Minoti Vaishnav

The Empathy Keeper “There’s no more demand for empathy,” she says.So it’s gone, I think. Well, that makes sense.People no longer have the drive to possess it.But it wasn’t always this way. I must confess that once, empathy was The Keeper’s bread and butter.She’d grown it for centuries,nurtured it’s elements and energies,and brought it to the masses where she could.Though people were reluctant to explore it,they asked her if they should absorb it...and she said, yes, they certainly should. Alas, though. Over the years people decidedthey needed it less and less.There’s no use in caring and sharing with others.The self is all that matters! they said.So empathy came off the dusty shelfand even those who once bathed in it let it go.It began to exist no more.The tears that once wept wholelakes into human heartshave long dried up. And now it’s gone.She says she doesn't make it anymore.She’s replaced it with greed and indifference,the world’s new best-sellers.The formula for empathy is long forgotten,just a distant memoryon a path less trodden.
She tells me now“there’s no empathy left.” So stop asking.

The Last Page I’m on the last page of my book.I’m about to find out whodunit.Intensely I stare at the words,wondering who killedMrs. Potter’s kin. As I read,my bedroom door opensand she,the silent redhead from the kitchen,whispers at me:“The sister did it.” I throw the book at her.I shake my head. Sisters.Ruiners of everything.

I was supposed to feela sharp prickas the needle threaded my front shoulderwith its inky black permanence.But I didn’t.The only sensation I feltwas the warmth of your hand holding mine,warmth that transformed into a tingleas our fingers intertwined.
To get inked was perhapsa frivolous decision–a flighty choice made in a split secondwhile strolling down cobbled-stone streetson that rainy summer’s day with you.At a small shop in a town that lodged lessthan a thousand inhabitants,a seemingly perfect additionwas embedded onto my smooth skin.
How was I to know it would be cursed?
The minute this tattoo proclaimedpermanence on my shoulder,our world became infinitely colder.Your smiles turned into silent yellsthat echo in my brain,as your slurs get bolder,and the rainsoaks the grass.Every night there’s breaking glass,and salty tears,that never seem to dry. Then again.Perhaps it isn’t the tattoo that’s cursed.Come to think of it,the rain started when I met you.Even before my blameless tattoo.But it doesn’t matter nowfor you have both been removed. And the sun has never shone brighter.

Minoti Vaishnav was born in Mumbai, India but moved to Los Angeles at the age of 19 to become a songwriter. After producing and writing three indie albums, Minoti ventured into the world of film and television writing, producing content for Netflix, History Channel, and Travel Channel among other networks. She is currently on the writing staff for THE EQUALIZER for CBS. She holds a Masters degree in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford.