Friday, March 28, 2014

My Darling Cat

By Lisa Kwan

Written for: The Writer's Tower
Theme: Love and Lost (March)
Deadline: 3rd April 2014
(Written on: 28th March 2014)

My darling Catherine,

            I am writing this in the hopes that somehow, somewhere, you might read this. I feel that voice pods and recordings, or even holograms still do not hold the same kind of intimacy that comes from a lovingly crafted handwritten letter, on soft parchment carefully chosen, enclosing the faint fragrance of the writer’s scent. Because I want you to know me, to remember me, to have a keepsake of me, long after even the technology we know is gone.
            The day I saw you was the day I lived. Truly lived. You were so beautiful, so, so beautiful. Your skin was flawless, without blemish, perfect. Your hair was soft, oh so soft, like the inside of a rose as they say. When I breathed in the smell of you, I was intoxicated. Drunk in the perfume that is you, which made me burn with this vicious desire to own you, to love you, to protect you even with my life.
            And when I first heard you laugh, it was like a thousand glorious bells tinkling in my ears—the most magnificent sound. And ever since, I yearned for it, I anxiously wished for it. Oh, what wouldn’t I do to hear you laugh? To hear that pure unadulterated joy and happiness in a chuckle, in a giggle, as you gazed at the world around you with such wonder, such awe?
            It was through watching you that I learned to see the beauty in every little thing around me. I, like many others, have forgotten. Forgotten that the world, despite its fast pace and dark realities and loneliness and pain, still held much love, much compassion, much kindness. You showed me that.
I see you now, as you run ahead of me during our walks together, soaking in the sun rays shining on your face, reflected in your smile. I see you as you turn back to face me, your sweet dress swirling about you, your eyes imploring me to hurry up; your hands stretched out to me, to hold, to guide, to keep. I call you your pet name, Cat, and you reward me with your infamous smirk. I see you in my lab, cheekily scribbling on my research notes, laughing out loud at my annoyance. And knowing I cannot stay mad at you for long, you sneak kisses on my cheek, and I am appeased. Days such as these plague my dreams, every night. And I ache for you. Such an ache it is!
            Oh, but loving you was also the most difficult thing to do! Oh, how frustrated I often was. How you stubbornly and absolutely refused to listen to anything I had to say, even though it was for your sake. You were selfish, sometimes uncaring. You loved to sulk, or storm off during arguments, knowing that it killed me inside, each time. Eventually, I’d give in, let you have your way. How could I not? You held my heart in your hands, and I was smitten.
            Every single day with you, I know now, was a blessing, a privilege. Who would ever know what little time we would have together? If it weren’t dreams of our walks, our quiet times spent reading together on the couch, snuggling together under fluffy covers, sleeping side by side with your head on my chest, or hearing your sudden laughs, seeing your radiant smile, then it would be nightmares; nightmares of the day it happened, of you calling out to me, fearful, terrified, not knowing.
And I didn’t hear you, couldn’t see you. Every single time in my nightmares, I am behind the wheel and I am looking and looking, but I do not see you. I tell myself you are there, but I still cannot find you. I cannot control my body as I push the button that sets the hovercar into reverse, as I increase the speed. My mind is screaming “NOOOOOOOO!!!” but I can do nothing. The hovercar moves backward, and as I set it down to park, I hear that horrifying bump, feel the hovercar sway as it settles on uneven ground, crushing you beneath it. Sometimes, I hear your screams, sometimes it is just agonizing silence, the excruciating realization of what I had done. Then I jolt awake, perspiring profusely, but I am really dead. I died when you did.
I have tried to change the past, believe me. A friend who also worked at the university owed me, and I cashed it, gained access to a time displacement device. I went back to time before it happened, numerous times. Yet, in each time, you leave me. No matter what I do, however hard I try, however far back in time I go, I cannot save you. I cannot stop you from leaving me behind, in a world without you. I have researched and studied and experimented, obsessively, with God knows how many alternatives, but the results are the same. My friend tells me it is an anomaly, that in certain circumstances, it is just fate, God’s will. That there is nothing I can do.
How can this be, when I swore to love you and protect you all my life? I would gladly give my life in exchange for yours if I could, to grant you more than the 6 years you spent on this earth. How can I call myself a father, if I cannot even save my little girl? When I was the cause of your death? I still hear you calling me, “Daddy, Daddy!” and it breaks my heart. How can I accept this, Cat, that you are gone? How can I live, knowing what I have done? I killed you. Forgive me, forgive me, please.
I do not care what my friend has told me—I believe you are out there, somewhere, in some time. Maybe in some alternate universe that we have yet to uncover, you are alive and well. You are still beautiful, still lovely, still Daddy’s little girl. My friend tells me that it is possible to send things to parallel universes, through the Interspace-time Portal, strategically located at weakened points in the overlaps between worlds. So I desperately hope and pray that, somehow, this letter reaches you, to let you know how much I loved you, no, love you, even across space and time. And to beg your forgiveness, though I do not deserve it.
I love you, Cat. Daddy loves you with all his heart.



Love and Lost

By Lisa Kwan

Written for: The Writer's Tower
Theme: Love and Lost (March)
Deadline: 3rd April 2014 
(Written on 27th March, 2014) 
Ashley watched the blood flowing pink into the drain in the bathtub, in the form of pretty swirls that reminded Ashley of cotton candy sold at travelling carnivals. Ashley hated cotton candy. Never liked anything sweet, really. Just thinking about it made Ashley mad again, and Ashley took the blade and continued carving on the pale insides of the arms, watching the bright red blood emerge slowly from the cuts and then smear as it mixed with the water from the shower. Ashley stared unseeing down her chest and naked breasts and questioned why her life was the way it is.

Ashley had always been a tomboy. From the time she knew that little boys had little ‘pee-pee’s and little girls didn’t, she wanted to be one. She wondered why God gave them something a little extra; something that gave them the ability to pee without getting your rear either wet or cold from the toilet. She hung around with the boys, ran alongside them in mud races, caught the biggest fighting spiders that were no match for all the others, climbed the highest trees on dares and then paraded her broken arm like a trophy to the guys, whose cast they were all eager and jealous to sign on.
            Of course, she did have female friends. But more often than not, they treated her like an older brother; a brother who was cool and always fun to be around. If you wanted a good time, or a good laugh, Ashley was your guy. Or rather, girl.
            But high school was different. High school was bigger, brighter and had a ton of kids from neighbouring housing areas she never grew up with or knew every little embarrassing detail of. Back home, Ashley was cool and popular. Everyone in school knew her by name. Now, however, she was nobody. Old friends left and joined new circles, formed new identities, even. Suddenly, Ashley was all alone—unnoticed, unwanted. Drowning in a sea of vacant faces, Ashley realized that she wasn’t special or outstanding in any way. All she wanted was someone to notice her.
            Then she met Chris.
            Chris was three years older than her, a senior, and always wore a leather jacket to school. Sure, she had seen Chris around school before, chatting animatedly with friends on the way to the canteen, or heading towards the school labs, but never took a second glance. Until that fateful day.
            It was the most embarrassing day of Ashley’s life. I’m sure every girl might have experienced it once in her lifetime. Ashley had been feeling uneasy all day that day, shifting uncomfortably in her seat and wondering silently why her chair felt like she was sitting on damp grass. When the teacher left, and the class got up to send him off, Ashley heard a burst of laughter from behind her, followed by others joining in. “Oh my God, she’s got her period! She’s bleeding all over the chair!”
            Immediately, Ashley’s heart sank. She whirled around and realized that the “damp grass” she’d been sitting on was actually the dampness from a blood-soaked pinafore, now stained dark red. Hot, embarrassed tears fell from her eyes as she looked around frantically for help from her classmates. By now, the entire class, boys and girls alike, was crowded around her, laughing and pointing. None, not one, offered help or sympathy. Some boys shouted, “You’re disgusting!” “Can’t you turn off your tap?” Jerry, whose mother used to bake and give out the best chocolate chip cookies in their old school, started chanting, “Period! Period! Period!” The rest somehow thought it funny, or at all clever, and followed suit.
            Ashley felt dizzy, and pushed past her classmates and out of the classroom, wiping her tear-filled eyes with the back of her hand. Of course, for the few seconds she wasn’t looking, she ran right into Chris, who stumbled back a few steps from the force of her. When Ashley looked up, there was Chris, looking surprised, albeit a little winded. “Hey, there. What’s the rush?” Chris smiled, pushing a stray strand of hair from the face, which then showed concern after noticing Ashley’s tear-stained face. “Oh. Are you okay?” Chris’s hand was placed on Ashley’s shoulder, and without understanding why, if it was the kind eyes, or the gentle voice, or the soft touch, Ashley cried all the more, eyes downcast, embarrassed. Hesitantly, Ashley turned around showing Chris the back of her skirt.
            Without a single word, Chris took Ashley firmly by the hand, and led her to the school’s Health Room. Chris stayed with her as the teacher-in-charge anxiously flitted about Ashley, muttering about getting a change of clothes. Chris accompanied Ashley to the washroom once more, to wash the dried blood off and change into the spare set of PE attire. Chris had no reason to be there with her, but Chris was.
            They became close friends, despite the age difference. Ashley didn’t have many friends, but Chris felt like all she would ever need. Chris looked out for Ashley in school ever since The Incident. Nobody dared make fun of Ashley since, after the boys who teased Ashley and called her “Period” mysteriously found their bags thrown into the school pool. Chris and Ashley often had lunch together, walked to the bus stop home from school together, and talked on the phone almost every day. They’d send each other silly photos, or funny texts, talk about their secrets. But there was one Ashley could not tell—that she was in love with Chris.

            “What are you doing?” Ashley asked, shocked, as Chris calmly took a blade out and cut into the flesh just beneath Chris’s own wrist. Chris swiftly took Ashley’s hand and did the same, Ashley cringing as the beads of blood formed along the invisible line left by the penknife. Then Chris pressed their bleeding wrists together, and stared so hard into Ashley’s eyes that she lost all speech. “Now we’re joined by blood, Ashley. By blood.”

Ashley couldn’t explain why she felt the way she did. She just did. She felt things for Chris that she had never felt before, never expected to. She was confused for a long while, because she didn’t think it was possible. Wasn’t Chris just a good friend? Her best friend maybe, at most? But Ashley imagined Chris’s gentle hands on her, touching her in all the right places. She wished for Chris’s voice to be whispered in her ears, Chris’s breath merged with hers in a deep kiss, Chris’s lips on that sensitive spot at the base of her neck, right down to between her breasts.
Ashley could take it no more. She had to know. Did Chris feel the same?

Ashley’s vision came back into focus, and the repeated crimson words “NO” on the insides of her arms gazed back at her. She looked further down her arm and barely made out “FREAK”, and “DISGUSTING”, the words Chris had spat at her when she had finally worked up the courage to confess her feelings for her.
“I’m not a freak! God, what is wrong with you? All those times we were together, did you fantasize I’d want you like a guy would? Disgusting.”
Ashley’s vision blurred as her eyes filled with tears once more. She traced the scar where Chris had once said they were joined by blood. Then she grabbed the penknife again and angrily slashed at the words, at their shared scar, until they were no more. They were no more.




by Lisa Kwan

Written for: The Writer's Tower
Theme: Moonlight (January)
Deadline: 5th February 2014
(Written on: 19th January 2014)

I have a secret. A terrible secret.
A secret that is revealed only in the moonlight; that only the moon knows.
It threatens my very existence, and the safety of all dear to me. Evidently, this is not by choice. I do not know the how, or why; but I remember exactly when it first began, a horrible indelible memory that will follow me forever. It was on a night like this, the sky pitch black without a single star to be seen, yet almost as bright as day because of the illuminating pale light from the moon.
I look up sorrowfully at the moon, as round as a robin’s egg, and as blinding a white as the pebbles that lie at the bottom of the Nizhoni river near home. She has witnessed horrible things happen, at this very spot where I lay, silent and without judgement. I feel a shiver run down my spine, the beginnings of my curse. And once again, as I always do, I hope and pray to Mother Earth and the powers of wind, fire and water, that I have managed to stay far enough away from my family to keep them safe. Safe from the evil that is me.

Our home is far from where I now lie still, savouring my last moments before it begins. I shut my eyes and listen to the sound of my breathing, focusing on breathing in the chilly night air, and exhaling out my mounting fears as I feel the next shiver, deep within me. I ignore it. I need to stay calm for as long as possible. As I drift off into troubled sleep, I dream of my soul mate, Magena, whose name means Moon; named for the full moon on the night on which she entered this world.
We grew up apart, our families cautious neighbours who had settled in different parts of the land, separated by the Nizhoni river. Each had staked a claim on their territories, an unspoken rule being never to interfere or trespass on the other side, or face dire consequences; consequences that could lead to bloodshed. Our families enjoyed peace, but it was a fragile one. We were reared to never fraternise with the other family, to stay well away to avoid any possibility of destroying the harmony between us. This practice goes back centuries, long before our oldest generation’s time. What started it, we do not know. But we know better than to question the elders.
She had grown up beautiful and strong. Despite her young age, she was powerful and revered for her hunting skills. Her reputation reached even my family; but it had little effect on me. I, myself, was equally revered, having made a name for myself on this side of the Nizhoni. I had been given the name Cheveyo by our elders, which carried the meaning Spirit Warrior. And true to my name, I was strong and as powerful as the legacy my departed father had left me. I knew I was strong, but I had no idea that I was about to meet my Achilles’ heel one clear moonlit night.
The recent arrival of several newborns in our family had caused a sudden shortage in food. So a small group of our best were sent out to bring home meat. Of course, I was to lead the group. We set out as a pack, silent and deadly, knowing that the survival of our family depended on us. I gave the signal to split up, trusting my alphas enough to be able to handle whatever may come on their own. Yet, with one howl, we could reassemble and take down a mighty bear if necessary. I do not know how else to describe it but that we may be many, but we are one; of one soul, one essence.
Separated from the others, I crept alone, my face close to the ground, attuned to the sounds of the forest and listening for sounds of life; hoping for a young fawn to have wandered away from its protective mother. Such a creature would provide enough for our young ones, if only for tonight. But all of a sudden, I stopped dead in my tracks. I smelled her, long before I could see her. She was foreign, alien; and did not belong on this side of the Nizhoni. My eyes searched for her—was she hidden behind the shrubs up ahead, or had she merely passed by? Either way, finding her would mean her certain death.
At the exact moment I saw her glowing eyes, she emerged from the darkness and pounced upon a hare that had been resting at the roots of the cedar tree. I watched silently in awe as she bit off the throat of the hare, its blood barely spattering; a clean and swift kill, with the least amount of suffering for the prey. That act alone betrayed her identity—she had to be Magena, the infamous skilled hunter from the other side. Still I watched as she lay the hare down gently on its grassy grave, and bowed her head low before it, as was our custom after each kill; thanking the Mother for her gracious provision. As she raised her head, I realised her eyes were locked on mine. It was no surprise that she was completely aware of my presence the entire time, being the skilled hunter that she was.
As I returned her stare, she knew, and I knew, that I should kill her right then, and it would be justified. She was trespassing, outside her territory; and worse, hunting our prey. I stepped forward into the clearing, where she stood with the dead hare at her feet. When she remained motionless, I moved closer, close enough to be conscious of the fact that, though she was smaller than me in size, she exuded confidence and daring. She was intimidating, I would give her that, especially with her reputation preceding her. But as I continued to stare unblinking at her eyes, reflecting the glow of the moonlight, I realised she was neither aggressive nor defensive. I was surprised to find that, despite her display of cold violence just moments earlier, her eyes were gentle, compassionate.
Her eyes, I thought, as I opened my own to stare up at the moon once more, were what drew me to her. I had met my soul mate, and it was undeniable. We survived enraged attacks and retaliations from both sides of the families opposing our union. We survived banishment and isolation from our communities. We endured random assaults, bloody strikes as we patiently and quietly licked our wounds. And we embraced them once more, when they finally accepted us and welcomed our young family, now with Taima, Honovi and Songaa, home.

I instinctively curl up into a ball as the next searing pain tears through my insides; my ribcage feels about to burst open from the inside out, to free the monster that is about to emerge. Even though this has already happened for countless moons, once every full cycle, my eyes are squeezed shut, trying hopelessly to shut out the unspeakable pain. I gasp. I stand up on all fours, my hind legs stretched out as far as they can go as my sharp claws tear at the hard ground before me, leaving deep scratches. In the involuntary physical jerking and shaking, I bite my tongue with my sharp teeth, tasting my own blood instead of a young fawn’s or a hare’s. In spite of all that is happening to me, I notice, and watch, the drops of blood that drip from my jaw fall on the grey fur of my forepaws. I hear continuous cracks and breaks as my bones fracture and snap into place. And in my last moments as me, I raise my head to the moon, soaking in the cursed powers of the moonlight, and release one final howl.

When I come to, I stare down at my new body, at the repulsive hairless creature I have become. My forepaws no longer look like they used to, but now have five long slim appendages that extend outwards, still sharp and deadly. My hind legs have grown longer but my tail has disappeared. I stand up on my unstable hind legs, still reeling from what happened before. I feel the familiar rising urge to kill, to ravage, to destroy; signalling that my transformation is now complete. I suddenly see flashes of my past kills in my mind: the terrified face of a young female human, the blood pouring out of the neck of an adult male, the guts of another spilling out onto the blood-stained grass.
And the very first, when it all began: the face of Magena, her eyes still glowing from the reflection of the moon’s light, as I tore her limb from limb and then tossed what was left of her carcass into our beloved Nizhoni river. When I realised what I had done, I howled up to the moon in utter despair. I am a monster, an abomination of nature, cursed to be imprisoned within this human body, to be slave to its uncontrollable evil.

If I had to kill, I want it to be the humans. If I kill them, I protect my family. I protect them from myself. As I stumble forward towards the lights of the nearby human village, I forget about my family. I forget about Magena, Taima, Honovi and Songaa. I see movement in the darkness ahead, and my body surges forward of its own will, ready for the kill.

I have a secret. A terrible secret.
A secret that is revealed only in the moonlight; that only the moon knows.



(Names and meanings of Native American origin)
Cheveyo = Spirit Warrior
Magena = Moon
Taima = Thunder
Honovi/Songaa = Strong
Nizhoni = Beautiful


Joined a writing group couple of months ago on Facebook, called The Writer's Tower. And each month, there is a theme for which we can write anything, be it short stories, non-fiction, poems etc. We share them and receive feedback from each other on them.

I have already completed 3 short stories for the group, one for January and two for March (I missed February's). I had been sharing them on Facebook notes and sharing the links there on the Facebook group.

However, I do have some reservations about making my writing so public and easily accessible, especially on Facebook. So henceforth, I intend to publish my writings here, where I can still stake a claim on them as the owner of this blog domain.

Look forward to my short stories (as I have pretty much given up on blogging -.-)!

Maybe this blog will come alive again, if only just to keep my stories :D