Solving a Who-Dun-It… Or Trying To

via Daily Prompt: Grasp

I just finished reading an old Agatha Christie who-dun-it.

I spent the last few hours, after all the characters were clearly delineated of course, pointing my imaginary finger at almost each one going, “Yep! You’re the murderer. I’m so freaking sure of it!” Well, that’s until the next character made a seemingly suspicious move like twitching his eyebrow in a dubious manner or something equally innocuous. Then, of course, he was the one I held responsible.

Finally, when the real culprit was revealed, my reaction was an obvious, “Well, of course, I knew it’d be him. I’d already said so, hadn’t I?” (Well, who would have the temerity to gainsay me within the depths of my head?)

As a writer, I’m quite accustomed to looking at a person and providing him/her with a make-believe family, a rich history, a sorrowful tale or a fascinating superpower. The ability to imagine is a prerequisite for any writer. However, that can be quite the handicap when one is trying to solve another writer’s murder mystery.

I was so busy providing  each character with a backstory and a reason for him/her to commit the murder, that I missed the opportunity to grasp the writer’s point of view. This was her world – a world and its inhabitants that she moulded amidst the chaos of hundreds of other ideas clamoring for attention. My preconceived notions and I were hindering her characters from doing what they were created to do – captivate and entertain. It didn’t take me long to see that I did that in real life too – letting my imagination run amok about people and incidents instead of grasping the Creator’s point of view about His people and His schemes.

Sigh! You live and learn, I guess! Anyway, I’ll be starting a new who-dun-it soon. I wonder if all this soul searching will help me enjoy my next book all the more or hinder my reading process.

Soul Search

(Never claimed to be an ace illustrator!)

Stay tuned for updates!


Mr Confusion and I

I’m the sort that likes to know what the plan is – in advance – in advance of advance, if possible.

These are some conversations (from my end) that would not be amiss in my home:

  • “We’re going on a trip? Cool! Let’s get the itinerary prepared. Uh… what do you mean you didn’t pick a location yet?”
  • “I’m NOT mumbling. I’m working out loudly in my head what to put together for supper. Well, obviously not tonight’s. I planned that last night. I’m planning for tomorrow’s right now.”

Yep, I belong to the prepare-in-advance-for-all-events group of people.

So when, as is quite common in life, things don’t go as planned and Confusion rides in on his black charger, let’s just say, I am not very pleased. Would you be when you know that he loves to throw things into absolute disarray? These are some silent conversations from his end that would not be amiss in my life.

  • “2 days for the deadline for your editing project? Well, that’s not good. If I hadn’t arrived now, I may have missed the deadline… okay, so what about getting your computer to suffer a momentary state of hibernation – just enough for you to miss the deadline?”
  • “Ready to get to the airport on time, are you? Tehehehe! How about trying to locate your ticket first.”

So, yeah, Confusion and I, not the best of friends. But you have to agree, he sure makes life interesting. Come on, think about it! How would we exercise our problem solving skills if he didn’t mess things up first? How would we know if we could handle stress, if he didn’t come along and induce it with some underhanded trick?

Talk about looking for the silver lining behind the dark cloud! Phew! It’s exhausting!

(Daily Prompt: Confused)

The Legendary Monsters

It was the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last.

Mum knew it but, fortunately, he didn’t. He just held on tight because Mum had told him to. His little eyes were wide open although he really couldn’t focus on much with Mum moving so fast.

With eyes radiating innocence and clumps of  red hair standing on end, the little tyke was the most adorable thing ever. He was the youngest in his family and his mother and aunts doted on him. He was still considered young but he knew he would soon be permitted to play with his cousins. They were always calling out to each other and playing games.

Except now the calls didn’t sound so encouraging. In fact, these cries were drastically different and they scared him. And it wasn’t just his family causing the racket. Birds were screeching loudly as well and taking to the sky en masse. Those loud bangs were scary too. He didn’t like seeing his oldest aunt fall face down after that first bang.

Was she playing a game? If she was, he didn’t like this one.

But Mum knew this wasn’t a game. She’d grown up listening to stories of them – those legendary two-legged monsters and their hurt-inducing black instruments. She’d never seen them herself but many of her sisters had warned her about them. She’d heard that the instruments were loud, and emitted something sharp and fast that could pierce the body. She’d been warned that those monsters especially liked to attack new mothers and steal their babies.

Mum’s mind was abuzz with these thoughts and warnings but she didn’t let it slow her down. Her son’s life and her own depended on her successful escape.

This orangutan mother was not going to let humans and their guns win the battle – not this time!


*Note: Orangutans are considered critically endangered because of deforestation and many other similar human errors – one of them being the murder of mother orangutans so their infants can be sold as pets.

(Discover Challenge: Opening Line)

Drawn to the Flame

She was on her way home when she first caught a glimpse of him.

He was the most beautiful little thing she had ever seen. In a world where everything seemed dulled by the ordinary, where all around her was a world colored in grays and blacks, this little being shone as a beacon of the extraordinary.

She came closer, just to watch the little one better. If she could express her emotion in words at right that moment, she’d have said it was awe she felt. This overwhelming emotion of absolute wonder mixed in with a little fear could be nothing else but that.

He was a such a jolly little being. He shone with an inner glow she had never seen in anyone before. He was smiling and merrily dancing away to an inner rhythm only he could hear. Could she hear the rhythm too if she moved just a bit closer? The little one hadn’t noticed her yet. So, she stealthily moved just a little closer.

She still couldn’t hear his song but she could see him better. In fact, she was close enough now to feel the warmth of his smile. If she moved closer would a little of his glow rub off on her? Would she become extraordinary like him if she just touched him for a second? It couldn’t hurt the little fella, she convinced herself. So she inched closer again and reached forward to gently touch his yellow head.

“Wow! That’s one huge moth but it’s a little too close to that candle’s flame. Shoo! Go away! Don’t you know any better?”

(One-word prompt: Candle)

My Imaginary Friend

I have a friend who I always adore – well, almost always. She and I – we have a special connection. She is as much a part of me as my limbs or my frizzy hair are – she’s just not that obvious to you.

She is my Imagination. She came into the world all wide-eyed and curious when I arrived, and kept educating herself all these years. But what fascinates me the most about her is this weird ability of hers to be in two places at the same time. She is never far from me but she is also always travelling. She taps into the memories of all that I have ever read or seen or gathered, and she goes visiting the people or places there. When she gets bored of all that, she makes up imaginary worlds and visits those as well. So cool!

Each of us are born with our own strengths. The older we grow, the more our strengths grow with us. They watch us figuring life out and internalize those life lessons themselves to share with us when next we are in need of it. And then at some point during the course of our lives, and if we are lucky it’ll be early on, they turn into assets. They stop being silent spectators gathering information and turn into our strongest allies. They want to see us break out of mediocrity and into the realm of the successful.

Imagination is one my strengths. She watches over me as I sit in front of a blank screen and whispers encouragingly to get me to move my lazy fingers. She knows when I am at a standstill (I think I make it a little too obvious when I start banging my head in frustration on the study desk.) and pulls out some hidden gem from her repertoire of experiences and flings it into sight. I grasp it gratefully and run with it.

Of course, she also has a nasty sense of humor that I do not appreciate. Come on, highlighting strange noises and creepy shadows in the dark immediately after convincing me to watch a horror flick is just not funny. We really should have a conversation about that – she and I.

What do you consider your strength, Reader? Ever felt grateful for its presence? 🙂

(Word prompt: Connected)

The Lock of Hair – A Last Reminder

It’s barely 7 a.m and she’s already awake.

If you saw her right now, you’d see only that smile of hers, the one that could rival the sunshine outside her window. You wouldn’t know she had a difficult night. She doesn’t care about that. Her gaunt body clad in once-fitting pajamas and her little bald head will barely be noticed in the face of that gorgeous grin – all because it is her 10th birthday. She made it to the double digit!

She knows today’s her day – and not because of the dreaded illness. She’s glad the doctors let her come home. She didn’t like it at the hospital. She likes her room and all the toys she collected and filled her room with through the years. She would have liked to have friends over but her mom told her infection could be a problem – so no friends. But there will be lots of phone calls today – all happy ones to wish her and not sad ones checking up on her condition. She likes happy calls! Then her dad is going to sing her a special song, one he made up just for her. Her mom is baking a huge cake and her little brother is going to be less of a pest today – he promised.

Oh and there’s the gifts. She hasn’t a clue what to expect. No one has breathed a word about her gifts to her yet, not even her brother, and she’s always been able to talk him into spilling. She spends a couple of minutes wondering if she’s losing her touch but then convinces herself it’s because he’s not permitted to spend a lot of time with her. He could pass on some germs to her too.

Her little body is already tired but she’s promised herself she’d do all she could to eke out as much fun out of the day as she can. There’s so much happening today. Why can’t mom just come in with her breakfast and start the day officially already?

Down the hall is another room. Behind the shut door, Mom and Dad sit huddled together on the bed. Dad holds in his hand a lock of their daughter’s hair – vividly black and intensely smooth. It was one of the first locks to fall after the chemo. They know now that this lock, some videos and some cartons of photographs are all they’ll have of her when her birthday comes around next year.

No words are spoken there but the room is loud with the interplay of emotions. But those emotions will remain locked in that room when Mom and Dad step out with painted smiles on drawn faces to celebrate their daughter’s special day.


*Dedicated to the courageous spirit of all those who fight the battle with cancer – either as a cancer warrior or the family member. Also in memory of our little niece who fought bravely till she was called to be with the Lord a couple of weeks ago.


Through Eyes of Red

I love my life. What’s not to love?

I enjoy travelling and I get to go everywhere. There is no palace, no suburb, no country, no continent, I have not visited. You think you’ve been to places? Hah! If I were a photographer and kept notes of every place I’ve been, you’d see I was the pro.

I love to meet people – babies, teens, adults and the elderly, I enjoy them all. Most people I meet are quick to embrace me. Often, I arrive at a place because I’ve been invited. So, rarely am I ever turned away.

I have a job that I absolutely adore. Sure, it may seem weird to some, but I’m okay with that. I am confident in myself. I like the way I look and am always en vogue – the swirling mists of red that wrap me in a warm cocoon no matter the weather comforts me wherever I go. But I wish you could see the real me. Unfortunately, often when I visit one of you, you are so distracted with yourselves and your imagined grievances, that you don’t actually see me.

You do, however, know me by name. I am Anger.

It’s strange when I see you sometimes enjoying falling under my spell, even when I am not actually casting one. I really only want to do my job well – prevent you from bottling up your emotions. I only want you to stop wearing a mask of diplomacy while your insides are twirling in hate. I want you to step up and talk it out, to solve what’s causing you to feel the anger. But you all get so involved and distracted by my presence that you forget there is a healthy balance. You aren’t supposed to drink me in like the choicest wine and imbibe in violent outbursts. You give me a bad name!

I am just trying to do my job – to see you talk a problem through with your fellow human, to escort you through the maze of emotions you feel when faced with betrayal and other negative emotions. But let me reiterate, I am NOT one of them. I am here for your good, but learn to respect my presence.

Learn, humans, that everything in life should be in moderation. So accept me when I visit you but also learn to know when to stop using me as an excuse – your actions are your responsibility, not my fault.

(One-word prompt – Angry)

The Mysterious Rumblers

Silence reigned supreme.

I tried to think, to use my logic to figure out where I was and what I was doing there but the silence was so deafening and distracting that I couldn’t keep my thoughts organized. Even my own breath sounded muted and soft, as though I were listening to it from across a great distance.

I tried to distract myself from the dearth of sound by focusing on my sense of sight. However, that seemed to be an error in judgement as well. All the land from my feet to the farthest horizon was dry and arid. The evening sun threw into prominence the desert surrounding me. A dry wind blew gently and silently by, wrapping me in clouds of dust and sand.

Now all of this was extremely weird but what startled me the most was that, I wasn’t afraid. I was all alone in a deserted land with nothing in sight, or sound, and yet, I was not scared. I felt curiosity but no fear whatsoever.

And that’s when the rumbling started. Quick check! Nope! Not my stomach.

The rumbling seemed to come from afar, like a thousand bees journeying together. I fervently wished they weren’t bees. Soon the rumbling grew in decibel and momentum. It seemed to be coming all at once from all directions.

Should I find a safe place to hide? Should I try to make a run for it? But I knew there was no time. I didn’t really know where to go either. And then escape was no longer the predominant thought in my head. I could now see the first of the rumblers.

They were still quite a distance away but flying closer by the second. They looked like bees for a few seconds – black and flying and not exactly buzzing but making a noise, nevertheless. They were quickly closing in from all directions. And then, I got my first real look at the rumblers.

Words… that’s what they were! Countless words flying across the distance, alive and coherent – and still, not in the least frightening.

Surprise kept me rooted to the spot until the Words had surrounded me. They treated me like the eye of the storm – I remained untouched and unharmed while they zipped around me, rumbling their discontent. They sounded like unhappy children complaining about some mishap that had happened to them. I felt almost maternal – wanting to ease their worries but I hadn’t a clue what they were complaining about. That is, till they took matters into their own hands.

The first of the Words flew up. I didn’t know what to expect and threw my hands up to shield my face. The Word flew right into my outstretched hands and disappeared. Pfft!

And I understood! These were my Words – the ones I should have penned but never did for lack of time and numerous other reasons. But now they were making their unhappiness felt. They wanted to be in the real world – not in the depths of my creative mind drying up from lack of use. They wanted to be born into the world of books. They wanted out!

So, I let them out.

I woke up, grabbed my pen and paper, started to write and watched as more and more of my Words came to life on the sheet. They slowly disappeared from the temporary home of my mind and into the permanent home of the pages of a book.

Countless words in countless books they now reside – happy and content.

(Word prompt: Countless)

Dream a Little Dream of ‘Eden’

I remember.

I remember waking to the first rays of the sun gently caressing the undulating leaves of the tall tree outside my window.

I remember looking around me with a smile and knowing it would accompany me all day. It just felt like one of those days.

I remember looking across the room at the new painting I had ensconced on the wall the previous night.

I remember walking up to it and sighing at the wonder of it. That painting was, to me, the best example of utopia.

Each brushstroke told a story. The colors and movements were so vivid and life-like, I could almost feel the breath of wind rushing from the trees and running into me. I was sure if I listened hard enough, I would hear the water gurgling its merry way down the hill. But the painting was more than just what the eye could see. I loved it for the promise it offered of the perfect world.

It spoke of a land where humans were innocent and free of evil designs. It conveyed the hope of a home we could yet achieve where chaos and terror didn’t reign supreme. It revealed a world where animals roamed free and weren’t hunted to extinction.  It created a dreamscape where the horizon was a stunning union of the earth and sky, and not one of smog-filled skies. It embodied the best of man and nature, and the anonymous artist had rightly named it ‘Eden’.

I remember lifting my hand up to feel the picture, and wishing I had the power to transport myself into it.

I remember feeling the rough patches of paint on the soft pads of my fingers.

I remember looking at the frame housing the painting and wondering how the wood came to bear so many scars. Did the frame have to win battles to protect this hidden Eden – this last reminder of what once was and could be if we, humans, just found our way again?

I remember feeling the prick of a sliver of wood from the frame…

And waking up!

I remember sitting up in my bed and looking eagerly out the window for that first ray of sun. All I saw was the struggling joy of a morning sky already dampened by the smoke of exhaust pipes.

I remember looking across the room to the wall holding up my painting. All I saw was an empty wall looking blankly back at me.

I remember my dream.

I write it down for you today. The painting may not have lived to see reality but the hope of it will exist as long as this word picture remains to speak of it. So, people, spread the word. Tell the world of what can be.

Remind them so that, even if not in our generation, the next one can see this dream of the perfect world come to fruition.

Remind them that long ago and far away a dreamer had a dream, and she dreamed of Eden.

(Word-prompt: Dream)