Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 6:26 PM
Twenty-five stories so far, from 2009 to 2012, all featured on my first blog amelanniza.blog.com. Horrifying. I should have written much more fiction, but all I keep in my computer are incomplete drafts, too difficult to conclude. So many of them. Should I manage to publish some flash fiction on this blog, it will be under the category Undisturbed Imaginings.
The Goldfish Who Wanted to Be King
There was once a Goldfish who wanted to be king. And the world called him ungrateful of life. But was he?
What does a goldfish to do, do you think? Swims, breathes, swallows drops of food that anyone cares to pour, then meddles about in his luminous palace with brightly colored marbles at the bottom of his tiny gorgeous kingdom called the fish bowl? Is that all a goldfish dares to dream? Or do you think a goldfish dares not to dream?
Well, you thought wrong. When I was a child, there was once a Goldfish who dared to take the throne.
In a homely apartment inside a suburban city life, there lived a Calico Cat who asked to befriend the Royal Goldfish King. She sneaked to open the iridescent gates of the Goldfish King's bonny haven. And what did she discover, do you know?
Rays of light beamed everywhere her glassy, green eyes can apprehend. The water embracing the Goldfish King was flame. Calming as a lullaby, it sang a warm welcoming serenade. The lyrics coquetted for a while. It attempted to flirt. Sweet talking any object and soul to fulfill their darkest desires. The Cat felt a sudden rush of longing, to burst in tears as well as dreaming.
"Oh, hullo, Cat. It has been a long time." Bubbles of air danced up from the Goldfish King's rounded lips. The fiery flow of water crystallized, humming the trickles of the melody. "Last time you visited me was when you were ten months old, and you tried to scoop me out of my bowl."
"That was my folly days, Fish, now I am here in peace. To join your dreamy kingdom."
"Impossible. This kingdom is meant for only one king: me. That was what the winged Moon proposed. And I vowed. Breaking the pact costs me my speech."
"Very well. Do let me stay and admire the colors, at least. Please, that is all I desire, Fish."
"That I can grant. Stay for as long as your appetite allows."
Sun set and rose. The two kept each other company in comforting silence. The Cat understood she was to avoid conversation for the Goldfish could not move his body and words would exhaust him.
When the lullaby ceased, the transparent hourglass tumbled over. Grains of twinkling crimson sand streamed down narrating the past. The beginning of the dreamy kingdom.
The young Goldfish prayed. Looking up to the clouds he chanted how he wanted to be king. Feverishly the refrain rewinded: "Dear God, let me have my kingdom. I want to be king. Grant me my wisdom. And let me have my fling."
He peered outside from his bowl. All the beguiling clouds said nothing at all. The stars in the Milky Way, they withered away. Except for the Moon. The winged Moon revealed herself, proud, from behind a curtain of silvery clouds. She was pale as a corpse, with syrupy accent she voiced in every of her words. "Darling little Fish, I am but here to please. What will you trade me, shall I grant you your little wish?"
"Anything. I will trade anything I possess to be a king."
"Five will I require. Ask no more. You shall have what you implore."
The following daylight, five other goldfishes swam about in his delicate, glistening bowl. The young Goldfish understood what was the trade he needed to enroll.
Five full moons passed. And there was no more. Gone were the other little goldfishes who swam about the bowl before. The kingdom he had always yearned emerged. Once the very last spell was cast over the water he dwelled, he lost the power to move. His gut was laden with proof: all the friends he traded for the dream he had been blinded.
Softly, so softly, the balmy lullaby serenaded.
Friday, April 3, 2009 at 9:05 PM
The Epitome of a Broken Heart
Chaos greeted me. The door creaked open. A fat pile of freshly washed clothes, carelessly stacked on a thin iron chair, were the first I could see.
Underneath was dirty laundry. I was unable to pass the flood of shopping boxes all over her cold dusty sunflower tiles. They blocked the path leading to her bed. Sandals, shoes, a bag of chips. Drops of burnt candles, cat food, exam papers. Jars of only heaven knew what was inside.
The wooden shelves were laden with cluttered books tossed on top of one another. They almost collapsed. A TV, soundless, aired buzzing waves of nothing-ness. Everything was scattered everywhere.
The sugary vanilla-scented incense camouflaged the stench of sweat. She, unconscious on her bed, was dreaming. Of the blue-eyed boy on her computer screen. He was glowing: the only source of light in her room.
A song blared through the speakers, screaming, "I have turned away from you and I am Godless. A wasteland of poison; a hidden fortress."
She was so still. Her soft breath muttered the misery carved on her smiling face. While bloodthirsty ants marched from wall to wall hunting for the dead cockroaches buried beneath her mattress, inside her shattered brain she continued to drift. Escaping the reality of living.
An electric fan, covered in ages of grime, fondled her long black hair. Blowing strands slowly, almost invisibly, it dried the traces of tears on her cheeks. And her cheeks were cherry blossoms, pinkish with dissatisfaction.
Her tan skin looked lifeless, deprived of the tropical sun outside her curtained window. The window that was never opened since the day he bid her goodbye.
Suffocating was the air; nothing flowed but despair. Nothing. But the epitome of a broken heart.
July 5, 2009, 8:24 PM
The fragment of song was taken from Darren Hayes's "Step into the Light"
This Sinful Madness
Pearly flakes were dancing in slow-motion midnight. The blue-eyed boy was waiting: lonelier than the winter sky, emptier than his bleak, barren porch.
His sturdy shoulders slouched on the rattan chair, and snow was pouring when he looked up. His pale lips shivered. Too serenely, he, a Jesus incarnate, was waiting for time to rewind itself.
He glanced through the mute garden where bitter silence shouted her name. Storms of blistering breeze disheveled his bistre hair, just as her sensuous fingers had done last Christmas.
The tapping of water deceived his ears. Note after note romanticized her footsteps rushing to embrace. On every frozen leaf hung the creamy vanilla perfume of her impatient kiss. Their first kiss.
Above, Sirius shone, blazing as the flame in her dark, dark eyes.
Love warmed their coldest hours. Passion savagely devoured — 612 days they pledged their demonic desires. Yet, she left. No more promises; only lies. The black-haired girl who was once his dream, the sunlight of his shadows, faded. Forever.
Love warmed their coldest hours. Passion savagely devoured — 612 days they pledged their demonic desires. Yet, she left. No more promises; only lies. The black-haired girl who was once his dream, the sunlight of his shadows, faded. Forever.
Somehow he could not curse her. She was the core of his universe, the only thing closest to his paradise, the warmth of a cottony Coca-Cola blanket he kept since he was a child.
Mindlessly, his left hand drew a postcard out of his jeans pocket. On its glossy cover was the word INDONESIA, with a picture of a rainbow arched over green rice fields. He knew all the handwritten words by heart, lined with five heart-shaped stickers, signed in glittery ink that spelled Your Mel.
In French-accented fever, he cast their secret spell, "Neither time nor space can kill this Sinful Madness we have for each other..."
Monday, July 06, 2009, 4:06 AM –
Tuesday, July 07, 2009, 5:10 AM
I am a broken heart. This is my tale. There shall be no love, no joy, no wishful thinking. Leave, if sorrow scares you, leave.
Thursday, April 2, 7:13 PM.
“That is a dead end, Miss.”
The girl paused her steps for a second. Frowning, she proceeded towards the Fair Forest.
“MISS. You would not want to go there. That is a dead end,” the boy’s voice loudened.
“You… can see me,” she hesitated.
“Yes, I can see you. A girl with a sparrow on her head. And hair as red as rust.”
“What are you.”
“What am I? What is that supposed to mean?”
“I believe so.”
“Do you hate.”
“The world leaves me with nothing to hate.”
“I must go home.”
“You are going into the Fair Forest. It is not wise to go there at night.”
“It is not wise to stay out after dark, either. Why are you here.”
“Painting the sky,” he lifted a pen and a sketchbook.
“Ah. A young artist who never hates.”
“If you don’t mind, I shall give you a ride home on my bicycle. That will be safer for you, at least.”
“I cannot touch anything with wheels.”
“Why is that so?”
“My wings will sprout.”
Friday, October 23, 11:52 PM.
“You… still can see me.”
“I should be going.”
“Did you hear of the two missing villagers last week? They went to the Fair Forest.”
“I live there.”
“That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. No one lives there. The Fair Forest is the most dangerous site for humans after dark. What if something bad happens to you? Are you not afraid of your own safety?”
“You seem to speak longer for your kind.”
“And what is your kind?”
Wednesday, December 30, 2:39 AM.
“Is this a different sparrow? Her feathers are now indigo when they used to be orange.”
“How do you know it is a she.”
“She looks reproachful. Much like you.”
“This is Selina, the same bird. Her color changes.”
“To suit her background?”
“What changes her color, then?”
“The faces of the Moon.”
“You and your fey manner. I never met any other like you.”
“I am not from here.”
“That elucidates your fiery hair and lavender eyes. Where are you from?”
“Somewhere you will never be.”
“Even if I sprout my wings and fly?”
“Humans do not have wings.”
“But you do?” he handed her his opened sketchbook. There, above his signature, a girl flew to the Moon.
“Your Muse drew me falsely. My wings are made of light.”
“Oh. They are not raven and plumelike?”
“They are undetectable to dozy eyes.”
“I saw her once in my dream, one night before I met you. That was the night my grandmother died. I thought she was my grandmother. But this girl possessed crimson hair like blood dripping to her ankles. And her eyes were…”
“Yes, they were gold. Do you know this dark-winged fae?”
She paced into the Fair Forest, “Perhaps.”
“You are not going there at this hour. Madness should never endanger your life,” he began to catch her shiftless stride. “People do not come back after they stepped into the Forest, Delphi, listen to me.”
“I am not Delphi. She is.”
“Forgive me. I kept reciting her name. You resemble her in so many ways.”
“I am made of light. She, of dark.”
“Must be my dozy eyes. Promise me that you will not try going into the Forest anymore. I fear for you. My parents…”
“Disappeared into the Forest.”
“And other villagers were missing as well.”
“They wanted to disappear.”
“They did not. Why would anyone want to disappear?”
“My parents did not hate.”
“You did not witness them the way I did.”
“Impossible. They vanished when I was one. You could not be there.”
“Immortality befriends me. I misled them.”
“An immortal fae who misleads humans. I must be dreaming.”
“But you are not. They were looking for a cure, for your illness, your dozy eyes. You were born blind.”
“Delphi, the Oracle, informed them, through their dreams. The way she did you. There is only one cure for blindness: the heart of the Moon sparrow.”
“There are people who destroy others, only to protect what they love. Your parents were such evil.”
“They wanted to wound Selina to cure me?”
“They loved you madly, blind to what they could cause to Selina, to me.”
“Thus, you killed them before they hurt Selina.”
“I need not harm anyone. I mislead.”
“They are still trapped in the Forest?”
“Humans cannot survive the Fair Forest. There are burrows of the unknown: beings beyond your wildest horror. My light lured the haters there. They all went, one by one, charmed by my misleading light.”
“I wish to be with my parents. Will your light take me there?”
“I do not grant wishes.”
“Something is wrong with my eyes.”
“A feeling is never wrong.”
“You are fading into the night.”
“This is a dead end, Stevon,” whispered the night, and the night was all he saw.
Friday, April 30, 8:31 PM.
I am a broken heart. Wishes are tales. The world leaves me with nothing but hate. And sorrows are fair, love; sorrows are fair.
Thursday, April 2, 2009, 7:13 PM –
Friday, April 30, 2010, 8:31 PM
Come. Run away with me. Into the dark, love. Into the dark…
Sacred and scared, I find him.
“Hahah,” his laughter is beauty. He belongs to another story. “I have been waiting for you.”
“To laugh at someone from atop the Friendless Tower is never nice,” I am fighting the want to have him. He cannot win.
“Oh, I shall win,” a childlike smile vocalizes the moonlight on his russet skin. “You are hilarious.”
“And why am I hilarious?” my body heats.
“You dreamt the forbidden of me.”
“I did not,” my cheeks redden.
“Sadly, Akasha, your lies are vain,” his empty solid stare touches my eyes. “One can only see me with a drop of Lust.”
“Has another seen you?”
“A dream is only as strong as a hidden desire. You alone possess such power.”
“What was it? That drew me to you? Not the wings. Not the colors of black and white…” I mumble to the wind.
“Must it have a name?” his dark eyes sour. “What will be will be. We are tangled in Destiny.”
“The past unremembered, yet I know. How you were waiting, for something to happen, someone to come. Waiting and watching… Was it for someone else?”
“The onliest and loneliest assumption is you,” speaks the Sorrow in him.
Obsession offends, “Was I your ghost?”
“One I could not escape,” his voice tempts.
“In many different ways, I wanted to have you. So badly I tried, to fly up, high to where you are. I had no wings. I still have none,” I long to catch his fall.
“This is where dreams take you. The plot is yours.”
“Cut off your wings and be my love,” make him fall, make him fall, “for you are fiction, and I am, too.”
“Is that what your heart desires?” the challenge is flirtatious. “The girl who lives the loneliest life on Earth. Fly with me.”
“Very well.” A pair of grand majestic wings swells and spreads, never of the angelic kind. They are old and grayish, weathered and weary. Betraying Time.
“Might I steal you a star tonight?” he bids for my right hand as I ascend to embrace the fog of the Friendless Tower. Midnight bell chimes.
Flying tastes of Freedom, of leaving all the pain behind. I reach for his left hand and feel its warmth in mine, “Do you have a name?”
“I was created unnamed,” he ponders. “What am I?”
“Nyx, of Night.”
Like a long-forgotten memory, this story, too, shall dwindle. An ephemeral wish, something I cannot rewrite, it shall be abandoned and put to rout.
Him I cannot deny, “Must I evict you from my heart?”
Friday, November 27, 2009, 6:24 PM –
Tuesday, July 20, 2010, 4:06 AM
Malediction of a Butterfly
Sparrows' songs awaken the Sun. My kitten and I stroll to Sundae Park to bask in its feral freshness.
Under my favorite tree I lie clutching a witch novel. Tupi stalks geckos nearby. While I am absorbing the first chapter, something drops with a flimsy thump.
Not something, but someone. A boy of my age.
I sit up straight to inspect him. My expression is as worried as his, “Did you… simply fall from the sky.”
“From a tree,” he forces an innocent smile. “People do not fall from the sky.”
“You must read too many illogical tales,” he gestures at my novel.
“There is no trace of twig or leaf on you. That is illogical.”
“I was not up there for long.”
“Puzzling. I shall write about this,” I toss my novel and scribble notes in my journal. “The boy who fell from the sky.”
“Or, a tree.”
“Hmm… I need to speculate on what happened to your wings…”
“What wings,” he startles.
“For my story.”
“Oh. I sold them on EBay.”
“Are wings detachable?”
“Anything is detachable with magic.”
“Of course. Now I need a name.”
“Like falling from the sky. Brilliant.”
“Mel. From Karamel.”
“Sweet,” he jests, “your last name must be Candy.”
His bait I evade, “Vanila.”
A gray spider the size of my palm slides from the branch above Skye. Tupi darts to snatch it . “Tupi! Let go!” Hurry I rescue the poor spider.
Skye winces, ”I had better run now.” He springs in weightless grace.
“Please wait. My story does not yet conclude.”
“Tomorrow morning, I shall be here. Till then,” he rushes away, swift as a stolen kiss.
The following dawn, copious rain and thunders gush for hours, flooding the streets outside my house. Going to Sundae Park is impossible; hence I stay in and contemplate my story.
When I unlatch the windows to sip the chill of the rain, a sapphire butterfly perches on the sill. How beauteous! I love butterflies.
“Hello, little butterfly.” In reply to my greeting, it flutters a few seconds. “You flit so beautifully… as Skye.”
Tupi shoots to swat the butterfly and it flees. “What mischief,” I scorn. “Lucky you are too cute for a kitten.”
I reach Sundae Park before sunset. Skye is leaning against my tree, analyzing the magenta sky.
“You should have not sold your wings,” I rest next to him, ”to fly with the sparrows.”
“Anything is growable with magic,” his eyes scan the horizon.
“I wish I could do magic.”
“I wish I could negate magic,” a bitter smile darkens his dainty face. “Magic is not always delight.”
“What of it.”
“A secret I only reveal to the Moon.”
“But not to me,” I pout. “Are we not friends.”
“We are.” The sky dims as the Sun sinks. Skye floats with perfect poise, “I must forsake you again.”
Curiosity urges me to stop him, “Your secret.” I block his path.
“Mel, this is not a good time. I must go.”
“To negate magic.”
“Silly girl. Magic cannot be undone,” he backs two steps. “Let me show you.”
Twilight cascades inch-by-inch besetting the vast Sundae Park and sluggishly, two butterfly wings, bluer than sapphire, sprout from Skye’s spine.
“The malediction of a butterfly,” he studies my mood. “Be not afraid.”
“You did fall from the sky, did you not.”
“I was predicting my transformation phase, and missed. Shape-shifting tragedy stupefies so!”
Gently I stroke his glowing wings, “How did this happen.”
“The spirit of the Fountain Angel cursed me in envy. Never will she tolerate anything prettier in Sundae Park.”
“Such handsome wings... I myself envy you.”
“As Moon lights, my birth form of a night butterfly transpires. And sunrise is the cruelest. I cannot tell when I erupt into a human.”
“Just as yesterday morning.”
“That was to hide atop the tallest tree.”
“I fancy sapphire wings, too.”
“Are you not fearful.”
“You must be mad,” I dispute. “I love butterflies.”
“Thus, the boy who fell from the sky sought the girl who was in love with butterflies,” his blackberry eyes inflame. ”There you have your story.”
Moon rises. The winged boy returns to his true form: the fairest butterfly of the night, the prettiest thing in Sundae Park.
Sunday, July 18, 2010, 9:38 AM –
Thursday, July 22, 2010, 2:02 AM
Thirteen Years of Loneliness
Were I—sailing in a dream? A lady so strange emerges out of nowhere. Her alarming anomaly wields. I stare and stare from my chamber, inhaling her rugged goddess aspect. Ancient, bitter, yet fluid, untainted. Have I seen her somewhere—
Her eyes, vengeful, hypnotize. I hurdle to the backyard. Something summons me to her.
“You do not recognize me, do you, darling little girl?” icy words pierce through my heart: the scent of pure hatred.
Shocking chill tickles me in a wild sensation. There comes a storm of avidity. Homesickness. Choked, I ask her, “Who are you?”
Evil is her smirk, “The victim of your birth.”
Of thirteen years of my life, adults have uttered the most enigmatic remarks I barely comprehend. I stand mute.
“Pretty baby, I wish you were mine,” such sugary sound she makes. “I am lonely. Will you come with me?”
Safe as my mother’s, her hand rustles my hair. I yearn to soothe her loneliness, “But Mother will be looking for me. After father left, I am her onliest.”
“I know that more than you do,” on dehydrated grass she sits, her back against the giant banyan tree. “My daughter would be as old as you. She was my onliest.”
Meaning to hear more, I settle beside her, “What happened with your daughter?”
“Did your mother not tell you?”
“I know nothing of a story.”
“She did something monstrous to me. Never shall I excuse her.”
“You must not speak of her that way. She is my onliest.”
“The things people hide are hideous.”
“Mother has been struggling to support me, from the day I was born. I can never thank her enough.”
“The day you were born—” her mind aches, fighting tears, “was the day I lost my life.”
“I am sorry. If it grieves, do not reminisce.”
“You must hear the truth,” her cinnamon eyes burn mine. “The day you were born, your mother wrecked me with her car. She did not even stop.”
“That sounds unlike her,” I debate.
“She was speeding to the hospital, to give birth to you.”
“Still, if she hit someone with her car—”
“Street people sent me to the same hospital. That was how I learned about you.”
“Were you acutely injured?”
“I lost my only baby. It ails more than all the torture I can ever endure,” her grudge ignites.
“If it helps to remedy your loss, I shall stay,” it seems like the best idea, “but you must not hate Mother.”
“I am selective of whom to forgive. She aborted my baby. My onliest.”
“Lynnika—!” Mother shouts through her window, “Come home. Stop playing near the river.”
“I must go home,” I inform the lady. “But I shall see you again if you like,” comforting her feels right.
Her fragile face blooms, “I like that. Meet me here, under the tree.”
“I will,” I promise, and run to my house.
“What were you doing?” Mother looks stern.
“Talking to a lady.”
“What lady? I saw none but you.”
“There was a lady, mother.”
“Lynn,” her voice piques, “do not make stories up. And stay away from the river. Someone died there a long time ago.”
“A young woman. People said she drowned herself after losing her baby.”
“When was this?”
“Probably a week since you were born.”
In haste after school, I approach the banyan tree.
The lady is set on a low branch, singing a lullaby I recall from childhood. Her vocal breaks my heart. “Hello,” I greet.
“Thank you for keeping a promise,” she continues her song till the end.
Timidly, I inquire, “Were you—the drowned woman?”
“I was. How did you know?”
“Death invited me,” she muses. “Loneliness kills.”
Onto her branch I hop, “I will be your friend. Feel lonely no more.”
“Gracious girl,” she gladdens, “you are not frightened of me?”
“I see others, too. Things people cannot see.”
“What do people say?”
“They question my intuition. Mother, as a psychiatrist, censures me not to invent stories. I only know what I see.”
“People only see what they wish to see,” she sinks into a reverie.
“Do you live in the tree?”
“I do.” At me, her gaze awaits, “Will you linger?”
Beaming, I reply, “I will.”
Should people never believe me, I care not. Watching a smile purge away thirteen years of Loneliness is worth more than the price of Sanity.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008, 10:00 AM –
Monday, July 26, 2010, 2:34 AM
The Other Side of the Mirror
Dreadfully dark. Where am I?
It appears as my room. Why is there no sound? Where did everybody go?
Who could that be ― knocking on my door ― in my own house? People never knock in my house.
I reach the knob.
Do not open, commands an inaudible voice. Lock the door. Now.
I do as I told.
When I switch on the fluorescent light and examine the mirror, everything is reversed. The scar on my right arm, from accidentally stabbing it on the fence, is now on my left part. The room in the mirror is mine: where things are where they are supposed to be.
How does it feel to be me? the voice inquires. My reflection smiles a heinous smirk.
How… did I get here? soundlessly, I ask her in my mind.
You requested to enter. I opened the door for you.
This is not my room. How can I return?
That is impossible. Once the switch is done, it is forever.
But I want to go home… This is not my place!
You wished for it, little girl. Be very careful of the wishes you make.
Knock. Another tap on my door.
I reach for the knob.
If, you wish to switch place with the thing that asks to come in, open that door.
I am trying to digest her information.
There is only one chance. Once it is done, it will be eternal. But, never will you go home. Never.
My hand releases the doorknob.
Sensible choice, little girl. Have you locked the door?
Yes, I have, I confirmed. I turn to the mirror.
People make careless wishes, people like you. You should have been grateful of what you had. Wishes can come true.
Saturday, July 24, 2010, 11:36 PM –
Monday, November 01, 2010, 2:18 AM
Monday, November 01, 2010, 2:18 AM
“Why is orange juice yellow and not orange?” a caramel Kitten, the size of two tennis balls, queried me from beside a medium pine tree.
Dotingly, I smiled at him, “I am not sure why, but I shall find the answer if you would wait for me tomorrow.”
“Are you not late for work?”
“I might be. But you fascinate me so,” I bent to caress the soft fur of his head. “How I wish I could take you home…”
“You could, as I have nowhere to go.”
“But should I?” my watch locket showed thirty minutes to four. “I could be late for work.”
“It is about to rain, and I am starving.”
“That convinces me,” I scooped him into my book bag. “Stay put inside my bag so I can rush home.”
Drizzle leaked quicker than my longest steps. The caramel Kitten anticipated inside my swinging bag.
I unlocked the front door and placed him on a rattan basket. Chunks of tuna in a metal bowl and a plate of milk begged him to stay.
“Be a good Kitten and wait while I teach. I shall be here after twilight.”
“Of course,” his twinkling golden eyes comforted me.
When the door was locked, I ran to work screamingly fast. How was I supposed to explain arriving late because I had adopted a Kitten? No one would understand.
After my last class, I dashed home worrying if my Kitten would vanish.
But he was safe, reading my poetry book.
“Hello, Saffron, welcome home.”
“How did you obtain my name?”
“It was signed in rainbow ink on your book. How cute.”
“You read poetry,” I put my bag onto the cupboard and petted his head.
“It seems the best written art done by humankind.”
“True. I teach Poetry.”
“That sounds wonderful.”
“After I change my clothes and eat, I shall look up the orange-juice story for you.”
We spoke of the orange-juice story for ten straight hours, finally agreeing to the most fanciful notion that the juice had soaked up the sun.
“How did you guess I was running late for work this afternoon?”
“I would watch you as you pass on that path every day to work.”
“But I never saw you. How long had it been?”
“Since the past fortnight, when I lost my home.”
“I could not recall. Someone cruel abandoned me there and I hid from humans. They frighten me.”
“And I do not?”
“There is something strange of you. I cannot comprehend…”
“My hair and eyes.”
“Yes, your orange hair and green eyes, perhaps, as they are starkly contrasting to all black hair and eyes around here.”
“How I got my hair and eye colors is a mystery. Mother died without telling me.”
“Have you no one else?”
“I raised myself alone. No one loves me.”
“Humans have a bad taste. A few hours of conversation informed me that you are funny and clever.”
“Your words are too kind. People do not talk to me often.”
“They should. You are more delicious than a bowl of tuna. I can love you endlessly.”
“Ha-ha. You are tastier than a glass of apple milk tea.”
“That tiny mole on your nose makes you seem like a Witch.”
“I am a Witch. But I must disguise as an English teacher. Humans do not approve of Witches.”
“Always the witty answer from the Wordy Witch.”
“Saff, I have been thinking.”
“I am a Cat now. I must find another Cat.”
“But… you promised to love me endlessly.”
“I do love you, Saff, as a friend. But we cannot be together forever.”
“But I love you! I love you more than any Cat can love you, more than all the stars in the midnight sky can ever love you! Is that not enough?”
“I wish it were. But I have other wishes.”
“All three hundred and sixty-five days we spent meant nothing to you…”
“You cannot fall in love with a Cat, Saffron. Find one of your kind.”
“I am done searching. No one loves me. Not even a stray Cat.”
“Please stop crying.”
“Worry not. I will be well in an hour.” I opened him the front door, “Leave.”
The next seven days I found dead animals on my front porch:
a moth on Monday,
a butterfly on Tuesday,
a fat green caterpillar on Wednesday,
a spider on Thursday,
a centipede on Friday,
a ladybug on Saturday, and
a gecko on Sunday.
Each souvenir was carefully preserved and tucked under a fresh leaf. I disposed them all in the garden.
A month since the Cat vanished, I have always taken the farther different route to work. We never see each other.
Everyone leaves, as much as feelings change. Like everything else, love is inconstant. I learned that from clinging to a caramel Kitten with a pair of golden eyes so bright they burn.
It is easy not to cry. All I do is pressing my hands tightly onto my eye sockets to see little pearly fireflies in the dark, dancing in a slow-motion twirl.
August 23, 2010, 7:17 AM –
November 9, 2010, 2:16 PM
November 9, 2010, 2:16 PM
An Impossible British Accent
“What,” Cloudy looks confused.
Smileless, I stare intently into his emerald eyes, “You do realize it is disrespectful to arrive twenty minutes late?”
“Will you stop imitating my British accent?”
“You have artificial British accent yourself,” I retorted.
“I am British!” his face creased. “You are impossible.”
“Why be difficult when I can be impossible,” I stand to walk to the movie theater.
Like a lost child, he stalks, “What time does Harry Potter start?” His hand reaches mine.
“Do not hold my hand,” I jerk my hand away from his.
“I thought this was a date.”
“You tagged along when I did not even ask you. Besides, our students can see us. They flood the mall on Saturdays.”
“Let them see us.”
“I would rather die than be seen with you,” I walk ahead of him. “The movie starts in ten minutes.”
“So I was not late.”
“I knew you lazy foreigners would be late, so I scheduled to meet earlier.”
“Right,” he rolled his eyes. “Why is everyone looking at you?”
“They’re looking at you and your crazy red hair and your one hundred and ninety centimeters height.”
“Strange Indonesians. My hair is not crazy; it’s natural.”
“All foreigners are crazy. Especially the ones who work as English teachers in Indonesia.”
“Gee, thank you, Miss Dewy.”
“It’s Daaaay-weeee, the Indonesian pronunciation. Don’t use the English pronunciation.”
“Can I use the British pronunciation?”
“Crazy foreigners,” I hasten to the escalator to the fifth floor where the movie theater is. “Hurry up.”
He pouts, “I don’t like Harry Potter. This movie is stupid.”
“No one asked you to see it.”
“In your wildest dream.”
“True. You did ask me out in my dream. You even begged with your brown puppy eyes.”
“Never in a million years.”
“How about in nine hundred ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine years?”
“You are impossible,” I mimic him.
“I can be both difficult and impossible. That should depend on the occasion.”
“This is exactly why I refused to go out with you.”
“Because I can count?”
“Because you keep arguing like my seven-year-old twin nephews!” I am running out of patience. “How old are you, anyway.”
“Can you at least act like your age?”
“Perhaps,” he smirks, “if you beg with your brown puppy eyes.”
“God! This will be the first and last time we meet outside work!” I speed up into the movie theater.
I feel a bit dizzy, as if the Earth is spinning too fast, “What was that?”
“What was what?”
“You didn’t feel it?”
“Feel what? Are you okay?”
There it goes again. This time the Earth rattles much faster, in a quake. The five-story mall convulses.
“What is going on?”
The electricity is shut down. People are running toward the emergency stairs and frozen escalators, shouting earthquake.
“Dew! Let’s go!”
“But I want to watch the movie.”
“Have you gone mad?! We need to get out of the building, now!” he grabs my hand and pulls me toward the emergency stairs.
As we pass the flower shop, a large glass vase drops and almost hits my head, but Cloudy covers me with his body. People shriek when a part of the theater’s roof collapses. What is happening?
Outside the mall, crowds gather and chatter on the pavement, watching the top of the building shaking a few seconds more.
“Are you all right, Dew?” Cloudy’s expression delivers a deep concern. His hand has never let go of mine since we were in the building.
So, that was an earthquake. I blocked out all the panic inside me and now I am trying to recollect myself, “I want to watch the movie.”
“We can watch the movie later, when there’s no life-threatening earthquake trashing the theater.”
“I had never been in an earthquake.”
“Can you act like your age now?”
“This country is perilous. How can people live here?”
“We have no other place to build our homes. This is the only option we get.”
“You’re right,” he leads me away from the assemblage. “Let’s get you safe home.”
Saturday, October 16, 2010, 8:05 AM –
Friday, November 19, 2010, 1:41 PM
Friday, November 19, 2010, 1:41 PM
Silica Dreams and Pink Melancholy
The black-hat lad advances, trailing a red bicycle by his side, “Hello?”
“You must be lost,” answer I. “Would you like some tea?”
Across me, he seats. His bicycle rests upon a pine tree.
“Where are you from, stranger?”
“Mars.” He looks around, “What sort of place is this?”
“Despair,” he doubts, “of course.”
“Did you not fall down the rabbit hole just now?” I point to where he latterly appeared, “There.”
“As a matter of fact, I did.”
“Were you not feeling lost before falling down the hole?”
“How do you know?”
“I came through the same path. Welcome to Despair.”
“That is one bleak name for a place.”
“Yes, that is why everyone escaped through the door, except me.”
“You are all alone?”
“The sparrows come by every moonrise; they keep me company. But other humans… are too afraid of Despair.”
“Quite odd — nothing is wrong with Despair. Do you mind if I stay?”
“Are you certain this is not too bleak for your penchant?”
“I originate from a place as bleak as this. It feels like home,” he removes his hat.
“Your hair — the wings of sparrows.”
He contemplates the sparrows chirping on the tree branches above our table, “True. A dull kind of brown.”
“A friendly kind of brown,” I rectify. “Do tell about Mars.”
“Mars is solitude, where I tinker silica into floatable dreams.”
“Where do these dreams go?”
“They saturate Earth to unmake people’s nightmares, to transmit a wave of comfort as they wake.”
“The perfect brew for your tea,” I scoop a spoonful of transparent grains, “just add silica.”
“And what did you put in yours?” he queries.
Showing him a tiny bottle of pink powder, I inform, “Melancholy.”
“Ah.” He proposes a toast, “To pink melancholy.”
“To silica dreams,” his gesture I reflect. “Despair invites solitude and our party is set.”
We drink our tea in harmonious silence. The Moon softly disappears behind the forest.
“You must go now,” I motion him to ascend.
“Now?” his expression bewilders, “But why?”
“Darkness arrives. Hurry,” I hand him his bicycle, “take your bicycle to the rabbit hole.”
“Despair is not so ruinous. I wish to stay —”
“Mars needs you. When Despair summons, you shall not return. Open the door as soon as you reach the hole.”
“Will you come with me?”
“There is no door for me in the rabbit hole. I belong here. Despair is my only friend.”
His emerald eyes finally consent, “I see.”
In assurance, I hold his hand, “Thank you for staying when everyone else left. Be bubbly for me.”
“I will,” and away he goes, into a world he belongs, leaving a trace of compassion that kindles my destined nights.
Saturday, May 7, 2011, 12:39 – 5:56 AM
A cyber-stalker stole my first kiss. He shoved me to a wall, stared wildly into my helpless eyes, whispering, “You know you want this as much as I do.”
“No,” I dodged his yearning glare.
“Your no sounds like a yes,” he leant dangerously closer.
Think. I needed to stall him, “How did you discover where I work.”
“Someone might come,” my voice was defenseless.
“Not according to your blog,” he smirked. “You hate Tuesday nights the most because you have to pass this dark, empty alley after work.”
“That was fictionalized. My blog is fiction.”
“Strawberry-scented hair…” he sniffed me, “and skin redolent of vanilla… just as advertised.”
“I swear I will scream.”
“Not when my lips cover yours.”
“Don’t.” I had to find a way to convince him, “Please let me go. You know nothing of me.”
“I know all your Internet poems begged me to kiss you.”
“You misinterpreted them. None is about you.”
“Then who are they about? Hugh Jackman?”
“No! I write them for no one.”
“Liar. You are in love with me. Only me.”
“I do not even know who you are!”
“Stop lying! I am the one you have been dreaming about. You dreamt me to life!”
“You must mistake me for someone else.”
“Impossible. I can sense you anywhere. Even the lies in your trembling voice.”
“I am not lying. Please leave me alone. You will regret this.”
“Regret stealing your first kiss? Never,” his lips traced my troubled face. “Is this really your first kiss?”
I kept my mouth shut.
“The last unkissed girl shall be no more…” desirously, he pressed his lips onto mine, fueling the dampness of my fear. “You shall be mine,” he gasped for a little air.
Driven by lust, my mouth opened, reaching for his inviting bare neck. A pair of knife-like fangs induced a terminal scream. His scream.
Monday, May 23, 2011, 5:17 PM – 7:55 PM
An angel sang to me when I was twelve.
Tuesday, December 1, 1992
your fallen angel
would sing his magical voice
I wish I could stay
on this badminton field
glancing at his shadow
I wish you could
deliver all my love
in a package
under his window
I could —
“Wally! Come back!” A black Yorkshire terrier puppy hops onto my diary in which I was scribbling the one-hundredth love poem for my fallen angel. “Wally, get back here!”
GOD. It can’t be him. I freeze into a sitting statue.
“Oh. I didn’t know someone was here,” the magical voice announces his presence.
Immovable, I stare into the puppy’s glassy eyes.
“Are you okay? Did my puppy scare you?”
“No.” Say something. Anything. You have been dying to talk to him for a year. “I’m okay.”
“Were you writing?” with the puppy on his lap, the angel sits beside me. Am I dreaming?
“No.” I close my diary. Tell him. This is your chance. “I was… drawing. Butterflies. Like the ones I chase in the meadow.”
“You chase butterflies, too?” his laughter is a symphony. “Just like Wally.”
“What’s your name?” I need to know the angel’s name.
“Darren. What’s your name?”
“Well, Anniz, why aren’t you home like all middle school students?”
“How do you know I’m a middle school student?”
“I passed you a few times walking home in your blue and white school uniform.”
“You saw me? You really saw me?”
“Of course I saw you. You’re not invisible, you know.”
“It feels like I am. No one talks to me.”
“I’m talking to you, am I not?”
“You are.” Like what you did in all my dreams.
“Hey, won’t your parents be worried? It’s past 9 PM.”
“They won’t care.”
“I don’t know. They fight a lot,” I try to hide my bitterness. “No one cares.”
“Sometimes I feel like no one really cares about me, too.”
“I care about you.”
“You do?” he tousled my hair. “Thanks. You’re a good kid.”
“Just like Wally?”
“Just like Anniz.”
“You’re as kind as I thought you would.”
“And how often did you think about me?” he teases.
“Uh…” Every waking hour. In every dream. Every single day of the past year. In all one hundred poems I wrote about you.
“You’re not crushing on me, are you?”
“Of course not.”
“You can’t have a crush on me. Not even when you sit here every night glancing at my bedroom window.”
“First, I am twenty. Too old for you.”
“I don’t mind.”
“Will you mind if I tell you I have a crush on someone else?”
“There’s this guy I know from college. We write songs together.”
“Your crush is a guy?”
“Yes. A guy.” He looks straight into my eyes, “Do you still care about me after knowing this?”
The sadness in his sunken eyes breaks my heart. “I do.”
“You’re not disgusted by my abnormal tendency?”
“No, Darren. You’re still the same person. Even if the whole world hated you, I would still care.”
“You’re a really good kid. I wish everyone would be more understanding like you.”
“I wish everyone would talk to me like you do.”
“Whenever you feel alone, imagine me, singing your song to make you whole again.
“She’s always chasing butterflies
She likes to imagine
the clouds are watching out for her
And maybe she’s right
Who am I to decide?
Maybe we’ll fly to the morning light
Tada dada tada dada dadada…”
Eighteen years passed. People still talk very little to me, as if I were invisible. No one cares. And the world turns.
But I have the angel’s song. On the radio. On television. At the malls. All over the Internet. Rewinding in my memory like the night he sang it to me.
I am whole again.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011, 8:30 PM – 11:34 PM
The fragment of song is from Darren Hayes's "God Is in the Room"
This is America.
This is where it all began. The love, the estrangement, the ill-fated belatedness. The place I fell into an emotional coma.
“Hello,” I muster the most infatuated smile, “have you been waiting long?”
“It’s all right,” his soft brown hair highlights a smiling face. I have scanned his background; he has no one. This shall be easy. Caucasian men are too easy.
“Oh. You wanted to borrow that poetry book I told you. I left it at home. Shall we have dinner in my apartment, instead?”
“It’s not far from here. We can walk and see the stars,” I offer my right hand. They all fall for the romance of the stars.
“That would be lovely,” he takes my hand a little too eagerly. His hands — the strongest I have felt — I must preserve those rare hands.
“My library is in the basement. Do you want to have a look? I know you adore books,” I suggest.
“A piano,” his eyes alight. “Do you play?”
“No.” But he did. “Will you play this for me?” With your pretty, strong pianist hands. Just like his.
“Whose composition is this?” he studies the sheet music.
The hands I long to preserve dance into the melody that has been plaguing me for over a year. As if he were here with me, playing me my song.
It is time. I place the glass of wine on the piano cover. Unthinkingly, he sips the kiss of Death. As the “Untitled Piano” closes, so will his heartbeat.
Two lifeless hands press my cheeks. This must be how his hands would have felt if my visa had not been delayed for a week. And all I saw was his gravestone on the day I arrived.
The murders cured my tears.
Who shall be next? My doll still needs misty green eyes for his final piece…
The librarian has Steven’s eyes. I need to run a background check on her first. To ensure no one misses her when she is gone, the way I miss him so.
I, too, am drawn to things that are broken, love. Beautiful, broken, pieces of lives.
Monday, August 9, 2010, 12:02 PM –
Thursday, June 2, 2011, 11:13 AM
House Number Three
It rains in September.
“Thank you,” I pay the taxi fare, step out of the car, and stare at house number three.
Drenched in autumn drizzle, I scan the address on the postcard and the photo he sent me. Everything matches. The old mailbox, green as a forest, with the number three painted in faded white. The swing gate, unbolted, peels its rusty secrets.
No one is waiting for me. Not even the tiny female Greyhound that posed happily behind the fence on the photo. I am not supposed to be here.
But I have to. I love him madly. I love him completely.
A year passed since we last talked. The mailbox received so many unreturned mails — all mine. Postcards and letters I addressed to him, asking if he thought of me, too.
Gently I push the gate open, making sure it brings no sound. This is the concrete pathway that leads to his house. Flocks of tall trees rustle to the music of the wind. A rake rests on the grass, dreaming of abandoning the heap of yellow leaves nearby.
I am inhaling the air of his faraway country. What will he say when I show up outside his window? Surprised, because I never said I would visit. Not vexed, I hope. Delighted?
So sudden, drizzle becomes downpour and I tread faster to reach his room at the very far back of the house. My blurry vision halts, but it won’t be long now. Him, I will see.
There. His mahogany window wide opened, a pair of linen curtains twirl wildly. The heavy drum of rain defeats the eighties music coming from his room.
He faces another direction, comfortably sitting on his bed. Moving his right arm to caress the ash-blonde locks of the girl, they kiss, and kiss, and kiss. With the fiery passion I dreamt he would kiss me, he kisses her.
Her blue eyes are the exact duplicate of his. They turn grayish purple under bright daylight. Even their facial structures are very much alike. He smiles at the girl he just kissed — his twin sister.
My unreturned mails return their unspoken answer.
On my flight home, all fifteen hours sedate me in a lullaby: I loved him madly; I loved him completely.
January 11, 2008, 2:07 PM –
June 3, 2011, 8:41 PM
Jakartan toy stores sell 24-hour darling engineers.
An ink-black barcode on the back of their youthful palms, with numbers of the date and time of their birth, and Made in America. Swiping her card grants her one. The very last one.
“Look, the poverty of a third-world country,” holding his barcoded hand she speaks, “real as pollution.”
He stays quiet. Quiet without a sound. No breath. No pulse. A reaction thickens in Misanthropy.
Twenty-four hours vanish.
“You will be all right,” his robotic eyes, flavorless, induce her clockwork heart.
Into a dream of falling stars he disappears. Into another galaxy, millions of light-years away. Unreachable. Unthinkable to her human intellect.
Alone she lies. Mossy orange roof slates as her bed, she calculates the shades of her twilit sky. Dark indigo gray… might it be ashen white melting with onyx?
The prayer inside her head begs Heaven for an asteroid, plummeting to crack a hole in her ceiling.
But the newly rewound key of the clockwork poet commands her to write. Unpunctuated verses for the last darling engineer.
Monday, June 20, 2011, 6:01 PM – 7:12 PM
Son of a Bitch
“Hands off!” violently I push him aside. “Don’t you dare touch me with your filthy hand,” my eyes intend murder.
“What is wrong with you?!” he balances himself.
“I am not the one French-kissing every girl he meets while telling everyone he is in love with me!”
“I am in love with you!”
“You disgust me,” I hasten my steps to the pedestrian crossing light, pushing its button angrily.
“Vi, wait, can we not talk about this?” he begs.
“I want nothing to do with trashy pigs like you. Leave me alone. I will change my phone number if I have to.”
“Viola, please! It was just a kiss! I did not have sex with them. You are the only one in my mind.”
“How can you kiss girls you do not love? And still have the nerve saying you are in love with me?”
“I was frustrated. I did not know what to do. You keep rejecting me…”
“You know what, kiss and molest all the girls you want. Leave me out of this.”
“But I am in love with you!” his eyes turn mawkish.
“If you were, you would not want to kiss anyone else.”
“Can I kiss you?” he moves closer. “You never let me kiss you.”
“Are you out of your bloody mind?!” The crossing light stays green. It must be broken. I examine to cross the aphotic highway.
Without warning, he tries to kiss my lips.
“Son of a bitch,” I slap his face with all my rage. “It must be in your family’s blood to be this ill-bred. You are as immoral as your mother who had an abortion when she was sixteen. When one of your whores tells you she is pregnant, you will have your turn.”
“Shut up, cunt. My mother has nothing to do with this.”
“I wish a truck hits you and you die in slow-motion torture!” infuriated, I run across the seemingly dormant highway, resolved to be rid of him.
A speeding motorcycle slams me from my left.
“Viola! No!” Blood looks so red. “Viola!” his agony is the last thing I hear.
Thursday, June 23, 2011, 2:30 – 4:35 AM
In Love and War
“Ash, what are you doing?”
“What does it look like I’m doing?” he licks his vanilla ice cream in a repulsively erotic manner.
“Or exciting you?”
“You are so weird,” I scold.
Two weeks ago he started a scandal, telling our classmates and our Linguistics professor and everyone we met that I was his new girlfriend. Everyone cheered. I yelled at him. I was so furious, I avoided him for fourteen days.
He is the most popular student on campus, and it will be dangerous if his friend Adrien, my crush, hears about this lie. Adrien may believe him. All my meticulous efforts for the last two semesters will be fruitless. There will be no dreamy date with Adrien!
Unluckily, our classmates have signed us up as a Scrabble team for a national competition. They argued Ash would perform best pairing with me. Stupid classmates.
Now I have to spend the next month preparing for the game: staying with Ash on campus after class. This cannot be good. Adrien might see us together too often and misinterpret the gossip.
“Go form your word! We only get thirty seconds for a turn, you know. It fails my logic why they set me up with a slacker like you.”
“Because, Queen Elizabeth, no matter how badly I slack, I am still the second-best student in our class,” he grins. “After your majesty, of course.”
“That is not funny. Stop calling me that.”
“Your prince is here,” his eyes point toward a spot behind my seat.
Adrien settles on a garden bench, with a girl I never saw.
“He’s going to ask her out on a date,” Ash ponders on his Scrabble chips.
“WHAT? That’s impossible.”
“He told me so,” smugness colors his intonation, “exactly two weeks ago.”
“Why didn’t you tell me!” I almost cry.
“And ruin my chance to ask you out? I don’t think so.”
“I hate you, Ashton.”
“All’s fair in love and war. Your move.”
His letters spell DATE ME.
Thursday, June 23, 2011, 7:33 – 8:56 AM
“Bell,” his scorching fingers caress my back, “are you asleep?”
I love how possessive his arms seclude me from the world. A delicate declaration of his emotional hunger. He never wants me away from his side.
Except tonight, I am playing hard to get.
“Uh-umm… I’m teaching an early class tomorrow,” pretends my incoherent voice.
Innocent kisses linger on my hair, injecting damp affection on the back of my neck, insisting warmth, “Really, really asleep?”
As his leg wraps around me, I feel him hardening. My appetite shudders. Yet, I shall not surrender. Let see what disinterest brings.
He rubs himself over me, ”Still no reaction?” Seduction communicates.
I contain myself. This should be funny. Sex experiments are always tempting.
“A month of marriage and you’re already falling asleep,” the hurt in his grumble is pacifying. The lad cannot handle rejection. “Perfect.”
Poor predictable thing. He needs to learn to be pushier. I will show him how. In five… ten minutes. Make him wait a little. Build the tension.
When all is quiet, I furtively fondle his brooding chest. The time has come.
“What,” answers his coarse discontent.
“Aren’t you supposed to be sleeping,” more of his mesmerizing cynicism.
“I changed my mind.”
“Well, I’m sleeping.”
“Seriously,” sulking, he sounds sexiest.
“What about this,” my eager palm reaches his stiffened crotch.
“When,” I start to stroke the way he likes it.
“Not when you do that.”
I anticipate his need throbbing stronger, and wilder, pulsing like an untamed beast, “Aren’t you seriously sleeping.”
“I’m not.” I climb on top of his bulging organ, giving the sensation he thirsts. Passion burdens my every breath.
“Don’t,” he refuses to yield.
“Watch me,” I kiss his chin, nibbling my way down to his waiting neck, making him groan. “You need to be a little more ambitious in getting what you want,” my tongue slithers down his stomach. His ecstasy rises.
“What about your early class, punctual Ms Anabell,” he lubricates my breasts.
“I lied. Why don’t you be my student, Mr Finn,” a yearning whisper tantalizes his ear. “I can teach you some moral decadence.”
Aggressively, I clutch his writhing T-shirt, “Now strip.”
Thursday, June 23, 2011, 9:32 PM –
Saturday, June 25, 2011, 7:22 AM
The Last of Our Kind
Amel Anniza: Philo
Gustira Pahlevi: Cervero
We settle on the graveyard. Yet, he hesitates. He is always one to question my choice of place. He is also always right.
The day I first met him at the train station, he was stubborn, a fine quality I always admire. As soon as our eyes locked, something uncharacteristic echoed through the air. That curiosity resounds again tonight. Only more acute, agile, and acuminous.
At night, the graveyard brings much mystery. Mist as old as one hundred and eighty years. This will prove beneficial to our long-awaited finale.
Winter trees shake their branches, welcoming us. We take further steps into the circle we have affixed.
The procession has begun.
I lean forward and start chanting as he softly repeats my words. Each of us takes a sip of the blood-red potion and thus activates our transformation. Something imperceptible to anyone but our kind.
Crows fly around us. I stare into his violet eyes, “Are you ready?”
“Only if you are,” he replies gently, a tone I could never resist.
The moment I touch his numb hands, the blackest wings sprout from our backs, and we ascend into the midnight sky.
“We did it.” This is it. We are no longer human.
“Now we hunt,” I smile the darkest kind of smile.
“Philo, you promised. Have you forgotten?”
“The promise was made to secure you into following me. Do you honestly think I would give up hunting? Never.”
He knows not what sort of spell I cast on him. Were it not because of my dark tone, he would never consent to this gruesome plan, “Very well, I shall only follow.”
“Lovely. Now find the oldest carcass under these tombs for it has the juiciest bone honey. Use your sense of scent well.”
He does as he was told. Needless to say, he also needs some food to keep him energized. He aims for a mediocre-looking tomb, one with bold engraving.
Hours we satisfy our craving until someone — or something — ruins our death-infested feast. My mind abruptly stops.
Murderously swift, the thing approaches us, chains in one hand, scythe in another. “Cervero! RUN!”
But he is too slow.
“Run with you wings! Do not let it capture you!”
As Cervero rises, its scythe rips his right wing. The blow smashes him onto the ground.
Danger turns my eyes pitch black. He cannot vanish. Not Cervero. My inhuman speed seizes the intruder and blood splatters everywhere on the snowy soil.
A week after, Cervero is recuperating in my den, away from our beastly hunters. They will never rest until they finish the two of us, the last of our kind.
Watching him soundly asleep, I reminisce the day we first met.
When I saw him in the train station, I knew he was another like myself. He was too unsure of how things were to evolve. So full of potentials, always hesitating, he who can save the entire clan.
The one-winged angel, quotes the prophecy.
Stealthily I approached him from behind, determined to coerce him to fulfill the three hundred year old prophecy, “Cervero.”
December 14, 2010, 2:23 AM –
August 15, 2011, 3:43 AM
Self-serving editor: Amel Anniza
A Million Heartless Sparrows
Every sundown, the Witch hunts.
A brownish little sparrow, the first one of his kind. Capturing and confining him. Inside a tiny wooden birdcage, swinging by her side as she walks to her candy-coated hut. Far away into a world beyond Despair.
Helpless, the sparrow watches.
For his gory fate to unfold. She kisses him and stares. Into his expressionless eyes. Her knife carves a hole. Ripping his pulsing heart out of its frame. Licking its freshly-cut blood. Drop after crimson drop. Tasting. Chewing. Bit by tiny bit. Swallowing it whole. Wholeheartedly, she eats heartily.
He is not the one.
So she sets him free. Into the wilderness of Darkness, he flies. Another heartless sparrow. The millionth of his kind. Fluttering about with their tenderest wings. Dithering. Conjecturing a nest for a new home. Lost in the density of her Forest.
And she waits, the Witch.
Spinning Time. Waiting for another sundown. Where every eve she murders a sparrow. Searching for hers. Her one and onliest. The sparrow whose heart tastes like chocolate. When she gulps his chocolate-covered heart, her Loneliness lessens. Her Sorrow subsides. So she waits. Alone. Inside.
A million heartless sparrows outside.
Saturday, September 3, 2011, 5:51 – 6:48 AM
Only soon that she will drown herself. The warmest current fondly forwards her to the bottom of the ocean. Putting her to sleep as her lungs burst into heavenly morsels of raw fish food.
Day by day, the remaining of her skin decays. Her rotten physique is buttery as seaweeds. But her hatred hardens into sea-green scales. Iridescent as mother of pearl. And she, now a Siren, shall avenge herself.
Tis the new Moon when the Poet sails across the Siren’s shade. Coming home to his naive fiancee in another land. The Siren needs not mislead. She guides. Only those who were entranced by her human voice shall hear her call. Thus begins her song:
Poet, good Poet, do you not miss me?
The Poet longs to see the pure red lips of this saccharine seduction. One that keeps distracting him from the woman he is about to marry. Like evil spirits finding their new nest, her voice haunts him in every dream, every mare.
Find me behind the tallest cliffs and rocks. To your left.
Guiding the Poet to slaughter his boat is effortless. Wind conspires with her, madly in love with her sultry sound. Onto the cliffs and rocks, the boat crashes. The Poet smashes. Hard.
He sinks; she smiles.
Unlike hers, his carcass dissolves into squelchy grayed bones. A sad skeleton amongst forgotten ruins. Magic singularly works for the believers.
When the next traitor passes, she shall be ready. And the next. And the next after. Those who wanted a taste of her skin. Until all perish with her. Soon.
Friday, September 16, 2011, 11:43 PM –
Saturday, September 17, 2011, 12:42 AM
The Alchemy of Greed
— Edgard Grimm and Amel Anniza
He knows where it is.
The answer to the Maze’s riddle is hidden in his pocket watch, the one his deceased grandfather gave him.
Grand Pa had passed away before he was born. From the many tales the old man left in his trails, he was some kind of a Wilhelm Reich figure. A formerly brilliant man whose reputation was demolished by his tendency to flirt with pseudo-sciences and his shameless inclination to act irrationally at public events. It was alchemy, a branch of such pseudo-sciences dealing with immortality, which led to his grandfather’s death.
Through his grandfather’s journals, he locates this house. A Victorian artifact designed nearly a century ago by a prosperous French architect to shelter his tuberculous mother who had been prescribed with cyclical pregnancies as her remedy. Some said it was for love; others thought it was to bury her.
After seeing the house — sturdy, prison-like, engulfed in the green of the forest like it grew out of it and was ready, at any given time, to swallow it back — he would agree with the latter. In the back garden, adjacent to the forest, is the massive Maze, where he is now.
His grandfather was not the most articulate man, especially at the end of his life, and this bruising scrap of paper he is holding bears the mark of his madness. Coded disarray to decipher.
Three hours after studying the riddle, he finally retraces the right numbers of steps with the right angles of direction and discovers the bolted trap door that is only visible as he lies flat on the grass. His heart races. Now, he himself is about to unveil the secret to the fountain of youth at the center of the Maze.
The paper from the watch connotes a plan of the Maze, but something seems wrong: He already knew this Maze by heart. Many a time in dreams, he ran through secret passages, dark and daunting. Only to reach a dead end covered with rotting gray bodies — a trap door exactly like what he is facing now.
The door has no handles and he scrapes his hand on the old wood. Exasperated, he hurries to his car to retrieve the crow bar he keeps both as a tool and self-defense weapon. With it, he unfastens the reluctant door.
There emerges a sunlit open space with the most enchanting view: the rumored fountain of youth. The woman sitting next to it looks five years younger than he is, like the goddess of beauty coming out of a mythological painting.
“You are the first visitor in ages,” her frail voice announces.
“Am I?” he marvels and listens to her story.
As soon as she was seventeen, her remedy began. Pregnancy after pregnancy. She was told that she would never reach her fortieth birthday. Her eldest son, the most renowned architect of his time, built this house and financed Grand Pa’s alchemical cure for her. The result was this fountain.
“So this fountain is real after all? Look at you. Younger than your years. Now I can regain wealth with my plan!” he shouts in glee.
“And what would be your plan?”
“Bottle the elixir. Sell it to the highest bidder. Instantly rich! And become richer by researching age-defying immortality…”
“I was hoping you would be wiser. Like your grandfather: mad yet wise,” her gaze is disappointment. “Do you never wonder why I was trapped here all those years?”
“You cannot show yourself and must conceal this miraculous fountain from the prying eyes?”
“The law of life: Every time you wish to obtain something grand, you must pay the price. Here, the price is simply too dear for the outside world. This house is a breathing living thing. Like you. Like I am not anymore.”
“Are you not alive all these years?”
“Not necessarily. Not as I was used to be. I need no food, no drinks. Indefinable. The first and last time I attempted to leave the house, my body started to crumble. Not only was I plagued by a sudden decay, but my whole entourage was experiencing the same phenomenon.”
“But you know nothing of its effect to others. They may take it just fine. Perhaps your chemistry does not fit the fountain. Perhaps, without your presence the fountain shall be all mine,” he brandishes his crow bar to her neck.
“I tried that, too. Killing myself.”
“Does the fountain make you appear younger, or immortal?”
“I suppose it does both quite well.”
“You cannot prevent me from marketing my grandfather’s work. I shall do what I please.”
“Then, be my guest.”
He scoops a handful of the water and gulps it voraciously.
Nothing changes at first. He only stands there, smugly looking at her. Gradually, his body revitalizes, like a reborn. A surge of energy overpowers him.
The pain he has on his knee for the last five years disappears. The scar from being stabbed when he was seventeen vanishes. His eyes feel renewed — as if he had never spent the countless hours researching in front of his computer.
And abruptly everything goes wrong. He becomes younger, but his skin soon tightens and tightens. Closing his hands is impossible. So is flexing his legs and arms. The energy of the elixir takes over his body. Degenerating his soul. It contradicts his greed.
“Remember, it was all for me. All of this was made from me, and for me. It was never intended to be used on anyone else.”
“Help…” he clutches his blistering heart in vain. ”I will do anything to be myself again.” His skin turns into some pale and crusty matter, like the skin of a dead tree. His arms are two logs — heavy, immovable.
“Nothing can undo greed. Your grandfather formulated the water to cure my deadly curse with an eternal pledge that I may never exude any negative emotion. Now you know what the miracle does.”
He tries to speak, but no voice is utterable once his tongue resembles wood.
As the lad merges with the garden’s shrubberies, she steals the crow bar and bolts it onto the trap door, burying the secret forever. With the glimmering sundown, she closes her eyes. Myriad sunsets await her.
Friday, September 30, 2011 1:06 AM –
Wednesday, October 5, 2011, 10:20 PM
Total editing time after the draft: 204 minutes
Self-serving editor: Amel Anniza
The New Flower
— Jonathan Roberts and Amel Anniza
I look around. My tired eyes scan the windswept meadow for the source of the bang. Nothing has changed in the past three hours: crickets softly playing the loneliest night ensemble among the reeds. The trees are quietly asleep.
A meteorite has dropped and blackened what is left of the tree trunk. It seems cool enough to approach. But something, an instinct of danger, warns me not to inspect closer.
Curiosity wins. I circle the burnt tree, careful not to approach it or the meteorite. Tenderly, a tune emanates, like the music made by the movement of planets. I stop to listen. My gaze transfixes on the halved meteorite.
As the melody grows sadder, a flower the color of blood blooms from the ashes, fuming intoxicating fragrant unlike anything of Earth. I cannot resist an inclination to touch the flower. Its petals electrocute my body for a few seconds. My vision blurs.
When I regain my consciousness, gone is the meadow behind my hut. I am now on a strange land.
A lush environment dense with foliage and flowers, a river running nearby, surrounds me. There, to my right, behind the waterfall reeks the heavenly perfume as what I sniffed from the blood flower.
Intent on discovering the source of the scent, I wade into the pool at the waterfall’s base. Red is all I see. Inside the cave, grow countless flowers each the cradle of a spiritless fetus — one of them used to be mine.
I reach out. But before I can touch the flower holding my fetus, it flicks its eyes and turns toward me.
“You murdered me, mother,” its accusative glare echoes eternal sorrow, scalding my heart.
As much as I wish to flee, it bids an explanation. “I had no choice,” my voice trembles in turmoil, “I was alone and… too weak to keep things together… I knew not what to do.”
“Is that so? What would you do differently now?” it scoffs.
“Nothing. Nothing but grieve. I bear no power to undo the past,” I brave myself to stare at its bleak black eyes. “Are all these babies…?”
All of them raise their heads and chant as one, “Yes. Yes we are.”
The melancholic melody I heard earlier loudens in harmony, from all of them, transfusing the physical pain of being disengaged. The bitterness of being unwanted.
I fall to my knees and beg, “Please… stop!”
“An eye for an eye. And my last breath in exchange for yours, dear mother,” its song suffocates my lungs and I slowly drown in an insufferable predicament.
A new flower sprouts and swiftly swells to embrace me. Into its center I sink, deeper and deeper — its perfume melting the remorse within me.
I am now one of them.
Sunday, September 25, 2011, 1:16 PM –
Saturday, October 29, 2011, 8:53 PM
Total editing time: 226 minutes
Self-serving editor: Amel Anniza
“Did you see it?” the fragile woman in a dusky white robe halts my step to inquire.
I dither at first. Night covers her wrinkly face. Only the familiar voice hints her identity. “Yes,” I answer her specific question.
“How was it?”
“Beautiful,” I smile.
“All of it?”
“All would be close to perfection,” my gaze wanders, “Everything…”
“You ever wanted,” she cuts. “The one you have been waiting for.”
“All my life,” I consent.
“Piano and poetry… Wizards and witches…”
“Hah. Even the periodic table!” I laugh. “You know me too well.”
“You did not imagine something like that exists on the other part of the globe, did you?”
“It was unthinkable. I dare not dream of something as… delightful as that. Much like happiness, I could almost taste it!”
“But you know the price,” now comes her turn to curve the smuggest smile, “Do you not?”
“Never shall I have him.”
“I sensed it from the start. Just another example of your petty games.”
“Life is a game. Win it!”
“It gets rather prolix after thirty-one years,” my apathy stares at her right in her lightless eyes.
“Indurate, little girl. Stop pining for Death,” swiftly she kisses my forehead, “Until next time.” Into the night, she liquefies.
I hug myself to banish the sickening chill she planted in her kiss, “Till then, Fate.”
Friday, November 18, 2011, 11:37 PM –
Saturday, November 19, 2011, 1:06 AM
Come early for the Eid. Everyone expects you to be here. Sleep later.
My aunt insinuated critical authority in her phone message. What nuisance. And this damn blackout! No water. How am I to shower?
The only solution is my aunt’s building with its emergency generator. Five blocks away. I stuff my clothes, towel, and toiletries. Running there in my pink sneakers.
Down in the dark lower ground, two apartments are vacant. Bolting the door. Throwing my bag on the coffee table. A silver lighter? Must be my aunt’s. Closing the shower curtain. Bathing in a flash and stepping out.
“Hey,” the ash-blond man speaks in a hoarse American accent, puffing his cigarette. Two bloodshot eyes wild as a homicidal vampire aiming to bite my neck.
“Who are you?!” I am more embarrassed of my exposed body than being terrified of the stranger’s uninvited presence. Hiding myself behind the shower curtain.
“Steve,” he replies. “Who are you?”
Racking my brain to connect pieces of information. Oh. My aunt wanted to introduce an American man to me last week. The one who just rents one of her many apartments. This apartment? “Never mind. Get me my towel.”
“What do you mean no. I need my towel. It’s on the coffee table.”
“Do I look like your maid?” disapproves his hazel eyes.
“Whatever. I’ll get it myself. Turn around.”
“Then close your eyes!”
“What the Hell! Don’t you Americans have some sense of decency?”
“Apparently not,” smokes coming from his half-closed lips.
“Idiot,” I contemplate how to escape this entanglement with class. Ripping the shower curtain? Dramatic, but too much hassle. Not sure it would work. Hgghh… why me? Why now?
Steve puts out his stub and takes off his paint-covered T-shirt. His jeans down on the floor, revealing dark gray boxers.
“What are you doing.”
“Hit the shower. My shower.”
“With me here?”
“If you want.”
“Relax. I’ve worked with nude models before. Won’t be that awkward. Need I strip my boxers?”
“This is harassment. I don’t need to see anything illegal. My aunt will kick you out when she hears about this.”
“Right. Who’s the one using someone else’s shower?” he sneers most condescendingly, “Without permission?”
I cannot believe he actually steps into the tub and turns on the water. And showers right in front of me. No sign of the slightest guilt! Psycho.
“Kendra, right? The girl who never dated anyone. Your aunt told me so much about you.” He lathers his body parts with my soap. Slow, conspicuous gestures. “You’re not… gay, are you?”
“Then, touch me.”
“In your wildest dream.”
“Not even with my sexy wet boxers like this?”
“Now you sound gay. Let’s try something else,” he rinses the soap and detains me. Stroking my left breast under the thin linen curtain.
“Stop!” I push him away. The curtain falls, uncovering my damp body.
“Interesting,” he stares at my breasts. Offensively.
As I wrap the curtain around me, he holds my face and licks my lips. Violating me with such manly force that I almost faint.
“That was so hot,” he gasps. “Did you feel anything?”
“NO,” I lie.
“Really,” his tongue slithers down my neck, sucking my skin. His unabashed villainy fires me. I long to consume his kiss like sarsparilla sin.
This is immoral, I scold myself. He cannot win.
Abruptly, he stops. “Enough education for today. Go get dress.”
“Get lost before I become truly evil and attempt indecency beyond your wildest dream,” he threatens.
I free myself and dash outside. Dressing in shame.
“Come back to me tomorrow,” his smug voice forewarns, “when you’re madly in love.”
Monday, December 26, 2011, 10:23 AM –
Tuesday, December 27, 2011, 1:46 PM
Across the Milky Way
She sold her soul for me. Silly girl. I decided to die for her. She’ll be waiting. I know it. Right there. Our bus stop. We’ll have our secret bus adventures together. She and I. This time, they will never end. I have a plan.
It’s raining hard when I get there. She is dressed in white. We all are. “Firefly,” I smile at her. Almost crying.
“I can’t believe you,” she seems mad, something I never saw coming from her before.
My sudden resolution. Reckless. Near-selfish. But I know how to convince her, like I always did. I miss her so, that I cry again.
“What about your mom? Your family? They’ll be looking for you.”
“They have one another,” I sit next to her, shoulder to shoulder. “I love the dead more than the living.” No one else is around. This should be the last bus of the day. “Has our bus passed?”
“Just like college!” my eyes sparkle.
“You really shouldn’t.”
“My life is my choice. I’ll do what I please.”
“Still as stubborn as you were. You haven’t changed.”
“Well, I cried too much when you left me. I would have never been that weak in college, would I.”
She should have known that we are meant to be together. There’s no other way. “There it is, bus number thirty-four,” I stand in excitement. Our adventures shall begin.
We hop onto the bus and sit on the first front row as we used to do. No one notices anything.
“Too bad you can’t buy those snacks you like so much,” I reminisce.
“We don’t need food or drink anymore.”
Night after night, we travel from our campus gate to the last station near her house. Always on the same front seats behind the driver.
A month vanishes. People begin to realize those two seats are never occupied on the last trip of the day. Rumors spread. The haunted bus. Typical superstitious Jakartans.
“We should stop,” speaks her self-conscious anxiety. “They don’t welcome us anymore.”
“I know. But who cares. I want to have our nightly commute. Forever!”
“We’re disturbing them, you know. We shouldn’t,” her worried eyes beg.
“What will we do if not this?” I challenge her.
“That,” she points to the moonlit sky.
Once in every year, on the night after my birthday, October 29, she condones my evil mischief. To haunt our earthly bus. Just like in college. For all the remaining days, our heavenly bus journeys across the Milky Way: from cloud to cloud and star to star.
(You and I, Firefly.)
Monday, January 2, 2012, 11:33 AM –
Monday, January 2, 2012, 11:33 AM –
Tuesday, January 3, 2012, 7:27 AM