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Volume 8

Forbidden - July 2011


Mavra Rana

Written by
Mavra Rana

Mavra began writing not too long ago during her Bachelor of Liberal Arts. She is currently half way through her postgraduate degree in English Literature. Her love for reading precedes all academic pursuits, and she tries to remain immersed in the creative and critical as much as her vertiginous head allows. She hopes this will eventually help her become a better and more prolific writer.


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House of Cards


The sun is about to walk out. It will be dark soon.

em sits in the balcony, which is not high enough to see over the grey wall. zee is inside, constructing a house out of a faded deck of cards.

Balance. Tamed friction.

He is stacking the second layer now.

Patience. Precision.

em’s rocking chair is making the only sound.

The sun has walked out.

Its remaining blush recedes to the edge of horizon, clinging to the grey wall while it waits to be dissipated.

em (Without taking his eyes off the infinite grey): Did you see it? They were out on the street yesterday, agitating.

The air is still; his voice crawls inside.

zee (Without taking his eyes off the incomplete tower of cards): No, you forget. That was the time when we had countries and not a single united world.

em: I heard something. It sounded like a protest.

zee: Did you see it or did you hear it?

em: It sounded like they were fighting for a cause.

zee: It might be the leisure time allotted to this sector. You must have heard the children out in the street.

em: They didn’t look like children.

zee: Did you hear them or see them?

em: They were fighting for something, maybe freedom?

zee: No, you forget, that was in the time of the man who thought he was King.

em: He was the King?

zee: No, he thought he was.

em: Was there no freedom then?

zee: There was room for more.

em: And now?

zee: Now there is nothing to be free of.

A slight movement. The unfinished tower of cards falls. A house of paper diminishes. Sirens wail. It is time for dinner. Next time they call out in a drowning gloom, it will signal the beginning of the night hour. They have one hour to eat but they keep sitting where they are, with their backs towards each other.

em: What happened to the King?

zee: The man who thought he was King?

em: Yes, him.

zee: The revolutionary killed him.

em: So he fought for freedom and succeeded?

zee: Not exactly.

em: What exactly?

zee: The revolutionary never thought he was a revolutionary, but the people thought he was. He was fighting because that is all he knew how to do, and the people thought he was fighting for freedom.

em: Is that when we became a single world?

zee: Not exactly.

em: What exactly?

zee: The revolution came. There was freedom. The people bowed to the man who they thought was the revolutionary but in truth he wasn’t. By the time they realized their mistake he was already King. The world divided many times. Reduced one time. Dissolved the other. Hope ebbing away at its corner, in silence it spun around. Then for the fear of diminishing completely the world had to unite.

em: Does he still rule the one world?

zee: He did till the militant waged a war on behalf of the people.

em: Did the people ask him to wage a war?

zee: The people asked for justice.

em: Was he the only one who listened?

zee: He was the only one with enough power.

em pauses, trying to hold on to all his thoughts.

The stars burn for sometime.

Hide under the sky sublime.

Only to be glimpsed in some moments during the assigned evening time.

The sound of the rocking chair has infused into the evening; the unrelenting grey refuses to dissolve into the approaching night. The cards lie resigned.

There are moments. Of silence.

em: Is he the one? Did he do away with the geographical boundaries for good?

zee: Nobody knows. That was the point when they decided to stop keeping history.

zee speaks in a monotone, as he walks out onto the balcony into the discernible stillness of the night.

em: What became of justice?

zee: For a while it sat and watched over everyone. Now it’s a fading metaphor of the time we were once in.

They both grow quiet, each trying to remember the last time they had encountered justice carved in stone with an unwavering gaze. Soon, even they might be obsolete. They look out towards the ceaseless grey now doused by the seamless night. There is a light flickering from across the wall. They both wonder about its source. The sirens cry out again, finality in tone. Now there is no time for dinner. They will have to retire to their bedrooms soon, as the progression of the night hour makes everything recede further. Withdrawal till morning has been announced. They linger there for sometime.

em: Did you see? It rained that day.

zee: Did you see it or hear it?

em: I smelled it.

zee: No, you forget. That was another time as well.



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