Seema’s hands shook as she dialled the number; she shivered involuntarily as the phone started to ring at the other end.

What a shock it had been to know Ma was not her biological mother. No wonder people always said, “Hey, you are soooo UNLIKE your mother.” Who was her real mother, and why had she abandoned her? Perhaps the answer was at the other end of the line, but did she really want to know? Ma loved her and that was all that mattered.

Seema was about to disconnect when a voice answered; “The number you have reached is no longer in service“. It was music to her ears.


More telephone numbers, more stories at Jenny Matlock’s Saturday Centus


In the Spring, I was a child
Sometimes timid, sometimes wild
Summer was fast and brisk
Scornful of danger or risk
In the Autumn, at my best
Seasoned, mellow, ready for Rest
Passing thought…

In the Autumn, what would I do?
I don’t know, I have no clue!
Summer sunshine turns winter grey,
There is no Fall where I stay!


For Jenny Matlock’s Saturday Centus

You stare out of the window,
the rain folds the world outside
in an impartial embrace.

When I look into your eyes
there is growing desert sand, of
memories that come and go
in ever-weakening waves.

I am chained to the past
we can no longer share.
In my eyes
the desert and the rain
fight for place.

Mother, help me!
Tell me, please, that moving on
is not a sin, it is no mistake.

Mother, may I
seek solace in forgetting?

Set me free Mother
before it is too late.


Saturday Centus, Carry On TuesdayTheme Thursday  

Red Umbrella:  Christopher Shay
Courtesy: Magpie Tales


Rusty neighbourhood, rain. Drag pulled on his cigarette and looked out from his damp room on the third storey of a derelict building at the sodden world outside. The floor of the room was littered with cigarette butts; as always, he had been smoking the day away. No wonder the neighbourhood knew him as Drag rather than his real name.

‘What a colourless day,’ the words came out in a mumble and ricocheted off the wall they could not penetrate. He twirled the pistol aimlessly round his finger, loath to put it away.   

Suddenly, the unending grey of the street covered in slush was punctured by a splash of red – a man in a red umbrella was hurrying by, perhaps returning home to his wife and kids after a hard day at work.

Something seemed to stir within Drag. “Love is like a river,” he remembered how She often said that,   quoting from a song. The love had soon dried up, and She had gone her way. As for Drag, before long, he had returned to his life of deceit and shame.   

The red umbrella seemed to be fast moving away. A frighteningly familiar urge rose up in Drag and his fingers tightened on the trigger.  ‘NO, DON’T DO IT,’ he tried to tell himself, but it was already too late.


The umbrella had fallen to the ground and a different red now lay splattered on the dirt-covered lane.


Magpie Tales , Carry On Tuesday, Three Word Wednesday

Endeavor by Lino Tagliapietra,
Columbus Museum of Art
Courtesy Magpie Tales


Slowly crawling, slithering

pain. Sharp, unforgiving, untamed.

Cruelly bright colours

impotent to disguise the shame.


Illustration: Carmen L. Browne
Courtesy: Monday’s Child


Hey, what is this?
What do I see?
There is a face looking back
Who can it be?

Life is a mirror
What you show is what you see
The face looking back
Of course, it is me!


Illustration: Clara Burd
via Monday’s Child


Flowers at my door
Oh, give me more

They bring fragrance to life
Add colour and spice
A sight for eyes sore
Do give me more

 They won’t stay for long
Soon they’ll be gone
Till then admire, adore
Please, give me more

Say yes to hope, be strong of will
Enjoy life, have your fill
Make the most, your heart pour
Sure, give me more

Flowers at my door
Yes, give me more


Illustration: Lissa
Courtesy: Monday’s Child


There is a story sleeping in every book
A tale hiding in every corner, every nook

Set your imagination free, let it take wing
Throw open your heart, let your soul sing
Let your fancy loose, let it carry you miles
Share a few tears, offer a million smiles
Experience the world, its laughter and sighs
See it with your heart, not with just your eyes

You will discover this world is like a wonderful book
A tale hiding in every little corner, every small nook  


Illustration: Will Terry
Courtesy: Monday’s Child



Look, what I found!
A map in a box
hidden deep into the ground.

It looks like a plan
by humans in the village
at our door,
to enter further
into our forest,
encroach some more.

We must find a way,
convince them
within limits to stay.

They must leave us be
or, one fine day
we shall perish,
with us the forests
and the happiness key.

So, Dear Humans,
will it be ‘Us or Them’
in a faceoff, or
hand in hand, together
‘You and I, She and He’.


Aleck Smart strutted into the ATM cubicle in his skin-tight trousers and natty shirt. He had had a fruitful day; he was an ‘artist’ and the auntie-types were an easy target. He made them feel wanted and it always worked, he smiled. Getting the fifty-something woman to surrender her credit card had been a piece of cake. She had even told him her password!

He would withdraw the entire amount permissible, a measly 20,000 rupees, in notes of 1000, slip them easily into his pocket and walk out unnoticed. As he waited for the notes to appear his smile faded, the ATM machine began dispensing twenties…


Find out what happened at other ATM counters @ Saturday Centus

July 2018
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