perfect!

this is funny business. i mean, if you had looked at them and observed what they had done, they could have really got into your skin razor-like. what had their mothers taught them when they were young? how could they possibly be human beings? sometimes, i wonder if He really loves them. how could He? they don’t deserve to be loved! i can even state it matter-of-factly that they should go to hell immediately. they should not get another chance. He should be grieved. why should they do this to Him? thankfully, He has me. i’m different from them. i know Him, love Him and follow Him. i have done no wrong and have every right to believe that He’s proud of me. you can even say i am perfect for heaven. look at this tag my buddy made for me. it says, “THE ONLY HUMBLE MAN ON EARTH”. and he insisted i should put it on which i did. why shouldn’t i? it’s the truth. Lord, i thank You!

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Published in: on Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 12:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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curtains

curtains

it was finally over. he moved away and out. it felt numb, but the hurt intensified at my heart. i stared at the windows. i couldn’t decide if there was light stabbing the dark room or darkness swallowing the lit curtains. life could go on but it would be a different one. is there a way to spell bastard backwards?

Published in: on Thursday, February 12, 2009 at 1:20 am  Comments (5)  
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chaos

as i piss and hiss, the stone is no harder than the cone. there is the will and pill of which alex uses to modernise the t-rex. don’t tell me where the hell you are going to. the destination couldn’t be more than a procrastination. we might huff and puff, sure. but remember to pinch the pile and inch a mile, if the square were to tear. questioning is not an option. answering is. abiding by the law is not a choice. breaking it is. check with the libertine or josephine in the monastery. they would disagree to agree.

Published in: on Saturday, January 31, 2009 at 12:48 am  Comments (3)  
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a writing contest

join me in submitting an entry at Jason’s. you can read my piece here. tell me what you think.

Published in: on Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 3:35 pm  Comments (1)  
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Tainted

It would be easy, he swore.

But no, when the crunch came, he melted away like a picnic bar on a tarmac ground under the twelve o’clock sun. His knees were still right on top of Xavier who was choking with tears. His hands were quavering under the weight of the machete. Crucially, his heart was crying for mercy and grace on behalf on this pitiful soul beneath him. His mind concurred after much deliberation. He should let him off, really.

“Please, Alan, please! You know I love you very much! I was wrong, but I love you!” Xavier’s vehement voice pealed for the umpteenth time. As Alan looked into his eyes, he could see the tenderness whispering forgiveness. Really, he should just tear his heart out magnanimously and amen to the bygones. He fought hard to hold back the pain that was to drip through his eyes. This man he had loved so deeply the last twenty years violated the trust he built painstakingly to keep them bonded in sanity. How could he have done that?

“You know I fucking love you too much to let you go! And that’s exactly the same reason why I’m going to fucking let you off!” Alan spoke, in an obvious heartbreaking tone that cut deep. He lowered his arms and tossed the weapon aside. He got off Xavier’s chest, stood slowly and stared at his lover for a few seconds.

“You have fucking broken my heart. I don’t want to see you again,” Alan said, as he moved away. Xavier rolled to one side gently, not wanting to aggravate the multiple injuries he suffered from the fight. He coughed uncomfortably into his hands and saw blood. He hauled himself up and managed to stand, though unsteadily. Alan was already limping some twenty yards away.

Summoning whatever that was left in his body, Xavier began charging towards Alan with the machete he picked up. He was intent in removing the thorn in his flesh now. With the instinct that had served him so well in the past as a cop, Alan somehow sensed Xavier coming at him. He dived to his left and flipped over before flooring the oncoming assailant with a kick. Alan went on top of Xavier for the second time and battered him with his fists repeatedly. Without even an ounce of energy left, Xavier was there for the taking. His injuries had taken their toll on him and he was dying a slow death.

Alan was panting after another round of physical assertion. He stooped low and lay next to his lover’s stationary body. He turned to face him.

“Why, you bastard? Why? Why do you have to make it so easy for me?” Alan whispered. His tears finally flowed. He lifted the machete and severed Xavier’s head. Then, a tune came to his mind, and he began improvising a melody of words.

Look at the beautiful night sky
With the twinkling stars and the elegant moon
It certainly promises much
The cool sea breeze
And the salty smell of humidity
They definitely promise much
How I wish all these had come earlier
You know, we could have really lived happily ever after
We could have realistically grown old together
Pity the human nature is such
That we have our differences
That we could not manage them well enough
Feel the sand around here
The grains are ever so smooth, so fine
Just like how they used to be
Hear the tides rolling in
They sing so merrily in our ears
Bringing back fresh waves of sweet memories
How I wish the human nature is such
Consistent, everlasting and adaptable
That we can be as gay as we want to be
Pity Mother Nature is such
That we’ll always find it a tall order
To keep up with her standard of serendipity
As I observe the contours of your body
As I caress the hardened pounds of muscles
I thank God for the blessings we’d had together
I long to look into your soulful eyes again
I long to kiss your sensual lips again
But I’m not sure if that’s possible now

Alan got onto his feet, one hand with his lover’s head.

It was easy, he swore.

Published in: on Friday, January 9, 2009 at 3:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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He Liked Giving Surprises

It was a calculated risk, but for the sake of little Zhi Wei, it was worth it. Ying Mei, being the big sister, knew it was her obligation to care for and love her brother at any cost. Somehow she always managed to turn that obligation into a privilege, something an ordinary human being rarely does.

Their parents had gone out for a wedding dinner earlier in the evening, and the girl was tasked to take care of her brother and get him to sleep at the scheduled hour. But Zhi Wei wasn’t giving his sister the best of time. He was up and running around, making a lot of noise, much to the annoyance of his sister and possibly their neighbours. It was already two hours past bedtime and the boy was still active and not in bed.

Fortunately, Ying Mei knew her brother well, so she told him that they would wait for their parents to return home at the door. Zhi Wei concurred without second thoughts and sat at the door. Ying Mei felt enormously relieved and joined her brother on the floor.

It dawned upon Ying Mei that her parents had instructed her not to open the door late at night, not when the crime rate within the vicinity had soared to a record high in the last six months. So she suggested to Zhi Wei that they would only open the door when they hear their parents. That would be a pleasant surprise. Zhi Wei beamed. He liked giving surprises.

They waited.

About five minutes later, the children heard some noise outside the door. Ying Mei wasn’t sure if her parents were back. She hesitated a while. It was risky. What if another criminal was lurking outside? But Zhi Wei was getting anxious and insisted in opening the door. Ying Mei relented and opened the door slowly and carefully.

“Hello, Kids! You are still up? Not sleeping yet?” a man spoke. Both children were stunned for a moment but became composed when they saw their neighbour, old Mr Lim with his eldest son, Sean.

“We are waiting for Daddy and Mummy!”

“Oh, how nice. Good night!” Both men walked off.

The children closed the door and waited.

Ying Mei was nodding away in her sleep before her head hit the wall that woke her up. She had dozed off. So did Zhi Wei. She looked at the clock. It was half past eleven. She was about to get Zhi Wei to bed when she heard some noise outside the house. This time there was also the sound of a bunch of keys. It must be her parents. She shook her brother and told him that their parents had returned.

Both of them eagerly opened the door. They were shocked. Floating past them unhurriedly was a headless figure in a red dress, holding a bunch of keys. The children were scared stiff and couldn’t move. The figure turned and ‘faced’ them. Albeit they were drowning in their tears and sweat, they could hear the figure asking them, “Is this my home?”

Published in: on Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 12:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Bus-stop (teaser)

The bus pulled over by the bus-stop. It was the last chartered stop. The door opened and little Tiffiny alighted from the bus. She was humming a tune she just learned from school. She waved goodbye to her friend, Ginny. The bus driver turned the vehicle round and went back the way he came from.

Now Tiffiny was all alone at the bus-stop that was smacked right in the middle of a 27-km two-way road. Parallel to the road on the same side of the bus-stop was a 100-acre farmland with huge plants lined up in an almost regimental fashion. On the opposite side of the road lay a vast amount of beige sand that stretched the entire the coastline of the deep blue sea. There was nothing else in sight.

The girl sat on the bench, still feeling tremendously happy with her first-day experience in school. She couldn’t wait to share her joy with her father. He was coming to fetch her home from the bus-stop before heading for their little cottage at the end of the road. He had checked the bus schedule and knew exactly the time to pick his girl up from the bus-stop.

The five-year-old looked at her watch. It was six in the evening. She pulled out her favourite storybook from her bag and started reading it. She was oblivious to the familiar surrounding environment that was characterised by dead silence and stale air. Her mind was preoccupied with thrill.

Almost 3 km away, the father was cycling on the straight road, whistling a melody. He was busy working as a site supervisor at a construction ground during the day. He was looking forward to seeing Tiffiny, especially it was her first day at school. She was the only one he had in the family after his wife had died from breast cancer. If he had a choice, he would have accompanied his girl in school. His boss had wanted him to be present at work for an emergency meeting in the morning.

Soon, the bus-stop came into sight. His heart pounded pleasingly as he saw Tiffiny. Just as he picked up pace, his bicycle ran over a small stone. He lost his balance and fell off the bicycle. Fortunately, he was not hurt. He hauled the bicycle up and jumped onto it. As he lifted his head, his blood ran cold. His daughter was not at the bus-stop.

(i’m not entirely sure where this is heading, but i knew i had to write it. pardon me if i can’t finish it soon. i might not have the time honestly. you can throw me some ideas if you don’t mind.)

Published in: on Monday, October 20, 2008 at 11:10 pm  Comments (6)  
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Blog Action Day – Poverty

Separate Lives

He slit the skin of the chicken with his teeth as the aroma of the deep fried stank the hall. She thrashed furiously at the spaghetti mixed with sauce and complained that it was the umpteenth plain dinner. You licked the balls on the ice-cream cone before they melted away into the bin. Me? I savoured every grain in my palm with care and thought of paradise. I counted there were six of them.

He put on “The Incredibles” T-shirt and rolled in the mud, screaming “Goal!” She walked out of the retail with another Versace dress paid from her LV bag. You stripped your wardrobe bare, discarding the old and odd ones into the bag for charity, before dollaring it with the new and unodd ones. Me? I had this piece of linen hanging precariously round my groin, hoping that paradise will bring me something to be hung round my shoulders.

He played the toy soldiers and sent them into a house of dolls, sheltering them from the rain of shells. She had a good bath in the Olympic-sized pool before sipping orange juice on the bench made of cotton and leopard skin. You looked out from the window of your 14th floor apartment and wished you had a roomier luxurious studio. Me? I was sitting under the tree with few blades of grass that screened me away from the sun, knowing that paradise will surely be better.

He pressed the same few buttons over and over again, looking excitedly at the display smaller than my tummy. She danced on the tabletop with strange music louder than my tummy’s growl, obviously indulging in some heavenly dreams. You spent hours turning pages of papers under a warm light after kicking a ball with your crazy friends in a rain-soaked field. Me? I only played two games. I stared and I stared. Oh, when angels from paradise came, I walked. And that was really cool.

You know, as I look at him, her and you, I wish we could all swap places and enjoy each other’s life. Perhaps, next time when paradise comes, we can do that?

Shall we discuss?

What is poverty?

How relevant is poverty today?

Reasons for poverty?

Any measures to curb poverty?

Published in: on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 at 8:17 am  Comments (14)  
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quit

it’s just so hard to swallow the pain so early on. the sparks of the future has probably dissipated. the amount of recovery is infinite. so do me a favour – don’t do me a favour.

Published in: on Friday, October 10, 2008 at 11:06 am  Comments (1)  
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Mozart (Part 4) … the last one

The boy stared at the body, his vision impaired by his own blood. He did a slow visual scan of the man he used to call Daddy from head to torso to toes and back to torso to……

“That’s not a head!” he mumbled cheerfully. “It’s a potato!” His father had a potato head. Potatoes must be mashed. Almost instantaneously, the boy raised the screwdriver and began pounding on the man’s head.

“Potatoes must be mashed. Potatoes must be mashed. Potatoes must be mashed……” The boy went on to mash the potato completely in some God-given time. When he was done, he leaned back to rest.

“Well done!”

“Thank you, God!”

“Are you ready for the next step?”

“Yes, God. But…”

“But what?”

“Can I see Your face, God?”

“Ha! Why?”

“I’m just curious, God. Hmmm, never mind, God.”

“Since you’ve been such a good boy, I shall grant your wish.”

“Really, God?”

“Yes.”

“Oh…thank You, God!”

“Meet your Maker.” The boy could see someone walking towards him from the darkness of the bedroom. As the figure moved under the lights, he gaped at a little boy who looked just like him.

“Who are you?”

“I am God.”

“You look like me. You are not God.”

“I am God. You are me and I am you.”

“What?”

“I am God. You are God. We both are. In music, there is only one genius – Mozart. In music prophecy, there is only one genius – you and I. You…I…prophesy to kill. Let you…me…continue to draw strength from Mozart’s energy in his music-making when prophesying the death ends of all the naughty people. I will kill all the naughty people like how I killed the undertaker who touched me all over and my father who failed his life. They don’t deserve to live……” It dawned upon the boy that he had been talking to himself, and he was rather bemused.

He stood gingerly as he remembered three names. Tom had beaten him several times, citing fun as the reason. Dick had labelled his mother a witch. Uncle Harry had rolled off his father’s bed naked. He put the headphones to his ears and clicked ‘play’ on his walkman. Mozart made him smile, again.

Published in: on Monday, September 8, 2008 at 11:32 pm  Comments (8)  
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Mozart (Part 3)

The crescendo startled the boy. He opened his eyes and found himself still sitting at the corner of the living room. One bead of perspiration trickled down from his forehead and brushed across his lips. He wetted his lips with his tongue and tasted blood. He wiped his forehead with his hand and saw blood on the palm.

His father was watching Psycho on TV from the couch. Intermittently, the man would turn to glare at him, obviously warning him to do his job well. Quite bizarrely to the boy, the man resembled some food item he had learned from the pack of flash cards his mother had bought him about a year earlier. Potato. Yes, he was thinking of potato. He recalled what his mother had taught him about potatoes. They must be mashed.

A screwdriver darted across the room and hit his shoulder. He looked up. His father was yelling at him, demanding the name of the winning team of the game between Red Sox and Mariners. Then, a voice boomed in the boy’s ears. It was God and He said it was time. The boy removed the headphones and remained calmly seated. He asked his father if he could take him to the restaurant to eat waffle ice-cream. Incensed by the boy’s audacious request, the man picked up a stool and hurled it at him. The stool landed heavily on the boy’s head and it left him with an open wound. As he struggled to sit upright, his whole head was in red.

The man, who must have been shocked by what he had done to his own offspring, acted apologetic. He was adamant that he was not wrong. He told the boy that they could both work closely together to attain huge measure of success. He ambled towards the boy and went down to pick up the stool.

“Now!” God spoke and the boy pulled his father’s hair with his left hand. The man was stunned by his son’s enormous strength and thrashed about to get free. He looked into the boy’s eyes and for the first time in his life, he fully embraced the meaning of fear. The pupils were plain ravenous. The boy seized the screwdriver swiftly with his right hand and pierced through his father’s neck with it. Like a contorting dying cockroach, the man lived out his last moments in tremendous agony, body twitching acrobatically. Soon, he left.

Published in: on Saturday, September 6, 2008 at 11:59 pm  Comments (2)  
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Mozart (Part 2)

That night, the boy was weeping tearlessly in his sleep when a voice spoke to him. He knew that was God who went on advising him on how to capitalise on his gift to further His kingdom. God closed the session by whistling a tune of Requiem and the boy swore his soul was much soothed by his Creator.

Just as God’s serenade faded into the darkness, the father stomped into the room and hoisted the boy from his bed. He commanded him to pull Mozart close to his ears. The little one did as he was told, remembering every word that God had uttered. He was going to get it, he reminded himself. He was going to get it.

The boy clicked ‘play’ and the music rolled. It was Requiem – the trail of hope God had just left behind in thin air. He closed his eyes, and for the first time, he could see. His mother was right ahead in all red. Her lovely tresses fell nicely on her breasts as she lifted her head to look at him. He thought he saw peace in her eyes, but her mouth was full with needles and she was chewing on them. She went on peeling the skin of her left forearm with the apple knife. The boy recognised what a monster depression was.

Before he could call out to his mother, she vanished. Then, a full-length mirror erected in front of him. He could see his own reflection and he looked gay. Quite abruptly, bruises, swells and cuts began to appear on the face and arms of the boy in the mirror, and he was crying. A huge arm of a strangely familiar headless man began to drag the boy in the mirror away.

Again, the boy wanted to shout, and again, he was distracted by what he saw next. His father was standing in the living room, back facing him. He started walking straight ahead and seemed to be talking to someone. As he squatted to pick up a stool, a boy came into sight. The boy saw himself, again, and this time, he was bleeding profusely from the head. His father was about to stand up when the bloody boy grabbed the man’s hair violently with one hand and thrust a screwdriver into his throat with another.

Published in: on Friday, September 5, 2008 at 1:32 am  Comments (3)  
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Mozart (Part 1)

The metre-tall boy picked up the screwdriver and began pounding on the lifeless body of the man repeatedly. He was sort of sniggering. The background music of Hitchcock’s Psycho seemed to give him the momentum to swing his arm.

No, he was no Chucky who was probably still chasing after his eloping bride. He was just a victim of his own success. A prodigy in music prophecy, he was the brainchild of the Almighty’s effort to boost the rootless life of a drunkard. Or at least that was what the latter believed. Day after day after the boy’s mother took her own life from prolonged depression, his father put him on the walkman that spoke nothing but Mozart. His mission was to predict the winning dog on the race track.

It was in fact accidental that the man discovered his son’s gift. Mozart was playing at his wife’s cremation when his boy whispered to him that the undertaker was going to take a tumble into the furnace. In all sanity, he slapped the boy and ordered him to shut up. Ten minutes later, while everyone was wailing or pretending to wail at the sight of the woman on the firebed, the undertaker slipped and fell into the fire. In the midst of the chaos that followed, the man looked at his son in disbelief. He knew God had finally arrived in his life.

The first weeks of the boy’s music prophecy reaped benefits for the parent, much to the boy’s own delight too. He was only four, but he could already feel what pride was. However, he soon found feeding an insatiable drinking beast an order too tall for even a Philistine. That animal started forcing him to spend every second of his 24-hour-a-day life listening to Mozart so that he could help him create his own almanac for the baseball games that coming new season. The man was determined to win every odd for every game and player. Sleep became a luxurious commodity for the little boy. Beatings began to co-exist with Mozart in his life.

Published in: on Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 1:58 am  Comments (4)  
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Running Wind contest

my humble piece at The Clarity of Night. please give me your feedback. thanks!

Published in: on Sunday, July 20, 2008 at 4:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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I Remember

Never mind the bitter wind that caresses the stripped surface of our bodies. Your arms snaking round my waist from behind are a sweet reminder of our undying love as fragments of our lives invade my state of mind.

I remember the times we spent playing ‘cooking’ in the barnyard when we were five, the punch I got from Dexter for shielding you when we were in elementary school, my first flower – a small dandelion – I gave you on Valentine’s Day in 1951, the first time we held hands, embraced and kissed each other, the first heated argument we had when you saw Jane crying on my shoulders, how we got our only Harley on a shoestring budget, your ‘yes’ when I asked for your hand, the night we lost our virginity to one another, your tears when I left for Vietnam, you carrying Jess in your arms when I returned from the war, how you were my strength when my folks passed on and the many success and failure we had enjoyed together.

These sixty years, we’d had it all. Well, almost…except your wildest dream – both of us riding on our Harley naked…until now.

As we run with our Harley down this memory lane with growth rings on our exposed skins that speak ages, I want you to remember this day. Even if you’re just a lifeless body now, I’ll finish this naked journey with you.

Never mind the cops that are coming after us.

Published in: on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 10:05 pm  Comments (2)  
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dripping

the text was loud when the sovereign seed, tree and soul delivered the punch that sent the wired one scrambling. the horn was read and the cause for fireworks could never have been underachieved. the route, the one with the narrowest width, is now set for as long as time exists. the sidewalk must be dolled up. the sheep must be led. the journey must and will start. the chosen living dead and dead living must complete the mission hand in hand. the curtain that differentiates has been lifted, but the vision is no clearer than before. in fact, one of them is dripping with an ounce of the thorn that kills. the fist must surely soften the blow, now.

Published in: on Wednesday, June 18, 2008 at 10:29 am  Comments (4)  
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“Whispers”

i wrote again.

Published in: on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 8:36 am  Comments (5)  
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Truth

Truth is like childbirth – necessary but excruciating.

I really didn’t know what to say when I learned about it. If she regarded me as a spouse, then I must have been an ass to believe her.

How could she hide this from me? How long did she think she could hide? Four days? Four weeks? Forever? It hurt too much. It really did. Four years of marriage wasn’t worth the effort?

You see, she surrendered all her policies without telling me her difficulty in financing the premiums. She could have told me, right? I could have helped a bit, right?

She fainted at work and was taken to the hospital. When I reached there, the doctor had diagnosed breast cancer – the late stage. And that was when her ex-agent met me and told me about her surrender – the truth. I was somewhat devastated, somewhat bitter.

For the next six months, we laboured on with my personal savings. Her treatment exhausted almost my entire coffers – all $200000. She apologised to me three times during this period and each time I had nothing to utter.

14 hours after the third time she apologised, she lost the battle and passed on. She left me with nothing.

Well, not quite. She left me nothing.

And a great lesson.

Published in: on Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 11:29 pm  Comments (14)  
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Sudden Death

Last month, I was just talking to Mr Chan at the coffeeshop. He was saying that the government should do something about the high cost of living and the low salary. The next morning, he dropped dead in the bedroom from a heart attack.

Last week, I met Susan at Coffee Bean. We recounted the good old days in high school and how I used to woo her before she left for the states. Two days later, she was run over by a motorcycle.

Yesterday, Jason called me and invited me to his wedding dinner next month. He shared how excited he was about starting his own family unit. I told him he’d make a good husband because he was a very patient guy. Last night, he was stabbed to death in a snatch theft.

Six hours ago, Mum rang me up and said Dad was admitted to hospital. It was just diagnosed that he was at the late stage of liver cancer. Just a few minutes after I had met him at Changi, he passed away.

Just now, an ambulance pulled over by the pavement. The paramedics rolled out the stretcher and I could see a young man with a number tag on his chest lying unconscious. Words spread that he was a seasoned marathon runner who collapsed seconds after completing 21 km.

Now, I am staring at him. He’s being pushed out with the sheet covering his face and his parents crying.

If life is so uncertain, what have I done?

Published in: on Thursday, January 3, 2008 at 12:08 am  Comments (8)  
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Fourteen Minutes (Final Part)

Almost abruptly, the train slowed down. But hardly anyone noticed that as all of them were on the floor in various crouching or squatting positions. Then to everyone’s astonishment, the train dragged to a stop gently. All the passengers on board stood slowly, and looked through the windows. Many people had already gathered at the platform, all of them were law enforcers, rescuers and station staff. They could not believe that they had reached Pretoria and still survived. Someone must have stopped that mad guy at the pilot control.

Moments later, the train doors opened. The obviously relieved passengers began to alight from the train one after another. Selena helped Lee Hoon get up and they both walked slowly out of the train. Azmi held onto Rosnah and stepped out soon after. Teck Meng carried both Raj and Jean in his arms. Both children still looked visibly shaken. All the passengers were evacuated from the station quickly. Three men rushed towards the pilot cabin angrily. Their intent was clear. They wanted to beat the hell out of Fred. But they were stopped by several policemen who had them shipped out too.

As Teck Meng walked away from the train, he saw a posse of armed policemen standing outside the pilot cabin. One of them used a loudhailer to order Fred to surrender. There was no response. Before he could see more, he was already out of the train station.

Everyone was escorted to a temporary assembly area some hundred metres away from the station. Paramedics were already there to receive and attend to them. Selena, Lee Hoon, Teck Meng, Azmi, Rosnah, Raj and Jean were all resting together with different people trying to calm them down with reassurances.

Teck Meng found it funny that these paramedics and counsellors looked more nervous than all these people who had gone through the ordeal with him. It was definitely the most harrowing fourteen minutes of their lives, but somehow all of them managed to force a faint smile when they looked at each other, except the two children.

“I guess we can really count ourselves extremely lucky!” Teck Meng finally spoke. The rest kept quiet, but nodded gently. He knew God had protected him well. Through this, he reaffirmed his faith in Him, and he was glad he had not failed him the last fourteen minutes on the train.

Selena was happy that she had chosen to help another person moments before her supposed death. Through it all, she found new meaning in life. She realised how immature and silly she was when she was contemplating suicide after James had failed her. Life is so much more than that jerk.

Azmi’s and Rosnah’s love for each other had grown stronger throughout this potential disaster. Azmi knew he had to spend more time with his wife, while the latter had decided to follow the doctor’s order.

Raj told Jean that he would love his parents more then. He also said that he would cherish his Playstation 3 even more too. Jean said her parents would be the most important things in her life and she would study well for them.

“Fred Ong Kim Loong, 36, who had threatened to derail an MRT train in fourteen minutes, was found dead in the pilot cabin, moments after stopping the train himself at Pretoria train station. He had apparently stabbed himself in the heart after telling the passengers on board that he ‘had spent his last fourteen minutes wisely’. He had also left a written note behind that read:

I believe I have taught the world a lesson in this one precious episode – live every second of your life in the most meaningful way you are capable of. My secondary school teacher taught me that. And I would like to think that I have done it. I have made every one of you on the train reflect on how you can possibly maximise the remaining time of your life. Fourteen minutes was just a random number. It could have been an hour. It could have been two days. It could have been three minutes. It would not have mattered anyway. Because most of you would still waste your life away until you know your time is up. I’m glad that some people managed to live life meaningfully in those fourteen minutes. To these people, I say I’m proud of you. To the rest of you who have failed, I believe my message is clear to you. You know what to do. There could be another Fred in future. So be prepared.

Fred Ong had been working as a train operator for five years. He’s survived by a wife and two children……” CNA News

Published in: on Wednesday, December 26, 2007 at 12:22 am  Comments (4)  

Fourteen Minutes (Part V)

It was 2.55 p.m. The train seemed to have difficulty maintaining speed, thus the ride was pretty rough for the passengers, some of whom were still desperately trying to find their way out, while others had seemingly given up hope as they settled back into their seats. With so little time left, there was very little they could do to save themselves.

Lee Hoon had finally regained her composure and began talking to Selena.

“I’m Lee Hoon. Thanks for your help…”

“It’s Selena,” the young girl replied.

“Thank you, Selena! I’m really glad that you are here with me. I was from STC as well.”

“Oh, which year did you graduate?” and so they went on chatting away.

Azmi picked up his phone and called his children one by one. He still spoke in his headmaster tone and instructed them what to do after his death. Rosnah took over the phone and told them to take care of themselves, working hard not to cry out.

“I really don’t want to die. I want my mummy!” Jean was crying out loud.

“Me too. I want to go home! Uncle, please help us get out from here! Please!” Raj wailed after that. Teck Meng was clueless. He had never really known how to talk to children, let alone two crying ones.

“Hey! Try this! Close your eyes and say, ‘I trust God to save me!’ Try it,” Teck Meng said. Even he was sure this was a pretty lame effort. But surprisingly, the two children obliged. They closed their eyes and mumbled, “I trust God to save me!”

Suddenly, people in the front were screaming again. The train was approaching Pretoria station – the terminal station. The end of the track was in sight. Almost everyone on the train was bracing themselves for the huge collision ahead. Teck Meng stood and shouted at all of them to pull their bodies close to the metal bars. At least, that was the best they could do now, he thought. Lee Hoon and Selena, Azmi and Rosnah, Teck Meng and the children, all of them cuddled at different spots of the last carriage.

“So this is it, my dearest folks! Have you spent your last fourteen minutes wisely? I bet you have, because I, a lunatic, have done so. Let’s end it here, shall we?” Fred’s haunting voice was loud and clear throughout the unusually quiet train.

Published in: on Sunday, December 23, 2007 at 10:43 pm  Comments (2)  

Fourteen Minutes (Part IV)

Selena chose to help Lee Hoon in her last moments of life. Though she felt bitter towards James and the thought of suicide still lingered, she felt that Lee Hoon probably needed her now. She just sat by her and encouraged her to continue breathing slowly.

Lee Hoon, on the other hand, had her mind clouded with negative thoughts. She thought of how her husband would react to the tragic news that his family was gone. She could not believe that the young soul within her womb would not have the opportunity to live life, to see his parents, to know the beautiful world or now the ugly world. She could not stay composed. She appreciated the help from this STC schoolgirl, but remained confused to know what to do next.

Despite feeling gutted about not having the chance to build on the success of his own business and the booming economy, Teck Meng knew that his time was probably up. He uttered a prayer under his breath, thanking God for the blessings he had received, and how he should be joyful that he was going to meet Him soon. He pulled out the Bible from his briefcase and began reading it.

Azmi looked into Rosnah’s eyes and said that he was sorry to have neglected her. He said he loved her and asked her to forgive him. A tearful Rosnah responded by saying that she had never blamed him for anything he had done or failed to do. She said her love for him was unconditional and that there was no need for him to apologise. Both of them remained in each other’s embrace.

Raj and Jean walked over to Teck Meng as the train sped past Tangerine station.

“Uncle, may we borrow your phone? We want to call our parents. We want to tell them we love them…” Raj could not complete his sentence as his emotions overwhelmed him. Jean stuck out her hand. Her face completely washed out with tears. Teck Meng looked at the children and felt this inner sense of warmth glowing from them. He placed his phone on Jean’s palm and said, “You can keep it.” The two children sat beside him and started taking turns to call their parents. They were talking and crying at the same time.

Published in: on Friday, December 21, 2007 at 11:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Fourteen Minutes (Part III)

“…The moment I finish my last word, each of you on board will have fourteen minutes left to live. Let me explain. I’m going to drive the train all the way to the terminal station, and I will not stop. I will push the train all the way to the end of the track and…you should know what happens after that. So with fourteen minutes left in your life, what will each of you do? The time is now 2.46 p.m. and your fourteen minutes starts…now!” Fred ended off loudly and went off air.

Pandemonium began to rise within the whole train. Some people scrambled for the doors and tried to force them open. Others yelled away hopelessly. A couple of big men rushed to the front carriage and banged hard on the pilot cabin door. There were others who tried breaking the window glass with different hard objects. Phone calls were made again to the police and then to the other stations, notably Tangerine and Pretoria. Someone shouted into the phone, “Press the emergency stop button!”

“Are you going to spend your last moments on earth doing all these? Surely you are all in a better position than your dearest captain here that life is more precious than knocking on the doors and windows, or screaming at the top of your lungs, or calling for help! Do something more meaningful with your life now!” Fred boomed over the airwaves.

Lee Hoon’s anxiety had heightened. Selena was attempting to calm her down albeit she was on the verge of a breakdown herself. Azmi pulled Rosnah close. Teck Meng sat down too, looking calmer. Raj and Jean, who had just begun to know what was going on, were crying uncontrollably.

Strangely, these passengers in the last carriage had somehow resigned to the fate that they were going to die, unlike the others in the rest of the train.

Published in: on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 at 11:51 pm  Comments (4)  

Fourteen Minutes (Part II)

Then, someone spoke over the public address system. It was the train operator.

“Time checked, 2.44 p.m. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! This is your train captain, Fred, who has the absolute pleasure of ferrying all you dearest passengers from station to station.”

Selena was jolted out of her sorrow. Teck Meng stopped reading his papers and was bemused by this short introduction. Azmi broke away from his daze and listened intently, while Rosnah was still deep in thoughts. Lee Hoon stopped talking to her baby and looked up. Raj and Jean looked curiously at each other. And the other passengers in the other carriages were all stunned at varying degrees.

“I know you are wondering why this sudden introduction. I mean, it was never done before, so I can understand how you feel now, perhaps. Anyway, I’ve got a surprise for all of you,” Fred said and paused.

Selena and Teck Meng looked at each other, silently asking each other what was going on. Rosnah turned and asked her husband what the train operator had said. Lee Hoon began to get flustered. Raj thought aloud, “A surprise? Are they going to give us a cake each?” Jean laughed with him.

“You see, I’ve always been wondering what I would do with my life if I know the exact time when I’m going to die,” Fred said and paused again.

Selena, Teck Meng and Azmi began standing up, all looking tensed suddenly. They peered into the front carriages. Many other passengers were also standing and looking ahead. Rosnah was still asking questions, while Lee Hoon started to take deep breaths. The two children stopped laughing as they observed what the adults were doing.

“And I also wonder what others will plan to do with their lives if they know the exact time of their demises,” Fred said calmly and paused.

Teck Meng began dialling ‘999’ like many others on the train. Selena noticed Lee Hoon and went up to offer her help. Azmi sat beside Rosnah and assured her with his touch. The children were still wondering what was going on. They could hear some passengers shouting from the other carriages. The train then passed Sinai station without stopping.

“Guess what? I know what I would do with my life, now that I know when I’m going to die. And I think I’m going to help you find your answers too…”

Published in: on Saturday, December 15, 2007 at 9:36 am  Comments (4)  

Fourteen Minutes (Part I)

It was 2.42 p.m. At Tamarind station, several passengers boarded the empty last carriage and settled down. Less than a minute later, the train moved off the station and headed east.

Sitting by the window, Selena stared at the passing images as the train moved along the track. She was not sure if life could go on well then. James was a jerk, but her feelings for him were strong. She remembered the first day she met him. She recalled how he had swept her off her feet with the flowers and the cards. And then, there was the first kiss – simple, yet sensational. Everything was beautiful…until she saw him moments earlier. There he was, standing at the platform and hugging another girl. He saw her. She glared at him, looking for his answer. All he gave her was a smirk on his face. Tears rolled down her cheeks and stained her school uniform. Could suicide be a solution? Her eyes still fixed on the images outside.

The future seemed bright. At least that was what the financial report was indicating in the Business Times. Teck Meng was sure that boom time in the market had arrived. He knew he could start flexing his muscles with his stocks and bonds in hand. He picked up his N95 and checked the latest status of his portfolios. Then, he made the call to his agent. Before coming on board the train, he had just clinched yet another deal for his insurance business. Everything was looking up for him. He smiled before turning his head to the right. Then, he saw a schoolgirl and her tears.

Azmi held Rosnah’s hand tightly as both of them were still grappling with the cold hard truth they had received. The doctor’s diagnosis confirmed their fear – she had breast cancer. Azmi’s sense of guilt had just deepened since. He should have spent more time with his wife the last couple of years. He should have been there for her. Linda’s voice was ringing in Rosnah’s ears, “It’s never too early to go for mammography screening, Rosnah.” She wanted to cry out loud, but strangely, she had no tears.

“I’m afraid we might have to remove your breast,” Dr Chan had said. Then, she heard the young man sitting next to her on the left saying, “Yes, Dixon! Sell them for me…all of them. Thanks!”

Lee Hoon’s hands cupped her huge tummy. She could feel him move from within. She had been smiling for a while now, and she didn’t think she could stop. Dennis had told her on the phone that he was returning home earlier than expected from Dubai. He said he missed her much and was really looking forward to seeing her. She wanted to rush home and cooked up a feast for him. She lowered her chin and looked at the bulge on her tummy, “Baby, Daddy’s coming home today. Mummy’s so happy. I’m sure you will be happy when you hear his voice later.” She felt so blessed by God as she pondered over her future. As she looked out of the train window to check her whereabouts, she couldn’t help noticing the glum look on the faces of the middle-aged Malay couple sitting on the opposite side.

Little Raj was playing with his classmate, Jean. They had just completed their remedial lessons with their P3 class, so they thought it was their right to play as much as possible to unwind and to forget about their work stress. Jean was trying to tag Raj and they were running in circles in the scarcely-populated carriage. They were screaming away, oblivious to their surroundings. Then Raj tripped and fell in front of a pregnant lady who promptly helped him up. Without thanking her, he quickly returned to his seat, blaming Jean at the same time for his fall.

Published in: on Friday, December 14, 2007 at 12:39 am  Comments (6)  

Holly’s Wood

The seed came into her hands and went straight into the mud. Mum said it would grow into a fine tree, and Holly believed her.

So day after day, she would religiously shower a great abundance of water and everlasting love, knowing the seed would grow into the fine tree Mum told her. Water from the canister and love from her lips.

Days turned to weeks; weeks turned to months; and months turned to years. And the seed never grew. Even before Mum passed on in bed that day, she told Holly not to give it up, and that the seed would grow into a fine tree. So she never once relented and kept on in faith what she had been doing over the years. Water from the canister and love from her lips. Years turned to decades; and decades turned to…well…not quite centuries yet. And the seed never grew.

One fine day, Holly came up to me and asked, “Do you believe what Mum had said?” In all honesty, I never once believed, not just because Mum was a great liar, but also, she was a greater mother who would give anything to ensure that my down syndrome sister feel important and useful in this world. “Your purpose in life is to keep that seed growing,” she told Holly.

I looked at her and saw Mum’s image on her wrinkled skin. Seventy years. She had showered the seed with water from the canister and love from her lips for seventy years. Could I just squash her hope with the cold hard truth?

“Yes,” I struggled in uttering that word. She smiled and held my hand, saying, “Me too.”

It was morning when I said, “Take me there.” Holly pushed me to the very spot where she had spent seven decades kneeling and watering. I told her I had a surprise for her and that she had to close her eyes. She giggled and closed her eyes behind those thick glasses. I prayed silently, “God, help me.” I told her to open her eyes which she did almost immediately.

“Look at the tree in front of us. Mum’s right. The seed has grown into a fine tree,” I said, as we both stared at God’s wonderful creation in awe, admiring the beauty in all its glory. I held my sister’s hand tight and breathed my last breath……and Holly lived with her wood happily ever after.

Published in: on Saturday, December 1, 2007 at 11:59 pm  Comments (12)  
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Not Me

Am I dreaming? I think so. Or, I should like to think so? Perhaps, I’m no longer sure now. In fact, I don’t think I’m sure now. Is this actually the kind of world I long for? Maybe, just maybe there is another better place out there?

What was it that I truly coveted? Would I have made a wiser choice? Was it a mistake? Turning back time would be an abysmal justification. I might possibly pick the identical course. Yes, I could do it.

Nairobi? Canterbury? Lima? Osaka? Geylang?

If only. If only I could envisage the apocalyptic day of reckoning. Making up my paltry mind would have been a cinch. Or would it?

How much time did I take? 14? 23?

Come to think of it, it didn’t matter where, when, why and how. It was who – you.

It could have been worse, I know.

Published in: on Monday, November 26, 2007 at 11:08 pm  Comments (4)  
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buried

buried underneath a pile of sliced bark and words, i’m attempting to stay upbeat, looking up, like john waiting patiently by his daddy, quietly hoping that his wish of getting that prized archie comics would be granted. 23 has probably become an enigma that even a solomon can’t make out, leaving only a trail of ice-cream that inveigles none but the ants into a stampede. yet, somehow, i know that all is fine if i could just wriggle out a squiggle on the map. call that punctured navigation.

Published in: on Monday, November 19, 2007 at 11:56 pm  Comments (2)  
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staying afloat

“Restless Dawn”



Jason Evans‘ “Restless Dawn” short fiction contest will close soon over at Clarity of Night. If you are still keen in it, do hurry a bit. I’ve sent in my entry. Do take a look here and give me your priceless comments. I want to improve as a writer, so hearing people out will be useful.

As I enter into my last weeks of the work year, I still have tasks to be completed. Trying to stay afloat in the pool of things in this transitional period. Like I have hinted before, I’m slowly but most definitely moving on to something entirely different in 2008. Very excited about it and will talk about it when the time comes.

Published in: on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 2:45 am  Comments (7)  
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Mahjong

You know how it feels when people all round you doubt your words, especially your loved ones. Gutted. That’s what I’m feeling right now.

I was just sitting there alone, staring out into the darkness, while everybody else was busy catching up with relatives and old pals from work or school. It was supposed to be a time of mourning, but at the superficial level, people here seemed to be having a whale of their time. From smiles to laughter; from tears of sorrow to tears of joy; from condolences to jokes. This funeral wake was slowly but surely turning into a farce.

Granny whom I so dearly loved was called home to be with the Lord just days before that. Perhaps, it was really the right time for Him to summon her after watching her, for quite a while, succumbing to the worst disease anyone could ever suffer on earth – dementia.

Just the other day, she looked into my eyes and said I really resembled Elmo. Then she woke up one morning and called Pa Ma, both of whom were rather bemused. She went on singing “…she’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes…” throughout that day. Of course, nothing beats that time when she hugged our neighbour, Mr Ong, and said, “I love you!” Apparently, she saw my late Grandpa in our flabbergasted mister handsome.

So, the day must come. She called all of us into the room and insisted that we sat down together with her to have a round of mahjong. We were baffled. She had never played the game before. The closest she had come to the game was those times she spent sitting by my Grandpa’s side while he played. Anyway, we obliged and Pa sat on my right while Ma sat on my left. Granny, who sat at the opposite end, rolled the dice. What happened the next half an hour or so was rather amusing. Granny did not know the rules of mahjong, but she went on telling us how to play the game, her own way. The three of us who could be considered mahjong veterans just tagged along. It was rather fun, except that we never got to win the game. Granny did all the winning, based on her own rules, of course.

Just when we were cheering for Granny for winning the fourteenth consecutive time, she let out a chortle and collapsed onto the floor, hands clutching her chest. We scrambled to our feet and rushed towards her. She never woke up after that.

I could hear the distinct sound of the mahjong tiles on the table not far from me. I looked up and saw Pa with a stick in his mouth talking loudly. He said he was going to win the next game boastfully. His three friends at the table laughed with him as they arranged the tiles neatly before themselves. Pa rolled the dice and another game began. Surprisingly, Ma was not there to watch or play along. She was sitting at the far end with her group of tai-tais. They were speaking very softly to each other, obviously building up their gossip prowess again. I could have joined Pa or Ma, but I had no mood. It wasn’t that I felt terribly sad to lose Granny. Yes, I loved her and I missed her, but I didn’t really feel devastated seeing her gone forever. Not when she kept calling me Nemo in her last days. I just felt that I should give her my utmost respect as a grandson. I might not be crying, but my heart wept bitterly on behalf of Granny. She must be crestfallen to see her son and daughter-in-law enjoying themselves with their companions at the wake.

I stood and ambled towards Granny’s coffin. Through the glass panel, I looked at her sullen face, much aged with wrinkles and faint red spots. She looked calm, and that soothed my heart somewhat. As I was about to walk away, I saw Granny smiling. I was stunned for a moment. My heart skipped a beat. I placed my face nearer to the glass panel and observed. No, there was no smile. Ha, I must be dreaming. I straightened up to get ready to go back home to rest a bit.

Just as I was about to leave the wake, I could hear another set of mahjong tiles being shuffled on the table behind the wall next to Granny’s coffin. Ma must have initiated another round of mahjong with her tai-tais, but why would she want to play the game so close to the coffin?

As I walked towards Ma on the other side of the wall, I could feel a little chill. This weather was getting on my nerves. Hot for five minutes, cold for fifty minutes; and this cycle went on and on. Then, the mahjong table and the group of players came into sight. But what I saw next got me standing there, rooted to the ground. Granny was sitting right there at the far side of the table with three other players. They were all rearranging the mahjong tiles, almost ready to start the game. Granny looked up and our eyes met. There was this strange sense of homeliness and alienation going round in me. I simply did not know what to do next. The moment of silence was interrupted abruptly when Granny opened her mouth and said, “Nemo, come and join us!” Well, she might have died, and her spirit might be haunting me now, but surely her state of dementia remained. I would never ever forget what I was about to see next. As soon as Granny finished talking with the smile I had seen earlier at her coffin, her three mahjong ‘pals’ at the table turned to face me, and none of them had a face.

That totally freaked me out, so I yelled as loud as I could and took off. Pa and Ma might have seen their son running in countless sprint races in school, winning each and every one of them. But I bet they had never seen me run that fast, as I disappeared from the funeral vicinity in under five seconds. They found me some twenty minutes later behind a trash bin on the floor just outside a 7-eleven store, arms over legs, the whole body shaking violently with a trail of white foam from the mouth. I swear that wasn’t vomit.

Guess what? I told Pa and Ma, in the presence of many concerned relatives, about what I had seen earlier when I was finally resting comfortably in my bed. And guess what again? They all laughed out heartily and said I needed a rest. I could not believe them, especially my folks. After watching how I had broken into a canter just an hour earlier and finding me next to a bin in a contorted state, they could actually trivialise my story!

“You sleep tight here, Sumo Lee! I’m going back down there to carry on my winning streak,” Pa said. Every one of them started streaming out of the room one by one, all appeared indifferent. I could hear Ma say, “I don’t think Sumo is taking Mum’s death too well.”

I close my eyes and feel a tinge of disgust. How can they doubt me? But I am too tired and too kind to hold any resentment now. My drooping eyelids are about to shut when I hear someone say, “Nemo, come join us in the living room here. We are short of one player.”

Published in: on Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 1:26 am  Comments (14)  
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only blue

just the other day, i was exhaling wholeheartedly everything that was up in the mind. never thought i could do it so well, and could never have imagined that i was actually swimming with you in the pool of possibilities. bet you didn’t think that your actions could mean so much the other way round. the expressions and waves of emotions could have fooled anybody, but me. the bliss that enshrouded the deepest and darkest wishes was beyond any form of depiction. fat or slim, i could never tell. i just wanted to stay afloat and touch the warmth ensued from the smallest squared prime hours spent together.

the day after was stranger, ‘cos the heart fondled no more than it was supposed to be. blue ought to be the colour, but no, it did not turn up.

and the day after was perhaps the strangest, ‘cos the inkling and the tinkling wooed me a wee bit, and i could feel the presence of the positive and the negative blue. perplexed i may sound now, but the fault is not mine. blame only blue.

yeah…blame only blue. period.

Published in: on Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 11:53 pm  Comments (11)  
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A Convenient Truth (my blog action day bit)

15 October 2007

An Eyewitness Police Report

I’m not good with words. But I could try and describe briefly what I saw.

There she was, lying in a pool of blood, behind a dark alley called Slora Orbit. I couldn’t make out how she was dressed for her clothes had been torn apart. She was alive, but she was semiconscious. Under the dim light of my torch, I could see her whole body battered, and bruised marks punctured her already frail frame. It was quite obvious that her modesty had been severely and violently violated. Her breathing was slow but heavy. She was slashed at her lips and there was a gash on the left side of her head. Her left leg was lying in an awkward twist. I think it had been dislocated badly. Her nails on both hands looked partially ripped from the skin. Maybe in her struggle with her attacker, she tried too hard to crawl away on the tarmac. There was an ID card pinned on her chest. Her name was Pearl Entath and she looked beautiful in the photograph. Did I mention that there was a broken knife blade sticking out from her right shoulder?

I was wondering who on earth would do such things to her? But I refused to let her die. As a human, I knew I could not give up hope there and then. I made a quick call to you fellows. Then, I looked around on the ground, thinking that I might stumble upon something that you might call vital evidence. Several moments later, I found another ID card near a garbage bag. I shone my torch on it. It was a photograph of a man named Hening Baums. I guess he’s the man you should be after. Soon after, you all arrived and took over.

I’m writing this report not because I’m after some Noble Piece Prize that you guys usually give out to commend citizens who have performed some heroics. But I believe in humanity and no one has the right to do what had been done to the poor girl. I really think that this vicious attacker should be taken to task or justice for that matter.

Submitted by: Ablet Gorre

Dr Willknow put the paper down next to the report. He brought his right hand to his chin and twiddled his goatee with his thumb and index finger.

“This is the 23rd time Mr Gorre has written the same ‘report’, Dr Willknow,” uttered the matron of the psychiatric hospital.

“I guess some truths are too painful to be spoken, and writing is a form of therapy,” Dr Willknow replied. He picked up the report and read it for the umpteenth time. A minute later, he smiled as he began to see the connections he was reading:

Ablet Gorre, long before his well-reported breakdown, was possibly the first politician to grasp the significance of climate change and to call for a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. He was a firm believer that Planet Earth’s downhill glide as a result of constant human violation could be stopped if all Human Beings unite in efforts……

3 words from canterbury soul to all human beings on planet earth:

LESS IS MORE

Published in: on Monday, October 15, 2007 at 11:59 pm  Comments (7)  
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I’m in a good mood today!

Dear God, I’m in a good mood today! Do you know why? Daddy has finally looked at me today! It was such a magical feeling! And I counted; he looked at me four times!

I woke up this morning, thinking that it was just going to be another day. In fact, the mornings of the last eight years had always been extra ordinary. I could not imagine anything that is more ordinary than my mornings, and I don’t wish to talk about it now.

I just want to bask in the glory of Daddy’s beautiful eyes. It really has been a long time since he looked at me in the eyes. His dark pupils spoke volumes; his long eyelashes curled gracefully; and his soulful eyes warmed my heart. I’m really so happy that he looked at me!

Then, he told me that he was sorry to have treated me that way. He said he regretted saying I was the reason Mummy left him – something which I still don’t understand. Daddy is a man of few words, so he stopped talking after that and walked away.

My heart was still rejoicing when Daddy came back to me with some ointment. He looked at me again and pondered for a moment. His dark pupils spoke volumes; his long eyelashes curled gracefully; and his soulful eyes warmed my heart. I’m really so happy that he looked at me! Then he applied some ointment on the various dark spots all over my body. I can’t remember how these spots came about, but Daddy said that he gave them to me because he loves me. I was on cloud nine when he said that. I felt the pain everytime Daddy rubbed the ointment on the dark spots, but I could feel the tenderness in his hand.

Daddy walked away again. I was already beaming. Maybe tomorrow’s morning will no longer be ordinary anymore. Then, he came back to me and looked at me in the eyes. His dark pupils spoke volumes; his long eyelashes curled gracefully; and his soulful eyes warmed my heart. I’m really so happy that he looked at me! You can never believe what happened next! Daddy took off my clothes and put on a new dress for me! He actually bought me a new dress! This time, I really could not contain myself. I just laughed. I felt beautiful!

Then, Daddy held my hand and led me out of my house! This was the first time I was out of my house! And it was really bright out there! I looked all around me and was nervous yet excited about seeing so many new things. I could not make sense of anything, but I was happy that Daddy was taking me out.

We walked some distance away from our house before coming to a small black chair lying on the ground next to what Daddy called a lamppost. Daddy put the chair up properly and told me to sit on it. I did as told. My heart was pounding fast. Then, he looked at me again! His dark pupils spoke volumes; his long eyelashes curled gracefully; and his soulful eyes warmed my heart. I’m really so happy that he looked at me! He told me to sit there and wait. I did as told. Then, he walked away again.

I saw Daddy walking some distance away before disappearing. I looked around me. I did not know what I was looking at, but I was still very happy. Happy that Daddy has finally looked at me today! Four times he did it!

I’m in a good mood today!

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Is that a moon up there?

Daddy has finally looked at me today!
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God, what time do you think is Daddy coming back?
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Daddy has finally looked at me today!
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Is that a moon up there?

Published in: on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 at 9:54 pm  Comments (7)  
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Going

I looked at the summit I was about to mount. I knew it was more than daunting. However, I wanted very much to try it for my own purpose and for my folks’ sake. After all, they gave me the belief, the love and the encouragement I so badly needed. It was never an easy climb, considering the fact that no one had ever attempted an ascent up this peak. But I was not going to give up. Not without a mighty fight. Yes, I suffered along the way. Yes, I got knocks and bruises all over. Yet, I pressed on with grit, looking at how people supported my mission. There were times when success was imminent. There was hope that I might just reach my goal. But somehow the journey gradually became more arduous. My body slowly succumbed to the frailties of a typical human body. Even as my loved ones egged me on, I couldn’t help but feel disillusioned. I really could not see my final destination up at the top, and I soon realised that it was naïve of me to believe that I could actually make it. Then, the moment arrived. I was hanging by the cliff after a slip. I managed to cling tightly onto something, yet I knew I was fading. Perhaps, I was not going further this time. I just held firmly and cried bitterly. Everything about the climb was simply too strenuous, too demanding for my useless build. Then, one of them decided to let me go. She told me that maybe the climb was not that worthwhile after all; that maybe it was time to stop my movement upwards. I sobbed and agreed with her. I promised her that I would find a better life elsewhere. I wanted them to promise me that they would lead their lives meaningfully in my absence. We all wept for a few seconds that felt like ages. I mustered my last bit of strength to say, “I love you both!” before I let go eternally.

Published in: on Monday, September 17, 2007 at 12:53 pm  Comments (2)  
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Alpha

I sat in the dark room, thinking that I was alone and waiting for the master. Lo and behold, his hand slipped into mine. Before I could react, his deep sullen voice echoed softly into my ear, “Take this. It is what you are asking for.” A tiny scroll was conveniently placed on my hand. He disappeared a fraction of a second later.

I stepped out of the room and unrolled the scroll.

The Great Wealth Recipe

The haima of cockerel
On the countenance of slumber
Is like a Mona Lisa
To the imp of prosperity

Fortitude is the key
In the wait of the ghoul
For the juice shall be savoured
And the glorious riches shall be served

I smiled.

Published in: on Saturday, September 8, 2007 at 12:21 am  Comments (1)  
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What’s On His Mind

Is that a dog? Tell me it’s a dog.

Nah! Take a closer look. It’s not a bitch.

I said it’s a dog, not a bitch.

To think that you attended primary school. Bitches are dogs, but not all dogs are bitches.

It’s a dog, right?

Come on, look carefully. It’s a cat, for Pete’s sake!

A cat?

Yeah.

You are lying.

No, I’m not!

Prove it!

Alright, here’s the deal. If I can prove that that is a cat, we’ll eat out tonight.

You know I don’t like eating out.

I know what you don’t like! Is it a deal?

OK! But if that animal is a dog, I’ll blow you tonight.

That’s ghastly! How could you even think of that?

A deal?

A deal.

Show me.

Arrrrr……argf…argf…argf…ARGF!

What are you doing?

I’m barking. If that’s a dog, it’ll come to us. Arrrrr……argf…argf…argf…ARGF!

It’s not coming.

That’s because it is not a dog. It’s a cat! Let me show you. Meee……meow…meow…meow…MEOW!

So you are pretending to be a cat.

I’m not pretending. I’m just mimicking a cat call. Meee……meow…meow…meow…MEOW!

It’s not coming either.

That’s strange.

Hey, look at that! It’s jumping! And it’s…

…flying! I can’t believe this! It’s actually flying!

I don’t mean to be rude, Mr Setag, but I think you’ve got it wrong here. I think that’s a bird!

You know what. I have to agree with you, Mr Setag. It indeed is a bird.

It’s a good thing, isn’t it? Can’t imagine I have to go eating from the trash in the next street. You know I prefer feeding from the rubbish here in our home base.

Yeah. I can’t imagine you blowing my hair straight. You need a hairdryer to do that. And you know I like my messy hair. Like my idol Bob Marley.

Mr Setag laughed. And he laughed again.

From a distance, Dr Willknow finished writing his last sentence after watching Mr Setag for the last half an hour. He was satisfied with the progress his patient had made since his release from the asylum. He picked up his briefcase and walked away from the garbage dump.

Published in: on Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 11:59 pm  Comments (5)  
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Alice and Dodo

Alice: Are you sure you want to do this?
Dodo: Hmm…I think so. Hey, am I the king?
Alice: Yes.
Dodo: So I can do whatever I want?
Alice: You can do whatever you want.
Dodo: Right! I will do it.
Alice: Are you really sure about it?
Dodo: I think so. I’m the king, right?
Alice: You are the king, yes.
Dodo: So I can do whatever I want.
Alice: Yes, you can.
Dodo: Then I will do it.
Alice: I’m not doubting you. But you really want to do it, don’t you?
Dodo: On second thought……I…think so. Since I am the king, I can do whatever I want to.
Alice: Absolutely.
Dodo: I will do it.
Alice: OK! You do it.
Dodo: You mean you agree that I should do it?
Alice: Yes. Why?
Dodo: Aren’t you going to ask me if I am sure about this?
Alice: I have.
Dodo: Really?
Alice: Yes. Come on, do it!
Dodo: Wait a minute. Is there something fishy here?
Alice: No. Why?
Dodo: Are you hiding something from me?
Alice: No!
Dodo: Hey, I’m not stupid you know!
Alice: I know.
Dodo: Then, tell me.
Alice: Tell you what?
Dodo: I am the king! Tell me the truth!
Alice: What truth?
Dodo: Don’t give me this straight face!
Alice: I’m not.
Dodo: Then, tell me what I want to hear!
Alice: What do you want to hear?
Dodo: The truth!
Alice: I really don’t know what you are talking about!
Dodo: Come on, Alice. You know you can’t hide it from me.
Alice: I really have nothing to hide.
Dodo: Please, Alice. I beg you. Tell me about it.
Alice: Are you going to do it?
Dodo: What? Do what?
Alice: Never mind.
Dodo: What did you say again?
Alice: Now I know.
Dodo: I beg your pardon. What do you know?
Alice: I know what to do next.
Dodo: Oh, really? What is it?
Alice (pointing): Look over there! I think something is coming in from the waters!
Dodo (turning his head): What is it?

With one swing of the machete, Alice removed Dodo’s head from his body.

Alice: Oops! I’m sorry. Aren’t you the king, Your Majesty? Thought you really wanted to do it. But guess it was too much for you. Just have to bear the burden for you.

And that was the last Dodo to have existed on Earth. Bless his soul.

Published in: on Monday, September 3, 2007 at 11:59 pm  Comments (9)  
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Closer

I had a dream last night. I dreamt that you were in paradise, having lots of fun. The ferris wheel was spinning in tune with your whistle. My god, since when you knew how to whistle. You were jumping in the bouncing castle, watching the roller coaster at the same time. I shouted for you, but you could not hear me. Then I just sat there, observing you. You looked truly happy, and I couldn’t stop smiling.

Then, everything stood still, and I opened my eyes. I stared at the ceiling. The sun had already brightened the room. I wished the dream hadn’t ended.

It was another day, and I still hadn’t got a clue how I should live it, just like all other days. I got off the bed and went to the washroom. I sat there, refusing to think about anything. No, I was still thinking about you. The same question came back to haunt me. How could all these happen to you? For the first time in weeks, there were no tears at the thought of it.

I picked up a piece of bread, laid a slice of cheese on it, and began chewing the food. I missed seeing you at the dining table, swallowing your breakfast. Then, I stepped into the kitchen, like all other days. I had decided to keep my faith and start preparing the soup you so loved. Carrots, peas, potatoes and chicken with some leek. It was easy to cook this, and it was never a challenge feeding you with this. I packed the soup and told myself that you would come round to drink it. I got dressed and left the house.

I saw many faces along the way. Behind each face was a tale waiting to be told, I always believed. And I was pretty sure that someone out there could be suffering a similar fate you were in. Not that it would be much of a consolation.

I stood at the door that was left open. I didn’t want to imagine who was with you now.

If I saw the doctor, I would be afraid that he might give me the anticipated tragic news. I was already hit quite badly, and I couldn’t imagine the collapse I’d probably come to when I heard it.

If I saw him, I would be afraid that I would lose control. I would wail like I did the other day and run to him for comfort and reasons to all these. I would put more pressure on him who had never really recovered since the day you were admitted.

I wished I could be alone with you now. But I knew I had to enter the room.

I pushed the door, and I saw you. It was the same you, the same darling to my soul. I really didn’t find you any different from the times we had had together. Yes, you had these multiple number of tubes inserted into various parts of your body. Yes, you had these equipment and machines attached to your body. Yes, you had this set of swollen limbs. Yes, your eyes were shut and your chest rose rapidly with each breath. Yes, you were lying so still that one could mistake you as dead. But, you were still you, the darling to my soul.

Damn it! The same question came back to haunt me. How could all these happen to you? Waves of sorrow were surmounted by my faceless head. Don’t make me feel numb, please. I would rather cry out loud. Why was it that I was not reacting emotionally?

I took a step closer to you, wanting to touch your skin. I wanted to give you warmth, and felt yours at the same time.

Then, I saw him, sprawled on the floor motionless. This was the fourth time. Without much anxiety strangely, I pressed the button.

Now, I knew how I should live my day.

Published in: on Wednesday, August 29, 2007 at 9:05 pm  Comments (3)  
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devil me angel

devil me angel

me: i’ve sinned again.

devil: the only way to rid your transgression is to rid you. give you to me!

me: really?

angel: no! the only way to rid your transgression is to rid God.

me: so there’s nothing in this world that can be labelled as sin? and no guilt?

devil: right!

three of us laugh.

“Boom!”

devil is exterminated once and for all. angel is thrown from the heavens to hell. me? i’m to continue to suffer the consequences of my transgression on earth.

Published in: on Tuesday, August 28, 2007 at 2:12 pm  Comments (2)  
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The Shift

Could it be that I had failed you so innocuously that you had to fail me? No, it couldn’t be. That cut I gave you would breach the toughest of all defences. How could it be so painless? Something else must have ensued. No, someone else could be the artist behind this picture of chain reaction.

Published in: on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at 11:59 pm  Comments (2)  
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an honourable mention

my story, Miss James, has received an honourable mention over at Jason’s latest writing contest. it’s really a privilege to be rubbing shoulders and sharing honours with some very established writers. this has further reaffirmed my faith in my own writing. i will keep writing. 🙂

Published in: on Monday, August 6, 2007 at 11:20 pm  Comments (4)  
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Lake, Castle, Cloud

He gazed at the cloud. The one that had always been there for him every morning. Its lofty position had never been swayed. Not even the strongest of storms could move it an inch. He was certain that God had specially created that cloud just for him. He smiled regrettably. He was going to miss it much.

He looked at all around him: the four walls and the ceiling and the floor, and the little window, and of course, the door. Others labelled this place the cell. He preferred it to be called his castle. A place where he could stand tall amongst the rest. A fortress against all odds of life. A shelter where he could be forgotten. He was certain that God had specially created this castle just for him. He grinned lamentably. He was going to miss it much.

He felt the breeze moving through the grills. It gently slapped on his face. It smelled really good. It carried with it the aroma of the charming lake. He could almost always feel the vibes of the lives beneath the surface of the glistening waters. He was certain that God had specially created the lake just for him. He tittered remorsefully. He was going to miss it much.

The door opened. Everything happened swiftly from there.

He stood. He walked. He did not turn round to take a last look at them. They were of the past. He was looking into the future. The promise of life would be fulfilled soon. He was ready.

Closed.

Tied.

Released.

Opened.

(a simple tribute to Mr Nabokov)

Published in: on Wednesday, July 11, 2007 at 10:21 am  Comments (4)  
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never better

cold coffee has just logged in on the msn chat

shining star says:
tiring day?

cold coffee says:
yeah, a little. you?

shining star says:
never better.

cold coffee says:
i thought we had a great chat the other night.

shining star says:
i agree.

cold coffee says:
we talked so much about football, about our dreams to play for spurs.

shining star says:
yeah.

cold coffee says:
i really think defoe should go since barbatov is staying and bent is coming.

shining star says:
we’d talked about this.

cold coffee says:
yes, sorry. just that my perspective on this is rather strong.

shining star says:
no apologies, please.

cold coffee says:
what are you doing now?

shining star says:
chatting with you.

cold coffee says:
ok…before that?

shining star says:
waiting for you.

(more…)

Published in: on Tuesday, July 3, 2007 at 1:48 am  Comments (4)  
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yet another

the marvelous minx has a little competition up and running at the moment. and it will close in another couple of hours’ time. she asked anyone interested to write anything (prose or poem) of not more than 500 words based on any of the three paintings by jack vettriano.

i never thought of not participating. but only managed to write one decent piece today. this is the picture i have chosen followed by my prose, which can also be found here. enjoy!

The screen had been telling a promising story.

Door Left Open
Aubrey puffed the cigarette. She refused to cry. The emotions from within could still be contained. She knew she had done the right thing. As much as she cherished her girl, she had to do it.

Alan put his hand on her shoulder. His touch reaffirmed their faith in each other. He knew he was right. There could not be another way out. As much as he cherished his girl, they had to do it.

The screen had been telling a promising story. Images of her eclipsed the dark side of the house. The playground, the barn, the pony ride, the swimming pool, the birthday cake… Her life could have gone on to a fireworks display.

“……happy birthday to Adele! happy birthday to you!” the cheers and applause preceded the end of the movie clip.

“It’s time now,” Alan kissed her on the cheek. “I’ll wait for you.” He disappeared through the door.

Aubrey finished her last bit and put the stub away. Then, it came. The sorrow from deep down surfaced tremendously and took over her entire being. She wept, her hands on her face. She went on for about five minutes, absolutely losing control.

Then, all of a sudden, the tears stopped completely. She removed her hands from the face that was scarred with trails of her mascara.

She stood and moved towards the long flight of stairs. She scaled it slowly, and came to her door. It was left open. She pushed it away and walked to the bed. Alan was there, head hung low. He was sobbing. Aubrey put her hands on his shoulders and pulled herself close.

“I’m sorry, Adele! I’m really sorry!” he couldn’t help but utter, visibly shaken. She was the composed one now. Perhaps, she had dried up all her grief. She took her husband’s hand and placed it on the girl’s face with hers. It was already cold by then. Obviously the drug had worked. She was gone.

They stayed there for quite awhile.

They took one last look at their motionless girl. No more goodbyes, no more pain. They left and came to their lounge. Aubrey sat on the bar stool. Alan went behind the counter and uncovered it from a locked box.

“I love you!” he said, looking at her.

“I love you too!” she answered, eyes closed.

He put it on her head. He pulled the trigger, and she was gone.

He placed it on his and pulled. He was gone too.

The sunlit rays filtered through the curtains and woke her up. She just had a long, wonderful dream. The little girl stretched her tiny body. Then, she was up. She saw the door that was left open. She yelled in excitement and ran through it, the pacifier still in her mouth.

“Mummy! Daddy!” she shouted as she searched. Then, she saw it… through the balcony. The morning sky was bathed in a golden hue. She just stood there, admiring God’s gorgeous backdrop. She smiled.

Published in: on Friday, June 22, 2007 at 10:17 pm  Comments (4)  
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a gift…sort of…

it’s my birthday today and i’m not exactly excited. but my loved ones want to cheer me up. thanks!

and i’ve written a short fiction for myself as a gift, maybe.

It Happens

The alarm sounded. I got up and threw myself off the bed. Sidestepping the red round chair in the dark, I fetched myself a cup of soya milk from the fridge. I switched on the lights and settled at the dining table to eat some bread. I picked up the newspaper by the side and started reading it. Another fatal car accident no thanks to one idiotic drunk driver. Jan got up moments later and walked past me. She went in to take a shower. I finished my last bit and cleaned up the cup. I took the towel and walked to the bathroom. She got out of it and left the room. I stepped into it and removed my robes. I turned on the tap. The water travelled down the tube, ran through the holes and laid its hands on me. The heat refreshed me somewhat. I soaped myself and was planning ahead. Then it happened.

The pain shot through my heart and I gasped. I dropped to the ground and crouched in agony. I couldn’t muster any strength to yell. The pain was simply too excruciating. After all these years of warning, no one had advised me intelligently to deal with it. Now, I was faced with it in the most severe circumstance. I struggled for air and felt myself ripping the flesh off my chest with my left hand. Then, I stopped breathing and collapsed. It took only 28 seconds.

************************************************************************

I rinsed myself with the last drops and turned off the tap. I wiped myself dry and put on my hair gel. I stepped out of the showers and went to my closet. I ran my fingers through the wardrobe and picked up the one long-sleeved Domanchi. I dressed myself up in the next few moments. I took one last look into the mirror and felt myself looking good. I walked to the cot and talked to my little girl. She was irritated for a while, obviously unwilling to rise. Jan came in, ready to go. I picked Faye up and put her on my shoulder. We put on our shoes and left the house. We walked to the lift lobby, talking about the day ahead. My girl was still sleeping. The lift came. It was littered with dog’s urine. Another irresponsible owner. We shook our heads. At the ground floor, we began walking towards the car. Then it happened.

Just as I stepped off the building, I was struck on the head. Faye and I fell to the ground. Her back landed rather heavily. She was startled and cried loudly. Jan rushed to us in great horror. I lay sprawling on the ground, trying to look for the culprit in a semi-conscious state. I could see my blood everywhere; on the ground and on me. I saw it. A shattered flower pot. I thought my head was in pain. I thought it was bleeding profusely. I saw Jan in tears. She was quite clearly disoriented. She was carrying the wailing Faye and weeping uncontrollably, not knowing what to do. I felt really dizzy. The spell lasted about a minute or two. Then, I was gone.

************************************************************************

The three of us stood by the car. Jan and I put our bags into the boot. I then got into the rear seat and buckled myself up with my still sleeping girl. Jan started the engine and stepped on the accelerator. The car inched its way out of the lot and moved onto the main road. The Morning Show was on. Gwen and FT were rattling on about who would win the Singapore Idol. Minutes later we arrived at the nanny’s place. She carried my girl off my shoulder and we bade her farewell. Our cute little one was still sleeping soundly. She must have been dreaming much. We walked back to our car and left for school. On our way there, I looked up to the heavens. The clouds were beginning to form and the golden hue of the rising sun was tainting the sky. It was beautiful. I then thought about work. I wasn’t really looking forward to it. Jan was about to make a right turn at the junction. I looked at all the oncoming cars. Most of them were speeding. I guessed everybody was in a hurry getting to work. Then it happened.

This black Mercedes was coming on real fast. It did not look right. In fact, it was too fast and it had gone off track. Oh my god! It was coming right at us! The Mercedes rammed into the bonnet of our Ford!……I couldn’t quite remember what had actually happened. But my lower half of the body was caught in the middle of the wreckage. I thought I saw blood all over. Jan had managed to get out of the car. She was crying for help. I was just staring at her, unable to do anything else. The pain was beyond description. It was…it was…it was numb. It took me only about three minutes to realise I was going. I told Jan to take good care of our girl. I told her I loved her. She wept and told me to hang on. I told her I loved her again. And I said something like, “Believe in Jesus…” Then I closed my eyes.

************************************************************************

Jan stopped the car in the lot and shut down the engine. Both of us got off the car and walked into our respective offices. I had tons of work waiting for me to clear. Being a department head had brought me a lot more burden. I didn’t hate my work but I couldn’t exactly say I enjoyed doing it either. But for the sake of my own promotional prospects, I just had to give it a shot. So it went on. The day, I mean. From the office to the classrooms; from the paper work to all the students’ assignments. Work seemed to make time an even rarer commodity. Before I could come to my senses, it was already five in the evening. Jan had gone to fetch our girl home. They would be arriving in ten minutes’ time to take me home. I cleared up my things on the table. I switched off my notebook and went underneath the table, intending to switch off the main power. Then it happened.

As my bare index finger touched the socket, a huge electric shock wave ran through my entire body. I really did not know what hit me then. My body twitched violently for about 12 seconds. Then, all my hopes of spending another great evening with my family and retiring at 65 with great wealth had gone up in smoke……literally.

************************************************************************

My little one called out for me outside my workstation. I could hear her footsteps. I hid behind my chair and called out her name. She walked slowly towards my chair. I burst out smiling and she screamed with joy. I gave her a huge hug and asked her if she had been a good girl. She said yes as Jan appeared from behind. I picked up my bag and we all took off. We got into our car and left for my in-laws’ place where we usually had our dinner on weekdays. Dinner was rather sumptuous, as usual. And my baby girl was already feeding herself. Quite messy, I must say. I was still chewing on my fish when I smiled at her. Then it happened.

I felt something hard and sharp in my throat. I knew something was wrong. I tried spitting out whatever was in my mouth. The rest looked on, shocked. Jan asked me what was wrong. I pointed to my throat but couldn’t utter a word. I knew I was choked by a bone, but I never imagined that it was this painful. What freaked me (and the rest) out was the fact that I was bleeding from my mouth. The rest of them held me by the arms but was obviously unsure of what to do. Faye was still sitting on her chair, staring at me curiously. Someone actually remembered calling for the ambulance. Everything took off from there rapidly. Before I knew it, I was on the way to hospital. Jan was by my side. The paramedics were doing something to me. I could hear faintly the words “blood vessels…”. I looked at the teary-faced Jan. I knew hope was slim at best. I wanted to keep awake. But my eyelids were just too heavy. She had just seen the last of me.

************************************************************************

After a much satisfying dinner, the whole family sat on the couch in front of the TV. My little one was playing with her kitchen set toys. She loved playing cooking, just like many other young girls. I was watching “Shrek 2”. It was still hilarious to me. Jan was talking to her parents. It was a rather comfortable evening. About half an hour later, we decided to leave for home. We got the youngest one to pack her toys and told her that we were going. She hurriedly kept her toys and followed us out of the door. We took turns to carry her home. She was rather demanding. Just like most evenings, we showered the baby before washing up. Jan tucked her to bed while I cleared up some of my work. Then I flipped through the papers and saw yet another tragic news. How could this have happened? This was the third case in a month. I had to agree that humans are all vulnerable. Our life is too fragile to be wasted. I decided to turn in too. I jumped onto bed and kissed my wife and my already asleep child. We switched off the lights and lay in bed. I closed my eyes, still thinking about how I should be spending my time wisely with my family. I must cherish them. My day at work had worn me out almost completely. I finally surrendered and dozed off. Then it happened.

I never woke up.

happy birthday, cs!

Published in: on Wednesday, June 13, 2007 at 1:48 am  Comments (16)  
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my second entry

Maht over at The Moon Topples had his second fiction-writing competition based on the theme “Growth”. Again, I submitted an entry shamelessly(borrowed from Seamus), hoping to gain more. Again, not totally satisfied with what I wrote, but thought it could be a very brief extract of something longer. Of course, I did not win anything. But I’m really glad that there are such opportunities for unpublished or novice writers like yours truly. The winning entries there are excellent. Go there and enjoy reading. Here’s mine:

The Mission

For the first time in twelve years, Farah could wake up from her slumber seeing the morning sun. She thought she was dreaming initially. She could still distinguish colours. The sky had finally cleared. It looked flawlessly blue. When was the last time I saw blue, she wondered with a faint smile. She checked the monitor that read “31 Jan 2674, 7:06 a.m., Marina, Singapore Sector”.

She pushed the green button. “Sustainability module disarmed,” a voice dictated. She pushed the yellow button. The capsule opened. She raised herself slowly from a horizontal posture and sat. Then with a rather mighty effort, she stood up.

The smell of fresh air exhilarated her and she gave her body a huge stretch. For a minute or two, she just stood there absorbing the rare snowless moment, eyes closed. The heat from the Sun not only warmed her physically, it actually spoke to her heart and soul. There is hope after all, she thought.

Farah opened her eyes and made a visual 360º scan round her capsule. Barring the thick layers of snow, nothing had changed a bit. The Sheares Bridge still stood mightily tall about a mile away. The Esplanade’s unique spiky rooftop still looked comical despite the snowcap it sported. The casino skyscrapers still dominated the whole landscape with their sheer size and millions of glass panes that reflected the sunlight brilliantly.

Then it dawned on her she was standing right in the middle of the snow-caked Singapore River. The storm must have taken her all the way here. She looked around again. She was alone.

She remembered the drill. She stooped and pulled out The Hub from a side compartment of the capsule. She pressed the power button on The Hub. Then, she held it with both her hands and stretched her arms. A purple laser beam scanned her eyes. “Farah Abdullah, T43556777G, female, aged 74. Please proceed,” read the monitor on The Hub. She then positioned The Hub directly above her head. “Scanning brain chip in progress, please do not remove The Hub,” a voice echoed. Seconds later, she could hear The Hub again, “Brain chip scanned. Message sent. Community activated. Please proceed to build community.”

Farah removed The Hub from her head, and kept it in a sling bag. She had the mission in mind. She was not looking forward to it, but she had to do it for the sake of mankind. She stepped out of the capsule and began trudging through the snow on the river.

Barely a minute later, she heard several beeps from The Hub. She took it out and stared at the monitor.

“Lee Teck Hong, T99574112Z, male, aged 17. Location: Raffles, Singapore Sector.”

“Charles Rajandren, T25872144A, aged 24. Location: Bangalore, India Sector.”

“Marco Paldini, T09866352C, aged 80. Location: Naples, Italy Sector.”

“Kevin Jones, T23234098M, aged 45. Location: New York, American Sector.”

Her heart sank when she read the next line, “No other surviving males within The Hub’s radar. Please proceed to build community.”

Published in: on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 at 4:42 pm  Comments (16)  
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There, There

You can impugn my parents. They gave me the name. But it is a name I’m proud of. It offers me a sense of purpose in life. Confidence is never off my books, and I know I have the looks to supplement it.

“Casanova, eat your breakfast now!” Mum yelled from the kitchen.

“No thanks! I’m running late!” I picked up my Alfred Dunhill suitcase and left quickly.

Life is so magnificent. My loaded parents who run a software engineering firm love me with lots of cash. Promotion at my journalism work is imminent too. The last I heard I am on the way up to VPship. And of course, there are the Melanies and Penelopes and Rachels and Nicoles on weekends at Café del Mar. Money, career, girls……all are under my control. If there is one thing that’s missing, it has to be a driving license – something which I have been trying to acquire the last five years. A driving license coupled with a Ferrari will surely enhance my high society life.

The bus-stop was packed with working professionals, students, etc. I conducted a visual scan around. No, none attractive. Then, the bus arrived. I went with the crowd and boarded it. The commuters were packed like sardines. As I squeezed my way in, I saw her.

She of very pretty eyes, like those you would see in a manga comic. Her straight long hair fell gracefully on her shoulders. Her sharp nose and luscious lips justified the tag ‘beauty’ which was written all over her. Her stylish Calvin Klein outfit screamed for attention. Her bosoms looked full from where I was. And she had this pair of really slim, tender-looking legs. The best part had to be her smile which happened to be directed at me.

I stood next to her. I was hoping that the old man sitting next to her would get off soon. This gorgeous lady looked too rare a gem to be missed. The bus picked up speed as I tried hard to stay balanced amongst the standing crowd. I glanced at her and caught her looking at me. She was smiling very sweetly.

My ego heightened. My confidence grew. I believed I had her attention. I had sent her heart fluttering. If looks could kill, she would have died in my hands there and then. I lowered my head and looked at her. There she was, peeking at me again. This time, her honey-like grin was wider.

There, there. Go easy, I thought. I knew she was mine. I was waiting for the right moment to……

“Excuse me,” she stood, clearly about to alight from the bus. I scrambled to my senses, and realised that time was running out. I must ask for her number. I looked at her and smiled. She was still smiling. I knew I already had her.

“Mister, I don’t mean to be rude. But you forgot to zip your pants,” she spoke gently before walking off the bus.

Published in: on Sunday, May 6, 2007 at 10:31 pm  Comments (5)  
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Double Doses

“Hi!” he said with a certain intensity.

“Hi!” she uttered, feeling a little nervous.

“Thought I just come by to visit you,” he said, almost losing control.

“Sure. Come on in,” she beamed. She opened the door, paving his way.

He stepped into the house, heaving a silent sigh of relief. Her home was simple, but classy. There was no mess to look at. Everything was in perfect order. Almost, except for a pair of Armani pants hung over a dining chair.

“Can I get you something to drink? Earl grey, perhaps?” she asked in a tone that hinted joy. She disappeared into the kitchen.

“That’ll be fine. Thank you!” he replied, clearly distracted by the pants. He sat on the leather couch, looking a wee bit confused. Wasn’t she supposed to be single? He knew she had a divorce some years back. Her social circle had been pretty confined since. He really never expected a man in her house.

She walked out from the kitchen, holding a silver tray. A teapot with two teacups were placed neatly on it. She sat next to him on the couch. He looked flustered and excited at the same time.

“Am I disturbing you?” he finally blurted out. His heart was beating rapidly, expecting the worst. His eyes still on the dining chair.

“I beg your pardon?” she said. Then she realised it. “Oh…not at all. My boyfriend’s out for the day.”

His fear had been confirmed. His mind was in a swirl. His visions blurred. He had lost her.

“Oh…I think…I should leave now,” he could not put his words together. He wasn’t sure if it was the right response. She appeared surprised.

“No, please don’t leave,” she said, looking anxious. Her hand reached for his. “I like you. I need you to stay.”

He was stunned. Is this some kind of a joke, he thought. She was holding his hand firmly. At that moment, he could feel a very strong sense of love and belonging. Her hand felt extremely warm. He was melting away fast. He looked at her in the eyes. Her soul bared naked at the pupils. He had loved her since the first time he met her.

It was at a teachers’ conference where they both represented their respective schools. They were introduced to each other. Over the course of the three days, they very much stayed together. Over lunch and tea-breaks, and the R & R party. They chatted a lot, very much like they had known each other for years. He was already looking at his soul-mate. At least that was what he had believed.

The urge was coming. He wanted to pull her close and kiss her lips. He wanted to hold her tight and whisper into her ear, “I love you!” He was already losing his mind. To hell with the boyfriend. She needed me. Maybe he had not been treating her seriously enough. Maybe he hadn’t loved her enough. Maybe he had been just like the jerk she got a divorce with. Maybe……It was time for him to confess his love for her.

“Zach, I have something to tell you,” she spoke, thrilled yet calm. “I just discovered that I’m your sister.”

He was dumbfounded.

“Yes, I’m your sister!”

His mind drew a blank.

“Here’s the P.I. report……”

He just sat there.

Published in: on Sunday, April 29, 2007 at 11:29 pm  Comments (8)  
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Promising

Look at the beautiful night sky
With the twinkling stars and the elegant moon
It certainly promises much
The cool sea breeze
And the salty smell of humidity
They definitely promise much

How I wish all these had come earlier
You know, we could have really lived happily ever after
We could have realistically grown old together
Pity the human nature is such
That we have our differences
That we could not manage them well enough

Feel the sand around here
The grains are ever so smooth, so fine
Just like how they used to be
Hear the tides rolling in
They sing so merrily in our ears
Bringing back fresh waves of sweet memories

How I wish the human nature is such
Consistent, everlasting and adaptable
That we can be as gay as we want to be
Pity Mother Nature is such
That we’ll always find it a tall order
To keep up with her standard of serendipity

As I observe the contours of your body
As I caress the hardened pounds of muscles
I thank God for the blessings we’d had together
I long to look into your soulful eyes again
I long to kiss your sensual lips again
But I’m just too afraid to face you

She’s calling me now
She’s telling me that there is hope
She’s begging me to turn myself in
Life’s like that, she says
Ups and downs, loss and gain
Health and sickness, life and death

He looked at the beautiful night sky again. With the twinkling stars and the elegant moon, it looked promising. Life could still go on. Do it, she said. He reached for his cellular and made the call. Then, he picked up his lover’s head and stood by the body. He closed his eyes and absorbed her singing voice. He was looking forward to his new life.

The first car arrived. Two of them walked cautiously towards him with their pistols in their hands. He offered no resistance. He was taken into the car as others began their work. With the window halfway up, he could hear one speak to another. “One male body. Still searching for his head.”

Published in: on Saturday, April 28, 2007 at 5:09 pm  Comments (4)  
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my first entry

Jason Evans opened a fiction-writing contest that challenges us to write something of 250 words based on the theme “Endless Hour” and this picture.

Endless Hours

I knew I had to take part in it though I’ve not written many fictions. It’s not so much about the prizes, but the exposure and the learning experience, and hopefully the feedback I get from people round the world. Spent about one and a half hours working on my first competitive entry. Can’t say I’m totally satisfied with it, but quietly delighted that I have written this one, exactly 250.

Moebius

It’s 10.33 a.m.

I saunter into the kitchen. I stand up.

The end.

It is finished. I’m liberated, irrevocably.

It has been a protracted decision to do it; utterly iniquitous to myself. Vertigo has no meaning now. Sensation is found wanting at my limps. This is it.

In a fraction of a second, I am on top. 40 months of weight-training has primed me for this. I tighten my grasp on the grills.

Please, Lord, help me with my final impetus. I stare at the dishes and make my wishes. I’m now literally on my knees, if you can still spot them. I snigger again. Again the nerve tries to wreck me with pain. The skin just tears. Not as smooth, ’cos it has the v-edges. I pick up another piece and slit across the right one.

I chortle and cast it aside. The nerve tries to wreck me with the weapon, pain. The cut is clean albeit the trace of fluid has flourished. This piece’s appetite has been whetted over a long period and it shows. Almost instantly, my hand swiftly severs the left one.

I need to draw strength from you, Lord, please. I stare at the dishes and make my wishes again. The mind is acting up again. I pick up the pieces and begin to quiver. Please, Lord, give me the courage to complete my task. I stare at the dishes and make my wishes.

I saunter into the kitchen. I stand up.

It’s 10.33 a.m.

Published in: on Wednesday, April 25, 2007 at 12:35 am  Comments (7)  
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six sentences

I came across this unique blog recently. There, you are invited to write anything in six sentences. There is a huge collection of six-sentence pieces of which many are excellent. Your humble servant here took a shot at writing one too, and it has just been published. Do go there and take a look, and perhaps, you could give me your comments on my not-so-clever piece.

Published in: on Thursday, April 19, 2007 at 10:51 pm  Comments (2)  
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14 minutes

8.59 p.m.
Tonight, I really had a wonderful time spent with you.

I’m not very good with words. I just know that my feelings for you have grown stronger by the seconds. As I walked you home, I wanted to tell you how I sincerely feel for you and how much I want to be with you.

But summoning my courage has proven more arduous than anything else I’ve done. I was too weak to do it.

I could only bid you farewell.

9.06 p.m.
Now, I want to make it right. I wish to have another opportunity to try again. I’m nervous, but hopeful and excited. Yes, I think I must be honest with you.

9.11 p.m.

12th minute

I wanted to make it right.

I wished to have another opportunity to try again.

I was nervous, but hopeful and excited.

Yes, I thought I ought to be honest with you.

9.13 p.m.
Now I understand what it means to “seize the moment”.

Now, I could only bid you farewell.

Published in: on Monday, April 2, 2007 at 10:55 pm  Comments (10)  
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beaten

It was a typical lazy afternoon. David was asleep in his cot. Mum was doing some household chores in the kitchen. Me? I was playing with my toys.

The boredom inevitably set in. The quietness somehow encouraged me to do something different. I climbed up and sat by the bedroom window. I stared down the block. Wow, this is high, I thought. 11th floor, mind you. Eyes still searching for something interesting, I was fiddling with the basket of clothing by the window. They all belonged to my brother and me.

Then, the devil spoke. He sounded brilliant, I thought. The persuasion began to take effect and gradually, the temptation set in. Don’t hesitate…just do it, I thought again.

The hand picked up the first piece. The movement was then swift. Now, the hand was outside the window. The fingers finally relented too. David’s shirt was on its way down to the ground. The mind was highly amused. How could this be fun? But it was indeed fun! The hand picked up the second piece and moved out of the window promptly. The fingers released the item and my shirt was gone. HAHA! This was exciting. Then, the mind, the hand and the fingers collaborated in tossing the pieces of clothing out of the window one by one. The experience was beyond description.

Mum started calling for me. I did not respond. I was too busy. Never had so much pleasure.

The activity was intense. I would never have imagined that it could be so enjoyable. Shirts, trousers, mittens, socks, etc. All of them were not spared.

Mum called for me again. I was too engrossed to respond again. Such joy!

More than half the basket was already gone. Mission half-accomplished. He told me to finish the job. I was convinced I had a destiny. I carried on.

Mum called for me once more. The climax had heightened. Nothing could stop me from completing my task. Nothing could…

“What are you doing?” shouted Mum as she stepped in. Her jaws dropped, eyes stared in disbelief. My mind went blank. I did not know how to answer her question. The next thing I knew, I was whacked with a hanger many times. The devil? Nowhere in sight! That despicable bloke had left me in the lurch!

The pain on my limbs was new to me. I had never got beaten until that day. All I could do was to cry incessantly. Plenty of reprimanding to endure too.

Moments later, I was ordered to follow her out of our home. We went to retrieve what were lost. We had to go floor by floor to knock on our neighbours’ doors. At the end of the search, we managed to get back 80% of our clothes. More scoldings followed.

The poor four-year-old had his first taste of getting beaten that day.

Published in: on Wednesday, January 3, 2007 at 11:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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a simple mind

Living life to the fullest with
One whom you cherish, sharing
Visions and dreams,
Everyone’s need.

Never before have I felt this way. The touch and the warmth that come with it, the feelings that runs through me and the way I am used. For so long, I have been feeling lonely. I have been made to feel unimportant and useless. To say that I have been mistreated is an utter understatement. I have been raped. Mishandled, thrown around with grease all over me. Made to feel thoroughly filthy. I honestly thought my days were miserable. Or did I even have days?

But (and that’s a big BUT), he sees me differently. From the moment he puts a hold on me, I know life is going to be beautiful after all. Somehow he has communicated the message that I am vital to his life. The tightness of his grip and his leaning body. Both make me feel very much wanted. It’s like he can count on me totally. All of a sudden, my ego has heightened, my morale boosted and my confidence…well, let’s just say it has skyrocketed! What’s more, all these lead myself into believing that I am invincible. By the power of the sky and Earth I have been created. The attributes in me are just so unmatchable. Streams of thoughts about how good I am keep flooding my mind.

Quite abruptly, my foolhardy mind is disturbed when I hear him utter, “I’ll…I’ll…buy this staff.” I feel like I have been knocked into my senses on the head. All my, what seem to be frivolous, thoughts, now, have vanished in a matter of seconds. I have been brought back to reality again. It’s like a child being awakened from his sweet dreams. I must accept the cold, hard fact. I am only a wooden stick. Staff, people call me. An item that only old folks utilise. “This piece of junk? It merely costs one cent,” another man says.

A junk. A stick. An old man wood. What more names can I get from people? Why are they calling me multiple names? I have a name. Staff is my name. But what can I do? Moments ago I felt invincible. Now, back to square one. Feeling ineffective and chagrin fills my heart. I am a nobody. Period.

“I’ll take this staff,” says the old man.

The next thing I know, I am held in his hands and slowly we walk out together. To speak the truth, I am walking with a heavy heart. Not that this is something new. I have been feeling desolate all my life anyway. The only difference is, this time I feel worse. Especially after my two-second triumphant thoughts. As for the man, he just trudges along very slowly, using me as a support.

Walking with him is rather slow. Step by step, I take him along on the walkway. He’s a strong man, I can tell you, just from his desperate hold on me. But he’s weak in his legs. The way he walks is comparable to an artist painting his picture painstakingly. Careful, precise, slow. I can hear his breathing. Not rapid but draggy. He’s also singing too. I can’t really figure out what he is singing. But it goes something like “I’ve been working on the rail road……” He sounds joyful. Or should I say there is an element of pride in his mood. Despite my pathetic state of life and state of mind (or at least that’s what I think), my spirits is somehow being lifted up, albeit it doesn’t change the opinion of myself. I still sucks. But the old man and his grip and his feelings and his moods and his song have an impact on me. A positive impact. Let’s be frank, I have hope in him.

The song goes on “Dinah blow your horn, Dinah blow your horn……” In what seems like ages, I have only moved twenty-three steps. I can hear that we are merely a stone’s throw away from the shop.

(penned in 2003)

Published in: on Monday, December 11, 2006 at 12:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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