Saturday, October 29, 2005

The House at 24000

It was half past six on the night of Halloween. Dana was in her room, putting on the finishing touches to her Pirate costume.
"Hurry up Dana, its already dark!" yelled her brother Danny (Daniel) as he burst into her room, flourishing his Batman cape.
"I'm ready, lets go" replied Dana, with a sigh of resignation.
Dana, who was fifteen, had to take her nine year old brother Danny and his ten year old friend Matt trick-or-treating. She didn't mind her brother Danny, who was usually well behaved. But Matt was a born trouble maker and brought out the worst in Danny. And today, dressed up as his hero Freddy Kruger, Matt was anxious to get started.
"Be back home by eight thirty, Dana," said her Mother as she waved them off at the door.
Time passed by very quickly and soon it was eight o'clock. They had each collected a knapsack full of goodies. Matt and Danny had successfully scared 17 kids and 6 adults with their Pop Snappers (miniature fireworks that explode on impact) and by jumping out from behind cars and dark spaces. Tired from the night's work, Dana was now dragging them both back home. They were walking past the Montecito Memorial Cemetery, when Matt suddenly took off and ran straight into the graves.
"Matt! Come back here right now!" Dana screamed at the top of her voice.
But Matt didn't stop and soon disappeared among the graves. Dana looked at Danny, who just shrugged. Muttering under her breath, she walked towards the graves and Danny followed her. Almost halfway into the graveyard, Matt leapt out from behind a grave with a wild scream, scaring both Dana and Danny. Taken completely by surprise, Dana jumped back, tripped and fell onto a grave that had a shallow depression. Suddenly, she felt as though insects and worms were crawling all over her. A shudder ran through her body and she scrambled out of the grave.
“Matt, you stupid idiot!” Dana yelled, glaring at Matt.
“Look!” said Danny suddenly, “There’s a house over there.”
They looked in the direction that Danny was pointing and saw an old house adjacent to the graveyard. It had bright Halloween decorations out on the front porch.
“Wow, what is that house doing in the middle of nowhere?” said Matt and started walking towards it.
“Matt, stop! We are going back home. Right now,” said Dana.
“Come on, just this one more house and then we’ll go back. Please?” said Matt.
“Yeah, lets just check it out,” pleaded Danny.
Suddenly, Dana felt a shiver run through her and she shuddered involuntarily.
“Okay fine and then we go straight back home,” said Dana, against her better judgment.
There was a young woman sitting out on the porch and she greeted them. She gave them some candy corns and then held up a box.
“You can each pick one item that you like,” she said.
Dana picked out a charm bracelet and wore it on her wrist. It had silver hearts and stars that shone in the moonlight. Danny found a dog whistle on a silver chain. The young lady smiled and helped him put it around this neck. Matt picked out a chain that had a tiny shrunken head for a pendant. They thanked the lady and started walking back home. Matt was talking excitedly about how cool his shrunken head was and Dana was examining her bracelet. Danny was blowing on his whistle.
“Danny stop! We don’t want any stray dogs running up to us now,” said Dana and then suddenly, she froze. Matt and Danny’s eyes widened with fear and they grabbed each other. They couldn’t believe what they were seeing. All around them, everywhere, were ghosts. And crawling everywhere on the ground, especially on the graves, were thousands of tiny little black bugs. The three of them stood rooted to the spot.
“Okay… just… stick together… they don’t seem to notice us…,” said Dana, breathing hard and trying to calm herself down.
Suddenly, Dana shuddered as a cold shiver ran through her spine; a ghost, from behind her, had passed right through her body.
Then Matt lifted his hand trembling, as he pointed to their left. There was a huge black dog with glowing eyes staring right at them. It snarled and ran towards them.
“RUN!” yelled Matt and he took off screaming.
Dana grabbed her brother’s hand and they ran behind Matt. They didn’t look back or stop running until they reached Matt’s house, which was a block away from the cemetery. They ran inside and shut the door. They stood gasping for breath and looked around, their eyes wide with terror. They seemed to be safe inside the house. For almost thirty minutes, the three of them just sat on the couch, staring into the empty air. Finally, Dana summoned up her courage and looked outside. There were no signs of ghosts or the ghost dog. She sighed with relief and convinced Matt’s mother that she and Danny were too tired to walk the two blocks back to their own home.
After Matt's mother dropped them home, Dana and Danny were very quiet for the rest of the night. Danny decided that he didn’t want the whistle anymore and threw it in the trash. Dana decided to go to bed. She stood at her bedroom window and looked outside for signs of anything out of the ordinary. After a while, satisfied that nothing seemed amiss, she went to bed. She took off the charms bracelet and put it in her jewelry box.
The next morning, Dana awoke feeling very tired; she had had nightmares throughout the night. She went downstairs to have breakfast. The phone rang and she jumped up, startled. Her mother answered it and seemed worried as she spoke.
“Dana, that was Matt's Dad,” said her Mother, “He says Matt is missing. They’ve looked everywhere and he’s not at home. Do you have any idea where he might be?”
“No,” said Dana, “When did they see him last?”
“Just before he went to bed,” said Dana’s Mother,” His Dad says the security system was still activate when they found he was missing. So he couldn’t have left the house without tripping the alarm. I’ll go wake up Danny and ask him if he knows anything.”
Dana felt a chill run through her body. She ran up the stairs, past her mother, into Danny’s room and pulled back the blankets.
“NO! Leave me alone! I wanna sleep some more,” whined Danny.
Dana let out a sigh of relief and dropped the blankets back.
They spent weeks looking for Matt, but sadly, never found him. The charms bracelet that Dana placed in her jewelry box also mysteriously disappeared.

Neither Dana nor Danny told their parents or any other adult about what happened the night before Matt went missing. Many months later, Dana visited the cemetery again. She didn't see any ghosts, but she did shiver involuntarily every now and then, inspite of the fact that it was a warm afternoon in March. She also found out that the house near the graveyard, that they visited on Halloween, had been deserted for over six decades. The Montecito Memorial Park is located on 24145 Barton Road, Loma Linda, California.

Friday, October 14, 2005


As Scott held Dougie, he could not but feel sad. Dougie was Tina's dog and had been a great friend in the three years that he had lived with Tina. Inspite of a recent and bitter breakup with Tina, Scott had agreed to accompany her as she took Dougie to the Vet. Dougie had become excessively aggressive in recent weeks and was going to have his "dog-hood" removed. But little did Scott suspect, that after the visit to the "Vet", it would be someone else who was less of a male.

P.S. I couldn't help it; it was the pensive and sad look on the guy's face. If you haven't come across this Blog already, The Synchronicity of Indeterminacy, you should check it out. It has very creative stories, all inspired by photographs. Quite a few of them end with an O'Henry twist. The author also has a separate Blog for reader contributions.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Center for Blog Control

As announced in my previous post,Government declares War on Blogs, I managed to secure an interview with Dr. Dulnife Butcher(M.D), the head of the Center for Blog Control.
Me: "Good Morning Dr.Butcher. Can you please tell me a little about the CBC?"
Dr: "Well, in the beginning I thought the CBC was just an over reaction by the President. But, in the few weeks that we have been operative, I have realized the true nature of the BLOG threat to our nation."
Me: "Really? But how? I can't see how blogs can pose any kind of threat to national security."
Dr: "Well then, tell me what you think after I've shown you what we found."
(Dr.Butcher walks me over to their High Security Containment Wing. We walk by the isolation chambers.)
Dr: "Take a look at our first patient here. He has spent so much time BLOGing that he is now totally unaware and unable to deal with reality. Since we placed him in this room, with no access to a computer, he has been running around like a confused and frightened squirrel."
Me: "Woah, poor guy!"
Dr: "The condition of this next patient is even more tragic. Notice how lifeless he looks. He just lays there, only moving his eyes occasionally."
Me: "Oh, my GOD! He can't be over 20! What happened to him?"
Dr: "Apparently he had been involved in something called "The Battle of the Blogs" on a web site called BlogExplosion. Numerous repeated and crushing defeats have left him in this state of total psychological and physiological break down."
(I am too stunned for words. We walk to the next room, occupied by a young pretty woman lying in exactly the same way as the previous patient. She has however, a strange smile on her face.)
Me: "Oh No! Not her as well!"
Dr: "Actually, the symptoms may look similar, but the cause is different. This young woman had a very witty, funny and thought provoking BLOG. Unfortunately, she OD'ed when one of her posts received a deluge of overwhelmingly positive feedback. We are putting her through a rehabilitation program and she seems to be responding."
Me: "This is un*#$%ing believable!"
Dr: "Yes, if only we had been aware of this much earlier, we might have contained it before it became so wide spread. Many are only now becoming aware of the nature and proportion of this grave disease."
Me: "Disease? But this sounds more like an issue of self control and mis-guided priorities."
Dr: "Ah, you would be fooled into thinking so! However, I believe that BLOGing is an epidemic in the making and will soon emerge as a major threat to national health."
Me: "Okay, so how are you going to address this "dis-ease"?"
Dr: "We have assembled a top-notch team of scientists and researchers. We are studying and experimenting on active Bloggers in our BLOG Research wing."
Me: "And have you found a cause for this Blog disease?"
Dr: "Well the President believes it started as a result of people indulging in the un-natural act of making love to computers, but officially we are still stumped."
Me: "Well, Good luck on your efforts Doctor and thank you for you time."
Dr: "Thank you."

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Battle of the Blogs

If you battle on BlogExplosion, here is a simple rule of thumb to estimate your minimum worth:

If you are a smart guy or girl - 5 votes

If you are a funny guy or girl - 6 votes

If you are a pretty and funny girl - 7 votes

If you are funny guy with pictures - 9 votes

If you are a pretty, funny girl with pictures - 10 votes

If you have friends who will always vote for you - priceless

P.S.: A few clarificatons:
1. The above post is not to be taken seriously.
2. I am no expert in the BotB and any advice from me will probably not help you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Just think about it...

Lets try to be a little honest and look into ourselves a little...

Can we listen to an opposing opinion without getting angry?

Why do we get angry? Are we afraid that we are wrong and anger is our only defense?

If we know that we are right, can we not feel sympathy and understanding for those who do not know the truth?

How is the situation improved when we just start hurting each other?

Is vengeance and killing the opposition the right solution?

Are we proved right when the opposition is dead and gone?

Why do we make so many decisions based on just our feelings and emotions?

Why don't we use our intelligence more often?

What if one day we realized the truth of all things? How many of our past decisions would we regret because they were wrong or unjust?

We question ourselves everytime something beyond our comprehension happens(natural disaster, death, etc).

If we question ourselves, then do we really believe in GOD?

Or is it that we do not trust GOD?

How many of us have turned GOD into a convenient answer to questions we do not want to explore ourselves?

How many of us seek the truth for ourselves?

How many of us let other people think for us?

How many of us are just lazy and always take the easiest way out?

How many of us would choose a comfortable lie over an un-pleasant truth?

If Jesus was among us today...

How would we know who he was, as we have no faculty or sense organ to detect divinity?

Would we hate him for his open-mindedness and his un-conditional embrace of the poor, the rich, the good, the bad, the atheists and the religious fanatics?

Would we want to kill him for forcing us to think beyond our limited opinions and beliefs?

How many of us would be brave enough stand by him, against the majority of those who will be unwilling to change their existing way of life?

Just think about it.