I leaned out of the window taking in the sight and light, feeling very blithe and ethereal like a dreamy princess. For the first time since I’ve known him, I turned to him to say “look I’m not interested in listening to you. I’ve had enough of your whine. Let’s hear the story you want to tell”.

Instantly, we were plunged into a very edgy thriller. There were five of us. Two young women and three men, two of whom were young and handsome and the third, a middle-aged loner. Everybody was shadowy [except, of course, for me] and we were running, trying to escape… from something.

Like with most high-intrigue-spy-vs-spy dramas that are set against larger murky political webs of deceit wherein the plot is singularly unrelenting, I was a bit muddled. Somebody very desperate and very very dangerous was chasing us, presumably to bump us off; is all I was capable of assimilating in this wrought-with-tension situation. Of course I could’ve argued that I had absolutely no clue of what I was being hunted down for; I had missed the plot entirely and there was really no need to get aggressive and adamant about killing me, because I was quite innocent and deplorably stupid even, if you’d [nebulously they’d] insist. But, when you’re running for your life, you don’t really think of motives, arguments and counter-arguments. You just bloody run. And so we did.

At some point we arrived at a deserted beach house. By this time, there were only two of us [obviously handsome young man no. 1 and I]. We’d got separated from the rest of the group for some inexplicable reason. Now, put deserted house, beach, handsome young man [even if shadowy] and young woman [blithe, ethereal and princess-like] together, and what do you get? Not an ordinary romance. A kind that’s absolutely pulsating with drama and passion because you don’t know if you’re just about to shove your tongue down the killer’s throat. But just as we were getting to the good part, we sensed lurking danger [which is always very ominous, especially when in italics].


The killer was on the prowl and had followed us; by which time we had also deduced that the killer had to be one of us five, but now obviously not shadowy lover and I. [Logic can be so simple and beautiful, na?] So off we went, with a non-kiss hanging in the air, galloping towards the sea, which isn’t the smartest thing to do while attempting to outrun a killer, because there’s only so far you can go on a pair of wobbly-with-unrequited-passion legs on a limited strip of beach.

Many twists and turns later, once again, we found ourselves running towards the sea.

*Digression begins* An unconscious [as differentiated from 'subconscious'] leitmotif is the unmistakable sign of good story-telling [however headless], I’m told. *Digression ends*

This time we were on a tar road, headed towards a docked luxury cruise-liner where we were supposed to meet with the others. There was very little time. We kept running. Or trying to; our legs had become leaden and very heavy; it felt like we were running through molasses. The killer was fast closing in on us. An overbearing sense of doom was settling.

Just as I was ready to give up and start crying, a bunch of cheerful street children appeared and whispered something in our ears; which cheered us up immensely because the next thing I know is we grew arms like baboons and aided our run to the ship with powerful forward thrusts on all fours.

The feeling was euphoric! It’s like flying on your own wings – a revelation of power that you wonder why you haven’t explored before in your waking life, because it’s so extraordinarily simple to grow baboon arms.

One swing. We were on board.

And then, we discovered who the real killer was.

***

“So that’s the story, huh?” I tried to sound unshaken, bored even, as a bird twittered cheerfully on a nearby tree.

“And what was that unexplored bit between the young woman and the handsome young man? I mean what happens to them afterwards? Did they, didn’t they?” But I didn’t ask him. I didn’t feel like letting him know that I thought his story had a glimmer of a chance, even if not as a thriller.

But then seeing him all withered up in a corner, the unrestrainable
churning kindness in my bosom flowed over. I took his arm in mine and dragged him along for a walk, by the seaside.

Waitaminute. Seaside?

Damn. This was beginning to get spooky. Not without some sense of foreboding, I stepped out on a narrow path that led to the sea, which turned out to be a riverbed that was heavily silted over. I picked my way through slimy stones. By now, my friend had disappeared. Inexplicably, as usual.

After walking for a bit, propelled by fear and that thing that drives all scantily clad sexy starlets on 70mm into exploring things-that-one-would-shudder-to-explore-in-a-group-on-a-sunny-bright-morning in the dead of the night, all alone with a flickering torch that’s about to die, I arrived at an abandoned old temple surrounded by more slimy silt covered rocks. The floor was dusty, like it hadn’t been swept in centuries.

As I walked down the main corridor, I experienced [to say ‘heard’ wouldn’t be entirely accurate] the faint thrum of some sort of chant. Following it, I reached a room at the far end, where two men in white dhotis [a single piece of cloth that’s wrapped deftly around legs and crotch to form a tentative pair of roomy, airy breeches] were praying to an ancient image of Her.

I stood there gaping [perhaps even stupidly], as they turned to look up at me with wild eyes that seemed to say that they’d been expecting me. That’s when I noticed, through their unkempt beards, two sets of glistening fangs.

He didn’t smile, the younger of the two, though it seemed like he had.

At that moment, a familiar feeling flooded my head. I felt like I had come home.

17 comments:

lizza said...

I am smacking my lips at this delicious smorgasbord of a post. I've said it before, I'll say it again. You hold me in thrall.

The image of my blithe and ethereal sis swinging along with baboon arms just killed me.

Okay, so no sex with handsome young man. Fine. Hmpf.

How I would love to get inside your head even for just a few short moments, to brush up against the strangely compelling feral enigma that is your mind, look it straight in the eye, and marvel even more.

H said...

Coming from you, this means A LOT! I’ve been grinning all afternoon. Thank you generous girll!

If you did [get into my head] you’d find a narrow little poky tunnel with room enough only for the next meal. That’s why I pretend I’m all these exciting things. Dragons, wild baboons [pigs sometimes] and blithe princesses.

And you, dearest Liz, have this incredible way of makes me believe that I really am all that. Can’t hug you enough for indulging me so… indulgently.

[I can just see The Sibling rolling her eyes and thinking… gawsh, there she goes, making an utter ass of herself].

Arcane Crapper said...

LMAO LMAO LMAO!!!

Very well written. And yes, it IS a good story.

A kind that’s absolutely pulsating with drama and passion...
Sigh.

lurking danger [which is always very ominous, especially when in italics].
ROTFL!!!

The guy actually lured you to the seaside. What a bastard!

Dhotis are an integral part of your gharelu life. And you came home. And then? So what is the punch line? There has to be a punch line, yes?

PS: You fancy the word 'leitmotif', don't you? :D

annamanila said...

Hey. This is such an intriguing almost otherworldly place. You write surreally. The story is dreamlike. And yes, in the end, it felt like home ha. Reminds me of T.S. Eliot's 'all life is but an exploration and at tne end of the exploring will lead us back where we started and know the place for the first time." Hope to read more of your posts .. but they really need digesting. LOL

pRicky said...

You finally got snoged huh?
I am glad...
;-D
FOTCL
FOTCL
man but it was quite a story...
i mean if u would give it some time i guess India would then get its first non laughable spine chill...
butt eh over flowing something in bosom.... haha haha... man that guy was good!!!
hoot hoot!!!
and i don see u yelling in the yell forum.
And I am ready in my multi layred raincoat which come with spit resistant coating so we can shake the texan way...

B Ditty said...

beautiful, H :)

H said...

AC: And Fangs. Don’t forget. You see that WAS the punchline! [whine whine].

Now which bastard would you be talking about? The killer or the HYMno.1?

And you’re beginning to spook me! How did you KNOW!!??? You mind-reader you!

Annamanila: welcome! Wow, Eliot?! Poor poor man, he’s probably turning in his grave [bless his soul] :-)))) But that really is kind of you. And I hope to read more of your stories… I noticed you stopped at Naida’s story. About this story, since I couldn’t digest it myself, I vomited it here. :-D

Pricky: Snogged??? Gosh bwoy, you’re beginning to sound like a British Tabloid. Now don’t tell that’s what you’ve been meaning to do with you perfectly respectable journalism training!!!
But THANK YOU for the vote of confidence! Though I think I’ll pass over the chance of writing spine-chillers, seeing as I watch even Ramsay brother films through the cracks between my fingers.

Ben oh Ben, thank you sweet Ben.
:-)

Arcane Crapper said...

Ah. Fangs. My bad. You see, I tend to follow weird lines of thought.

HYM 1.

I am a mind-reader? Thank you for the compliment. :D I knew what? :|

H said...

Arcane, you've got to shed light on this one. what weird line of thought were you following?

What makes you think i didn't lead HYM1 to the beach house? ;-)

About leitmotif.

Arcane Crapper said...

If you must now, it's weird imagery of dhotis and ringing temple bells, perhaps with a dash of bollywood style masala. And elders of the family, let's not forget them.

He let you lead him to the beach house! What a bastard!

Oh. Leitmotif. Well, I vaguely remember you using this word in a previous post. I didn't bother researching the meaning then. Now I did. Quirky words remain at the back of a person's head. Correct? :P

pRicky said...

well u had to get intoduced to where i am being trained as a journalist, no?
And british tabloid is the crappiest form of hackney but real fun...
and unlike crapper I had no doubts even for a second who was calling shots when ppeople were beiing led to isolation... so ummm the bastard was bloody lucky :/

houseband00 said...

So, tell me.

What did you take before going to bed that night? =)

H said...

AC: but that’s not weird, that’s Bollywood-from-the-80s with Sridevi in a nagin dress.
You’re right. A real creep for allowing it.
Really? But I’ve also used ‘It’ several million times in my writing. Damn.

Pricky: hahahahahaaaaa. So then why the dismal face?! Oh and I have a very nice raincoat too. :-D

HB: The happiness of 1 HYM.

pRicky said...

Why do you think??
Some guys get led to secluded places by some self proclaimed nymphs... others just get to read about how the nymph led them...
;-)
Great... so let the handshakes begin... thu thu thu

Pinay in Barnsley said...

This is in all honesty,

I was going to ask the VERY SAME QUESTION HB did.

And you've generously given your answer.

Bloomin eck H (that's Barnsley swearin for u)! Unlike the brave and eternally curious Lizza, I'm not sure I'd like to see what's inside 'the feral enigma' that is your mind. I wouldn't have the required constitution/staying power, it'll zap me like a bleedin mosquito. Too much nuclear fusion goin on there as my feeble mind can only imagine...

GREAT STORY though! (see? can't even come up with proper superlatives!)

annamanila said...

Hi. I just might post more 'women in love and in trouble' stories -- thanks for the push. If you like it, it musn't be too bad. Will let you know soon as i get a second story posted.

Have you written a book, H? You should.

H said...

Pricky: :-)))))

M: Nooooo but we promise we’ll be good. No breathing fire. No fission or fusion. No zapping anybody. Do come and share a nice cuppa earl grey with us… do do, please! [now I sound pathetic and very very non-feral :-( ]

Anna: Oh good to hear that! am really looking forward to reading the stories. Will watch out. And good luck with it [thank you for the thumbs up too :-D]