Category Archives: Prose

See Jane

Jane was taught many things throughout the course of her life. Jane was taught to be a good girl to mummy and daddy. Jane was taught to say her prayers and obey what she was told to do. Jane was taught to clean herself up and clean up after herself. Jane was taught to do her straight auburn hair up in ribbons and pigtails, polish her red maryjane shoes into a dazzling shine, and wear her best cotton pastel dresses. Jane was taught to walk with proper posture, smile gracefully, speak in a soft feminine voice, and to go about with tasks in an elegant finesse. Jane was taught to learn her academic lessons well at the private all-girls catholic school she was attending, and as well as her weekly lessons about faith and God at Sunday class in the town church. Jane was taught not to play too roughly, never to join the bad flock of black sheep, and to generally stay out of trouble. Jane was taught to be polite, friendly, amiable, and to be approachable and presentable. Simply put, Jane was trained to be a perfect girl, and she was taught to love it.

What was wrong with Jane?

Jane was the epitome of nice. Jane was the classic textbook example of the girl next door; charming, demure, a bonny maiden with a beautiful appearance and personality, living a scripted, sterile, storybook suburban life. Jane was a starchild, excelling in everything and anything, always at her best. Jane was sociable, had lots of friends and could easily make new acquaintances. In the morning, among the company of people, she was quite pleasant, a darling sweetheart in the glossed-over, uncrutinising eyes of the faceless neighbours. See Jane greet. See Jane traipse. See Jane dance. See Jane laugh. See Jane wave. See Jane smile. See Jane happy. But alas, that was the full extent of their limited perception. To them, Jane could be summed up in positive words less than three syllables long. They could never see the actual Jane, dark and complicated. They couldn’t glare past the cracks of the well-practised façade, and take a gander at the real version that’s not made of plastic skin and porcelain eyes, refusing to see the truth of the perfect girl that barely sleeps at night. See Jane depressed. See Jane grit her teeth. See Jane scream. See Jane self-harm. See Jane feel empty. See Jane strut mechanically. See Jane do drugs. See Jane muffle her crying on her pillow. See Jane as a complete fucking mess.

What was wrong with Jane?

Jane was taught many things in the course of her short life. Be this, be that, don’t do this, don’t do that, Jane never learned to think for herself. Simply put, Jane was brainwashed to be the perfect girl, and she absolutely hated it. In the end, it was not Jane with the fault, she was only the innocent victim. Rather, it was her guardians, her teachers, who missed a crucial lesson that might have saved Jane from self destruction. For Jane was only taught to exist, but she was never taught to live. Teeming alongside the controversy now, the very same life enveloping death that the multitudinous attendees are currently buzzing with. The haughty crowd, all clad in black garb, then proceeds to judge Jane with whispered huffs, gossiping under thin walls and blabbering behind paper fans hatefully, shaking their heads condescendingly with a chorus of tsk-tsk’s, saying stories and telling tall tales about how Jane was such an amazing girl, it’s such a waste Jane had to go this way, Jane always seemed cheerful and no one ever saw it coming, I remember that one time Jane…, Jane will be missed, nothing but senseless argot and unapologetic bereavement. Today, everyone mourned. But today, everyone also saw an accurate glimpse of Jane for the first time, and unfortunately, for the very last.

See Jane die.

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Cosmic Band-Aids

The coalescing Seattle twilight was an interplaying illusion of dusk and haze, warm colours replacing the pastel skylines, only to be painted over by the deep indigo eventide. The local rustic town café was already closing up, and they barely had time to finish the last bites of their chocolate bonbons and sip the remaining drops of their hazelnut vanilla frappé, before the intermittent barista ushered them out—quite literally, with a tremulous hand and an apologetic jilted demeanour. Now they stood outside the establishment in introspective reverie, dimmed bronze sodium streetlight the only solitary light source that resiliently pierced through the caliginous melancholy.

She was a blushing rose, liquid and pale, every infinitesimal detail somehow magnified to be remarkably interesting. Fragrance of baby’s breath and frankincense, posture of a regal and sophisticated monarch, delicate face as that of an angel’s glimpse of paradise, personality of an intricate vintage lock and a million exploding suns. Her companion, admittedly, was a person of less enigma, yet was still a character of significance, an oakwood branch, roughly-hewn and intense, simple yet charismatic. That svelte and cheeky-looking fellow had untidy coffee-tint hair, a discursive ironic smirk, an insouciant slouch, and a steely glint that, more often than not, signalled trouble.

As the fog and the regent shadows further intensified, the pauses and discomfited silence between them further attenuated. Moments passed. Her candyfloss-pink sundress fluttered like a jaded butterfly as she tucked a frayed bookmark behind her seashell ear, and her taciturn companion watched her intently, like an engrossed pawnbroker. Without permission, he began to remove his worn tan overcoat and gingerly placed the article over her cool shoulders, still warm and cosy by his own body heat. Flustered by the uncalled attention, she turned away to brush a stray raven hair back into her gossamer tufted bun, and lost grip of her book of poems, fragile pages yellowed and dogeared with age. Sylvia Plath’s ancient anthology dropped with a soft thump right side up, opening uncannily on the centre page containing Mad Girl’s Love Song, and both bent down and fumbled clumsily to pick it up in haste.

Fingers tangled. Glances exchanged. Blue eyes collided with green. Hands clenched. Throats choked. Hearts skipped. Breaths hitched. Souls shattered. Their blueberry-strawberry swirl ice cream melted absently like calligraphy on the pavement. The book now lay abandoned and forgotten, its unspoken poetry dancing alongside the breeze. No words were whispered. None were necessary. Overhead, the last of the brimstone shades faded away, and incandescent stars splashed the darkness of the falling sky. Below, firework eyes showered sparks, and skins intertwined. Witnessing it all, hiding behind the wisps of pewter clouds and overlooking the nocturnal planet, the glowing moon quaintly smiled.

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Incarcerated

He was tired of everything. He was trapped in a hellish predicament, and he was sickened ad nauseam by being abused by wardens and inmates alike. Today, he was once again thrown into a riot at the cafeteria, stumbling out with a split lip, a sprained arm, and bodily aches all over. But then again, he also managed to pickpocket one of the security guards and smuggle something into his cell, hiding it under his soiled pillow, so the pain didn’t matter anymore. Now, his prize rested patiently within his hands; bullets loaded, safety lock off, muzzle glinting mischievously. His fate was set. It was the first sound he heard, the sound that got him into this shithole, and it would be the last sound he would hear, the sound that will absolve him of all his tribulations. He shut his eyes. His fingers twitched. He pulled the trigger.

BANG.

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Mütter

This hasn’t been your year. Matter of fact, not a single year in your forty plus years of living, minus a several tenths for when we didn’t exist yet, has been quite too fulfilling. And understandably, it’s been a rough ride. You’ve been flying this journey Lindbergh solo for five years and counting now, and you weren’t always locked and loaded, and the machinery was not always all systems go, and the weather was not always clear. We’ve been ungrateful bastards who act like sweet-smelling pink roses intertwining around you with pretty innocent smiles, and then we bury our lacerating thorns deep in your steel-plated chest until we hit flesh and you bleed. We’re irresponsible lazy creatures, we get that, we refuse the simplest of chores, saying no to refilling the water bottles after downing the entire one litre liquid in one gulp, or slam dunking our filthy dishes in the overflowing sink and then denying appraisal over doing the washing-up. We grate on your nerves at the worst time when they’re already stretched to their limits, and we pull at them until you snap. We’ve been disappointing and apathetic, and you can only scream and reprimand so much before your worn-out voice and the fingers you crossed breaks. We’re no good, and vexingly frustrating, and annoyingly juvenile, and seemingly hopeless and futile…just like any other stupid nose-picking kid out there who needs guidance and care in the gentle yet sturdy hands of a parent. You simply wanted the best for the worst, and some due indemnity and pride, and to set your wayward children on the proper path, not into the ocean horizon to drown in sovereign failure, but onwards beyond the sunset to discover the way and amass all the lights in the sky. Someday, that’s a promise to be fulfilled. But for now, we remain your stupid bumbling companions, building bridges to last longer than London Bridge and making memories on a photo album (or selfies, as the cool millennials say or whatever, since you seem to be more connected with my generation than I can ever be). I feel faintly terrible that after all that you did for us, for me alone, I wasn’t able to get you anything decently celebratory or did anything to make this one hell of a day, except for a greeting card written with a dying marker on used tissue that says ‘congration you done it’, an IOU written on paper ripped off carelessly on the side of a notebook that entitled you to an entire day of my silence (valid on May 14, 2017 only), and doing the aforementioned chores which I should be doing on a daily regular basis anyhow, so I can only offer with what I do best—getting drunk. Oh no wait, that’s a different thing innit, that’s rubbish. I meant to say writing (although the best is not even good, to be bluntly frank). You out of all people needed a cheer upper and a break, and I out of all people should be the one giving you such things. So, here it is. And despite you begrudgingly commenting it several times today, no, the universe does not always conspire against you. Sometimes it’s me who does.

I took the time to write all this down because (besides the fact that I am equal amounts bored and sleep-deprived, which is like 95% of the time, but whatever) despite all the bickering arguments and thermonuclear meltdowns and endless disputes we’ve rivalled against, we’ve also had amusing stories and extraordinary journeys together and silly banter over cups of freshly brewed coffee, and I would like you to know that there’s still someone who cares, that this anxiety-ridden, book hoarding, show obsessing, loud satanic music blasting, three AM screaming, rebellious blue-haired loser with the problem child attitude, a death stare and eyebags thicker than Billie Joe Armstrong and Gerard Way’s eyeliner combined, the general behaviour of a mental patient diagnosed with schizophrenia and severe ADHD, and having the irritating tendency to not reply unlike a complete rhetorical sarcastic twat without getting allergic to formalities, is, insert dramatic Psycho violin chord here, surprise surprise! A sentient being capable of being a sappy little bitch (you may proceed to gasp and wipe away your tears with my greeting card after scolding me for using an expletive). My particular thorn in question is a raging problem that has left a scar tissue in your heart more times than the other roses you’ve cultivated, and still you don’t water my roots with poison laden concoction and shear my stem off ruthlessly with my own disturbing scissor collection to off me and get rid of the nuisance; instead, you spritz my face with more fertiliser, tentatively remove the weeds that stunt my development as it chokes me, and you help me continue to grow. I’m beginning to stop making sense here, and this is getting too sentimentally personal, and you would most likely whale on me the next morning for staying up late because we have to go to school tomorrow to clean up or some crap, so I’m very sorry for all my tribulations and for a million sins (yes, the fact that I decided to tactlessly blast out Mama on full loudspeakers on such a particular day included, whoops), and a thank you, more genuine than pirate gold and your signatures in the excuse letters I forged, for being here all the while and being a total headstrong badass about it. Okay, no, I can’t say the god forbidding L word yet *shudders*, but maybe I’ll save that for a later, less awkward prospect (what is with all the excessive L words in that sentence though?!). Here’s me paying my side of the dice. Thank you for everything and a gazillion virtues, and then some.

Happy mother’s day.

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Stargirl and the Rocket Lights

You are a curiosity, or a mental case, as some called it rather crudely and dismissively, and you knew everyone noticed. But they didn’t care, and neither should you. One day, you impulsively proclaimed, whilst balancing on the top of a redwood tree branch, that disappearing acts never got old, so you said goodbye to your squirrel friend, clambered down the tree hurriedly, and dashed home. You burst into your room with a loud door slam, gathered up your paraphernalia, grabbed your half-full rucksack dotted with strange pins and souvenir keychains, which was patiently waiting by your ramshackle oakwood cabinet, and began haphazardly shoving various motley things inside. Once you were finished cleaning up and made even more of a mess in the process, you quickly plastered a teddy bear print band-aid on your cheek from where the rough wood accidentally scratched and left a thin red mark, clumsily tied your DIY pinstriped Keds’ purple and green shoelaces, stretched out—as if competing in a marathon—on an abandoned Twister board on your carpeted floor, and finally you left the house, chasing your dissolution without so much as a backward glance. The first part was easy. The next part was easier.

The nightwalking horizon was tinted virtually the same colour as your ripped stonewashed denim overalls, the reticulated stars were in implausible full burst and clearly visible, a myriad riot like the splattered black inkstains on your bohemian tie-dyed shirt, and the moon was shaded exactly and uncannily like your ivory silk flower leggings, the number of the craters perfectly aligned with the number of the frayed holes by your knees, the ones you tore yourself with zigzag safety scissors. The dreamy air tasted faintly like bubblegum ice cream, and the astral bodies were softly clicking into their designated places, a marvellous tableaux of God’s fanciful ethereal jigsaw puzzle. Nothing more was to be prepared; all you had to do was pass against the serendipitous turn of time. That particular task in itself was no difficult feat for your whimsical affinity. The other factor to consider was your destination. Invariably, it didn’t matter which bus you got on, if you were even waiting for a bus at all, for you have an overpowering ominous sensation within your heart that you’ll always inevitably end up on a wayward road, diverging on the intersection to nowhere. And in your own quote unquote words, as that one cliché that nobody says goes, signal for the universe and the galaxy will come.

Your vintage analogue Hello Kitty clock ticked sluggishly second by second, and the small candy floss pink lights by the side came to life and began to glow fervently as the hands struck exactly 8 PM. You had a lot of time to spend thereon and then, sitting prim and taciturn on the graffitied wooden bench, waiting for the longest forever. You intertwined scarlet camellias on your plaited geranium hair and held it in place with a gargantuan leopard-print scrunchie. You tapped your hands, plucked a few sweet and sour notes on your marmalade-orange ukulele, and hummed a Joy Division song melodically, and you laughed quietly when you flubbed the chorus with a splintered squeak. You counted the cheap glittery stars you stuck on your plastic journal even though you knew the number by heart, some microscopic yellow speckles transferring to your skin as you absentmindedly peeled one at the side with a polkadotted fingernail. You scribbled lines of guitar keys, and doodled literal intricate keys without paired locks, onto the slightly-torn cover page with a blueblooded space pen, and used the same pen to trace the wiry butterfly outline on your right ankle. You observed with childish wonder and twinkling heterochromatic dandelion eyes as prams, automobiles, taxis, and tallyho’s passed by you in an amicable whirlwind breeze and friendly engine revving. There were a billion tangible stars in this side of the dimension, just a little more than the glamorous stars shining on your notebook, and you can pluck each and every single one off their orbit. You had a lot of fun little preoccupations, and the time on your hands seemed almost eternal.

Time was up. When it seemed like the aberrant clocks hitched their breaths and you’ve done a thousand and one tasks to fill such a lacuna, finally, Hello Kitty’s spinning hour hand gingerly moved into its designated place. The moment it touched the notch and exactly as the pink lights began their little show, you tilted your chin until it was higher than your freckled button nose, and stared enthusiastically at the empty tranquil sky. As if on cue, your implausible carpool vehicle hurtled imperceptibly from beneath the atmosphere, burning the crepuscular firmament’s concrete shadows at light-year speed, and arrived with a dissuaded thump, to take you away from such a bland and diluted planet. Tucking a stray highlighted neon hair back in your pierced and heavily-ornamented ears, you cautiously replaced the overflowing tatterdemalion notebook back in your bag, bounced on your heels and stood up with lilting sneakered toes, and ceremoniously stepped into that rocketship invention calmly, without any nuance of surprise or astonishment. It seemed you would simply walk straight and be swallowed whole by the blinding flash, but at the last moment, you turned back at the dominating darkness and sent a quaint, fragile, almost palpable air-kiss flying from your painted ruby lips and painted dainty fingers onto the open space. The entire population of the world must have felt a faint zephyr graze their cheek softly at that very moment, but they were too naïve to even bother with noticing it. Yet you said your polite goodbyes, so it didn’t matter. You grandiosely waved a final farewell, the tattooed patterns on your arms spinning and dancing with pastel motion, and you smiled lazily, quite cryptically, as the metallic-gold doors closed in dénouement with a sibilant hiss and a burst of flourishing steam. The metaphysical vessel roared as it propelled into ignition again, shooting up into the sky immediately and billowing into evanescence out of peripheral view, and you were gone with it. Your wish was granted, and you permanently left behind the life you always tolerated with distaste, into a more interesting place with a better yesterday, and no one cared…except for one.

Stargirl, when you ran away and stole the cornflower moon with you from the midnight sky to elope, did you think no one would be interested? When you vanished and charmingly serenaded the sun into a retrograde motion, did you think no one would find out? Did you ever think, for a single heartbeat, that when your star, hiding in plan sight among millions of the other specks in the star-freckled sky, was quietly extinguished, I wouldn’t even notice?

I out of all people would hate to admit such a fact, but for once in your extraordinary yet ephemeral existence, Stargirl, you were wrong.

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Of Detestable Desires and Despicable Devotions

This isn’t fair, no
Don’t you try to blame this on me
My love for you is bulletproof
But you’re the one who shot me…

~*~

I don’t understand any of this.

All this opposite similarity, juxtaposed like faded victorian photos in a chromolithograph pendant, an elegant display of memory destruction. Your perfect contradictions. Your earnest sarcasm. Your subtle noticeability. Your intellectual nonsense. How I fell down towards the sky for you. It’s so confusing.

You’re so confusing.

You were the aspirating medicine that poisoned me into debilitation. You were the rusty nail that pierced my discoloured skin and cured my tetanus. You were the hypodermic injection of the drug that made me so high I began to hit the ground.

You were the disease that saved my life.

You were the shadows that kept me comforted as you beckoned the monsters on. You were the darkness that provided me with light at the end of the hopeless tunnel. You were the lingering dawn that never allows me to catch the faintest glimpse of sunrise.

You were black and white, respectively.

You played the professional doctor while you tore experiments down my wrists and carved notches in my backbones. You stitched my wounds shut as you proceeded to open fresh ones. You were my ravelled bandages, and you left me to bleed out.

You were the death cure that nearly killed me.

I was invincibly bulletproof until you shot me with a guillotine. You were a modern day Midas and you turned my stone heart to gold, but you stubbornly refused to touch your own coalfield chest. You were the concentrated oxygen that asphyxiated me as I inhaled your fumes to breathe suffocation.

You were the safest dangerous thrill.

You were fire, burning empires in angry hate and providing towns incandescence in softest hope. You were water, drowning cold lungs and circulating warm blood. You were earth, burying emaciated corpses underneath with moonlight requiems as efflorescent verdancy pushes upwards to greet the ode of the sun.

You were an element that can build and destroy at the same time.

You were the ministerial soldier in a war who offered me the white flag and bayoneted me in the head as I reached for it. You were the scholarly literature that emptied my mind of all knowledge. You were the coronary-inducing suspense that never left me hanging resolutely.

You were the worst kind of poetry.

You were so singularly ironic that you could cure anaemia. I wanted to explore and extricate your simple complexities, so I can finally solve it and leave your unending mystery alone. You were killing me ever so slowly, making me crave for eternal sleep, so that when I die, I can awake to life.

You were the gravity that made me float, and I can’t pull away.

You were never a singular personality. You were murderer who cries over his victims, a mad scientist reviving the patients she killed, a lunatic lover looking for some sanity in the moon. You were a compassionate sociopath, a sinful saint, a lying candour, an innocent hatred. You were a grotesque beauty, you were eternally ephemeral, you were a cruel god.

You were an impossibility.

Most of all, you were hopelessly incomprehensible. I could research the entire world, ascend above human rationale, learn relentlessly for a thousand years, and yet I can still never begin to comprehend the very thought of you. And you are clever, yes, elegantly clever and yet so barbarously sadistic, my love. You knew I wouldn’t ever understand, I was just like the rest of them, so you walked away from me without a second thought and left me. You left me hurting emotionally and physically, you left me for good, and you left me for dead.

You are despicable beyond measure, and I can never leave you.

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Ubiquitous

It hurts like a twist of a blunt scalpel wedged deeply within my broken ribs, this. The bitterest sensation of not having it all to myself. Not keeping it as my decadent secret locked away. Not being able to catch my own fairy in a glass jar. But then again, I suppose it cannot be called a fair game if I don’t collide with the oncoming moon and leave a gaping hollow crater on the playing board, in order to get severely damaged. I can only pray for redemption silently, as I find myself rousing once again under the maelstrom of dust devils that even the most tantric nonexistent winds from the atmosphereless astral body cannot disperse of. The remorse that comes with the dice roll comes so naturally, it’s almost selfish. Almost conscientiously demeaning. Almost guilt-inducing. Almost.

Because despite all the elsewhere tragedies that have gracelessly transpired, lacerating me with scars under my tongue and at the back of my hands, I simply won’t bleed diamonds from my wrist from foolish emotional distraught; rather, I shall forge an envious solidarity of the toughest steel element and hope within my frazzled nerves fervently that someday, God looks away. There is no reason to grieve, no reason to stain my pillowcase with rain, no reason to be asinine against the inevitable. I have the better set of cards in this shuffled deck. For they may weep for the dawn and admire the sunset, but I will always have the sun to myself, no matter the point of day and weather. That much, I can keep my faith on.

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Sleep: The Awful Things That I’ve Seen

And through it all
How could you cry for me?
‘Cause I don’t feel bad about it
So shut your eyes
Kiss me goodbye
And sleep, just sleep…

~*~

4:30 AM. I was just drifting off to sleep, beginning to conjure coalescing dreams, hazy and not yet solidified. As my slumber deepened further, sliding into proper unconsciousness, the fantasy materialised more clearly.

I found myself standing in the middle of a school building, an ancient and decrepit one, along with several faceless people, all of which seemed vaguely familiar, yet none that I could decipher specifically. Up to that point, everything was fine. It was just another one of the dreams that I have on a regular nightly basis, fractured and almost nonsensical. I wasn’t worrying yet. Continuing the journey of my dream, I rode on an elevator with the aforementioned faceless company, the elevator’s metal doors and interior glimmering with cleanness, strangely sterile and out of place, a stark contrast as compared to the near-dessicated state of the ruined building. I pressed a button to go several floors up, and the elevator hummed lightly, the glinting silver doors closing with a reassuring ding.

And that was where the nightmare began.

After a few seconds of waiting in uncomfortable silence, the elevator finally stopped with another cheerful ding!, the lights flickering momentarily as the doors opened smoothly, and we all stepped out of it without so much as a glance or hesitation. We found ourselves in a room, a total mess and cluttered, practically flooded, with varying sorts of garbage, debris, detritus, and disused technology, and just as equally rundown as the one we had previously been to. Thus we began investigating, scouring the place for god knows what endgame.

As I clambered atop a pile of junked wicker furniture—already unravelling from its weave and was all but falling apart—to scout the location, someone suddenly realised that one person was missing from the group, and s/he called us out and gave attention to the fact. By some form of interlocked gregarious instinct, we all looked curiously towards the elevator, eyes drawn to the buzzing reflective doors, and, as if on cue, that prominent ding! sound cut through the thick slippery silence like a bread knife through butter. Breaths bated, we all waited in suffocating suspense.

It didn’t open. No movement from the inside. No indications of our absent companion can be seen. My faceless companions and I didn’t acknowledge each other, either. We were all simply frozen to the spot, and no one moved a muscle, not even as a soft music box tune began eerily playing from behind the closed doors, muffled as it seeped past the minute cracks between the doors. As it continued to play, sweet and lilting at first, I began to grow uncomfortably disturbed, for it seemed to be seeping past not only the elevator doors, but past the boundaries of dream and reality as well. It felt so real, so palpable, so tangible, that for one moment, my dream self actually broke past the fourth wall, becoming fully aware of its incorporeal state, and I pondered if I accidentally left my phone’s music player on before I fell asleep.

But then, out of nowhere, a high-pitched screeching sound went off and collided with the initial silence that was keeping the dream at bay, as the music box melody grew louder, more distorted, chillingly hair-raising. The stentorian tone came to a point where it became too unbearable for my thoughts, and I immediately jolted back to reality, hoping to effectively get rid of the discordant noise.

Or, at least it seemed to be reality, at first. I can still see what I would’ve seen if I was awake; the red and grey stroller that my older sister left on the place, immobile and parked carelessly in front of me, my phone clutched on one limp hand, its screen faintly glowing and still opened on an abandoned Aldiko eBook that I was listlessly rereading before I fell asleep, and the sheer darkness of the quiet room only being perturbed by the light on the dining room, always left open at such hours of the day. I was awake, and everything was all normal…

Except the damned music box sound was still playing in my ears, and I can’t move.

From that moment forth, I knew I wasn’t awake yet, nor was I dreaming still. I was trapped in limbo, floating between a hellish combination of unconsciousness and consciousness that I can’t break out of. I can’t go back to sleep, but I can’t wake up anymore. It was time for drastic action. Blood rushing wildly in my heart and heart hammering out of my ribcage so hard it might just break, I frantically tried moving an arm, a leg, any limb, any muscle, to no avail. I attempted to straighten out and change my semi-foetal position, but all I could feel cooperating was my left toe, wiggling frantically, willing the rest of my body into a contagious movement, and without much success. Not even my eyeballs can be goaded into looking side to side, fixated blankly past ahead, horrified gaze locked upon the stroller, forced to watch the unfolding events transpire, as my vision shifted and spun out of control.

I felt sickeningly dizzy. Gravity must be working against me. There seemed to be an invisible force that was moulded into my entire body, blanketing me entirely as it pressed against both internal and external flesh and held me down, and the only sound I can hear anymore was no longer the pleasant music box tune, but rather, some sort of strange caterwauling amalgamation of static and a rushing wind vortex and painful banshee wails that roared angrily whenever I attempted to move, its volume nearly deafening, nearly driving me into intense deliria. This unknown spectre was overpowering, sending fresh waves of prickles on my skin, shudders and chills down my spine, and contorting currents all over my body with every futile attempt of mine to make motions, telling me victoriously that I was held under its claws, pinned like a helpless mouse under a cat’s paw. I was its puppet, and it can make me motionless whenever it wishes to. I was under its total control.

For what seemed like hours to un/conscious me, this unwinnable game went on mercilessly. The invisible force grasped strong and willfully as it immobilised me, the raging static continued to come in cacophonic mocking screams, the dreadful fear ultimately pervaded and successfully overrode every part of my system. I couldn’t break away, I couldn’t find a release, I was defeated and thinking that I’d be trapped forever in this fucking state, and come next morning, my relatives will find me already turned to cold stone like Medusa’s poor victim, with a permanent expression of horror etched on my visage, a person literally frightened to death.

But then the spell broke down. I felt everything lighten up gradually, that shocking magnanimous force that has paralysed me and held me hostage for the last few minutes slowly dissipating, the angry static noise ebbing away into nothingness, and I finally began seeing everything in a less surrealistic, less blurrier, less disorienting sight. I opened my eyes—or if they have been opened all the time anyways, I am still highly uncertain—saw the lightless room, my resiliently-illuminated phone, the abandoned monochrome stroller, my hands clutching the mobile, normalcy, reality, and hopefully for good this time. I glanced down absently at my trembling bent legs and realised with ecstatic joy that I could already move, and I rocketed myself immediately into a stiffened position, almost letting out a vivacious cheer of triumph. Everything rewound back to its proper setting, and my wildly panicking heart began to calm itself, gradually lessening a beat every second until my pulse was at an acceptable pace once again.

For several minutes after that, I was motionless. I simply laid still, staring mistily at the dull yet reassuring glow of my phone, listening to the tired whirring of the restless electric fan. For the hellish dream may have passed, but I wasn’t completely relaxed that easily yet. Fear infested itself momentarily again, and I immediately jammed my eyes shut, very much afraid that if I moved or swept my vision over the place, I would see a horrifying countenance grinning with razor blades for teeth and glaring back at me with flaring jaundice-yellow eyes. I was still scared out of my wits, thinking that, perhaps, the nightmare was not over yet.

Sooner than later, the fickle irrationalities subsided into common sense. I knew I can’t keep up such an act forever, and if there were any bastards waiting to devour me whole, then goddammit I’ll face them now. I hesitantly opened one eye, and, seeing no otherworldly creature about to pounce on my viscera, only my luminescent phone’s clock blinking sullenly and reading 5:08 AM, I opened the other eye and sighed exorbitantly, the sound of my own voice washing over me and providing me clarity and sensibility. I felt ashamed and silly, yet at the same time thankful and relieved.

But not for too long, before horrifying thoughts struck me once again, epiphanies falling down on my mind so hard I saw stars. Deprived of sleep and going through such a traumatic experience in such a short amount of time, one can only think so clearly before hell sets its hounds loose upon their brains again. I gasped audibly. My blood froze abruptly. My pulse raced maddeningly again. A hard lump metastasised on the back of my throat, making it difficult for me to breathe. A final chill slithered down my spine, and rested there permanently.

I cannot sleep again. Whatever beast or demon or godforsaken creature used me and made me its plaything for tonight, I fear it will return again to finish its job. I cannot let that happen. Never again. Perhaps if I just make it past this night, then it will leave me alone. But I am tired. I am very tired. No, I’m okay. I’m fine. I’ll make it. I’m going to die. Happy thoughts, happy thoughts, happy thoughts…

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Go On and Give the World a Show

1.) Your mind is boiling bleeding bending screaming and that motherfucker is doing nothing but saving your watercolour tears in a crystalline vial and using it to paint your evocative portrait in his dollar store canvas.

2.) Your heart is cursing complaining coronary sedating and those bastards are doing nothing but taking your severed arteries for the next transplant performance to entertain surgeons, scaramouches, and curious sickos.

3.) Your soul is pulsing pirouetting paralysing sacrificing and this asshole is doing nothing but pasting your flattened cardboard spine into an unused oak guitar and singing hypocritically about his next hit tragedy.

4.) You are woeful whimsical winning simply synesthetic and the critics did nothing but make you infamous and indomitable as you rose against their vehement volatile tidal waves and triumphantly held your billowing flag on the blue moon.

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Ipse Dixit

You’re begging for the impossible. You plead the fifth and proclaim it’s the inevitable, but I am as solid as the philosopher’s stone circumscribed within the third chamber of my arcane comatose heart. A paralysed blood flow. A coronary heartbeat. The monitor sinks into an eclectic deadline. You perceived the evidence, assimilated the apnoea, penultimately confirmed the apoplexy with an exorbitant sigh and a commiserating disposition. Castigate my otiose conniption if you must, but it wouldn’t make any goddamned difference if I’m a cello strung across a rainbow crossing in the welkin of the Valhalla or a bagpipe resting against a river of magma and hellfire in the very eviscerating core of the earth. It is but an expendable prestidigitation, smoke and mirrors reflecting spectres in the illusion, so why abjure? He himself said it. It is a moot point in a Van Allen Hyperion. For if the very man Himself cannot prosecute it, then let it occur to your benighted follies that your playing God cannot save me. Don’t make me go back. I won’t do it. I won’t.

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