Author Topic: 1075 Words-Flash Fiction  (Read 2253 times)

Offline Tashnim Rashid Tawsif

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1075 Words-Flash Fiction
« on: March 12, 2019, 09:15:08 AM »
I'm quite an inexperienced writer. So I would love to hear feedback from you all so that it can help me improve my writing skills.   

(x + y)2 =?

The clouds appear ineffably mysterious when they reshape themselves. They form assorted impressions in your mind—sometimes of birds, sometimes cars, sometimes human-faces and suchlike.

I’m feasting my eyes on these beauteous clouds right now. It seems the eastern clouds are separating themselves from the rest of their family, forming a pattern of their own. The pattern is bizarre, but at the same time quite familiar to me. It says nothing but this: (x + y)2=?

I take my eyes off the sky—knowing that the equation will disappear when I take another look—and turn my head downwards on the tiled floor.

There I make out the uneaten slice of pizza—the one my sister was too lazy to dispose of when dropped from her hand last night. By now, numberless ants have gathered there, trying to make a feast out of it. The pattern in which the ants are wriggling suggests, at least to my eyes, the same question: (x + y)2=?

I shut my eyes, trying to soothe my knocking heart and pick myself up.

The last 48 hours have been the worst period of my life. I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t feel anything but a burning ache in my heart, and everywhere, I saw the same question: (x + y)2 =?

It all began two days ago with the ‘Family Show’—sort of a homely function that my cousins and I arranged on the day of Eid (A Muslim festival) in our grandparents’ cottage. We’ve been doing it for a couple of years, only to add some spice to the celebration of Eids. Each of our shows was immensely colorful, for we all had our unique talents to display.   

All my cousins were deeply enthusiastic about the show. But Parihan, the only daughter of my eldest uncle, was simply unparalleled in this regard. She possessed a melodious singing voice, had quick hands and legs which could set off a storm while dancing and was a brilliant reciter of the modern abstract poems. She used to start preparing herself for the show months before the Eids, and the moment I’d set foot in the village, she’d rush to me and say, “Tawsif, I’ve got a new plan! Come and see.”

What she’d display afterwards—a song, a dance or a poem—would never cease to enthrall me to the bone.

But no matter how hard she’d try and how well she’d perform, to her mother’s eyes, she could never cut the mustard. Her mother would always find stupid and silly mistakes—the ones I could call anything but ‘Mistakes’—in everything she performed and scolded her at all times, claiming she should’ve done better.

Parihan had presented a classical dance on this year’s ‘Family-Show’. Her delivery earned a rapturous ovation from all, except for her stern mother. As soon as Parihan had finished the dance, her mother gripped her hand and took her away inside the cottage. I followed them, and suddenly, picked up the loud noise of a slap coming from the cottage.

I went inside hurriedly, and an ear-piercing scream broke into my eardrums abruptly, “How many times did I tell you not to make lazy steps while dancing? Can’t you be stronger?”

“Aunty! Just leave her alone,” I exclaimed and seized her away to another room.

Then I sat on the bed and made her sit beside me. She was in tears, her body shaking violently every second. I tried to relieve her agony caressing her hairs and whispering softly, “There, there! Mothers can be cruel. You know we love to watch you dance. Don’t you cry.”

What I did that day was only the reflection of my brotherly affection towards her. But never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that this could imply, from a very subtle angle, a deeper and tenderer emotion.

Parihan came to me in the morning the following day, her cheeks red and her eyes dilated with excitement. She gave a torn piece of paper in my hand and said, “Tawsif, can you crack this equation real quick? I need to pee!” And then, she left hurriedly the room.

I looked at the paper. It said,

“If x2=I, xy=5ve and y2=U; then (x + y) 2 =?”

Algebra’s the easiest of subjects to me, so I finished the math quick as a flash. The answer, as I found, was, “I + 10ve + U”.

While I sat on the bed befuddled after solving the equation, Parihan came back and said, “Well?”

“It’s done,” I retorted, “You had me worried—this was too easy. Here.” I returned the paper.

She took the paper, cast her eye over it, and instantly, her face turned gloomy. She uttered, “Is that the answer?”

“Course, it’s I plus Ten-V-E plus U. It’s a weird math though.”

And then, she left the place, saying nothing more.

Hours later, dad discovered Parihan in the storeroom hanging with the ceiling fan. Her eyes were lifeless. Her visage which was always smiling had lost all its color, turning horrifyingly pale.

The suicide of Parihan brought a nightmare on the cottage. Nobody could accept the fact she was there with minutes ago, but yet she wouldn’t be anymore.

And I felt completely numb; I was bleeding inside, but the ache was too deep and heavy to be expressed.

We buried her beside the garden, with a heavy and shattered heart.

Later on, while I was heading back to the cottage, my eyes lit on the paper-piece—the one Parihan handed to me—lying on the mud. It was all twisted. I picked it up and unfolded it. The equation and the answer I’d written once again appeared before my eyes.

Though I’d written the answer myself, at that moment I felt as if something about it wasn’t right. I gave the paper a close attentive look.

“I + 10ve + U”. It’s so weird. Where did she find such a math? I thought.

And my heart leapt to my throat as I realized something I should’ve realized long before..........

Suddenly the sky reappears before my eyes, breaking my painful flashback. I feel the burn in my chest, firing up more frightfully than ever.

I can see the eastern clouds, as if to ridicule my stupid sense of maths, have added a slight extension in the pattern. It now says:

“(x + y)2=I Love U.”

Warm tears mist my eyes……

Offline pltrish

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Re: 1075 Words-Flash Fiction
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2019, 09:56:25 AM »
Hi @Tashnim Rashid Tawsif

Thanks for sharing your work :)

I'm a newbie too in the world of writing. Glad we can learn together.

I read your story, and I think that your story sounds interesting and quite mysterious. It got me scratching my head, however, maybe a little too much? ???

Only sharing my 2 cents worth:
1. I couldn't really understand the setting of your story, nor the storyline clearly.
Maybe you can describe the place and the people a little more?

Only curious, is this the starting of your story?
One moment you were looking at the sky, thinking of an equation, next you go back 2 days back, and then suddenly, Parihan is dead.

2. Past tenses and minor grammatical errors.
I’d set foot in the village, she’d rush to me and say

I would and she would. Maybe change it to When I arrived, and she rushed.


she left hurriedly the room.

should be: she hurriedly left the room.

3. Usage of -
Maybe you wanna read up a little about the proper usage of this punctuation mark? Because I see you use it a lot, but, maybe it is not so appropriate in some sentences.

Overall, interesting story. Look forward to seeing more  :)

Keep up the good work.
“You can accomplish by kindness what you cannot by force.” – Pubilius Syrus

Offline TRex

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Re: 1075 Words-Flash Fiction
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2019, 08:51:50 PM »
This is an interesting idea.

A couple of things I noted:

1. I agree with pltrish that the timeline seems a bit jumbled and hard to follow.

2. I love the use of the em dash, but there was a bit too much of it and it became distracting to me.  That might be just me since I often find myself using the em dashes too much, but I thought it was worth pointing out.

3. There are several spots where I think less is more.  The "sometimes" in the first sentence after the equation.  I think it reads better as "sometimes of birds, cars, human-faces and suchlike."  Same here:  "I couldn’t talk, eat, or feel anything but a burning ache in my heart."

Good luck with the story.

Offline pltrish

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Re: 1075 Words-Flash Fiction
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2019, 11:38:12 PM »
Great points @TRex :)

@Tashnim Rashid Tawsif, I feel your story has potential. Just need to do some editing, add a little extra flavouring here and there, and you just might have an awesome story!

Good luck!  :)
“You can accomplish by kindness what you cannot by force.” – Pubilius Syrus