Friday, November 04, 2005

A Tale In The Twist

They stood with a mild distance separating them. Parallel to each other. Yin and Yang, if they would have been of the opposite sex. Yang and Yang suited better. Or “Yanger”, as the punster among the two would remind his older friend on every instance. The philistines swarmed around them holding their wine glasses, and smug demeanors. Soft classical music wafted through the speakers. The older man seemed oblivious of everything. He was two feet from the painting, eyes fixed in unwavering attention. He had been looking forward to this exhibition for months now.

“Piece of art”, he mumbled. “Of course it is”, came the retort. The older man didn’t flinch at the rudeness or the impatience of his younger companion. He was lost in the sight his eyes beheld, completely absorbed in its folds. He continued talking, not moving his eyes from the girl in front of him. It was the most melancholic face he had ever seen. “Have you seen such beauty in someone’s eyes before?”. His flair for the dramatic was well-known. His companion ignored the comment. Get on it with it, he said impatiently. He wasn’t in the mood for paintings today. Six months of planning had gone into this. There could be no mistake, no slip-up. He was hoping the others in the room would do their part. There was no let-up in the conversation though. “I would give anything to have her”. “That’s what we are here for”, came the reply. Moments passed and the time ticked to 11.57 pm. The older companion stiffed up a bit. He could sense a body closing in on him. This is it, he thought. This is the time. Everything has been timed to the ‘T’. Every detail covered, every avenue explored. This would be sweet success. His face broke into a smile.

They stood with a mild distance separating them. Parallel to each other. Backs facing in opposite direction. The younger man stared at the painting. The old man took a step forward and held the hand of the beautiful girl. Six months ago, at about the same time of the day, he had popped the question. She had said yes. She took up the job. His secretary, his trusted aide. She reached into her purse and handed him the keys he had asked for. “Thanks. Have you seen this masterpiece?”, he asked. “No, sir”, she confessed. He stepped aside to let her have a view of the painting. “It is perfect. Titled, The Mirage. It is about the surprises life throws us. See the boy in the painting below the balcony. He has come back bloodied from battle to his lady love. She was sitting in the balcony gazing in the far horizon at nothing in particular. Her dream, her deepest wish has materialized and is a few feet away from her. But she doesn’t know or care. She can look through him but not believe him to be true. He can’t believe it at first. Don’t miss the bafflement in his body language. Moments later came the realization. He was dead.” A dramatic pause later, he added, “A picture does say a thousand words, doesn’t it?”

The effect was eerie. She took a step back instinctively. The setting discomforted her. She had her doubts about her boss in the first place. There were red flags all around that she had discounted. He was in a line of descendents of counts who were mysterious outcasts, and he had inherited those traits. He would disappear by late afternoon and would appear tired and groggy the next morning. But the pay was good and she needed the job, so she ignored the signs. Today however was unusual. He had called her to his private art gallery in the night to give him keys to his office. He said he had lost them. It seemed like a big mistake now. And then, the person next to her boss turned. The last thing she remembered were bloodshot eyes and a pair of fangs and the rest of the people in the room gathering around her. And then, sweet haunting pain.


P.S> The toughest part of creative writing is the creativity. To be precise, how many ways can you avoid retelling a tale? I started off writing this piece and had about 15 different plots in mind, all of which were clich├ęd. So I kept writing it till each turn would be unexpected. You could start to think of the story being one of two men at odds, or art thieves, or love, or a lot of other things. Those did cross my mind. One plot was to have the two as father and son and the woman in question being the mother who thinks the son is dead and gets a surprise. You see the point. There are a million twists in the tale. The tough part is to write a tale for each twist that is worth reading. The end goal was to have something unexpected at each turn. Let me know if you enjoyed it.

14 comments:

TTG said...

enjoyed it very much

RTD2 said...

Bloody brilliant, if you pardon the pun! Very well written...you should send this to a horror stories anthology or something.

sd said...

The final twist was very unexpected. Enjoyed it very much.

Niranjan said...

Very well written! Wonder how the story would be told, with an older and younger woman, and a male secretary.

the Monk said...

nice one,man...

aparna said...

yes, unlike the cup of coffee, this was unexpected :-)

aparna said...

and of course enjoyed it as well!

Sarita said...

wonderfully creative !!! I hope you are considering writing as a serious hobby ...you are really good with words and ideas

Parth said...

Thanks for your feedback folks. I am glad the story was liked.

Sanity Starved said...

:-) Surprises alright!

Personally, I would have liked names for the younger and older companions. The younger and older phrases kept throwing me off each time.

I would have liked more paragraphs. There were a lot of twists within the paragraph itself. Part of it has just got to do with the web thing. Short paragraphs are more readable.

You could have really set me up with a juicier first paragraph :-)

Prerona said...

its a little long so i'll come back and give a opinion after i finish it. u might still live to regret asking, though :)

koikahi said...

Awesome. Loved it. BTW, I started my first real blog today. Check it out.

Rahul

Meenal Mehta said...

kahani mein twist ..i always enjoy the,..good job

Geetanjali said...

Freaking awesme - didnt expect that ending at all!