Company: Chapter 3 -The Dark Times

Dear Diary,

Daddy had been reading out his story to me, the story which he had written when he was about 12 years old. From this story, I had come to know about Uncle Ben’s history. This was probably the tenth time he read it but I wasn’t bored. I can never be bored when Daddy reads Uncle Ben’s story. I can share it with you, too. After all, you deserve to know the story as much as I did.

So it all started with Daddy meeting Uncle Ben near his school where Uncle Ben was selling little candies. They started meeting each other every day, without Granny’s knowledge. Daddy used to cycle to a bad neighborhood, called the Dark Alley, every afternoon. Man, if I did that Mom and Daddy would ground me but when Granny came to know about it, she just yelled at Daddy, told him of the dangers he could have gotten himself into and took him back home. But Daddy had been real friends with Uncle Ben and he couldn’t just go like that. So Daddy met Uncle Ben at places like fairs and bus stops occasionally.  Finally, Daddy decided to tell Granny about his friend. He’d been afraid earlier, afraid that Granny might think badly of Uncle Ben but it turned out that she actually thought he was a very fine boy and deserved to go to school. She started paying his school fees and she even adopted him a few years later. 

Of course, Daddy had written it in detail. But I’ve only ever listened to him and never actually read it. And it wasn’t quite as boring as the story I’ve mentioned. 

Oh! It’s past bedtime! I’m afraid I have to stop writing now. Mom will be very annoyed if she finds me awake at this hour. Good night, Diary! Sweet dreams!


Zac’s POV

Photo by Min An on

The moon is partially covered by the clouds and the night sky appears in its usual attire of stars pricked onto the pitch black fabric. It reminds me of the nights I had spent as a kid in Arch Lynn, with Mom singing me to sleep. But not all nights had been peaceful. Especially not the ones which I had spent in terror of the nightmares which would only relent on my waking up, thoroughly shaken by the horror within.

I have been standing in my balcony since evening. Since I read the story to Tessa. It was agonizing, as usual, but Tessa had been very stubborn and I had to read it to her. Lie to her about everything. But it is the right thing to do. One thing I’ve learned after being a parent is: Sometimes you need to lie to protect your loved ones. And that is what I’ve been doing. I’m sure she’ll forgive me. She’ll understand.

The sound of a knock pulls me out of my reverie. I know it is Ben. And I know he is here to tell me what he tells me every time I read to Tessa.

That I need to tell her the truth.

Ben’s POV

I knock and shoulder the door open. He is standing on the balcony as I expected. The fresh air clears his mind but clearing his mind isn’t the right thing. Telling the truth to Tessa is.

“Why don’t you just tell her?”

“You know it’s not that simple. It’ll never be.”

“But she deserves to know. She ought to know what a jerk her Uncle Ben was when he was a kid. You can’t hide my past from her forever.”

“Ben, I’ll tell her eventually. If I tell her now, she might not think well of you. And well, I hadn’t been the epitome of a good kid either. What kind of examples will we be for her? It’s true that I want her to take her own steps in this world but I can’t risk her following ours. Besides, Tessa is just 8 years old. She needs time to discover that everything isn’t rainbows and cupcakes. And I need time to figure out how to reveal the truth.”

Everything isn’t rainbows and cupcakes. This, I had known since forever. Tessa is my niece but as much as I want to protect her from the dark side of this world, I can’t protect her without making her aware about it. I know that Zac is right about her needing time but the truth is I’m afraid of what she might think of me when she’s of age and Zac tells her about my history. He might as well tell her now so that I can get it done with. But for once, I need to be selfless. I need to support Zac. It’s the least I can do after all the kindness his family has showered upon me.

“I’ll be with you when you do it.”

“You thought I’ll let you escape the awkwardness just like that?” Zac smirks at me. “Obviously, you’ll have to be there with me.”

I give him a shaky smile. I can see the memories prowling to hurt me. Rip me apart. Again. But I just can’t help it.

Once the flashbacks start, they flood my mind.

I remember meeting Zac near his school, thinking of what a great opportunity he was to make money. I remember mixing the drugs in his lemon juice every day, as instructed by Uncle Dusty. I didn’t know how this would help us but Uncle Dusty had assured me that this was an integral part of his plan. His plan about which I came to know when it was too late. He had intended to sell Zac to a dealer and on my protests, he had tried to convince me, saying that it wouldn’t hurt him and the dealer would return him in a few days. I had known that some people in the Alley drug kids and sell them for slavery but I hadn’t known that my uncle’s plan consisted of doing the same thing. Nor had I known that I had helped him do it. Usually, in the Alley, when we drugged kids, it was so that they can go steal some money from their houses and bring it to us, without ever remembering that they’d done it. But my uncle’s plan had been terrible and as much as I’d wanted to stop him, I hadn’t known how. Finally, I had taken the step which I’d thought was right. I had decided to tell Zac’s mother, Lily, about the whole situation.

Fortunately, I’d found her near Old Henry’s, which had saved a lot of time. I still remember how kind she’d been. She’d taken pity on me and had forgiven me whereas Uncle Dusty had been thrown behind bars. Lily had rewarded the ragpicker by appointing him as her house cleaner, although she’d made sure that he’d bathed at least ten times before entering her apartment.

Zac had been completely drugged, thanks to me. But after a few days in the hospital, he’d recovered. I’d gone over to his place to apologize, thinking that he would never forgive me. But Zac and Lily are the kindest people I’ve ever met and I owe them everything. Not only had they forgiven me, but also given me a home to live in, my own clothes to wear and a school to go to. They had become my family.

I seldom visited Uncle Dusty. If I did, it was only when I was so disgusted with myself that I needed someone to dump the blame on. And later, when I returned home, I would look at myself in the mirror with more disgust than ever.

Uncle Dusty died a few years ago. And I learned to live with the guilt and to try to get over it, without blaming someone else. Sometimes, you learn to move on only after saying a final goodbye. I don’t know who was to be blamed or who deserves to feel guilty, but one thing I know for sure is that being with Zac and Lily has helped me to actually find and like myself, to enjoy the little moments of happiness, to make good memories and to live a better life. They are my family and so is Tessa, and I will do anything it takes to make sure that nothing of such sort ever happens to her.

“Hey, are you okay?” Zac’s voice drifts through the memories.

“I am.”

“All of us experience dark times but it depends on us whether we wish to be our own star or stay helpless in the darkness.” Zac smiles and gives me a hug.

I return the embrace with the surety of the better times and good memories ahead of us.

I might not have been the best company for Zac but when the dark times had arrived, I had made the right choice. I had chosen to be the star. And if they ever come again, I’ll be ready. Because I know that in this dark world, there are people worth living for. I’ll be the star again if required.

The star burning through the dark times.


Hey folks!

So this was the final chapter in the Company series. Thank you for waiting so long for this and do let me know if you liked it by hitting the Like” button and commenting down below. I’d love to know what you thought of my first shot at short story writing.

Do comment down below if the last chapter caught you by surprise or if you expected something like this. Also, if you didn’t like it then let me remind you that all of your suggestions and tips are appreciated.

The other chapters are as follows:

Company: Chapter 1 -The Dark Alley

Company: Chapter 2- The Dark Truth

Thank you for reading!


52 Comments Add yours

  1. MANISHA SINGH says:

    Great work!👍👍

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Riya Singh says:

    Great ending! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Richi says:

    I’d been waiting to read the third part for so long. And the wait was worth it. You saved the best for the last, Rachel! Though I had to read the previous two parts all over again to re-establish the link. But you write amazingly and your stories are engrossing. Trust me, every character of this story has a virtual image in my mind. Outrightly beautiful:)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Richi! Your words keep encouraging me every time…Thank you soooooo much again

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Sann says:

    Oh! WOW! This chapter was so GOOD! I am looking forward to more series like this!
    Sann xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Sann! I really appreciate it.♥️

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You did awesome with your story! It really pulled me in from the beginning to the end. I truly enjoyed reading this. ❤ ❤ ❤ Thank you again for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My pleasure, Jane. Truth is, I should be thanking you for reading the story and giving such positive reviews about it.♥️♥️ Thank you ☺

      Liked by 2 people

  6. lobouniverse says:

    Wow nice work. Very interesting. Am glad I could read all together

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for reading and giving such positive reviews!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. lobouniverse says:

    Wow very nice story.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pia Majumdar says:

    You shocked me in the end Rachel 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad the ending caught you by surprise! Thanks for reading! ♥️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pia Majumdar says:


        Liked by 1 person

  9. Tom Burton says:

    Great ending! 🙂 A really immersive chapter that pulls you into the scene and keeps you hooked. Lovely way to round off the story. Thank you for sharing this! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks a lot…This was my first time and I must say your words have encouraged me to write more and write better. And hey, I should be the one to thank you for such motivating reviews!☺

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Tom Burton says:

        No problem! You’re doing great so far 😀 keep up the good work! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I eill! Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. The Pensieve says:

    Hi! I know that you have been waiting for my response…. And here you are!

    The last chapter did catch me by surprise as I had definitely NOT expected an entire generation to pass by! But it was a great way to end this. A proper epilogue. Kudos to you on that!

    And you have improved since the past two chapters…. Good job! 🙂 I had to be a little thorough to find errors this time….. And yes, I did come across a few. Sorry about that! 😅

    1. Some of your sentences still have that ‘unfinished/hurried’ appearance.

    Original- And then there were the nights full of nightmares. Nightmares chasing me till I woke up, panting.

    Modified- But not all nights had been peaceful. Especially not the ones which I had spent in terror of the nightmares which would only relent on my waking up, thoroughly shaken by the horror within.

    There are a few more examples… But that’ll make this comment wayyyy too long.

    2. You have phrased some sentences incorrectly. For example, you have said that ‘it depends on us whether we want to be the star or the darkness’…. Well, nobody actually wants to be their own ‘darkness’. What you should have written was:- ‘it depends on us whether we wish to be our own star or stay helpless in the darkness’

    3. There are still a few ‘tense’ errors. But they are far lesser this time.

    Overall, you have improved. So… Congratulations! 😊

    But I would still suggest rereading your completed post atleast once (I myself do it twice) for any possible errors. That should work really well on the hurried/unpolished sentences.

    After all, as you have rightly said, we have to choose to be our own star! 🙂

    And hey! I’m going to be posting an update to my story later today, and it has a similar message! So, same pinch! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a ton for reading. It’s because of people like you that I keep improving and I’ll admit this month has been a little hectic for me and my posts have been uploaded hurriedly but thanks to you, some of the errors have been corrected!😊
      Thank you for the friendly advice, I’ll make sure I read my post atleast once before uploading it. Thanks for congratulating me for improving and I hope you get more chances to do this in future.☺ Yes, we have to choose to be our own stars!🌟
      I’ll surely read your post ASAP and well, I’d crossed my fingers before reading ‘same pinch’!🤞😉( Seriously, how kiddish can I be!)
      Thanks again!✌

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Pensieve says:

        You are welcome! 😊

        Yes, I do hope that I get more chances of congratulating you and that eventually you don’t need me to be a critic anymore… For I’ll consider that as a success. ✌️

        It’s good to be kiddish sometimes you know…. 😅 I like it… For we should always stay ‘young at heart’.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I assure you, you’ll attain success soon enough! But then I’ll miss you being my critic…True, we should stay young at heart because we only live once…:)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The Pensieve says:

        Nah… You won’t miss me! I’ll be around… Only as a positive reader then! 😊✌️

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Sushmit says:

    Great story 😊😊😁

    Liked by 1 person

      1. AMARESH says:

        Yeah great story

        Liked by 1 person

  12. rue202 says:

    Nice ending! So that’s what happened to Zac. Glad he is alright and that they helped Ben. Good story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Racheal! This was my first attemptat story writing and the fact that you liked it makes me happy. ☺

      Liked by 1 person

      1. rue202 says:

        Well, it is very good. Your first attempt? Wow, you ARE good. My first attempts at story writing were pathetic – at best.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes. It was the first time that I actually completed the series. In the first few times that I tried to write stories, they were incomplete and too kiddish to read.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. rue202 says:

        I know what that is like!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I enjoyed a lot! 😃
    Will stroll through other posts soon!💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Rashi Singh says:

      Thank you, Bhavya! I really appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I have also got some long stories and due to their lengths I didn’t want to publish them but now after reading yours I think I can follow your footsteps! Thanks for instilling the inspiration dear! 💓

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rashi Singh says:

      Aww! This made me day, Bhavya! Do publish those posts, and let me know when you do! You know what? I’ll check out your blog later this evening.🙂 I feel so humbled to have given you the inspiration to write.🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. Thanks a lot! You made my day too! 😃I will surely wait for your arrival!💕

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Rashi Singh says:

        The wait is over!😁

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Winnie says:

    Great story!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Winnie says:

        You’re welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  16. floatinggold says:

    I was so worried when I read: “Lie to her about everything.” You built the tension so well on that balcony.
    In the end, I’m happy with the happy ending. A nice message.
    Kids need to know life is not just sunshine and rainbows, but they also deserve fairy tales.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rashi Singh says:

      Thank you for appreciating, Goldie! Your feedback always motivates me to keep going.
      Yes, that’s exactly what I wanted to convey.
      In fact, I couldn’t have said it better myself!

      Liked by 1 person

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