March 28, 2020 5:24 PM
This was actually written in critical conditions, as I had exams and there was a contest, where you could write on any topic and the best ones would be featured on their anthology. But it was rejected. I, again uploaded in their another contest they organized and I again uploaded this piece, and yet again it was rejected in the editor’s picks. I don’t know what mistakes I must’ve made here but if you do find out my errors, then please point it out to me, so I may know my mistakes here.
3rd April 2020 (updated)
They lastly gave it a look, after I deleted it and AGAIN uploaded it on 2nd April and it’s selected in Editor’s Picks!
22nd April 2020 (updated)
This piece was actually selected for the Editor’s Picks but was rejected for the book.
“I was running hard. I had to. I couldn’t feel my legs anymore, at this point. He didn’t stop. Fear accelerated my speed as I heard him catching up on me. I couldn’t stop. I didn’t dare glance at myself while running, but I remembered what went through me. But the most important part, I survived. I survived, fought back, and won. Well, my win felt as if it were within my grasp, of my blood-red fingers. Only few more steps, till I reached my haven. I was breathing hard. I wouldn’t have been here in the first place, but I don’t regret my decision for a bit.
I had to do it; I had to pull down the plunger. Lies are hidden to be exposed, to show how pretentious they can be. For the truth, which is unpleasing but justifiably the real fact. And undeniably, unhesitatingly, for the justice. I can do this. I can-” I was jolted awake from my suspense book, left with a cliffhanger by a librarian.
“It’s closing time, honey. Come back tomorrow or you can issue the book from the library.” “Oh no, I can come tomorrow, I was….lost in this one. Didn’t realize I’m getting late too. See you later.” I packed up my stuff and started to leave and that’s when I felt a pair of eyes at the back of my head. I turned to see who it was and to my shock, a pair of bluish-grey eyes stared back at me, emotionless, leaning on a shelf. He stared at me for minutes, and I stared back. Giving up the battle, he turned and left, with no conversation, reason, or words.
Who was he? Why was he staring? Why did I have this feeling of getting stared at, since last 4-5 weeks? I didn’t know. But after a battle of stare down I faced today, I sure was going to find out.
Pretense has its own moments, when executed in a proper, strategic way. When it’s granted a life of its own, you never know the day you’re split in two bodies: The one you wanna be and the one you wanna show.
Your workplace is the one place to start. The one place to pretend that you live a normal life, tend to be a social butterfly at the same time, busy doing work, all for not raising suspicions. For not getting any unwanted attention and to appear busy and a workaholic, dress normal and dress up your hair for not to appear as a topic of a talk between other colleagues of how unique your hair looked the other day, about its merits and demerits they felt about it and many other tactics, one has to orchestrate, just to appear normal and living and definitely to not feel self-conscious.
Well, that is my everyday plan for every other workday. Except my holidays and off days. I don’t talk about those to anyone, not that I’m an introvert and have less friends. I do have friends. Connections. It’s just, I’m not a gossipmonger and I feel, experiences are meant to be felt, not shared. Sharing experiences only gave options to choose and information and maybe, stories to be known; it never benefitted anyone, completely.
I don my imaginary mask on, after leaving the library to the grocery store. Carrots, Kale, Cheese, Pork, Orange Juice, Chicken, some chocolates, and I was at the checkout line in 20 minutes.
I was still so hungover from the major cliffhanger I was left upon. I couldn’t blame the librarian, being so time precise. She’s one of those people, who values time like diamonds. I appreciate those kind of people. Poised, balanced, accurate, precise. They’re a different culture from species of the same genus, we see everyday. Patience, I mumbled to myself. Tomorrow, I’ll get my fix.
The next day was….not so weary. Everything, same old. The best feature of my life is, when one learns to chalk up what one wants to represent to the people expertly, they like them like their best buddy and will do anything that you ask of them. Although, it’s tiresome to pretend, it’s quite refreshing and entertaining to be around people, to observe what they’re doing, to assume what they’re hiding. Like reading a book but in pictorial representation. The reason I have to pretend, is quite personal and maybe, dangerous.
I left for work at 10:05am. I was happy today, for no reason and waiting for my cliffhanger to be driven far away from the cliff. I was busy on my phone and reached halfway to my cubicle without realizing and peered around. I was surprised to see the workplace empty. I called for people, “Hello?” No answer. I heard a lock turning.
I turned around and saw the same man who stared at me yesterday at the library. He assessed me and said, “At last, we meet.” “Indeed.” He, again, kept on staring for a while and then started the conversation, “Do you know what happened to that girl?” What? “Which girl?” “The one who ran to save herself with her blood-red fingers, what happened to her?” I realized what he was asking. “How do you know, that I was reading that?” “The book cover, the bookmark.” “Oh..” “So tell me, what happens?” He started towards me, and I kept stepping back. “I don’t know, actually…” I pretended to be scared. “She dies. He gets her and kills her. She deserved it.” He shouted, really scaring me and I couldn’t help asking. “Why?” He jumped and straddled me on the floor and said to my face. “Because she deserved to. She cheated, broke her promises, and fled. And his fault? His honesty. His exposure. His darkest promises to her.” “Okay…..but why am I attacked for it?! What have I done?!” “Oh girl, don’t you remember? Us? You did the same. You inspired the book. The only transitions are me and this creation of a book.” “James…? Is that you?” “Indeed.”
I didn’t realize, when he took out his knife and placed it on my neck and uttered his last words to me. “Go to hell, and burn with the disgusting.” I heard a clean slice and felt the blood ooze out from my neck and lightheadedness towards… hell, maybe, for what I committed, in my life. I had to. I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to. I had to survive. And at last, my impulse won.