Unseen Fiction - Episode 3

  
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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. In our third episode, we present two stories of anguish and existence featuring cosmesis and entheogenesis. Between the pandemic and our lives, time is short, and so are our stories. 

Stay awhile, and read.

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Fairest of them all

BY RATHY

Noir woke up with a start. She had an interview today and she was hoping to get this job. At the age of 27, she was still unemployed, single and living with her parents. She desperately needed the job. But she had got the same response everywhere she had applied - “See, we want someone who will fit well with the team. And not stand out like a sore thumb. Frankly speaking, you don’t look like us at all”

Noir knew she looked different. Her mother had gorgeous skin that shone in the sun and was the color of dark chocolate. Her father was even prettier with his hazel colored eyes. Her brother was the Pageant winner for 5 continuous years and spent more time tending to his olive colored skin than anything else.

Unfortunately for Noir, she was born with pale blonde hair, ocean blue eyes and skin as pale as the snow. On the day of her birth, Mother said, the nurses had tried consoling her saying “Babies change color over time. Your baby will get her golden brown skin soon.” But her skin remained white and her parents named her Noir. Beauty should be there at least in her name, they reasoned.

As a child, she hated going out with her mother. One look at her and everyone would start suggesting treatments and skin creams. Once an aunt had locked her up in a tanning room longer than normal in the hope she’ll catch some color. Noir had to be rushed to hospital for second degree burns. Her skin healed but remained pearly white. Her grandmother fed her black coffee 5 times a day. Noir turned insomniac but her skin remained pale and stubborn.

School and College were different hell holes altogether. Bullied for her skin color, she was called several nicknames through the years. The very demeaning ‘Snow white’ stuck with her for ages. She couldn’t wrap her head around how anyone could compliment and insult her at the same time. But then she encountered something worse. After a steamy session, her first boyfriend kept stroking her skin. He said it was on his to do list to hookup with a white skin. The complete lack of melanin turned him on crazy, he added. Noir left his house confused and feeling very disgusted.

After college, Noir had tried online dating. But not many swiped right on her. The ones who did were the likes of her first boyfriend; fetishizing her skin color and her look.

Noir let the shower wash away all the ugly memories. Today would be a different day she hoped. She hesitated while reaching out to her usual body wash. Her brother had bought her a special lotion, Berry Berry Dark. It had canthaxanthin and other carotenoids, he said. He had got it specially made for her to darken her skin. She remembered being devastated by the gift.

“Today is the day,” she thought, reaching for Berry Berry Dark. Today is the day.

Rathy says about herself “my one party trick is to tell stories and make you fall in love”.Follow her on twitter: @iRatzzz

What About K?

BY KARAN NAGARAJAN 

Waiting in his room behind a cigarette, all he could think was if he’d like to eat outside or at home. He couldn’t wait any longer. It had been a long day, running around to get the forms and registrations for his new semester done. 

He had just scooped up some time to get back for a bath before he could go over to meet her. “When will she call dammit?!” he exclaimed to himself, putting the cigarette out in the corroded Threptin box.  He turned over and turned up the volume, Tool was playing,  - and began to slowly drift away, with smoke filling the room. The new neon green bulb he had brought had been more than just a psychedelic friend to him. Seemed like a cold, boring night ahead if the net didn’t get any better. 

Everyday he prayed, Valve were such gods to have created DoTA 2, although S2 were the ones who were getting him through the wait for it. He wasn’t quite certain where or what he would be when DoTA 2 would come out, with his college just getting over and the requirement of a job to facilitate his survival.

The mattress, like time, had slowly slipped away from under him, as he ashed the joint. The matter for the present was neither the net had gotten better nor had she called. A matter of utmost concern, at once a joint needed to be rolled and smoked to spend the time thinking what should be done. “Is there food at home?” he stormed into the kitchen, there was rice, some daal, Murukus, OREOS. He reached out and ripped the cover open, and popped 2 of them straight into his mouth. It was only 1130 PM, at 2 AM the net would get better. 

He retreated back to his room, sneering at the grass “I will not fight you!”, the grass replied, “Give yourself to the Dark side. It is the only way you can save your brain. Yes, your thoughts betray you! Your feelings for them are strong. Especially for… Me.You have a bored mind. Your feelings have now betrayed it, too. Your sanity was wise to hide you from me. Now his failure is complete. If you will not turn to the Dark Side, then maybe it will…..”.

Unlike Star Wars, there wasn’t an epic lightsaber battle going to ensue in his bedroom, but a simple battle between the mattress and the lit joint.

“Whhhhhheerrreeeee Weerrreeeee Yoouuuu, Whheeeerrreeee The FUCK were youuuuuu.” he sang , his stoned mind telling him he sounded like David Gilmour. While winamp switched to the aching cries of Maynard James Keenan ” Who are you to raise your finger?” he checked the time, it read 1:42 AM, which destroyed all the patience he had, bundling his pillows he turned to his laptop to wait the last 20 minutes out.

The phone buzzed with Peter Griffin singing “You Can’t touch this”, it was her, she wanted to meet MaryJ. He put on his jeans and sweatshirt, and closed the main door behind him.

He didn’t come back that night, or the next morning, he had taken the college bag and MaryJ with him. I had never left this house nor spoken to him, he did not know I existed, or so I believed. But I’m sure, he had at times looked straight at me and seen me for who I was, I was powerless then, unable to do anything but stare right back at him. Wondering if that was how I looked.

About the author: Contact: nagarajan.karan AT gmail

Bio: Sorry, ladies! I'd love to stay, but I've got a job to do.


Image credit: "illustration by tatielle"

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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