Story of the Month: Tushar Mathew
Our month of June SoM Recipient is the talented Tushar Mathew. In his featured story “Tia”, we are inserted into a narrative that feels like a lucid dream. We are introduced to the story’s young namesake Tia, who has, as the story shows in its progression, a strange- perhaps magical or otherworldly, presence. To discover Tia for yourself, please keep reading. If you liked this piece, please visit Tushar at his blog, here.
To view the original post, click here: “Tia.”
By Tushar Mathew
Last night the children gathered by the campfire and started building things out of the spare firewood that they had collected.
She was barely ten, had hair as dark as oil, and wore an expression that prevented her peers from displaying any sort of compassion towards her. Her hands never ceased to work- tying, breaking, stacking, laying sticks so that it created something that she was truly proud of but nobody else understood.
“Tia” I called out “what have you made?” She looked at me incredulously, shrugged and said “It’s for me”.
Without another word, she got up and strutted to her tent, leaving behind confused and some very amused expressions. “She’s so weird”.
After a lot of tossing and turning, I woke up in the middle of the night unable to face dreams that I had long abandoned and distracting myself with the thought of urinating. I stepped out into the dark and just when a cool winter breeze struck my face, I caught sight of little Tia sitting by the edge of our clearing.
Although startled into complete lucidity, I was careful not to scare her. I didn’t want to sneak up on her so made my footsteps audible. She snapped her head back, “Shhh! Quietly!” she hissed. I obeyed her instruction and tip-toed towards her. While I was kneeling down besides her, she looked at me and said “don’t scream or be scared, just watch”. I looked in the direction she was facing and felt my heart stop for an entire second. Instinctively I grabbed her arm which was surprisingly strong. She mouthed “just watch”. Ten feet from us, a tiger walked in circles around something on the ground, examining it, attempting to prod it. I couldn’t tell what it was, so I extended my neck and just when I noticed this ‘apparatus’ made of firewood , did the tiger press it with its paw. A loud crack was heard, followed by a yelp, followed by frantic growls, followed by the tiger, firewood sticking out from its right paw stumbling into the forest. I turned to Tia, shocked and she looked back, beaming, her white teeth gleaming in the moonlight. “We’ll follow the blood and then kill it.” She whispered, getting up excitedly and scampering into the bushes.
© 2014, by Tushar Mathew. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of the author.