The Scoundrel’s Choice

Author's Note: This story was submitted to PenBound's short story contest in June 2017. It is my attempt at marrying the historical fiction & spy/thriller genre. The sun hadn’t even set, and Vishwa lay on the cot half-drunk. He was getting hungry, but the boy was nowhere to be seen. So he drank some more from the bottle and lay back down to gaze at a sky painted in strokes of orange and purple. Ah, this is life, he thought to himself. “Vishwajeet?” Vishwa cracked one eye open and saw a man looking down at him. He rubbed his eyes and noticed there were three of them. He slowly pulled himself into a sitting a position. “Are you Vishwajeet?” the man asked again. He looked the men up and down trying to figure out if he’d seen them before. Or more importantly, if he owed them any money. Their dhotis…

Etched In Stone

Virgil jumped off his horse cart in front of the door with heavy metal bands and the blue glass lamp. The cold breeze made his coat flap. He rubbed his hands together and stamped his feet to get rid of the stiffness. Autumn was coming to an end, and soon the game would become scarce. He would have to make do with whatever he could find in the woods. But for now, he looked forward to some cider and a haunch of roasted meat dripping with grease. And a warm bed, if he could manage it. The stable boy came running. “Run faster, boy. If I stood here any longer, I’m likely to turn into a tree,” he said with a lopsided grin, to take the sting out. “Lead the cart out back, tell the cook I’ve got her boar, and then you can find a stall for Beth. But…

Ghost Of Christmas Past

Author's Note: This story was part of Short Fiction Break's Winter Writing Contest, 2016. You can read the original here. The aroma of fresh baked cinnamon buns wafted through as Piedro pulled open the door. He smiled, thinking about the Christmas dinner that night. “Mmm! Smells heavenly, Sheila. Nothing says happy holidays like cinnamon buns, does it?” “Merry Christmas to you too, Piedro,” she said, sounding flattered. “But you better keep your hands away if you don’t want to get burned, like last time.” “Hey, I just wanted to sneak a couple of them off to l’il Rosie before they got cold.” “That’s why I baked a couple of special ones this time. With cranberry jam filling. I’ll make sure she gets them,” Shiela said, winking. “So, who’s this l’il Rosie, Mr. Domingo?” Someone spoke from the back of the cafeteria. Piedro turned around to confront the stranger. The man…

The Hand That Held The Sword

Author's Note: This story was selected as "Editor's Choice" on Your Story Club. You can read the original here. As the king knew, he would not be helping the man by ruling in his favor. He was a king and the easy road was not his take. He could not help being curious about the man who stood before him demanding justice. At first glance he looked as ordinary as any other peasant dressed in a farming garb, but, a closer look told differently. He looked up at the king with defiance, borne out the belief in his righteousness. A straightness to the spine that was not taught but inherited at birth. And the eyes, a deep ocean blue, that shone with resolve. He was not here to beg for justice, but to demand it. The afternoon court had ended some time ago, yet he lingered. And the king, held…

Darkness Within

Author's Note: This was one of my first attempts at writing a short story, and was originally published on the Your Story Club website. You can read the original here. The loss is dragging me into the gloomy mires of sadness. I can feel the hole inside me where my love had made its home. But, try as I might, I can not stem the flow of time. I know I have to go and stay with my aunt in her big bungalow, and am apprehensive about my new life. I don’t know her very well but, I can see a glimpse of my mother in her. Her kindness and demeanor are very reminiscent as well. It is odd that I feel a wrench in my chest when I see her, in spite of her reassuring presence. It is good that the bungalow is so big, I can shun all…