Category Archives: Prose

The Game Played Right

I keep on lying. The silent pieces remain unapologetically in my lips, melting and melding together and apart, clashing like shades of blue and gold, until my smiles are mutated and my bated tongue is in shreds. Fear is an embrace I’ve learned to take upon myself, selling myself short to it, buying away the final remaining original thoughts I’ve slaved over in myriad sleepless nights until I’m a-la carte. Change is to blame for the causeless effect, and I’m asking for more from what can’t be taken away from me, cutting corners and targeting the contrition with a bolted gun, as if that would solve my problem. Would that open the deadlocked box of hope, containing those transient reminiscences of what used to be faith, keeping my wrists from giving itself up to bladed handcuffs and abrading ropes?

No, because it’s been open all this time. I’m merely pretending that it’s fully out of grasp, stuffing the sunshine in a pocket with a hole, then feigning remorseful surprise when I grasp the cloth and fail to feel its reassuring outline. I won’t get away, just as the moon can’t break away from its cruel mistress, no matter how hard it tries. Dependence requires sustenance, never mind if one’s getting hurt, never mind if one’s just wasting time and lightyears, never mind that there’s someone who sucks on the cigarette and there’s one who gets snuffed out in the ashes of its former companions, and both are slowly dying with each harmful, addicting, nicotine drag. Perhaps it’s better to move on, burn my house down with the lighter, and stab a flag on top of a desolate mountain, letting the frigid Arctic breeze pierce my lungs, reminding me that I’m dead inside, day by day, every single night.

Yes, the truth hurts worst when you’re lying on your back in a hollowly-carved bed, watching the tick of the sagging clock draw frowns on your dripping beige ceiling, the crude notches on the bedpost your only substitute for a calendar, not even the gathering dust on your windowsill keeping track of your blunt existence, but is that really such a bad plotline to read into? After all, I’m a mere instrument of conflict, and if I do not fulfill my function, I have no point, and dull instruments are of no use to anyone but the junkyard. So, what’s the point but pointlessness? What is there to release from arrogance, from selfishness, from egocentric human needs and desires, shallowness sucking away the will to speak in freedom, constantly starving for lust and lusting for starvation and dying from either loneliness or hunger in the end?

Give me that. Give me an answer that would morph my vulgar counterfeit laughter back into a purely genuine jubilance, give me a reply that would wash away the contracting fallacies in my conflicted mind and make my craving lecherous soul finally taste the decadent truth, give me a statement to swim in and sink under as I ponder deeply upon it and spend all my cashed-in stars to figure it out until I may finally repose in peace, give me an oratorical rhetoric that would drag me out of the hands of the angels in the ambulance and shock my heart into sinus rhythm, give me something, anything at all that would set this hellish perpetual carousel in a dead jolting halt and wouldn’t throw me off the cutthroat ride, give me—give me what I want. Yet, is what I want really what I need?

Never. Because in this reality, the parallel cruelty prevents any chance of a perfect alignment or even a destined intersection between any limits, and it’s all we can do to keep walking in the thin line and keep a painful positiveness, because backtracking to the negatives would devour us whole, render us irrational, and count us as impossible. Yet, despite knowing all of those and sharing such meaningless contrivances to the eyes that refuse to perceive and the ears that refuse to listen, I still want you to lie to me. Lie to me until your lips are mutated and your bated tongue is in shreds, lie, lie, lie, until the wrong turns right, until forward becomes backwards, until the truth is the ultimate lie, and I’ll gladly do the same to you. After all, we’re just doing what we need to do. We’re just doing all we can do.

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Small Talk

“If I die now, you’ll be fine, wouldn’t you?” Came the morbid question, startlingly from out of nowhere, the tone rather earnest and solemn, as the rest of her contradictory body moved to pack up her bright clothes and stunning makeup in preparation for the party she was going to attend in that very evening; a glamorous night out in the city hotel for endless hours of revelry and colourful strobe lights and dancing with her inebriated friends.

“Not if I die first.” Was the equally-morbid devil-may-care reply, swift and acerbic, passed off in a jovial manner, accompanied by an amused grin and a playful hand slap, as he continued to stare jadedly at the glaring screen of his computer, thinking about the bottles of whiskey and cola that he secretly stashed away at the very back of the fridge, to be consumed later on at midnight in his bedroom with some crisps; a little party of his own.

They both smiled at each other quietly and let the conversation slide, and they went about with their business. They knew neither one was joking. And they knew they couldn’t do anything about it. So they just pretended to laugh.

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Weightless

Make believe that I impress
That every word by design turns a head
I wanna feel reckless
I wanna live it up, just because
I wanna feel weightless
Cause that would be enough…

~*~

Right now, I think I’m alright. My orbit is spinning steadily, caught in constant motion against the gravity of greater stars, keeping me from flying away and colliding with other astral bodies. The stars I rely upon are simply breathtaking. I deign to taste their enthralling radiance, but I’m aware of the impossibility of such a foolish notion, so I simply content myself to revolving around it lightyears away, thanking it silently for keeping me in line as I admire it from afar. But sometimes, for no discernible reason, the gravity weakens, and for a moment I break and drift away, attempting to pull back to my tether, terrified that I may never be able to bring myself back to that gravity, to the only thing that’s keeping my from crashing and vanished into oblivion within a black hole, forever lost in the infinite void. Hydrogen flares in my atmosphere and almost burns me up, as I strain and strain and strain back to that star, to that planet, to my solitary source of hope and light that always falls out of reach, to no avail. Then, to my great relief, the gravity slowly returns, returns to take me back in its reassuring grasp, returns to make me feel safe, and I can breathe easy again, comforted in its halcyon force. But as I continue to spin around the star, I wonder when the day will come when I finally drift too far away, too far for the gravity to reach, too far for the star to save me, too far gone. Within me, an earthquake deepens the rift, spreading veins of crevices and cracks, making prominent, irreparable faults, my molten core’s coriolis barely holding me in. And I wonder, I do wonder, which one will win the unwinnable race, which event horizon will occur first to end me. Will I fall away or break apart?

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Static Sessions

And you can’t fight the tears that ain’t coming
Or the moment of truth in your lies
When everything feels like the movies
Yeah you bleed just to know you’re alive…

~*~

It’s rather strange and desensitisingly nerve-wracking, standing up there with shivering knees, under the judgment of glaring spotlights and hanging magenta lamps, and past the scrutinising pupils of a million watching stars. I do not feel like my own concrete entity, merely a disheveled apparition trapped in a foreign body. The amp screeches—jeeringly, it seems. I momentarily blanch. What the hell am I doing?

Perspiring profusely, trembling hands holding the gibberish lyrics to an unfamiliar forgotten song and an impatient crackling microphone, the beginning intro of the acoustic guitar sounds like a banshee’s scream that’s prompting my knotted larynx to begin making even an inkling of a noise. Quivering, quivering, quivering; dreadful hesitation and a near-death anxiety that wrings the delirious butterflies out of my stomach in an icy-cold freeze. An infinitesimal moment of silence. A skip of a heartbeat. A suffocating breath held until it coagulates. A spill of acherontic reluctance spilled down catatonic spines before one jolts and realises in shock that, surprise surprise, my parched mouth is actually producing sound!

Thus the song proceeds, with or without me. It’s up to me to chase after it’s vivacious footsteps. My voice is no longer my own, simply a phantom illusion; I barely feel it rising up and down, strumming the musical bars to the best of its abilities. Everything tastes like stereo static; clapping and cheering amid guitar and tambourine amid the anxious symphonies I relayed. The quaint scenario tangibly intensifies into a steady culmination, vertical horizons alighting into spontaneous combustion. Steadfast certainty underhandedly replaces the oscillating nervousness within me, pastel assurance slowly seeping in my ticking aegan-washed bones and strengthening every fibre of my abandoned sensibilities.

I find myself closing my eyes and loosening my grip, my driftwood soul getting pulled in the undertows of the euphoric moment. I can barely hear my own voice anymore, and I do not hear the crowd at all. Soprano, baritone, octaves, trebles, notes and rhythms and senselessness and song, they’re all that envelops me right now, my solitary company in this madness of a world. Raging fire burns in my emotions, thawing the glaciated blood in my veins, warming up the frostbitten angels barely holding my terse heartstrings together, bringing oxygen back to my perforating pulmonary flow; and nothing else matters anymore, only me and the music, the music and I.

The interlude swells into a deafening crescendo, and my frizzling neurons go off like fourth of July fireworks, showering the sky with brilliant sparks. It’s infinity on repeat, infinity in my teeth, infinity rushing low, infinity on an all-time high. This feels fucking amazing. What was there to be afraid of? Why had I been terrified all this time of such a ludicrous notion? Perhaps if I had steeled myself sooner, my brillo-pad songs would be less abrasive, and the ticking clock would’ve been on my side. But no matter, for I shall not dwell on the resentment of the past that keeps me embrangled within incarcerating doubt and merciless agony. Rather, I will focus on the now. This is me, doing what I never dared to do, doing what I’ve always wanted to do. I’m doing this for them, my beautiful divine motivations, though more importantly, I’m doing this for me, and for me alone.

The set comes to a slowing halt, the prospect tinging me with hints of sorrowful melancholy, and the audience bursts into polite applause, but the enraptured sensations linger still; and as I amble off the stage, I still find a soft lone melody humming whimsically at the back of my mellowing incandescent mind. It’s over, I sigh out to my palpitating lungs, to my shaky footing, to my disbelieving mind, attempting to calm my frantic pulse back into a metronome lullaby. But it will never be quite over, wouldn’t it? I ponder with a secret smile. I finally found my voice. I only hope I don’t lose it again. And I can only hope so hard it hurts that I don’t keep it to myself anymore.

~*~

And I don’t want the world to see me
‘Cause I don’t think that they’d understand
When everything’s meant to be broken
I just want you to know who I am…

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Jealous Butterflies and Ochre Moth Wings

We’re just two jealous souls breaking envy against the tidal waves, bleeding out elaborate cesspools fervently, and leaving soundless mouths agape for the stained porcelain butterflies to enter, hoping that the fragile incipient creatures would exit our perfidious throats undaunted and provide our dilapidated larynx with an ameliorated song to sing. Yet we only manage to choke on their flimsy polychrome wings and cough them out unceremoniously before we suffocate, the meek and hapless butterflies bent in twisted angles, traces of leaden dust leaving residues of faithful solemnity in our tinted lips, tongues whispering the painful words that no sane mentality dares to hear, destroying the only scant chances for our treasonable prayers to receive heaven.

Then, after all the nascent vituperation that ensconces our quiet bones like an impaired skylight, where would we be? Plucking burnt tawny moth wings out of wilted candle wicks in the destitute hopes that they shall acquiesce the same way those quaint looking glass butterflies did, yet never realising that there is no fraudulence nor varied substitute for that abstract tessellation, that modicum of infinity, that metamorphosed dimension that those nebulous lepidopterons accumulate and exhale. Recovery cannot be replaced, and a replacement cannot be recovered. Amid the failing maiden glow and taffy-stretched daydreams, there is only maligned reverie by maimed lightweights, attempting to endow the subtler nuances of this life a vaguer and more coruscant definition.

Against the jade-eyed desires that we fought ever so vigilantly with inured devastation and bargained discrepancies, against the covetous recidivism and the elaborate secondhand lies that come tucked along within it like opening a painted russian nesting doll, against the prehensile avarice ascending above everything and drowning us in its remorseless cyclone, our jealous souls stand resolutely falling apart. There are no more iridescent enamel butterflies to count prismatic wishes on, no more ashen moth wings to cling onto fragments of faith for, no more candid humility and hackneyed selflessness and altruistic implications, only an imminent invidia and bilateral resentment. Reality ensues, and chaos along with it. Where will our lost nightmares dream now?

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Dominance

And you’ll see your closest ones go first
Who needs enemies you’ve got friends
I’m a gentleman and you’re a liar
I expect the best of you but it’s so hard…

~*~

Oh, that never-ending thrum of her lifeblood. Splashing under vein and skin perceptibly, the splattered stains of her rogue lip-gloss submerging the hazy mascara-smudged gazes that she immediately crashed to the linoleum floor with a rejected dismay. What a mess—she looks drop-dead gorgeous tonight.

I approach her cautiously, casual and debonair, as to discourage unnecessary alarm. I admit, I was never one for such contrivances, writing unromantic lyrics at the back of my hand just so I can hold hers, irony unkindly spitting in my face with a sneer. Yet should she fancy a cosmopolitan to tear away the shreds of her enmities, I’ll be holding out a martini glass and nodding sympathetically, twisting the grim words as if it were Romeo’s dagger deeply shoved in her caved-in chest. Don’t bleed out yet, dear fragile porcelain girl, my obsequious platitudes and sycophantic adulation are yours to hoard and accrue. I’ll acquiesce in this chemical compliance to adorn your melancholy with rude festivities, I swear upon my heart.

Listen closer…do you hear her shattering tears inciting instantaneous panic on the dancefloor, digging holes deep enough for graves and hawking out salacious vultures to claw their way for the poor damsel in distress? Listen. Don’t be distracted by the jubilant electronic music whose undertones screamed of a mechanical cadaver behind the microphone, and hear the sound of a thousand starving beats ready to rend her apart. There they are now, the prurient salivating bastards, screeching and cawing shrilly, swooping closer and closer, razor beaks ready for the kill. It was up to me to stave the ravenous scavengers off tooth and nail, and never should it be said that such a task was not without tribulation.

I left that place beaten and badly wounded. But I do not mind the pain, for these fresh battle scars are an instrument of deceit; it shall only drag her in further into the elaborate delusion I set up for her to indulge herself in. She’s smitten by woe, deluded by pity, confused by liquor, a triumvirate of a perfect malleable soul. In her bloodshot eyes, I’m the bleeding fragile porcelain boy now, and it’s her adamant responsibility to pick up the pieces of my flesh that the scavengers left behind, it’s her self-blame and guilty contrition that will bandage them back together and fix my bruises to the best of her abilities. Deja vu, it seems. Yet, observe how the tables have turned. But no matter. She has my heart, if I had any at all. She is solely mine now. She is mine.

Listen…listen again. Listen closer, and hear the faint orchestral symphonies of her gossamer abstract body keeping me awake all day and singing me to sleep all night. Oh, that never-ending thrum of her lifeblood. How it tastes so fucking sweet between my sullied palms. How it thrums no longer now.

~*~

Let’s start over
When we reach the top, we’ll watch you bury yourself
This wasn’t easy, it wasn’t easy
I watched the weight of your world cave in to crush you.

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Weekend Hymns

“If you call me at all, don’t tell me that I’m ordinary, ’cause I won’t be passing you, please don’t leave…” serenades the familiar strains of a soothing voice, interlacing delicately with the quaint glassy chords of a softly-strummed guitar, and dissipating behind the skeletal mist of the hazy whorled coffee smoke. Spongy traces of a cold jelly roll melt and shiver in my tongue, leaving traces of a sweet sensation to tease these anticipating taste buds of mine. On my right side lays a Fantastic Beasts colouring book opened on a page of Newt Scamander’s luggage, abandoned coloured pencils scattered everywhere, and a half-finished unwritten postcard with vibrant pastel shades complimenting each other in mild, careful strokes; and on my left side a battered notebook overstuffed with scribbled papers and a slightly-chewed black pen, waiting patiently to bleed words into blank parchment.

Turn off these lights, call my name. Don’t talk, just drive… Another potent vocal joins in with the tranquil music, rhythmic acoustic strains and deep baritone timbre sending quiet shivers pleasantly down my spinal column. The rain has come to a cradlesong refrain, and, time being, has ceased from thrumming a metronomic pitter-patter against the fogged-up windows. I pause, place a cat bookmark on page 12 of John Steinback’s Of Mice and Men, and take another sip of my tepid milky drink and huddle further underneath my delicate blue blanket, starry night socks rubbing against the creaky bed mattress as I do so. After partaking in such a short interlude, I indulge zealously in my awaiting literature once more, losing myself against the mollifying song and letting my imagination run away and be caught between George and Lennie’s frolicsome bickering and humbler conversations.

“Red and blue and green rabbits, Lennie. Millions of ’em.” George concluded drowsily as the chapter came to a finish, synchronously alongside Jonny Craig’s flourished crescendo of And baby, honestly these teeth won’t let you go…”, and I thumbed down on the page and set down the book once again, lost in a silent reverie. This day seems to be nothing but a lucid woolgathering, and in a momentary splinter from reality, I am quite unsure which is a fact, and which is nothing more than a mere dream anymore. It left me slightly confused whether I had actually been chasing musicians through a cornfield full of bedraggled zombies in Southern California, or if my grandmother had actually been confined in the hospital after an unfortunate slip and needs three months of bed rest to recover, or whether any of those were even real, not just derogated fantasies of an inured mind in dire need of a proper rest. Perhaps I’m simply tired. I had, after all, been looking for my exuberant nephews for a good part of the afternoon. But this is a good tired, unlike the draining emptiness of a tired stress that I have been beleaguered with the entire week. And this time around, I’ll sleep not to forget the memories. Rather, I’ll sleep to remember them.

“If you call me at all, oh if you call me at all…” The mellisonant sincerity of his lilting assurances envelopes my weary and aching bones tangibly, as if the xanthous stars had personally touched down from the lavender-blotched sky and given me a synesthetic embrace from the gentle cosmos. The final coda of the song falters and fades against the distant monsoon, washing away every worry, every qualm, every cynical thought and nightmarish daydream of mine, washing me away under the horizon’s encore performance of dying sunshine and inchoate moonbeams alike. I breathe deeply and finally close my eyes, listening to the hymn of the rainy weather and halcyon weekend continue to play around me. I’ll be alright. For now, at least…I’m alright.

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The Madness of the Mortician

She’s made of hair and bone and little teeth
Things that cannot speak
She comes on like a crippled plaything
Spine is just a string…

The mortician stood in solemn vigil, as motionless as the petite corpse that lay in front of him; a body wrapped in a translucent green body bag that caught the oil burner’s dim lamplight and shimmered iridescently like pulled-off dragonfly wings. The fetid air of coalescing formaldehyde and putrescence tasted bitterly stuffy, damp and stale. On the scratched wooden table, where his instruments were also prepared and patiently waiting, an ancient radio buzzed and crackled with static; the faint echoes of a lost song playing ever so distantly beyond the veil of the curtained morgue and worming its way into the back of his head. He paid it no heed at all, dismissing it as merely white noise as he wiped his hands clean the with a sterile cloth. Outside, nightfall was beginning to amalgamate into a midnight of pure blackness that not even the most resilient of shadows can dare to permeate. He sighed once and checked his watch. Time was running. He had work to do.

I wrapped our love in all this foil
Silver-tight like spider legs
I never wanted it to ever spoil
But flies will lay their eggs…

With cautious steps taken and wary calloused fingers twitching infinitesimally like burnt moth wings, he reached out for the diaphanous body bag and slowly unwrapped the plastic, peeling it painstakingly, yet with an impatient breath held, as if it were a birthday present. But he was fully aware that what would greet his beady eyes would come as no surprise to him at all, given his work and the police records scribbled on the clipboard that spoiled it for him. Still, he braced himself. The pungent smell of decay and sour reek of death began to grow stronger, wafting nauseatingly and hanging around the stale air cloyingly, sticking to surfaces like a demented fragrance. But he was used to it. After all, he had smelled worse things on worse days. Like when he gets those damn bloated carcasses pulled out of canals and lakes after god knows how many days of fermenting underwater, half-eaten by fish and sticky and vile and overall repugnant and a nasty affair. Heaven forbid if more criminals choose to dump their casualties in the river to get rid of them. The taste of the drinking water, that’s what he worried about.

A blowfly softly landed on his hand, jolting him out of his grotesque reverie. He waved it off and continued to unsheathe the cadaver, noisy plastic crinkling intertwining with the radio static, oil burner hissing quietly, the silence growing so thick and viscid that even the perspiration sliding down his forehead could be audibly heard.

Take you hatred out on me
Make your victim my head
You never ever believed in me
I am your tourniquet…

He was prepared for every possibility that could ever occur when he fully exposed the corpse—not that there were many of them, mind you—and yet nothing could ever prepare himself for what was revealed underneath the flimsy layer of plastic. On the cold metal table laid the lifeless body of a small girl, no more than four or five years old, wearing a tattered pastel pink and white dress, soiled knee-high socks, and only one red shoe on her left foot. Her auburn pig-tailed hair was matted and caked with layers of mud and soil, barely distinguishable from her scalp, her pallid, almost porcelain skin looking so fragile that he felt like he would break a piece of it off if he so much as dared to touch it, her gossamer lips a blooming shade of bruised lavender, and her delicate glassy baby blue eyes were wide open and staring at him accusingly.

He blanched, stumbling back for a moment, and reached for his whiskey flask to have a drink. He took a swig, momentarily glanced at the corpse, and then proceeded to drank deeply, almost emptying the flask save for a drop or two to spare. He wiped his mouth with one unclean sleeve and checked the time again. His schedule was turning a little delayed. No more beating around the bush. He must carry on. He must.

Prosthetic synthesis with butterfly
Sealed up with virgin stitch
If it hurts, baby, please tell me
Preserve the innocence…

He steeled himself, took a brisk breath that felt like daggers running down his throat and into his lungs, and with an unsteady gloved hand, he picked up a scalpel from the table and forced himself to continue working. He placed a face mask on ceremoniously with an agitated flourish, and hesitantly faced the deceased child. Let us begin.

To start, he’ll make a Y-incision in her…no, he mustn’t think of her as a human entity now, only a non-living object—its torso, pardon—beginning from the stomach, all the way to its frail chest, and pry its squalid flesh open to reveal and dissect its internal organs. Her skin. Her flesh. Her internal organs. The dead little girl, squandered at such a young age. She was young. So young and hopeful and once innocent, yet now all that youthful innocence has long since been pillaged by the metal weapon of a twisted soulless psyche, devoured and ravaged by ruthless parasites and bacteria, and the scintillas of the remaining scraps of it salvaged and gulped down by possessed, remorseless, feather-molting vultures. He shuddered at the morbid thought and nearly dropped the scalpel. His mind wandered for a moment, then pleaded with him, strung tether attempting to pull him back into a detached rationality. Do not think of her, do not think of her, whatever you do, you must not think of her…

I never wanted it to end like this
But flies will lay their eggs…

But his resolution was futile, and his ulterior willpower was immediately extinguished as the gas lamp flickered and flared defiantly, hissing like agitated serpents, brightening the dank room momentarily, silhouettes dancing fiercely on the little girl’s blank face. He shook his head. It’s but a trick of the light, a mere illusion, a worn-out mind taking negative effect—he must be growing tired. He rubbed his bleary eyes and looked upon the girl’s visage again. Devoid of life, devoid of movement. Nothing. But for a moment, to his disbelief and utter shock, her deathly ice-blue eyes appeared to blink. Both eyes. Blink. Blink.

He started with a roar and crashed backwards, landing on the floor with a dull thud and cutting his hand on the scalpel blade. Letting go of the scalpel, he stared upwards into the motionless corpse in equal parts terror and curious confusion, his heart pounding like the beat of a sovereign marching drum, throbbing head dazed and heavy with blood, breaths shallow and ragged like the edge of her torn dress. He absently held his head with his bleeding hand, smudging his temples with the glistening scarlet liquid. His soul filled with a shuddering dread. No. This cannot be happening. His worst fears, have they been finally realised? Was he regressing into what everyone had warned him fervently against? Was he…was he beginning to grow mad?

Take your hatred out on me
Make your victim my head
You never ever believed in me
I am your tourniquet…

God no. Please, no. Stop. Stop. Stop. The piteous chant in his head was depraved and overpowered by his other detonated senses, the other discordant voices in his head, uproarious and painful to hear, as the radio static gnashed and screeched cruelly, amalgamating into a demonic caterwauling. He dropped to his knees and held both hands against his ears, trying to block out the overwhelming noise but failing to do so, for, he realised, the source was not external. Amid the clangorous dissonance, he could distinctly and vividly hear her sweet, soft-spoken, splintered voice, laughing shrilly and squealing in excitement as he spun her around on the playground turnabout, cheered her on to complete the monkey bars to the very end, and pushed her down the peppermint candy-striped slide, shouting all the way down. But the slide never ended, and the ecstatic shouting turned into a bloodcurdling scream. She was waiting for him to catch her at the end of the slide, but he didn’t show, only empty faith gone to hell, and she fell out of the mouth and collided with the rough concrete ground, skinned her elbows and knees, and cried. Cried alone in the ground as the children around her sneered at her, as she still vainly searched for her absent father that walked away from her, away from her life. The horrid mocking grew angrier, barbarous, louder. The screaming intensified. The muffled crying turned into inexorable wailing, imploring, beseeching, beleaguering as it endlessly asked him why why why why why WHY

What I wanted, what I needed
What I got for me
What I wanted, what I needed
What I got for me…

His daughter. Her crying. His hands. Her throat. His wife. Her mother. The abandoned rundown house at the end of the town street, his abandoned rundown house, infested with restless phantoms and ghosts of the visceral past, raising question marks and concocting urban legends and horror stories under hushed voices and sussurous muttering, passing it on and on and on without ado. The perfect happy family that was immediately shattered on that fateful night much like their photograph that he furiously threw on the wall, and the sharp shards choking reality, the same way the broken glass did as it caught in his spouse’s screeching throat. The fight. The madness that took over. The knife. The screams of NO. The gun. The woman. The girl. The chase. The first shot that reverberated in his skull. The slash that slit skins open and lacerated the beige patterned wallpaper to shreds. A shaky hand doused with vodka. A penultimate warning. The wrong target acquired. The second gunshot that finished the story. The end. The collateral damage. A man dropping his weapons and passing out drunkenly on the stairs. A wounded mother bleeding out and lamenting such a cursed fate with shuddering howls. And the girl. His girl. Dead. Fucking dead. And it’s his fault. Him to blame. His guilt. His conscience. His life, forever locked away in all the insanity like his confined wife in the mental asylum, and buried down along with her darling sweetheart child. God have mercy and damn me, what have I done? WHAT HAVE I DONE?!

Take your hatred out on me
Make your victim my head
You never ever believed in me
I am your tourniquet…

The radio thrummed, piercing through the manic hysteria, His psychosis abruptly ended. The vivid hallucinations and insane delusions faltered back into the crepuscular room he huddled upon. The vehement tempest gradually dragged down into a catatonic still; a quite disturbing calm. The oil burner dislimned into a sombre light, flitting and flickering restlessly against the unpainted cemented walls of that frigid, haunting basement morgue. He held his breath and hitched. Breathed deeply and composed himself. Murmuring deliriously, he removed his madly-trembling hands from his ears and slowly opened his eyes in suffocating fear and trepidation. Dark morgue. Inanimate corpse. Damaged man. Distressing relief.

Lulling himself, he attempted to stand up, steadying himself against the oaken table. But as he clumsily straightened his legs, his besmirched coat sleeve accidentally snagged on the metal tray and he went down again, lightning pain shooting up his spine, the rusted clangorous metal instruments clattering dinningly and crashing down with him, and the vintage radio pulled along with everything else and hitting the ground, its tiny plastic pieces coming apart and effectively killing the only palpable sound in the room.

Take your, take your
Get up out of me
I’m not proud with me…

A subdued silence ensued. He broke down and collapsed into overwhelming contrition and mournful madness once more, this time never recovering, and he crouched there, on the verge of guilt and trauma, sobbing and frantic, face buried in his bloody hands, whispering splintered apologies amid the occasional sickening laughter that escaped his pale split mouth, as all the while his deceased companion watched with her empty glass-blue eyes. His broken watch ceased ticking. The lost song faded away. The cadaver’s lips twitched. The gas lamp hissed once, twice, and instantly snuffed out against the volatile wind, leaving the grieving mortician and the dead girl in total darkness.

I never ever believed in me
I am your tourniquet.

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Missed Call

“We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.”
~Stephen King

~*~

Every night after his funeral, I always called him on the mobile phone that was buried with him to hear him speaking on the voicemail. Call me rather morbid, but it was simply a little ritual that somehow kept me sane after the loss of my dearest beloved. Though after the events that transpired tonight, I do begin to wonder if I really have managed to retain my sanity after all. Just like any other night, I dialed his number and tapped on the call button; but as I did so, I suddenly heard his ringtone play loudly under my bed. And just as if things couldn’t get any worse, the phone on the other end of the line picked up.

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The Emptiness

I feel at home with shadows from ghosts of the living
I dance along to melodies as silent choirs sing
I’m sick of always giving when there’s nothing left to lose
That place we’re in is breaking, it’s trying to break me too…

~*~

Another day, another death.

I wake up, empty. Tired to the very bone, despite the fact that I slept for more than ten hours. The bed feels so cosy and comfortable, as rain serenades the windowsill and cold morning air nips at my feet, luring me back into a dull oblivion. As usual, I don’t want to live. I don’t want to get out of my bed and function mechanically, feeling nothing but nothing. But I have obligations. Responsibilities. Projects and procrastinated homework. So I get up sullenly and do what I can. Do what I should. Brace myself through the freezing shower. Dress up, scarf down breakfast, flag down a vehicle, go to school, socialise, do things, and try to make it through another day.

I started the day feeling shitty as usual, but halfway throughout it, things were looking up. I finished my crammed essays. I made some write-ups and started a story that I’ve been raring to write for ages. I got to catch up with my bands. I helped classmates out, actually recited, accomplished my quizzes and seatworks, actively participated in class. I finally got the thing I’ve been excited to receive the entire weekend. I ate great food and hung out and laughed with fine friends. For once, this was an honest to god day where I acted like a proficient human being, where I didn’t act up and was not my usual dysfunctional self. I did everything right.

So why does everything feel so fucking wrong?

I ended the day running halfway to my house, after having a complete breakdown in the middle of the public city and making people have to put up with the wreck that I am, and unnecessarily infecting them with whatever sad fucking irrational bullshit I was going through. I ended up nearly getting ran over by a bus, nearly missing my bus stop, fucking crying on a goddamn bus as guilt and goddamn pain internally ran me over. I ended up lusting for my vices for the millionth time, for a razor and a pill to infest my system, dying to relapse, living to die. I ended up empty, tired, and unfulfilled, the same way I wake up everyday, and the same way I am as I go to sleep.

I thought all this was supposed to make you feel stronger and make you desire for a greater life, not feeling vulnerable and washed out by the sun, sitting in your dark bedroom, anxious and wallowing, curled up in your own contrition and regretting everything, heaving emptily as everything drains the energy out of your existence. In the end, everything, all of it, writing, reading, songs, bands, fandoms, obsessions, friends, love, emotions, momentary bouts of faux happiness and vigilant but futile hope, it’s just mere distractions in the end. All just stupid petty little distractions to make it seem like there’s actually a chance to change. A chance for something better. A fighting chance for me.

But when all those distractions falter and fade away, I’m always left feeling ten, twenty, fifty times more miserable and pathetic than before; flooding at the gaps in my memory, making the permanent patches in my skin ache, intensifying the taste of the fucking bitter sick on my tongue. And I’m sorry. I want to be optimistic. I want to accept those butterfly pastel mantras and keep the faith. I want to keep on keeping on. I want to fight back and achieve something for myself. I want to make people proud, and make those who were thought I’d never be alter their perception. I want to see the glass-half full, not shatter it because I’m disgusted of my own reflection. I want to change. I want to believe.

I never wanted this. But somehow I can’t do jack shit about it. The only change I can see in myself now is that I’ve become more shameless, more degraded, and more screwed up than before. Anxiety, harder-hitting depression, cutting, drugs, invalid pain, panic attacks, mental breakdowns, bad decisions, I am a picture-perfect smorgasbord of everything that should never be put together. And now I don’t even bother hiding it anymore. I’ve given up trying to counter it. I’ve given up. I’ll always be cynical, and I’m screwed in the head and all fucked-up. Life feels like a constantly looming death sentence, and I want to be my own executioner. Nothing changes. Everything stays the same.

And if things went the way they were supposed to be, and I acted properly, did things right, played by the rules for once, and lived a normal, happy, fulfilling day, and the ultimate end of it all is feeling exactly the same as when I do the exact opposite, feeling that same crappy screw-all depression running through my failing system and ruining everything for me, then fuck it, what’s the point of even trying?

Why should I bother looking for something that isn’t even there?

~*~

I built these walls to keep the outside world from me
And I’ll fight to stay in the hell of my own mind
It’s safer on the inside, underneath where
You can’t ever get to me…

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