Retreat

You used to bring me to the rooftop to watch the moon. Tonight I feel watched by the moon.

Tonight I don’t find the usual silence, the peace of mind I seek. Tonight it’s loud out here and not because of the city down below but because of my thoughts screaming in my head and your thoughts screaming in your head.

I’ve been staring at the blank page in front of me for almost an hour. Maybe longer; I’ve lost track of time. I sense you know I didn’t come up here to write, anyway. It’s just an excuse so I don’t have to face you and see the hurt in your eyes. I can’t stand to see you hurt. I’m hurting too.

What happened to us?

“Hey.” I’m startled by your voice. My favourite sound. Which now makes me shiver.

Maybe it’s the cold. You put a blanket around my shoulders and set down a steaming cup. I don’t look up, hoping you’ll leave me to my writing, the activity that’s sacred for both of us. But you plop down on the concrete some distance away.

When you watch me, I feel watched by the entire universe.

“I’m sorry,” you say for the millionth time and I drop my fucking notebook. I want to crawl into your head to see your every thought so I can rewrite it or erase it and replace it with something new.

This would be my clue to speak up and say everything neither of us would dare say for days. I should make the words slide, ramble on about the moon and the stars and make things alright. But I don’t. Because it’s you and because it’s me and because real life doesn’t work like the movies. So I just take a sip of my tea.

When I finally look up from the edge of my cup your eyes are already on me and here’s something about us that I’ll never understand. How, burned by guilt, we retreat into our own minds where we can’t be reached, and yet somehow I still feel you and I know you feel me. And so we just sit there under the moon, the page still blank, and I don’t utter a sound because you know all my words. The unspoken. The unwritten. And those yet to be invented.

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Last Night on Earth

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We wandered for miles. Harsh air collided with my skin, my feet stepped on waterlogged ground. Black clouds devoured what we used to call our home. Sudden downpours came unannounced, a reminder of our impermanence.

People spread in all directions, still naive enough to think they could escape the dust dense like fog. Uncertainty chilled the lungs of those who stayed.

Not a word slid down our parched tongues. Silence echoed in my ears, as if it had become an unwritten rule none of us dared to break. A sky thick with stars threatened to fall on us. I remember the fear in your eyes and how hard I tried to hide my own terror.

We walked through the barren fields. I gripped your fingers as we reached the top of the hill, where a single tree grew. We sat and leaned against its solid trunk, and watched the moon shine through the leafless branches.

Perhaps the last full moon we’d ever see.

I plucked up the courage to look at your face, pale in the moonlight, and saw a tear running down your cheek. We cried for the life we once knew.

I was scared of what tomorrow would bring, if there would be a tomorrow. But I confess, I didn’t care for the earth under my feet, or if the moon crashed on my head. I was sick with the feeling that tonight I was seeing your face for the last time.

We lay limply in the grass and listened to each other breathe. I could feel your uneasy heartbeat next to mine. The sky was about to fall.

We woke up in the middle of the end, where the ashes fell delicate like snowflakes. I felt for your hand.

We saw a new sunrise.


This is a repost of something I wrote back in 2012. Well, not exactly a repost, since I cut out a half of the original post. I think I like this one better, although I’ll probably look at it in another four years and hate it. (By four years I really mean four hours.)
Also, this happens to be my 100th post. I’m off to celebrate!

Flashforwards

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“Claire? Hey, where did you go?”

I almost jump at the sound of his voice close by my ear. One glance at Gavin’s perplexed face brings me back to reality.

Saturday night. His place. Dinner.

Has he been watching me this whole time? Has he said anything? Have I seriously not noticed?

I figure I should probably say something or else he’ll think I’m crazy. Or maybe it’s already too late to worry about that.

“You seem absent,” he says almost accusingly and he has every right to. He cooked dinner tonight and it’s a lovely gesture but I’m too freaked out to fully appreciate it.

“I was just admiring the view,” I point at his window. Should’ve come up with a better lie. “It’s breathtaking,” I tell him and it’s true, but it’s not what stole the soul from my body just moments ago.

Lately, I’ve been having these random… flashbacks. Or at least that’s what I thought they were at first.

I can sit at a table with my boyfriend or I can be in the middle of a market aisle, and the other second I’m completely somewhere else. When it happens, everything around me – the real world, the here and now – literally dissolves and I’m gone. Not gone-in-my-head kind of way. I mean physically gone.

Usually I’m thrown back into places I’ve visited before. But every time, there’s something odd about them. They’re different from how I’ve remembered them. I’m different, too.

Years ago I visited Paris with my parents. It was one of my favourite summers. But when I went back to the top of the Eiffel Tower in my head, every sensation of getting higher and higher above the city inside the narrow lift felt as vivid as the first time, but there was something odd about it. There was no sign of my parents. When I caught a glimpse of my own face in the glass, I hardly recognised it. I looked much older.

What are these visions, then? Flashforwards?

There are other times, when I’m taken somewhere I’ve never been or seen before – unfamiliar cities, dark rooms, hostile wilderness – and yet, they somehow feel even more real. These scare me the most.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” I’m pulled out of my thoughts again. Gavin studies my face from across the table.

Considering the fact that I don’t even remember sitting down, no, I don’t think I’m okay. But I still glue the biggest and dumbest smile to my face and pray he buys it.

I gulp fown the glass of wine set in front of me. His eyes never leave my face and the more I try to avoid them, the more suspicious they grow. 

Act normal, I order myself. And then I feel it again.

I put the glass down so hard it almost breaks. I blink even harder to keep myself in the moment.

No, no, no, don’t you dare! I’m staying right here!

Gavin bolts from his seat, but before he gets to me the edges of reality are already a blur and the darkness is there, ready to suck me in. The last thing I manage to do is grab his arm.

Everything goes black.


This is something I wrote a long time ago and it’s been sitting in my drafts ever since. When I saw today’s prompt, I thought I might give it a try. So here it is. 

Rainy Day

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Rainy days are for snuggling under a blanket with a book and a cup of tea. But sometimes on a rainy day you have to make yourself go out into the chill.

The blur of city lights and angry cars. People running around, seeking shelter in small cafes and shops. And I seek you as you wander along the rain-drenched streets, force your feet to carry you somewhere. You’re going nowhere, walking aimlessly while the water-soaked clothes weigh you down. But that doesn’t bother you. It never bothered you. It never bothered me. I remember you once told me we weren’t that much different. I hated that you were always so annoyingly right. So on rainy days, I make myself go out there.

I don’t know where. Wherever my mind is willing to take me because the feet will carry me nowhere. I walk the rain-drenched streets aimlessly; step into a busy cafe only to remember I don’t like coffee. See, we are a little bit different, you and me. I only take tea. You’s smile at that. I always loved your smile. Mum used to say I took that after you, but then your smile went out and mine became a flaw. So I put on a frown.

I frown at the rain-drenched streets because they carried you away from me.

Cake

photo-1464349153735-7db50ed83c84It’s just a cake, my brain repeated.

But what did the brain know? I knew better.

“Don’t!” I threw myself at mum and yanked the knife out of her hand.

“What are you doing?!”

The whole family stared at me with their mouths hanging open.

“You can’t cut it,” I put down the knife at a safe distance and glanced over at grandma, whose eyes jumped from me to mum to the cake.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered.

“What are you-”

I blew out the candles, then dug my hands right into the Happy 80th. I swirled my fingers in search for the pulse. There! I heaved a sigh of relief. I knew he was in there!

“Thank God, you’re still alive!”

I pulled out the tiny hand, then the rest of him emerged from the layers of the sugary mess.

“Oh, look at you!” He was a sweet disaster. It would take ages to wash the chocolate and cream out of that purple fur.

He flashed me that triumphant one-toothed smile.

“I win!” He squealed.

“Wh- what is that?!”

Oh, right. The family.

“I’m sorry,” I said again. “We didn’t mean to make a scene. But sometimes the scenes just write themselves and I don’t have much to say. Oh, and I still forget not to play hide and seek with unfinished characters. But look at this cutie! Can’t say no to the little ones.”

I looked at his furry face. I was proud of this one, but there was still work to be done. I’d have to write the knowledge of the human world into his head and definitely do something to improve his social skills.

“Anyway, happy birthday, granny! You can now safely eat the cake!”

Paper Storm

“I can’t go in there,” I plead.

“Sophie, it’s just a room,” she ignores my panicked voice and pushes me towards the door.

“I’m not going inside that room!”

There’s a reason why I’ve kept that door closed for almost a year now. Strange things have been happening in there. I can hear them at night.

I moved my bedroom to the guest room, but I can’t sleep in there, either. I don’t remember the last time I had a full night of sleep. I just lie awake in my bed and listen, shivering at every sound.

How did they get back? What would they do to me? I thought I was careful. I thought I ended them all… How is it possible that they are here again? Will I ever break free from this curse?

“Come on!” Alice is dragging me by the arm now, the fingers of her other hand clasped around the key she must have stolen when I was asleep.

“Stop right now!” I try to wrestle out of her grip, but damn, she’s strong. “You don’t know wh-”

“Oh, don’t be stupid,” she snaps. “The things you think you hear are probably spiders running around the piles of dust!”

Last night I made a fatal mistake. I confessed my darkest secret. But who else would I tell? She has been the witness of my growing obsession for years. She has seen the freakish side of me so many times before that it shouldn’t be anything extraordinary by now.

I was half expecting her to want to have me locked up in a mental facility as soon as she heard what I had to say. Instead, she let me talk of all the lives and worlds I had created, and how I’d destroyed them with cold blood over and over. How I’d lost myself in the murderous frenzy, smeared blood all over the walls.

The blood of the innocent stories to-be-told and would-be novels.

“For Christ’s sake, Sophie. What on earth got into you again?”

I try to snatch the key from her hand, but she’s faster. Before I have a chance to do anything, she turns the key in the lock.

What happens after is a blur of everything I’ve seen in nightmares.

The door flies open and I’m swept up by a whirlwind that sucks me right in. I hear my name being yelled, but I’m not sure if it’s Alice’s terror-stricken voice, or a unified howl of all those who seek to make me suffer.

There are too many words spiralling in the air, hissing, stabbing my body one by one. There’s paper everywhere. I’m drowning in paper. Red-stained pages smack my face. They wrap themselves around my feet, pulling me

down

down

down

and I wish they’d just kill me already.

But they’re grinning, telling me they’re just getting started.

After all, they have learnt from the best.

I had no mercy for them. Now they’re back to take their revenge.


This piece was inspired by this week’s Inspiration Monday prompt and can serve as a sequel to the post I wrote a while back. It’s just a matter of time until the paper police catch me.

Eyes

The first thing he noticed about her were the eyes; eyes so different from those he usually fell for.

Not the ocean–like type of eyes, easy to get lost in, where drownings are a common cause of death. Not the pale ice-cold kind of eyes that pierce your soul and chill you to the bone.

The eyes he was looking into were so different from the ones that had watched him before, and yet there was something familiar about them. Something warm and welcoming that drew him in, something that made him feel right at home the second their gazes met.

That one second was enough for him to realise that were he to drown, he’d rather it be in a cup of hot cocoa instead of a wild, stormy sea.

Confused

“Wait a second,” you blink. “I’m confused now.”

“Aren’t you always?” I yawn. God, you’re so slow. So boooring. I snort at how hard your pathetic human brain is struggling to work this out.

“But…”

“Na-ah,” I put a finger on your lips. Your eyes widen. Oh, and what are these? Am I giving you the creeps? I smirk. “No buts. Have I not made myself clear?”

I slide a finger under your chin. I can see fear dancing in your eyes. Mmm. Delicious.

“Now,” I move my hand down to your chest. “Let’s get to the fun part.”

Sweat breaks out on your forehead. I’ve got your attention now, huh? Good girl.

“You’re going to do me a little favour.” Your heart is thumping against my palm.

“Wh- what favour?”

Ah, that trembling voice. You crack me up.

“See, darling,” I drawl. “There’s something of yours I would like to borrow. Maybe even keep, who knows?”

“Take whatever you want, just let me go! What is it you want from me?”

“You’re so adorable,” I chuckle. “But the letting go will be a problem, I’m afraid. I can’t have you running around when I take your identity, can I?”

Insecurity System

“You’ve got some very solid walls built here. Look how thick they are. Soundproofed, obviously.” An enthusiastic nod of appreciation. “Oh, and check out this door! The newest generation locks you’ve got installed here? No way to break into this fortress of yours now! Plus, with the twenty-four-hour monitoring, it is guaranteed you are a hundred percent safe. Two hundred, even!”

“Thank you,” I shrug.

This should be a relief. It would be me in my own fortress, disturbed by nothing and no one.

And yet.

The whole security system, if anything, only makes me more insecure.

The walls built to keep me safe just keep me trapped. The specially designed fortress won’t let anyone in but, more importantly, it won’t let me out either. Stuck in this hermetic world of mine, I wonder what I could be missing. Peeking through the armoured glass window of mine, scary as it seems, I’m curious what it feels like to be thrown into the whirlwind of risks.

“The world is full of things and people that will go out of their ways to harm you,” my father often said. “You’d better build those walls high and strong.”

What he could never understand was that, instead of shielding me from the hazards of the outside world, he should have protected me from myself.

What would he say if he knew the one thing I ever pray for is for someone to come and tear the damn walls down?


I’m never trusting Evernote again! I had the whole draft for this post prepared and waiting for final touch-ups, but the evil thing somehow synchronised with an earlier version I had stored on my phone and I wasn’t able to get it back. (I thought my notes were safe with you, Evernote! Talk about insecurity systems!) As a result, this might not be as good as it originally was supposed to be, but on a brighter note, you’ll never know!
Inspired by this week’s Inspiration Monday prompt.

 

Complicated

Please, do not understand me too quickly.

— André Gide

I’m complicated. Uncomplicate me.

Or don’t.

Don’t understand me too quickly. Let me stay a mystery for just a while longer. You said you liked mysteries. Did you change your mind?

They always change their minds.

You’re not them, you protested.

I’m not them either. I’m me. I’m who I said I was. I’m complicated. My soul is a puzzle, even for me. But puzzles are good for the brain, you know. Do you wanna play?

Hey. Don’t ask me about the rules. There are none. God, do you always have to complicate things?

Or maybe that’s me. Did I disappoint you again? You asked me to explain. But it’s… well, you guessed.

Complicated. My standard answer to everything, you said.

I don’t play by the rules. Rules put handcuffs on my imagination.

My imagination… No, I’m sorry, dear. I can’t let you in. My thoughts are like twisted alleys, full of dead ends. You’d need a map. Or you’d get lost.

Oh, we’re all lost anyway, aren’t we?

What’s that look on your face? Are you following? Or have I made this too… complicated?