Wages Of Brevity
by Sandeep Shete
Once upon a time—
No. That won’t do. A waste of words, right?
The day greys over but your fading mind demands one final provocation – quick. Deep within its nether reaches something dark comes to life. It’s me, yes. Throbbing vaguely at first I acquire within moments a more agreeable contour. I crouch, flap my nascent extremities and before you realise it, I’m out there, a flying outline of your imagination. Flat. Basic. Sharply carved by your surgical eye.
Do you spy wings unfurling? A tail perhaps? A beak? Aha! What more could delight you? From the distance I can smell the sweat of your exertions; sense the heat of your triumph. Blues and greens sail past below me but I have no time for them. I must soar and glide and plunge and bank putting fighter jets to shame in a blink to amuse you.
How long before you get greedy?
Now you have me exactly where you want, frozen against a web of thorns: the end is near. As I see you reach for the denouement I shut my eyes and execute one last epiphanic swoop – your favourite thing. The air ripples around me as if I were flying in water; a hot knife slices me into two, four, more... I know where I’m supposed to fall.
And there, at your feet that haven’t even moved, you find me. In two hundred and fifty pieces of flesh and blood and no longer just a silhouette of a story.
(Sandeep Shete lives with his family in Pune (India) where he works as a management professional. He indulges his yen for creative writing in his free time. His short stories, plays and essays have won awards in several writing competitions in recent years and some of his work has found its way into anthologies too.)