Unseen Fiction - Episode 1

  
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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. We present stories of wonder and dread set in backyards and distant worlds. Between the pandemic and our lives, time is short, and so are our stories.

In this episode we have two fresh stories for you; one featuring a worldwide event of particular import and the other set in an eventful backyard.

Stay awhile, and read.

You can also download this episode as a PDF- White, Sepia

Cosmic Pandemic

BY RATHY AND AAQUIB

She stood by the French windows, staring intently. Across her building, through curtains that had been pulled in almost hastily, she saw them. It was only a glimpse, but she was sure that she saw two men counting gold coins - with a severed head placed right in the middle of their table. As the curtains fluttered, she realized it was the same alien head that had been missing from the local museum. She knew she had to make the call, the one she had been dreading all these years. Her fingers trembled as she dialed the numbers, hoping no one would pick up.“Project moonshine”, she managed to blurt into the phone. “Finally”, came the answer before the line went dead. She stood there, fidgeting with a button on her sleeve.

After almost an hour, she heard it pierce the suffocating silence of the night – the unmistakable wail of the Watcher. She froze, watching as the living room door knob slowly turned itself. The door swung wide open, and a cloyingly sweet stench filled the air. “We have 24 hrs to recover the Eye of Seraph and move it to a secure location. If not, the results would be catastrophic and cause a universal pandemic”, said the Watcher. She heard a loud pulsating noise behind her, and turned to find a large mass of purple, viscous matter forming the shape of a crudely made doorway. "Quickly, we might still make it to the Quarry," the Watcher said impatiently. The Watcher grabbed her by the wrist and pushed her into the portal.

On the other side, the Scarabs of Kah were waiting for them. Carab, their commander-in-chief bellowed, “Not so easy, Watcher! The plague will be released and the Scarabs will rule the universe again.” He held the Eye of Seraph and aimed its crystal towards the sun. As the crystal broke, darkness and gloom engulfed their world. The silence was eerie. No one standing there was prepared for what happened next.

About the authors: Rathy says “My one party trick is to tell stories and make you fall in love”

Aaquib Jaleel is a stand-up comic from Chennai who also loves telling stories to children and adults. His favorite kind of food is Biryani and if you give him some, he will be your friend.

Chirp

BY SWETHA

It got boring after a while, watching the fireflies disappear. She started playing guessing games, predicting trajectories, placing mental bets on which one would go next, and eventually downloading the chirp noise to play at the moment each one vanished. It wasn't like there was a vacuum cleaner sucking them in. They were choosing their own paths of destruction. All novelties become mundane over time. Moreover, it was a hot, humid night and she was pretty sure that catastrophes only struck on cold, clear ones. She rolled onto her back to spot the Orion's belt. She was pretty sure that her therapist would try and connect this to commitment phobia. "What did you feel when you were more drawn to the shiny, unreachable stars?". "Well, I felt like my back hurt less, Mrinalini." She sighed thinking about how much work building a vacuum chamber was going to take. She hated engineering, it involved arithmetic, and worse - screwdrivers. She idly wondered if she could just moveit and work from the air conditioned basement, but she knew that that would be like wishing she could move tomorrow into the day after. One cannot move space or time or spacetime. She wondered if this could be the push that her comedy career needed. Surely, there was a solid joke in all this about how she finally turned her dilapidated, suburban bungalow into 1 "BH” K. She googled to see if BH was a widely used abbreviation. She swatted away the firefly that was drawn to her phone screen, cursing those damned Condensed Matter people under her breath. She would have to deal with screwdrivers in the morning. But, for now.. *Chiiiirp*.

Author’s Note : This is a story of a girl (not) dealing with a tiny backyard black hole. And the chirp signal refers to the famous sound that was the result of the black holes merger captured by LIGO. Also, the story, under the excuse being fiction, contains quite questionable science.

About the author: Swetha is a physicist in training undergoing tumultuous accelerations at a large collider

Twice a month Unseen fiction brings you speculative flash fiction crafted in South Asia. You can subscribe here, or follow us on twitter - @unseenfic for updates.

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