Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bridge

by Lisa Kwan

Written for: The Writer's Tower
Theme: Bridge (December)


BRRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrr.
BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Brrrrrr-brrrr-brrrr.

A million tiny pins were poking me in the eyes and I just didn’t want to open them and risk…more tiny pins poking me in the eyes. But the doorbell wouldn’t stop ringing.
With much effort, I managed to sit up, eyes still shut. My head was pounding like the bass beat at the club last night playing Oppa Gangnam Style.
But it could also be the pounding on my door at the moment.
A muffled: “Dad? Daddddddd. Wake up, Dad!”
The nausea returned. Oh my god. What time was it?
I stood up too quickly and almost blacked out from the vertigo. When my vision stabilized, I realized my apartment looked like a hurricane had gone through it and left all the debris behind. I guess I’d gone a little too crazy with the boys last night after our clubbing and chicks-I-could-totally-bang session back at my place. Resigned, I went to get the door instead.
“Dad?” My ten-year-old son looked up at me, relief and annoyance mixed on his face. “Thought you were dead, or something,” he mumbled as he pushed past me towards the living room.
“I’m sorry, son. I…was sleeping.” Stars started playing hide-and-seek before my eyes. I tried to swallow the rancid stench of overnight alcohol and vomit from my breath. And at the same time, swallow that lump of shame and regret down with it.
“You were supposed to pick me up from school. You forgot,” my son accused, eyes glaring. He pushed aside some empty beer cans on the couch and cleared himself a seat.
I glanced at the small alarm clock perched atop an about-to-topple-over pile of clothes and groaned. I’d slept past two o’clock?! He’d probably had to use up his allowance for cab fare to get here, by himself. And I hated the fact that it wasn’t the first time.
My boy picked at a loose thread on the armrest of the couch, silent. I sat down contritely beside him. I felt something squish under my ass, but I didn’t care. I was really sorry.
“I’m sorry, buddy. It won’t happen again, I promise.”
He scooted further away from me, pulling harder at that loose thread. The foam underneath was already partially exposed, rotting and ugly. I had to fix it.
“Whadd’ya say we get a pizza for lunch? We’ll get anything you want, stuffed crust and all.” I nudged him with my shoulder and noticed his lips fighting the urge to smile. And I resisted the urge to do the same.
He sniffed. “You…won’t be forgiven that easily, Dad.” I pulled him into a hug, which he pretended to get out of. “I know.” I wasn’t a good enough dad; that much I knew, and that made me sick to my stomach. But it felt good to hold my son. We sat in a comfortable silence.
“I want Hawaiian Chicken with extra cheese and stuffed crust. And barbecue wings.” I laughed and got up to make the order.
“And don’t forget the onion rings!”

***

“So…did you have a good time?” I asked, hesitantly. I was always worried. Worried my son would one day lose those rose-tinted hero glasses through which he saw his father—and I would be left to try to put the pieces back together.
“It was fun. We had pizza.” “Oh, really?” “Yeah, with stuffed crust. Stuffed crust is the best. And chicken wings. And onion rings. Hey, that rhymes!”
“So it does!” I chuckled along with him.
“Tell me about school today.” “Ooh, Mum, today in Science we learned about frogs and did you know frogs started as tadpoles that look like little black fishies and then they grow legs? And then Mrs. Raj said…” He happily launched into his I-don’t-need-to-take-breaths telling of his school day, which I absolutely loved. Reminds of when he was little and he’d go all red in the face when he told his stories.
“Oh, yeah. Um, Mum…” “Yeah, hon?” “The new Archie comic is out.” “Uh-huh.” “I think I kinda need an advance on my allowance.”
I stopped at the traffic light and turned towards him. “Why? I thought I’d given you your allowance on Monday?” “Don’t be mad, Mum, but I…kinda already spent it.” “On what, exactly?” “I…don’t want to tell you.”
He refused to look at me, but started peeling bits of skin from the sides of his nails. My mind whirled with the possibilities that he wouldn’t tell me about. Toys? Sweets? Porn?
Or…something to do with his dad. Somehow, I knew I was right. And that made my blood boil. He’s been a jerk of a husband; that I can forgive. But not a jerk of a father to our son. I believe I’ve given him enough chances.
As the traffic light turned green again, I opened my mouth to say something about that no-good father of his. “You know wh—”
“I’m sorry, Mum. It won’t happen again. I promise.”
He looked genuinely sorry, as if he had committed the worst sin in the world. When I knew he hadn’t.
I sighed. “Tell me about your day with Dad.” He looked up then, delighted. Not even surprised by the change in topic. I stole glances at him as he regaled me with what other little misadventures he’d had with his dad that day, and I couldn’t deny how his eyes lit up. I couldn’t.
“And then Dad says, ‘But you left your head!’ and I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants, Mum, it was so funny Dad is always telling me funny jokes do you wanna hear another one, Mum? A rabbi walks into a bar…”

I looked straight ahead, comforted by the sound my son’s laughter and soothing voice as he talked on and on about his father. I guess I could give him one more chance. Just one more.

© COPYRIGHT LISA KWAN 2014

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Someone I Admierer

by Lisa Kwan

Written for: The Writer's Tower
Theme: Comedy (October)


XXX Univeresty
Asignement 3: Essy
Marks: 50

Someone I Admierer
By Li Yan

There are many poeple in this world. Some people are good people, but some people are the bad people. Good people is good for the world. They is make the world good. But the bad people always making the world bad. always got the fight and killing and cut the queue. I think that the bad people is bad and not good in the world. On the other hand, more and more good people should become, so world is more good. One people is the someone I admier, she is my teachr. There have three reason I like she: beatifull, clever and good.
My teacher techer she name is Miss Ling. She is very beatiful. She is most beatidful techer in the world. She eyes round and big. Like a moon. She got a small nose too. Small nose is very cut. She also have a face. She face is magic. I see she face, I smil smell. She smell, I also can smell. She also have the good body. She body very thin and long. Like modell. I wish I like she body. Maybe I also can become a modell. She hair also long and kerl kler crel not strait. I think girl got not strait hair is very pretty.
Anothr, Mis Ling is clever. She is very smart. Because she like reading a book. She always readig a book. Everyday I see she carryng the books she reading. Sometimes I see the English book like book she useing in my class. Sometiems. it the other book that is very dificult to read. She can tell me do right things and not the wrong things. So I always can do the right things. In our life, always do right things is very improtant. When I have a questions, I always ask she. She also can tell me the answer. Everything I ask she, she can give me answer. That’s why I think she is very clever.
Thrid thing why my techer is the one people I admire, she is good. She is a good people. Many things good, she do. For an examples, she give food to a cat. One day I saw she in the caftreia, she with she friend, a lot of people. A lot of people, it were very noise. Then she go to order a noodles. That noodles is very delicious. A lot of people always go to there buy a noodles. Down the table she sit, suddenly have a cat. The cat is very cut. The cat making the noise like, Please give me the food. She friend tell she don’t give a food to she. But she still giveing to the cat. The cat is very happy. So I say my techer, she very good people.
To sum up, Miss Ling is the one people someone I admierer. Because she is beutifull, clever and good. I think need more and more people like she. She is the most best techer in the world. I think she also the most best techer in universe. Mis Ling, I loveing you very much.


(Miss, I wish you like my essy? I writing about you. And all things I writing is the true things. This my feelings. I hope you can give me the high marks. So I can pass. I want pass so I can go back China. My fathr tell to me I cannot go back China if I not pass. I put in here also have the RM50. RM50 can get the enoff marks to pass???? Thanks you.)


Remarks: There ‘have’ no way I can pass you. Here is RM25 returned. Half total marks = you FAIL. ‘Thanks’ you, too.



© COPYRIGHT LISA KWAN 2014



Author's Note: I was inspired from having marked and read my international students' essay writing. No offence intended, just for fun---they are such dears, but seriously, their writing can make me laugh AND cry. @.@

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Summer Sling

by Lisa Kwan

Written for: The Writer's Tower
Theme: Summer (September)
Bonus words: chewing gum, ice bucket


I stood naked on the beach, everyone staring, laughing, pointing.
Or at least it felt that way.
I don’t know how I let my idiotic friend convince me that swim briefs were the way to get chicks. “Bro, chicks dig the banana sling, bro. Easier for them to assess, if you know what I mean,” he winked at me.
That lame-ass response and wink (who still winks, between dudes no less?!?!) would have been a warning foghorn if I weren’t so desperate. And then that lying two-faced bastard had worn swim shorts.
“You….look….fabulous, bro. Real fab!” He’d greeted me, wiping tears of mirth from his eyes. Which didn’t last long because, in the next moment his face was buried in the hot sand as I tackled him and punched—as hard as I could—where it would hurt him the most.
He groaned so loudly, the people around us turned to look. I ignored his whimpers as I stood up and waved everyone away. What’s done is done, I thought, mentally kicking myself for not thinking to bring a spare. I dusted off the sand stuck to my exposed and embarrassingly pale thighs, self-conscious.
I heard some groups of people giggling behind me and I wished I could just die right there. “Hey, bro! Nice legs!” Snickers.
I whirled around to stare angrily at them but was too humiliated, and ended up pretending to gaze at somewhere further off in the distance. I then gave my friend, who was still doubled over in pain at my feet, another kick in the crotch area, just in case he forgot how mad I was at his prank.
At his yelp of pain, and the growing snickers and chuckles I could hear—or imagined, I had no idea at that point as I could barely lift my head from the self-consciousness—I decided I’d better buy another pair of more-decent swim shorts to change into from one of the vendors. There were plenty of stalls along the beach; I could just grab one, any one. Anything was better than what I was wearing now.
As I walked the short distance to the nearest stall, the sun was blazing hot, with not a cloud in the sky—perfect weather, really, summerlike. The beach was packed with people because of the recent school holidays. So there were plenty of school kids who had come with their parents and even grandparents for a family vacation or day-trip to the beach. Which was really great for me, you see, especially in my “banana sling”.
“See the uncle, so shame-shame one!” “Yerrrrrrr, so geli!” Eruption of giggles and laughter. Disapproving looks from the elderly. “Mei, come here. Don’t look. Not nice to stare.”
Somebody throwing an ice bucket on my head would have been less painful.

I finally reached the stall I had my eye on, which was really eye-catching because of its display of colourful floral swim shorts. They looked cheap and tacky, and I mentally cringed. But another burst of laughter from behind me made me hastily point to a bright-orange pair with white floral patterns and ask, “How much?”
The aunty tending the stall told me it was fifteen ringgit. I didn’t bother to bargain and reached down to touch the right cheek of my behind before I realized I had cleverly left my wallet in my car, where it was parked quite a distance away from where I was due to the crowds.
Obviously, I didn’t have any money on me. (Where else could I have put it?!) So I asked the aunty if she could let me change into the swim shorts first, and then I could run back real quick to my car to get the money and then run back here. She stared at me as if I had blue rubbery skin and tentacles growing out of the side of my head. (I may have been watching one too many sci-fi movies of late.)
Helpless, I turned around to find someone who would kindly lend a stranger-in-a-banana-sling fifteen ringgit to get out of this predicament. To my surprise, a ten and five dollar note were held out to me—in hands belonging to a…chick. No, a babe.
She was pretty, tanned with short hair, a pixie do. Though I preferred my chicks long-haired and fair, she had this aura about her, like she was cool and bad-ass. Maybe because she was furiously chewing gum.
Or because she had a snake tattoo snaking from her mid-belly down to…wherever is behind her bikini bottom.
I—uh—noticed that she was wearing a frilly bright-orange bikini and a smoking hot body. Slim and slender and taut. Wouldn’t I love to pour something hot and sticky all over her and slowly lick it off her—
“Here,” she said simply. I blanched. She pushed the notes into my hand. “Get the bright-orange pair,” she urged. “Then we’d match,” she winked and then crossed her arms beneath her bikini top, accentuating her well-endowed bosom and deep cleavage.
I visibly gulped. “I-I-I—”
“Or maybe,” she looked me up and down, pausing at my banana sling, “you could just keep what you’re wearing right now.” She leaned forward and whispered into my ear, “I think you look delicious,” and stuck her tongue in it!
WHAT. THE. HELL.
Okay, I don’t know how often things like these happen, especially outside of porn movies, but I’m making a wild guess here, like, hm, I don’t know, NEVER?
And when a chick, no, babe like that tells you to keep your banana sling on, YOU DO IT.
“Okay.” I managed to sound mildly indifferent despite me playing “We are the Champions” in my head and thinking I must be making some kind of history for all men worldwide. In my mind, my friend was giving me a standing ovation and slow-clapping.
She nodded her approval and slipped her arms around me to cup my…rear. Gave it a little squeeze. I gasped and held my breath. I had to be dreaming, I had to. But, oh god, please don’t let me wake up now!
“Let’s go…hang out somewhere, shall we?” She batted her eyelashes and licked her lips. “Okay,” I said again, cementing my one-word vocabulary abilities.
And let me tell you, what happened after that, made it the BEST day of my life! I had to treat my bastard of a friend to dinner because he claimed that that babe would never have approached me were it not for the banana sling he had tricked me into wearing.
Honestly, I cannot deny it. Cost me a couple of hundred bucks, that dinner. But bros, I am now a firm believer, and I hope you will be too, that swim briefs are the way to go. Chicks dig the banana sling. Easier for them to assess, if you know what I mean.

(C) COPYRIGHT OF LISA KWAN 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

What a Beautiful Name

by Lisa Kwan

Written for: The Writer's Tower
Theme: Name (August)
Bonus words: mustard, asylum


Paradise.
Her name was Paradise. Indeed, what a beautiful name, he thought. He closed his eyes and he could vividly see her wavy brown locks, the stray strands caught on her moist ruby red lips, her porcelain alabaster skin.
It couldn’t have been a chance encounter. Of all the coffee delivery girls at all the branches of Coffee R Us, it had to be her. Of all the offices in the building, it had to be his. And of the sixty-odd interns at his office, the one with coffee duty today, of all days, had to be him.
He hated coffee duty, because getting coffee for his coffee-crazed superiors was really, he felt, an opportunity. An opportunity to screw up and get yelled at, with your face covered in superior spittle, for the entire department to watch in glee—until it was their turn.
So far, since his six months here, this was his second time on coffee duty, and he hadn’t screwed up. Yet.
Then she had emerged from the elevator like an angel, complete with angelic halo, courtesy of the too-bright lights that lit up the office and made it look like a sterile hospital.
Exchanging the artistically-balanced cups of coffee for cash, he just had to ask.
“What is your name?”
He was sure he must have looked like an idiot, with his mouth hanging open, and his eyes as round as the base of the coffee cups she was holding.
She had smiled when she told him. The I’m-pretending-to-be-shy-but-actually-wouldn’t-mind-you-asking-me-out kind of smile, instead of the I’m-just-being-polite-but-EW-get-away-from-me-you-freak kind. At least he hoped so.
It had to be fate, he thought. I have to see her again.
As he walked off, absentmindedly wondering how she had carried these twenty cups of coffee without spilling them, he made plans. It was a small world. He would find her. Besides, with such a uniquely beautiful name, how many coffee-delivery-girl Paradises can there be?

**

He couldn’t believe she had said yes. He couldn’t believe she had said yes and that she was sitting opposite him across a table filled with pastries, right this moment.
Dressed in a pretty dark blue top and mustard short skirt, he just couldn’t take his eyes off her. And apparently, everyone else in the quaint little pastry shop couldn’t either.
She was perfect. Everything about her was perfect.
When she threw her head back as she laughed, he thought, Paradise. When she licked the pastry crumbs off her fingers, Paradise. When she playfully slapped her hand against his arm, when she announced that she never really liked strawberries anyway, when she dusted some icing sugar off the side of his lips, Paradise, Paradise, Paradise.
She was intoxicating, the smell of her, the sight of her. He wondered about how she would taste. As sweet as she seemed to be?
They talked for hours, way after teatime and well into dinnertime. He suggested they try a Mexican restaurant located near his apartment. She happily agreed.
By the time dinner was over, and their leftover nachos had gone soggy, they were both hopelessly drunk, and horny. How convenient it was that his apartment was just nearby, wasn’t it?
They tumbled into his bedroom in the dark, hands groping each other, hastily and clumsily pulling off articles of clothing. Giggling like schoolgirls. But their lovemaking was anything but.
After she had drifted off to sleep and lay beside him snoring gently, spent, he slipped out of bed, his desire rising once more. From his closet, he pulled out the knife he always kept in a corner, and stood over his sleeping angel, silently watching her chest rise and fall in a rhythm.
As he gently placed the knife by her neck with one hand, he pulled some of her hair up over her head with the other, not wanting her hair to be matted with blood. It would be a bother to wash it off later.
He gave her a light kiss on the top of her forehead, and she stirred. But before she could open her eyes, he slit her throat, quickly and painlessly. Immediately, her entire body went still. He traced a finger down her delicate nose to her lips, still as ruby red as when he’d first met her. Paradise, he whispered.

**

The entire process was tedious, he knew. And required so much patience, which was so difficult considering how impatient he was. Days and hours of waiting. But he also knew, it was utterly and completely worth it.
Over the years, he had perfected the craft, and he could do it with his eyes closed. Slather the entire body with lard. Wrap securely and firmly with a cloth. The longer you wait, the more saturated the lard becomes with the scent it is set with. He had found that three days were the best; any sooner or any longer will yield less than perfect results.
Remove the lard from the body and the wrap, squeezing out as much as you can from the hair as well, so as not to waste. Soak with ethyl alcohol to draw the fragrance from the lard into the alcohol. Finally, distill the mixture to yield beautiful, fragrant perfume.
He held up the translucent yellow glass bottle in his hand, as close as he could find to the colour mustard, in remembrance of their first, well, and final, date. Labeled Paradise, it was filled with the scent of her. He unlocked a glass cupboard located in the corner of his bedroom, which Paradise had unfortunately failed to notice, being as ‘busy’ as she was when she had first entered.
In it, sat rows and rows of glass bottles, of different shapes and sizes and colours. Tall ones, short ones, wide ones, slim ones, those with a round base, or an angular one; shining with all the colours of the rainbow as they reflected the light.
Each one held a label: Angelique, Paz, Phoenix, Willow, Florence, Annabelle, Lexi, Perla, Alexis, Mya, Victoria, Zara, Faith, Bethany, Chrystal, Hollie, Skye, Eve, Alexandra; each one held a name. He carefully placed Paradise between them, already wondering if this one could be his new favourite.
He opened the sealed cap, just a crack, and took a whiff of the fragrance captured within. Like a hallucination, he could see Paradise’ face, sparkling brown eyes, her uninhibited laugh, her white skin.
Oh, how he had fallen for her! Her craziness, her spontaneity, her passion.
Well, now he could keep her forever.

THE END


Note: Story inspired by the 2006 movie Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

911 Emergency

by Lisa Kwan

Written for: The Writer's Tower
Theme: Paradox (July)

911

911!!!!

‘Sup babe?

I need help! It’s an emergency!!! Get over here, STAT!!!!!

Ok. On my way.


I wanted to take my time, going over to Christy’s place. She tends to be…overly dramatic, sometimes. But then again, I didn’t want to be responsible if it were really some emergency. Granted, it probably wouldn’t be her house burning down, or an axe murderer breaking down her front door, but…you can never be sure with Christy.
I sped through a yellow light, hastily overtook a white Peugeot whose driver actually rolled down the window to angrily wave a bright yellow steering lock at me, and finally arrived in front of Christy’s small single-storey terrace in record time, accidentally knocking over a trash bin, spilling its contents—last night’s dinner debris and, oddly, a deflated football.
Half-running, half-jogging, I went up to her door and rang the doorbell.
Christy appeared at the door, her hair disheveled, her eyes sunken, her lipstick smudged, and the shoulder of her blouse had slipped, revealing her smooth cream-coloured skin. My heart sank to the floor. Had something happened?
She pulled me in after her and shut the door, leaving me confused. Her house was in darkness, even though it was mid-afternoon. When my eyes had adjusted to the dim lighting, I noticed her living room looked like she had been robbed. It was a complete mess! Broken glass, things tossed and thrown around. An uneasy feeling settled on my chest.
Christy was mumbling to herself, ambling towards the back of the house, almost as if she had forgotten I was here. I was frankly freaked out. What the hell happened in here? I grabbed her hand and swung her to face me. “Christy, talk to me babe! Are you alright? Are you hurt? Did somebody hurt you?” My voice was rising in panic.
Her eyes were empty, almost unseeing. As I watched, her eyes seemed to clear and she finally looked at me. Really looked at me. “Kel,” she whispered.
“Yes, babe, I’m here.” I pulled her into a tight embrace, gripping her hunched shoulders. I felt a tiny sigh escape her lips, warming a small part of my neck. She’s going to be alright, I think.
I hold her so she is staring right at me, and I made sure she saw me when I said, “Tell me what happened. Everything.”
She silently nodded, but slowly turned around and wandered towards her room. Not knowing what to do, I silently followed.
I found Christy slumped over, sitting on the edge of her bed, which was also strewn with clothes, her bedroom in various disarray; and my head ran through every possible worst case scenario. She was robbed. She was blackmailed. It was the mafia. 
“His eyes reminded me of melted chocolate, the kind you’d dip into and savour as you lick it off, you know?” she said.
She was raped.
“He enrolled into my class only this semester, a late-entry student. He was handsome, oh so handsome. All the girls were talking about him, wondering if he was attached, searching his hands for a ring or, even a trace of a ring. But there was none.” Here, she paused, and looked upwards at the ceiling, smiling. Was that a tear in her eye?
Honestly, she was scaring me more and more by the minute, these crazy mood swings. “Uh-huh,” I said, inching slowly towards her door, ready to bolt at a moment’s notice.
Well, she didn’t notice.
“Out of all the girls in our class, including Mindy, this long-legged skinny bitch, he picked meI can’t understand why.” Her eyes found mine, shining with obvious tears.
“We weren’t even in the same group for the assignment, but he walked up to us, in the midst of discussion, and, with everyone watching—especially that cow, Mindy—he asked me out. For coffee. On Saturday. Me.”
When she crouched over once more and dissolved into hysterical sobs, I braced myself for the worst. Oh no. The jerk. What had he done?
There were so many questions running through my head. When? How? Why? But, did it matter now? Did it matter at all?
I tentatively maneuvered my way through  the mess of clothes on the floor and sat beside her, the bed creaking a little as I did so. Christy sobbed even louder, if that were possible. Watching her brokenness, I vowed I would be the best friend a friend could ever have.
I remembered reading: 60% of rape cases in the last five years were never reported. Even when it is reported, it is unlikely to lead to arrest and prosecution. Only 3% of rapists ever serve a day in prison.
 I’ll help her get through this. I’ll get her the legal aid she needed, the money. We’ll prosecute the hell outta that son of a bitch. We’ll make sure he rots in jail. He’ll never see the light of day again.
My mind was whirling with the enormity of what was to come, a fight that was only just beginning. How do we even begin? Who should we talk to? Where do we go?
“I don’t know what to do,” Christy said, hiccupping, her tears streaming down her face. Me neither, I thought. But I realized that, from this point onward, I had to be her female knight in shining armour. I had to put on a brave face, so that she would have the courage to stand up. To fight. To win.
I clasped her hands in mine, took a deep breath. “You’re going to be fine,” I said to her, but it seemed more to myself.
We sat in silence for a while, except for Christy’s subdued hiccups.
“Um, I hate to rush you, Kel," she hiccuped, "but I’m meeting him in like, an hour.”
I turned to look at her then, almost in slow motion. “What?” I spluttered.
“Yeah, so, I need your help to choose what to wear.”
It took me several seconds to acknowledge what she was saying. What to wear. I need your help to choose what to wear.
I looked around me once more, at the messy bedroom, the variety of clothes chucked all over, the chaos outside in the living room. And it dawned on me what the true emergency was.
“I have nothing to wear!” Christy wailed.
I glared murderously at her.
I thought about who would call 911 emergency now.


THE END

© COPYRIGHT LISA KWAN 2014

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Snow Queen

by Lisa Kwan


Written for: The Writer's Tower
Theme: Mirror (June)

Her eyelids fluttered open, kissed by the sunlight streaming through the windows. Beside her, he stirred, and she turned towards him, her lips barely brushing his day-old stubble. She blew gently on his neck, and she was amused to see his eyebrows furrow.
“You awake, darling?” His voice was hoarse. And sexy.
She wrapped her arm around his belly in response, and slipped her hand underneath him. She could almost feel his smile, as he planted a kiss atop her head. “Breakfast?” She spoke into his chest. “I’ll ring for it,” he said, but didn’t move.
She sat up and stretched, lifting her arms high above her and exposing her naked breasts, as big as pomegranates, as the covers slipped from her shoulders. She watched him watch her, his eyes travelling from her heart-shaped face, to her delicate neck, her small shoulders, taut stomach and tiny waist, the rest concealed by the sheets. And she glowed, like the palest moon on the darkest night. She was conscious of his hungry stare, and took delight in it.
“You’re the most beautiful woman in the world,” he breathed, as he pulled her down to him, the length of her pressed against him. Before anything else could happen, however, a little girl with rosy apple cheeks had unknowingly snuck into their room and started bouncing excitedly on their bed. “Wake. Up. Wake. Up. WAKE! UP! The sun’s awake!”
She swiftly wrapped the sheets around her, neatly, and pulled the excited little Jack in the Box in a tight embrace, laughing. “Alright, Snow. We’re up. Let’s get some breakfast.” Her father ruffled Snow’s hair, and her giggles tinkled like wind chimes in a soft breeze. She gave Snow a flurry of kisses, and Snow playfully pulled away. “I’m hungry, Mother.” “Okay, let’s head downstairs to the dining hall and see what they have for us.”
Her husband had furtively slipped out of bed and got dressed, already putting on his robes. There was a knock on the door, and a muffled, “Breakfast is served, Your Majesties.” She watched as he silently lifted the crown from its place on a purple velvet cushion, and carefully placed it on his head. He was handsome, commanding, regal—a king. One she had fallen completely for.
He glanced at her, and winked just for her.
“Carry me, Father!” Snow’s chubby arms outstretched, her raven black hair shining as bright as her eyes. “Oof! You’re getting heavy, little one. You’ll have to carry me soon!” More tinkling giggles.
“Come down when you’re ready, love.” He kissed her right on the lips, drawing her breath into his own so she was left breathless. Their laughter disappeared behind the large wooden doors, and she wondered, fleetingly, if maybe her fortune had been wrong. The old woman had said that a terrible fate awaited her should she marry the king, someone who was hers to neither possess nor covet, but this morning had been anything but.
She shrugged into her robes too, finally putting her crown on, the jewels glittering in the sunlight. She hesitated in front of the full-length mirror by her dresser, staring at her reflection. She held her head up, and reminded herself, again, as she did every day, that she was the queen. As she turned her back, her reflection watched her leave the room and heaved an inaudible sigh.

***

She stood, unmoving, before the mirror, thinking that there must be some kind of mistake. She must have heard wrong. She took several steps back and crumpled to the floor, sobbing.
He had loved me for my beauty, she thought. What am I without it?
She missed him. Not a day went by where she did not; her heart ached remembering his boyish smile, his playful wink, his touch, his voice, his desire for her, as if it were only yesterday instead of almost a decade ago.
He had been her everything, her whole world. That he had left her a mere couple of years after they were married was a cruel fate indeed. Though she had an enormous castle and countless servants at her beck and call, she had never felt so alone.
She did not want to live. She hardly slept, hardly ate. She shied away from the servants, shrank back from Snow, who only reminded her of what once was, which was too painful to bear. Snow wasn’t hers to begin with; had been his and that woman’s—as she took to referring to his previous wife—and though she tried, she could not truly love someone who, with each day, grew to be more like the woman she despised.
Oh, she had noticed, certainly, her newfound womanly gait. The way she laughed, spoke, moved, even the way she unconsciously tucks her hair behind her ear. At 16, she possessed grace and poise, regal and elegant, befitting a princess. But she was also opinionated and intelligent, inquisitive and argumentative, just like her mother.
She hated that. So much that she drove Snow away, much to Snow’s bewilderment. She hated that Snow was just like her mother, hated that she was not hers and would never be, hated that she reminded her too much of her father, her only love, who was gone and would never return.
Hate. Hate. Hate.
She grew determined. She slowly gathered her dress about her and stood before the mirror once more. She wanted to hear it, one more time, to be sure.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” she whispered, her voice quivering. Her reflection shifted and swirled before her, morphing into Snow, younger, fairer and more beautiful.
“I am, My Lady,” Snow replied, eyes downcast, hands clasped before her, as if apologetic.
“No, no you are not,” she snarled, gripping her fists so tightly they turned white. “I am the most beautiful. He loved me for my beauty. I was the most beautiful to him.”
From the corner of her eye, she spied the bowl of apples the servants had left on a table, ruby red and gleaming. She remembered the former queen, how she was so easily tempted by the apples’ crimson glow, took a bite from one that she had offered, without even thinking twice. Not knowing the poison it held, the death that awaited.
She held her head high, reminded herself again, that she was the queen. The new queen.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall,” the queen whispered, “Will Snow White make it after all?”


THE END

© COPYRIGHT OF LISA KWAN 2014



Author's Note: My take on the Evil Queen in the Snow White fairy tale.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Prize

I actually wrote this short story a long time ago, in 2008, and it was published in Write Out Loud: a series of original contemporary writings, by Oak Publication, with editor Karen Ann Theseira, retailed at RM29.90 in MPH, though they no longer print them :p

It is one of the reasons why I never gave up on writing. I must be doing something right, isn't it? ;)

Enjoy! :D

****

THE PRIZE
by Lisa Kwan

            “Good morning. Welcome to Brittany’s Beauty Shop. How may I help you?” chirped a young bespectacled girl. A tall, slim woman wearing a red suit stood in front of the counter.
            “I’d like a manicure and pedicure, please.”
            “Wonderful. If you’ll just write your name and address in our guest book here, you’ll be right on your way to a relaxing time at Brittany’s Beauty Shop,” she said, still in a chirpy voice.
            The woman took the pen handed to her and signed her name. She was certainly an elegant woman, well dressed with simple but effective make-up on. She had features that many women would envy. But the young receptionist was not looking at her face like the others in the beauty parlour were. She was staring at the slender, polished hands that held the pen.
            Her fingers. So beautiful. So……perfect.
            She gave her ‘Brittany’s Beauty Shop’ smile as the woman completed writing the details and looked up.
            “We’ll be sending you some brochures on the latest offers and packages at Brittany’s from time to time, Miss……”, she glanced down at the page, “…Miss Anna. Would you like that?” she watched her and cocked her head suggestively.
            “It’s madam, actually. And yes, I’d like that, thank you,” the woman answered.
            “Oh, yes. My mistake. I beg your pardon, madam.”
            Oh. She’s married. That will complicate matters a bit.
            “Well, if you’ll just follow Chloe here,” she gestured to the girl standing beside her, “she’ll take you to the parlour.”
            “Thank you, er……Sara,” the woman bent over to read the young girl’s name tag.
            Sara smiled. “No. Thank you, and have a nice day.”
            As the woman walked away, Sara looked at the guest book and copied the address written by the last customer into her personal notebook.
            No. She grinned. Thank you.

****

            Anna sighed and laid her head on the headrest of the swiveling chair in her office. She studied the ceiling of her air-conditioned room, just to let her eyes rest after staring at the computer the whole day. She closed her eyes and let her mind drift as she stretched her arms.
            Boy, am I tired. There’s just so much work to do. So many deadlines! All these projects are just killing me. And the kids! Thank God for Mrs. Houser. She handles the children better than I ever could. We don’t pay her enough for watching them at home.
            She gave another sigh.
            I’m just…so…tired……
            And before she knew it, she was fast asleep.
As everything turned dark, Anna found herself walking along a lonely street. It was badly-lit. Even the moon didn’t lend its soft light to help guide her way. She couldn’t even see what was at the end of the street.
She walked quickly. Her hurried footsteps echoed loudly in the quiet night. There was no one in sight. She felt alone and so afraid. Where is this place? Her heart beat wildly and she couldn’t calm her poor, wrecked nerves. She hugged herself tight against the bone-chilling winds.
Was she really as alone as she thought? She sensed a pair of eyes watching her every move. She glanced behind her as she quickened her pace. Nothing. She looked straight ahead. Where am I going? She did not know.
But that uneasy feeling overwhelmed her once more and she stopped dead in her tracks. She swung around, her heart beating faster than before.
A dark figure loomed before her. The figure lifted his arm. His hand brandished a knife! And before Anna had a chance to open her mouth to scream….
“Hey, boss!” A booming voice pierced into her subconscious mind.
Anna was jerked back to reality, sweating profusely. Her hair around her face was drenched in sweat. She panted like a thirsting dog.
“Me and the other guys were gonna grab a bite to eat after work and we were wondering…..er, boss?” the short, plump man in his thirties suddenly noticed Anna’s condition.
“Boss, you okay?” he looked concerned.
Anna smoothed her wet hair and sat upright.
“Yeah, I’m fine, Tim. Uh….you guys go on without me. I’m just gonna whip something up when I get home. Besides, the nanny will be waiting for me so she can go home. Don’t worry about me,” she added when she noticed her colleague staring at her strangely. With a nervous chuckle, “I’m fine, really. Go on,” she said and ushered him out.
She blew a deep breath, relieved.
What a scary dream. Thank God it’s just that. A dream.
She had been having the same dream for the past few weeks. And she was getting worried. Could dreams like this be a sign, a warning? But that just seemed ridiculous. Which was why she hadn’t told Eric about it.
I’m being silly, she thought as she packed her things into her briefcase.
It’s just a dream and nothing else. Scary, yes, but a dream after all.
Or was it?

****

            Sara sat in the seat of her old blue Datsun. It was a second-hand car, about fifteen years old now. Everything in the car creaked. And she winced every time it did. She must be careful.
            She shifted in her seat. Her back was getting sore from having to sit still for so long. But it was crucial that she did not alert anyone of her presence there. She had even changed the number plate of her Datsun earlier. She wouldn’t want someone to recognize the car.
            She took a deep breath. She was always nervous at this time. She returned to watching that particular house on Sunnyside Street. The lights in the hall were still on.
            She must still be doing her yoga. It’ll be anytime soon now.
            She took a sip of coffee from her flask and placed it back on the dashboard. She needed to stay alert. It was important.
            She had chosen a Sunday night to do it. After spying on Anna for the past three weeks, she knew her routine by heart. She had penned down all her daily activities in her personal notebook.
            Sunday night was when the husband would work late and the kids were put to bed early for school the next morning. Then, she’d do a little yoga before she went off to bed. The maid would have left ages ago. She would be alone at home with the three children.
            The lights in the front of the house were turned off.
            Ah. Good. She’s going to bed now.
            Upstairs, the lights turned on instead. A while later, everything in the house was dark. Outside on the street, every other house was in darkness too.
            Good. This will make things much easier.
            Sara got out of the car with her bag. The contents of which, only she knew. She crossed the street silently and stood before the dark blue door nervously.
            She played in her mind everything she had planned. She knew where the spare keys were kept. She saw the husband retrieve it once. She knew where her bedroom was. She knew the husband wouldn’t be back till much later. Giving her ample time to finish what she came here to do. And she knew exactly what she needed to do.
            Sara could hardly contain her excitement, nervous as she was. She rubbed her gloved hands eagerly.
            The time had come.

****

            Anna sat up on her bed facing the window, and watched the stars twinkling brightly. The sky was full of stars tonight. Slowly, she lay down again on her warm bed. She listened to the crickets making their nightly music. She listened to the sound of her own breathing. Anything to get her mind off the uneasiness she felt right then.
            She emptied her mind of all things. Then, one by one, she thought of her family – her husband, Eric, and three darling children; Lee-Ann, Matthew and baby Carrie-Ann. She felt more at peace. She closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.
            In a second, her eyes flung open. The uncomfortable feelings she was experiencing had intensified. She turned around. And she saw a dark figure above her which was all too familiar. As the light streamed in, she recognized the smiling face.
            A knife gleamed in the moonlight.
            Nooo!
            Darkness enveloped her.

****

            Sara returned to her apartment, exhausted. She was always tired out after. She left her bag of tools in her closet and took off her gloves. She just felt like having a nice, warm shower.
            After she had washed up, she went to her dressing table where she had placed her prize. She felt such immense satisfaction as she stared at the container.
            Finally, another addition to my collection.
            She lifted the container up against the light and admired the slender, delicate finger with the blood red nail polish. Perfect.
            Carefully, and gently, she laid the narrow tube into the icebox beneath her dresser with the others.
            She thought of Miss Heather whom she had met that day at Brittany’s. She, too, had beautiful fingers. Perfect fingers.
            A wave of excitement came over her. She shivered in anticipation as she turned off her bedroom lamp.
            I just can’t wait.


THE END

© COPYRIGHT OF LISA KWAN 2014