Flash fiction is a fictional work of extreme brevity that still offers character and plot development. Identified varieties, many of them defined by word count, include the six-word story; the 280-character story; the “dribble”; the “drabble”; “sudden fiction”; flash fiction; and “micro-story”.
Today was the day he would sell the goat. He walked down the road with the goat resting against his chest. It had indeed grown into a fine creature. The night he brought it home, the small goat resembled a tiny flower blossoming on a crack of a mountain, against the man’s broad chest.
Last night, his wife proposed they sell the goat.
“What other ways do we have?” she asked.
He made no response.
“We have raised it well. The meat vendor will give a good price.”
Mosquitoes drank abundantly from his legs.
“The money would help us sustain for the month,” she said and stood up to go inside.
He slapped a mosquito to its death. Turned over his palm to see the blood in it.
He woke up in the morning as a faint glow spr
ead over the horizon. His wife, still ensnared in sleep beside him. One of the kids turned to their sides on the bed. He paused. Holding his breath for a second, for the sound should not wake them up. Once certain, he stepped out of the hut and made his way towards the tin structure, where the goat was kept.
The goat hadn’t woken up from its slumber either. He considered at first, whether to shake it to life but decided otherwise. He pulled the lungi up to his knee and sat down — his back against the tin. His gaze brushed over the creature.
A couple of days ago, his kids came to him while on the bed, wondering how to get work.
“Baba, Maa said we don’t have any food left in the house except for sattu,” said the girl.
The walls giving off heat as though to vaporise everyone inside.
“I don’t want to eat sattu,” said the boy.
He slapped the boy and ordered them to eat whatever was available to them. Then he stormed out of the house.
He had taken the goat to bathe. Even an extra speck of dirt might cause the meat vendor to reject it. There was not much to do afterwards. He informed his wife who came to the door to see him off. He cradled the goat close to his chest. It bleated, reminding him he had forgotten to give it something to eat. He pursed his mouth in displeasure.
The meat vendor’s shop stood at a distance. Carcasses of goats hung in front of the shop. He dragged his feet over the unpaved road. The shop was near, there was no need to hurry. The face of the goat buried deep in his chest tickled him. It reminded him of the times when his kids buried their faces in his chest. The meat vendor welcomed him with a broad grin, his stained teeth showing themselves, all too visibly.
“That’s a fine goat you have there,” the vendor said after knowing the reason for his visit. “Let me examine it.”
The goat wriggled its body in protest. But the meat vendor had a strong grip. He witnessed as the meat vendor brushed his coarse hands over the goats body. He witnessed as the meat vendor held up the goat to check the underside. Finally grinning again.
The meat vendor brought out a wad of notes from the pocket of his shirt and handed it over to the man. He looked down at them. Printed pieces of paper that grant you permission to eat. He acknowledged it with a slight tilt of his head and without looking up, turned back and started on his way. Agitated, the goat began to bleat.
The notes crumpled under the force of his fingers. On the way back home, every sound he heard was of the goat bleating.
Sayanta is a Microbiology student-turned-author who believes in the power of stories. The decision of leaving his conventional degree to become a writer is what makes him a blahcksheep. He is the author of ‘Land of the Lonely’ and ‘The Night When the Books Float’. His short stories have appeared in Remington Review, Verse of Silence, and The Kolkata Review, among others. When not writing, he tries to speak cat language or imagines himself as the protagonist of the last movie/web series he has watched.