Unseen Fiction - Episode 5
Cover art by: Riya Allen
Welcome dear sojourner to our little space in the void - Unseen Fiction.
We are attempting to fill the void with speculative fiction from South Asia. It’s our fifth episode and once again we have two stories for you.
The first about a chance meeting of three totally human entities, and the other of an ongoing separation of two people - narrated by the author herself.
Between the pandemic and our lives, time is short, and so are our stories.
Stay awhile, and listen.
I met a man on a bus one day, he had the biggest hands I’d ever seen.
For a moment I thought he was wearing huge rubber gloves, for each finger was as thick as a wrist.
I suppose he saw me staring at his hands. He laughed and held up his palms- each the size of a modest dinner plate.
He flexed his fingers and closed his fists.
“I am a baker," he said. “I knead large mounds of dough everyday!"
“And then?” I asked, imagining every ball of dough as large as a house.
"And then I fashion dainty little croissants out of them.” He said, as serious as an artist.
I smiled - the explanation made complete sense.
“It's a french recipe you know?" he said, his eyes looking around furtively.
I nodded, knowing exactly what he meant.
“What do you do?" he asked me.
I touched my large ears and blinked my big eyes,
“I make stories,” I said, a bit apologetically.
He seemed taken aback, and then his face broke into a wide smile.
“Oiy, Can you tell me one?” He asked, eagerly.
I pursed my tiny mouth and shook my head.
“No, but she might.” I pointed at my twin sister.
She sat behind us, with her wide mouth and medium-sized twinkling eyes.
And as she smiled, her 64 teeth gleamed white in her dark luminous face.
“Do you want to hear the one about the tiger in the tea cup?” She began.
Author’s Bio: Frustrating Font of Unfinished Fables
Contact : @TTellyourmama
Last evening, he was waiting for Ratna outside of her hostel. As soon as she stepped out, he begged her to come with him for coffee at Park Street. Ratna was addicted to coffee and a lot of other things but she loved to have her coffee all alone.
He did all the talking, while Ratna started diagnosing him. He was on a high. He said he had everything sorted and that he was no more worried about being a first-generation university goer and that he had long forgotten those days when he had to drink tea from a cup kept separately for him in the village tea shop. Now he could choose both his coffee, and his company.
“Hey, drink da!” Ratna chuckled and said, “So, go on. Tell me your plans.” His nose widened as his lips smiled, “You will know. Soon.” Ratna said she hated the smell of kathi-rolls overpowering the smell of her coffee to abbreviate his dreams about a faraway future.
It was neither bright nor dark. It was as if they were in the middle of a never-ending tunnel. She was trying to walk across a playground filled with water. She had to cross this pool to survive. The fear was not of the water, but of what lay underneath. She could see them swirling like water snakes. Ratna glanced at her watch. It was 3 am. She had no time to lose. So she rolled her pants up and ran but something kept sticking in her toes. Slowly she could feel her body cracking in pain inside the sheets, of her soul escaping in puffs out of her body, of the dream within the dream. She knew she had to stop this dream from running its course. She did not have to cross the pool. Those swirling slimy things in her toes had to be kicked away. She had to protect herself. So she forced herself to wake up. It was 3.15 am and she was drenched in sweat. Just then she heard a frantic knock on the door. She had expected it.
Walking around unsteadily, she muttered about not crossing the pool. He sat comfortably on her bed. “What,” asked Ratna, exhausted. Without waiting for a reply, she went on “the water snakes had ears.” He was gushing with enthusiasm, “It’s all sorted. We take the train to Chennai tomorrow. The wedding date is fixed.” Ratna was euphoric. She ran up to the hostel terrace, with him running behind her. The next minute she was running down the stairs, complaining about how she was better than the best in her research group. "I kicked them all away for sticking to my toes." Bewildered, he followed her. Ratna stood in front of her room refusing to enter as she could see the snakes crawling up her walls. Reluctantly, he called the doctor from her phone.
Author’s Bio: A courageous non-writer.
contact : rajshreeb [g]mail
Twice a month, Unseen fiction brings you speculative flash fiction crafted in South Asia. You can subscribe on substack to have it delivered to your inbox, or follow us on twitter - @UnseenFic for updates.
We are accepting stories here.
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