Feedback Fridays

The Journey

Constructive criticism is welcomed by all. However, any comments that are overly derogatory in nature will be removed. Please keep in mind that the author, while anonymous, will be reading your feedback. Submissions posted here are not edited and/or proof-read by Indireads.

If you are an author hoping for some feedback on the first 800 words of your unpublished manuscript, you can submit your work here.

Genre: Thriller


Twenty seven year old Megha Naik settled on her seat in the State Transport bus for Mahabaleshwar at the bus depot near Pune Railway station. She checked the time – 8.30 pm. She was going for her grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. It had been a hectic day for this qualified architect. She was fast asleep in a couple of minutes.

A while later she woke up, startled with sound of a man pleading for mercy. Megha turned and looked behind. Five-six women had surrounded a young man at the rear of the bus. He was well dressed, like a corporate professional. He was gagged and his face was badly bruised. Megha was scared but stood up and decided to make her way towards the rear of the bus, when she felt a cold dagger on her neck.

“Sit down”, Megha was ordered. That coercion made the blade cut through her skin. Megha took a deep breath and let her logical thinking take over. She observed the woman who was calling the shots. Megha noticed her attire – a mix of some tribal style mingled with weird north Indian Ghagra. Also, she could not understand the exact words from her high pitched conversation with others but she understood the gist.

She turned to look at them, when one of the women slashed that man hard on his face with a blade.

“No”, Megha cried in horror.

“Give me the money”, that woman demanded of him. That man spat on her and refused to give in.

“Why are you doing this?” Megha asked of that leader.

Thwack! She got slapped on her face. According to that leader, Megha had the profanity to speak up against the gang leader.

“Shut up and stay out of this. I have accounts to settle with this bloody bugger.”

“Well, nobody almost hijacks a bus and tortures innocent people just like that.” Megha said mustering courage, standing up.

“Innocent? Hah.. you are such a fool, you bitch”, the woman leading the pack barked at her and pushed her violently on the seat. Neha hit her head on the window rim. She grimaced with pain. Soon, she was tied to the seat.

One of them, who was pretty and smart seemed to have something sinister up her sleeve. She had not spoken all this while. She twirled her long braided hair and came up to Megha. The others called her Sunehri. The leader who looked in her late 40’s was called “Akka”.

Sunehri took a pistol from underneath her top, tucked into her ghagra and pointed it at Megha. . She closed her eyes. When she opened them, the women had got that man to sit beside her and pistol was pointed at him. Megha looked at him, horrified. He was half dead and was blabbering incoherently.

“Stop this, what wrong have we done to you?” Megha shouted.

“Shut up and do what we say. Kill that man”, Sunheri said with a steely coldness in her voice.

Megha clenched her teeth and fist and tried to break free. She was even able to free one hand from the rope but stayed put.

Sunehri gave Megha a peck on the cheek. Megha winced with disgust. On an impulse, she raised her hand which was free and punched Sunehri. Sunehri was startled for a moment but regained her composure. Akka was enraged now. She had had enough. She snatched the gun from Sunehri and inserted the gun into Megha’s mouth. She was going to pull the trigger when Sunehri stopped her.

“Akka, don’t do this. You would be caught unnecessarily. Rather, make this whore kill this asshole.” It was pitch dark outside. Akka became thoughtful. She beckoned one of her gang members to get her a paan.

“Good idea, Sunehri”, she said, chewing on to her pan. Sunehri freed Megha and handed her the pistol. Megha furiously retaliated, as she pushed and clawed away at Sunehri.

“Enough”! Akka’s voice boomed. With an eerie silence all around, her high pitched, slightly hoarse voice sounded ghastly.

“Listen girl, you better kill him or I will kill you!” Akka bellowed.

Megha shuddered. She pointed the gun at that man. Something, however, snapped.
She shot Akka instead and then before the others could recover, she shot Sunheri. She made that man get up by nudging him with the nozzle of the gun.

“Nobody moves”, Megha pointed the gun at the others.

She pushed the man and stepped out of the bus and started running, on a narrow pathway. She could see some village lights nearby. Suddenly this man started laughing.

“You are stupid to have saved me. I deserved to die.” He smiled. Colour had drained out of Megha’s face. She looked at him, dumbfounded, pistol almost dropping off her hand.

Feedback Fridays

The Ending

Constructive criticism is welcomed by all. However, any comments that are overly derogatory in nature will be removed. Please keep in mind that the author, while anonymous, will be reading your feedback. Submissions posted here are not edited and/or proof-read by Indireads.

If you are an author hoping for some feedback on the first 800 words of your unpublished manuscript, you can submit your work here.

Genre: Paranormal/Thriller


It wasn’t a nightmare. She wasn’t running from a monster or walking naked into the school cafeteria. But there was a feeling of immense grief throttling her. She was aware of the tears running down her face, as aware as one can be in their sleep and at once, she was also aware of the soft comfort of her bed and the sun shining on her face. “I have a feeling it’s going to end.” Tara whispered, a lingering thought from the rapidly dissipating dream.

He was startled. He hadn’t noticed she was awake. “What is?”

“The world. I can feel it. It’s going to end. I just… I know it.” She paused, eyes shut, straining her memory, trying to remember what had been clear a moment ago.

“Sweetheart, it was a dream, you are half asleep. Relax. Your Mum is still making breakfast. I’ll call you when it’s ready.”

Tara woke up. She looked up at her father, uncertainly. He was standing in the doorway of her bedroom. This was a sight she rarely got up to and she couldn’t help but smile. On the night Tara had developed a slight fever, her mother had frantically tried to reach him. Dad had promised he would return within a couple of days. Tara was annoyed by all the drama, but seeing him, she felt light as a feather; as if all this time there had been a weight on her chest and now that it was gone, she could fly. He had clearly just reached home and was checking up on her. He was still in uniform and looked more handsome than ever.

“The world is fine.” He smiled at her; she was still just a baby to him. He could remember the day he had first laid eyes on his daughter in the hospital, held her, kissed her. He’d called her ‘his little twinkling star’ and the name had stuck. Life had been good. They were just another happy family and he hadn’t realized back then how lucky he was to have one of those.

“As fine as it can be.” He wanted to hug her and tell her he could stay with her till she felt safe. But he didn’t want to make promises he couldn’t possibly keep. He knew better by now and she deserved better.

“Okay, okay, I guess it was just a lone post-nightmare thought. Wake me up when Mum’s done cooking.” She smiled, adding in a loud whisper, “I missed you.”

The door clicked shut behind him and she could hear him whistling on his way to the kitchen. She felt touched that left everything to come home for her.

When Dad came back to the room, Tara was snoring lightly. He sat by her bed and was about to shake her awake, when she suddenly sat up.

“Wha..? Oh it’s you. Sorry… I thought you were…uh… death.” Tara’s hair was in a tangle and her eyes were wide open. She mumbled something and dashed to the bathroom. A few minutes later, Tara came out looking rather more civilized. Absently fumbling with her T-shirt, she looked at her father uncertainly. For a moment they just stared at each other. A smile hesitantly broke out on Tara’s face and she asked, curious, “What did I just say?”

“Nothing. Come on down, breakfast is ready.” Dad chuckled.

Everything was just the same at the breakfast table. Mum had laid out the usual omelet-sandwich-cereal combo and Tara didn’t want any of it. What she wanted to was to talk to Dad about what they’d both been up to and break the uncomfortable silence that the room was engulfed in. Mum stared into her plate, quiet, stern. Dad gobbled up the rare home cooked food, throwing an occasional glance at the newspaper. And Tara twitched about in her seat, forming conversation starters in her mind. Finally, she blurted out, “I had the weirdest dream. The world is about to end today. Go up in a poof! Crazy, right?”

That did it. Next thing she knew, Mum was holding her tight, crying and shouting at Dad. “I told you she’s sick. One visit in a year, that’s all you can manage!?”

“It was a nightmare, Neeta, she’s fine.”

“She had a high fever. Do you have any idea how scared I was?”

“Of course I do. You know how? You left forty messages with Prabhakar. He thought there was something horribly wrong. He’s my boss, damn it, you can’t just call and pester him. I can’t believe you told him it was dead serious.”

“Would you have showed up, otherwise?” Her face had turned red. Tara thought she looked like a dragon, spitting fire.