“Riftaura” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by David Theophine, Naipunnya Public School, India.
The subtle sun rays flew through the brown curtains of my bedroom window revealing small particles in the cold, refreshing air. I woke up excitedly and pull open the curtains, squinting at the sudden exposure to light.
Today is the day of Riftaura, the day when the spirits of happiness, joy and love return from destroying evil, hate and sadness. But to me, Riftaura is the day of unending laughter, when guests come home bringing me presents, the day when mama and I cook good food along with dad and the day which, marks the beginning of my vacations.
I woke up slowly and carefully crept down the spiral staircase, through the wood-panelled corridor, and into the kitchen. I relished the smell of spicy roast meat and mom’s secret cooking sauces that make my mouth water and my little heart beat faster with excitement. I peer into the kitchen to see mom standing by the stove cooking lunch, mom is wearing a bright red skirt with a white shirt. Her thick chestnut hair is tied back in a neat ponytail. I ran up to her and hugged her from the back.
“Ah! Casimir!” she exclaimed and turned around and hugged me harder. I breathe in the beautiful, familiar flowery scents of my mom's hair. I looked up at her comforting emerald-green doe eyes and she lookedback into mine and said “Happy Riftaura”. I let go and ran to the living room looking for dad, I saw my dad on the street talking to his friends he turned to me and smiles.
“Happy Riftaura my little angel!” he called out.
“Happy Riftaura dad,” I said as I ran towards him and gave him a hug.
“Big day huh?” he said and ruffled my hair.
“I’m really excited dad”
My dad looked out and the sunlight fell on his tanned skin beneath his black stubble. He put his arm on my shoulder and said “Look out at the people Casimir, look how happy they are, even the birds are happily eating all the extra grain the people are feeding them. This is why we were created, to enjoy the bounty of happiness that life can give us and to spread this happiness to others. Some people just can’t see that and they instead terrorise and torture others for money and power. They don’t realise that money is useless if you can’t make you happy with it. Remember Casimir, no matter how successful you get, if you are not truly happy, then you are unsuccessful.”
“Okay dad, so I guess I’m successful today.” I smiled and looked up at him to find him chuckling.
I hugged him again and ran back to mom.
“Mum, can I help?”
“Okay, but did you brush?” she looked at me with one eyebrow raised.
“No, I’ll just run up and do it?”
She gave me the ‘you still don’t brush?’ look.
I ran up the stairs, back up to my toilet at look at myself in the mirror. People say that I look like Dad but I think I look like mom. I’ve got emerald eyes like her, the rarest eye colour in the world. I heard explosions and gunshots and I dropped my toothbrush. I balanced myself on one of the stainless steel taps and look out through the ventilation window on wall of my toilet. Another violent explosion, this time closer, I slipped and fell on the hard floor. Back of my head hurt and I felt my head throb. I got up and ran down the stairs, before I reached the landing I heard the main door crash open, screams, smoke and terror. I didn’t know what to do, I cried out into the noise, I didn’t notice that I just skipped a step and I fell. Down the stairs I rolled I fell flat on the landing every part of my body aching. My eyes sting and throat burns. A man in black, his face wrapped with a black cloth ran into the room carrying a gun, I shut my eyes in fear and suddenly everything makes sense to me, “We are being attacked by fredyis’, the terrorists of the worst kind” I thought. I held my breath in fear and open my eyes a little, I saw him walk towards me and kicked me away I stifle a cry of pain. He walked past me and disappeared through the corridor which led to the kitchen. “Mom!” I think. I got up and ran through the corridor, smoke made my eyes well with tears. I looked for my mom in panic. I remembered her beautiful face, the way she smelt, the way she laughed and then, through blurred vision, I saw her. Mom was sitting in the corner of the room weeping - the man dressed in black steped right in front of her - he pulled her by her hair and she screamed, he took his gun - placed it on my lovely mother's forehead - I ran towards her shouting - he pushed the gun harder at her head - she screamed in agony - his index finger curled around the trigger - I tripped over a wooden plank on the floor - I kept looking at mom - I was still shouting - for a second she looked at me - I saw her sad yet-loving doe-eyes beckoning to me - he pulled the trigger - she closed her eyes - bang went the gun - her eyeballs popped out of her sockets - her brains splashed out - blood everywhere - I fell onto the cold floor and realized that my life has shattered just like my poor mother's head.