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My life has been a mash-up lately, and I’ve just realised I’m way too late for the Mash-up Blogfest. But I can’t let it pass without giving it a go, so here goes 😀

It is a first draft, so very rough, an excerpt from a science fiction WIP for a YA audience..

@font-face { font-family: “ヒラギノ角ゴ Pro W3”; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }p.Body, li.Body, div.Body { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; color: black; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; } Sucking on a popsicle, Robbie stepped on to the pavement, going nowhere in particular, when a man in a black suit approached him. Now his mother had told him to be careful of men, or women of all types, whether in black suits or not, so he turned away and walked off towards home. Home was just down the street, in one of Kuala lumpur’s richer neighborhoods near Ampang.
“Omar!” someone called him from behind. Had to be the man in the suit, but how did he know Robbie’s name, the name he was called in school? No one called him that, it was something he had to write on his notebooks “ Omar Nazri”, and that was that. At home he was called Robbie, and that was the name everyone knew in the neighborhood, and called him at school.

He was wondering if to turn, when he realized that he had slowed down and the man had now caught up with him. “Omar, stop! Can I talk to you for a minute?, said the man, bending a little as if his body was pulled by strings Robbie could not see. The suited man had a pasty face, yellowish, slitted eyes. He pronounced each word like he had a popsicle in his mouth, too. “Who are you?” asked Robbie, with all the directness of an eight-year old. “How do you know me?” “Well….. You live up at that big beige house with red eaves, don’t you?” The popsicle in the suited man’s mouth seemed to have grown. It nearly thrust out of his left cheek, an over-ripe fruit.
“So what is it to you?” said Robbie, walking off again. His house was definitely in sight. He turned to check if his interrogator was following, and started when he caught a glimpse of the man’s hands as he walked away. A glint on the stranger’s hands, but those were not rings, they were fingers.
His friend Ahmad’s mother was watering the plants on her second floor balcony, and Robbie called out to her, “Hello, Makcik!” But kept an eye on the suit, just in case. It kept retreating, and he imagined a metal skeleton wearing a suit and a human face.
She returned the greeting, “Hello. Who was that?” Her eyes were curious under the printed scarf, her hands on her hips.
Which is when Robbie realized that the man was melting away and had already turned into the main road. “Oh nobody, Makcik. I’ll go home now.” Robbie did not ask for Ahmad because he knew Ahmad was in Singapore, vacationing with his cousins. All his friends had gone of to Cameron Highlands, Penang, Singapore, Phuket, or even London and Switzerlnd. But for him, there was no such luck. He had his mum, but his father lived in uniform, framed in pictures hung on the living room wall.
As he pushed the gate open, he jumped out of his skin. On the steps sat the pasty-faced man, clinking his metal fingers together, making a sound like one of the black plastic guns Robbie’s uncle had bought him for his birthday. He met the stranger’s yellow eyes for a small second, then ran, hoping to reach Ahmad’s home in time.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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