I am sure the two of us must seem like two buddies enjoying the sunset. You couldn’t be farther out. We are brothers not buddies. The other is equally inaccurate.

I have a compelling affinity for this place. It presents a spectacle which is rare and beautiful. Yet, I don’t come here for the beauty.

The populace is too busy with its petty concerns to notice the adieus of the sun. It drapes itself in an orange that is at once militant and defiant. The effect carries the same shade of meaning as the bared teeth of a cornered rat, trying to brazen out of its hole, pretending it is not petrified. The heedless world continues in its frenzy, offensively ignoring the assertive display. It’s edges turn an embarrassed, peeved red. clip_image002

We must look like drained men, sitting slumped like that. We must look as if our spirit has been sucked out of us and we too are about to set like the sun. The idealism and spirit of youth, which was like the radiance of dawn, seems a forgotten dream. My heart was full of the promise and potential of the life before me, then. I had dreamed of moving mountains- and had moved them.

I have a brotherhood with the sun as it looks now, defeated. The red tinged orange orb is a potential pointlessly wasted. All the capacity it had for making a stand has been bled away ignobly in a shoddy display of a pride never earned. The red staining its edges has no trace of valor… it is just sluggish rivulet leaking from a wounded ego. I cannot imagine a bigger shame than of a pretense as pathetic as this.

If these are the feelings this place arouses in me, you’d ask, why on earth do I come here? With that question, you’d open a coffin full of rotting bones. Sure you want- and care- to ask?

You see, this is a penance we have wordlessly sentenced ourselves to, my brother and I. Shame can be felt more intensely when not wrapped in the insulating layer of futile words. It lets us feel the corrosive bite of guilt more intensely- a guilt that will binds us both in its grip, eternally.

This is the place I had run to that day eighteen years ago. I came here to hide, when the horror of the impossible had broken upon me. My brother had found me and we had both hidden here, trembling, clinging to each other. We knew that we had both betrayed the meaning of being men.

This time The Decision did not appear fully formed, as it had all the other times. This time it was forged by me; by means of a betrayed soul.

This is where he had told me that my bride of one year had been set ablaze by our mother.


The blaze had reduced another woman to a number denoting the statistics of dowry deaths.






Flash Fiction: 496 words

This was a picture challenge. There are two more stories which are part of this challenge… both with their own pictures. They did not ask the writers to tie up the stories or to find a common thread to run through them, I just added that bit of twist for myself. 😀 The other two stories are called Phase One: Dawn and Phase Two: Midday. This story completes the set.