Posted in Stories and Poems

The Wrong Murder

A walk in the woods helps me relax and release tension. The fact that I’m dragging a body behind me should be irrelevant.

It’s been a week since I found something this good. The moment I saw the poorly dressed, disheveled beggar lift his large, coin-like eyes towards a man on the street, in an attempt to get his pity, I knew I had found gold. It was perfect. The ring was glistening on his finger, drawing me in.

Murdering him had been easy. All I had to do was give him a little sweet taped to the usual charity. As is the case with beggars, he had been starving enough to not bother to question the generosity. The sweet was slow to effect. It was only by midnight that he finally passed into a dreamless sleep from which he would never wake. The street was, predictably, empty when I went to retrieve the body.

Now I drag him behind me, panting a little from the effort but still humming under my breath as the light breeze ruffles my hair. His hands are cuffed as I pull him along. Now and then the sound of his clothes ripping against the uneven ground reaches my ears. Zar would be pleased. I expect to be rewarded after such tremendous success. Maybe a change of clothes? Or is that too much to hope for?

No sooner do I think this than I hear a swooshing noise from behind me. I halt, swallowing.

“Wrong body.”

Dread seeps into my body, rooting me to the ground. I turn around and come face to face with Zar.

His whole body is covered in a black shroud of mist, unwavering. As always, nothing of his body or features is visible due to the black mist enveloping him. The wind stills. His presence is so chilling it seems the forest’s temperature has dropped by a few degrees.

“What?” I squeak.

“He doesn’t have the ring on him,” Zar says. His voice is all honey. Magical and wonderful, so enchanting you might as well drown in it if you don’t know the sweet poison that’s hidden underneath the layers. “Or the knife.”

My eyes widen. I take a step back. Zar never speaks false. But I was sure there was a ring! I glance down at the cuffed hands I’m clenching and almost trip at the horror that clamps my veins at what I see.

This can’t be happening. No no no no no! I frantically release the body and turn it over. I grab at the filth-stained clothes, groping for the ring that I was sure he had on his finger. But there’s nothing there. Terror grits by bones and my hands scramble to find hold of something else, anything to prove that today hasn’t been an utter failure.

A scream rips through me as I realize there’s nothing on it. I release the body and crumble on the ground, shaking. No! What did I do!?

“You have failed,” Zar hisses.

“N—no,” I whisper. “Please.”

“This is the second time.” The still mist around him starts to swirl slowly, the way it does when he’s mad. Without making any sound, his form comes forward, till he’s only a few inches away from me. My breath catches in my throat. I attempt to stand up but his hand, cold and hard as iron grabs my shoulder and shoves me back to the ground. I struggle, attempting to break free of his grip but I might as well be fighting a stone wall.

All around me I hear eerie, whistling noises, like the wind rustling against the trees, except the sound is so deadly I’m sure it’s not the wind. I look up to see the whole forest swirling around me, the trees all seem to be drawing closer, their long, slender branches waving madly. Zar’s one hand is outstretched towards the heavens, and I know he’s the one controlling the woods. When he speaks again, his voice is deadly.

“You know what happens to those who don’t do what I say?”

Without warning, searing pain shoots through my chest. I gasp as I feel biting cold air seep into my body through my mouth, all the way into my lungs, freezing every atom. My chest constricts, my whole body convulsing. Zar releases his grip on me, and I fall face-first to the ground at his feet. There’s no air inside of my body. Any second now I’ll be gone, just like every other fool like me whom Zar has snuffed the life out of when they dared to make a mistake. The noises from the trees grow louder and louder till I feel like they’re upon me, swallowing me whole. I feel like I’m choking. I thrash wildly, clawing madly at the ground, trying to break free of Zar’s spell…

“I think that’s enough.”

Almost as soon as it began, it stops. The wind dies out and the hustle of the trees ceases. The biting chill leaves my bones. My breathing, though still restricted, evens out slowly. The forest is once again quiet. The only sound left now is that of my rattling breaths.

And then I start to sob. I taste mud as I cry hysterically into the ground, my fingernails gripping the soil as if I’ll fall if I let go.

“Why?” I manage to croak. It’s a pain to speak. “Why would you d—do this to me? I’m the only servant you have.”

I don’t dare look up. I hear his voice as if from far, far away.

“Be careful. Or your incompetence might one day be the death of you.”

I don’t hear him walking away. I just hear the rustle of the branches as they make way for him until I know he’s gone. I’m still lying listlessly on the dark ground after he’s walked away, gasping, shaken from my near-death encounter, my entire body hurting, my unanswered question still swirling in my head, hanging in the chill night air.

~Nehal


Inspired by a prompt I found on Pinterest- write a story that begins with, “A walk in the woods helps me relax and release tension. The fact that I’m dragging a body behind me should be irrelevant.”

If any of you are writers, go ahead and give this a shot. I found it interesting. Also let me know how you liked my story, in the comments!

Posted in Book Tags and Challenges, Bookish Stuff

The Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag 2022

Ahem, can we just ignore the fact that for people like me, half of this year went by in exams and instead focus on the better aspect of life which is, ahem, offline classes without break for two years?

Yes, life is good! โ˜บ๏ธโœจ

Hey Pals!! Today, we are doing The Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag! Because it is June…already! Just yesterday, I was going through a surreal moment where I got confused when a Booktuber said “in 2022”. For some reason, I was under the impression that we are still living in 2021 ๐Ÿ™‚. I need a therapist- my ghost.

*dies unceremoniously*

*Nehal’s ghost has replaced her*

Damn, I was waiting for this! It has been months since you died, I was afraid I might be losing my touch but wow, I am still as gorgeous as before *proceeds to gawk at herself in the mirror*

*Nehal has kicked the ghost out*

I mean, how could it (she?) possibly see anything in the mirror anyway, aren’t ghosts invisible to mirrors or something? Uff, let us move on-

So, as I was saying, it is June already, and I just checked my GoodReads, and realized I have read an embarrassingly less amount of books this year- 25 ๐Ÿซ  (excluding the DNFed ones). This emoji conveys the emotion really well, drowning in its own face, that’s me right now.

Okay, I am not gonna waste more of your time, let us just do this tag! Also for those of you who do not know, this tag is basically a way for readers to analyze how their reading is going halfway through the year. So, let’s start!


1: The best book youโ€™ve read so far in 2022?

For this question, I will not name any rereads (so that choosing gets easy, hehe). So, the best book would be The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (thanks to Naemi‘s motivation and Ashmita’s incessant gushing, I finally read it). It was about time that I pushed my way through it and I have to say once I got far in, I started to enjoy it so much that I could not put it down. I actually skipped doing homework because of this book and that usually does not happen. By the time I finished it, I was in absolute shock. I could not stop thinking about how intense this book was.


2: The best sequel youโ€™ve read so far in 2022?

Champion by Marie Lu. The whole book was not as enjoyable as I had expected but it was a fabulous sequel with one of the best endings I have ever read. The last two chapters and the epilogue were so heart-wrenching! It was the perfect kind of ending!


3: New release you havenโ€™t read yet but want to?

Bridge of Souls by V.E. Schwab. This is the final book in the Cassidy Blake series, and even though I was not a big fan of the first two books, they were not bad. The reason I want to read this book is purely to finish this series lol, but I still haven’t started it.


4: Most anticipated release for the second half of 2022?

I do not usually keep a track of new releases but there is one which is on my TBR- Nothing More To Tell by Karen M. McManus. I have read three books by this author and had different experiences with all of them but I really like the writing style, and if possible, I would love to read this book.


5: Biggest disappointment?

Pretty sure that after this unpopular opinion I will have to change my name to “The Hate I Get” because ahem, people never stop raving about it. Please don’t hate me ๐Ÿ˜ญ. I appreciate the concept and the author for writing something this inspiring, but the book in itself was so boring ๐Ÿ’€. There was no plot, which is okay except that that’s the thing that bored me. I don’t really think it was my type. Even though there wasn’t anything wrong, I still somehow found it boring, like I didn’t care one way or the other for the characters. They all had personalities but they still felt basic, their emotions and feelings were written all over the page instead of being showed to us. So, not bad, just disappointing…*flees to Hogwarts before readers can find and muder her*


6: Biggest surprise?

Fame, Fate and the First Kiss by Kasie West. The title of this book sounds kind of meh so I was not really expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did but it turned out to be exactly the kind of distraction I needed at the time I read it. The romance was cute and the side plot, with all the movie shooting scenes, was fun to read.


7: New favorite author?

I do not exactly have a new favorite author but if I have to pick one then it would be Marissa Meyer (the author of The Lunar Chronicles), I guess. Her writing style was so good, even with a clichรฉ plot, the way she wrote her story, the characters and the world-building got me hooked and gave me so much comfort to read.


8: Newest fictional crush?

PC: Pinterest

Kai from The Lunar Chronicles ๐Ÿ˜. He is soooo freaking cute omgg, and caring, flirty aah!!! Please someone get me a Kai ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ญ.


9: Newest favorite character?

Kelsier from The Final Empire! Whenever I think about this book, one moment returns to my head, the most significant Kelsier-related scene. He makes such a great character and an awesome leader who is flawed but determined, who never gives up, and manages to keep the spirits of the group lively when everybody is seeping in despair.


10: Book that made you cry?

Towards the last page of rereading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I got a bit teary-eyed. I read the book for the third time and yet…aah, it is so good though, and it hurts to think about even now.


11: Book that made you happy?

I reread Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer and that was hilarious! Uncle Rick’s sense of humor is pretty unbeatable.


12: Favorite book-to-movie adaptation youโ€™ve seen so far this year?

Uh…none actually. I don’t think I have watched that many movies or TV shows this year. I have been focusing more on other stuff and the urge to watch something has been pretty low lately.


13: Favorite review youโ€™ve written this year?

Bold of you to assume that I write book reviews on my so-called book blog. Let me check.

Okay wow, this is embarrassing. I just checked and um…the last review I wrote dates back to 12 December, 2021. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry ๐Ÿ™‚.


15: What books do you really need to read by the end of this year?

The Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. I started this trilogy last year out of nowhere but I just could not finish it ugh! I really enjoyed the first two books, they were not all that great but I had a lot of fun reading them. I tried the audiobook for the third book but I did not like it and I do not want to read the ebook. So I bought the physical copy and I’m hoping to read it soon.


So. that was all for me! Have you read any of these books? What is the best and the worst book you have read this year? Let me know in the comments ๐Ÿ˜€.

Posted in Book Discussions, Bookish Stuff

5 Popular Books I Gave Up On

Hey Pals!! So, today I’ll be sharing with you a list of 5 Popular Books That I Gave Up On!

The exclamation mark makes it seem like I’m so proud of this ๐Ÿ™„. I’m not, but I’m also not too bothered. I know people find it hard to DNF (do-not-finish) books, but I don’t really have that problem. If I’m truly not enjoying a book at all, I put it down and try to find something better. I know it makes most people feel guilty but I figured life’s too short to read something you don’t like. So anyway, let’s get started!


1: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sรกenz

Because we love starting with controversial stuff like this that works as an easy way to lose followers ๐Ÿ™‚โœจ.

I started the audiobook for this one, and the narration was pretty average. It started good, I thought I would end up loving it. But soon it got kinda weird. In some ways, I could relate to the main character a lot, and when I say this I mean that he was like an actual replica of me in not all, but many, ways. Except for the fact that the things he worried about the most at the age of 15 were the same things I had long since worried about and moved on from. His thought process would have been so relatable for me at one point when I was younger but reading it now just made me feel weird, and wrong for some reason.

The book had a strange, melancholic vibe to it that started to ruin my mood. I hate books that manage to spoil my mood like this without even making me cry. But that was still bearable. I was a little less than halfway through when it just got boring and so I decided I would be better off reading something else.


2: Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

This is my most recent DNFed book. It has a promising synopsis, and it even starts great. It basically has this mystery as to why the two main characters, who once meant the world to each other, have not talked at all for a decade. The story alternates between two timelines and it is pretty interesting but the thing is, I don’t have that much patience. I just need to know what kind of fight happened between these two but the author keeps going back to the stuff of their childhood and then comes back to the present where the two just keep meeting and observing each other, nothing happens. It is written pretty well and has an addicting vibe to it except the wait was killing me. So, I put it down.


3: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I wonder how you’re still here after all the books I’m trashing ๐Ÿคฉ.

This is the most loved book by my favorite Booktuber- Jessethereader. So, my expectations were very high. And I did not find this book terrible, in any sort of way. I just don’t think it was my type, you know? I was reading it and I wasn’t feeling anything. More than half the time I was just bored with how slowly things were happening. Also confession time ๐Ÿ’€: I had watched the movie before reading the book and I was pretty annoyed at how slow the book was as compared to the movie. Overall, this just did not work for me and so I DNFed it.


4: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Oh, are you looking for the unfollow button ๐Ÿ˜ƒ? Or have you already clicked it ๐Ÿ˜ƒ?

This was the biggest disappointment to me because almost everybody gushes about this book. I had such high expectations from this book. As always, it started fine, until it got boring. I don’t think either Achilles or Patroclus had any sort of personality whatsoever, except for the fact that they were in love with each other. The writing style was smooth but it also felt kind of flat to me. I tried so hard to keep reading because I thought maybe the ending would be great but there just came a point where I couldn’t. And hey, it’s not my fault, I tried ๐Ÿ˜ญ.


And last, but not least, I have…

5: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Who’s surprised? ๐Ÿ™‚

I didn’t exactly want to read this book when I did but my friend couldn’t stop raving about it so I was like- fine, let’s just do it. Turns out it was no good. There wasn’t anything wrong with this book except that it was freaking โœจboringโœจ and the main characters were freaking โœจannoyingโœจ. I don’t even have any strong feelings towards it to actually criticize something or say that I absolutely hated it because I didn’t. I just found it very bland and pointless. So I stopped reading halfway through.


So, that was it for me! Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts on them? Let me know a popular book that you DNFed, down in the comments! ๐Ÿ˜€

Posted in Book Tags and Challenges, Bookish Stuff

The Last Book I…Book Tag

Hey Pals!! Today, I’m doing an awesome book tag- The Last Book Iโ€ฆBook Tag! I came across this tag at Leslie’ blog- Books Are The New Black, she kind of tagged me for it? Not exactly, but well ๐Ÿ˜‚. I found it super fun and so I decided to give it a shot! Let’s get started!


1: The last book I bought

The last book I bought was You’ll Be The Death Of Me by Karen M. McManus. I’ve recently ordered two other books but they haven’t arrived yet sadly. As for this book, I didn’t really enjoy it very much unfortunately…


2: The last book I borrowed

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I borrowed it from a friend of mine. We exchanged books for the holidays and I got this in exchange for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. However, both of us haven’t read the books we borrowed yet. I did try reading Pride and Prejudice but I’m not much of a classic fan so I put it down, might pick it up some other time.


3: The last book I was gifted

I was gifted On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous on my birthday by my online buddy- Ashmita @ the fictional journal, such a thoughtful gift ๐Ÿ˜! I finished this book too and I thoroughly enjoyed it, it wasn’t the best but it was really memorable, and I’m so glad I got to read it.


4: The last book I gave to someone else

I gave The Cousins by Karen M. McManus to one of my friends this week. Apparently she’s not enjoying it and has decided to DNF it. I mean I wasn’t that big a fan of it either but it wasn’t that bad. So it sucks that she’s DNFing it not gonna lie but it’s fine, I’ll deal with it ๐Ÿ˜‚.

*secretly cries in the corner*


5: The last book I started

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare. Okay, before anything else, can I just say that this cover is so sexy gorgeous?

I started the audiobook for this. It’s going fine, not mind-blowing yet. But there’s hope. It’s good to be back in the world of Shadowhunters!


6: The last book I finished

Um, the last book I started was City of Lost Souls and the last one I finished is quite predictably its prequel- City of Fallen Angels.


7: The last book I rated 5 stars

I reread Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix recently and gave it 5 stars! ๐Ÿคฉ


8: The last book I DNF’d

The last book I DNFed was Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren. I was enjoying it but then I was kinda bored and just wanted the mystery element to be resolved but I figured there’s still quite a bit of time for that to happen. So I quit reading it.


9: The last book I listened to

The same- City of Lost Souls. Thankfully it doesn’t have any male narrator ๐Ÿคฉ. I’m so glad because I don’t like audiobooks narrated by male narrators, I have so many issues with them that I can write a whole blog on it ๐Ÿ™‚.


I tag: Anyone and everyone who enjoyed this tag and wants to give it a shot! Go for it and notify me if you do a similar post!

That’s all for today! I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know what book you’re currently reading, down in the comments! ๐Ÿ˜€

Posted in Ramblings

Here’s a Question for You!

Hey Pals!! So, since it’s been a while since I’ve had one of those long chats that we used to in the comments, I was thinking maybe this could lead to a bit of interacting, you know? Answer this:

What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you this week? ๐Ÿค”