The Beauty of Nature

Hello there friends, come one, come all
To read about one masked, though not for a grand ball
The topic given was to compare
Makeup and sins, my thoughts from nowhere
So challenge yourself and your ever wandering mind
Lipstick to lust and so forth, the clues I hope you can find

So kick back, sip on some tea when reading this poem
Feel free to comment or press a like either with your forefinger or thumb

*Note: This poem is in the preformatted form, where you may have to scroll horizontally in some of the stanzas to read the full lines.


(1) I’ve lived in this world long enough to realize

That it didn’t matter whether you were kind or wise

Money ruled in this society of mine

For the amount of clothes and beauty grants you the right to shine.
(2) A house, handmaidens, corvettes, all left for me

With one missing - a 1960 Classic in the depths of the sea

License plate to grieve the gap in the railing

And the media mogul and his wife who were wailing and flailing.
(3) A polishing of my nails in process during that time

A smudge left as the result of a shocking text chime

Perhaps the red signified the bright red bouquets

Whose petals scattered the somber pathway.
red nails

Sleeping Beauty’s rose were she not to wake up – photo Olichel 2015© (CC0 1.0)

(4) Alas, I did not share the others’ tears and cries

For now I inherited unwanted bonds and ties

The Sunset Times - wealth and hard work guaranteed

Just the thought made me want to flee the responsibility.
(5) The managing, directing, clearing any mix-up, how tiresome

All those tasks will surely chip my manicure - how bothersome

I almost felt bad for the hard-working middle-class man

Who desires money to survive, poor throughout his lifespan.
(6) Another month for breathing paper, alive and well

To lay among the sand with no worries for the bell

“Perhaps a look at your new empire today shall serve you well my lady.

A grand and relieved welcoming will be likely.”
(7) “And the questioning? The call for ideas? The thought makes my skin want to break out.

But I’m afraid it’s true, this visit long overdue. Time to see what the fuss is all about.

Though Garrett, do not get me wrong, this courtesy only for my wealth

Everlasting should my beauty stay, first among all, even above health.”
(8) A symbol of power, dominance, and control

The center of the media, all things social

A bronze plated sun placed in the center

Though it cannot burn, it held an equal amount of power.
(9) With marble that made one’s step echo with pleasure

And a carved tree whose life ended to fulfill importance and leisure

My residence boasted more, both of the decór and company

For silence is more pleasing than those asking to approve an obituary.
(10) Instead I had my eyes on a much bigger prize

Still a youth I found myself drawn in by his appearance, his eyes

How they screamed luscious, dreamy, perfect… mine

So I started dreaming: lives so divine, our stars surely aligned.
(11) But the question stood on how to reel in a baited fish

For I am known to all, the sweet dessert on the dish

Bright green, framed with long black borders

To give him a taste of what I saw: summer and white arbors.
rose cake

Come…take a bite. Maybe I’m sweet; maybe I’m bitter. — photo vinefang 2017© (CC0 1.0)

(12) I should be the only one, step aside and beware

Emily Rivers - that cheap girl rumored to have messed with this affair

How desperate he clings onto her, voice sweet and sugary

Only to receive a laugh designed to be complimentary.
(13) What talents did she possess superior to mine

My eyes powdered to perfection, a line so fine

I am the champion, I am the victor

Those fools bow as I pass, careful not to spark the lighter.
(14) Drawing a wing is quite simple, for it only requires

Steadiness and resolve, a flick before your hand falls to retire

And I remain trained on her, similar to the practice described

Attract attention, welcome the shadows, last resort is to bribe.
(15) When does a tiger strike? Has one been close enough to see?

I’ll put her on edge. I’ll allow her to remain carefree.

A mask and a cape - true stylish options indeed

But I’ll remain a star. With my way I’ll make her concede.
(16) Now comes a change of scenery

Come sun kissed leaves, gone is the fresh greenery

The required, pleated fabric against the edge of a boundary

A swift breeze would reveal all, its pattern tempting and flowery.
(17) “Welcome back miss, I am terribly sorry for your loss.”

“You are one out of two for I have gained a burden regardless.”

Words wasted on such a worthless subject

Their minds weighed with trivial people - I should be the object.
(18) “August, to see again such a joyous name.

Even my words cannot bring enough what you deserve: great acclaim

A new year, it’s time I say, I can offer more than just words

A kiss, new phone, designer clothing, anything you wish or prefer.”
(19) Eyes glazed, the brilliant blue glassed over

The ocean, the sky, one could throw themselves in, drunk or sober

With bright rubies tucked underneath his chin

I brought him in, his lips so near, mine right on his skin.
(20) With a grip on my shoulder, I accepted the invite

But then his response took the flight instead of fight

A faltering step I took, placed several inches away

Glancing up to see a silent promise he needed to obey.
(21) “Though gorgeous and full of life, I cannot betray

The twine that binds the love I have, of which I would never want frayed.

For Emily Rivers, a beauty in plain sight, has stolen my love

My world made bright, Eros’ rays always above.”
(22) Worthless. Trash. Not good enough. Not good enough.

To be thrown aside for a simple peasant, what was placed on me, a tariff?

Love. Yeu thuong. Ai. Amour. A language I was trained of, so when

When did I, the queen, fail in recruiting one man?
(23) The taste of their soul, their desperate disguise

With starving hands, they’ll drag it on till moonrise

Then comes the slumber, the thought of what more to do

Their eyes fluttering with excitement, granted a new identity, a grand debut.
(24) A glance around proved the corruption

Ladies with their lips lined, what the men had, that became ambition

With no hesitation did they leave, once business was done, finished, complete

When another’s possessions capture their eyes, hark, they’ve found a new treat.
(25) That lifestyle, uncommon, unabashed, disposable with effort

The game has ended, but starvation still present, how much more should I exert

To taste those lips with the rainbow or classic red, to taste more

Intoxicating was his scent, a new drug, one with yet a cure.
(26) A day, two, three, four, then five

Their legacy still reigns, they’re dead, but I am alive

And finally they notice, the daughter, the child

The citizens have gathered around, having become beguiled.
(27) Their hopes aimed at the dollar bills growing from my palm

The orphanage, school, and city hall, the storm has begun with no calm

“Miss, may we ask how these grants make you feel?”

“I only wish that they should complete my plan, to seal the deal.”
(28) It was soon time to return, to him I shall elaborate

No, that wasn’t enough. Some parts I shall exaggerate

Any cracks, dents, or chips throughout

Shall all be gone, cleansed without a doubt.
(29) “Dear August, haven’t you seen? Join me and offer a chance at hope.

Nothing need be paid. I shall provide, for one whose eyes like a kaleidoscope

Have I not shown my worth, among Emily and all others?

Come to me, I am the most fit by your side, no one is abler.”
(30) “No. I have refused once and I shall continue to do so.”

Grey clouds shrouded over sapphire eyes, calm moments ago

“I am not a prize nor a possession. Find another to gain and toy.

Approach me again and I will not cease. Your reputation here shall be destroyed.”
(31) I, who had caked myself in cream

Could not scowl or frown or scream

With blemishes covered and good deeds to show

Still he found flaws, this time it was an all too heavy blow.
(32) The scars peeled through, the peeling flesh

Though held together still, how it means to be blessed

With bones that connect the bloodied gap

A concoction of skin-colored ointments to mend this handicap.
(33) A queen still has her servants and handmaidens, faithful to any order

Or fooled with admiration, awe, turned into an instant supporter

What would I be if not to utilize what is right in front of me?

A drop of the pill from another’s hand, no wait required, it would happen instantly.
updated milk

If the crown shatters, then the queen’s true face shall be revealed (milk droplets) — photo Myriams-Fotos 2017© (CC0 1.0)

(34) How he slumped, words slurred, eyes pressed, then opened

“Thank you miss for offering a ride, please inform us of what happened.”

How they would regret those words as I laid across his skin, cupid’s bow traced

Discontent he could not show until morn after, by then we had done more than embrace.
(35) Without a word, though he had tried to say

5 minutes after the call, and soon he was whisked away

“Garrett, another mess has arised. Make sure to leave no trace.”

“Miss you are asking of murder. Only you yourself brought about this disgrace.”
(36) “I recall not being the only one here Mr. Silvers.

Though a butler, father’s prized valuable you have pilfered.

By the name of his wife and my mother

I can reveal the acts you did to her, one way or the other.”
(37) A lioness on a zebra tail, its futile escape all the more amusing

Past claims renounced, the game still continuing

Seated in the mirror, I powdered. I gazed.

With blood smeared on lips and hands, wondering if it was yet ablaze.
(38) From there he should’ve made the turn

Among the crashing waves, unconcerned

I can only imagine a still, beating heart

Lungs convulsed by the one he thought he could outsmart.
(39) Such insignificant people indeed, I am the one left in their stead

Of fame and hearts, a gold crown set atop an ever cracking head

Possessing me, they are called evil, they define me

Pride, lust, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, gluttony.
(40) With masks for my lips, my eyes, my cheeks, each one so dutiful

I can always say, “I am hideous. I am beautiful.”
adjusted mask

base image OpenClipart-Vectors 2017© (CC0 1.0)


*An important message to the narrator of this poem and all of you beautiful people out there: https://youtu.be/w38IG6HsI5s?t=3m15s


Explanation (Spoilers):

This poem is meant to compare makeup products to the seven deadly sins, which are all present in many people, but in this case, shown through the narrator. They are spread throughout the poem, in which the stanzas that correspond to them will be listed below.

The first product used was nail polish, which corresponded to sloth starting in stanza 3, meaning excessive laziness or the failure to recognize one’s possessions or talents. The narrator is extremely careful in maintaining her manicure, her blood red nails, as well as her beauty in general. Due to that, she refuses to put in any manual work that may chip her nails or cause stress that may lead to breakouts.

The next product was mascara, where it represented greed, a pursuit of material possessions. This analogy was first seen in stanza 10. When the narrator first notices August’s eyes, she immediately labeled him as hers, then describing her own eyes as green and framed with long black borders (eyelashes). August’s eyes come back into play in stanza 30, where she still notices them while attempting to capture his attention through her good deeds.

Eyeshadow and eyeliner is next, along with the sin wrath. This sin is defined as uncontrollable feelings of hatred towards another person. Beginning from stanza 12, the narrator describes the hatred she holds towards Emily Rivers. In my opinion, eyeshadow and eyeliner are the most difficult makeup products to use perfectly, in which the more work one puts in, they are more deserving of praise and notice. The narrator feels cheated due to this, for she puts a lot of effort in looking beautiful, yet August only has eyes for Emily. Meanwhile, the eyeliner represents the hatred being trained on one specific person, similar to the precision needed to apply eyeliner.

Gluttony is the next sin as it took the form of lip liner, where the sin means the excessive consumption of something, in this case, love. Starting in stanza 23, the narrator describes how many girls in the school, with lined lips and all, target as many wealthy guys or men they can in order to receive money or gifts. Unsurprisingly, she also participated in this lifestyle before leaving it aside as she believes August is her one true love, who shall set her straight. In the end, it is implied that she will most likely go back to gaining the love from other men after her decision to indirectly murder August. If he doesn’t belong to her, then he doesn’t belong to anyone else.

Concealer, designed to hide almost any blemishes, represents envy, the desire to have an item or experience someone else has. Seen in stanza 27 and beyond, the narrator committed generous deeds in order to attract August, hoping it would mask any flaws that may have been presented before. With her wealth and power, she believed she could best Emily Rivers at anything, in which August would have to chase after the narrator then.

Lipstick and lust are commonly associated with one another, where it is seen in stanza 34, with the narrator having gotten what she was satisfied with from August.

In the end, all of the narrator’s makeup depicts her pride, the excessive view of one’s self. In this case, she believes all the attention should be on her, annoyed each time her parents were continuously mentioned, even though they were already deceased. With her personality and attitude, she would normally be seen as a beast, but all the concealer, lipstick, and so on, allow her to hide behind a mask that can fool those around to see her as a queen, the subject of everyone’s conversations.


Featured Image – She who has no name or face (source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AasZAYyJfW8)

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To What Salvation Owes

Welcome to this puzzle, this everlasting mystery
One that took place not during our time, but past history
This certain poetic story revolves around questioning
It’s ambience hopefully quite interesting
To discover the culprit, or culprits should I say
A certain double-nature might lead you astray

So please like and comment, it would very much please me
That you appreciate the time I took to write this tragedy


(1) Smoke from ships swirl up

A gentleman in his automobile

Little ladies walking their pups

Complaints and trips once walk comes to kneel

 

london

image Jan Arkesteijn 2010© (Public Domain Mark 1.0)

(2) Inhaled on one end, bright orange on the other

Umbrella clacked on the cobblestone

Grey clouds and frigid heat out to smother

The Queen pampered upon her throne

 

(3) 1347 Street of Wellflower

Office, place of rest, the location

Come all to take the role of the confider

Attracted to the thought of relieviation, a solution

 

(4) A trained detective and gentleman, he listens

But this time, no voice was hoarse, clear, or heard

Sharp knife in hand decreeing “letter open”

Addressed to Graham Granadere, inked with black lettering, only a few words

 

(5) Reina Wilder, calculating blue eyes, all too capable

Her puffed white clouds ceased to breathe

One with such common occurrence, how casual

“Captain Meyer requests assistance again with a rather gruesome deed.”

 

blue eyes

photo BarbaraALane 2016© (CC0 1.0)

(6) “Send for the carriage my fair lady.”

The matted coat, the drooped tail, luxury at its finest

A wasteful night to be interrupted by this calamity

“Meyer seemed troubled. Best to keep your wits at the ready.”

 

(7) Brown mud road mapped out,

Unluckiness spread across the vast field

But smooth, with a doubt

To lead through pine trees, a house revealed

 

(8) “Sir and madam, allow me to take your hats.”

With unusually strong legs the maid hobbled towards Wilder

Worn to the bone most likely by the distraught aristocrats

Shriveled hands Graham doubted would last a year longer

 

(9) “Mr. Graham, Ms. Wilder, nice of you to make it out so soon.”

“Of course Captain, such urgency could not have been kept waiting.”

In the garden, the sight basked in the rays of the afternoon

Flashes and snaps, faces pale and green, gathering evidence and praying

 

(10) “Poor thing, may the Lord be with her.”

“Certainly.” Hands covered in blue, only to be met with a wine red

“Poppy Swanson is her name. Time of death we concur,

Midnight of yesterday, withs lights off, and all to bed.”

 

(11) Guts spilled, as clean as hastiness could achieve

Left bare with the exception of a red flower and sewn black twine

One to reaffirm an identity, the other for silence, perhaps to aggrieve

Preserved was her holiness, crossed arms over chest, yet hollowed like a swine
poppies

photo Mauro_B 2017© (CC0 1.0)

(12) “Any other clues yet Wilder?”

“None, other than this cross is what can be seen Graham.”

“A tough puzzle it seems, to solve the question of who was the murderer?”

The overwhelming herbs among the red lined path to meet the gent and madame.

 

(13) “Oh, our only daughter, whittled to a pile of bones and humiliation.”

Kayleigh Swanson’s lament took to the form of wails

A woman beside her with features so similar, opened her mouth with hesitation

“Calm, dear sister. Though she is lost, God will lead them to the culprit without fail.”

 

(14) “First the owl, then my child, what’s more to be lost?”

The mother’s tears dripped upon Mila Kingston’s bright red attire

“Tell me detectives, to what extent do your best services cost?”

“Mr. Swanson, that shall have to wait; until the case is solved shall we begin to require.”

 

(15) Arrives the knight in the moment, Bailey Kingston

To lead the poor couple to closed quarters with Mrs. Kingston remaining

“My job as a doctor calls detectives. 9 p.m. is my hour off, so I shall see you then.”

“Before you go Mrs. Kingston, tell me the meaning of this cross the deceased was wearing.”

 

(16) A flash of silver fitted around the finger caught his attention

More so than her words of, “No, but I’m afraid it is to be held the other way.”

Graham pocketed the accessory once more, viewing her descension

With that, he determined only the gathering of evidence shall be held that day.

 

(17) “Shall we explore the rest of this mansion for clues?”

“No questions need be asked. Might I suggest the following of the lady?”

“Do as you shall, but remember, pursue in another’s mask and shoes.”

Now he swore he had seen this before, the event screaming familiarity.

 

(18) With fresh air in mind, he traversed the yard

Only a fox to be the witness, though its muzzle spoke no words

The remains shipped to that blackened house, yet to be observed, then charred

With nothing left, the puzzle strengthened, but a patient soul is undeterred.

 

(19) Back into the carpeted common area, sparks flying in the corner

To which attracted the cold, trench-coated body

Whose mind raced along the tracks as he reached the flames’ border

There it surfaced, or rather burned, for the eyes of one or everybody.

 

(20) Only the criminal can tell, but isn’t one a criminal at their choosing?

An old oak bucket to serve a purpose, the water cool among the coals

With no fear with leather-bounded hands, he began the process of recovering.

A key, be it for a door, a desk, a book. It was indeed an object with many roles.

 

(21) Assistance in the form of elegant etching offered something to correspond,

Led Graham up to another floor, met with a brown piece of plank.

Informed that the deceased had held property over any possessions beyond

He gave a try, but alas, the handle already turned with a clank.

 

(22) Emotionless, her companions lay on the bed

A bookcase placed upon the desk, no locks seen that offered protection

A stride and another, his fingers ran over books whose titles read

The Little Princess, Goodnight Mr. Bunny, and To take action.

 

(23) The irregular wording, or the realization of the depth of a little girl’s mind

The gold slipped through, the false cover limp against its true identity

A cheerful sunflower she was, then a dark hydrangea, now redesigned

Weighed down with despair, a beating heart among her own, a shift in her body.

 

(24) He is watching, he who knows me. Closeness does not guarantee my safety.

But he who flaunts his wealth and his threats, often misses the fine lining.

Lining, lining, a word whose meaning can be applied to a few only.

What lies in those words lies in the book, whose lining consists of strong bindings.

 

(25) Exposing his skin to the unheated room, breath as vapor between his teeth

A slight bump emerged from within, inside the front of the start of woes

A film of reel, quite different, unusual, wealthy, a word of note written underneath:

“The truth of my enemy, my loving foe.”

 

(26) Off he rushed to the clinic of knives, a hasty goodbye to the Kingston man

As he seized a steed, its black pelt flowing like the rippling water

From a biting wind to the heat of the heart, with free-standing shops and a caravan

‘Twas not a far travel to reach his stop, ironically placed beside the holy altar.

 

(27) “Doctor, my good sir, allow for a peek inside Ms. Swanson.

She who may be burned too swiftly, but given a chance at hope.”

“Then you´ve arrived at the right time, moments before we have yet to begun.”

With tools so delicate and murderous, red ashes brought under the scope.

 

(28) “By jove, so it´s true that a single life ended was not so,

With shared bonds ripped apart before left with time to grow.”

Though where the unborn was, none could consider, besides her beau

But inside the pocket, spoke the film denying it instead as a tale of woe.

 

(29) Another stop to be made to watch the film, patience worn and pained

“Seat yourself Mr. Granadere. Let the pictures reveal the satisfaction to your desire.”

“Help,” mouthed the ghost girl, determined to not have died without vain

“Why are you pointing at me dear? Behind you stands the happy songs and the choir.”
poppy trapped

Poppy Swanson – image RondellMelling 2015© (CC0 1.0)

(30) Would he who fathered cease his desire, his fulfillment, his fun?

Now it returned, the memory of an article authored many moons past

Which one thought in this time could not be undone

“A mother with lust on the streets, a lone daughter to be given up at last.”

 

(31) The notions of a new beginning, new riches, new jewels

All for someone with a shared name, refusal would be unwise for the needy

But like all stories go, the abandoner found herself to be the fool

With flaunted parts chopped, and a reverse cross, all found the scene ghastly.

 

(32) “Nothing solid gathered, but noted that Mrs. Mila Kingston is strangely observant.

Her eyes focused on a brash man threatening a lady to be his concubine.”

“Good find Wilder, for I have one too. Mr. Swanson is a debaucher, which I find quite relevant.

The moon is high, this game drawn on too long. Now’s the time to draw the line.”

 

(33) “Seek out Mrs. Kayleigh Swanson and present with her the facts.

No matter the shock, she must know and flee with you.”

“And you Graham, from where you stand will certainly attract

One who sinned to come out of the blue.”

 

(34) “Fear not my comrade, my closest companion.

When push comes to shove, with which I have no doubt for,

I ask that you be no more than a full step upon a stallion.”

Ebony hair gone at God-speed, intent on ceasing Mr. Swanson’s encore.

 

(35) Now he lay, shadows scrawled across the dim walls

Awakened eyes closed as the door cried for oil,

Only to settle into its niche, a pitter-patter down the halls

The comfort was not to last as he sought for a plan to foil.

 

(36) Along the streets of London stood time,

Only to shift once the moon lost its glory

Behind a wisp of gray, whilst both traveled with prime

One with a destination, another stumbling blindly.
dark street

photo Nicolas Vigier 2010© (CC0 1.0)

(37) A pause, a shadowed door looming in their view

With a quick “click,” the house gained a forbidden red guest

Not yet a moment, the emptiness was pierced, away the souls flew

A grand entrance he made, witness to her attempting to digest.

 

(38) “Ah, ah, ah seems as though we have been followed.”

The brash man of Reina’s tale laid bare, mouth full with his own being

And so did his mistress, chest open and hollowed

A cross over her neck for doom or well-being.

 

(39) With stomach churned and bile having tickled the throat

Graham remained, Mila’s bloodied mouth prepared for a tale

“Questions you must have, but heed them not. Without me they weren’t worth a goat.

Now if you think I am Mrs. Kingston, then you have failed.”

 

(40) “For the ring I wear shows faith, not an affair.

It’s quite safe to say only for her job has she surfaced.

Blind to the world, but I strive to bring one faithful care.

I bring salvation, a journey to the heavens, a grand service.”

 

(41) “But your own niece? What cruel measures to be taken.”

“A weak heart she would have succumbed by, her child following suit.

But now she has peace, free from the hands of Satan.

And her child, stored inside me, when made as a soup.”

 

(42) “For she deserves a vessel full of wholeness and joy,

Of which she could not have been given when left to chance.

And the story repeats with this woman he had sought to toy.

But now she is released. Among the clouds she may dance.”

 

(43) Red upon red, her appearance morphed

Eyes once starred now oozed with horror

Fangs coated in flesh without an ounce of remorse

Tongue dragged across lips with body lurching forward.

 

(44) His grasp on a most trusted handle, the sound of hope striking the floor

“I wouldn’t think about it Graham, dear, unless you yearn to burn.”

The barrel of steel pressed further, his defeat forced.

“So tell me, what means of death will leave your soul unconcerned?”

 

(45) And among the night, not just he was held captive

As the wife of the fox slipped through Wilder, aimed at her hated beloved

“Was I not enough to then view our daughter as an objective?

To sell into purgatory, to become corrupted?”

 

(46) The black-winged son of Swan

Could only stand with hands raised up

With eyes glazed in shock and no words to respond

His counterpart quick to fire were he to interrupt.

 

(47) Two sides, two heroes, two villains unmasked

Only two can prevail, with two to lose

So how does the story end you ask?

Well, why don’t you go ahead and choose?

Explanations (Spoilers):

Fear not my friends, for the rhyming will cease here. This section will be an explanation on what occurs in each stanza, as well as any symbols or clues that were presented. Once you have read these, try going back to the actual poem and see if the stanza becomes clearer.

Stanzas 1 and 2:

  • These two stanzas simply set the setting of London in the 19th century, when steamships were still in use, hence the smoke. In the poem, I wanted it to be a gloomy London day, the sun shrouded by thick, grey clouds early in the morning. Our detective, Graham Granadere makes a cameo in this scene, with an umbrella in hand and a cigarette in his mouth.

Stanza 3:

  • This depicts the place of work for Graham, where the office is located on 1347 Street of Wellflower. With this, people are able to visit in search for solutions in any questions or mysteries they have.

Stanza 4:

  • A letter is sent to the office instead of an actual person inquiring for Graham’s services this time, in which the envelope is opened by a knife.

Stanza 5:

  • Graham’s assistant Reina Wilder is introduced in this stanza, and although she is a lady, she indulges in a good smoke from time to time. Both see the letter as a common occurrence, especially since it came from Captain Meyer from the Yard, in which it can be inferred that he needs their help quite often.

Stanza 6:

  • In this stanza, the two call for a carriage to take them to the scene of the crime, and although the horse isn’t in pristine condition, it is considered a luxurious form of travel seeing he did not own an automobile. Now, the quiet night he had hoped for is gone, having been replaced by a mystery.

Stanza 7:

  • The second line of the stanza may confuse some, where the horse’s hoof prints resemble unluckiness since the horseshoe often has a superstition based on luck surrounding it. When faced upwards, it is lucky, but when faced downwards, it is unlucky.

Stanza 8:

  • This is somewhat self-explanatory, with an elderly maid offering to take the hats of both Graham and Reina.

Stanza 9:

  • Captain Meyer greets Graham and Reina in this scene, leading them to the back garden with other officers from the Yard attempting to take pictures of the sight, where some are sick to their stomachs and others praying.

Stanza 10:

  • Graham, upon seeing the sight of deceased Poppy Swanson, prays for the Lord to be with her. However, Wilder, the less emotional between the two, immediately starts gathering evidence with a blue-gloved hand, swiping at the blood splattered on the grass.

Stanza 11:

  • Poppy’s body is laid out bare on the grass of the backyard, with pieces of flesh surrounding her. In her hands is a red flower, a symbol to her name, Poppy, a red colorful flower. This symbolizes that Mila Kingston took the time to pay tribute to the victim.
  • Meanwhile, her mouth and genitalia are sewn closed with black twine, the sewn mouth representing confidentiality, while the sewn genitalia is due to her “aunt” ensuring that her assaultation will no longer be able to take place.
  • Lastly, her stomach was hollow, the contents inside having been dissected by her “aunt”, which included her unborn child, only to be consumed later on.

Stanza 12:

  • There were no other clues among Poppy’s body except that of an upside-down cross, where the meaning revolved around Saint Peter. Although “Mila” wanted to grant Poppy salvation, she knew that she did not deserve to die in the same manner as Christ seeing as she was impure.
  • Meanwhile, the last line describes of the herbs in the garden overtaking the red (flowers), in which it symbolizes Sage Swanson (symbol for the herbs) dominating over Poppy Swanson (symbol for the red flowers).

Stanza 13:

  • Here, Kayleigh Swanson is crying for the lost of her daughter, while her sister, Mila Kingston is attempting to reassure her by believing that God will find the culprit and bring them to justice.

Stanza 14:

  • Kayleigh Swanson describes how she had lost her pet owl before her daughter, which in this case, the owl stands for the death of her wisdom. Kayleigh was unaware of Sage’s assaults on Poppy, where the fox she adopted as her new pet stood as the “raising of the enemy” since the fox is the owl’s predator.

Stanza 15:

  • Bailey Kingston escorts the Swanson couple up into their room for consolation, while Mrs. Kingston prepares to head to her work as a doctor, but Graham decides to question her about the upside-down cross first.

Stanza 16:

  • “Mila’s” ring catches Graham’s eyes more so than her words, where one can deduce he found it unusual compared to a traditional wedding ring. In this case, it was a purity ring, where Poppy’s purity is no more. In this case, it was taken by her father, a cruel and insensitive individual, where “Mila” is a cruel murderer as well.

Stanza 17:

  • Wilder suggests the following of Mila to her workplace, where Graham reminds her to disguise herself first before realizing that this case seemed familiar to a past event.

Stanza 18:

  • The detective attempts to gather any clues that may still be left in the garden, but to no avail, where he only saw Kayleigh’s fox in its pen. Unfortunately, even if it was the witness to the murder, it wouldn’t be able to tell anyone who the culprit was.

Stanza 19:

  • Back in the living room, Graham is attracted to the fireplace due to the cold weather, but behind the flames, he notices something of interest.

Stanza 20:

  • Although the object is unknown at first, Graham quickly put out the fire and reaches into the fireplace to produce a key. However, the purpose of it is a mystery, even for him.

Stanza 21:

  • Along the side of the key is Poppy’s name (the elegant etching), which leads Graham up to her room, quite sure that it was her who had hidden the key and how it could correspond with any of her belongings. He first tries it as a key to her door, but it didn’t fit, with the door having been unlocked in the first place.

Stanza 22:

  • He comes across the stuffed animals that laid on Poppy’s bed, then noticing the bookcase above her desk. However, there aren’t any cabinets with locks that the key could fit into, which leads him to the bookcase next. There, he notices the books with the titles of: The Little Princess, Goodnight Mr. Bunny, and To take action.

Stanza 23:

  • Realizing how To take action did not match the titles of the other books in regards to their innocence and childish tales, Graham takes it out from its place. With that, it’s revealed to be her diary, to which the key fit perfectly into.
  • There, he reads Poppy’s happy entries morph into those of despair, especially when she discovered that she was pregnant.

Stanza 24:

  • Her entries warn that her position was caused by someone close to her, who was also in possession of wealth. Within her words, she hints at something hidden among the fine lining, where Graham figures out that the pages and words are held together by the binding of the diary.

Stanza 25:

  • Pulling of his glove, he drags his fingers across the leather covers of the diary, uncovering a film reel beneath the front cover with the saying “The truth of my enemy, my loving foe” written underneath it.
  • The italicized “wealthy” is due to the probability that film may have been expensive during the 19th century during photography having been created during that time.

Stanza 26:

  • With new clues and evidence, he rushes to the morgue that’s placed next to an altar on the back of a horse.

Stanzas 27 and 28:

  • Given permission and help by the doctor there, Poppy’s pregnancy is confirmed, but the father and the location of the unborn child are uncertain. There’s only one other thing he could turn to at that point, which is the piece of film in his pocket.

Stanza 29:

  • After leaving the morgue, Graham makes his way to a store specialized in photography, where he is able to watch the family video Poppy had hidden in her diary. In it, he can see her mouthing “help” and pointing to her father behind the camera, revealed by his voice.

Stanza 30:

  • With that, Graham questions what would have caused a father to abandon his faith, his morals, and his wife only to go after his own daughter instead.
  • Now, the previous case comes back into mind, one of which was gruesome enough to cause people to question whether it would happen again.
    • It began with a mother in prostitution who had given birth to an unwanted child through a frivolous act.

Stanza 31:

  • Lured by murderer by the notion of money, she was all too willing to give up her child, for refusal would mean death for her child, as well as herself.
  • However, she found herself to be the fool, as she was captured, with the body parts that prostitutes would show off, chopped off. Around her body, there was also an upside-down cross hung around her neck.

Stanza 32:

  • The scene shifts back into the Swanson’s mansion, with Reina reporting that Mila was strangely intrigued by a man harassing a prostitute in the street.
  • Graham reveals that Mr. Sage Swanson is a debaucher, in which he believes this whole tested game should end, already having an idea of who the culprit was.

Stanza 33:

  • Graham urges Reina to reveal the truth to Kayleigh Swanson who must be ushered to safety until Sage was arrested.
  • Reina objects to fleeing without Graham, in which the murderer is sure to come after him next if his guess was correct.

Stanza 34:

  • However, he assures Reina that everyone will eventually turn out fine, for he trusts that she will be right behind were something to happen to him. After that, Reina leaves to warn Kayleigh.

Stanza 35:

  • Left alone in the room, he pretends to be asleep, the only source of light coming from the moon outside, shadows casted on the walls. Soon after, the door to his room creaks open, only to close after, the perpetrator making their way down the hallway. Of course, Graham is close behind.

Stanza 36:

  • The streets of London were dark and quiet during the night, streets dim, only for the moon to guide the two along. While Mila has a destination, Graham is following blindly, unaware of where she is heading.

Stanza 37:

  • “Mila” finally stops in front of a small house, in which she made herself the new guest by picking the lock. Not a moment has passed before agonizing screams echoed through the night as she stabbed the man and woman that Mila had observed before.
  • Graham then rushes into the house, the screams spurring him into action.

Stanza 38:

  • “Mila” sees that Graham had been following her this whole time, while Graham notices the body of the man, castrated, partly eaten genitals in his mouth.
  • Meanwhile, the prostitute he had bothered earlier is deceased as well, with her heart extracted, and a reverse cross over her neck.

Stanza 39:

  • “Mila”, seeing Graham’s interest in her recent creations, proceeds to describe her own story, starting with how she wasn’t actually Mila Kingston.

Stanza 40:

  • As said earlier in the explanation for stanza 16, she explains that the ring she wears is not that of her marriage, but a purity ring instead. Again this is meant to symbolize Poppy’s purity having been taken away.
  • She also comments on how her counterpart, the real Mila Kingston, was blind to her surroundings, merely surfacing for her job and simply stands by as an observer. However, “Mila,” her second nature wants to bring salvation to everyone instead, where she will perform the service, no matter the extent.

Stanza 41:

  • Although she believes that she’s doing the right thing, Graham questions whether she may have taken it too far with her niece, to which she responds that it was the right thing to do to save her niece from both Sage and hell.

Stanza 42:

  • For Poppy’s unborn child, they were eaten by “Mila” as well, where she believes that it should have gone into someone full of joy compared to Poppy who had been corrupted.
  • She also relates this to the dead prostitute in the room, whose heart was eaten to release her from her sorrows and sent into “Mila’s” body for a chance at happiness.

Stanza 43:

  • Now Graham can clearly see the shift from Mila to “Mila,” where her body seemed to take on a grotesque, otherworldly form.

Stanza 44:

  • Graham is not able to reach for his gun in time, before “Mila” had shoved her own weapon into his stomach, threatening to pull the trigger if he did not surrender. Her last question to him is regarding his choice of death.

Stanzas 45 and 46:

  • The scene shifts to Kayleigh aiming a gun at Sage, where she had managed to escape from Reina. She questions where their love went wrong that caused Sage to assault Poppy.
  • Sage could only stand still as his wife is screaming at him, sure that any movement would result in immediate death.

Featured Image – image Comfreak 2015© (CC0 1.0)

Signed Love

The apartment was dark and dingy, the only light provided by the rays of light that shone through beige curtains littered with rips and tears.. Kennedy shut the door behind him, hearing the lock slide into place by its click. The boxes he had moved in with were stacked upon each other in a single pile. He had not come with much, nor required more than he needed, his parents both glad yet worried about that case. He walked forward, then noticing the musty smell that plagued the room, though its presence was more comforting than that of his parent’s nagging. The floor creaked dangerously beneath him as he proceeded forwards, turning left to view the kitchen, its counters clean with a few small dents. He laid his satchel that he had brought in with him on the floor, allowing it to lean against one of the boxes. Approaching the bedroom located on the right side, he came face to face with a full length mirror.

Must have been left by the previous owners.

His reflection gave way to an average-size man with a clean face and baggy clothing. He almost looked pathetic. Almost. He looked towards the window on the side, left bare while giving off a bright glow, dust particles seen swarming around it.

He averted his eyes, making his way back to the mirror. If anyone were to ask what he thought in that moment, it would be… nothing. He didn’t blink. Breathe. Gasp. Move. Run. Not even as she, sundress transparent like the rest of her body, extended an arm towards him. Blank-minded, he simply stood there, accepting God had finally decided on his departure from the world and a more able baby would be hakuna matata’d.

He didn’t know what to expect. One would normally expect the hand to pass through. But that logic was almost immediately debunked when he felt coldness seep through his shoulder as her fingers curled around it. It was then reality flooded back him, his nerves activated, feelings rebooted. His back crashed into the wall, his actions controlled by his brain, his brain controlled by his deceived eyes. He squeezed them shut, willing for the madness to clear away. 15 seconds. 30 seconds. 1 minute.

Should he have kept his eyes shut for 2 minutes? Would it have helped to have a stronger will? His lips parted, beads of sweat rerouted from rolling down as it caught onto the edge of his lips.

The woman remained there, her right hand that had touched him held far away as if it were no longer part of her body, her then blank face having morphed into a shocked expression.

Without a word, she glared at him, teeth bared, right hand clutched into a fist. Kennedy curled into a ball, his body as close to the wall as it can get, though it didn’t stop her advancements. She stopped right before him, her eyes cast down upon him, as if already branding him as an inferior creature.

“How can you see me? Why can I touch you?”

Silence met her questions, her frown turning into a scowl. “Don’t you understand me?” she growled, prompting him to tilt his head upwards before bringing it back down, the steps repeated for a few times.

“Then answer me damn it!”

Kennedy raised both his arms up gingerly, left with no other choice but to reveal the unexpected. He pointed to himself first, striking a finger atop another after, and ended it with a hand placed directly in front of his mouth. In case she did not understand, he tried to mouth I cannot speak.

However, he could tell she didn’t understand his actions by her confused expression, where she proceeded to back up. His eyes widened when she landed, and in a surprisingly soft though still guarded voice, she asked, “You can’t speak?”

Out of habit, he pressed his thumb to his index and middle fingers, though he mouthed his answer as well.

“Oh… But you understand what I say?”

This time, he simply reverted to nodding yes, any other effort sure to be futile. All that was heard after that was simply the closing of doors of next door neighbors. During that time, Kennedy’s eyes remained glued on the young lady, her listless floating intriguing. She held a hand to her chin, stroking her hair every now and then, deep in thought. He watched her spin around, flip over; her movements swift and fluid-like. He closed his eyes, a plan of standing up and politely asking if she could leave him alone having already formed in his hand.

He just needed to politely ask if she could leave to find another home with no other people. There’s a journal with a pen in the satchel outside. He can get to it, calm breaths.

Taking a deep breath, he opened his eyes, only to stare right into pure white cesspools

white eyes alone

photo Engin_Akyurt 2012© (CC0 1.0)

with the cream wall in slightly visible in the background.

“So tell me, how can a human like you see a ghost like me?”

Kennedy struggled out of her grasp as best he could, her grip surprisingly strong for someone he presumed deceased. He made a mad dash for his journal, hearing angry cries behind him as the room suddenly grew colder. He dived for it, immediately scribbling the words Please don’t hurt me. I don’t know why I can see you. Please believe me! He whipped the journal around just in time, nearly choking on his own breath when he felt the sharp tip of her nails around his neck before they slowly slipped away.

“You know, you could’ve just gestured to the journal instead of doing… what you just did.”

Casting his eyes down to the ground, he rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly, embarrassed that even he, who has been subjected to countless acts of bullying couldn’t keep a somewhat level-headed mind.

“Anyway, it’s fine. I’m not mad that you can see me or anything, more like confused. But it has been lonely without anyone to talk to for 16 years.

He whipped his head up at the sound of that, and with an eyebrow raised, he pressed pen to paper. He hesitantly raised it back up, her reassurement not having had the utmost effect on him.

“What happened to you?” she read, the corners of her mouth dipping downwards moments after. “Why should I tell you anything?”

Please, will you at least tell me your name? Mine is Kennedy…

“Daphne…” she revealed after a moment’s thought. “It’s only best I tell you that since I’ll be stuck with you for a while. Not like I can leave anyway. Wouldn’t want you to refer me as ghost girl every time.”

In her eyes was a defiant look as she landed back down once more, her delicate feet hitting the floor without a sound. Kennedy had no choice but to nod along. Even if he wanted to run out and immediately contact a housing agency, which even God would have known by now, he wouldn’t have the funds to do so.

He excused himself a moment later, quickly shutting the bedroom door behind him. He wreathed his fingers through his hair, breathing heavily. What was happening to him? He slumped down by the door as he wrapped his arms around his knees, head enclosed between them and his chest. There was no telling how long he remained in that position, but when he finally looked up, the gold light that had illuminated the room earlier was now white. He walked over to the window, glancing up at the full moon, taking comfort in the soft light.

He walked over and opened the door, his back crying for the mattress that leaned against the wall opposite the kitchen. But just as he had exited the room, he came across a mystical sight. There she lay, as bright as the stars above, an arm casted over her face, stretched out on the couch.

He carefully made his way across the room, careful as to not disturb her, although he couldn’t help but cast another glance her way. She was absolutely radiant, the thought embedded in his mind even after he collapsed onto the mattress after pushing it into the room. Even after he closed his eyes and a dark void opened up.

The morning gave way to a buzzing in his front pocket, where he involuntarily reached towards it to shut off the aggravating chime. He remained on the mattress, hair disheveled with his shirt raised halfway up, abdomen revealed. His blanket had been kicked towards the bottom of the bed, the result of a plaguing nightmare. It ran through his head throughout the night, a white-eyed otherworldly woman. It had felt so real.

His face twisted into an expression, in which he could only picture being disturbed, hands in hair as they worked out the still-gelled strands. He squeezed his eyes shut and willed away any other thoughts besides that of getting ready for his first day at work.

The suit and tie he had carefully folded was in pristine condition, left in its exact position in the box of which he’d labeled clothes. He’d put the other clothes into the closet later. Button-down shirt, then slacks. Suit over, loop the rabbit into the hole to secure the tie. Satchel on hand. Left shoe. Right shoe.

His fingers curled around the door handle, ready to twist downwards and expose his room to a brief amount of sunlight before a sinister feeling washed over him. It surged throughout his body, brain attempting to register the events of the night before, though it only led to a sharp pang, followed by nothingness. 1 2 3. 1 2 3. 1 2 3.

If counting up wouldn’t work, would counting down do the trick? 3 2 1. 3 2 1. And look. He didn’t know what to expect with his heartbeat echoing in his ears as he took in the view of his empty, gloomy living room filled with what he only realized was horrible olive green furniture. A closer observation revealed a case of mold wedged between the cushion and the leg. Perhaps it was his perfecting sense that drew his attention, making a mental note to purchase new furniture later.

Pinching the bridge of his nose, he advanced into the open, the lock in place once the door fully closed with the key tucked away in his pocket.

Were a university not seen up close, the scale would tend to depict a much smaller structure. But to see it in person, it was a different story. Even the parking space seemed as if it stretched out for miles on end, but even so, a majority of the slots were filled up. Once he pushed the gear shift into park, he leaned back into his seat, his car ceiling all that was in his sights. His confidence was lacking, but wouldn’t theirs be if they were in his shoes. What would the students think? How will they treat him? A quick glance at his phone ended his silent pity party, effectively sending him across the campus in a flurry, papers and all.

Hello. The white words on the board were met with a chorus of cries, though all mouths were shut when he raised his hand a palm up, a silent indication of “stop.” Instead, he waved his hand once, a swift motion from right to left, a gesture repeated by the rest, though he made it easier for those right-handed by allowing them to wave from left to right. One step down, another year’s worth of content left, as well as an exhausted left arm as he erased the word and wrote down his next instructions.


Kennedy remained in the empty classroom, jotting down the last of his plans in his agenda. The translator he requested would not be available until the next 2 weeks, and until then, his left arm would take a drastic blow. Just as he set his pen down, a chime of his phone drew his attention towards it, with an involuntary smile curled upon on his lips when he read the message.

Hey honey. The two of us feel like going out to eat tonight. Pick a restaurant?

Let’s go to Bourbon Village, your favorite. I’ll pick you guys up.

Sounds great (:

Placing his papers and books back into his bag, he slung it over his shoulders and turned off the lights as he left the room, a satisfying click behind him as the doors shut.


The Bourbon Village’s dim lights simply added to the romantic vibe, while casting a luminous glow upon his fiance’s, Lavender, stomach. The bump was extremely noticeable, other guests moving cautiously aside as they passed through to their table. The restaurant wasn’t at its most popular at the hour, a good thing in his opinion, a table facing the marvelous stained window still open.

You look beautiful today Lavender, he wrote in his journal.

“Thank you darling. I actually have a bit of a surprise for you today.” Her red lips formed a delighted smile as she stroked his hand. “I understand that you’ll definitely need it.”

He removed his hand from underneath her’s and replaced it on the top, wrapping his fingers around hers before she slowly pulled it out of his grasp. Kennedy didn’t find it was abnormal , until she wrapped her fingers around a shadowed figure behind her.

Anyone could see that his face didn’t betray his emotions, and if they needed a push in figuring out what he was feeling, his actions would have helped as he slammed his hands down onto the table and stood up.

“Honey, I’d like to introduce you to the father of the baby.”

He gripped the tablecloth, the silverware clashing against each other. “Oh don’t be mad. I’ll have you know that I fairly enjoyed the one night with you, but he’s better overall.”

Why would you pretend all along?

“Darling, I’m surprised you haven’t figured it out yet.” Her smile returned, but this time, she resembled the Evil Queen whose desire had been satisfied by Snow White’s delivered heart. “Your money of course.”

Kennedy took a step back, and immediately the world blurred before his eyes. “Don’t worry man. We’ll put the ring you gave Lavender to good use, the pawn shop being our next stop of course.”

The bottles on his seat rolled and clanged against each other, the sound echoing in his ears. He was surprised with the silence of the night, sirens not heard yet. He made a right turn into the parking space of what he made out to be his apartment complex, the restaurant scene swirling in his mind as he did so. He had stumbled out of the restaurant soon after, with Lavender and her lover having left before him. The staff attempted to reassure him, having offered him a free meal, of which he denied. Instead, he made his way to the nearest liquor store instead.

His head threatened to split under the pressure, the dark room of the apartment welcoming after he had stood outside, the keys refusing to enter the slot for what felt like hours.

“Kennedy?”

He looked up to see an angelic view in front, white hair and all. So she’s real. It wasn’t all a dream that night.

“What happened to you?

Before he knew it, he burst into tears, the ground cruel to his knees when he collapsed. His stained cheeks were once again replaced with fresh, new streams. He felt chills running through his face as two gentle thumbs wiped away his tears.

“Don’t cry. Calm down. Don’t go around reminding me of me.

The words seemed foreign to him in that moment. All he could register were the soft hands that so delicately held him together. Leaning into one, the touch was so foreign, but safe at the same time and he clutched to it hungrily. He cracked open his eyes and the world swirled before him.


Everything aches. Even the chirping of the birds caused him to wince, a headache manifesting. He peeked his eyes open, immediately determining it as a terrible idea, though it didn’t scar him compared to the event last night. He moved his right hand slightly to the side, expecting the soft bedding. Instead, he found a solid, cold, white arm, to which he responded by frantically moving back until he ended up hitting the wooden floor.

“Keep the noise down won’t you? You weren’t the easiest to deal with last night you know?”

Kennedy pushed himself up with the help of the wall behind, Daphne having got up herself. She floated over the bed and landed in front of him, but made sure to keep her distance. “Are you okay?”

He faltered at those words, giving her a confused look in reply.

“Do you remember what happened last night?” A nod.

She placed a hand on his shoulder, garnering a wary expression from him, but faded at once when he looked into her eyes. “Whatever happened, I’m sorry.” Her wispy eyes held stormy, thundering clouds behind them.

Whether it be by instinct or a gut feeling, he suspected that she had gone through a similar ordeal. Suddenly, he was even more curious now, the fear of death the last thing on his mind. To be honest, he wouldn’t mind it at that point. But he had to know. Why was she here? What happened to her. Perhaps the heartbreak established this recklessness within him, but he found himself stroking her jaw with his finger, trailing it down until he reached her chin. He brought her eyes, glued to his finger in shock, up again to his, willing her to reveal her own story.

A blink, and he caught himself. He let his hand fall limp against his side. What was he getting himself into? A heart can only be shattered into so many pieces.

He pushed her aside, his back turned on her while he made his way into the living room. Whatever she felt of his rude manner, he didn’t care. Nobody was ever there for him, the excessive belittling, the snickers behind the money, the false perception of barriers broken through the once love of his life. A mute person like him had no one else to lean on beside himself. Now, he was determined to keep it that way, even if it meant maintaining a cold expression to the world.

All she did was stand by his bedroom, her eyes strictly focused on him, even as he slipped on his shoes by the door. It made him uncomfortable, the thought that she was challenging him to relinquish his silent vow.

“Kennedy. You better tell me what happened when you get home. And I expect you not to drink while driving home this time.

Not wanting to make eye contact, he merely stared at the ground in front of her, first noticing the scratch on the wood, then her petite feet. Was it worth telling her? Perhaps he should, only as an exchange for the assistance the night before, nothing else. After that he was done.

A nod sealed his promise and the day repeated itself as it did.


This was silly. The apartment door stared back at him, amused and confused as he could imagine, with his keys dangling in his hands. It had been 45 minutes since he had made his way home. 20 since he turned into the driveway. 15 since he approached his door. Room 105. This was it. So why couldn’t he go in? Because he was all too sure a ghost by the name of Daphne would be standing by, awaiting his story. No longer was he extremely frightened of her, but the thought of recalling the incident would lead to the toilet becoming his throne for at least an hour. To throw up of course.

Maybe it was the 15 deep breaths he took, the children and their parents gawking at him strangely when they entered their own rooms, or the fact that it was 67°F outside, but the keys eventually entered the slot. As expected, there she was. Sitting cross-legged on the couch, she declared, “You’re late.”

He set his satchel down and pulled out the journal, writing only Traffic jam. Sorry.

“Hmm, yes, those can slow you down alright,” she drawled. “Now why don’t you start telling me about what happened, so I can attempt to help? I would hate to have to stick around a body found dead from alcohol poisoning. It’s just not my thing”

He grimaced, not knowing whether to take it as a willingness to help or an insult. Nonetheless, he began writing, and 10 pages later, it was over. Since having begun, he glanced up, surprised to see a tear drip down from her own cheek. From that moment on, two tales of broken hearts plagued room 105, and a pure relationship sprung from the chaos.

Daphne Nguyen, a once cheerful 30 year old, deeply in love with her boyfriend of 4 years. Moments with him were lustful, tantalizing, and romantic. Having abandoned her vow of purity until marriage, she had offered herself after much begging from him. One fateful day, the calls she had placed were not going through, and worried, she rushed over to his place. Unbeknownst to him, she knew where his spare key was: hidden behind the thorny rose bush in the front yard. But how she wished she hadn’t entered, but if she hadn’t, then she would have only continued to play the fool. There they were, in open view to whoever opened the door. A woman near her bursting point and… him. That sight will remain with her forever, but 2nd on the list to what he did next. Refusing to accept her departure, he dragged her back to the apartment, and demanded almost all the money she had be wired to him, all with a lethal weapon of course. A few days later, the police found a bloodied knife and bathtub after a call from worried neighbors.

The coldness that seeped into his bones did not compare to what he had to do. They remained intertwined in each other’s arms for the rest of the night, and after that, they found only smiles and relief with each other.


It was a beautiful fall night, the orange leaves lit up by the overhanging lamps of the shops that lined the street, as the weather was satisfyingly cool. Nearly a whole year had passed, and they had grown closer, offering solace to the other. But he was happy now, an emotion he thought would have been long-gone a while back.

“Hey! Stop! That’s ours!”

The near empty street served in the cries reaching his ears, and after a moment’s hesitation after determining the source to be the alleyway, he eventually made his way after hearing more pained and aggravated shouts.

A dim, white street lamp above the scene, the face he thought he would never see again was revealed in its disgusting triumph as she viewed the elderly couple cower beneath her and a group of other men. One of which was the bastard. Just as he prepared to stomp down on the old man, Kennedy intercepted by ramming his body into him. To say that whole gang was surprised would earn anyone an A+, but to guess what they did afterwards would lead to extra credit. It didn’t take long for two of the men to corner him, as they entrapped him between their arms, but only after he had ushered the elderly couple out of the way.

“Well, well, well. If it isn’t my old darling. Nice to see that you costed us about $1000.”

“Now honey, he couldn’t have known that we’ve stalked that old couple enough to know they usually carry big bucks around.”

Her lover circled her like a snake, loyal to its master, while planting kisses on her face and rounded stomach.

“We’ll just have to teach him a lesson, so he knows his place. Boys… break ‘em.”


By the time the police arrived, his throat hurt from the attempts at screaming, fingers broken down to the metacarpal bones themselves as the doctors would say later.

The hospital room held an aseptic smell, familiar and nostalgic. Reminded him of when his parents did everything they could to replace his vocal chords before they eventually gave up. He didn’t know how long she would be able to stay, but it would be ideal were she to make it soon since the nurse had forgotten the key piece he would need in his room.

“Kennedy? What happened?”

She floated beside him, her eyes brimmed with tears and it didn’t take long for them to begin leaking out. “Oh, your hands.”

Her lithe fingers stroked them cautiously, as though she feared she would only worsen the pain were she press a bit harder.

He grasped her attention by wheezing, the only option left in communicating, a primitive technique indeed. She faced him, attempting a weak smile to give him her attention. It soon faded however, her eyes having followed his eyes to the scalpel left on the tray on the bedside table, while he gestured to neck using his bandaged hands.

“No! I won’t do that! You have so much more to live for!”

How,” he mouthed.

“Well… You can communicate through body language, your eyes, your… your…” The little stream on her cheeks developed into a raging river. “No, no, I can’t. You can’t,” she repeatedly said, her head fixed on moving left to right. “I can’t be left alone again.”

He raised up a hand, brushing away her tears with his bandages as best he could. He gave her a reassuring smile, shaking his head “no” himself, albeit for a different reason that he knew she understood. Without his hands, he couldn’t do anything. There would be no jobs available while his hands were in that condition, and it would surely take many years for them to remotely begin healing, in which he’d have to stay with his parents, the last thing he wanted.

After much coaxing, Daphne finally brought herself to grasp the scalpel, the shaking evident. Her hand trembled as she brought it to his neck, the cold metal soothing his burning neck in the overheated room. Taking another look at her eyes, he pulled her in and planted a kiss, making sure that their final moment together would be worth remembering forever.

Leaning back, he closed his eyes, and trusted that she would make it as painless and swift as possible.


He felt different. Lighter. Free. Kennedy opened his eyes to see Daphne lying atop him in tears.

“I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! I wish I could just join you. But instead I’m here… Why… why couldn’t I just join you?!”

“But then you wouldn’t be with me after all.”

If she was surprised, he was even more so. He thought that those words were merely spoken in his head as they usually were, but for once, they were heard.

“Kennedy?”

He floated up, eager to stand as he embraced Daphne in his arms, drawing her closer once in an upright position.

“Why don’t we go back to the apartment?”

Together, they rose up through the roof into the night sky, leaving his body and past

hands

photo AlexVan 2011© (CC0 1.0)

behind as they planned to mend their wounds as one, hand in hand.


Featured Image – photo hummerliz0 2013© (CC0 1.0)

 

 

Emotions

Emotions. Their voices are heard every day, several at a time, affecting those around you equally. They require special attention, affecting decisions and requiring consultation. Nevertheless, they caused the times when you seemed to lose all hope or contributed to some of your most cherished memories. Let’s explore some together shall we?


It’s been a long day, frustrating to say the least. The screaming, moaning just wouldn’t cease. The mindless mumbling went on, creating an agony within, a throbbing having taken place now.

“Save it… Stop it.” The words were calm at first, but grew louder as the hours went by, the clock’s ticking hands moving ever so slowly, distracted by the darting eyes constantly landing on it.

Suddenly, a throbbing pain disrupted the concentration focused on keeping a list of growing items at bay.

“ELA homework is to edit the video and begin the essay due Wednesday. Maybe that can be started after the 30 problems for math are done. Still, the lesson wasn’t clear. And there’s the fact that the assignment for World History is due tomorrow too…” Again it repeated, and again, and again. Never ceasing.

“When… when will this be done? It can’t go on. Please. Stop.”

“The shower today should only take 10 minutes. Plenty of time to shampoo hair for 5 minutes and dry for 5 too. Okay, yes. Good plan.”

Second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour it grew. The pain manifested into a creature of its own. There was no need for any other emotions besides trying to suppress the madness that came with the worrying.

It went on. The listing, yet the completion of a task left a satisfaction that tasted like a red apple on a hot summer day. It hurt, but it was necessary. An act of survival, the constant fretting. Though at the end of the day, perhaps some of the pressure will have melted away as the tasks get checked off.


The day hadn’t ended, yet it still blew by faster than usual. If cyborg parts were to replace the brain, dopamine level warnings would surely have been triggered. Adrenaline seems to continuously course through the blue tinted veins, a smile worth a thousand moments remaining on chapped lips. If any type of food were to describe this sensation, leave it up to a nice slice of cake. Its sugary sweet frosting coating the roof of the mouth while the spongy cake releases new flavors, all will make one squirm in their seat.

Walk turns into a run, a run turns into a skip, perhaps a twirl will help someone passing by understand this feeling, if not the beaming smile that remains stuck there, through both lipsticked and bare lips. Even surrounding friends realize this energy, and if one wasn’t able to keep up, attention would be focused on them to bring them back up. However, the chance remains for assholes to comment on how they’re being quiet or boring. Remember… choose the former or get out of here… go bother coworkers or something.

So night falls, frantic texts ensue, maybe some emails need to be typed up. However, an urge to do these overpowers anything else, there’s just an abundance of excitement within the body. Even so, there needs to be funny or even punny videos by the side when working, to which the next hour… or 3 will be spent snorting and guffawing. The night’s dinner may not be settling in the stomach, but that doesn’t stop the constant rewind of America’s Funniest Videos or Kermit memes.


“He likes me, he doesn’t like me, he likes me, he doesn’t like me…” On and on, those words are repeated, a lovely rose petal wasted to the floor instead of remaining on the stem, all for the sake of the heart.

Unknown identities to both sides at first, introductions having taken place later when acquainted. Then, conversation takes place, a similar topic having pulled one and the other together, making a grand total of two. Realizing the other’s shared interests, acquaintanceship bloomed into friendship, though acknowledgement hasn’t been too fruitful.

Give it some time, perhaps a year, maybe two, maybe three, but soon, they’ll notice. “Hey there! How are you? It’s been a while since we talked.” Something along those lines will pop up as a message of some sorts. Out of politeness or maybe due to a spontaneous personality, a response will follow. “Hi! I’ve been doing pretty well. How about you?”

So it goes on… and out of curiosity, one will ask the other if they have a crush on someone. A simple answer is the result, the cat slightly out of the bag, with the guessing game then occurring. “So… who is it? Come on tell me.”

Despite all that, hints of flirting seemed to pop up here and there, a few heart stickers included of course. All the guesses of names that could possibly be the crush failed, clues leading up to perhaps the other person. But it couldn’t be, right?

However, it became obvious, the constant compliments, the now slight awkwardness they display when making conversation, the gift-giving. With that, the guessing game comes to an end, the admired having figured out who the admirer truly likes, and the confession begins. A long paragraph later, and they’re dating, but not before excitedly going over past events that had led up to this moment to their friends.

A skip of the heart won’t come close to fully depicting the enchantment washed over them, hands now coming together when strolling side by side, and arms crossing the other’s neck, the attraction present.

“xoxoxo- yours truly.”


Love is always the talk of the town, a topic people tend to be infatuated with, though not everyone who’s had a taste of sweet temptation for the heart has come out with a happily ever after. It may have been a mutual agreement, or the classic “it’s not you, it’s me.” Nevertheless, it’s never easy to cast aside the overwhelmingly giant part of the heart dedicated to that person over any span of time.

Buckets of ice cream, netflix, and uncomfortable yet empathetic friends flock to your side, soaking up the discarded pieces of a lost beloved, one by one. All in all, it could have taken place with wails and tears or a sadistic “good riddance.” But let’s take the classic route of a sobbing individual for now.

The one having been dumped will seek revenge sometime in the future, disappointed they couldn’t fulfill one they loved, yet angry that they gave up that “hot bod” for another. Even if an agreement to be friends is reached, another message will emerge, blaming the other for an occurrence that had plagued their life.

Any sadness or happiness is then replaced with irritation. The obvious answer to a problem like this is to… block the person on every form of communication known on the current phone. After that, just ignore them like the piece of trash they are, or continue to rant about them like the petty person this world needs.

“How do you like that mother fu….”


Escape, the only thing desired in this circumstance. The continual whimpering behind the metal door of the confining room, a rag cladded person with outgrown hair. The walls etched with the desperate scratches by bloodied nails, worn down to stubs. In spite of the effort, the only key can only be inserted from the outside, but never has it been attempted, the usual solution to quell the despair inside.

Two streaming paths of tears down from each eye, staining the face with an unnatural glisten. Clumps of hair grasped by balled fists, with the choking of bitter tasting spit and salty tears. When forced to eat, the pungent flavor of blandness overwhelms all of the above, but why eat when the option of curling up into a ball remains?

Even the idea of speaking to friends as they attempt to discover the cause of their comrade’s broken down state (or they could be idiots with multiple blind eyes) is uncomfortable. Silence compliments the mood, if not, melodic and calm songs will be heard.

“Can I go anywhere else besides here?” The extreme can be the decision to end what fate had in store early, whether the journey to the afterlife is true remains unknown. “If only you could have helped.”


Featured Image – image OpenClipart – Vectors 2017© (CC0)

A Ticking Heart

Ring!

The flashing, colorful lights distorted the message shown on the screen, but it wasn’t too hard to make out the words: Just picked up hot dude. Taking me home. Now it’s your turn… plenty of hotties out there, Don’t worry about me btw!

drinks

photo Yvonne Yiwen Lee 2011© (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Downing her tequila shot, Ashley straightened her outfit, the black dress pants having been slightly wrinkled. Alex had persuaded her to “let go” after winning a martial arts tournament against what was once an undefeated champion, the youngest to win a major league competition as well. Despite the dancing and laughing at first, she found herself sitting on a stool at the bar for the last half hour, and soon, each cocktail that passed by all started to taste the same. Even with Alex’s encouragement, she never found the guys presented before her interesting or worthwhile.

“Bartender! Another shot this way!”

The chilling breeze swept through the city as she staggered out of the bar. Her ability to withstand alcohol had been tested today, and it had obviously been pushed to the limits. The law should just lower the legal drinking age to 20. Glancing back, she had to admit, the bar was certainly attractive, having been placed behind an extravagant garden. As she approached the parking lot, a moan caught her attention, as well as a barrage of several female voices that followed after. While it certainly wasn’t her business to intervene in these types of situations, a pained grunt soon after, prompted her to investigate. The high-pitched whispers and giggles led her to a secluded area behind a few trees, and looking through, she saw an embarrassing sight. 5 teenage females were surrounding a male that looked like her age, struggling to stand up. He never fully made it beyond his knees, remaining in an almost pathetic-looking fetal position.

“Well well girls, who has the honor of starting?”

“I dropped the pill, so I’m going first,” a girl firmly said, her slinky green dress barely gracing the bottom of her backside. Straddling him, she began to peel off his shirt, where all he could do was groan. Sickening…

“Hey! You girls shouldn’t team up on such a defenseless guy. You ruin the meaning of ‘fair game.’”

“Why don’t you go back to where you came from leech? He’s ours. Mess with us, and we’ll hurt you to where you won’t be able to even crawl back for help.”

“P.S. we’re all black belts!”

Ashley didn’t pay much attention to the ones who spoke, keeping an eye on the male student instead. However hard he tried, he flopped back down, his glazed eyes meeting hers, begging for help. Was he worth it? Perhaps he was, perhaps he wasn’t.

She stepped forward, slipping her heels off, as the sounds of her cracking knuckles echoed through the clearing. “Bring it on.”

But she loved a fight.

The first who rushed forward most definitely wasn’t involved in any physical activities. Even if she was, she certainly didn’t show it, as she collapsed instantly. And that was one of my softest hits…

The others went down fairly quickly, except for the one still straddled atop of him. Her eyes were dark, yet fearful after realizing the rest of her sad companions had fell.

Shoving him into the ground, she stood up, now exuding confidence. “I’m warning you. I’m a black belt.”

“Try me then.”

She must admit, the girl had a nice form at first, where dodging her blows actually required effort. However, it was fun toying with her. The effort would be remarkable, were she a decent person. Now, only a weakened, pathetic being stood in front of her, makeup smudged from the sweat that dripped down from her brow.

“Now it’s my turn,” Ashley said, spinning around and delivering a flawless back-kick.

Still conscious enough to groan and attempt standing up, Ashley lifted her up by the collar of her dress. “If you tell anyone about this, I’ll be sure to make good of my wealth and destroy you.”

The girl slumped down exhaustedly after being let go, while Ashley made her way to the still groggy male. Hoisting him up, she led him across the clearing to where her car was parked. After leaning him against the passenger seat, she made her way behind the wheel, and sped back to her house at godspeed.

She laid him on the couch, a blanket now draped over him. She had also set a glass of water on the table nearby, in case he were to wake up after the effects of what she deduced as the date-rape drug. Tired herself, she didn’t bother to slip in the nightgown she regularly wore to bed, and slipped under the covers as soon as she reached her bed.

A loud thud woke Ashley up, and soon, her bedroom door burst open as well. She sprang up immediately, grabbing the nearest lamp and smashing it atop the nearest intruder’s head. Within the chaos and sounds of her own punches and groans, she could make out: “Get him to safety!” Suddenly, a strike on the small of her shoulder sent darkness overcoming her vision.

Ashley awoke to a dim light, though harsh after her recent awakening. She tried to raise her hands up to rub her eyes, but a cold metal pressed against her skin, halting her action. Struggling, she attempted to get them off, but in the back of her mind, she knew it was a pathetic move.

“I know you can hear me you dogs! Let me out right now!” she shouted, staring at the one-way mirror. She kept her eyes on a specific spot, scowling where she could safely assume someone’s eyes were. I’ve been in these situations more than enough to know what’s going on.

Accepting her trapped condition, she put it to good use, laying her head down onto the cold, metal table. “I needed the rest anyway.”

She had just begun to drift off, when the door opened. In walked the once defenseless male she had saved just earlier. Now, he was surrounded by bodyguards in dark sunglasses, one with a nasty-looking cut right where she had struck with the lamp.

“I deeply apologize for the treatment Ms…”

“Vera.”

“Well Ms. Vera, I apologize for the actions of my bodyguards earlier. They were just trying to get me to safety, and they thought you were a kidnapper. My contractor father is quick to react.”

“How flattering.” She raised her cuffed hands as high as they could, raising an eyebrow. “Would you mind letting me go now?”

“Of course, I’m sorry. I hadn’t thought of my rudeness to explain in front of a cuffed person. Guard.”

Ashley rubbed her wrists after she was released, where she promptly made her way out of the door.

“Wait, would you like a ride home?”

She brushed off his hand from hers, continuing on. “I’ll manage.”

Beep beep beep!

“4 hours of sleep. Wonderful.”

She combed back the lion’s mane on her head, brushed her teeth, put on her uniform, and hopped in her car. The drive to the university was brief, where her apartment had served the purpose of doing saving her the trouble of a long drive. Came at a price though. $500,000 my ass. Lucky my charms kicked in when they did. 

Making her way towards her locker, she felt a few stares thrown in her direction. And my day was going so well already. Next time I see that bastard, I’m going to beat him up for the sake of my sleep schedule. She reached her locker, and promptly unlocked

Bouquet_of_pink_roses

photo Kain Kalju 2011© (CC BY 2.0)

it. What she saw after almost made her drop her books. On the door, stickers read: From Apollo Rin ♥.
Stacked inside for a dozen chocolate boxes and a bouquet
of roses delicately set against the side.

She grabbed her books and slammed the locker closed, shocking the gawking surrounding students, who immediately began to whisper. “If I see that bastard, I’m going to do more than beat him senseless. Creep.”

The bell hadn’t rung yet, but she would rather sit in a surely empty classroom than wander in the hallways filled with conspiracies. She buried her face into a book, not wanting to hear any of the claims the students were coming up at the moment. Word spread fast in this school… too fast. As soon as the thought ran through her mind, she had the glamorous run-in with another student.

“Sorry…” she started, glancing up. However, she was met with an all-too-familiar face.

“You!”

His face held surprise, but soon, he held a cocky smile. “Did you enjoy my gift Ashley? I didn’t thank you yesterday for saving my dignity.”

“Look, I’m fine with you looking through the bar’s security cameras to review your pathetic mistake, but I’ll be damned if you’re going to stalk me like this.”

“Hey, I’m the student council’s president. Of course I’m meant to have this type of information.”

He didn’t get another word out before his saliva ended up on the wall beside him. “And as a violated person, as well as the captain of the girls’ martial arts team, I’m allowed to do that. Need a bandaid? Go to the nurse’s office.”

The day continued on, and so did classes. Finally, her last period came, and thankfully, it was martial arts. The punching bag allowed her to blow off steam, her anger fueled by the rumors that drifted through each class she was in. “Slut, whore, leech, playgirl…” The list continues. Even a few slaps came her way, though none of them were close to making contact.

“Hey Ashley!”

She paused in delivering rage-fueled blows, a break in the leather indicating how mad she was. Otherwise, her expression had remained stoic throughout the day.

“You okay?” Her coach had approached her, along with other members of the team, Alex included.

“Fine, just preparing for next week’s tournament in Japan.”

“We heard the rumors. If it helps, we all don’t believe it,” Ainsley whispered, an often optimistic person on the team, though she now looked at Ashley with pity.

“I’m fine guys. No need to worry. Words don’t hurt me… Anyway, girls, get to practicing. The event’s not far from now.”

She sauntered towards the locker room after that, the only objective in mind was spending a night with her own booze. After changing, she rushed to her car, where it seemed as if the day couldn’t end fast enough. However, she halted at the sight of Apollo standing casually beside her car. “Hey.”

“What do you want?” She crossed her arms, bringing up what she hoped looked like a convincing glare.

“You’ve been crying haven’t you?” He had made his way to her, and this time, her glare had fallen to the ground.

“Words cut, you know? I taught myself to stand strong, but even I can’t get through accusations.”

She felt his forefinger lift her chin up, so that her eyes could reach his. From there, it was her first time meeting such blue eyes, filled with such protectiveness and kindness. “Let me treat you to dinner?” he asked, as if he was scared she’d punch him again.

“Why not?” She almost laughed when his eyes lit up, but part of her despised him for creating this mess.

“I have a request though. The dinner takes place at my flat.” She prompted him to challenge her, but like someone trying to make things up, he had no choice, but to agree.

“Deal.”

“Ashley Vera, did you seriously just have dinner with THE Apollo Rin? Girl, even with all this happening, that’s been my dream since forever.”

“Relax Alex, it was a friendly dinner.”

“But you cooked for him!”

“Because I didn’t want to go to a fancy restaurant and risk running into more who hate my guts.”

“Hey Ashley…”

“Yea?”

“Did you tell him?” Alex’s voice had lowered, now ladened with sadness.

“No.”


The trip to Japan came shortly after. To be honest, she was glad to be getting away from the school. Being in a new environment with her closest friends would surely offer relaxation, away from the verbal abuse. Besides, it’ll be a chance for her to kick some more ass. Also, it’d get the pursuing Alex off her tail. Every day, it was always something new, be it a new necklace or a serenade. That guy is out of his mind. But, he deserves to know the truth soon.

“The match is close ladies! Ashley Vera delivered flawless hits, but Ming West has also struck back with equal intensity!” The ringleader stood on the side, clutching the mic in excitement.

Ashley’s head spun, with bruises already appearing all over her body. Ming was certainly one of her toughest opponents, her lean, yet sturdy structure, providing an advantage in delivering both fast and powerful strikes. However, she was faster.

“And we have a winner! Ashley Vera has claimed the platinum rank medal!”

Ashley had changed into a white, flowing dress, though her bruises were on full display. Never said I was going out tonight anyway. Alex had almost persuaded her once again, but she had the strength to refuse her begging this time. Must have been her throbbing head and nausea talking though.

“Ashley, wait up!”

She turned around, her eyes unfocused, but the voice could only have belonged to one person. “Apollo, what in the world are you doing here?”

“Supporting you, of course. Hey, you alright?”

“No. But I’ll survive.”

“You’re not going home alone in this state. Luckily, I rented a car here.”

It was his turn to tuck her into bed this time, where he carefully laid her into his bed. His lips brushed her forehead, as he murmured, “Sleep well princess.”

“Wait.” She held his hand in a vice grip, her eyes still shut because if she opened them, it would only make her urge to vomit stronger.

“I can’t be with you.”

“And why not?” She could tell he was hurting, his fake confidence clear.

“Because my story isn’t all that great. My parents were infamous drug-dealers back in the day. Nathan Vera, jailed a grand total of 30 times. Despite their occupation, they were loyal and loving parents, never once abandoned me. If one was in jail, the other would resist doing anything noticeable that would land them in prison. However, when I was just 6, my parents were murdered, but luckily, I wasn’t present, or else, they would have gotten me too. I inherited their fortune, however illegal the actions were that got them. An elderly couple later took me in, and raised me up until they were murdered, on the day I turned 10. I was at school that day, and the police took care of the murderers and protected me. From then on, I just hopped around from foster family to foster family until I was 18. Nobody wanted to care for a girl who had caused the deaths of 2 people…”

Silence filled the room for what seemed like hours after that. Sleep invading her thoughts, all Ashley could say was, “Get away while you still can. Use my room tonight instead.”

Ashley woke up in a cold sweat, her nightmares of haunted funerals still vivid in her memory. Suddenly, she realized that something heavy was draped across her stomach, and looking down, she realized it was an arm. There he laid, his messy hair draped across his closed eyes.

“Fool, you were meant to run away.” She murmured, stroking back tufts of hair.

“Well, you’ll be glad to know that a guy will do crazy things for a girl he wants to be with.” To her surprise, he rose up alongside with her, his eyes meeting hers.

“Now, you’re in danger because I’m not willing to let you go either.”


Day after day, he showered her with love, where their week of Japan was spent in bliss. After that, it was back to classes. I wonder if everyone got tired of of coming up with insults yet. It was a wishful thinking on her end, but she knew by now that it was better to remain pessimistic. Thankfully, Apollo was quick to stop them, all while showing them the PDA they wished wasn’t true. He was officially off the market, and he was hers. Perhaps all my suffering has been leading me up to this happiness.

It wasn’t long before winter break came along, and mostly all the students had taken off to visit their families or to travel. Ashley had expected to spend the time binge-watching Netflix, but she was proved wrong when Apollo presented her with two tickets to Japan. The surprise was meant to be romantic, but it turned quite amusing when he almost spilled wine on them at the restaurant. Fortunately, he directed the wine glass back towards him with such force, it ended up on his suit instead.

“So, how’d you like it?” he asked, kissing her gently on the top of her head.

“You know I loved it. That was literally the first I said when we got there, and the last when I left.
It was their first night in the city of Tokyo, and they were now strolling through the streets amidst the colorful lights and people. It was a time for exploration, having both crossed the famous intersection twice already, the second time having been for the thrill of it. Hand in hand, they were making their way across a row

Japan_(16042925878)

photo The Photographer 2015© (CC BY 2.0)

of shops and restaurants, with hundreds of others that had decided to do the same thing as them.

 

“It’s beautiful isn’t it?”

About to reply, she suddenly saw a sight that had haunted her dreams for 14 years. His now gray hair was swept to the side, a cross tattoo etched on the side of his cheek, and his eyes… When they met hers, recognition hit both of them. Richard White, one of the world’s most notorious drug dealers. More importantly, he was surrounded with a group of bodyguards.

“Run.” She started to back up, her hand grip tightening on Apollo’s hand. In the corner of her eye, he saw her glance in the direction she was staring at, eyes widening after seeing the man she described with such hate in front of them.

“NOW!” Her shout broke their staring and now, they found themselves running towards the opposite direction, dodging people that continuously made their way forward. Behind her, she could make out the scream, “ Get them!”

Soon, the lights previously admired started to morph together as Ashley led Apollo down a number of streets, where they finally ended up at a closed off alleyway.

“Do you think we lost them?” she asked, breathing sporadically.

“Yea, no way they managed to single us out through all those people.” Apollo had slumped to his knees, sweat dripping off of his chin onto the cement.

“Oh little girl, that’s what you would like to think…”

Apollo shot up, instinctively wrapping his arm around Ashley. White emerged from the shadows, at least 10 guards behind him. It wasn’t fear that got to Ashley anymore, it was rage. Every inch of her wanted to pummel him into the ground, but with his minions behind him, it would be unlikely. Even with her skills, it would be hard to take them all at once.

“Ashley, you take five and I’ll take five.” She gazed up to see Apollo’s darkening eyes, his arm tightening around her waist another time, before letting go.

“Are you crazy? You can’t fight!”

“About that… father wanted me to be versed in self-defense… So I may or may not be a black-belt.”

“Gee, and you didn’t think of mentioning that before?”

“SHUT UP, both of you!” White’s voice rose above their conversation. “Now, I don’t know who the boy is, but I’m here for you little girl. Ashley Vera wasn’t it?”

Chills ran through her spine as he drawled her name, as if he was testing how the name of someone he had been hunting for years tasted on his tongue because now, he finally had her within his grasp.

Not wanting to risk anything over his victory, he snapped his fingers and announced to his men, “Get them.”

They sprang into action, with Ashley and Apollo mimicking them. The fight was intense, the guards proving to be more difficult to take down than Ashley thought. Though she got a few down, more charged after her, already giving her a bloody lip and a cut just above her eye. The blood was distracting, but it only drove her to finally get back at the man that had caused her only misery. Just as soon as she took down the third one, a kick toward her ribs sent her flying back. The ground in front of her either had spots of blood or ketchup then, but Ashley couldn’t be sure herself. Her ribs ached from the blow, and she was sure some of them must have been cracked by now. Noticing a blurred shadow approaching her, she immediately slid forward and swept the 4th off his feet, rendering him unconscious with another kick. She heard a scream behind her, looking back to see the three guards remaining surrounding Apollo. With her best battle cry, she leapt forward and immediately took another down with a series of roundhouse kicks.

“Ashley watch out!”

She felt a hard shove, only to land next to the other alley wall and witness Apollo being rammed into the wall opposite of her.

“Apollo!”

She rushed towards him, giving the guard a taste of his own medicine as she pounded his head into the wall multiple times, until he crumpled like a wet paper towel. She approached Apollo, a dark purple bruise indicating where he struck the wall. She cradled him for a brief moment, before laying him down, where he deserved the rest he surely needed. Redirecting her focus, she caught White looking almost cowardly without his bodyguards.

“Not so tough without your toys are you?” She steadily approached him, caution still in mind, though it was the last thing she was considering at this point.

“I still have one last trick.”

Pulling out a knife, he lunged forward, aiming for her heart. However, while dodging towards the left, the blade buried into her right shoulder instead, though the pain was instantly agonizing. White spots dotted her darkening vision. In the distance, she heard a scream, but she didn’t know if it was hers, or from another person who had walked in on the scene.

“Now, my dear, how about we make your pain go away? Permanently.”

He started to extract the knife, but Ashley kicked up, striking the spot she needed to, as the old man groaned and fell off her. Clutching that area, he couldn’t defend himself quick enough, before her foot landed on his face. Ashley stumbled, her head pounding, blood coating her hand, as she let the blade stay embedded deep beneath her skin. Pulling it out would only do more damage. However, the sound of sirens intruded her ears, faint at first, but grew louder as the seconds ticked by. Soon, she could make out a group of people approaching her.

“Police! Freeze!”

A series of grunts followed. Perhaps they’re from the guards. Ashley wasn’t all too sure until a rough pair of hands grabbed her.

“Miss, are you okay? Can you please tell me what happened?”

The rest of his words were jumbled from there, and Ashley could see a bright white light enveloping the starry night sky above her.


“Ugh, my head.” Ashley opened her eyes, and almost instantly regretted it. For once, I just want to open my damn eyes without feeling like I’m going to go blind. Another try ensued, her vision adjusting to reveal a vast meadow stretching out from all directions. Slowly, she rose up, the grass soft beneath her feet.

“Where am I?”

“Honestly, I’m as confused as you are.” She turned around to face Apollo, dressed in all white. His face looked strangely healed, and he was grinning from ear to ear. “But I’m glad it’s with you,” he continued.

dawn-nature-sunset-trees

photo Unsplash (unknown date)© (CC0)

Smiling herself, Ashley walked up to him, receiving and giving loving kisses. Questions were still to be asked, but all she really wanted at that time, was to walk across this field, hand in hand with the person she loved.


“This is Lilia Grant, reporting for the Bourdain Times. I’m here with Doctor Walker who operated on the couple who single-handedly took down drug king Richard White and 10 of his bodyguards at Kyoto, Tokyo. Tell me doctor, how are the conditions of these two heroes of the streets?”

“Well, they are both still in critical condition, both having a multitude of internal injuries. For now, we’ve identified them as Ashley Vera and Apollo Pin, both exceptional university students. We have also discovered Apollo to have been carrying a diamond ring, but other than that, there was nothing else. We just have to hope that they wake up soon, their survival chances… uncertain.”


Featured Image – image geralt/ 14415 images 2014© (CC0 1.0) 

Revenge And Love = Aella

Everyone has an ability in our world. In every state, every city, every district, every street corner, every house. Nobody lacked an ability, there were only those who were weak. Then there were the strong, those that had more deadly skills than others. However, people don’t have their abilities the minute they’re born. Instead, they come at the right moment, the right time. It may be due to a special celebration, or if they feel threatened. Nonetheless, they’ll come. That was the concept that I never understood. If God allowed us these abilities, why couldn’t we have them immediately? It was idiotic, offensive, all out stupid. No offense Great One. Still, I wish some people didn’t have to feel pain before they could be allowed a skill, and after they were granted one, including me.


“Hey Aella! It’s time to go to school!”

“Coming mom!”

Another day, another start. That’s what I would like to think, albeit with positivity. It was a new start yes, but another one with pain. I tilted the curling iron in front of my face and allowed the last part of hair to fall to the side, covering up the healing gash. If you would like to know, it was done by Regina George.

Regina_George

Regina George

No I’m joking… well not really… Her name is Siena Maise, which is actually a really nice name now that I think about it. However, her attitude was 10x worse, the mean girl of the school whose favorite toy was me. She even played a little threatening game.

Taking a good look at myself in the mirror, I made sure my appearance was flawless. If anything was off, my mother or my friends would be suspicious, where their overprotective attitudes would lead them to go against Siena. Of course, she and her goons would only harm them. After all, they had the money and power to become superheroes later on in their lifetime. You needed at least a 10 for the government to consider you to be powerful, and right now, those girls were at 8 or 9 each.

“Aella, come on honey! I’m going to be late for work.”


*ring ring ring*

Ah that iconic bell. To be honest, I can’t believe I still remember it, but it was definitely the only school that I had been to so far that had one sounding like windchimes. Math, Social SciencePsychologyEnglish Composition, and Spanish. Each class swept by like a blur, some excitement in each of them, but not enough for me to like school. The bell had signaled the ending of the day, where I still had soccer practice. Funny story: I was captain of the team until I requested to drop down. Why? Siena. Honestly, who’d you think I say? Trump?

30 minutes into the practice, the wind was blowing through my hair as the sweat dripped down both sides of my face.

“Aella pass the ball to Chrys! Move towards the center after,” Ariana called.

Coach had split up the team into two separate sides, where we were against our own members. The purpose was to get us prepared for the next game, where it was against Green Heights University, and they were on the top of the leaderboard with us.

“Hey Aella!”

The voice stopped me in my tracks, and my eyes only assured that my enemy was strutting towards me. Her entourage was right beside her, slight colored wisps at their hands and glints in their eyes indicated they were ready to give me a beating. Was I nervous? Most definitely, but I wasn’t going to show the others on the field anything.

“Did you have an appointment Aella? You should’ve told me if you did.” Coach stared at me with disapproval in his eyes, as he hoped for more from his best player.

“Sorry Coach, it must have slipped my mind. May I be excused?”

He turned back towards the remaining players, a flick of his hand indicating that I was free to go. Taking a deep breath, I grabbed my bag, and followed the girls out of the field and continued to follow them until they reached one of the campus’ gardens, a place where students hung out during their free time. However, this one was empty, except for my torturers and myself.

“What do you want Siena?”

“This,” she responded, her lips tilting up to reveal a cruel smile.

Before I knew it, my body had frozen in place, even as I struggled while one of the girls fired an ice beam at me. Another threw a poison orb, bringing an immediate bout of nausea. Even so, I couldn’t fight back, Siena’s vice grip on my body restraining my every movement. The girls all took a turn at me, until I was left gasping in pain, blood staining my nose and chin. Luckily, I had once again brought enough money to buy a tonic from Madam’s Medical Help. It always cleared up most of the injuries. I had expected for the attacks to cease by now, but I was caught off guard, another wave racking my body until I turned into a sniffling sob.

“Siena, let’s just kill her. Nobody will know anyway. After all, it’s her fault Derreck broke up with you. Everybody knows you’re much prettier than this slut.”

I stared up at Siena, having then realized she was abnormally quiet today. Her face was calm, but her eyes held a turmoil within them. “Before we do so, I’d like to present her with something first. Bring her out Clause!”

Her eyes demanded that I use my arms to hoist my body up, but what appeared in front of my sight made me freeze in my spot. Was I to run? Was I supposed to spin around at that moment and rush at the little ***** with all I had at that moment? Was I supposed to do something when she had my mother? Her eyes were widened, shock evident as she realized her daughter had undergone this treatment without her having noticed.

“Siena, I swear to God. If you harm her, I’ll kill you. Mark my words.”

She let out a cackle, first high pitched, then toned down. “I don’t think you’re in a position to do that Aella.”

She strolled up to me, caressing my face as her nails purposely dug into my skin. Behind her back, she presented a small, thin dagger, its blade shiny and sharp. “You know, I wondered what would hurt you like how Derreck hurt me when he said he would rather date you instead. You know what he said?! That you were prettier, smarter, kinder, and twice the woman I would ever be! So I thought, why not harm one of your loved ones.”

She brought the knife down to my hand, and pressed it against my flesh. “Think about it, daughter stabs her mother. Now that would devastate you wouldn’t it?”

“But I’m nice,” she whispered in my ear, snapping her fingers to urge Clause to drag my mother closer. Without a word, she stabbed her right in the stomach.

A scream echoed throughout the air, as my ears rung. My whole body felt as though it was fire, almost as if I had gotten stabbed myself, as I watched my mother crumble to the ground, clutching her stomach. Siena, gripping the dagger, smiled triumphantly before she suddenly backed away. My eyes felt alive, even as blood dripped from them, and my hands felt as though they could last a round of boxing.

“YOU WITCH! YOU’RE DEAD!”

From out of the blue, black spirits encircled her, all shrieking with ghostly faces painted on them. Her shrieks combined with the other girls as more spirits surrounded them too filled the air.

“My shadow! It’s gone,” I heard Clause scream, but I had no intention of diverting my attention from the priority.

I focused on the screams, the echoing and horrid shrieks from the shadows. A mass had surrounded the girls, yet I directed them to condense and condense. I could almost feel the pain as the shadows clawed, beat, and even bit them, but it was satisfying. I didn’t want it to stop.

“MS. AELLA LAERNE! STOP RIGHT THERE!”

An unknown voice disrupted my focus, the shadows flying off to their owners as I whipped around. Stern-looking officials directed their guns toward hers, with an unarmed woman leading the pack. Slipping her glasses off, she directed bright crimson eyes towards me, and they remained so as she directed the paramedics towards my mother. I couldn’t bring myself to look at her, where it was my fault she got stabbed in the first place. If only I had gotten my abilities sooner, whatever they were. Maybe then I would be able to protect her.

“You’re coming with us Ms. Laerne.”

“No please. Just let me go home.”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that Miss. Now cooperate or we’ll do this the hard way.”

Suddenly, the burning sensation returned, where a few of the guards’ own shadows took down their owners that allowed them to exist in the first place. However, I didn’t get far until an overwhelming urge to pass out washed over me. Still, I couldn’t let them take me. A few more grunts assured that more people fell to their own shadows, but the urge and the exhaustion I had gained from Siena’s attacks dragged me into darkness. I remember thinking, Would I ever see the light of day again, or would my own darkness consume me?


“Let’s try again Aella. Physically take down the first and last mannequins while using both of our shadows to take down the others on the side.”

I sighed and stretched out my legs, already having practiced this a dozen other times. Elasta-man stood off to the side, spinning a timer, where he knew that I needed a bit of a break before going into it. Would you like to know how I met Elasta-man too? Yea? Okay fine…


I had opened my eyes to a room with a white ceiling, an antiseptic scent filling my nose when I took a deep breath in. It was only when I tried to move my arms that I realized they were handcuffed and the curtains were completely drawn shut over the windows. My hand graced over a small controller with a button in the middle, a note attached reading: Press when awake.

It took only a few minutes for the mysterious woman from earlier to enter the room, her crimson eyes once again captivating me.

“My name is Flora Lunae. I am the general of the SSI, Superheroes and Sidekicks Initiative. How are you feeling Aella?” Her voice had taken on softer tone, a loss of formality noticed.

“Where’s my mother,” I was surprised at my own voice, cracked and rough. A glass of water sat on the small table beside her, but with her chained hands, it might as well not exist in the first place. Diverting my eyes back to Flora, I could sense something was off. Her confident demeanor had faded and instead, she seemed nervous.

“Flora, where’s my mother? Tell me now.”

“Your mother… passed away. There was too much blood lost. I’m so sorry. I know how close you two were.”

I didn’t hear anything after pass “away,” but it did enough damage. My mother was gone, the woman I had called “mom” ever since I could remember. She was the one that had supported me every time I sunk to the bottom, and now, what was I going to do without her this time? A tear slid down from the corner of my eye, yet there was a dull throb behind them. It wasn’t as intense as before, but I felt the burning up of my body.

“If you can hear me mom, I hope you can save me.”

Suddenly, the room shook, the members probably attempting to make sense of everything. All I could do was stare up at the ceiling, wondering whether she was happy up above. Beneath all the mourning though, rage shook me to the core. I remember the vow I took: to take Senia and her group to hell, even if it took me the rest of my lifetime.

“Doctor! Get in here! She has to be contained!”

The windows had shattered, and the stoic guards that fiercely stood by had started to burst out in hystericals. However, I didn’t cast them a glance even as their shrieks reminded me of the time my mother was taken away. Not even when the blindfold was draped over my eyes, or even as a syringe entered my upper arm. Soon, I was left in darkness yet again.


Back to where I was earlier, I was now under the command of Elasta-man, having been assigned as his sidekick by Flora because we had similarities. It wasn’t until later that I discovered he had lost his father to his own mother, who wanted to get rid of him so she could run away with a different lover. I accepted him as a master then, once he promised me he would train me to my strongest and allow me to take my revenge. After all, I had the potential to be a superhero, with my ability having been listed as simply: darkness manipulation.

Drifting back to the present, I opened my eyes and readied myself and at the sound of go, I dashed towards the mannequins. All I had now was the darkness in my heart and in revenge, and I was going to make my ability stronger.

“Good job Aella. You’re getting stronger and faster,” Elasta-man said, his eyes portraying pride, and of course something else that was hidden beneath.

“Thank you master. Shall we go to the gym now? I believe our reservation starts soon”

“We will, but first, I have a surprise for you.” From behind his back, he presented a letter that was sealed with the SSI’s insignia.

“What is this?” I fingered with the seal, amazed at what could be underneath.

“Open it and see.”

The first word I saw when the seal was cracked was: congratulations. The rest of the letter would reveal the time, date, and location of the ceremony where I would get to be a superhero. My eyes weren’t brimmed with tears, but I was slightly quivering with excitement.

“Master, are you saying that I can now be a… a…”

“A superhero? Yes. You were the by far, the best student I had and crime has drastically decreased with the pair of us working together.”

“I don’t know what to say master. Thank you.”

“You deserve it. Now let’s go, our reservation wouldn’t be much of use if we didn’t at least try to there on time.”

Let’s just say that that workout was the best one so far. After that, it only took two more weeks until the ceremony came. A black pantsuit, a cape to fly and enhance my ability, a hairclip to change appearances, and a medal later, the after party commenced. No, don’t ask me what Flora said or what happened during the party because I was drunk as hell. Well actually, I should probably mention that I was given the name of Shadow Girl. Yea… the SIS wasn’t exactly creative when coming up with names.

However, what happened after the celebration would change my life. Elasta-man had informed me that he received a call regarding a gang robbery in the poorer district of the city. We got there as fast as we could, but I should have been more wary when we arrived in a dark alley

photo Alfred Leone 2011© (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

with a group of villains (part of the SHF – Superheroes and Humans to Fall) relaxing. Before I had time to question master, he approached them.“Master! What are you doing?” I tensely said, shifting my weight to prepare for a fight.

“Aella, Aella, Aella,” he murmured, as he spun around, with menacing eyes and a crude sneer. “Did I ever tell you that you look like my mother, the one I killed myself? Heh, her lover followed closely behind.”

“Master, please don’t do this. I beg of you.”

“Begging is beneath you and me both. You of all should know what revenge feels like, so understand when I do this.”

The villains all leaped forward, their attacks used to pin me down. Before I could activate my ability, a metal choker was slapped onto my neck. Immediately, I felt weak, something that hasn’t shown itself ever since my mother passed away.

“Don’t fight pretty one. This choker is designed to block your powers. Have no worries though, once he’s had his time with you, you can destroy it yourself.”

I wanted to scream, anything to alert the attention of anyone nearby. However, with arms pinned down and a gag over my mouth, it was unlikely help would be coming soon. By now, rage and fear had built up to the point where my eyes throbbed with the intent of releasing my ability. I struggled with all I had, every ounce of strength I could muster, even as Elasta-man unbuckled his belt in front of me. His slimy lips on me, I only found myself fighting harder. Slapping me and gripping my throat, he hurriedly slipped off his pants down to his ankles, his ability causing certain areas to grow longer. The straps of my pantsuit came next. By this time, every part of my body ached, begging for me to free the power within.

With the straps at my wrists and his exposed teeth inches from my breast, time stood still. The burning remained, only growing stronger as I grappled with the frozen figures around me. Kicking them all off, I stood up, gasping. My breath had caught in my throat and everything that was spinning beforehand settled down. In front of me, Elasta-man and the villains laid on the floor in the exact positions they were earlier. Purple eyes popped out from broken glass shards, a definite difference from the usual navy ones when my ability activated. No, this wasn’t manipulating darkness. There, I decided it as body immobilization, and after removing the choker, I immediately summoned as many creatures from the shadows as I could. Their white eyes glared at me with thankfulness once they had their fulfilling feast of Elasta-man. Unfortunately, the rest of the villains escaped, my fury only directed against the ringleader that night, From then on, I wasn’t Shadow Girl anymore (it barely lasted a day honestly). I was the Scorpio of the Night, or Scorpio for short, and revenge was my game.


“Scorpio freeze!”

Their weapons didn’t even graze the sky when I had already made my escape. Landing on top of an apartment building, I viewed the flashing red and blue lights from a distance. “Ungrateful drama queens. I made their job easier, and still, they’re trying to put me in prison.” Still, it must have been because I killed the man for abusing his wife and child instead of apprehending him. Not to mention, the death of Elasta-man remained unexplained and they wanted to bring me into questioning.

Rolling my eyes, I turned to fly towards home, but a thundering crash pierced the silent night sky. I couldn’t resist curiosity, and by the time I convinced myself that I shouldn’t check it out, I found myself already at the scene of it all.

“Give it up Electricity Boy! You don’t have a chance against us!”

Through the darkness, I could make out colorful wisps of the 4 villains surrounding a hero, whose cape crackled with electricity. My eyes widened when I realized it was BlueSpark, the greatest superhero among them all. His level reached 17, one above mine the last time I asked a contact to measure it.

“Don’t cross me,” BlueSpark spoke through gritted teeth. His fists now sent small sparks of electricity flying.

“Ha ha ha, oh you can’t tell us what to do now. It’s 4 against 1 and I bet Madame Ravenna will be extremely proud if we were to say that we took down BlueSpark.” By now the 4 had stepped into the light of the blinking street lamps, and their faces sent chills down my bones. Their faces all sparked a similar memory, bringing me back to the time when I had left any form of happiness behind. I instantly hopped down, landing beside BlueSpark, who seemed surprised to say the least. Despite him recognizing me and thinking that I was there to help, I could care less about him and whether he were die or not. I was here for my revenge.

“Scorpio! What are you doing here?!” Their advancing steps faltered, stopping about 5 feet from the two heroes. “Heh, no matter. We can take care of you too.”

“Say that when your guts are eaten.”

Their shadows began to morph in front of them, rising up from the ground, along with others that came from countless other people. Surprisingly, one managed to croak out, “GO,” before he succumbed with his allies to the snarling creatures.

“Scorpio, stop!” I recognized the voice of BlueSpark, but I had no means of stopping.

Out of nowhere, I felt a power beam strike my back, but instead of sending me flying, it sucked my strength out, sending me crumpling to the ground. The shadows disappeared,

shadows

photo Thomas Leuthard 2011© (CC BY 2.0)

but the 4 villains had already been reduced to a pile of bloody bones. The rest of that fight flew by, with a dozen other individuals appearing from hidden places, taking me down. I could see blurs of blue sparks of electricity as I fought my way out beneath the horde of villains. I couldn’t stop them in their places, my other ability having been taken away as well. I shouldn’t have let those damn bastards run free last time.

Just as I managed to take care of the ones that surrounded me, someone leaped in front, just as several black spikes hurdled towards me.

“Crap! BlueSpark!”

He fell, gasping as he coughed up redness, though the wounds on his stomach dripped black.

“Well, well, well, if it isn’t Scorpio and BlueSpark, though I’m pretty sure Electricity Boy will die anytime soon.”

A dark-haired woman stood on rooftop overlooking the alleyway, gripping a gun with blue and purple matter swirling inside, another person standing beside her with an outstretched arm. A nametag on the lapel of her jumpsuit read Vice Siena. Before I could even utter a word, a zap of electricity sent the gun flying to the ground, its containments freed as a NO resonated from Siena. Spikes upon spikes materialized, sent directly towards the two fallen heroes, but by that time, hundreds of shadow ghouls had swallowed them up. I’ll save you from the gory parts, but let’s just say I knocked Siena’s head into the sky, my conscious filled with satisfaction when I gave that two-timing ****** what she deserved. Truth to be told, she’s extremely slow in manipulation, even with her probable practice.

Everything was done, death filled the air, and my thirst for revenge somewhat fulfilled, I prepared to take off once more. “Scorpio… please help.”

I glanced back to the withering BlueSpark, his eyes glazed with weariness from fighting the poison from acquiring his life. An inner debate ignited, the two main points being “I don’t exactly love superheroes” and “but he did save my life.” Long story short, I ended up helping him, giving him one of the miracle tonics I had hidden in the heel of my boot. Resolving the fact that I couldn’t simply leave him to recover in an alleyway, I took him to my home, a simple penthouse in the tallest skyscraper on the planet.

“So, what’s your name?” he had asked when he awoke from his deep sleep. If only he was still passed out, maybe he wouldn’t be asking me these questions. “Mine is Aleksander.”

“Great Aleksander, and you can keep calling me Scorpio.”

“Come on, why won’t you tell me? I believe you’re on the same side as us judging from last night.”

“Listen pretty boy, I’m on no one’s side. Especially ‘superheroes’.” Though I didn’t want to admit, he was painfully handsome, his piercing sky-blue eyes pairing well with his dirty blonde hair. Even his face was chiseled into perfection.

Walking over to him, I placed the back of my hand on his forehead. His temperature had dropped, but it was slightly higher than what was considered normal. “You need another dose of the tonic, but I ran out. I’ll be back later. Try not to trash everything.”

I swiftly spun around, heading towards the door with a different appearance thanks to the clip. It served to hide my identity quite well. My nail had graced the door, but a hand held me in place.

“Thank you.” His blue eyes looked sincere and it was the only observation I could make before it his lips brushed against my forehead.


The following days were one of the happiest and most annoying I’ve experienced since the “incident.” Aleksander ended up coming to my apartment every night, persistent in getting to know me better, and that included my past. For the first time again though, I found myself wondering, Do I trust this superhero?

Finally, it wasn’t a matter of trust anymore due to BlueSpark still having kept the secret of my location, I told him my name and what happened on the night Elasta-man was killed.

“Wow,” was all he said for a while. Then, “I believe you. Truth be told, I was thinking of leaving the SIS as well. Flora doesn’t seem to notice some of the heroes taking advantage of their sidekicks.”

With that, he gave me a kiss that took my breath away, one that I could have only dreamed of as a lonely teenager. Don’t judge. Anyway, Aleksander brought truth to what he said and quit the SIS, joining my now two-people club of vigilantes. Together, we managed to keep crime rates low year after year. We even managed to expose many heroes of the SIS. However, the obstacle that was constantly in the way of me reaching my peak of happiness, was my constant yearn for revenge. It was hard to get rid of, hard not to ruthlessly kill those that deserved to descend into the pits of flame.

Aleksander served well in eradicating the desire though, his kindness showing me that there was more to ruthlessly murdering people for their wrong deeds. He showed me forgiveness, a different perspective to the world, where people got second chances to repent for what their mistakes. Sometimes, they didn’t even mean to do so. My bonds to revenge broke free later on, and as a gift to me, he presented a beautiful diamond ring. We couldn’t exactly hold an official ceremony with the police and SIS after both of us, so elopement was just fine.


Now, it was a different story. One where abilities couldn’t solve anything. The moment an overproduction of cells occurred in the area of the lungs, our happy story fell short. How would I battle against cancer? How would I kill the thing that belittled my husband to a hospital bed?

“I love you honey. Don’t worry about me. Keep living your life to the fullest.”

I remember those words like they were spoken yesterday, just hours before he finally lost the raging battle.


grave

photo bp6316 2009© (CC BY 2.0)

Just a few more words and then I promise that it’ll be over and you can go back to resting. As you may know, today marks the third year of your passing honey. Adrianne is now 6 and she still misses you, and frankly, so do I. However, I kept what you told me in mine. A better way to look at revenge would be that it hinders our happiness. Adrianne deserves a happy life, free from getting to know what it feels like to want to hurt someone in return. Instead, she’ll learn how to forgive.


Featured Image – image durly0505 2015© (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Aspiring Writer – Take #2

Hey story fanatics! This post is both a remake and an update on my first post ever (titled Aspiring Writer). In that, I briefly went over my dreams in creating a novel and that dream is still as passionate and alive as ever. When thinking more about how I wanted my storyline to flow, I realized that the setting of the coronation should be part of the prologue. Therefore, I decided to add more to the previous one I had posted. Be sure to comment down below any thoughts or recommendations :->

Hope you enjoy! Oh and always go where your imagination takes you and new worlds will reveal themselves! Thank you!


Memories of A Lost Flight

Prologue:

Everyone knew the power of the crowns. From the curve of the codazic, a valuable black crystal, to the amethyst gems fastened on the delicate spikes, they were a sight to look at. They also granted the king or queen unique powers which were to be used for the good of the Kingdom of Estacre. Petals rained from the sky and cries as mighty as those going into battle were seen and heard once the crown settled on the head of the new rulers. Their purpose was to bring joy to their people and once they were unable to continue, they would pass one of the crowns down to their eldest child. Then came the story of King Aimery and Queen Reina who had two daughters. The eldest, Katherine, took after her parents and greeted everyone with a smile. She was the ideal princess, the one who captured every Charming’s heart. However, her younger sister Daeva was the complete opposite.

Anyone could see something was– off with the princess when she was a young child. With her raven-black hair, calculating eyes, and a sneer for a smile, she stood out from the rest of the royal family. The king had butterscotch-colored hair while the queen had silky blond hair. Katherine resembled her two parents, already looking like the country’s future ruler while her younger sister was left seething on the side, her destiny supposedly mapped out the second she was born: the chief adviser to her future queen, which one may receive such a role with honour. However, she yearned for true power and greatness, something that being an adviser wouldn’t fulfill. The wanting manifested like ice spreading from a single touch of Jack Frost, but it seemed to seep into her already cold heart instead of gliding over a glass window. So with that said, she knew what she had to do, but it would take time.

She planned out everything, down to the last detail. She now had an army to her liking, strong formidable beasts who only cared about getting blood on their hands and Shadow Demons who only wanted to conquer souls. It had taken years and her sister had gotten married in the process, to Alexander, a once mere baker, who would then become the future king of Estacre. Daeva set down the pearl-handled brush, staring at herself in the mirror. Cold, hard eyes. Vivid bright lips that held an abundance of secrets.

“Soon,” she said. “Just a little bit longer and my time will come.” A cackle erupted from her and filled the dark hallways as the grandfather clock struck 12:00.


Kisa closed her book with a sigh, leaning back in her chair to stare out the window. It was a beautiful day outside and yet she had wasted it, studying the different types of powers she could get when she ascends the throne. Suddenly, she heard a knock at the door.

“Your Highness, your mother requests for your appearance in her bedroom.”

Kisa looked up to see Lila, her personal maid, with her hands folded in front of her. She had a sweet smile, yet her eyes looked weary and Kisa knew exactly why. Lila has been around since she was little and has been one of her closest companions, yet she knew taking care of baby Kisa wasn’t the least stressful job in the world.

“Can’t it wait until later Lila? I wanted to go outside before it got too late.”

“Afraid not Your Highness, you know how your mother is, especially since your birthday and coronation are nearing.”

Kisa rolled her eyes, hastily slipping her heels on. She exited her room, making sure to sweep her dress in front of her before locking the door. She set out towards her parents’ bedroom with Lila who, unlike other maids, walked right beside her. She had only reached the portrait of her grandmother, when she paused and looked at the person who could’ve been her reflection. Her grandmother and her grandfather had passed away before she was born due to strange synchronized heart attacks. Suddenly, she felt an arm nudge her in the side.

“Come now Your Highness, no need to admire how beautiful you are now.”

Kisa smiled and continued onward. Her 16th birthday and official coronation were coming soon and it was to be a historic moment, for the Royal Blacksmith had made another crown 10 years ago. However, it was all she knew, along with the rest of the kingdom. Even her parents didn’t know what it looked like, for the Goddess of Estacre was the one in possession of it. The Goddess was the founder of the 6 elemental skills, where they resided within the rulers. However, these skills weren’t passed down throughout the generations and right now, only 6 out of 7 of the rulers had the elemental skills. The one kingdom that didn’t have it currently was Estacre, the kingdom of humans. Therefore, when the skill of the first king did not pass down to his children in Estacre only, the Goddess came up with the idea of making the crowns out of crystals she had come to possess thousands of years ago. For now, she remained in the human kingdom to protect the humans when needed, in a hidden location and for all Kisa knew, she used the remaining of her gems to allow for Esatcre to have a third crown.

It took a while, but Kisa finally managed to reach her mother’s room, but already, her feet ached to be in her sneakers, running through the forest. Two guards stationed outside her mother’s door bowed deeply before turning the door handle and exposing her to the cold air that awaited inside.

“Good luck Your Highness. I’ll be waiting out here for you.”

With that, Kisa was left to enter the room alone, and she instantly regretted not bringing her coat as she saw a snowflake touch her nose. “Ah you finally came my dear.”

She stared at the twinkling snowflakes floating around the room, then back at her silver-haired mother who was unfazed by the cold. She crossed the room and grabbed Kisa by her hands, bringing her to the vanity. Cupping her face, her mother crouched and laid her head on Kisa’s shoulder, admiring the few similarities they share. Despite Kisa looking more like her grandmother, there were still similarities between mother and daughter, and the Queen relished in that.

“Tomorrow’s your official coronation my sweet. Do you feel ready? Please tell me you read the books I gave you.”

“Yes mother I did,” Kisa answered, watching her mother’s expression morph from being relieved to suspicious.

“You read them, but did you finish them.” Her eyes pierced into Kisa’s, hoping to find an answer through them. It was almost if she was hoping for Kisa to say no just to gain a chance to reprimand.

“Of course mother.”

Rolling her eyes, Kisa stood up and crossed the room, leaning against the glass-paned window. Beneath, she could see the decorations being set up as Louise, the palace’s event planner, barked orders at the struggling servants. Ahead, she could see two paths, one lined with cobblestone while the other was a simple dirt path. The cobble-stoned one led to the market square and beyond that, the city, while the dirt path led to the forest Kisa had grown to love. If one were to delve deep enough, they would hit the border, a 50 mile meadow that eventually led to the Kingdom of Rosaden. That was where she yearned to be. Not just Rosaden, but all the other kingdoms as well. There were countless, but she’s never stepped outside of Estacre, under her parent’s rule that she would have to obtain her skill first. Of course, she understood that it was her own safety. After all, if something did go wrong, she’d be the defenseless mortal in that situation.

“Wonderful is it not?” asked her mother as she glided over to Kisa. “Soon, all the citizens of this kingdom will fill that courtyard and they’ll be ecstatic for you! My daughter is finally getting her skill!”

Suddenly the door knocked and Kisa’s father strode in, his face beaming, yet his posture speaks of that a king. Her mother glided up to him, where both shared a kiss as they looked lovingly into one another’s eyes. However, they soon returned their sights on her, her mother’s giddiness replaced with proudness in her eyes. The same applied to her father, yet his hands were still behind his back and not placed on the small of her mother’s back as usual.

“Kisa, as you know your mother and I are very proud of you,” her father said, with a regal tone. “Therefore, we thought we would get you something.”

With that, her father brought out a small gift box, wrapped with elegant ribbons. As soon as she received it, she tenderly opened it, only to come to face with a faded pink crystal necklace laced with codazic. A gold chain was attached to it, and the sight of it brought both wonder and confusion to Kisa’s eyes.

“It’s beautiful father, but what is it? Why does it have codazic around it?”

“Well, the Goddess of Estacre gifted me this necklace when you were just born, along with the rest of the codazic of course.” Her father shook his head slightly, trying to remember where he was supposed to be heading with the explanation. “Anyway, she asked me to present this to you any day before the coronation, and I decided today was the day.”

“Yes darling, the Goddess will grant you with yet a second skill tomorrow,” her mother said, slipping the necklace around Kisa’s neck. “There, you look beautiful.”

Kisa glanced down and fingered with the necklace, as she traced the sleek codazic and went over the more uneven surface of the crystal itself. The Goddess was strangely nice towards her, despite Kisa never having actually met her in person– except when she was a baby. However, how could anyone remember what happened when they were a baby?

“Thank you mother. Thank you father. If there isn’t anything else, will you excuse me? I believe I need some fresh air after being inside all day.”

“Of course honey. Your father and I need to make sure tomorrow’s arrangements are going well anyway.” They stepped out the door, her mother’s snowflakes billowing about the train of her gown.

Kisa stared out into the courtyard one last time before she exited the room herself, heading towards her room. Lila, without question accompanied her back, seeing it was her job to. Sweet Lila, she never complained about anything when dealing with Kisa, not even when Kisa blamed her for multiple frivolous antics she participated in as a child. Of course, her parents knew who was rightfully guilty, even before having heard Kisa’s explanation.

Kisa immediately shed her dress the moment she reached her room. Lila, reading her mind, reached for a pair of black jeans and a black top with a cape attached to the back of it. She hurriedly put it on, wanting to spend time outside before the sun set, which would be soon. Once she grabbed her bow and sword, she tried to rush out the door. Unfortunately, a hand held her back and she felt Lila, brushing back her hair the best she could.

“If you’re going to head out Kisa, at least try to look presentable.”

She huffed out a sigh, blowing a piece of her bangs upward, only for it to fall limply onto her face. She felt Lila tugging her hair tightly into ponytail, and it didn’t take long for her to be done, but it was long enough in Kisa’s opinion. The minute she felt Lila’s hand release her hair, she dashed out of the room. “Thanks Lila!” she yelled, already reaching a quarter to the castle doors.

The evening air welcomed her as she finally decided to slow down. She was always fascinated by the courtyard, and this time, the decorations hanging above the hedge sculptures brought the scenery to life even more so than usual. Suddenly, she felt a hand covering her eyes, with the other pulling her close to their figure. Before she could scream though, a familiar voice whispered, “Now just where is Your Highness running off to without her partner?”

“Well, I’m known for flying solo, so I don’t know what you’re talking about sir?”

She felt their hand slip from her eyes, only for their other to spin her around, where her eyes met his deep blue ones as their foreheads rested against each other’s. “I take offense to that Kisa.”

“Aw calm down Sir Kaleo, I’m only joking. Of course, I need a knight-in-training by my side for all the adventures I go on.”

He kissed her on the forehead. “You better mean that Kisa,” he murmured.

He removed his hand from her back, slipping it into her hand instead, while leading her into the forest. With her heeled boots helping, she laid her head on his shoulder. She didn’t quite remember how they had forged a relationship, but she didn’t complain. It was easier for them compared to most people, especially since they had grown up together in the castle. Kaleo’s father was her father’s right in command, and she remembered both of them causing mischief when they were left to explore the castle. Now, he was training under his father’s order, hoping to become a knight like his old man. She was proud of him, and she was proud of them for maintaining their bond, even if their class status differed greatly. A crown princess to a mere knight. One with powers to one without the chance of acquiring any. But still, they were together.

“Hey, you seem to be in deep thought today Kisa? Anything wrong?” He tilted his head and looked worriedly at her, something she thought made him look adorable.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Just thinking about the celebration tomorrow.”

“Don’t worry too much about it. Everyone will love you as they do now. Besides, your skills will be great, I’m sure of it.” He looked towards the forest again, making sure they were free of any danger, especially from the creatures that made their home here. The dusty dirt ground slowly began to give way to luscious tall grass as they reached the meadow creating the border between Estacre and Rosaden. Kaleo led her to a spot surrounded by flowers, more so than the others. Together, they viewed the bright orange and yellow streaks across the sky.

“You know Kisa, I wonder if we’ll get these chances to watch the sunset together again. I mean, with you becoming crown princess and all, and having to train with your powers.” He buried his face into the small of her neck and wrapped both of his arms around her waist.

Kisa turned slightly, reaching up to stroke his cropped platinum blond hair. Kaleo’s thoughts represented her own, yet she couldn’t muster up any strength to truly talk about it. She loved their moments together, and just the thought of being separated from Kaleo, even if it wasn’t forever, was disheartening. They both haven’t told their parents they were seeing each other yet either, both agreeing to do so when the time was right Their plan was at the banquet after the commemoration, where they would be together with the others gathered around.

“I love you Kisa,” he whispered, breaking her thoughts, but she couldn’t think of a better phrase to be distracted by.

“I love–”

Suddenly, they heard a snap behind them, and with a flash, both had unraveled themselves from each other and hopped to their feet, their swords extended. In front of them, a red-eyed beast stood in front of them, where it reached no more than an inch above Kaleo. However, the fangs that protruded from its slobbering mouth and its massive paws that had gruesome claws growing from it, definitely presented it as a threat.

“Heads up Your Highness,” Kaleo warned, his face grim and concentrated as the beast slowly lumbered towards them.

Without warning, it started to charge, its direction veering to the left, towards Kisa. It reached out, where it brought its curled hand towards its chest, and then released it. With little time to react, she felt the breath knocked out of her when its fist connected to her body, and when she landed on the ground after flying across 5 feet.

Seeing Kisa being struck down enraged Kaleo, but still, the beast barreled towards her. However, he could tell she was still recovering from the shock, and she was in no condition to be attacked another time. “Kisa watch out!”

He rushed towards her herself, but there was no way he would be able to reach her before the beast did. Reaching down, he swiftly grabbed her fallen sword. Just as his fingers wrapped around the handle, he heard a guttural howl.

Kisa!”

He looked up, expecting to see the worst. What surprised him though, was that the beast was the one who was rearing its head, baying in pain while Kisa held her bow with a hand pulled back, an indication that she had shot an arrow. While closing the distance towards the beast, a second arrow struck its face, bringing out another pained howl from it.

Kaleo leaped upwards, landing atop a hunched mass of black and red fur. Without a second thought, he dug both swords into it, one buried in its neck and the other, its head. With a feeble whine, the demonic beast collapsed, just as he yanked out the sword, with dark red (close to black) blood dripping down the blade.

For a moment, Kaleo forgot his other objective while he attempted to regain his breath, until he glanced over to see Kisa hoisting herself up with her bow. Oh Sol.

He rushed towards her, gently bringing her upright, as she leaned against his chest. Her breathing was shallow, and Kaleo could hear a faint wheezing behind it. A closer inspection revealed a blooming bruise near her lip. “Are you okay? Can you walk back?”

“Yea, I’m alright. Just a bit out of breath.”

Kisa watched as Kaleo let go of her, bending down to wipe the blood from the swords. She straightened out her attire, hoping to brush away the dirt and anything else that would make people suspect something had occurred.

“Kisa? It’s time to head back.”

She stared at the sword Kaleo was handing her for a longer time than anyone could deem necessary, before she realized that it was her’s. Quickly sheathing it, she turned towards the path they came from, and began sauntering back. Of course, Kaleo was there to steady her at all times.

“Hey Kaleo, let’s not inform our parents about any of this?” A raised eyebrow was his response, a way of asking without speaking on his end. He would always get silent when they encountered something that put Kisa’s life in danger. “Hear me out Kal. Mother and father are already stressed out enough with the upcoming coronation. I don’t want to further worry them. Besides, it was only one beast.”

He offered no response except for a nod once she was done. Despite that, any thoughts of anger that might be coming from him evaporated when he pulled her closer.

The rest of the evening was uneventful, with Kaleo keeping up on his end of the promise by remaining silent about the incident. Even though the moon had risen high above the night sky, Kisa was still finding it difficult to sleep. The thought of finally receiving her skill and the day’s events still ran through her mind.

Will her skill be one that she likes? Will it be the more powerful ones or the weaker ones? What was the creature that had attacked them today?

Before she knew it, she had donned on a long mandarin robe over her nightgown and stepped into the long, dark hallway. She needed to pace her worries away. The moon’s light casting through the glass paned windows created an eerie effect, especially when it landed on a raven-haired woman wearing a feathered robe, whom Kisa knew as her beloved aunt.

“Aunt Daeva, wait up!”

The figure paused slightly, as Kisa made her way to her. Her aunt truly looked elegant in the night, but she rarely stepped out of her room during the morning, despite being her mother’s chief advisor. Her best guess was that Aunt Daeva felt connected to the night due to her lunar construct ability. She was the first to have acquired such a skill, where it was immeasurably powerful, close to being considered an elemental skill.

“What brings you out here Kisa?” Her aunt’s voice smooth voice almost seemed hypnotizing, equivalent to waves gliding over a pearl, wearing it down slowly.

“I couldn’t sleep. I’m slightly nervous about tomorrow.”

“I’m sure you’ll make your parents and the citizens proud.” Kisa glanced up every so often to study her aunt, whose face continued to be emotionless. She never saw her much and it felt nice to talk to her.

“Where are you going Aunt Daeva?”

“Just another walk around the courtyard. I suggest you don’t follow me though. There may be trouble and you don’t have your skill yet.”

“Very well then. If you’ll excuse me Aunt.”

Kisa halted as she watched her aunt continue on until she reached the castle doors, where Kisa then turned around and made her way back to her own room.

“Kisa dear, it’s time to wake up.”

Kisa opened her eyes to the blinding sunlight, where Lila was still opening up the curtains surrounding the room. She adjusted her eyes to the brightness, sitting up to view Lila holding out a floor-length, strapless gown.

“Up and at them Your Highness, today’s the day.”

Groaning, she stood up, allowing for Lila to wash, dress her, and fix her hair. After sitting still for a grueling hour for her hair to be done in a rather fancy updo, she finally got a chance to look at herself in the mirror. She truly did look like her grandmother in her portrait, with her hair and makeup properly done. Reaching across the vanity, she grabbed the crystal necklace and laced it around her neck.

Behind, her bedroom door opened up, where Kisa could see that it was her parents through the reflection of the mirror. She spun around and ran into both of their arms, seeking comfort and approval. Her mother outstretched her arms, pushing her daughter back to inspect her from a distance. Without a word, she smiled and Kisa could see a hints of tears forming in the corners of her mother’s eyes.

“Pardon me Your Majesties and Your Highness, but the coronation is commencing soon,” informed Kaleo’s father, standing upright in his fresh-pressed uniform with Kaleo beside him.

Kisa’s father wrapped an arm around her mother’s waist, leading her out of the room. Kisa gave Lila a quick hug and followed behind, being sure to walk in what she hoped was a regal manner. Walking past the windows allowed her to view the enormous crowd gathered in the quad underneath. It overwhelmed Kisa, and suddenly she found her dress suffocating.

It took longer than expected for them to reach the balcony where the royal family would be standing. Aunt Daeva was surprisingly awaiting them, her face stoic despite the special occasion. However, when Kisa drifted past her, she detected a sarcastic smirk as her aunt looked down onto her.

The warm sunlight welcomed her, but the deafening cheers made it slightly less enjoyable. She was honored for the citizen’s respect and belief in her, but she never liked having her actions restrained for the public image. Around her, the assorted cheers morphed into one chant: Princess Kisa!

She strode to the center edge of the balcony, her parents on either side of her. Her father started off the ceremony by raising his hand, which immediately silenced the crowd. However, he didn’t speak, but instead, placed his hand back to his side and stared up towards the sky. Everyone followed suit, including Kisa, who suspected the Goddess was to come soon.

A moment later, a bright star-like object flashed through the sky towards the spectators and hosts. Kisa quickly turned away, the intense light causing another headache and a swift bout of nausea.

It was until she could render darkness behind her closed eyes, that she dared to open them.

“Oh my sol.” In front of her was the Goddess of Estacre herself, with delicate wings sprouting from her back and white shimmering hair sweeping side to side. Her gentle eyes met Kisa’s and she flew towards her with grace similar of a butterfly. Her hands outstretched, a swirl of white light formed around it, and a draped crown manifested from it when they cleared up.

“Princess Kisa Auclair Laurel. Today marks the day you will turn 16 and receive your skill, completing the process of rightfully becoming the Crown Princess of Estacre. With this crown comes the responsibility of protecting your people and maintaining the unity among the kingdoms. With your necklace, comes a personal gift from me, a second skill that will come to based on you. Your personality. Your actions. Everything.”

She ended the elaborate speech by draping the crown over Kisa’s head, in which the moment she did so, Kisa could catch a glimpse of her necklace glowing. Suddenly, a pain overcame her, causing her to grip the railing besides her. Almost doubling over, she saw swirls of bright light, similar to that of the Goddess’ earlier, forming beneath her. Slowly, she felt herself being lifted up towards the sky, her grip released from the railing and now moved to the skirt of her dress.

White flashed appeared in her vision, the people underneath now blurred and her own screams muted to her ears. She didn’t know whether the crowd was still cheering, or if it was the constant ringing in her ears. Everything burned, from her shoulder blades to her feet themselves.

Suddenly, her vision grew completely black, replaced with a strong and powerful sensation as it flooded throughout her bones. She felt something sprout from her back and energy emerging from her fingertips. It was the feeling where she could rule the world right then had she desired so.

She shut her eyes, welling them to open with her remaining energy, hoping that she could finally see again. Beneath her, she saw a multitude of gaped mouths, with only the Goddess looking towards her with admiration. Kisa desperately looked around, wanting to find a way to descend, but that was the moment she saw them– White feathered wings.

“How– how is this possible?”

Her eyes darted to the other side, where she was met with the same result. A look at her hands amazed her further, with wisps of white light spiraling around them. Unexpectedly, cheers erupted from the ground once again, with the Goddess, making her way to Kisa.

“No! You fools! This wasn’t supposed to happen! Kisa looked down to see her aunt quaking, her face contorted with unflattering rage. She screamed, a blanket of darkness enveloping her, until what was left was a dark-winged woman, who would have been radiant were it not for the constant darkness encircling her. In the opposite direction, a shriek pierced her ears, where a woman pointed to the forest. From it, emerged an army of beasts, many similar to that to the one she and Kaleo had fought the previous day.

As if today was decided for emotions to conflict one another, a wicked chortle came from her aunt as she flew over to the army, floating above the center of them all.

“Katherine! Ever since I was born, my destiny was to receive nothing! I was always in your shadow! And now you–” Her pale finger pointed towards Kisa at the moment the Goddess arrived besides her, resting a hand upon her shoulder.

“You little wretch. You don’t deserve the power of Light, not after what your parents have done to me! I should be the most powerful.” A dark smile crossed her face, her eyes closed for a second until they opened up, filled with manic. “No worries though, for I now have the skill of the dark. Thanks to a certain deal I made, I’m now one of the most powerful of them all and I certainly don’t need some stupid codazic!”

She rose higher, dark spheres forming underneath her palms. “It’s time. To destroy you Katherine, and you dear wretched Kisa. I hardly doubt you’ll be able to strike back with your inexperience. Now my beasts, attack!”

With a familiar guttural howl, her aunt’s creatures charged towards the castle. Chaos commenced in all directions, and frightened screams pierced through the air. Kisa saw a bright flash in the direction of the castle, prompting her to look in the direction of it. Before she knew it, her parents burst through the light, transformed into warrior-like apparel.

“Guards!” her father boomed. “Attack!”

Without hesitation, her parents leaped from the balcony and joined the ensuing battle, her father manipulating strands of electricity and her mother, shards of ice. They directed it to the surrounding creatures, death befalling many with one blow.

“Princess Kisa we must get you out of here.”

She turned around, forgetting that the Goddess was behind her during all this. “But we have to help! I can’t stay up here forever–”

If she had something else to say, it would have to fight its way out when she saw a sight that silenced her. There, amidst the horde of bodies, swords, and knights, she spotted the one individual she wished wasn’t involved. “Kaleo!”

Kaleo glanced up to see Kisa above him, desperately reaching out, as if she could touch his hand if she believed so. He was about to return her name, to will her to safety, but then, he felt a hard force slam into his body. He slammed into the base of the castle, red drops dripping onto the ground from an multiple sources on his upper body. It raised its paw to strike again, but this time, Kaleo didn’t have a weapon to defend with. Instead, he screwed his eyes shut and accepted fate.

Perhaps it was the shock. Maybe her powers had kicked in. Whatever it was, she found herself besides Kaleo with a despairing cry resonating around the area. A burning rage flowed through her bones, and before she knew it, daggers of pure light spanned across her. With a flick of her hand, they all went flying towards the beast and the others near it, causing all to crumple down instantaneously. She fell against Kaleo, raising him up with newfound strength.

“Kisa!”

Her breathing heavy, she glanced up to see her parents sprinting in her direction with the Goddess beside, fending off anything that got in their way. Before she could call out– Before she could take a single step to shorten the distance– Kisa felt a beam hit the centerpiece of her crown, and the sky above her opened up to an array of stars with a pair of worried brown eyes in the corner of her vision, where it closed off to complete darkness soon after.


Featured Image – image HypnoArt 2016© (CC0 1.0)

 

Love For A Minute, Fight For A Lifetime

Do I have to explain the desire? The lust I felt when his kisses traced down my neck?

Do I have to explain the pain that came after? The constant battles that I suited up for even though, the armor chipped away in less than a minute?

“Hey Seraphina! Wait up!”

Elisse was approaching her from behind, her face red from her previous soccer session. Seraphina hesitated for a moment, contemplating on whether she wanted to sprint ahead and tease her later, or spare her. She deserves a break after today though.

“Are you going to Michelle Lee’s party tonight? I heard it was going to be the bomb! All the sports captains are confirmed to be going except you.”

“I don’t know if it’s my type E. Besides, I’m pretty tired from teaching the new freshmen how to throw punches and kicks. I don’t want to risk anymore pain by wearing heels.”

“You don’t have to! You can wear your flats instead! I know you have a whole closet of shoes Ser, don’t lie to me. Now please? Can’t you do it for me just this once? I need a wing girl dude!”

Seraphina looked towards the opposite direction, knowing that if she were to look towards Elisse, she’ll be tempted by her puppy-dog eyes. Even her whining was already getting to her. If anything, she might agree just to get E off her back.

“Fine, I’ll go if you quit bothering me E. Deal?”

“Deal! Yay! But can I help you get ready?”

“No, I can take care of it. Besides, I have homework to do and I can never focus with you.”

With a pout, Elisse stomped off and Seraphina was free to walk home in peace. It was only on Fridays that she got to enjoy this liberty. Her parents had always been so fearful of her getting kidnapped that she was always picked up by her personal limo driver. It was only recently that she got to walk home by herself, but even so, she knew there were hidden security guards around her. Sure, it made her feel safer, but she wasn’t the Queen of Boxing at Miriam High School for no reason. Honestly, she could do a much better job than any of the security guards assigned to her.


“Madame, it’s nice to see you home.”

Kicking off her shoes, she approached what once was her parents’ master bedroom. It has since turned into an altar for them and she promised herself that she would give them the respect and love they deserve even after they crossed the border of light.

“Mom. Dad. I wish you were with me still. It’s been a good day so far, but we’ll see. Dad, the company is doing well and mom, I wish you were here to guide me with your advice. I’ll update you tonight after a party I’m going to. Try not to worry too much.”

Sighing Seraphina stood up, and left for her own bedroom, wincing slightly as she put weight onto her left leg, her weakest point in the ring. The pain and workload tempted her to call Elisse and cancel their date tonight, but she knew she couldn’t disappoint her. After all, Elisse had been her closest friend for the last 10 years.


It was a quarter to seven when she finished her homework, where taking 3 hours for the assignments was an average time span for her. For others, it was god’s speed. Suddenly, her bell chimed, an indication of a text message. Pulling it up, a text from Elisse read: I’m coming to pick you up in 30 minutes! Better be ready Ser… 🙂


“Hey you should let me raid your closet sometime again Ser. Your outfits are the best and you never seem stressed planning them out. They just do the work for you.”

“Keep your eyes on the road E. The last time I was in a car with you, you almost hit a tree.”

“Hey! You promised to never mention that again! Hmph I’d like to see you drive a car one day.”

Just as she finished her sentence, the car screeched to a stop. Ser looked up to see to see flashing lights and the peaks of Michelle’s mansion. Every curb was lined with cars and she could already sense Elisse starting to cuss under her breath. Closing her eyes, she leaned back against the car seat and decided to enjoy the soothing sounds of Elisse’s ranting.

It took about 30 minutes for a parking space to be freed up, and another 10 for them to make it to the entrance of the house. Honestly, Seraphina didn’t mind, it just meant less time socializing with people. As one of the most esteemed individual at the high school, she always finds herself to be at the center of attention, and for once, she wished she got a break from the standards set.

“Seraphina! The Queen of Miriam High ladies and gentlemen!”

She had barely made it through to the bar before the crowd erupted into cheers at the sight and sound of her name announced. E had already gone off in the opposite direction, conversing with the other team captains. All Seraphina wanted though was a nice non-alcoholic drink and a nice corner on the balcony that wasn’t taken up with a couple making out.


*chime*

– Hey Ser, I found the rest of the soccer team and other sports captains! We’re going out to eat dinner! You’re welcome to join us!

– No thanks

– Okay then! I’m going to dash, and wish me luck on this hunky dude from Frederick High I found! Remember to call your driver to pick you up when you’re done. Ciao!”

Downing her 4th safe mango margarita, she stared out at the night sky for a final time. The stars ahead were so far, yet so near, and when she reached out she felt as though she was one step closer to something meaningful.

“The stars are truly beautiful tonight, don’t you think? There’s so much promise that lies within each of them.”

Seraphina whipped around, meeting the gaze of a black-haired male. From the angle they were standing at, the shadows and balcony lights made it hard for her to make out his face. His green eyes glinted in the night sky, with a delicate smile brushed on his face.

“Do I know you?” She clutched the margarita glass, prepared to strike if she needed to.

He stepped forward where a shaft of light beamed from the moon, allowing her to recognize the figure as Kun Mik. He attended Frederick High, a high school for the guys compared to Miriam’s. He was every girl’s dream, and even for some guy’s. He wasn’t another rich, snobby kid like Michelle, but the heir of a law firm instead. With that, he held more money than Seraphina herself. He was also only 2 points behind Seraphina last time on the final exam and was the captain of the boy’s boxing team. Rumors had always paired the two up together, but this was the first time she got a close look at him.

“Admiring what you see?” he asked with a smirk.

“Keep dreaming boy.”

Seraphina turned to walk back inside, but he instantly grabbed her wrist. She glared at him as he realized his mistake and instantly released her.

“I’m sorry, I just wanted a chance to talk to you. Please forgive me. I only wanted to put a name and picture to an individual. At least spend some time with me, please?”

“If you want, you can escort me to the door, but try a move like that again and I’ll break your wrist.”

“Of course Ms. Wong. I wouldn’t dare cross you. Hey has that ever happened before? I heard someone challenged you once.”

“Yea…she couldn’t walk for two days afterwards though.”

“Hahaha as expected!”


Their conversation lasted much longer than she had expected, seeing as he waited for her until her driver arrived. He even arrived to the point where he could ask for her number without it being awkward. Seraphina smiled to herself as she read over his latest texts, which included a good night with a smiling emoji next to it. Turning off the lamp, she slipped under the covers, thinking that something was surely going to blossom from this.


“And the winners are Seraphina Wong and Kun Mik! Give a round of applause for our representatives for the sibling schools! These two will now face Karell’s and Lilac’s High finalists for the shot at the gold crowns that Miriam and Frederick High now holds. Now everyone, please take a break and the final match will take place half an hour from now.”

Seraphina wiped the sweat dripping down from her face, as she gazed over to Kun who was doing the same thing. The King and the Queen were what they were referred to now. Before Seraphina knew what was happening, she had started a relationship with Kun and now, she was in the final boxing match she would ever compete in for her high school. Soon, it’ll be a boxing college for Kun and her, and a soccer college for Elisse. However, her now magical journey with Kun would still continue on, and she couldn’t wait for her chance to finally experience true love.

“Hey there,” Kun whispered raspily as he wrapped his arms around her waist. “It’s the final match Ser. You ready?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be.”

“And Frederick and Miriam High continues to keep their gold crowns! Congratulations to King Kun and Queen Seraphina!”


With that, the rest of high school blew by as quick as the final match had ended. College began soon afterwards and even that sped by as though time seemed to be skipping instead of walking normally. By now, it was their last week at college. Day by day Kun grew to love her more and she felt herself opening up to him, especially when he saw her parents’ altar. He seemed to be the only one, besides Elisse, to understand her and treat her as a normal human being. Their wealth and social standing never became a topic and Seraphina was extremely content with the way they were. Also, even though they’ve been separated, Seraphina still kept in contact with Elisse and their relationship remained stable and caring all these years.

“Are these your father’s medals?” Kun asked as he investigated the different pins and stars.

“Yea, he was in the military. What was supposed to be his last mission was also the day my mother fell to her heart.” Seraphina stood up and stood beside him, stroking her father’s smiling face, as he cuddled a bundle of a screaming baby.

“Yea… I know how you feel Ser. However, mine were struck down by a drunk driver. It gave me satisfaction when I locked him away, and even more when he was picked on and beaten by his fellow inmates. I know that’s bad, but you can’t blame me.”

“No I really can’t.” She stared at an often beaming face that was now laced with haunted memories.

“Ser, promise me we’ll always be by each other’s side.” He gripped her hand, his eyes still focused on her parents’ belongings.

“I promise you Kun.”

“Ser? Ser? SER!”

She jolted as a hand laid on her shoulder, and was prepared to toss them over her shoulder.

“Whoa hey wait! It’s me honey.”

She stared into the green eyes she had grown to be addicted to. Was it wrong of her to fall in such love so soon? Of course, she didn’t really know. She just wished her mother was still here to give her advice. As she questioned herself, she let go of his hand and smiled apologetically.

“You know, if you had broken my arm, I wouldn’t have been able to do this.” Kun smiled devilishly as he knelt down onto one knee. However, his smug smile morphed into a concentrated frown once his knee hit the cement.

“Darling, just what are you doing?” Just as the last word escaped her mouth, she found herself covering it with both hands as he pulled out a red velvet box.

“Seraphina, you’ve made me the happiest man these past years. You’ve opened my eyes up to a whole new world and you’ve introduced me to a love that I’ve never experienced before. Now I want to save my words for the wedding vows, so all I have to say now is that I love you. Will you marry me?”


3 years… It only took 3 years for everything to change. The first year of their marriage was incredibly wonderful, with the both of them becoming professional boxers, as well as maintaining their other empires. Seraphina had also moved in with Kun, allowing Elisse to take control of her house and staff, though she visited once in awhile to pray at the altar. However, it was that fatal moment during the second year that had forced a new personality to emerge.

“And the former champion Kun Mik has lost his title to Mryan White! The King must give up his crown to a new one in town! All hail Mryan!”

“Mryan! Mryan! Mryan! Mryan! Mryan!”

With that, Kun spiraled down a path no one would have ever predicted, and Seraphina was trapped in the middle of it all. Brandy, whiskey, vodka. It was one or the others that she would smell on his breath when he came home from late nights out. However, there were times when her nose would be too swollen to smell it, as his fist connected with her face. One can be absolutely powerless when their fists have been beaten by metal bats and the butt of a pistol.

“Kun please stop, please.”

“Shut up Seraphina! Shut up or I swear I’ll shoot!.” He continued to down his whiskey bottle, with the other hand holding a gun with blood dripping from the butt of the handle.

“Kun I beg you, come to your senses. You can’t keep doing this to yourself. Don’t you see?! You’re killing yourself!”

In a last ditch attempt, she lunged for his whiskey bottle and tried to wrangle him into submission with her recently healed hands. However, they’ve been fractured and broken so many times that they’ve grown to become weak, and of course she would have to say that they were a result of an accident. She had managed to knock the bottle out of his hand, but found herself spiraling into darkness soon after.

She woke up to what seemed like hours later, only to find him on top of her, staring menacingly with equally dazed eyes as hers.

“NO STOP PLEASE! KUN!”

It was now the third year into their marriage and Seraphina was close to 120 pounds as her stomach was near to its bursting point.

“There there my dear. We’re going to meet aunt Elisse today at the coffee shop. Just relax okay?”

It would be the first time in months she would be able to see her best friend. Kun had been drafted to fight in the war 7 months ago and Seraphina finally found some time to heal. However, the new love of her life reminded her of the burden she carried each day.


“Ser, how are you doing my dear?” Elisse questioned as she carefully embraced Seraphina.

“I’m fine and the baby’s doing alright. She’s been pretty calm. I’ve decided on a name too. What do you think about Stella?”

“I love it! Anyway, it’s time to get to the point to why we’re here darling. Are you committed to this plan? It’s my duty as a friend to help you, but you have to trust me.”

“Yes Elisse, I’ve made a decision. However, you have to promise me something else now. Promise me you’ll beat the bastard at his own game. He’s a great lawyer and I know many that have been going against him for years and haven’t won. This is your first official case, so promise me. PROMISE ME THAT YOU’LL WIN!”


“AHHHH! MAKE IT STOP!”

“Push Mrs. Mik, you’re almost there!”

“Come on Seraphina. You’ve felt worse pain than this before. Just get the baby out.”

She glared at the man that once held her heart. He even had the audacity to hold her hand, putting on a play for the hospital staff.

No worries Kun. You can put on this act as much as you want, but you’ll get what’s coming to you soon enough.

“One more push Mrs. Mik!”

“AHHHH!”


“Congratulations Mrs. Mik. You’ve won the right to divorce Mr. Mik and we’ll see to it that you have full custody over your child and he’s sent to prison for life without the possibility of parole. Due to his skills of being a lawyer, he’s released several drug dealers he defended, back onto the streets for large sums of money. Not to mention, he also abused and sexually assaulted you. However, you can finally relax now. You’ve done a great job hanging on and I wish you the best of luck ma’am.”

With tears in her eyes, she shook the hand of the judge and embraced Elisse with all her might. Finally, she would be free to carry out the life she deserved with Stella.

One day Stella, you’ll grow up to understand that everything happened for a reason. However, I hope you learn to love mommy’s company and forget about the man that was with you when I brought you into this world. For now, we can be each other’s strengths.

*vring vring*

Seraphina frowned confusedly at the private number before picking it up. “Hello? You’ve reached Seraphina Mik. How may I help you?”
“Hello Mrs. Mik. This is Officer Meades. I’m terribly sorry to inform you that the nanny you hired, Claire Clie, and your daughter, Stella Mik, have been struck down by a drunk driver when crossing the street. They died on scene…  Hello? Mrs. Mik? Are you still there?”

 

Thanks for reading story fanatics and I hope you have a great rest of the week! Also, just go where your imagination takes you and new worlds will reveal themselves!

Featured Image – photo Michelle Robinson 2015© (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
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So Red Riding Hood Has Fallen for the Wolf After All (Scarlet Book Review)(Minor Spoilers Ahead)

Hey story fanatics! Long time no see! For today’s post, I’m back with another book review. I know what you’re thinking… Finally psychfinale I never thought you were going to post another one of these! To that, I say don’t worry because I have read over these books multiple times and I want to be able to spread the joy I felt when reading them.

Scarlet is the second book in The Lunar Chronicles series, in which it is a sequel to Cinder. This book is a science fiction that includes romance and dystopian worlds. I would highly recommend it for readers between the ages of 14-20, though technically, any age group can read it. Like the previous book, Marissa Meyer is the author, incorporating her creative, yet violent worlds yet again. Despite new characters being introduced, and their presence being enhanced in this book, Marissa did not leave the previous characters out. Instead, they served to play roles that further drove the story.

As the book suggests, the character introduced is Scarlet, the counterpart of Red Riding Hood. However, with Red Riding Hood present, the Big Bad Wolf cannot be far behind. In this case, the Big Bad Wolf turns out to be an adorable yet awkward fighter going by the name of Wolf, but his real name is unknown towards the beginning. Unlike the classic fairytale, Meyer placed a common yet satisfying twist, where Scarlet and Wolf display instant chemistry when meeting each other for the first time. Throughout the story, their relationship deepens and we can see how even the Big Bad Wolf has a hidden and heartbreaking past. In addition to Scarlet and Wolf, a multitude of characters are introduced, such as Throne, Wolf’s brother, and other thaumaturges (authorities of the Lunar government).

In my opinion, Scarlet flows extremely well, but is generally more calm and less blood-curdling than Cinder. Cinder was based on the tale of Cinderella, where readers can expect the cruel treatment Cinder, the main character, will receive from her family. Though Red Riding Hood’s plot is generally still intact, it focuses on both the journey for Scarlet to reach her grandmother, but what the tough, female heroine will feel for her classic mortal enemy. I cannot stress how good this book is, but it may not be too exciting for readers who usually read action-packed novels. In this case, I am one of those readers, in which I believe that this book receives a 4/5 only because I wished there was an event that really punched me in the guts and caused me to feel a strong emotion towards the characters, whether it’s pain or happiness. The reason for this is because the characters are all living in a dystopian world, where danger lurks at almost every corner.

Overall, I fully recommend you guys to pick this book up at your nearest bookstores since it consists of a well-written plot and an all-around interesting concept. It’s also quite noticeable since it consists of a black background with a red cloak spanning across, which is pretty mesmerising.

A Flick of the Stylus (Part 1)

     The sound of the pattering rain against the window broke Arielle’s concentration for the first time since she woke up. Her stylus was still midway, trying to sketch out the perfect dragon possible. They were always her weakest drawings, where they might have looked good, but they weren’t fit for fighting. A crooked wing or an elongated tail could be the noticeable key point in taking it down, and her little sister Sapphire was always there to prove so. Sighing, Arielle leaned back in her chair, staring at the ceiling, with the stylus clutched tightly in her hand. Sapphire… The name was like poison to her ears, with her parents immediately doting over her the minute she was born. Meanwhile, Arielle was casted aside like a piece of trash. Though Sapphire lived with money showering over her head, Arielle always had to fend for herself.

     Arielle set her stylus down on the desk, and stood up, tired of the pity party she was giving herself. Suddenly, the alarm clock on her bedside table chimed, indicating that it was 7 A.M. She groaned internally, as school was just another place where she was still overshadowed by Sapphire.

     She quickly threw on her school uniform and combed her hair, giving a quick glance over herself in the vanity mirror. Her bright red, pink, and purple hair brought out the ocean blue in her eyes, and though she was seen has one of the prettiest girls in the school, she couldn’t beat Sapphire whose deep blue hair complimented her deep blue eyes.

     Grabbing her tablet and stylus after saving the dragon sketch, she stuffed them into her backpack. With that, she headed out the bedroom door and descended the stairs to the kitchen, where the rest of her family was eating porridge by the kitchen counters.

     “Arielle… you were late coming down for breakfast, so there’s only a granola bar left for you by the door,” her mother said, not looking up from her breakfast.

     “If only you would wake up earlier sis ,” sneered Sapphire, her blue eyes glaring at Arielle. “But everyone knows you aren’t capable of most things, and this isn’t an exception.”

     The last comment barely reached Arielle’s ears, as she had already reached the door, being sure to grab the sad granola bar on the writing desk. Honestly, she would’ve refused it altogether, but she knew she wouldn’t have anything to eat until supper came along. The rain had stopped, yet the air was crisp and cold against her face as she made her way to school, hopping over potholes in the road and ducking under multiple fence posts through the same shortcut she’s been taking for 14 years. It was only 8:00 A.M. when she made it to the Renee Cordier Private School of the Virtual Art District. Despite the chilly weather, Arielle proceeded to sit down on the stone bench behind the school, known only to those who were brave enough to wander around.

     “Time for a little music…” Arielle mused as she quickly drew up a few violins, a cello, and a grand piano in a few seconds.

     As soon as she hit the play button, the pixelated instruments started to form before her very eyes. With a few adjustments and modifications on her tablet, they soon began to play together, each instrument in harmony with the other.

     “How fascinating. I didn’t know your students were this talented dear Evelyn.”

     Arielle gasped as she whipped her head around, coming face to face with the Headmistress Evelyn with Queen Vera Raine beside her.

     “Your majesty,” she said, dropping into a curtsy, before straightening and bowing to the Headmistress.

     “I have to say child, you are one of the fastest artists I’ve ever seen, not to mention that your art is simply beautiful,” commented Queen Vera, whose voice was unusually sweet, though Arielle could sense a malicious tone beneath it. However, before she could further pinpoint the true message beneath the comment, a request entered her mind. “Won’t you draw a few animals for me dear?”

     With another curtsy, Arielle quickly drew up a unicorn, pegasus, a lion, and a larger than life tiger. They formed with the colors of the stars, translucent with gold lines to indicate that they were still prancing around before them. It only took a few more strokes of the stylus until they truly had the colors of the galaxy. The purple, blue, and red swirled together, giving each creature a sense of elegance as they all leaped over one another, surrounding their artist and her superiors. Everybody had their own signature colors and these were Arielle’s. They represented the space beyond the world, where she would be able to express her art without the fear of them hidden behind the shadows of her sister’s art.

     “Bravo! Bravo!”

     Queen Vera seemed genuinely delighted while Headmistress Evelyn gave a soft smile with a nod of approval towards Arielle.

     “Oh how rude of me darling, what’s your name?”

     Arielle momentarily took her eyes off Headmistress Evelyn and looked at Queen Vera. “It’s Arielle Luna, Your Majesty.”

     “Oh Arielle, that’s a wonderful name indeed. Say, do you want to compete in the Midnight Trials? You have the skills and more to compete! Why, a person of your talents should not let them go to waste!”

     Arielle’s eyes widened in shock, for she had never imagined herself competing in the Midnight Trials. They were a brutal game, formed when the founders of the Virtual Art District had wanted to prove their skills in virtual art, in which they went to the virtual world at midnight. Only one could be worthy of being the best artist, and they had hoped to prove that by killing each other using their creations. This spanned for a couple of weeks until the only player left was Raymond, who took the role of King. With a taste for blood without risking his own life yet again, he created the Midnight Trials, where he recruited 23 of the best artists to compete against one another, drawing wonderful images that would come to life and attack one another, until only one individual was left standing. That person would then obtain a coin, be transported back to reality, and throw their coin into the wishing well, having been enchanted with borrowed magic from the Spellcasters District. This wishing well was only open to the victor and would allow them to make one wish. Though Arielle had always wanted a chance to wish for a better life, she didn’t possess all the skills needed in order to win.

     “Queen Vera, though it’s an honor, I’m afraid I have to refuse,” Arielle said, yet the moment the last word left her mouth, the Queen seemed to flinch, her hand gripping her own tablet harder.

     “Now Arielle, are you sure you don’t want to compete?” Queen Vera’s voice seemed to harden as she sauntered over to Arielle, circling her. “It’s a great opportunity to change how you want your life to be from now on. Besides, your sister already accepted my offer and it would be shame to see her beat you yet again. Take the chance Arielle, you can be destined for greatness and finally overshadow your sister…”

     As the last sentence was whispered in her ear, Arielle felt herself tensing up. The thought of beating Sapphire was tempting… perhaps too tempting.

     The queen straightened as she stared down onto Arielle’s eyes. “I expect to receive your letter of acceptance two days from now. Prepare yourself Arielle, the competition starts in one week.” She glanced back at Headmistress Evelyn. “I expect you to fill Arielle in on the rules Evelyn. She’ll need it.”

     With that, Queen Vera walked off, her guards rushing to her side from unknown locations. They were trained well, able to blend into their surroundings without anyone knowing.

     “Come Ms. Luna, I need to give you the rulebook,” Headmistress Evelyn announced, shifting Arielle’s attention to her that was trained on the retreating queen and guards earlier.

     Arielle quickly turned off her tablet and strolled behind Evelyn as they made their way up to the office. News spread quickly in the school and glances were sent her way as the students murmured to each other. Finally, the two reached the safety of Evelyn’s office.

     “Sit down Ms. Luna,” Evelyn said, as she shut the large oak doors to keep from others’ prying eyes and ears. Her cape swept along the carpet and as she reached into her desk drawer, Arielle made her way to one of the chairs in front of the desk. The rule book was placed before Arielle, who wasted no time in grabbing it. She flipped through the yellowed pages, noticing how this rule book already had highlights through the words and bookmarks along its sides.

     “That book belonged to my daughter, Melody. I think you’d have liked her,” the headmistress murmured wistfully as she stared at a picture frame on her desk.

     “May I ask what happened to her?” Arielle asked, diverting her attention from the book to Evelyn.

     “Because of that damn queen! Like you, Melody was forced to enter after Queen Vera saw her skills, yet she certainly wasn’t as good as the other contestants who displayed far more superior skills. In the end, she was struck down when the other contestants ganged up on her, something I’ll never forget.”

     By the time Evelyn had uttered the last sentence, she was shaking with rage. Her face was contorted as she reminded herself of the horrific events that took her daughter away from her. It lasted that way for a few minutes, and as sad as Arielle was, she was getting quite uncomfortable too. What could she say though? However, she didn’t have to ponder about a possible solution for too long, as Evelyn suddenly raised her head to look Arielle straight in the eye.

     “Ms. Luna, I will train you, but on one condition, you must win the competition.”

     “But my sister, Sapphire, will also be in the competition. She’s a much better artist that I am, not to mention more ruthless.”

     “Your sister is an exact replica of your mother, a heartless creature. I’ve seen how Sapphire treats you and your mother will certainly train her to overcome everyone without a single thought about you. She’ll sacrifice her own daughter in a flash, just like how she murdered her best friend’s daughter.”

     “Headmistress Evelyn, you must be mistaken! My mother’s skills aren’t as great as those of Sapphire’s and she most certainly has never killed anyone!”

     “That’s where you’re wrong Ms. Luna. SHE WAS THE ONE WHO KILLED MELODY AND I SWEAR BY THE ROYAL CROWN THAT I’LL GET REVENGE ON HER!”

     “Headmistress please calm down. Please…”

     It took Evelyn a few moments to catch her breath, and she regained her posture quite quickly, though new tears were brimming along her eyes. “Ms. Luna, you’re a sweet girl with a big heart. I’d hate to see you die from someone who has tortured you constantly, with the help of one who has tortured me. So, I suggest you take up my offer.”

     Arielle was speechless. Did her cruel mother actually do that? There wasn’t much of a benefit for Evelyn to lie. For the first time in forever, she was given a chance for her to free herself. Was it worth it? Was it worth it for the weight on her shoulders to fade? Was it worth it to avenge Melody’s death? Nonetheless, she knew what had to be done.

     “Yes. Headmistress, I accept your offer.”