Stories

Short stories which I have written.

The Exit

Jarred Fameux was seated at his mahogany desk. Every novel and every play he had conceived was written at this desk, by his own two hands as well. He never opted for the digital route to start off his works. Every draft he had created was first hand-written, then, only once he was contented with the draft, was it typed.

He started nibbling on the tip of his plastic pen. It was an indication of arcane, contemplative thought. He had just completed writing the first chapter of his autobiography. In doing so, he realised how arduous it actually is to accurately capture the events of one’s life. He had dedicated his entire life to writing novels and plays. He had lived his dream; he had done what he had felt was his destiny.

He stopped chewing on the pen as his mind began to search the histories of his life. He thought back to his grade eight classroom. That is when it all began. That is when he wrote his first essay. The feeling that creating a story gave him was something he had never felt before. It manifested itself from deep within and it inflamed the candle of passion inside of him.

He shifted on his chair and smiled reminiscently. He placed his pen neatly on the desk, stood up and went to his study window. As he opened it a cool breeze found its way inside. He sat back down, picked up his pen and began tapping it against the blank page. The page reminded him of his life before writing – bare.

By the time he had left university he had four plays and two novels published. His works were applauded for capturing such true emotional states. The grief, pain and bereavement he had experienced in life were not lost. He used them in his writing to create more unadulterated narratives.

A tinge of guilt washed over him. He realised he had received numerous standing ovations for the play about his father’s death. This was one such example of many. Maybe writing was his way of dealing with the grief, but one day he would have to face the reality he had twisted into fiction. The day had come.

He suddenly stopped tapping the pen. His head dropped slowly. He watched a microcosmic teardrop make contact with the blank page. The paper absorbed it quite willingly. It was absurd. His only companions were the dusty books lining his bookshelves and conceited newspaper reviews of his works written by pretentious critics.

This was his epiphany: he had always risked something greater while writing and perchance this is what made him so passionate and unique. While he was busy creating credible characters, he had turned himself into a character. The man he was writing about was not himself – it was a character. His characters had lived to their fullest; he had not. He had lived his dreams through his characters, like parents live their broken dreams through their children. He was now an aged man.

He picked up the pen hastily. He wrote down his favourite line by his favourite playwright. He closed the soft-cover book gently. He stood up lugubriously. He walked out of his study and down the corridor. Thirteen minutes later there was a slight breeze which blew the book open. The ink was still fresh. In black, bold ink were the words:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.

He would have chuckled to himself had he seen the wind had blown the book open on that page. He would have, but at that precise moment a thud of a chair hitting the ground reverberated through the hollow corridors of the house. Another breeze, slightly stronger this time, crept through the house. Its momentum was broken by the body hanging lifelessly in the kitchen above an overturned chair.

This was his exit. Not with a bang, but with a lifeless thud of a chair.

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Flashback

I stand in front of the big, ebony door. It’s cold and it’s raining. My full-length trench coat barely contains my body’s heat. I am enveloped by fear. I knock on the door thrice. I am transported back to the orphanage.
It was a bitterly cold and rainy day in 1986. I was six years old. I’d just been dropped off at the third orphanage in my lifetime. I was guided to my new room through the narrow corridor of the derelict house by the matron. My decaying suitcase I carried contained every possession I owned. That was when I first met him. He introduced himself as Thando – he was a black boy about my age, my roommate. He had a short afro. His clothes were noticeably old and he’d outgrown them. That didn’t seem to stifle his spirit.
The big, ebony door opens swiftly. A man stands on the threshold. His hair is completely white. He is wearing a black butler’s coat.
“How may I help you?” He has a slight British accent.
“My name is Warrick Tomilson. I’m here to see Mr Dunst. Is he available?”
“Mr Dunst does not see anyone unless they have made an appointment.”
“Please. I’ve been looking for Mr Dunst for some time now. I just need to have one minute with him. It is important.” My voice is shaky and I sound desperate.
“Well,” he says hesitantly, “come inside and I shall see what I can do. This way please.” He leads me into the vast entrance hall. “Mr Tomilson,” he says gesturing towards a black sofa, “if you would please take a seat and wait here.”
I sit down in the sofa and admire the wooden chessboard on the table beside me.

The year was 1992. I was playing chess with Thando in our room. He and I were best friends by then. Our bond was indescribable. Thando and I both hated being orphans – the idea that someone gave us up was unbearable. Neither of us knew our biological parents. I knocked over Thando’s king. “Checkmate.” He gave me his trademark smile.

Just as the memory of knocking the king over fades, the butler walks back into the room.
“Mr Dunst will see you shortly, Mr Tomilson.”

“Warrick Tomilson,” I said, laughing at the small booklet in my hand with an awful photograph of my face. It was 1996. Thando and I were sixteen and we had just received our first ID’s. The orphanage we had been staying at for the past few years was closing down. We had one month left. Thando and I got onto the topic of our biological parents as we were walking back from the Home Affairs office.
“I want to find them,” I said in a determined voice near the end of our conversation.
“Warrick, my friend… if you have determination you can do anything.” He smiled, exposing his mouth of white pearls.

Thando’s words echo in my head as I hear the looming footsteps walk towards where I’m seated. A man dressed in a black suit with a grey shirt and a black tie walks hurriedly into the room. We make eye contact. He has tears in his eyes. I know this is the moment of fear all orphans experience in this situation. The fear of being rejected – again. He steps closer to me. I stand up. He manages to let out two words which I’d longed for all my life, “My son.” After a moment of hesitation we embrace. I feel his warmth. I rest my head on his shoulder and close my eyes. I know I have just found my real father.