Category Archives: Stories

THE PRETENCE by J. M. Shorney


 by J. M. Shorney


If Katy Hillier didn’t spend quite so much of her time concentrating on Tom Bridger’s best attributes, she might have been better concentrating on her work, and getting her grades.

The tight black trousers he wore with his familiar tweed jacket, complete with elbow patches, was in keeping with his persona of being a teacher of course.The strident way he had of walking as always with a purpose. Tom was a new addition to  Myrtlebank School. Though why he should have chosen this remote South Coastal school after London, she failed to understand. But Katy was so pleased that he did, or she would never have met him.

He just happened to teach her favourite subject, English Lit. The way he recited all those romantic poems;‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? She imagined that Tom was saying them to her exclusively. All the other pupils were merely blurs, faceless non entities, Tom barely noticed.

He wrote poetry too and read it out in class. With his rather upperclass accent, every word he uttered  thrilled through her. He wore his dark hair quite long. She caught herself staring at the way his hair sort of curled around his ears almost femininely, that his ears were quite small for a man.

His eyes were so dark and intense when they settled on her. They did now while he recited something from Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet was her favourite. She’d never given Shakespeare the time of day until she met Tom.

Up until a week ago, Tom was merely her teacher, she just another pupil with a crush. Then one afternoon, while she struggled with learning her lines for a play Tom had written and was intent on producing, she had waited until she could grab his attention after class. His head was lowered over marking out places in a book on his desk, the dark curly hair practically obscuring his handsome features. They talked awhile. Then, taking her by surprise, he told her that he would have had to be blind if he hadn’t guessed how she felt. She wished the ground could have opened up beneath her.The colour rushed to her face and she started to apologise, aware how wrong it was to entertain such feelings for a teacher.

After all, he was at twenty six, nine years her senior. Plus there were terrible implications that he could go to jail. Then there was Ursula. Ursula was Tom’s wife. Katy was crushed when she discovered he was married. But he was so young. She’d cried herself to sleep afterward, but it failed to lessen the crush. She fantasised, while she lay on the bed in her room, what it would be like if  she and Tom had an affair. Of course it couldn’t possibly happen. It was unthinkable,until that afternoon. When he closed the door, and positioned himself in front of her. Before she could speak, or realise, his arm was around her, and his hand had slithered, like an uncoiling reptile up into her panties. Katy, aware of what they were doing, was so unutterably wrong, but nonetheless exciting.

Reaching up to kiss his lips, with the feeling that she would find herself back in her room,everything nothing more than some beautiful dream when she felt him respond. She’d peeled open her blouse for his searching hands to cup about her breasts. Hazarding an uneasy glance at the door, he assured her that no one would enter. They made love. He was gentle with her because she was a virgin. Tom told her that he was pleased that she was. That she hadn’t given herself to any other man.

From then on the crush deepened into love. She’d penned his name on the back of her hand when she was at home. Her brother Martin teased her about having a boyfriend. When was she going to bring Tom home for tea? Martin had brought all his girlfriends home for tea, but Katy had no intention of doing that. Tom was her secret. He suggested how it would be unwise to tell the world about their affair.

“Are we having an affair then?” she had dared ask.

“You know I want an affair with you, Katherine.” That was her given name. Katy made her sound too childish. The poetry of her name rolled off his tongue, enough to send her to the stars and beyond. In fact Katherine Hillier had grown up, and was now a young woman in love.

If only she hadn’t seen Ursula for the first time, when his wife had picked Tom up from school. Katy froze  instinctively Tom’s lips had wandered over his wife’s  Jealousy coursed through her and she wished that he would divorce Ursula. Katy had  envisioned the woman, who Tom said was a nag and cold in bed, as some kind of shrewish harridan. She was destined to be disappointed when she saw what a stunner Ursula actually was. Katy was pretty, but pitted  against Ursula’s sophistication and beauty, Katy felt dowdy and resentful.

She had dared to mention the fact to him that she had seen him kiss his wife. “Well, I’ve got to keep up the pretence haven’t I?” he said, following the contour of her face with a gentle hand. “It’s you I really love.”

He’d picked her up from the corner of her road in his sporty BMW. They’d gone for a drive, his hands had been all over her when they parked, but Katy dreamed of wanting more. Aware the best time to mention it was prior to the sexual act, that he either loved his wife, or he loved her. He should choose. Being a mistress wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and was interfering with her studies.

“But I can’t leave her.”  He had appeared suitably shocked at the suggestion.

“Do you love her?”

“You know I don’t. In fact I don’t think I ever loved her. I only married her for her money. Her parents were killed in a car crash, and left her comfortably off.”

“But I can’t be second best.”

Moving into kiss her lips, he said, “then we don’t have a choice,do we?”

“What do you mean?”

“She’ll have to die.”

“But…but that’s a bit drastic isn’t it?” Katy entertained an initial twinge of unease, yet alternatively a sense of something akin to excitement simultaneously. “You mean, kill her?”

Their secret affair had now overspilled into murder. Katy and Tom planned to kill Ursula. But how to do it? He suggested the evening was the best time, when she took the little Pekinese for its walk along the cliff path. They should follow her. What could be more simple but a rough push against her back, and a fall into the sea? Katy hadn’t wanted to be present when he did it.

“But you must,darling. We ‘re both in this together. Besides, I love you.” He did that thing again. His hand roving the outline of her face, telling her how beautiful she was. That they would leave and set up home together. They wouldn’t find Ursula’s body for days. When they did the rocks would have disfigured her too grotesquely for identification. “What about the money if they don’t find her body. You won’t be able to claim.”

“What a shrewd little thing you are. I already have access to her bank account. It’ll be a simple matter of collecting. I shall broadcast that she has left me. That I’m moving to pastures new. What about your family?”

“I don’t care about anything but being with you,” she said, cuddling into him, listening to the rapid beating of his heart against her breasts.

Katy had never once considered the implications of killing someone. She was far too besotted with this man. She considered that once Ursula was removed from their lives and they had her money, they could be together always. They, or rather Tom, had planned it for that very evening. He promised he’d remind Ursula about taking the dog out. Then he’d meet Katy. He advised her to wear dark clothing in case they were seen. From her earlier anxieties,now only the thrill of excitement and danger remained. To think of the secret they would share, in love and death.

It was late in the evening when she received the text from Tom, instructing her to meet him, when she imagined he might have forgotten. She dressed in a dark coat, jeans, and a scarf to cover her distinctive blonde hair. Tom was similarly clad with the addition of a woollen  hat. A wild excitement washed over her when she saw him, and he hissed for her to conceal herself behind a tree. She was merely a witness, but they would be in this together nonetheless.

Soon Ursula moved into view, dragging the little Peke on his equally little legs, before pausing to allow him to do his business.It was a fine night, although a trace of wind had sprung up and caused Ursula’s long blonde hair to stream around her. The tide was rising, sweeping over the rocks, and washing back out to sea. She stopped to drink in the idyllic scenery, simultaneously the man in dark clothing stepped out from behind the bushes. A gloved hand appearing from his coat, he pushed the hand hard  against her back.The Peke began yapping wildly, as if sensing danger.

From her hiding place, Katy observed the tableau. She heard Ursula exclaim, “Tom!” in surprise.She then slipped, falling on the stones she had loosened with her shoe. She was sent hurtling to her death, her white skin crushed on the rocks. Her  screams  carried away by the rising wind, the rush of air, unable to save herself.

The sight of Ursula pushed to her deathleft Katy trembling and physically sick. Yet, above it allit meant that Tom must love her enough to kill his wife. His beautiful wife.

He stood there momentarily, as if transfixed by shock over what he had done. Katy rushed into his arms. Feeling their strength envelope her, she was surprised to observe the hint of wetness in his eyes. Now she was the strong one. She comforted him. She declared her love and how Ursula’s murder had sealed their union. She explained how they shouldgo away, leave that place. There were no witnesses, save maybe for the little Peke, who was still yapping, until Katy gathered the small dog up in her arms.

Tom was swift to regain his composure, however, and counselled they should keep up the pretence until he had worked things out. They would need enough money of course. He planned to clean out Ursula’s bank account first. He reckoned she had over a million in there. Ursula had certainly been left comfortably off.

On the following Monday Katy returned to school, although suffering two sleepless nights, admixed with both excitement and fear simultaneously. Her heart accelerated when Tom walked into classand began reciting the romantic poetry that never failed to thrill through her. Now they shared a terrible secret. Katy wondered if maybe she had dreamed the entire thing. She wanted to get away. Abroad. The other side of the world. As long as she was with him, Mars wouldn’t have been far enough.

Katy sensed something different about him. When the poetry that rolled off his tongue so dramatically, which she believed he recited for her alone, he barely glanced her way. Of course she must keep up  the pretence that he so insisted on. While he barely acknowledged her, she caught him chatting in earnest to Josephine Rowan, one of the prettiest girls in the school. When Katy accused him, he merely smiled, and referred to keeping up the pretence again. It would look suspicious if they rushed things. She wanted to know if he had broadcast it around that his wife had left him. He assured her that he had. Schools  are notorious for circulating rumour, but no one seemed to know anything about Mr Bridger’s wife leaving him. Tom appeared so nonchalant, it was infuriating.

A woman’s  body had been recovered from the sea. It was all over the news, but the features were too disfigured to be recognised. She was put down as another unknown victim.Katy listened. The waiting was getting to her now. She had enough. Her texts, calls and e-mails were all ignored.

Sod to keeping up the pretence. Guessing Tom must be alone, she caught a bus to his house.

Waiting patiently for a response to her summons, Katy was astonished when a woman came to the door. Further surprised when she saw that the woman was none other  than Ursula Bridger. Ursula Bridger who she had seen plunge to her death on the cliffs. This was definitely the same woman.

“Can I help you?” she enquired, her tone solicitous and friendly.Flicking on the porch light so as to obtain a closer look, she added, “oh, you must be one of my husband’s students.”

Close to fainting, Katy failed to tender any kind of response. Her head was spinning. A dead woman had answered the door.  “There’s someone to see you, darling,” Ursula called.

Darling. How could she?

When Tom appeared, his arm encircling his wife’s waist, he said, “Oh it’s Katy isn’t it?” so nonchalantly, she felt sick.  “We’re about to have a meal right now. Whatever you want it’ll have to wait until school tomorrow ” He nuzzled his wife’s neck simultaneously.

She was unable to remain any longer, to face the spectacle of Tom cuddling up to a woman he was supposed to have killed. But he had killed her. There was no mistake. She had even heard Ursula exclaim, “Tom!” in surprise.

Katy, ran into the night,her eyes blinded by tears. She flung herself into the nearest police station. There she confessed everything to a sympathetic sergeant, who promised to investigate by going to see the Bridger’s. He returned with news that served to leave Katy cold and numb inside.

Tom Bridger had no idea what she was talking about. He had never once entertained any romantic leanings toward the seventeen year old girl. He valued his job too much. As for his wife, she thought it hilarious that one of her husband’s pupils should imagine he had murdered her. After all, wasn’t she very much alive?  They wouldn’t press charges against Katy. She was still a child at heart. She wasn’t the first schoolgirl to have a crush on her teacher, resentful of the wife getting in the way.

“You know what an imagination these young girls have?” Tom Bridger told the sergeant.

“We’ve committed murder, and actually got away with it!” Angela Morton exclaimed, throwing her arms around Tom Bridger’s ‘ neck. “It was really obliging of my sister to have a twin wasn’t it?”

“A twin I’ve been in love with for the last three years,” he said.


The End


Did you enjoy reading this beautiful story, then you will also enjoy J. M. Shorney’s latest novel Progeny of a Killer.

Buy her latest sensational novel from the following purchase links:

Amazon: Progeny of a Killer

Flipkart: Progeny of a Killer



Make It A Home. Not A House by Ahona Das



~Make It A Home. Not A House 


SHE is a lonely daughter, for her mother never had time enough for her. Every evening, SHE stands, leaning against her balcony, eagerly awaiting her mother’s return. She watches the sun creep behind the horizon with lifeless eyes. And finally, when she sees the familiar shadow walking down the streets, her eyes regain their liveliness. She stares at her mother’s seemingly fatigued figure approaching their house, for as long as possible, heaves a sigh of relief, and with slow steps, walks back to her room.

However, the creaking of the gate, makes her tremble. For awhile, she wishes her mother wouldn’t be back so soon. And for the next while, she repents being born to her parents. Their screams and yells reach her ears. Like every day, her parents are howling at each other, uttering curses and abuses. Her dad, who had been jobless since the last 6 years, questioning her mom about her whereabouts, expressing doubts on her loyalty towards him… and her mother infuriated with the greeting, replying in no soft tone.
Startled by the loud bang on the door of her room, She braces herself for another round of quarrel. Her mother walks in with furious eyes, and SHE only wishes it was a glint of love she had seen in her mother’s eyes. Instead. her mom vents out her frustration on HER, beats her up, stings her with poisonous words and storms out of the room.

She doesn’t cry. For, her tears had long dried up. The girl who had cried herself to sleep for years, is an insomniac now. For, even tears refuse to accompany her anymore. Her faith in God, however, remains unshaken. She closes her eyes and mutters a silent prayer… ” Please God! Make our ‘house’ a HOME?!”



Little girl is grown up now. Life has carved her into a strong young lady. The bright smile that adorned her face every morning, has long faded away, in the course of life. Now she doesn’t believe in God. She is scared of dreaming, for she has witnessed all her dreams turn into nightmares. Now, she doesn’t long for her mother’s love. She had always understood her mom’s condition; unlike other children, she never demands for pocket money, or the newest gadget in city. She earns a few hundred bucks by tutoring 2 children, and with the money earned, shares happiness with the ones less fortunate than her.
On one particular day,as she was returning from the doctor’s chamber with her mom, she spotted a purse on a shop’s display. She couldn’t recall herself possessing a purse in her entire life. However, that particular purse in the shop, somehow managed to draw her attention like never before. For once, her girlish instincts seemed awaken. She looked at the price tag. ‘200 bucks’ it read. She quickly ran her fingers through the pockets of her wallet, but hardly a few coins were left. Her lips curved into the form of a frown….
Later that day, in the evening, she broke her life’s vow. For the first ever time she asked for something from her mom. She asked for the purse…. Her mom said she would.
Her mom was back from office. She had been eagerly waiting today, hoping to get the purse. The usual fights seemed even more violent today…. From what she overheard, her mom was infuriated because she had been pick-pocketed. A while later, when the rage seemed to have calmed down, she tiptoed to her mom’s room. Her mom was lying on her bed, with her eyes staring blankly at the wall across. She had never seen her mom look so defeated. She noticed the few strands of white hairs on her mom’s face.She wondered why she hadn’t noticed earlier that her mom was aging!… She sat beside her mom, and ran her fingers through her hairs. Her mom looked at her teary eyed, and they talked. She consoled, and her mother wept, for the money lost. She too wept. For she knew how it feels to lose priced possessions. For, what dreams were to her, money was to her mom. “For the first time,you asked for something… only a purse! And i couldn’t get you even that!”, her mom regretted…
“Mom, It was only a purse… All my life is left to be gifted a purse…!”she attempted to laugh.
Her mom smiled through her tears… She was only surprised she hadn’t realized until now, how understanding and compromising a daughter she was gifted with.

SHE too, smiled. The kind of bright smile that could melt hearts. For the first time in 18 years of her life, the little house she had been living in, was seeming more like a HOME to her. HER home.


One Last Time by Piyush Naik

One Last Time by Piyush Naik

(Story #9 Ayush & Alia Short-Story Series by Piyush Naik) [Last Story]


Something started ringing in my ears; I slightly opened my eyes and looked towards the direction of the sound. It was coming from my phone. Pretty unusual it was a holiday due to Ganesh Festival so most people I knew were also sleeping, then who was calling so early? I looked at the watch hanging on the wall. It showed 6 AM. I forced my hand to pick the phone, and as I saw the name and picture of the person calling all my sleep walked away in seconds, it was a call from Pranali.

‘Hey…’ I tried to sound as fresh as I could.

‘Hi, Piyansh, were you sleeping.’ She said in her cute voice.

‘No…’ was waiting for you to call, I wanted to say but instead I said, ‘no just woke up sometime back.’ You see I can talk to any girl at an ease, but not the one I love. My bad!

‘Tonight a night-out is planned at Ayush place. You are coming right.’ She commanded. Well it was pretty hard for me to say a no to the pretty girl like her. Although I have never said a no to her and never will say that word to her.

‘Yeah… sure.’ I said, ‘I will be there.’

After hearing ‘bye’ in its cutest form I hung up. Pretty excited for tonight. I was friends with Ayush for more than three years and was also a friend with Alia. So it wasn’t difficult for me to spend time with them. The thing which was difficult was to look at Pranali and do not show the love which was in my eyes for her.

Glimpse in the life of Ayush…

In past two months… problems never ended, they kept on building on… and now a tall tower was there. He never gave answers to the questions asked by Alia. The silence was the only answer he had for her, she also accepted it. The silence in them had distanced them. The calls had reduced. The talks were limited. The dates were not much in sight. While he was becoming closer to Shweta, just friendly. But was his love for Alia not there anymore?

Glimpse in life of Alia…

In past two months…. Problems never ended, they kept on building on… and now a tall tower was there. She asked many questions while he did not had any answer. She was right in her place well he also wasn’t wrong at his. The silence in them had distanced them. The calls had reduced. The talks were limited. The dates were not much in sight. While she was becoming closer to Nikhil, just friendly. But was her love for Ayush not there anymore?

                     Yet they both were ‘in a relationship’ on facebook

Back to present…

I was at Ayush’ place. Just 10 minutes late. Finally after thirty seconds the door was opened. Pranali was standing in front of me. She was looking cute in her grey top and white pyjamma.

‘Hey, you cut your hairs.’ She said as I walked in.

‘You noticed.’ I said.

‘damboo’ she said. Why can’t she just continue the conversation instead of cutting it?

Then we all four, I, Ayush, Alia and Pranali started playing cards. At first normal card games and then a fun game of guessing the card. And my luck was at its best.

‘It should be queen of hearts.’ I said. Ayush draw a card and it was queen of hearts. I guess you need your lady-luck to win at cards.

‘But what about your lady-luck Ayush?’ Pranali sparked the conversation with an untouched topic.

‘Pranali…’ Alia was saying but Pranali interrupted, ‘till when are you not going to speak, you need to talk and sort out.’

‘Yes, Ayush you should talk.’ I said, ‘perhaps we should let them speak alone.’ I looked at Pranali she nodded and we moved towards the balcony.

We talked for around twenty minutes it was raining outside. She was checking her phone and then.

‘See this.’ She showed me her phone. Ayush and Alia changed the relationship status on facebook to single. She was about to move inside the house but I held her hand. She turned and looked at me.

‘Pranali, you see… just because you have spend x number of years with a person in a relationship that doesn’t mean that you should take it to lifetime, if that relationship has hit a rough patch and it can’t work still you keep that relationship just because of that x years then you are doing wrong.’ I said, ‘for the sake of four years of happy time you choose a lifetime of fights. It’s better to leave the relationship and keep the time you spend happily in your sweet memory. You never know someone else is waiting for you and who is right for you.’

‘You are right…’ she said.

I looked at the rain. ‘You see this season is ending you never know new season might bring something new.’ I said and looked at her. She had the cutest smile I had ever seen.

To read other stories of the series click on the link below

Story #1 A New Day by Piyush Naik

Story #2 Date Day

Story #3 ‘And it Rained’

Story #4 Sorry… I Love You. By Sagar Kadu

Story #5 Not WITHOUT you…by Piyush Naik

Story #6 Thank you Pranali… By Piyush Naik

Story #7 Another Day by Piyush Naik

Story #8 Rain By Piyush Naik



Rain by Piyush Naik


(story #8 of Ayush & Alia short-story series by Piyush Naik)

There has to be something wrong with me, I woke up even before my alarm clock. This is happening from last one week. Well from last one week many wrong things are happening. I and Ayush are not talking properly. Or I can put it in this way that we hardly had talked in the past week. I rubbed my eyes and looked into my phone. I dialed his number. After the seventh ring, Ayush picked the call.

‘Good Morning.’ He said. Without using, Love, Dear, Baby not even Alia. It’s not what we used to be like. Was questioning his friendship with Shweta was root cause of this week? I asked myself a million times.

‘Good Morning.’ I said. We kept silent for some seconds. Bizarre silence. It was a silence which we had never experienced.

‘Okay, I reached the class. Talk later.’ He said. I looked at the watch. He as not even in college I knew. Still I said, ‘Okay, Bye’ and hung up.

After some two hours I finally was into college, my mood was not well still I had to attend the college. As I started walking away from parking I saw Nikhil he was parking his bike. He came to me.

‘Wow! I can’t believe you came early.’ He said. I smiled.

‘I woke up early.’ I said.

‘Another unbelievable thing I heard today.’ He had something in his eyes, I could see it. Still I choose to become blind over it.

‘How is your friend Ayush now.’ As he took Ayush name something started to pain in my heart. Yes, love is the most beautiful thing in this world and most painful one too.

‘He’s fine.’ I said, I look at the watch it was the time of our daily call. But why should I always make an attempt. I choose to wait for him to call and he did not call.

After the college I went back home. The clouds were dark and in no time it started raining. I sat near the window, I dialed Ayush number. He did not pick the call but texted back

In college event meeting will talk later

I was about to keep my phone away when another text came, it was from Nikhil

Hey… its raining…. Wanna go on a ride?????

I took a deep breath and replied.

No… sleepy.

Then I walked out of the house and stood in rain.


Love is the most beautiful thing and the most painful one too.

Another Day by Piyush Naik

Another Day by Piyush Naik


(Story #7 of Ayush & Alia short-story series by Piyush Naik)

After some ten days I was finally at my home, hospitals make you feel sick even if you are not. I looked at the clock on the wall it showed 8 PM. Alia was still at my place, we talked about various stuff. She seemed happy to see me in home. I was happy to again see the smile on her face.

‘Can we talk on something?’ said Alia. Her look was getting a little bit serious. Okay this is not what I want right now, I thought. Still I said, ‘yes… sure.’

‘Why Shweta spend so much of time in hospital with you?’ Alia said with a smile. Not the one which I loved, it was of something else. Her smile was hiding something.

‘Coz she is my friend.’ I said.

‘Adi or Jasmit or Mayank… they didn’t come so much.’ Alia said, ‘they are also your friends.’

‘Yes indeed they are but you see she is my close friends.’

‘They are not your close friends?’

‘They are my close friends… I didn’t force any of them to come. They all visited because they love me.’

‘So Shweta loves you?’ Alia asked. Okay this was surely something which I did not want to have a conversation on.

‘I don’t have answer to your questions dear. I want to rest.’ I said. I choose to stay silent on her question. I don’t know what was right but sometimes you have to keep quite.

The next day.

7 AM

Finally I reached room no. 305, my classroom. Today was different. Alia called in morning and we just spoke ‘Good Morning’ to each other and hung up.

‘Hey, broda’ Adi said, ‘Welcome back.’

‘Well we didn’t miss you much but still welcome back.’ Jasmit said in a teasing manner. Friends they can be rude in a funny way. Then we spoke some more time and finally the hell started, LECTURES!

10 PM

‘Why are we going to parking?’ I asked Mayank fifth time. He did not spoke a word and was dragging me to parking.

‘Can you keep quite.’ He said. Finally we reached parking and I saw Adi, Jasmit and Shweta there with a cake.

‘We wanted to celebrate your return so we brought cake.’ Adi said. Shweta was just looking at me.

‘I know you just wanted to eat the cake, you are just covering up with me.’ I said.

‘Come on… don’t show attitude if you don’t cut it we will eat it anyhow.’ Jasmit said.

‘Okay, if you insist so much I will cut the cake.’ I said. We all had a laugh. We all loved the cake. We all enjoyed the fullest. Friends can cure your pain.

My phone started ringing; the display screen showed it was Pranali’s call.

‘Alia’s call!’ Adi teased me and I realize she did not call me today; it was our one of to-do-daily-thing. Which she just missed!

‘No.’ I said and picked the call.

                       Silence can quiet some emotions.

Thank you… Pranali by Piyush Naik


(story #6 Ayush & Alia Short-story series by Piyush Naik)

It was the third consecutive time her phone was ringing, after wishing Alia at midnight and having some conversation on whatsapp Pranali finally went into a dream world at 2:30 in night. So waking up at 7 in morning was the worst thing to happen with her. Finally she gave up and picked the phone without even looking who was calling.

‘Where were you?’ the voice said from the other end. She knew that voice, it was of Ayush.

‘Sleeping… that’s what people do on a Sunday morning.’ Pranali said in her beautiful childish voice. Her eyes were still closed.

‘Wake up then.’ Ayush said, ‘today I want your help.’

‘Is something different today coz this is not the first time you want my help, you want it every now and then.’ She said rubbing her eyes and sitting on the bed, she could see her face in the mirror which was right opposite to her bed. She even looked more beautiful after waking up.

‘Come on today is Alia’s birthday.’ He said.

‘I know that.’

‘Yeah, so I cannot go out of this hospital and I actually want to give her a surprise too, so please go and get a chocolate marble cake, her favorite, and we will surprise her.’

‘Okay… I will come there at 9 with the cake.’ Pranali said and hung up. She ran to the bathroom and was ready in an hour. She also wanted to make Alia happy since last three days she was sad as Ayush was in hospital and something was wrong between them. She could sense it. It took her some more fifteen minutes of drive to reach the famous cake shop. But time was not in her favor. The shop just had one chocolate marble cake and it was already booked. She tried everything, even was ready to pay double the price but the shopkeeper was not interested to sell it to her. She knew that Alia only loves that particular flavored cake. The time was little she was about to make a way out of the shop when Piyansh entered the shop. He was her friend.

‘Hey Pranali.’ Piyansh said. A smile came on his face.

‘Hey.’ She said with her cute smile. But his eyes could see she was sad.

‘What happened?’


‘I can see that…’ he said, ‘now will you tell me what is wrong?’ he said.

Then she narrated everything. Piyansh smiled. ‘That’s it dear, take the cake.’

‘Means?’ Pranali asked.

‘I had booked that cake.’ He said.

‘But what will you do then?’

‘That is not a problem I will take another flavor…but I can’t see that sad face of yours.’ He said. Then the shopkeeper gave her that cake and her smile… was the smile on which you could die a million times just to see it again. The most beautiful smile.

She said bye to Piyansh and marched towards her bike, but it was not in any mood of starting. Piyansh was observing everything. It started raining.

‘Shit now how will I reach on time’ Pranali said to herself.

‘Maybe I can drop you.’ Piyansh Said.

‘That would be awesome.’ She said and they both marched towards hospital. It took them some rough 20 minutes to reach hospital.

‘Come inside.’ Pranali said.

‘Nopes… I’ve to go somewhere. I’ll be waiting for your call.’ Piyansh said, ‘enjoy!’

He waves with a smile. She smiles with a wave.

Climate just changed.

After 15 more minutes she got in Ayush room, Shweta was already present there.

‘In five minutes Alia will be here.’ As Ayush finished his sentence Alia opened the door of the room. The same time Pranali and Shweta screamed SURPRISE!

A smile came on Alia’s face. She then cut the cake and gave a bite to Ayush. Everything was going right.

‘I thought you forgot, since you did not wish me in the night’ Alia said looking at Ayush. ‘Thank you for making my day baby.’

‘You did not wish her in night?’ pranali asked.

‘I would have taken the credit dear, but sorry I really forgot and Pranali planned it all and brought the cake.’ Ayush said, Alia’s face became a little sad but she forced a smile. Pranali looked at Ayush with puzzled look, as in she was talking with him.

‘Why are you lying?’ her expression asked.

‘Keep quite.’ His face said. When we are best friends with someone we can even talk without speaking a word.

‘Thank you…Pranali.’ Ayush said. Signaling her to be quite.

‘Yes…’ Alia said, ‘thank you Pranali.’

Sometimes we do things which are wrong to make something right. But in love there is no right and no wrong.

Not WITHOUT you…by Piyush Naik



Not WITHOUT you…

(Story #5 Ayush & Alia Short-Story series)

After the news of Ayush’s accident broke in the ears of Pranali and Alia, they both became numb. They took an auto and departed towards the hospital in which he was admitted. All the worst possibilities were shattering their minds. Our brain is like that only when he should be the one to help us to calm down, he gets all the bad thoughts.

A drop of tear rolled down from the right eye of Alia. Fear was clearly visible on her face. Pranali noticed it.

‘Calm down dear.’ Pranali said forcing a smile on her face, trying to hide the fear in her. The auto took a sharp right turn. ‘Everything will be fine.’ Indeed she wanted it to be fine, but she too was scared of the worst. Alia rolled her eyes towards Pranali and hugged her. Tears were not stopping. Even Pranali’s eyes became moist. But she forced them to not rain. ‘don’t worry.’ She added.

‘Yes… but..’ Alia’s voice was breaking. She had a kind of panic attack. The only person she loved, the only person she wanted to love was not with her, as he was the one in problem today.

‘Speed up, Bhaiya.’ Pranali said. The auto driver looked at them through the mirror. ‘please our friend is in the hospital.’ He then nodded and raced the accelerator. He cut the traffic and was moving at the best possible speed in that traffic. Finally after some more fifteen minutes of drive he braked in front of the hospital. They paid him his fare and rushed in the hospital. With each step Alia took in hospital, fear was mounting in her.

‘You wait here I will check with the reception.’ Pranali said. Alia paused near the staircase while Pranali went to the reception. Alia could see Pranali was also scared but she was good with hiding it. It took five more minutes for Pranali to get the info about Ayush. ‘he is in room no. 505 on fifth floor.’ She said. They saw the crowd waiting for the lift, so they took staircase and climbed five levels. As they were about to enter room no. 505 a man stopped them, they looked at him he was Ayush’ father.

‘Wait, doctor is inside.’ His father said. By looking at the calmness on his face they were relived as there was nothing serious. They concluded!

‘Is he fine.’ Alia dared.

His father looked at her, ‘don’t worry.’ He smiled, ‘everything is fine.’ But his eyes, they were dry.

As Pranali and Alia sat on a bench they saw Shweta sitting right opposite to them. SHOCKED! Was the expression on Alia’s face. Pranali asked about her and then Alia told her the reason.

After some more fifteen minutes, finally the doctor came out and all the three girls walked in the room. Ayush was lying on the bed, his hand was fractured and his head had been bandaged. He was uneasy to see all the three girls at the same time and was confused who he should first say a ‘hi’ his girlfriend or his best friend or his close-friend. He choose best friend.

‘you are okay then why doctor took so long.’ Pranali asked. Alia and Shweta were just looking at him.

‘nothing…’ Ayush said. ‘come on you just chill.’

‘yeah.’ They both said at the same time.

Sometimes the truths you hide from the people you care for the good, is not a lie. Though indeed it is.