A short story for the Genre Times Four.
|The tangerine sun rose painting the sky with brilliant hues of orange and yellow ocher. A gentle breeze wafted through the trees whistling a merry song. Shaded by the cones of pine, fir ,and clover; lay a cottage built of mahogany. A small girl was sleeping peacefully and dreaming of places, unknown and strange.
Martha was a beautiful girl with golden hair, rosy cheeks, snow-white skin, and turquoise-blue eyes that will sparkle and shimmer even in darkness. Her cherubic smile brought forward an amiable ambience. People, old and young, used to forget their sorrow by her mesmerizing charm.
The flow of her sweet fancies was interrupted when her dad yelled at her for getting up. Initially ,
she did not respond; she was in a trance. The repeated bellows of her father terminated her deep slumber, and she woke up with blinking eyes.
"I want to sleep more", she demanded petulantly.
"No you can't. You'll have to go to school today. You have been absent for the past two days. I won't allow this anymore. Mom will be very angry if she hears about this."
" Okay I'll go, I promise," Martha said, rubbing her eyes.
Quite unwillingly she ate the breakfast of milk and banana cornflakes prepared by her father. She packed all her books and copies into her black school bag. She slung her bag over her shoulder and headed toward her class.
Ms.Wiliams was teaching arithmetic in a class of about fifty. Martha entered surreptitiously, she was already late.
"You're late by 15 minutes today, Martha. You were absent for the past two days. I think it is time to inform your parents,"rebuked her class teacher.
Martha stared at her with a blank expression. School and studies did not interest her much. Often she used to become absent-minded during classes and commit careless mistakes resulting in poor grades. The dreams, they kind of obsessed her. She used to think of them as real and her perception about them was crystal-clear.
A painting hung above the bedstead where Martha slept. It was a picture of a boat afloat in a deep, blue ocean with the candy sun, peering above. One day, after coming home and completing her homework, Martha , having nothing to do, began to stare at the framed hanging. She was alone in the home and the weather was dry. Not a single leaf rustled, nor a cool wind passed. She was watching the picture with minute attention . Then suddenly she saw something move. Martha got perturbed. " Must be some dull, old illusion', she muttered. Again the picture moved and this time more violently. Then the glass of the picture broke at the center and out of the bore spilled pails of water drowning the whole house.
Drifted by the ocean currents Martha, unconscious by now, entered into a kingdom of blue sea. The empire under the cerulean water was titled 'Marsha'.
A pot-bellied, fat boy approached her.
"Hello, Riza," he smiled. Taken aback she stuttered,
" But my name is Martha."
" Have you forgotten your friend Dumbledee, Riza? How could you? How I used to help you in your homework and secure high grades! How could you be so selfish Riza? I did not expect this from you, Riza!" With this Dumbledee heaved a sigh and left.
A birdie came before her fluttering its wings. Its bright plumage dazzled her.
"Hi Riza," the birdie chirped. Martha had never seen a talking bird before.
" Who are you ?" , she gasped with wonder.
" Oh Riza! Have you forgotten me?"
" I fail to recognize you, " she replied bluntly.
" How could you do this to Chicory, Riza? Don't you remember, how I used to entertain you in your loneliness? Can't you recall my dulcet tunes that made you to leap, skip and dance? Don't you cherish those sweet memories Riza?" Leaving Martha bewildered, the bird disappeared.
After a while, bouncing, came a colored book with big, black letters and smooth, white pages. It was a book of infinite thickness. She could barely hold it. Martha observed with amazement, that it contained all the subjects in her school curriculum in an integrated manner and it was a much easier version. With open hands, Martha lifted the book and suddenly the pages flipped away, one by one, and vanished into thin air. The perplexed Martha kept on pondering, " What the heck is happening?"
The morning sun rose and shaded the sky with dyes of rosy-pink. Sun rays filtered through the window of Martha's room. Martha jumped from her bed and scurried downstairs to greet her dad ' Morning'.
"Morning, Martha! ", her dad replied, surprise in his voice. It is only 6 a.m. How come you got up so early Martha?"
" I will go to school daily from today onward and complete my assignments in time. I have aroused from my reverie, Dad."