The Cherry Blossom Tree

Kenshi Tora looked at the cherry blossom tree in his garden. The pink leaves falling from the tree looked beautiful. It was a view of serenity. However, he could not feel it. He was the head of his clan, The Tora, meaning the tiger, and the pouncing tiger in the clan’s flag had seen many battles. The leaves falling in serenity reminded him of those battles, with the crimson blood and the chaos.

Kenshi was the Daimyo of his region, a feudal Baron of Japan. He was considered to be the strongest and bravest among his peers, his might overshadowed only by the Emperor himself. A thousand men with swords made by the best blacksmiths in the region followed him. They were his samurai who followed his every command. They would die and kill on his word, but alas, in this time of countless wars and battles, many would fall, and they wouldn’t stand up again, even if the Baron commanded them to. A bitter truth that Kenshi had realized after seeing countless men fall before him, their blood dropping, like the leaves of a Cherry blossom tree.

Kenshi had gained a lot over the years with his strenght and might. Wealth and power, they all grew after every fight. Although Baron Tora had gained a lot from the countless wars of feudal Japan, Kenshi Tora had lost much more. He saw his father bleed out in the field of battle. He had seperated with his friends in the battleground, like leaves seperating from a branch, never to unite again. But his greatest loss came elsewhere, far away feom the bloody massacres of battle.

It was after his dominant victory of the Northern provinces. It was his greatest achievement to date, and he could not wait to return home to share the news with his family. He returned with his men, full of joy from the win. However, that joy did not last long, for as soon as he opened the door to his room, he felt weak and fell to his knees. His men rushed to him, but they too were dumb at the sight in front of them. His wife, in a beautiful Kimono with cherry blossom leaves printed on it, was lying motionless on the bed with their infant son, blood coming out of their slashed throats.

It had been three years, but the pink leaves falling from the tree reminded Kenshi of that ill fated night, of the helplessness he felt. No matter how hard he tried to forget, he was once again grief stricken by the reminder of his greatest loss. This was too much. He did not want to be reminded again. He picked up his axe and chopped down tge Cherry Blossom tree.

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Silwal, The Vampire Slayer

Ashish Silwal looked at the old house in the distance. That old rundown house contained a special object, an armour, a prototype that could probably save humanity from their impending demise. It was the last hope, and it was his job to get it. However, there was a slight problem. Between him and the house, there was a hoard of vampires, thirsty for his blood.

Ashish took a deep breath. He was one of the few people who had been blessed with special powers when the vampires arrived. Nobody knows where the vampires or the powers came from, but no one had the time to ask as they were busy fighting the vampires. However, those with power were few, and humanity was facing defeat after defeat. So, in order to reverse this tide of battle, the humans had created an armour, but the vampires had taken hold of it. So, Ashish, as a member of the Special Corps., was assigned this mission of retrieving it, and he knew he could not fail.

The young vampire slayer took out his customized pistol with silver bullets. With a kick to the ground, he jumped in the air and started shooting at the vampires, guided by the moonlight. One by one the blood suckers fell. The vampires tried to bite him, but he was too fast for them. He kept shooting until he ran out of bullets. However there were still a dozen vampires left, and they quickly surrounded him. They thought he was doomed, but with a smile, he threw away the gun and took off his glasses. But this pair of glasses were peculiar, for the frame was made of silver.

Ashish winked at a vampire and moulded the glass frame into a dart. This was his blessing, his power. He could manipulate silver, one of the few weakness of the vampires. With a swing of his hand, the dart flew into the air, and in a flash, the remaining vampires were dead.

He walked into the house to claim his prize. He opened the chest in the centre of the hall. Here it was, the armour, humanity’s last hope. However, what he saw left Ashish speechless. There was no awesome way of describing the armour, for it looked like a raincoat.

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Your Mom Called

“Hey, its your mother.”, the personal assistant said, while holding on to the call that had just come through.

“Oh.”, replied Richard. “Just tell her I am busy right now. I will call her later.”, he said.

“Yes sir.”, his assistant replied.

“Don’t get me wrong,”, Richie said to himself, “its not that I hate her or anything. I absolutely adore her. Its just that I find her interest in my life, a little too suffocating.”

Richard loved his mother. He just didn’t find it necessary to answer all of her questions and calls. He was a believer of personal space and a very busy man. His mother would call every now and then to check on him, as if he was little boy who was going to school for the first time, and he found this a little annoying. He liked that she cared, but he didn’t like how much she cared. He saw it as unnecessary.

Richie used to answer his mother’s calls at the end of the day, every now and then, but it soon felt too bothersome. That plan was failing. He soon started letting his assistant answer the calls. His assistant had become his perfect backup for this job. The assistant would answer the call, and inform him, and would give a reply according to his instructions. Most of the time it would be an excuse that Richie was busy. Very soon, the assistant stopped bothering him about what to reply. He already knew the drill.

Richard would go around doing his work. His assistant would handle all of his mother’s calls, and at the end of the day, tell him about it. This system felt perfect for Richie, and he got really used to it. Soon, the calls from his mom were less frequent, and he felt the system worked pretty well.

But right now, as he stood outside of the ICU, he regretted this system. His mother was inside, fighting for her life, and as he realised the probability of losing her, he realised all the calls he had ignored and skipped. He was angry at himself for not talking to her directly when he had the chance, but instead relying on his stupid assistant. His mother had probably called recently, and he didn’t even know what she had said. He felt a deep pain in his heart.

“Please God, help me…”, Richard prayed, his thoughts scattered all over the place.

His chain of thought was interrupted by the sudden vibration of his smartphone. He answered the call. It was his assistant.

“Sir”, it was his assistant, ” Today, your mom called. She wanted to ask if you would like to have dinner with her tonight. She also asked me to tell you that She loves you.”

Richard dropped his smartphone, accompanied by tears from his eyes, the pain in his heart too strong for him to keep it inside anymore.

This is the continuation of the story that started with “No backup”. Please do read that story too.
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No Backup

“Its always good to have a backup.” Richard said, tossing a coin. “Everything has a backup. It will help you actually succeed, unlike prayers. “, he preached, as the coin landed on the table.

His friends nodded in agreement. No, they were not really his friends. Richard just viewed them as an accessory, a bunch of people he liked to hang out with. He wasn’t attached to them, nor was he addicted to them. If they left him, he had another bunch like them ready. After all, he was a man who felt the need to have backup for everything.

“Sir, here is the bill.”, the waiter put the bill on the table.

“Richie, I guess its your turn to pay.”, one of his ‘friends’ asked.

“Sure.”, Richie replied as he opened his wallet. There was not enough cash in it. It barely covered half the payment. 

Richard sighed.

Richard Symphony Palmer, better known as Richie among his peers, was a man who had a backup for everything. He was ready for any situation, and if they fell apart, he was ready for that too, as if he was expecting it. You could call him a pessimist for this, but he was simply obsessed with backup.

This obsession started back when he was in primary school, where he was a great and hardworking student, but one day had been punished severely for failing to submit an assignment because his notebook got torn. Ever since then he started having a backup. It made him feel safe. There was a running joke among his peers that even his backup had a backup. Nobody knows if this is true, but no one dared to say it to his face because Richie had always managed to overcome his obstacle and succeed due to his obsession with backup.

“Not enough cash, Richie?,” one of the ‘friends’ asked. 

“Yeah.”, Richie said in a small voice. “Good thing I always have a backup plan.” he said, as he handed the waiter his credit card.

“Its always good to have a plan B.”, he said with a grin. The whole table burst into laughter.

Their laughter was brought to an abrupt halt by the ringing of his phone. He answered the call, still smiling, tossing a coin into the air. However, before the coin could touch the ground, Richie was out of the restaurant dashing towards the nearest bus stop.

That call came an hour ago. He was standing in front of the reception in the hospital ten minutes ago. Right now, he was standing outside the ICU.

“Please God, let her live.”, he prayed for the first time in his mature life, as Richard the man who wholeheartedly believed in backups and plan Bs, realised he had no backup ready to replace his mother.

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A Love Story in the Bus

“Excuse me, is this seat taken?”, a smooth voice asked.

Matilda looked up to see a young man, probably in his mid twenties, leaning towards the empty seat beside her. He was standing on the aisle, and was wearing light brown pants and a bright red sweater, that reminded her of a ripe apple. His blonde hair and shortly trimmed beard seemed to compliment the outfit he was wearing.

“May I seat here?”, he asked again. Matilda shook her head. No words came out of her mouth. She was dumbfounded by the sudden appearance of this young attractive man.

“Sure.”, she finally said.

He took the seat beside her. Soon after the bus started moving, with beautiful scenaries that could be viewed from the window. But Matilda found herself looking somewhere else. She could not take her eyes of this beautiful stranger seating beside her. Realizing this awkward situation, Matilda quickly looked away, diving into her smartphone. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t get her mind to think about anything other than the stranger sitting beside her.

“Umm, excuse me. This bus is headed to Kathmandu, right?” he asked. Matilda could not believe it. He was headed to the same place as she was.

“Yes. Actually I am going to the same place.”, she replied.

“Really? Wow. Good to know.”, he nodded. “By the way, my name is Ryan.”

“Matilda.”, she replied, while shaking his outstretched hand.

They talked all the way in the bus. The more they talked, the more Matilda liked Ryan. They had a lot in common. They were both from England. Their food taste, their taste of music, their perception of things, everthing was alike. By the time they had got off the bus, they had become close friends.

“Ok, see you next time.”, Ryan said, before leaving for his hotel. Soon, that next time came. They had both returned back to London, and found out that they lived in the same neighborhood. When Matilda found this out, she was so glad she had added him on facebook and he had kept in touch with her.

They decided to meet at a small cafe in their neighborhood. It was their first date. Soon after, many dates followed. Matilda and Ryan naturally grew close to each other. It was perfect for Matilda. Ryan was the perfect guy for her. She was really happy with him. They always seemed to be on the same page about everything. Ofcourse, they quarreled sometimes, but they managed to stick together through thick and thin. Soon a year had passed.

Matilda had fallen madly in love with him. Finally, Ryan confessed that he felt the same way about her. One day, he took her to her favourite restaurant in all of London, and after they finished their dinner, he got down on his knees, produced a shiny ring from his pocket and proposed to her. It was the best moment of her life for Matilda. She could not believe this was actually happening. She looked deep into his light green eyes, and said Yes.

Alot of things happened, and after countless days of planning and congratulations from friends and other people she hardly knew, the big day finally arrived. It was Matilda’s wedding day. She walked down the aisle in her white dress, a veil covering her face. Ryan was standing there on the aisle, just like when he was standing at that aisle of the bus when they first met. Matilda stood there in front of the altar, facing her groom. It was the best day of her life. Ryan opened his mouth to say his vows.

“Last stop. Kathmandu. Last stop.”

The conductor’s announcement woke Matilda up from her sleep. She had dozed off in the bus, holding her smartphone. The stranger that sat beside her had already gotten off the bus at one of the countless bus stops they had passed. He had probably forgotten about her by now, and Matilda had dreamt about an entire relationship with him, while still in the bus. A love story in the bus, a love story that never began.

Life is not a Fairy tale

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there was a young boy. One day, while travelling through the woods, he saw a beautiful girl. It was love at first sight….

“Yeah, right.”, the old man said, as he closed the book he was reading. It was a love story, a fairy tale, one that his mother probably read to him when he was a child. He could not remember. Afterall, he was sixty one years old. Those days were far gone, and so was his mother.

“Life is not a fairy tale. Love at first sight is a lie.”, he muttered, as he put the book back in the shelf, from where it had come.

He sat down in his chair, and sank into its comfort. Love at first sight. It was a romantic thought, he knew, but a lie non the less. He was no senile old man that argued with everything. He was just an old man who had experienced love and life.

“Maybe there is attraction at first sight.”, he said, looking at the bookshelf. No, he knew, there is attraction at first sight. That’s where everything starts. If there was no attraction, who would even bother to talk, let alone fall in love. This he knew, for he had experienced it himself, back in his youth, back when he still believed in love at first sight.

He remembered the first girl he was attracted to. It was back in middle school. He was just a goofy, unattractive fifteen year old then, and she was the most beautiful girl in class. He thought it was love at first sight, he had found his soulmate, but soon realised she hadn’t. He was sad, the girl he liked was perfect, and she didn’t even know he existed, nor could she be even bothered to find out. It was frustrating, but life went on. He started to notice the flawsin her, to which he had been blind so far. Soon he realised it was not love, just an attraction, and moved on.

When he was twenty-two, he was in a relationship. She was beautiful, and had long, beautiful hair, which he adored. They had met a year before, and slowly grown closer, and he liked everything about her. Sure there were flaws in her, but by now he had realised nobody was perfect, and learned to accept them the way they were. Life went on, and he even thought of marrying her. But after three years, it wasn’t the same. He loved her, she didn’t anymore. He had loved her, it was love no doubt, and for awhile she loved him too. He thought she was the one, but apparently she was not. They walked away, familiar strangers. He was heartbroken after that. Life wasn’t always filled with happiness but it moved on. He had learned his lesson, something he remembered to this day.

“Life is not a fairy tale. Love at first sight does not exist. You don’t find the one right off the bat either. There is no happily ever after.”, the old man yelled, as he woke up from his sleep. He had dozed off in his chair. He readjusted his posture, and noticed the blanket covering him.

“You might not find the one at once, but eventually you do. There might be no happily ever after, but there are always moments of joy.”, said a familiar voice.

The old man turned to face the voice, and saw a beautiful, old woman, who was his wife for the past thirty years. She was standing there pouring tea for the two of them. He remembered how they had met, it was unexpected. He liked her, and soon found out she liked him too. She was not perfect, neither was he. He found beauty in her flaws, which he had accepted. They fell in love soon after, and got married the following year. Life was not always wonderful with her, but they had never let each other go. They had managed to stick together and pull through the hard times, and now they were here. She had been the one for him, and he had been the one for her. He smiled.
“Life might not be a fairy tale,” the old man said, receiving the cup of tea from his wife, “But it sure is a beautiful story.”

Coffee Shop Love

Helena looked out of the window of the coffee shop. It was a beautiful evening, she thought, and the gentle sunlight illuminating her face seemed to agree with her. She took a sip of the black coffee she had ordered. The warmth of the coffee blended in perfectly with the warm sunlight, she felt so, as she put the white cup back on the table.

“Its just like that day.”, she said,”The day we first met, Peter.”

She took another sip of the coffee. It made her feel good, just like the memories of that day. Ten years ago, she was right here at this very coffee shop. Her friend had set her up for a blind date, to which she had reluctantly agreed. She was just twenty then, and little did she know that this date would change her life forever. She didn’t even want to go on this date. She had dressed casually, just like any other day, and hadn’t given much thought to how she looked, because she didn’t think it would be anything special. But the moment he walked in, she realised she couldn’t have been more wrong.

Helena took another sip of her coffee. “Oh, how amazing you looked that day!”, she said, as she recollected the memories of the stranger that walked into the coffee shop, the blind date she was waiting for. His hair was neither properly combed, nor was it a total mess, but it seemed to perfectly suit him. He was wearing blue denim pants and a red shirt, with a black jacket over it. He looked amazing, and it was then that she felt guilty for the way she looked. She was wearing black leggings, and a brown sweater thaf she thought was too big for her.

He had waved at her. She had raised her hand to wave back at him. Thats when she had remembered she had pulled the sleeves of her sweater to her finger tips, a silly habit of hers. She had quickly pulled her hand down, feeling embarrassed. He sat down in front of her, and they introduced themselves. He ordered for a simple black coffee, while she had ordered a mocha for herself. She had apologised for the mess she looked, and to this he had replied that he found it cute. It was at that moment she she had realised something. She was wearing glasses, and he probably needed a pair too. Secondly, she liked him, and probably he liked her too.

Helena brought herself to the present to drink her coffee again, and then she continued to remember the days that followed. They got closer after that, and there were more dates. Soon they fell in love and were a couple. They laughed, they cried, they loved, always together. The very next year, Peter had taken her back to this coffee shop, and after ordering his black coffee and her mocha like usual, got down on his knees and proposed her to marry him.

“It was the best day of my life.”, she said, as she took another sip.

They had gotten married a month later, and everything was fine. There were good times and hard times, but it was alright. They were happy together and their life was perfect. Their life got busy with jobs and family, but they came to this coffee shop at least once every year. It was the place where it had all begun afterall. It had become a sort of a tradition for them to come here together. A place of memories, to make more memories.

“Those were wonderful times, Peter.” Helena said, putting the empty cup down. She had finished the black coffee. She sat there, gazing out the window, her eyes set on the clear evening sky.

The shopowner took the young widow’s white cup away as she sat there gazing out the window. It had been seven years since Helena lost her husband, but she had upheld their tradition. She came to the coffee shop every year, and talked to herself, her life empty like the coffee cup.

The Little Boy’s Toy

The little boy stood outside the toy store. A bright red shirt, blue pants and shiny black boots. The toy in the store was indeed well dressed. Oh, how the little boy wanted that toy. How badly he wanted to play with it.. Probably nobody knew how he felt. He would play with it all the time and never let it go. He could see it clearly, how the toy was made for him. He closed his eyes and imagined his life with that toy. He opened his eyes. The temptation was too great. He moved his hand to grab the toy, but was stopped by the glass window.

For the first time he noticed the glass between him and the toy at the store. As he stared at this villain that blocked him from his toy, he noticed something else. He saw his reflection, a thin, little boy, wearing old,torn pants, a dirty white shirt and a jacket that was older than him. The toy had better clothes than him. He slowly moved away from the window, and his toy. No, it was not his toy, he reminded himself, and started running towards his house.

He stopped running after a couple of minutes. It was difficult to run in the snow with tattered shoes. His body had warmed up from running, which felt good in this cold weather. This warmth brought a sense of comfort to him, but there was still a bit of uneasiness left in his heart. He could not forget the toy. Oh, how badly he wanted that toy, and how happy he would be if his father bought it for him. It would have been the perfect gift. A gift, he knew, he would never get.

The little boy walked slowly towards his house. His father was a carpenter, and his earnings were little. He was the only source of income for the family. The little boy knew this. He knew his father did his best to bring smile to his face, while he himself had a hard time. The little boy understood all this, yet how happy he would be if his father got him that toy with the red shirt. But he knew that won’t happen.

The more he thought about the toy, the more he became angry at his father. “What a useless father,” he thought, “can’t even give me that toy.” As soon as he thought this, he reminded himself, “Its not father’s fault.”

He stopped outside his house, the smallest building in the town. His father had built it himself, and even if it was small, it was his home. He felt a little bit of happiness warming his heart. Still, he could not forget that toy at the toystore, the one he almost had. He took a deep breathe and walked into the house. To his surprise his father was home early, waiting for him with his mother.

“Where have you been?” his father asked, “I have been waiting for you.”

He tried to answer, but his father continued, “Here, I got something for you. I hope you like it.”, as he put something in his little hands.

As soon as the little boy saw what it was, he hugged his father tight. No words came out as he held the little wooden man his father had made in his hands. It was clumsily crafted, but for the little boy it was the most wonderful toy in the world, even better than the toy he saw at the toy store, because unlike all the other toys out there, this toy was his very own toy.

She left him, without saying goodbye

He loved her. She loved him back. They met in highschool, and soon became a couple, just like the other couples they knew.It was a beautiful adventure, which they both enjoyed. They made promises, big and small, which they intended to keep, for no force known to mankind could stop them, and in god they didn’t believe. They laughed, they cried, together, never feeling sad. But nothing lasts forever, and things soon became bad.

He loved her. She annoyed him a little, but he loved her still. He annoyed her too, but she still loved him to the fullest. They loved each other but the doubt had been planted. Soon it happened, they fought, they argued. They let their heart out. They spoke without holding back and they heard each other out. After hearing her out word for word, he couldn’t take it anymore. He got down on his knees and proposed. She accepted. What a crazy, twisted world.

They were soon to be married, their joy renewed. They had plans for the future, both long and short. He was happy and she was happy and everything seemed fine. But then she left him, without saying goodbye.

He was devastated, he didn’t know what he had done wrong. He searched for her everywhere, his beautiful future bride. But he couldn’t find her, or apologise for the things he didn’t know he had done. Life went on, he forgot how they were happy, how they planned the future. All he could remember was she left him, without saying goodbye.