Guiding Light | #AtoZChallenge

We disagreed on the subject of horror movies. You loved them, and it was a love I did not share. For the longest time, you refused to take my “no” for an answer, and would ask me every Friday night if we could watch one. I’d get annoyed, and once I even toldΒ you to keep Kelso’s horror movie theory from That 70s Show out of our lives. You chortled in a way that said, “I can’t believe that’s what you think this is.” and tried to convince me that you only wanted me to get over my fears, especially my fear of darkness. I said watching horror movies would only aggravate any and all fears I had. Then you told me the only movie you were ever genuinely scared by was Paranormal Activity.

“Which part?” I asked.

“The first one. I didn’t watch any of the sequels. Didn’t think I’d survive it.”

“Well, that’s how I feel about all of them,” I said, laying that argument to rest.


One night, you weren’t there; you were spending the weekend with your mom. I’d had a hard time falling asleep and almost as soon as I did, the power went out. It was pitch dark. My heart was beating so fast and so loud, I felt it would split into two and pop out of my ears.

I wanted to keep my eyes shut, and hoped that when I opened them, the power will have magically come back up. But eyes don’t stay close when you want them to; your eyelids push against your will and roll up like a tent flap. They kept darting around the dark room, waiting for apparitions to pop up, and move things around the room to entertain themselves. Once my eyes adjusted to the darkness, my gaze fell upon your shirt hanging on the rack. The white one with the black stripes, which was two sizes too big for you. I called it your parachute shirt. The white fabric seemed to glow in the dark room.

I got out of bed, gingerly at first, making sure the ground under my feet wasn’t shaky or inexplicably cold. I didn’t want to step on any ghosts. I walked to the rack, picked up the shirt, and hurried back to the bed.

You hadn’t washed it. I thought of the times we had argued about your sloppy laundry habits. Tonight for the first time, I was thankful.

I didn’t need a quilt that night. The stale deodorant-scented, glow-in-the-dark parachute was enough.


Hi everyone! I’m working on a minimalist fiction project for this year’s #AtoZChallenge. The story will be shared in snippets, and the events occur non-sequentially. It is for the reader to interpret and form the “whole”. You can read all the posts here. Join me, and do share links to your AtoZ posts as well!



61 thoughts on “Guiding Light | #AtoZChallenge

  1. Shailaja V April 8, 2017 / 8:06 AM

    I COMPLETELY share her aversion to horror movies. Add slasher movies to the list too! Can’t stand them. But, oh, how sweet, that entire bit about the unwashed shirt and her snuggling into it (although I must confess my clean-laundry persona did a personal gag on that one) but as a reader, full love!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 8, 2017 / 10:02 PM

      Ugh slasher movies are the worst. Most horror movies have intriguing story lines though.

      Hehe, my mom tells me that when I was a kid, I used to wear my dad’s shirt to feel all grown up and brave. I have no memory of this though. If true, I hope they were washed shirts πŸ˜›


  2. Suzy Que April 8, 2017 / 12:12 PM

    Horror movies are not my cup of tea. I avoid them. Liked your ending with the shirt.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. aslifehappens60 April 8, 2017 / 1:00 PM

    Oh the horror of horror movies . I can quite imagine her plight . Lovely story . Also thanks for stirring up my memories of ” that 70’s show ” How I adored the brilliance of Michael Kelso πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lata Sunil April 8, 2017 / 2:11 PM

    Cute. To be honest, yesterday night, the husband was away and I couldn’t sleep till 1 am. Not that I am scared of ghosts, but just so used to having him around.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 8, 2017 / 10:05 PM

      Aww I understand that. Hope he’ll be back soon? (Or you could just have the bed to yourself for a few more days πŸ˜› Whichever option you prefer!)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Shubhangi Srikanth April 8, 2017 / 2:13 PM

    I avoid horror movies though my elder one gorges on them! I do the shirt snuggle sometimes when hubby is on a long tour, not unwashed though! Superb narration as always!

    Shubhangi @ The Little Princess

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 8, 2017 / 10:07 PM

      Hehe, I have never actually done the shirt snuggle, but I think it would be real cute πŸ™‚


  6. Soumya (@soumyaprasad) April 8, 2017 / 3:25 PM

    Horror movies freak the shit outa me too! I couldn’t look at a cupboard after watching ‘The Conjuring’! Thankfully my husband never leaves me alone and I always have him for comfort.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 8, 2017 / 10:08 PM

      Really?? I sort of always assumed you liked horror movies. Yeah well, at least you watched The Conjuring. I wouldn’t even dream of it! *shudders*


  7. Shilpa Garg April 8, 2017 / 4:07 PM

    I enjoyed the visual imagery your words painted throughout this story.
    Boys and their love for horror stories (my son and husband love this genre) and I stay away from it like plague. The shirt part turned out to be sweet!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 8, 2017 / 10:11 PM

      Oh I know, my brother is such a huge fan (he was anyway, not so sure now). And I had to pretend to be all brave whenever he used to watch horror movies on TV (even my parents liked it) when in reality, all I wanted to do was close my eyes and ears and be in my happy place!


  8. Rajlakshmi (@Sunjhini) April 8, 2017 / 4:32 PM

    awww that was so sweet… not the stale smell but the whole sleeping with the t shirt. I absolutely love horror movies… I watch them back to back and have probably watched every single of them available on Youtube… even the crappy ones πŸ˜›

    Travel Tales

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 8, 2017 / 10:13 PM

      You are one gutsy woman! There are some VERY chilling ones on YouTube. Better than any full length movie.


  9. Rajlakshmi (@Sunjhini) April 8, 2017 / 4:33 PM

    awww that was so sweet… not the stale smell but the whole sleeping with the t shirt. I absolutely love horror movies… I watch them back to back and have probably watched every single of them available on Youtube… even the crappy ones πŸ˜›


  10. Roshan Radhakrishnan April 8, 2017 / 6:16 PM

    The direction and journey of this tale continues to keep me invested. Again, this is a timeline very different from yesterday’s…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 8, 2017 / 10:16 PM

      I hope this added one more piece to your jigsaw πŸ™‚


  11. Kaddu April 8, 2017 / 7:05 PM

    Glad she found that shirt! πŸ˜€
    Loved the vivid imagery. I don’t like horror movies either. They’re just idiotic. Masks and sudden movements etc. Stupid.
    Happy AtoZing!
    Chicky @

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 8, 2017 / 10:17 PM

      Hehe, love how everyone is relating to the protagonist in that aspect πŸ™‚


  12. Mithila Menezes April 8, 2017 / 8:25 PM

    Only you could add horror and romance in the same post. Really!

    I too fall in the ‘too scared to watch a horror movie’ category. Forget that. I can’t even read an Agatha Christie murder mystery book at night, without spending the night awake, scared that someone will make me a ghost if I fall asleep even for a minute.

    I think it’s the right time for me to figure out the chronological order of the posts. Eight posts out of twenty six can give a somewhat structural guesstimate! Can’t wait for Monday! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 8, 2017 / 10:20 PM

      I can never forget my roots after all πŸ˜€
      Reading is fine with me, no matter how brutal, damaging, disturbing. Watching… is a bit of a problem.

      Buahaha, well, just based on your comment on Twitter, there *is* one post describing something that happened fairly early in the story, but it’s not the first part.


  13. Modern Gypsy April 8, 2017 / 8:36 PM

    Oh, I so loved the end – falling asleep with his parachute shirt! I’m going to believe this is the after of that nasty breakup – either she found someone better or they made up.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Lalita April 8, 2017 / 8:58 PM

    Ghosts are busy this #A2Z season, with numerous tributes and odes. May they smile back/ down/ across/ over at us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 8, 2017 / 10:24 PM

      Ghosts never rest. They’re the true omnipresent beings!


  15. reemamichelle April 8, 2017 / 10:33 PM

    The horror movies thing is so me! I refuse and I absolutely refuse to watch any horror movies! And the shirt thing was cute πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 10, 2017 / 2:48 PM

      Haha, I don’t like watching them, but I hate missing out on the plots, so I quietly go and read the detailed synopsis on IMDB πŸ˜›


  16. Louise April 8, 2017 / 10:40 PM

    I like the idea of the shirt keeping her company – very sweet! I was trying to see where this story was going, and I like the comfort of the ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Parul Thakur April 8, 2017 / 11:15 PM

    Ha ha! That was good. Paranormal activity did that to me. part was still haunts me but I also enjoy watching. It’s fun though I know after watching I keep Hanuman Chalisa under my pillow πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 10, 2017 / 2:50 PM

      My cousins and I used to carry rosaries to bed after our horror movie marathons. Once one of us bought a glow-in-the-dark one, and we didn’t know it was glow-in-the-dark at the time. At night, we all got so freaked out! πŸ˜›
      I haven’t watched Paranormal Activity. Don’t think I ever will. πŸ˜›

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Vidya Sury April 8, 2017 / 11:53 PM

    Dudette. I know what you are doing. πŸ™‚

    I love watching horror, and invariably binge a bit when I am alone at home…although I confess that I sometimes I put that “veebudhi” pray and sleep. So chicken no?

    It is not nice to put people who don’t like something or are afraid of something –under pressure by making them experience it.

    Hugs! Waiting for Monday. TGIS for now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 10, 2017 / 2:51 PM

      You know I get really paranoid when people tell me they know what I’m doing and I don’t know yet what I’m doing! So please tell me what am I doing! :O

      If I’m alone at home, I don’t even read Shaun Hutson books, let alone watch movies 😐 So no, you’re so not chicken!


  19. deepagandhi April 9, 2017 / 1:01 AM

    Aww..It was so cute of her to sleep with the shirt. Same pinch..I also hate horror movies and can’t watch them.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. swathishenoy April 9, 2017 / 4:39 AM

    I wasn’t scared of ghosts until recently. When my roommates slept because they were scared of the movie, I sat till late and used to finish watching them. Never was a problem before. But now that I stay alone, I am more open to the concept of ghosts! It’s like all that I read and watched before is coming back to me now! Exactly why I am reading blogs instead of sleeping at this hour πŸ˜›

    I loved the bit where she gets the shirt and uses it for company. So cute!

    Great Indian Sale

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 10, 2017 / 2:57 PM

      You remind me of my college roommate. She would watch all these scary movies late into the night (we had free wifi in the hostel and had just discovered torrents), a serious frown on her face, brows wrinkled, and all. In the beginning, she’d call me too, but I’d flat out refuse. Later on, she and another friend started watching together, and they both used to tell me I was “missing out on so much”. I was happier missing out on it, tbh πŸ˜›


    • Sreesha Divakaran April 10, 2017 / 3:00 PM

      The Ring led to one of my classmates chopping her hair off, cos she couldn’t bear to see it around her shoulders anymore, especially while in the shower. True story!

      Although, I love the plot of that movie! It’s really good.


    • Namratha Varadharajan April 10, 2017 / 8:41 PM

      Wow! Poor friend of yours. Hair in the drains really creeped me out for awhile after that movie.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Natasha April 9, 2017 / 1:24 PM

    Aww love the brilliant weave of words. I personally love believable horror and yes wearing the Dh’s shirt or cuddling up to it is something I’ve done in the past.

    Loved it.

    More power to you Sreesha❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 10, 2017 / 3:01 PM

      Aww, so glad you could relate to the shirt bit πŸ™‚

      Thanks, Natasha! ❀


  22. sanchwrites April 9, 2017 / 4:16 PM

    Oh I could so identify with the descriptions in the dark — you want to shut your eyes tightly but it still opens! And then you ‘see’ things that are probably even not there. Loved this one as well πŸ™‚

    Ghazal – Love

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 10, 2017 / 3:02 PM

      I sometimes even feel creepy-crawlies on my skin. Eeck!

      Thanks, Sanch! πŸ™‚


  23. inquisitivegeet April 9, 2017 / 4:30 PM

    Horror movies give me chills and thrills at the same time. When I watch it with my husband, he’s the one who gets more chills!

    All in all, it was a cute thing to wear that shirt!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 10, 2017 / 3:02 PM

      Haha, then he should borrow your shirt πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚


  24. crissdude April 9, 2017 / 9:46 PM

    Cute lil story Sreesha.

    I love horror movies. Wifey doesn’t. That kinda settles how many horror movies I will get to watch in a year,

    I love all my deos. Wifey doesn’t……

    Do drop by mine


    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 21, 2017 / 8:10 AM

      Haha, I’m with your wife on the horror movies bit. Deos, maybe not. πŸ˜€


  25. Aditi Kaushiva April 12, 2017 / 5:17 PM

    The way you write! I’m such a fan!

    This was so sweet. I love the smell of husband’s tee, so comforting. I could picture this, scene by scene, loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

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