Shanaya could hear their voices arguing clearly as she exited the studio.
“We can’t take her Sunil.”
“She nailed the audition, though. She’s head and shoulders above everyone else.”
“It doesn’t matter. You know who her dad is.”
“But her dad was just a comedy side role in some movies. He was never even a main role. I mean, she auditioned brilliantly, and she looks the part.”
“We can’t take her. It’s enough. If we take her, the public will attack us. They’ll call us nepotists. And they’ll shut down the film.”
Shanaya sighed as she descended the stairs. It…
I hadn’t returned to Darling Harbor since that night fifty years ago. It still looked exactly as I remembered it. To the right was the walkway, bathed in spots of yellow from the street lights. The reflections trickled across the dark water, contrasting against the silvery full moon. Everything looked exactly as it did back then, except for one thing — I could not see a single person in the normally bustling harbor quarter. However, as I descended down to the jetty, I realized that wasn’t true. …
The urn felt much heavier in my hand than it looked. It contained the ashes of my friend Paul, which seemed to increase its weight tenfold. Only a few months ago we had joked how tedious this journey seemed every time it needed to be made. Now I stood once again at the all too familiar bow of the ship, this time with Paul’s ashes in my hands.
“Is that far enough?” The Captain asked me, pulling me out of my reverie.
I nodded. “Yes. Thank you. This will do.”
He nodded back. “Okay, I’ll wait on the deck. …
“Come along Kiddo,” I said to Max, who had stopped to point out the dog across the street. I held his hand as we continued to walk through the car park. He stared rapt at all the expensive, flashy cars lined up one after another, while continuing to walk in his odd, shuffling gait. My son was a very curious five year old.
Eventually we reached the main hospital. “Alright Max, we’re here,” I said grimly, taking him through the familiar automatic doors and immediately smelling the sterile scent of cleaning solution, along with the smell of oil and metal…
Each color and contour had been reviewed and adjusted many times. Alone, they meant little. But the synergistic effect of the edits transformed the image from drab and banal to lush and breathtaking. The girl they called LuvAshley88 stared at it, marveling at the magic.
It began as the basic photo. Herself – Ash – taken from above, black bikini matching her black hair, orange cocktail in hand, sitting at the edge of a pool. The first time she saw the photo, all she could see was the bareness. Plain and ugly background, and every blemish strikingly visible. …
“If they see you, they will try to kill you.”
“It’s just what they do.”
I hear the loud, thunderous war cry of the gods behind me. With bated breath, I listen and feel the vibrations of their giant, lumbering footsteps. Are they coming towards me, preparing to attack? Or is it a false alarm? No. The ground shakes around me with increasingly violent force. I need to run to sanctuary.
A large mountain looms in front of me, with a tight space underneath, where they can not follow. I scurry in, plunging into the darkness. I feel…
I waited impatiently as the phone rang. Her name continued to flash on my screen – “Dilushani”. It felt like forever, but eventually I heard her bleary voice.
“Hello?” She sounded oddly irate.
“Dilu, it’s me. John,” I replied excitedly.
She uttered a loud groan. “John, it’s 2am here. What do you want? Aren’t you in Qatar?”
“Yes, I’m in Qatar,” I replied impatiently. “Look, I need you to look at the picture I just sent you.”
Dilu groaned louder, and I could hear the creaking of bed springs. “Right now? John seriously? Can’t this wait till morning?”
The rear tyre went flat just as Damien was passing Lake George. He pulled over and just sat in the driver’s seat. A few moments ago he’d been roaring down the highway, windows down, air rushing past him. All of which numbed the pain, which was now rushing back.
Sitting still was the enemy. Damian’s panacea was to keep busy. He eventually opened the door and walked around to get the spare tyre. To all who drove past, it was a curious sight–a tall, young man dressed in a clean white shirt, black trousers, and dark red tie held impeccably…
Go there. Order a coffee. Not just any coffee. A medium long black. With a dash of cold milk. Two and a half sugars. Sit down. Then get started. It will get done.”
Some called it The Dream Factory. Aspirants sought it out as if on pilgrimage, in the hopes of leaving with their dreams fulfilled. Whether it be creative pursuits, business, office work, life goals… anything and everything. Superficially it looked like any other eclectic coffee shop. A beaten old sign outside proclaiming “Lansburg Street Roasters”. Weathered, musty couches inside placed haphazardly on an old, velvety carpet. An assortment…
The weight of the day began to flow out of her body and dissipate as soon as Janice stepped into the scented studio and unfurled her yoga mat. The movements of the Surya Namaskar, the dim lights and gentle scents seemed to exorcise the stress from every muscle.
“Okay, now slowly, gently, lift your leg.”
Janice slowly performed the movement, marvelling at the sense of peace and lightness she felt. Only a mere few hours ago she had been feeling tired and heavy from the weight of the day.
“Now, reach to the sky. …
Navigating life like only a noob can...