Short story Girl in Front Dija Mulla

Girl in front – original short story

Queuing up to use cash machine at train station.

Girl in front. Long hair. Fruity perfume.

Tap tap tapping her feet.

Queue moves forward. She drops her purse. I swoop down. Pick it up. She turns around.

‘Oh thank you!’ Big wide smile. Warms my soul.

She turns around again.

And starts tap tap tapping her feet again.

My heart is racing. Skin burning.

Queue moves forward and it’s her turn to use cash machine.

She gets money out.

I get money out.

She goes to the platform.

I follow.

She is the one. My one true love.

The first person to smile at me in months. The first person to speak to me in months.

She must be thinking about me, as she climbs on the train. Sits down. Opens her book and begins to read.

I bet she’s not even reading. Day dreams about me replacing words on the page.

When she pulls out a phone. Starts tap tap tapping on it. I bet she’s telling all her friends about the great guy she just met.

I follow her all afternoon. When she pops to the pharmacy, meets her friends for coffee and goes to the hair dresser, I’m there too. In her mind and behind her. Watching.

Watching my one true love. Being truly lovely.

She’s walking along a road full of terraced houses. Pretty road. Smells like roses.

Stops outside one of the houses.

Turns around.

Looks at me.

Brown eyes pierce my heart.

‘STOP following me!’

She pushes the door open and the slam echoes all over the street.

I stay. My insides warming. Head light.

Make a note of her house number.

My one true love.

I’ll watch you forever.

 Short story by Dija Mulla about being followed


Thanks you for reading! This short story was inspired by the book The Collector by John Fowles.
Read more of my short stories if you liked this one.
Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below, and follow me on Twitter if you’re into all that jazz.
Cheers!
D
Short story about waiting at the bus stop

At the bus stop – 3 minute short story

Early morning waiting for a bus. Smell of shampoo still lingering. Eyes heavy with sleep.

Purple Coat Woman arrives at the bus stop, her coat’s too thin, she’ll be cold today.

Headphone Guy follows, dressed quite smartly. Maybe he’s got a job interview. Well done mate good luck!

Car stops nearby, Man with Shoulder Bag gets out waving his wife goodbye and comes to stand with us. His wife drives off. Cute couple.

Where’s Girl With Bun? The bus’ll be here any minute now.

She clobbers over finally.

Phew! We’re all here.

We all stand in silence, the same five people.

We’ve been getting this bus at the same time every week day for the last two years.

We’ve never spoken.

Short story writer dija mulla

Progress Update: won the TLC bursary

For anyone interested in following my writing career here’s an update.

Okay so I recently won the TLC Free Reads for Young Writers Bursary. The Literary Consultancy (TLC) offers professional critiques and edits to writers for a fee. But with the bursary I was lucky enough to get a professional critique for free! Which I’m really happy about!

I got the feedback last week and it’s been so useful and encouraging having a professional editor look at an extract of my work. It’s spurred me on to try even harder and hone my writing even more.

Here’s a quote from the feedback:

Dear Dija

There are a lot of positive things to say about this. It treads less well trodden paths in terms of fantasy novels and there are intriguing ideas about the cultures and society beginning to emerge. Your characters are clearly drawn and I can see that they should develop well and engage the reader. I do think there are more things to be done, but you’ve made a good beginning and I think the book could well find an enthusiastic readership.

And here’s an extract of the work I sent over to them: (note: this is also your first taste of the novel I’m currently working on!)

The forest smelt like it always did. Of clay caked hands and crumbling bark. He breathed it in. His last breath as himself. As his own true self.

He stood up straight, head bowed and hands moulded into fists.

He felt deaf.

Disturbed only when a voice screamed his name.

Other things that are happening:

I’ve started a new project, blending fiction writing with fashion. It’s a way for me to expose my writing to a whole new audience. Fashion is beautiful and is a creative outlet for so many people. I thought why not try adding my favourite creative outlet to it! And see what happens.

So far I’ve had some good feedback for the two shorts that I’ve written – most of the feedback is about the outfits but still I guess it’s a start. And anyway, it’s nice to know that I’ve got a decent fashion sense ;) Feel free to check out the fashion short stories here.

Exploring new dimensions

You may have noticed that my two most recent short stories, BFFs and Breathless on the Roof have a similar feeling of craving for friendship. It’s a new dimension that I’m exploring. I feel like there’s so many themes to human friendship and I’m really enjoying exploring the yearning side of it. Girls just falling in love with the idea of being best friends and being overcome with the ache of having a connection that deep.

Have you read them? Let me know what you think. As you already know, this blog is a way for me to practice my writing and improve it. And the only way I can do that is with honest feedback.

Collaboration Project

I may also have a colab project happening with the Writing Squad, more on that when it’s finalised.

Books books BOOKS!!!!

One last thing then I’ll shut up I promise! I’ve been devouring books left right and centre! If you’ve read and good book and wanna share it with me, please let me know. You can never have too many book recommendations in your life right?

I applied for the TLC bursary via NAWE and Wes Brown. They’ve got another round of applications coming up, so if you’re interested check it out.

– D

 

BFFs – cute short story

 

The floor vibrates under my feet. The tube jerks. My hand slips and I stumble. Whirls of faces.

My forehead bumps something hard.

I look up. She looks up.

Rubs her head, smiles silly and we both stand up.

She looks away. Strangers again.

But I know we shared something. Something intimate. I felt it.

She’s wearing a suit. Nice. It suits her. I smile at my own pun. Smile at the idea that maybe one day she’ll hear it.

She checks her phone. No signal down here silly, we’re underground. I want to say to her.

She tuts with her perfect mouth. She must be running late. Poor thing. That’s just British transport sweety, you can never rely on it. I say to her. In my head.

The tube jerks again. This time both of us are ready. We catch eyes and she smiles again.

The doors swing open and she teeters out with perfect black heels.

The tube moves on.

Where did you get those shoes? I want to ask her. I can never find black heels I like, but yours, well, they’re absolutely perfect.

Maybe next time you’re around, she’ll say, we can shop for them together. Maybe check out the sales.

Hmm let me check my calendar I’ll say. My heart beating fast. Knowing it’s empty anyway.

Oh, I’ll say, I’m not free tomorrow but maybe Saturday?

Great, she’ll say, see you then, she’ll say. We’ll go out afterwards. It’ll be fun. She’ll say.

And just like that we’ll be BFFs. That’s what she’ll call us. It’s a little lame for me, but it’ll sound nice when she says it.

The tube doors slide open. More violently this time. I get out.

Footsteps echoing.

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Flash fiction

Para – 3 minute short story

3pm. Walking to the corner shop. Bread, milk, maybe something for dinner tonight.

Cars driving past. Cars staring at him and his black leather jacket. Cars laughing cuz it didn’t suit him. He stumbled and the cars laughed even louder.

A woman walked the other way. Middle aged, laden with food shopping. She veered slightly away from him when she walked past. She must hate him. Freaked out by how weird he was. His forehead wet.

Automatic doors hesitated before letting him in.

Multi grain or white bread? Or maybe a baguette. Side glance from shelf stacker. Only losers ate white bread. He put it back, armpits soaked.

Ready meal? Cauliflower cheese was on offer. Elderly man picked up the pasta bake next to it. ‘Excuse me lad.’

He shrank away from the isle towards the Dairy fridge. Heart beating fast.

The elderly man probably smirking at the cauliflower cheese. Who eats that?

Green milk, definitely green milk. Good for tea and biscuits. ‘excuse me, can you pass me the last yoghurt pot, I can’t reach?’ Teenage girl, short.

‘Sure’ cough, swallow phlegm. ‘sure’. He could feel her eyes on his neck. I hope I don’t end up like him .

He handed her the yoghurt. Hands slippery, face hot.

People stared as he walked past them empty handed, breathing hard and breathing fast.  Probably wanted to steal something. Look at him, so chubby. Probably a tramp.

Every bit of his skin dripping.

He could try again tomorrow.

There were still some custard creams in the cupboard.

 

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Girl reading book

This 2015 you should read more books

 

If you’re thinking of making any New Year’s Resolutions this year, reading more should definitely be one of them.

Studies show that reading vastly improves your cognitive function, your social interactions and your ability to learn.

But Deej! I won’t have time to read! I hear you cry.

Reading is time consuming, I’ll give you that. And it is a somewhat personal hobby. It’s not like watching a TV show, which you can watch with a load of people all at once.

And in today’s world wind culture of working over time, gym, cooking your own food, binge watching and checking all your social media profiles, sleeping etc spare time really is precious.

Here are some ways you can fit reading into your busy lifestyle:

Carry a book with you at all times.

That way, whenever you have some spare time (like sitting on the train, waiting in a queue, or your lunch break) you can whip your book out to kill time and look highly cultured doing it!

Get a Kindle app/ other reading app

Same thing again but you’ll have more reading choice. Let’s face it we all use our phones to avoid looking awkward. And sometimes it can be challenging when you have no internet connection (like on the tube) and that’s where the kindle app really shines! You don’t need internet to read an ebook – which has saved me on many 4 hour long train journeys with no internet! Ebooks are also generally cheaper than physical books, so it’ll save you some dollar as well! :)

Get hooked

Find a really good book that will get you well and truly hooked. I always find that whenever I’m reading a book I get really really into, I’ll make time for it. I’ll plan my lunch break and evenings around my book, because I need to know what happens next!

You can check out book recommendations online, ask friends what books took over their lives, or even head over to your local library to find good books.

My top tip for finding a good book is to read the first page before you buy it/ borrow it. It’ll give you a feel for the writer’s style and if it makes you want to turn the page and read on then you know it’s the book for you.

Learn about the benefits of reading for positive reinforcement

Sometimes I pick reading over other past times (like going on Facebook, watching TV shows. Why? Because I know it’s good for me. And doing things that are good for me makes me feel good. Like when I eat fruit or a healthy meal, I feel a triumphant smile creeping on my face because I know the food I just ate is doing some good. Do the same with reading.

Reading is so good for you! This 2015 make reading your top priority!

Reading helps with stress relief and mental health

Research by the University of Sussex found that reading was the most effective way to relieve stress, better than listening to music, having a cuppa or taking a walk.  Reading a good book or interesting article (like this one wink wink!) can help distract you from your worries and help ease tension.

Here’s a comment by one of the researchers Dr. David Lewis as reported in The Telegraph:

‘It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination.’

Whilst reading fiction can help you escape your worries and transport you into the mind of someone else, reading self-help books can actually help improve mental health and therapists are actually recommending them to their patients!

Reading can also make you more comfortable with ambiguity. According to some researchers, a heightened need for closure can be a bad thing. It can impede your rationality and your creativity. It can make you struggle with ambiguous situations and can make you quite narrow minded.  Researchers found that those who read more fiction are more comfortable with uncertainty and chaos – which are attitudes known to allow higher level thinking and greater creativity. Sources: Research by the University of Toronto and summary of the research by Refine the Mind.

Reading improves your emotional intelligence

A study by two psychologists from the New School of Research in New York found that reading literary fiction helps you to detect and understand the emotions of your friends and family, which in turn can help improve your relationships with them.

Recognising and learning to deal with different emotions is becoming more and more important in the workplace. According to business magazine Forbes, 90% of top performers have high emotional IQs and people who can control their emotions and who are more receptive of others around them also earn more money on average than people who weren’t as receptive.

Reading makes you cleverer and your brain sharper

Research by Cunningham and Stanovich has shown that reading helps you spot patterns quicker giving your analytical skills a nice boost.

According to Life Hack, reading helps you build vocabulary as you’re seeing unfamiliar words in context. It helps you learn new things about the world. Good books are well researched on the topics that they are about and reading them can in turn teach you about those topics in a more entertaining way than simply reading an encyclopaedia. Reading can also improve your memory, as you’re forced to remember a whole load of names, places, rules about magic, fantasy worlds etc.  And finally writing can help improve your writing.

One of my English teachers at school was dyslexic. I know right? He used to hate school, had no interest in learning and was always placed at the bottom of the class because of his undiagnosed dyslexia. However that all changed when he discovered poetry. He fell in love with it and it introduced him to fiction books and he became a massive bookwork, a by-product of this was that his overall learning improved in other aspects of his school life. So much so that he did really well in school, graduated and became an English teacher.

Whether you struggle with reading or even if you’re recently learning English (or another language), reading books will change your life.

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Here’s a good tool for book recommendations.

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Check out my short stories