Q. Write a story, true or imaginary, entitled, ‘What a strange day!’ By Unzila Mati

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The Bulgaria Chef

He heard the sounds of claps, haunting him in his dreams. The same slow, hard claps that had lived in his mind for the past two weeks. He had not known why, so ignored the fact. He remained unbothered by the same dream that would get louder by the minute and lower in the next second like a seismic activity happening in the Alps that goes high and low. It would occur again and again, the exact thing until the next day he repeated his routine. This time leading him into a restaurant, unconscious, while he dreamt. As he got closer, he felt the isolation, the eeriness, the dullness that dwelled alongside the restaurant. For he did not know that the place was owned by a Bulgarian chef two hundred years ago. The owner, who was the most important element of the city at the time. People from every corner would come to dine. The main reason wasn’t the food itself, in fact it was known because of the chef. It was known for his generosity towards the homeless. He would serve the needy five days a week and the rest of the then-town on weekends. That would be why people waited eagerly. One day, he left for a task in Italy. He didn’t come back. No one knows why and how. People went to search for him but all that was left of him was the restaurant itself. Eventually, they stopped browsing for him. The town thrived but the memories remain. 

Suddenly, the sounds of dish clattering woke him up. He rose up to an abandoned dining room but with the smell of fresh food. He would’ve ran but his curiosity and his hunger would drive him nuts. He gathered a tablecloth and a pan from the kitchen. His nose did not lie, for indeed it was the smell of boiled vegetables, open in the air. Bizarrely, there were even a set of blankets, pillows and sleeping bags. ‘Is anyone there?’ He shouted. But all he received was the voice of silence. Then somewhere from the depth of the kitchen he saw a man lying down. 

‘Excuse me, sir but who are you?’ 

‘What?’ The man replied with a fatiguing tone.

‘I said who are you. Are you all right? What are you doing here?’

‘He says to get out.’

‘Who?’

‘Him. The owner of this eatery. The one who supplies us with food. The one who went but didn’t return.’

He looked side by side, up the horizon but there wasn’t anyone. However, soon he realised the fresh food. ‘Wait didn’t you make the food?’ 

‘He did’ replied the man, pointing up his head.

‘Who?’

‘Him. But you must quickly go! Run! He isn’t keen on visitors except those whose bellies are empty. Him: Roofus!’

‘Roofus?’ For he did not know who Roofus was until he saw a welcome poster that said ‘Welcome to Roofus’. Everyone is welcome. Serving the finest spices and puddings.’

 He got his response, for Roofus is the Bulagarian chef that the region came to see.

‘Tell me more about him, I can help.’

‘My dear boy, he circles the restaurant, looking out for imposters. Those who come in, he brings savouries to fill up their stomachs. This restaurant is very dear to him. I tried leaving but he still served and threatened if I left. He won’t rest until someone fixes it.’

It seemed that ever since Roofus left, the people took advantage of it. Breaking in, stealing food. He was back.

He thought about what he could do. Suddenly, the plates started floating, the utensils launched to swirl, the tables would jump continuously. 

‘Run!’ The man shouted. However, he didn’t listen. He knew he had to do something or else the place would be relentlessly haunted. He started hunting for anything that could prove useful. He found a drawer full of paints, brushes, new fabric and dishes. He started setting everything, painted the walls and did everything his thew could do.

After all that chaos, coloured appeared, everything calmed down. The cutlery and the furniture stood still. The food was gone. 

The man was free. Now the chef is better, in harmony.

He went back home, to his bed and thought to himself what a strange day it was. The clapping stopped and he slept soundly. 

About froebelianwriters

I am an English Language teacher teaching O'Levels Edexcel and CIE A Levels at Froebel's International School, Islamabad. I am also working as a Subject Specialist Literacy consultant for the same school. Writing and reading has always been a passion and I try my utmost to instill these habits and hobbies in my students as well. I can be reached/contacted at fabbas227@hotmail.com or 03365287335 Happy reading!

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