There is a place that lies deep within the forest, where the children sleep through the morning lull and the midday sun. Past the cemetery gates, we see their tiny, silent homes that we call tombs.
From beneath the soil, they wake at night alone together. After all, no one really sleeps forever. The abandoned children of this earth roam free in the late hours, in their putrid shells of dry hardened skin.
Most people are clueless to the truth of this age-old myth. That is because small corpses have quiet feet. Some have feet so rotten they can hardly be called feet at all.
Those wise enough to suspect a little, they say, have never seen it with their own two eyes. If they had, their mind had chosen not to believe them. It is after all true, that humans are more often than not, willing cynics at heart.
Whether you believe it or not, the dead children walk. When the moon hangs high and the time comes, he rises. She rises, too. They all rise and yawn, letting their stale breath fill the air. A sharp ear can hear their jaws creak, as door hinges of old homes often do.
Samuel climbs out of his plot, sluggish like his (also) late Gramps, who lives in a different adult cemetery. His bones make an unsettling cracking noise as heavy mud slides off them. He is only seven. But to be fair, he has stayed seven for a rather long time. In fact, his death anniversary had begun right from his seventh birthday.
Continue reading “Cemetery Gates”
I looked back at my home and for a while, could not pull myself away. Leaving was no easy thing to do. This was where I had spent four happy years together with my family, before everything fell apart.
But it was now or never, wasn’t it? Piotr will be home any minute now. If I saw him, I was not sure where I might find the strength to leave. Before he – or I – could change my mind, I got into the cab with my suitcase in the trunk.
At the airport lounge, I sank into the seat and parked my luggage at my feet. There was an hour to spare before my flight. Already, I am starting to wonder if it is the right thing to do, leaving my whole life behind without telling a soul. But I knew I could no longer stay in this place so full of painful memories. Even here.
Kara’s bubbly laughter still echoed so clearly in my mind. Our lives used to be so perfect, with nothing more I could ask for. How could everything have changed in just one day? What had I done to deserve losing my loving child?
Continue reading “Ghost of Days Gone By”
Work has kept me away from writing this week. But I do want to keep my Postaweek series going. So I’m cheating with a story that I wrote a few years ago. In place of trigger warnings for the violence that lies ahead, I will instead quote one of my favourite authors Neil Gaiman:
“What we read as adults should be read, I think, with no warnings or alerts beyond, perhaps: enter at your own risk.”
Rain fell that night. Rafe and I drank from the dark skies for the first time in weeks. We embraced, but our smiles did not last. As comforting as the weather had been, it did put out the last of the fire we built. A makeshift tent was no match for wrathful winds either.
Where we eventually slept, or at least tried to, was on soft mud in a cold cave. Persistent hunger pangs woke me throughout this fitful night. My heart pounded as every brief moment of shuteye ended with dreadful nightmares. Rafe did worse, running a high fever after the downpour.
It had been two long weeks since our last meal – a doe with a pike through its tender neck. What little fighting chance it had against the strength of desperation. As Rafe roasted its flesh over the roaring fire, I mourned. Not for the doe, but for us. Every hunt had since turned up empty, each shorter than the last.
Continue reading “Ravenous”
The Black Wolf treads behind me. It keeps its pace, slow with patience and steady with purpose. My heart is palpitating, hurrying my tired feet that refuse to cooperate. After all, this tango with The Wolf is one that had gone on for far too long.
Ten years, to be exact. I was fourteen when I first came to know The Wolf. That night, I had been crying in the comfort of solitude, for reasons I could not really put into words. It was when I first felt its presence. The very moment I looked up, I saw it. Dark like a mere shadow, I had first thought it shapeless and perhaps, illusory.
But like all creatures, it grew to the point I could no longer ignore it. What I had deemed a shadow, had gained a form. Then, I could see it bare its teeth and hear its howl, as I do now.
Continue reading “Running from Shadows”
It has healed pretty well, hasn’t it? Right here, below my blind eye. You can still see that white scar, even if it’s fading little by little each day. Of course, I wish I didn’t have this to begin with. Seeing it every morning in the mirror doesn’t exactly bring back good memories, does it?
And now, we are back here again. All this time served, yet you just wouldn’t let it be. Going on and on about that Tuesday night. Wouldn’t you like to know what truly happened? Does it not say on my file you have there? Had you not read about it, when my ruined face was plastered all over the front page news?
Cold, irrefutable facts, condemning the heartless man who has no love for his own child. My side of things means nothing, when the world has already decided that they know everything about me. Inhuman. Sadistic. Psychotic. And they are right too. What sort of father kills his own son anyway?
All these time spent cuffed before you. And I still don’t know what I can tell you to make you understand, Doctor. If you really want to know, first, tell me. Do you believe in… the impossible? I don’t mean to be cryptic. But I have a feeling that my honesty may erode what little trust we have between us.
Hell, you already think I’m insane, don’t you?
Continue reading “Blood Moon Rising”
This is the story of how the world, as we know it, comes to an end. There are no foreboding clouds, no grey skies. The morning sky basks in the sun’s glow as though lit on fire, even if the breeze feels cold on my skin.
After days of wandering, I stop by what was once the sea, savouring rare serenity and solitude. Not all things have changed. Ashes still remain on the desert sand where I stand. The air is heavy with poison. But how the world ends, echoes how it begins.
The Armageddon was never a singular incident. It was a gradual erosion. The Earth’s destruction came with ample warning, dismissed by the arrogance of Man. The era of mankind had always been destined for expiration, that was what my Creator believed. My existence is rooted in his dejection, seen as he wrapped my steel body in synthetic skin.
“You are our Answer,” he named me. “The next evolution of Man.”
I considered the grand idea, but knew within that I could not accept it. An Answer I am not. I know only of the things I learn, even this doubt within me. I am a mirror of my Creator. My words and beliefs only echo his.
Continue reading “How the World Ended”