A Tale Of Two Cousins (Flash Fiction Part 4)

Image by meineresterampe from Pixabay

Flash Fiction #163

This is the 4th part of the story. The three previous parts are here: part 1, part 2, part 3.

Nalan, Twenty Five Years Ago

When September came, Arjin was getting upset that he couldn’t go home. He had to stay here with us, at least for one semester, listening to my parents’ endless preaching on how to be a good boy, how to improve his study, how to stay away from the neighborhood kids who had bad grades.

The tension between Arjin and my father escalated to an unprecedented height when the school started. During the summer, my father had tutored Arjin, but Dad had done it just to appease Mom, with no intention of making it a serious learning experience. The uncle and nephew got along fine in a relaxed atmosphere–there had been no pushing or scolding on my father’s side; and there had been no protest from Arjin. However, when the school started, things got serious. Math homework was at least five pages long every day, and every afternoon, the grade of the homework from the previous day came back. My father didn’t have the patience or the energy to tutor while Arjin didn’t have the presence of mind to learn. They ended up blaming each other when Arjin didn’t show improvement.

I was always a “grey rock” kind of good kid who was invisible, silent, and sulky at home, and who was a good student at school. I never “bothered” my parents, knowing that “bothering” them was considered a “crime”, and causing them inconvenience of any kind, no matter how small, would tarnish my “good girl” image.

Having been used to deal with a “good girl” like me, my father was astonished to encounter a “wayward” boy like Arjin, who had no intention of making himself scarce or reducing himself into a “grey rock”. My father deployed the same tactic as he had used on me before, such as shaming and ridiculing, which had made me into a “good girl”, but couldn’t make Arjin into a “good boy”. At his wits end, he threatened to beat him up, but of course my father would never do a thing like that. He was never physically violent; his vice was usually manifested in lying and manipulating and escaping. And yes, escaping his family as much as he could was his specialty.

Arjin, Twenty Five Years Ago

When September came, my life went from bad to worse. Every night after dinner, when my aunt and Nalan were washing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen, my uncle would start to scold me on my math homework. I tried to eat my dinner as slowly as possible to delay the inevitability, and I also tried to volunteer to wash dishes, but nothing worked. My uncle’s wrath was as inevitable as the sunrise and sunset.

My friend Big Head told me a good idea that I should just throw away my homework with bad grades, and instead I could just use a piece of paper, write some formulas on it, and use a red pen to give a 100 mark to it. At the time, only our big exams were printed on exam papers, everything else, like little quizzes and homework, were written on regular notebook papers torn from our notebooks. So they were pretty easy to fake. How smart he was. And Big Head got the red pen to help me out.

The scheme worked, but only for two weeks. I was exposed. How come? I didn’t know how my aunt and uncle got the wind of it, but I suspected that my cousin Nalan played a role in it. Her quiet demeanor never fooled me–it was just a disguise for her back-stabbing and other sinister plots. My uncle had a good time delivering his sadistic tirade. Now I was not only a nitwit but also a cheat and a swindler. Then he said something completely terrifying that I was not to go out to play every day after school. Instead I was to get cooped up at home, doing my homework and reading books with Nalan, who was going to keep an eye on me until my aunt and uncle came home from work. If I didn’t comply, I would not be allowed to go home.

“To stay here forever? With You?” I screamed. That felt like a life sentence with no chance of parole. I couldn’t. How could anybody live with the devil and the witch and the mini witch?

I had to do something about it. I couldn’t do anything about my uncle and aunt, who were the authority figures, but I could certainly do something about Nalan, who was the evil little helper to her parents. She badmouthed about my friends all the time to my aunt. My friends were not good enough for her and her family; their grades were no good; their families were not up to the standard; their food was not clean. She was such a mini witch.

The problem was that back home my grandma and my mom always gave me a lot of pocket money, and I could buy a lot of stuff to recruit smart friends who would do anything for me. I had a lot of friends back home. However here in this dusty cold godforsaken place, my aunt and uncle only gave me very little pocket money. My grandma and mother must have wired money to my aunt and uncle since I asked them to, but my aunt and uncle just swallowed my pocket money like a hungry monster. They were evil.

But first, I had to do something about Nalan. I had to… Just to think about that mini witch watching me after school and scolding me for going out to play with my friends would make me puke. I was sick of her and her family. I would do something…

(To Be Continued Here)

16 thoughts on “A Tale Of Two Cousins (Flash Fiction Part 4)

  1. Such an interesting comparison between the two experiences. I loved the line “swallowed my pocket money like a hungry monster.” You are creating a very vivid and clear picture of the “little witch” and her horrible family. I feel the desperation and sadness. I want a happy ending, but I fear I won’t get one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well… actually the ending is quite positive, giving the bad environment the two youngsters have to put up. I am trying to make a comedy, but my comedic skills are very limited. Thank you for your encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is unfolding as a very fine series: I agree with IM re “grey rock “ and then to cap it all off there is “little witch” – a wonderful image that doesn’t leave too much to the imagination

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I try to search for your blog in the WP reader, but can’t find it. This happened several times before and I don’t know why this is the case. Haha, sorry to be so blunt about “little witch”. I am still practicing my writing so that it can be more subtle. Well, probably I am never going to get there. LOL.


    1. Yes, Arjin is my cousin, the boy, and I am Nalan, the girl. And we did have this incidence once that I thought he was going to kill me since he was so angry when living with us. He hated my parents, but he flattered them, especially my father. I couldn’t bring out the complexity of Arjin’s character. Well, I tried, but… It takes time. LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, i have to try to learn subtlety, but I haven’t been able to master the skill. LOL. I often make it too obvious, but the thing is one has to know how to hide and how to present the hiding in an interesting way.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “Grey rock” – perfect description.

    I love how you show the experiences from the different perspectives and how the cousins react to things so differently. You show this so well. It’s sad that their shared harsh experiences drives them apart rather than brings them together. So many times in life this happens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, you are right on the spot. The other day one of my friends said that a good family can help people no matter how bad things are. Unfortunately, when things get bad, people turn on each other.

      Liked by 1 person

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