Grandma

‘I just can not believe he would do such a thing! I’m so angry…’ her voice trailed off. I had been eavesdropping for three minutes and I still did not know what made mum so mad. I knew it had something to do with Dad, it always did. She was talking with Grandma but I could only hear her voice. Grandma was soft spoken, even in regular conversations you had to read her lips to understand what she was saying. From where I was standing, on the landing I could only see Mum, the living room door was barely open. 

The phone rang suddenly.

‘Hello. Yes. Speaking. I would be right there’ Mum hung up. ‘That was the Police’ she said frantically. I could see mum pacing around the room likely looking for her hand bag. ‘Take care of Elsa for me.’ She said hurriedly, the front door shut loudly behind her.

I tip-toed back upstairs, but Grandma was already at the living room door trying to make sense of why I was walking funny. ‘What are you doing up at this time?’ She whispered.

‘I-I just wanted some water, good night Grandma.’ I started for the stairs again, running through them in twos.

‘Elsa darling, since you are up you might as well have some tea with your favourite Granny’ She said looking up at me.

I knew what ’tea’ meant and I did not want to be a part of this.

‘Err I don’t want tea.. you were right I should be asleep’

‘Nonsense my child, come come back down Elsa’ she motioned with her hands  ‘ I’m going to put the kettle on’.

Grandma seemed so small looking down at her from the top of the stairs. Something in her eyes made me scared of disobeying her quiet order.

I began the descent one step at a time. Grandma watched me patiently with a weird smile. She held her left hand toward me. When I reached the final step, I took her out stretched hand and looked into her eyes and that was the last thing I remembered.

 

I could hear the toads croaking and see the birds flying indistinctly from tree to tree. I could barely see, I was lying on dirt in my pyjamas under a tree. The sun was not out yet but the forest was awake. I searched around for Grandma, she was not with me. ‘Grandma’ I got on my feet, my head was spinning, it was difficult to focus. ‘Grandma’ I shouted this time. I looked up at the tree I was under and realised that I knew it, it was not far from the house. Getting my skewed bearing in check, I began walking in the general direction of the house. I could not understand what was I doing here, how did I get here? I soon noticed that the ground became really wet, and uncomfortable, I looked down and realised I was walking in mud. I panicked and I tried to run back to the tree but I could not see it. So I stopped. I considered the possibility that I was dreaming. I slapped myself and pinched my nose and closed my eyes, nothing seemed to wake me up. Suddenly, I saw the torch light. ‘Grand Ma?’ I whispered walking toward the light.  

‘Elsa, Elsa’ I could hear her old raspy voice. She pointed her torch at me. It felt like she was holding two torchlights. I used my elbows to block out the light. ‘Oh my goodness Elsa I thought I had lost you’ Grandma picked me up and gave me the tightest hug. Just then, I realised Mum was standing next to her, ‘Elsa you cannot just run away like that’ Mum yelled, she seemed upset and not as pleased to see me, something was wrong. ‘I did not run away Mum, Grandma… she brought me here, and, and…’ the more I explained the more I felt stupid, I could feel Mum’s burning stare on me. ‘What Elsa is trying to say is that she is sorry and would not behave like that again, would you Elsa?’ Grandma cut in. I looked back at Grandma. I could not understand what was happening, why was she lying like she was not the one who brought me to the forest, how did she get back to the house so quickly, how many minutes had I been knocked out?

‘Grandma why did you bring me here?’ I raised my voice at her and she just stared at me like I was crazy. ‘Let’s get you home Elsa, we would talk about this in the morning’ Mum said holding my arm tightly and pulling me away from Grandma.

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I decided to try my hands on thriller. I have come to appreciate that it is hard to gauge fear. There are just too many questions a Writer has to ask, the most important I think is, ‘how lost do you want your reader to be?’ I usually enjoy leaving the end of my stories as open as possible- incase I want a sequel, or to elicit various interpretations from the reader. With ‘Grandma’ I am still undecided, I’ll leave it to you, would you want a sequel, were you confused? I’ll really appreciate your comments.

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Reality

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What is the ultimate reality? This question popped into my head when I re-watched The Matrix a few days ago. Up until then I just assumed the movie was all about exaggerated fighting and the legendary backwards bends when Neo  dodged bullets and weapons from enemies. In fact I had this habit of confusing  The Matirix with Men in Black and Kong fu Hustle (it’s not my fault they have similar props) . Beyond the seeming comedy and extra effects in the movie I discovered something else. The plot. The movie to me has a fantastic plot which borders on the issues of what reality is. I am not much of a movie person but I noticed a similar theme when I watched Tron. There is this quest to understand reality better; by  questioning the present reality and  going a step further to propose that there is a different or  alternate reality from the existing reality we live in. Both Tron and Matrix propose that this alternate reality can be deciphered through the digital world- programming. While the latter suggests that the present reality is in fact controlled by computers, the latter believes that an alternate reality is existing synonymously with the present. Now this raises a funny question to me.  If there is another reality from what there is now, so what? Why does it matter.

According to Morpheus, the other reality is where man is free. Free from control, free from ‘evil’ and free to choose. The last time I ever thought so much about the concept of freedom was when I read Orwell’s  1984. In that book Orwell depicted a society where the masses were extremely controlled, the only people who were not under Big Brother’s control were the Proletariats. Yes, there were the poorest but they were the freest. So Orwell contrasting two classes of people in one society helps the readers to contrast two worlds and to make a choice for themselves as to which is better. What does Orwell’s story have to do with the Matrix?

It is simple. There is a direct relationship between freedom and the perfect reality. A reality that is different from the present. Script writers, movie directors and even book authors have published countless of literature on this issue to suggest to readers the possibility of an alternate reality. So is there an alternate reality? One thing I have noticed from the climax of all the movies and books that write on this reality issue is that the alternate reality is just as bad. In the Matrix for instance those characters who had escaped to the alternate reality Zion were still unsafe and threatened. In Tron evil had somehow sipped into the alternate reality and threatened to destroy the city. And in 1984, the proles had their own fair share of bombs and attacks from the other class. What is my point? The alternate reality would forever be dependent on the protagonist who will free the escapees from the conflict in the ‘perfect world’. Deciding to believe in the existence of an alternate reality is entirely up the reader eventually.

Hmmmmnn just had a brilliant idea. May be I should write about an alternate reality too… you know in the African scope. Any ideas what it should be called?