Giggle

I curse when the doorbell rings early in the morning. The older I’ve grown the more I feel the distance between the living room and front door has also grown.

When I finally reach the front door and open it there is no one there. But I hear a childish giggle. For the past one week some kid has been ringing my doorbell and running away. If I were younger I’d chase that brat down and teach him some manners.

But maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh. I wasn’t any better when I was a kid. I’d throw my brother’s shoe out the window and when he ran out to get it, I’d throw the other shoe right at him.

My doorbell rings again. I open the door and see a child running away. It’s the brat next door. Hm, I haven’t seen him in a while because I’ve been travelling for many years but shouldn’t he be a little… taller?

I remember when his parents threw a big birthday party for him a few years ago — he still looks the same as he did back then.

In the evening I go out for a stroll. Walking is painful but if I don’t do at least that much then I’ll age even faster. I bump into the brat’s parents. I ask them how their son is doing. They tearfully tell me that their son died while crossing the street.

Poor kid was hit by a careless driver. If that driver had just called paramedics then the kid could’ve been saved. But the driver drove off and by the time an ambulance arrived the kid died.

But then who was the kid that rung my doorbell? Must’ve been another brat.

Later that night when I’m in bed I decide to travel some more. I fall asleep fairly quickly but I wake up when my doorbell rings. I check the time. It’s almost 1 in the morning.

Who’s at the door at this hour? Surely not that brat? I decide to ignore it. But the bell rings again. And again. It keeps ringing.

I get out of bed and take a gun out of my drawer. My hands are shaking so much I doubt I’ll even be able to aim the weapon. I slowly make my way to the front door and open it. There is no one there. Nobody has ever rung my bell so late at night.

I step out of my house and take a look up and down the street. All the other houses have their lights off. Only the streetlights are on and there are very few of those.

I return to my house and turn off the bell. Of course that might not stop anybody from knocking on my door but I’m tired of hearing that goddamn bell.

I go to bed and try to fall asleep again. As soon as I shut my eyes I hear something. No. It can’t be. It must be my imagination. But then I hear it again. I hear a child giggling.

I switch on the lights and see a kid standing in front of my bed.

His face is pale and his hair dirty. His clothes are tattered and bloody.

He smiles when I scream.

99 Summerbank Drive

“Can I have a bigger allowance?” Matt asks.

“No. Your brother needs an allowance too.” Matt’s dad replies.

Matt grumbles all the way up to his bedroom. His hates his brother Jack. They always have to share everything from their allowance to the TV remote. Matt is 9-years-old and Jack is two years older. The worst part is that all the clothes Jack’s outgrown are passed onto Matt. They even share the same bedroom but thankfully they have separate beds.

But then Matt gets an idea. He goes downstairs and finds Jack studying in the living room.

Jack wants to study hard, get a good job, and buy his dad a better car and a bigger house. Ever since mom left dad for a richer man, Jack has buried himself in his books. Jack tries not to miss his mom too much, after all why should he? She abandoned her family!

“Hey, let’s go to that abandoned house.” Matt says.

“Number 99? It’s supposed to be haunted.” Jack says.

“Not anymore.” Matt replies. “Whatever haunted that house is long gone. The previous owners left in such a hurry that they forgot to take their jewelry. Let’s go get it!”

Jack agrees. Matt knew he would. For an older brother Jack is quite gullible.

The brothers make their way to 99 Summerbank Drive and stand in front of the dark red-bricked house.

“Maybe this isn’t a good idea.” Matt says. “What if there’s something in there?”

“I’m going in.” Jack says. “I want those jewels.”

“Go around the back. The window is unlocked.”

“Wait for me here. I’ll be back soon.”

Jack makes his way to the house.

Matt smiles. He knew Jack wouldn’t be able to resist. Ever since mom left the family, Jack has been on a mission to get rich. What Jack doesn’t know is that there is still a great evil in 99 Summerbank Drive.

After Jack gets into the house through the window, he searches everywhere for the jewelry. After an hour of searching he gives up. The house is mostly empty. There’s nothing here except dust. Jack is about to leave when he hears a low growl. He feels goosebumps all over his body. He slowly turns around and comes face to face with something so horrifying that he starts screaming.

Matt hears Jack screaming and smiles widely. Jack’s never going to be heard from again.

Matt walks home victoriously. His allowance is about to go way up!

Balcony

Tanya’s mother is yelling again so she puts on her headphones and listens to her favourite song. She goes to the balcony, Mother follows and continues to yell.

When Tanya reaches the balcony she feasts her eyes on one of the greenest views in the city.

“Why can’t you be more like your sisters?” Mother yells. “They want to go into law and medicine! Not something ridiculous like singing!”

After Mother finishes yelling, Tanya sings a new song that she wrote last night. She’s been singing on the balcony her whole life.

She frowns when Mother returns to the balcony.

“You’re getting married.” Mother says.

“Excuse me?”

“The wedding is next month.”

“Is this a joke? I’m the youngest!”

“Your sisters will get married after they finish their studies. But since you’re not planning on studying, you may as well get married.”

Tanya can’t believe what she’s hearing. Mother has always given her a hard time but this is going too far.

“Fuck no.” Tanya says. “I’m not marrying anyone. In fact, I’m leaving home.”

Mother grabs her before she can move and slaps her.

“You’re not going anywhere.” Mother says.

Tanya slaps Mother back and they both start fighting.

Tanya is getting thrashed so she pushes Mother a little too hard. Mother stumbles backwards and falls off the balcony.

Tanya gasps, unable to believe what she has done.

But deep down she has to admit that Mother’s screams are music to her ears.

Tanya continues singing on the balcony.

 

Writer: Rohan Parekh

Break

Every night the boy next door climbs up Ashley’s long hair to reach her balcony. They share soft kisses under the stars. His sweet words and dashing good looks make her fall in love with him.

She pours her heart out to him. She tells him how wishes her parents would let her out of the house and how she wants to explore the world. He promises that one day he will marry her and take her on grand adventures.

But one night her lover doesn’t show up. As Ashley waits on her balcony, she wonders where he could be. But then she sees him climbing up another woman’s hair! When he gets to the top he starts kissing this other woman. Ashley is heartbroken.

The next night her lover calls for her, “My dear Ashley! Let down your hair so I may see you!”

Ashley lets down her hair. He starts climbing up her hair. When he’s close to the top, she cuts off her hair with a large knife.

He screams as he falls all the way down. He breaks every bone when he hits the ground.

“A fair price.” Ashley whispers to herself. “For breaking my heart.”

 

Writer: Rohan Parekh

Six Star Service

My wife and I are checking into a quiet little motel surrounded by nature. We can’t see much because the sun set an hour ago and it’s already quite dark.

“Let me be honest.” The motel manager says. “Our guests have seen ghosts wandering about.”

“Oh my.” My wife says. “Should we leave?”

“But nothing dangerous has happened.” The manager quickly says. “Nobody has gotten hurt.”

“It’ll be fine.” I say. “Just give us the room key.”

I really need this break from the city. I’m sick of the traffic, the pollution, and sitting in a goddamn office for 13 hours a day. I can’t remember the last time I was home on the weekend.

The manager gives us the room key. My wife and I take the elevator to the 5th floor.

After entering the room — which has an incredible view — I collapse in bed, not bothering to even glance at the bright stars. There is also a full moon tonight but my eyes are already shut.

Even though we’re in a beautiful place that looks breathtaking in the day, what I am most looking forward to is sleep. Tonight I want a good night’s sleep and tomorrow a good day’s sleep would be perfectly fine too.

My wife comes to bed after freshening up in the bathroom. She slides her hand down my pyjamas. After a few minutes she gives up because I can’t get it up. She switches off the light and kisses me goodnight.

She doesn’t say anything but I know she’s disappointed. I feel guilty because we haven’t had sex in a really long time. But we’re here for a week so there is plenty of time for sex.

Work has been so stressful this year. I just need some rest before I can think about anything else.

I shut my eyes and feel grateful that the pillow and bed are so comfortable.

But then my wife starts moaning. I have never heard her sound so sexually aroused.

“Oh god!” She says. “I didn’t know you could do that!”

That’s strange… I’m not doing anything. But my wife thinks I’m doing something to her.

That means there is a ghost in bed.

But I don’t want to ruin the moment for my wife. Let her enjoy herself.

I fall asleep while my wife is moans in ecstasy.

 

Writer: Rohan Parekh

Reincarnate

After her 10th lap in the swimming pool a small boy gets in water. The little boy looks exactly like her college boyfriend did when he was a child. The boy’s diving attempts are such adorable fails. Her college boyfriend died in a motorcycle accident.

An hour later she is feeding the boy in her kitchen. The boy is wearing her college boyfriend’s old biker jacket. The jacket is too big for the boy but one day he’ll grow into it.

“When will my parents get here?” The boy asks.

“Soon.” She gives the boy more cake.

She has no plans to let go of him any time soon.

Many years later she and the boy are shopping in the mall. Well he isn’t a boy anymore, he’s almost a man. He looks exactly like her old college boyfriend.

They run into one of her work friends.

“How your son has grown!” Says her work friend.

Her ‘son’ smiles nervously. She smiles. She’s trained him well.

 

Writer: Rohan Parekh

Trade Off

When I was growing up, I never imagined I’d make a living by kidnapping kids for ransom. But here we are. I was running the rat-race for years and years until I realized there’s a better way.

But this latest kid is different. He didn’t even put up a fight when I snatched him near his school.

“Don’t worry kid.” I say. “Just think of this as a little vacation.”

It’s not like I’m keeping these kids in cages. I’ve put them in clean spacious rooms with TV, books, toys, and good wholesome food three times a day.

“You’ll be home before you know it.” I say.

He doesn’t reply. He’s hardly said anything since I took him.

“I don’t want to go home.” The boy says.

“Why not?” I ask.

The boy takes off his shirt and shows me the scars on his back.

Damn this kid for waking up my conscience. If I give the boy back to his parents, they’ll keep beating him.

“Well, there goes my ransom.” I sigh. “Listen kid, do you wanna live somewhere else?”

He immediately agrees.

I have a feeling he’ll like the orphanage I grew up in. It’s a good place, after all I turned out alright.

 

Writer: Rohan Parekh

The Listener

He promises his dying wife that he will bring their daughter back home. Their daughter has been happy in the city, away from their hometown, because there she has a job, her own apartment, and once her father suspected that she started drinking with boys, he knew he’d have to take matters into his own hands.

Once he reaches his daughter’s home they start arguing. She doesn’t want to go back to their hometown and get married, she’s only 23! She doesn’t want to be a housewife for the rest of her life. She wants more work experience and she wants a Master’s degree. Her father tells her that she’s already been away from home for two years and that’s more than enough. She tells him to get out of her house because it’s her life and she’ll do what she wants.

That’s when he starts hitting her. He puts his hand over her mouth so nobody can hear her screams. He keeps hitting her until she stops breathing. Why couldn’t she just listen to him?

He secretly carries her body back to their hometown.

When he gets home his wife asks him, “Is she here? Bring her to me.”

The father carries the dead daughter and places her on a chair near her mother.

The dying mother’s eyesight is very weak so she can’t actually see that her daughter is dead.

The mother scolds her daughter, “Why didn’t you come earlier? Everyone has been asking when you will come back and get married and have children! Everyone is judging us as parents! You are so ungrateful after everything we’ve done for you! You just never listen!”

But the dead daughter doesn’t reply… obviously. This further enrages the mother.

The father watches his wife berate their daughter.

His wife doesn’t have much time left. He plans to bury both mother and daughter together.

 

Writer: Rohan

Kilo Killer Kamp

She went from a size 6 to a size 9 in less than a year because she eats while sleep-walking. It’s crazy to think that while she’s sleeping, she raids the fridge like some kind of savage barbarian.

In this country obesity isn’t seen as something beyond your control. If you’re fat, society will see you as a degenerate that is too lazy to be fit. It’s as simple as that and anyone overweight for their height and weight will be fined $100 per kilogram every month until they lose weight.

She’s 5 kilos overweight and has had to pay $500 per month for the last several months. If she gains another 5, she’ll be required to pay a fortune to lose weight at Kilo Killer Kamp (a brutal fitness boot camp). If she can’t afford to pay the monthly obesity fine, she’ll be deported. If she gains another 5 kilos and can’t afford Kilo Killer Kamp, she’ll be deported!

She grabs her skipping rope from her closet and starts skipping. While she’s skipping, she knocks over a lamp. She chides herself for carelessly destroying her mother’s gift but continues skipping. 15 minutes later she’s ready to collapse but she’s determined to keep going. She must become a size 6 again.

Soon her roommate Archie comes home. As usual, he opens her bedroom door without knocking.

“Instead of skipping why not run to the grocery store and buy some food?” He says. “I’m starving and you ate all my spaghetti and chips last night!”

“There’s too much pollution outside!” She tosses the skipping rope aside.

“I don’t care. You ate all my food.” Archie says.

“It’s a medical condition okay! I can’t control it.”

“If you were the Big Bad Wolf, you would’ve not only eaten the pigs, but their houses as well!”

“Stop being mean.” She says. “Now listen, you have to help me. I need a favor.”

“Not again. ” He groans.

“Please, I have a boyfriend now! He doesn’t say anything, but I know he’d be happier if I were slimmer!”

“Seriously? You have a boyfriend? He actually asked you out… in your condition?” Archie stares at her thighs.

“Yes, you asshole! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!”

“Only a blind eye could find you beautiful.”

“Will you please stop being you and just help?”

“Fine. What do you want?” He asks.

Archie is an annoying dickhead, but he can be a nice guy. Last month he paid her monthly obesity fine because her current job doesn’t pay very well.

“A treadmill.” She replies.

“Are you serious?”

“It’s for a good cause. I’ll pay you back… one day.”

Archie narrows his eyebrows, “Fine. You can use my credit card.”

“Thank you.”

“Wait, I have an idea about your sleep-eating.”

“What?

“Why not put a lock outside your door?” Archie suggests. “When you go to bed at night, I’ll lock it. Then you won’t be able to get out of your room. Call me when you wake up in the morning and I’ll unlock it.”

“Okay! It should work.”

She then decides to do some online research on the food she’s eaten in the past year, especially this new brand of bread called Breader. She discovers that people eating Breader are also eating in their sleep. Breader is one of the few bread brands available in the country, ever since the government banned many other brands for “health” reasons. Breader’s market share is growing every month.

Does the government want a portion of the population to gain weight knowing full well that Kilo Killer Kamps are unaffordable for most people? Does the government want an excuse to deport some of its own citizens?

The country is overpopulated so that would make sense. Most overweight people are deported because Kilo Killer Kamps are unaffordable… Kilo Killer Kamps are government-owned… Breader is also owned by the government… She smells the foul stink of conspiracy.

She throws her bread in the trash.

Two months later after skipping every day and running on the treadmill, she loses 10 kilos and drops to a size 5. She doesn’t sleep-eat anymore. In fact, she doesn’t even get up in her sleep. She looks and feels better.

Archie now finds her attractive. He tries to ask her out but she tells him that she’d rather go to Kilo Killer Kamp.

She starts applying for jobs in other countries because there’s no way she plans to stay here for the rest of her life. Hopefully her boyfriend will come with her.

 

Writer: Rohan

50 Word Story: The Wait

She’s been waiting since middle school for him to notice her.

Now she’s in college and he has his arm around her as they’re watching something on TV.

In a few moments they share their first kiss.

It’s amazing until the pimple next to his lip pops in her mouth.

 

Writer: Rohan