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

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

Transformation & Transformer

Transformation

He comes home early in the morning.

“Where were you last night?” She asks.

“Work.” He collapses on the sofa.

“You reek of alcohol.”

“Client meeting. You know how it is.”

“Next time tell me if you’re going out with your whore so I don’t waste time making dinner for you.”

He tries to apologize but she runs into the bedroom and locks the door. She starts crying and prays for a better husband. She hates living in this new country with her husband. She misses her home, her parents, her friends, and all the adorable stuffed animals in her bedroom.

Her husband knocks on the bedroom door for five straight minutes, but she won’t open it. He gives up and goes back to the living room and turns on the TV. Suddenly he starts to feel nauseous. It’s probably the alcohol, he just needs some rest. But then he notices a little more hair on his arms than usual.

A few minutes later his clothes start feeling very tight. He takes off his clothes and cries out in alarm. There is long hair on his legs, stomach, chest. His back starts feeling itchy and he feels hair over there too.

What the hell is going on? He rushes to the bathroom and sees hair all over his face! And his face looks different… it looks like… a bear?

A few minutes later he screams in agony as the transformation is complete. His wife emerges from her bedroom and gasps in shock.

Her former husband is now a giant cuddly teddy bear. Looks like her prayers were answered.

 

The next story is related to the previous one but both are separate standalone stories.

 

Transformer

I’ve been stuck in the body of a giant teddy bear for two years. My wife told the police I went missing after she did this to me. Or should I say my ex-wife since she remarried two months after my ‘disappearance’.

Yes, I cheated on her but how the hell is this a reasonable punishment? I never wanted to marry her in the first place. She never wanted to marry me. Our parents forced us and neither of us had the backbone to say no. And now I don’t even have a physical backbone because I’m a goddamn teddy bear.

Oh, and you’ll never believe who she married. Her best friend. That’s right, the guy she had friend-zoned since her school days. The guy who listened to her complain about being married to someone like me. Her parents weren’t very happy with the decision because he isn’t rich.

Me being a giant teddy was very entertaining for her at first. She’d play with me and hug me while sleeping at night. Then she started getting sloppy. She’d drop food crumbs on me while eating. Once she even spilt piping hot coffee on me, which I’m pretty sure was on purpose. But worst of all she’d let her bratty nephews play with me and they would hit me and throw me around all day.

Sometimes I wish I had lost my consciousness along with my body. Maybe it would’ve been better if I’d died during the transformation. But maybe there’s hope. Maybe I can undo this transformation and get my life back. I haven’t figured out how to talk yet but slowly I have gained control over my furry limbs.

It wasn’t easy, for the first several months I was completely paralyzed. It took a few more months to even learn how to move my paw, several more to learn how to walk and move around, and much longer to learn how to grab objects. Of course, I couldn’t do this in plain view, so I mastered my body by night.

And now I have snuck out of my ex-wife’s bedroom to go to the dining room. I take a seat on the dining table. I can’t use a laptop, my paws are too big. I can’t hold a normal pen either, so I am using one of those giant novelty pencils to write a letter to a trusted friend. I want him to know what’s happened to me, maybe he can help.

I stare at the blank sheet of paper. Will my friend even believe what I am about to write? It won’t even be in my handwriting because I am not human anymore. It’s such a ridiculous story. How the hell do I convincingly explain what has happened to me? Suddenly I slip off the chair and fall down. I guess I’m not completely used to my stuffed body.

And then I hear a dog growl. Oh no. Slipping off the chair made too much noise. My ex-wife bought a dog last week. The dog is moving closer to me. He looks angry. He growls a little louder. I hold the giant pencil like a sword, ready to defend myself, but my paws are shaking.

Calm down doggy. Calm down. But the dog starts barking. Oh crap. Why tonight of all nights? The dog pounces on me! I try to swing the pencil at him, but I am too slow, the dog bites my arm off and is using its claws and teeth to destroy my furry body.

Now I am completely in pieces. Maybe I can be sewn back together? Assuming my ex-wife doesn’t throw me out. I certainly wouldn’t keep a teddy that walks around at night.

Will I ever be normal again?

 

Epilogue

The next morning my ex finds me in the living room. She immediately figures out what happened. She pets her dog lovingly and throws my remains in the fireplace. I’m dying but at least I won’t have to be a teddy bear anymore.

 

 

Writer: Rohan

First

First love. First hand-holding. First kiss. Arnav and Ashna just saw a movie and now they’re kissing in the back of a cab. The road is quiet and peaceful, a pleasant change from the daytime chaos.

A few minutes later they stop kissing because three men are staring at them from ahead. The men are sitting on the back of a pick-up truck.

The truck slowly comes to a stop. The taxi has to stop too, it’s a narrow one-way road.

The men hop off. Arnav immediately steps out of the taxi, grabs Ashna and pulls her out with him, and tells her to RUN.

“What about you?” She cries.

“I’ll be fine. Just GO!”

Ashna runs. The cabbie gets out and runs too.

The men try to chase Ashna but Arnav jumps in between.

20 years later Ashna is telling this story to her husband, a different man.

“The horrible things they did to him because he let me get away…” She sobs. “I should’ve stayed to help him.”

 

Writer: Rohan

Flirt

She’s pretty tolerant of her boyfriend flirting with other girls because he’s proven time and again that he only has eyes for her. The only thing that bothers her is when women continue to flirt with him after he tells them that he has a girlfriend.

He doesn’t mind if she flirts with other guys either. When they go out they compete to see who can get more numbers.

Tonight he’s gotten more numbers so she needs to catch up.

She starts chatting up a random guy but doesn’t notice when he slips something in her drink.

 

Writer: Rohan