Skip to main content


The Last Riddle

The Last Riddle

"It mourns when we pass it; it rejoices when we take its hand. Many call it a monster, but for those with no remorse, it’s more of a friend. A friend that takes us out of the darkness and towards an unknown future. A friend that shows us the value of what we think obsolete and eternal. Forever it waits because it trusts we will go. But forever it’s not an option for us. To be forever is to stop feeling the way you did once. Is to forget, not by sickness or desire, but for time itself. Without it, there’s no reason to fear. There’s no reason to believe; or hold the hand of a loved one a bit longer at night; or glance at the sky before clouds cover the stars; or travel along the sea before it goes dry; or climb the highest mountain before we are taken underground. There’s no reason to do anything because everything can be done one day. It makes memories a treasure, cause they can’t happen again. Without it—there’s no reason to live. Dear death, I ask, take my soul, for I see what I’m not and hold onto what is gone. Dear death, I plea, let me feel, to those who I wish the best, I’ll see you all at the other end. By dying tonight, I’m alive. Cooper Harrington." That’s what a young poet’s suicide note on the hands of Billy Mccgarth read. He had no leads as to how the happiest kid on the block drank arsenic from a porcelain cup adorned by cartoon stickers. Yes, such details as a porcelain cup did not pass the brownish, sharp eyes of officer Mccgarth. And he did well in asking the poet’s old aunt where it came from. The woman slipped another tear from her cheek. It was from a friend, she said in spite of her trembling lips. “Does this friend have a name?” She blew her nose on the pink handkerchief and directed the man to the front house. Apparently, the girl next door was the closest friend of her son. Unfortunately, she died two years ago from a cardiac sickness. Billy Mccgarth did not stop his investigation, not even when the cops from his unit decided to leave the judgment up to god. Billy was not a believer of the high powers, he preferred to serve justice with his bare hands. So he kept searching for the answer. “Can I take a minute of your time, Miss Nottleblanc?” Billy said, crossing the pair of tainted, yellow doors of the school director’s office. The woman bowed her head, motioning the officer to take a seat in front of her. “I hope this does not take long, my husband is waiting for me at home,” Miss Nottleblanc said. Billy began the brief explanation, skipping what everyone inside the small town of Arvareth already knew. It was simple: There’s a riddle without an answer, a murder without a reason, and a middle-aged officer who wanted to find any of the latter before closing his eyes to sleep tight. “I’m sorry, officer, but there isn’t much about Cooper. He was a good student, the silent type. Very few times did he enter my office, most of them to deliver something from the teachers,” Miss Nottleblanc said. “Yes, I heard as much. May I take a look at his classmate’s addresses?” “Sorry but I thought he committed suicide.” Billy narrowed his eyes at the stoical woman. “That’s true. He killed himself, and I want to know why.” “Why?” The woman rolled on the chair, taking papers and placing them on her suitcase. “People who end their lives so young usually are under drugs or after forbidden love around here. We don’t have many deaths as Cooper’s.” “What about Stephany? She attended your school.” “Oh, my officer, she died from a heart attack back at her house. We had nothing to do with that! I’m sorry but if you want to interrogate me, you might as well get an order, excuse me.” Miss Nottleblanc stood up, hurrying Billy towards the exit. He had no more option than to follow her lead. He was on a personal quest now, which meant there would be no backup or support from his department. On the contrary, if any of his superiors were to find out he still hasn’t sent his report, they would fine him immediately. Billy jumped inside his car, took a cigarette out, and lowered the window. Smoking was his escape, as suicide was Cooper’s. He thought he understood the kid. Last summer, he attended one of those free events at a local bar. By chance, he came across one of his poems. He remembered. Vibrant, radiant green, palming my skin. A reference to the grass, he thought then. He liked to guess what the words meant. Each verse like puzzles diverting him from the same patrols and calls of aid that resulted in trivial accidents. Billy sighed. A deep cigar puff and smoke went out of his yellow teeth. Like everyone, he knew people took their lives when they did not feel like living it anymore, or a tragic fate was set upon them. But Cooper had a brilliant future as an artist, and if he did not succeed, he could inherit his family’s store. The only event that fit the profile was Stephany’s, the young one’s best friend, death. “‘By dying tonight, I’m alive...’ a code?” he asked himself. “Why Cooper? Why did you take your life in such a painful way?” Billy got home, heavy footsteps dragged across a metal gate. His house was nothing big but sustained the four people living on it. He heard the calls of his kids coming from the kitchen, and the smell of vegetables got a grin on his face. He hated vegetables, but the young woman who cooked them while humming a popular song she probably just heard from the radio… Well, that was an entirely different story. He sat with a grunt and placed his coat on the empty chair beside him. “Dad!” a little shouted. She crept her way on top of her father’s lap and smiled widely at the tired face. “Can we play cards tonight?” “Sorry, babe, maybe tomorrow,” he said. “Abby, don’t bother your father, he must be exhausted!” the woman said. She kneeled behind the refrigerator, and the little girl pouted in return. “You heard mom, sit down,” An older girl intervened. She took Billy’s coat, hanged it, and sat on the table. The meal felt different that night for Billy. He sweated under the low roof and tight walls, and his daughters’ chitchat got him dizzy at times. Heavy eyelashes led him right to the bed after finishing his dinner. “Finally!” He chanted when his back hit the mattress, about to find comfort and sleep. Yet a knock on his door got him to face up—it was the older girl. She wore a rugged dress that did not cover her knees and a ponytail that kept her curly hair obedient. “Dad, can I ask you something?” she said. Her hand scratched her arm. For Billy, that was a sign to sit up. He did and called the girl. She dragged herself and sat beside him. Without facing Billy’s eyes; she spoke. “I know you had a lot of work lately, but I… I thought maybe we could...” she stammered and drifted off. Billy sighed. “Tell me, Leigh, I won’t get mad.” The girl fidgeted with her hair, pressed lips, and wishful eyes turning towards him. “I and Abby have vacations next week, can we go camping? It could be anywhere, but she wanted to camp so I thought maybe we could…?” Again, her words died out. Probably because of Billy’s wrinkled gesture, or dried skin. The man tilted his head, he thought back to the load of work he would face if he were to take the week off. Then again, it’s been almost six months since he did not spend time with his daughters. A balance popped in his mind and the girl’s hopeful wishes began to dissipate. “I don’t know Leigh, maybe next—” The girl stood up suddenly, cutting Billy’s words with her clenched fists. “I knew it, I knew you were going to say that!” she snapped. “Leigh…” “You are always working, always busy, always worried about something! How do you live with yourself? Abby waits for you at the door when you are late! Mom cook for you and clean everything you mess up, and when we ask you to help you get mad or tell us to get mom! Even if you are’s like you don’t exist!” Billy froze. Echoes of a voice not well known but with a strong soul filtered through his mind and stroke down his heart. A friend that shows us the value of what we think obsolete and eternal. It makes memories a treasure, cause they can’t happen again. By dying tonight, I’m alive. “Cooper, you crazy poet,” Billy whispered to himself, “your suicide was a tribute to your friend’s life.” Leigh stepped back, her furrowed face replaced by widened eyes at the sight of her father’s rough laugh. A gentle tear fall from the cheeks, bringing the pale skin a bit of color. He faced up, meeting the pair of brownish orbs of his family in the girl’s puzzled expression. “Is your sister awake?” he asked. “...I think so….” “Good, take the cards out,” Billy said. He stood up, passing the girl by and brushing her hair on the way. “and don’t think you’ll be going on a trip without paying the fee first. Tonight it’s poker night.”
Author : Yu Gen ( Ecuador )
( Instagram Handle : @yugen2001 )
Lable : Inflame Story


Popular posts from this blog

"AS YOU SOW, SO SHALL YOU REAP" Short Story in English

AS YOU SOW, SO SHALL YOU REAP One night, three thieves stole a lot of money from a rich man’s house. They put the money in a bag and went to the forest. They felt very hungry. So, one of them went to a nearby village to buy food. The other two remained in the forest to take care of the bag of money. The thief that went for food had an evil idea. He ate his food at a hotel. Then he bought food for his two mates in the forest. He mixed a strong poison with the food. He thought, “Those two will eat this poisoned food and die. Then I will get all the money for myself.” Meanwhile, the two wicked men in the forest decided to kill their mate on return. They thought that they would divide the money between the two of them. All the three wicked men carried out their cruel plans. The thief who wanted all the money for himself came to the forest with the poisoned food. The two men in the forest hit him and killed him. Then they ate the poisoned food and died. Thus, these evil people met with an e

"Find your own destiny" An English Short Story with moral

"Find your own destiny" An English Short Story with moral Once five men were caught in a thick forest. The first man said, I will go left. Because my Intuition said so. The second one said, I will go the right because the right comes from the word rightness. The third one said, I will go back the way we came. The fourth one said, I will go straight. We should move forward, the forest will end and we will go somewhere new. The fifth one said, you are all wrong. There is a better solution. Wait for me.He climbed the tallest tree he could find while everyone else went their own way. From above he saw the shortest way to exit. He could also see the order in which the others would exit. He understood the problem and found the best solution. He knew that he did everything right. The others are were wrong. They were stubborn and they didn't listen to him. He was the real wise man. But he was wrong. Everyone was right. They were all wise. The man who went to t

"A BIRD IN A CAGE" An English Story in Short

"A BIRD IN A CAGE" An English Story in Short learning English by story One day, when I was a young bird, my life completely changed. I do not know how long ago it was, but I still remember flying through the sky looking down at the green forest below.  All of a sudden, while I was looking for food, everything went black.  I crashed into something soft and was unable to move. I struggled to get loose, but I was not able to get free. I was put into a box. The walls were very hard, and I did not have much room to move. I hit the walls with my wings and yelled for help. After a while, since no one came to help me, I just gave up.  Inside the box, I found some water and food to eat. I do not know how long I was in the box.  Suddenly, the box opened and a bright light blinded me. I dropped to the ground. I felt the warmth of the sun on my back. It took a minute for my eyes to adjust to the light. When I was able to see, I looked around. I was FREE!  I stretched my wings and waved t

​​"Helping Others" An English motivational short story with moral

​​"Helping Others" An English motivational short story with moral short story Once there was a small boy named Shankar. He belonged to a poor family.  One day, he was crossing through the forest carrying some woods. He saw an old man who was very hungry.  Shankar wanted to give him some food, but he did not have food for his own.  So he continued on his way.  On his way, he saw a deer who was very thirsty.  He wanted to give him some water, but he did not have water for himself.  So he went on his way ahead. Then he saw a man who wanted to make a camp but he did not have woods.  Shankar asked his problem and gave some woods to him.  In return, he gave him some food and water.  Now he went back to the old man and gave him some food and gave some water to the deer. The old man and the deer were very happy.   Shankar then happily went on his way. However, one day Shankar fell down the hill.  He was in pain but he couldn’t move and no one was there to help him.  But, th

"The Crow and The Necklace" An English Story in Short

"The Crow and The Necklace" An English Story in Short learning English by story Once a crow and his wife built their nest atop a huge banyan tree beside a river. They were very happy there. But when the female crow laid her eggs, they were in for an unpleasant shock. A huge snake who lived in a hole at the bottom of the tree came up and ate all their beautiful eggs. The crows were helpless with anger and pain. “You can’t let this wicked snake eat our children anymore," cried the female crow bitterly. “You have to find a way to save them from him,’ she said. “Let us go to our friend the jackal. He is very clever. He will surely be able to help us with a solution," said the male crow. They both flew to the cave in the forest where their friend the jackal lived. The jackal saw them coming. “Hello my friends. Why do you look so sad and worried? Can I help you in any way?"he asked. “Every time my wife lays eggs in our nest, a wicked snake living at the foot of the t

"Love is in the Air" An English Story in Short

"Love is in the Air" An English Story in Short learning English by story Every summer, Penny travels to a family reunion barbeque. Penny is never excited, and this year is no different. She dreads the drive.  She does not like talking to her relatives. And she does not like the smell of hamburgers. (Penny is a vegetarian.) When Penny arrives, she sees lots of familiar faces. It is July and Uncle Vernon is wearing a sweater. Uncle Vernon is always cold. It’s very mysterious.  She sees her cousin Polly. Polly has six children. The youngest one screams. Then the oldest one screams. Polly’s children are always screaming.  She sees many of her other cousins in the field playing softball. They play a softball game every year, and it always ends in a big argument.  Penny wonders, again, why they never solve it. Then Penny sees an incredibly handsome man. She stares at him. He catches her staring. He smiles and walks over to her. Penny is very nervous. She is nervous because a handso

Hard Work and Laziness" An English motivational short Story with moral

​​🍂"Hard Work and Laziness" An English motivational short Story with moral learning English by story In a large house, lived a lazy Young Man. He woke up in the afternoon, ate his meals and then lay in bed again. He had a parrot named Polly. She watched this lazy fellow and was puzzled by him. One day, Polly asked the Young Man, “Don’t you get tired of lying in bed all day and all night? The sun has been out hours ago, and people have finished half their day’s work.” “Why are you so lazy?” she asked, as she ruffled her feathers. The Young Man yawned and answered, “Every morning, when I wake up, two friends whisper in my ears. One friend is Hard Work and the other Laziness.” “Hard Work says, Wake up! There is lots to do today. Time is passing by, don’t waste it by sleeping.’ But Laziness says, Why the hurry to wake up? Sleep some more. Why should you work while there are others to work hard?”‘ The Young Man continued, “I listen patiently to both my friends. All

​​"Appreciation of Hard Work" An English motivational short story with moral

​​"Appreciation of Hard Work" An English motivational short story with moral short story One young academically excellent person went to apply for a managerial position in a big company. He passed the first interview, the director did the last interview, made the last decision. The director discovered from the CV that the youth’s academic achievements were excellent all the way, from the secondary school until the postgraduate research, Never had a year when he did not score. The director asked, “Did you obtain any scholarships in school?” The youth answered “none”. The director asked,  “Was it your father who paid for your school fees?” The youth answered, “My father passed away when I was one year old, it was my mother who paid for my school fees”. The director asked,  “Where did your mother work?” The youth answered, “My mother worked as clothes cleaner. The director requested the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and p

"The Four Smart Students" An English motivational short story with moral

​​🍂 "The Four Smart Students" An English motivational short story with moral learning English by story One night four college students were out partying late night and didn’t study for the test which was scheduled for the next day. In the morning, they thought of a plan. They made themselves look dirty with grease and dirt. Then they went to the Dean and said they had gone out to a wedding last night and on their way back the tire of their car burst and they had to push the car all the way back. So they were in no condition to take the test. The Dean thought for a minute and said they can have the re-test after 3 days. They thanked him and said they will be ready by that time. On the third day, they appeared before the Dean. The Dean said that as this was a Special Condition Test, all four were required to sit in separate classrooms for the test. They all agreed as they had prepared well in the last 3 days. The Test consisted of only 2 questions with the tota

"The Priest and The Goat" An English motivational short story with moral

​​"The Priest and The Goat" An English motivational short story with moral English short story Once, there lived a pious Priest in a small village. He was very innocent and simple minded person, used to perform religious rituals. On one occasion, he was rewarded with the goat for his services by a wealthy man. The Priest was happy to get a goat as the reward. He happily slung the goat over his shoulder and began the journey towards his home. On the way, three cheats (Thugs) saw the Priest taking the goat. All of them were lazy and wanted to cheat the Priest so that they could take away the goat. They said, “This goat will make a delicious meal for all of us. Let’s somehow get it”. They discussed the matter amongst themselves and devised a plan to get the goat by fooling the Priest. After deciding the plan, they got separated from one another and took different hiding positions at three different places on the way of the Priest. As soon as, the Priest arrive