Two amazing writers grace my blog today with a guest post. Actually, no - it is a gift post for my birthday. I’ve known Hema Anavatti (who blogs as Pixie) and Jaibala Rao for a while now, and they’re two of the closest friends I’ve made (and retained) courtesy Mr. Zuckerberg’s blue-eyed social networking site. They’re both talented writers and story-weavers; and when such talent “offers” (I swear that I didn’t ASK them to) to write a collaborative short story for a prompt that happens to fall on your birthday, I’d be stupid to say no. So without further ado, here is a very interesting take by them, on one of my Project 365 Prompts.
Zian sat brooding on the bench. He didn’t know whether to mourn or celebrate. The news that his mother had committed suicide had come as a shock and even a week later he was still reeling. She had died before he could convince her to leave him the money. He knew Kay had visited her and as their lawyer had told them - all the money had been left to Kay. He knew his mother had loved Kay much more than him. His step-brother had visited every other day and had made his mother feel as comfortable as he could. Unfortunately, Zian had only managed to visit her once every week because he lived miles from the asylum.
Zian had never gotten along with Kay. Their mother had always thought it was sibling rivalry, but the fact was that Zian had been angry at having to share his mother. As a result, despite being half brothers, they had never lived or loved like brothers. And that is what made this will and the circumstances seem rather strange to Zian. He had even frantically searched for two days and nights for any kind of evidence or proof that their mother's death was a conspiracy. He was certain that their mother would not have killed herself, despite the fact that she was being treated for mental health issues in an asylum. Zian had even said so in front of the lawyer and had raised objection at the will, but was told explicitly that unless Kay agreed to share, there was no way Zian would get his hands on the money.
As a last-ditch effort, Zian had come to the sanatorium to find something that would indicate that his mother had not killed herself and that there was some kind of connection between her death and Kay inheriting the wealth. But he had no luck. Everything appeared so normal, yet seemed so wrong. Zian sat on the bench forlorn and dejected. He had lost and Kay had won, and that is how this would end. As he sat staring mindlessly into space, he did not notice an old lady sit down next to him on the bench.
“You seem sad”, she remarked.
Irritated, he was about to get up and walk away when she spoke again “Your mother died didn’t she? Do you want to know how? I could show you if you want.”
Astonished and not quite believing his ears, he asked “You could show me what?
“How your mother died, and I can help you change something; I can take you back in time. When you recognise what you want to change, you stop time and change it.” She casually replied.
“Just like that, as if it is possible,” Zian laughed and stood up, ready to walk away.
“Well, where’s the harm in trying?” she asked, “You might get the money you want”
Those words made Zian stop and take notice. He was all out of options and figured that since no one would know what was going on, there was no harm in trying.
Zian reluctantly followed the old lady to his mother’s room. The room had been cleaned but his mother’s perfume odour - a slight scent of lavender - still lingered in the room. This was the place she had spent her last days in, and her scent made her real for him. He stood, a bit out of sorts and watched as the old lady tottered around the room sprinkling stuff from a bag. As she came and stood beside him, Zain realised that the entire room was getting engulfed in smoke. As the smoke cleared Zian found himself behind the cupboard watching his mother and Kay speak.
It looked like a heart warming conversation, and he would have loved to eavesdrop, but he was too far away to hear. As the conversation ended he watched dumb founded as Kay brought forth papers from his briefcase and watched their mother sign. He took out his phone and took pictures of her signing the papers. He was contemplating stepping out to stop her from signing , but there was something more going on. Zian watched in shock as Kay helped their mother wind her dupatta around her neck. He was numb and unable to move or react to the scene unfolding in front of him, but he kept his phone steady. Zian watched and filmed as Kay helped their mother climb the chair. She seemed out of sorts, but before she could figure out what was happening, Kay had kicked the chair.
Zian stood frozen in time as he watched their mother hang, struggle and slowly die. He pocketed his phone and wondered where the old woman was. Just as the thought entered his head, he found himself back on the bench. He looked around and couldn’t find the old lady. “Just as well”, he thought. He hadn’t changed anything in the past, though he had a twinge of regret that their mother had died. Kay had hastened their mother’s death. Zian just wanted to prove her mentally ill and incapable of taking care of their finances, but Kay had actually killed her and he now had proof. He knew that the video he had shot would make great viewing with his lawyer or even Kay. He got up, suddenly feeling better and walked away whistling. He would finally get his millions
The old woman watched from the shadows. She knew that both brothers would pay. For she had changed the course of action by filming them both. The money would go to one of the various charities and sanatoriums that housed mentally ill patients.
[This post is written for the Project 365 program at We Post Daily aimed at posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided. For a moment today, time stands still — but you can tweak one thing while it’s stopped. What do you do? This was Jaibala's and Hema's take on this prompt]
Image courtesy: flickr.com/daybeezho