My short story, ‘In the Half Light, A Woman‘ , which appears in Crossed Genres Issue #24….
Shahabuddin Muhammad lies dying. Once Shahjehan the Magnificent, King of the World, he is now just an old man imprisoned in his rooms, silently enduring his son’s rage. All of Agra holds its breath as he struggles to keep his. Do they miss me, the old man wonders. Will they remember the golden years of my rule, mourn for me as Aurangzeb stifles them with that fanatic zeal of his?
No more frivolities, Aurangzeb has declared. No more gardens of lavish opulence, no more drinking and dancing. Instead, he desires – no, demands – a new Hindustan, one of mosques and madrasahs, where the austerities of Islam find respect again, and where the decadence of his father’s rule will be wiped out forever.
Across the Yamuna, the Taj Mahal shimmers in the twilight, ethereally pale against a blood red sky. Every stone in its magnificent walls seems to taunt the old man, each minaret seems to shout out the name of his son – Shahenshah Aurangzeb, the new King of the World. And yet, this pile of gleaming stone had once been his own dream.
Read the rest here.