Homecoming – A Short (fiction) Story

I laid my father to rest today.

It wasn’t a big deal.

I mean, it was. My father had died, so, obviously, it was a big deal. For me at least.

But for the rest of the world, it wasn’t.

He was just another village drunk, so his death — and funeral — barely made the village news.

Of course, people came to give their condolences and to say a few kind words. But we all knew why they really came: there was food, free and plenty, and it was rice and goat stew, freshly made, fried even. A delicacy in these parts. It came along with some soda and local brew, enough to reinforce a few ironies.

Liver failure is not pleasant; it’s — apparently — one of the most painful ways to go. At least, that’s what the doctor from the Center IV clinic told me, as she casually prescribed a few drugs two months ago. She told me that she didn’t expect much, as his symptoms were far too advanced. In fact, she had said… Continue reading


“Raw”: An Excerpt from Elijah’s Diary.

[ Fiction ]

Elijah’s Diary. Entry Title “Raw.”

Time: Undated.

There’s a soft, pale moon glowing outside. It’s not quite the full moon we loved so much, but it’s almost the end of the month, so maybe the full moon will come soon enough.

I hope.

I miss rambling. We used to call it that; those moments when we’d lie on the grass, under the blanket of stars and just talk, not a care in the world. Food and drink forgotten as we lost each other in each other’s thoughts; running around aimlessly in our own minds, revelling in the fleeting eternity and vastness of just… being.

The comfortable silences that stretched out into everything, in which – my head on your chest – I could hear your heart beat to the rhythm of infinity for hours on end, while you gently ran your fingers over my really awful uncombed hair and all I wanted, all I ever really wanted, was for that infinity to be… infinite.

… infinite …

The arguments about books and food and wine; my uncultured self playfully dissing your refined elegance, talking about how the Pinot Noir could only be paired with a cheese whose nams I couldn’t even pronounce, because, by God!, I hated cheese. And of course, my mock French accent was an abomination that you said you never ever wanted to hear again and yet kept giggling at like a little girl each time you heard it.

Continue reading

Henry & Ali. 19th Nov. 2016

[ Fiction ]

Saturday, 12th November, 4:06 AM. Undisclosed Location

“Henry. Dude. Shit. You know… if this had gone any other way, we’d both be dead… right?”

Henry looked over at Ali, who was hunched over, hands resting on his knees, breathing in quick, urgent breaths, trying desperately to calm down, while also needing to get the words out. It felt like they had just run a marathon.

“I know,” Henry said, turning his eyes skyward. He laughed a short nervous laugh. “I know.”

Henry was lying down on the grass, just behind a wall fence, looking up at the stars. It was a very, very cold night and his words frosted up in the night air as he spoke, hanging hazily for a few moments before reluctantly disappearing. The grass was sparse, clumped in uneven places and a little wet; it had drizzled slightly just a few hours ago.

“Should we go find the other guys? They may not be alright.”

Ali’s voice was shaky. He was definitely rattled.

Poor kid, Henry thought, his first day at work and it had turned out to be a shitstorm. Continue reading

Zachary. 19th Oct 2016.

[ Fiction ]

1:13 PM. Naguru 

{Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.}

Zachary smiled and started humming along. The music was fitting, the sombre lyrics drifting through his mind with the evanescent familiarity of a song that’s been listened to a thousand times.

He gripped the note tightly in his hand, the soft crunch of paper – whose contents were now burning their way into his memories – was barely audible in the still, quiet night.

He took a sip of vodka, cursing instantly at the bitterness that coursed down his throat. He could never quite get used to the taste of Smirnoff vodka; there was something vulgar and adulterating about it, like a sudden burst of lightning on a cloudless night. You couldn’t quite tell what the bloody hell had just happened, and yet, there it was… quietly, sublimely violent.

It was a beautiful night, though, with a bright, waning moon resting against a twinkling blanket of stars and an eerie silence punctuated only by the soft notes of Disturbed’s rendition of “The Sound of Silence” floating through the house onto the balcony where he sat. Continue reading

An Old Man’s Tale. 31st May 2016

[A random conversation, somewhere in Uganda]

Hello, friend.

Do you have a minute? Sit, please, and let me tell you a story.

Would you care for a cup of tea? Two sugars? No, I’m sorry. I’m afraid I don’t have honey. I used to keep some, once… but that was a long time ago. Ah, yes, In this very jar. Honey doesn’t go bad, you know. Or so the elders used to say.

A long time ago, I knew a person who stood at the top of a mountain. That stunningly surreal place where the sky caresses the earth with the softest clouds. You know that place? Yes. You’ve seen it in those “impossible” pictures a thousand times.

She stood at the top of the mountain. And the sky sat on her shoulders. The air was cold and her breath came out in harried fits, but then, after she had rested for a while and the burning pain in her chest had stopped, the sun rose and the world turned into an indescribable vibrancy that took her breath away.

She had smiled as the warm morning sun stroked her face. It had taken her a very, very long time to get there.

“Years.”, she said. “No, decades.”, she clarified. She used to come here often, to read my books. And we talked about everything. Continue reading

Jeremiah. 5th March 2016.

[This is written realtime, no edits, because tweets, snapchats and instagrams are overrated, and stifling.]

I have only one question: what the fuck are these people wearing?

It feels like everyone here has some sort of identity crisis. Which would bother me, as well, because what the fuck am I doing here? And then I realise, of course, there is a girl involved, and I am at peace, but the question still lingers…

What the fuck are these people wearing?

She looks at me from the distance and smiles; a beautiful, radiant smiles that freezes everything around us, and for that fraction of a second, I am lost for eternity.

She’s beautiful. Impossibly so, and yet so oblivious to it… and so graceful in the crowd that surrounds her. The beauty to my social beast – my self-imposed apathy to the humanness of it all. Continue reading

Edith’s Redemption

[Fiction. Undated. Written ages ago, for a friend going through some stuff.]

The sandals are beautifully embroidered, with little gemstones laced into the straps, held together by delicate silken threads, almost invisible. They shimmer in the bright sunlight, blindingly reflecting the the world around them in a kaleidoscopic rush of sun, sand and sea.

She unlaces them, slowly rubbing her feet. Smooth, beautiful feet, gracefully manicured, with perfect little stripes of white nail polish at the top of each toe-nail, and beneath that, an impeccably thin and clear lacquer layered down on each nail by a perfectionist.

She remembers the day she bought the sandals. Marrakesh. She’d always loved Morocco as a child, for some now obscure reason, but had something to do with the countless books she read, tucked away in the corners of the school library, which she would read for ages, wide-eyed, imagination soaring the Arabian skies. She absolutely wanted to visit Marrakesh and when her father made the announcement, she squealed with delight and spent the next three months scouring the internet, mapping out all the great places she had read about, planning to see everything. Continue reading