Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Entry #211

Eight Seconds
by Prashant Dhanke

“Not much of a hobby mate.” Johnny whispered loudly through the bushes.

“Ummm?” said Pete distantly. His eyes fixed on the sky, as always.

“Bird watching. Not for our kind.” Johnny stepped back; now better hidden.

“Look, how she glides! Such grace! She would back-flip one day. I know.” Pete didn’t budge as the predator approached him. “It’s a kite.”

“And you are a rat; a fat one at that.” Johnny found his humor as the claws flew past Pete, leaving him untouched, unfazed.

Pete was indeed fat. He never had to run.
No one knew how old he was. They said he lost his death with his tail.

At times he would be on the farm road and trucks would pass over him, depriving him of the sky above for a moment or two.
The limping cat didn’t bother him anymore. Once, she stepped on burning wood while chasing him.
Some rats got their tails castrated. The kite tore them apart nonetheless. But not him.

* * *

A day dawned. The kite picked him up and soared high. Pete looked down at the world below. No feelings. No thoughts. No glory.

Eight seconds later the kite dropped him. Too heavy for the claws, probably.

And then:
A truck turned menacingly.
A hungry cat limped ahead.
A kite did a back-flip.
A rat closed his eyes forever.
But the eyes closed before the kite flipped back.

The tombstone read:




Laurel said...

Clever, clever, clever! I love this one! Witty, a bit poignant at the end. An epicurean life well lived.


Kurt Hendricks said...

I hope that when it is my time, my life will have been one worthy of such an epitaph.

Sarah Laurenson said...


Bernita said...

Nicely surreal.

BrownPhantom said...

Thank you all :)

Mukta said...

Funny! Sensed a hint of melancholic pride in Pete's little beady eye!

Deb Smythe said...

Ha! Nicely turned at the end.

anu said...

nice one dude..

laughingwolf said...

good stuff... but how does one castrate a tail?

Aniket said...

I like it it, a lot.

"whispered loudly" was the only thing that didn't sit well with me and made me stop while reading.

I loved the piece to core with everything else. We have been reading tons of stories about freedom. To me, this rat seems to be the one to truly be a free spirit.

Great story!

Aerin said...


Something I Would Keep

The pace is playful, Aesop-ian.

Something I Might Tweak

I would either use dialogue throughout, or not use dialogue in the beginning. To only have a little felt a little unbalanced, to me.

Preeti said...

Hmmnn... i liked this.

it was a new perspective and a unique take on the prompt.

James R. Tomlinson said...

Now why do I have visions of "The Kite Runner" going through my noggin'? Interesting way to construct a story. Nicely told.

JaneyV said...

Lovely gentle humour. Pete is a rat with poet's soul.

Craig said...

I enjoyed that.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Took me a moment to get it, but well done!

pjd said...

I find it sad that he didn't get to see the kite flip back, but maybe knowing it would happen was enough for him. Love that he's a rat that's also a bird watcher.

Terri said...

This is possibly the coolest story I've read so far in this contest :)

catvibe said...

Loved the rat under the car and the cat who was negatively entrained by the hot fire! This was original and refreshing and whimsical.

Kartik said...

Very cool!

pravanjan said...

Very Nice :-)