Tagged: fiction

EMPTY TODAY

IT’S EMPTY TODAY.

The stage is empty, the lights are all on and streaming white fluorescent, and the floor is polished.

I stand on the floor with little hope in my mouth and a dry throat that screams for more
Applause.
Sitting down in my chair backstage, shut behind a door with stars around my name,
I don’t think I have anything else to lose . No more to give away, nothing left on my body. The plastic melds against my back, and it feels warm. Uncomfortably warm, with the black sequins of my shirt clinging to the curve of my back like a large brace. Too warm to be sunshine,
Sweat beads.
I run back out, ignoring the calls of several people – my manager, my parents on the phone, my Twitter Timeline, the Facebook feed blowing up with pictures of fish-netted girls and pale-skinned girls and girls who change their Chinese name to something else, selling out to Western markets in order to buy into their own dreams. I step onto the empty stage with a sense of longing to be on it again, despite the nerve-attacks and
rolling belly,
I want to feel it all again. I want to feel the
pleasurable pain of a dream
Come to life.

The Fallen Dream

“I hardly write, now.”
That’s scary. It’s petrifying, it’s my worse nightmare come alive and into the living, natural world, sinking its claws into me. I miss the smooth, curving undersides of Comic Sans as you slip into Times New Roman, the sharp-lettered alphabet pinching into my skin.
 –
“I hardly write.”
No, you can’t do this. You were the person who got me a typewriter, who got me a job as the reporter for that one lousy newspaper back in ’70s Town Jupiter; you were the one who flicked reams of paper at me and demanded I put my thoughts to paper. I can’t lose the person who taught me what love is – that is, my love for the written word – to leave this chapter unfinished.
 –
“I hardly…”
You hardly try. I can feel it, for I bug you to write everyday, be it on your Dell laptop, “I don’t mind you tapping so loudly in the middle of the damn night”, I massage your fingers, numb and inflexible from disuse, with great care, to allow you no excuses for lack of writing. You aren’t even trying to write, even short pieces or long prose, flash fiction or flashy-worded poetry. I’m telling you to try but you aren’t trying. You’re hardly there whenever I talk to you about my love – our love – for writing, our appreciation for Sputnik Sweetheart and Making Love To Scrabble Tiles. I don’t think I deserve such a lacklustre response when last time, you could hardly stop talking about those books for twenty-four hours.
“I-“
It’s not about you. You had to understand, it’s always been about everyone else. Everyone but yourself; the world, the writing, the word before you. You come second to the smell of parchment paper and inky keys, you come third to cups of tea accompanying manuscripts, you come last to three-am writing urges, okay? Do you understand? You don’t have to dot your ‘i’, for I’ll dot the last sentence of your novel for you – I’ll finish the tale for you once and for all, and slam the book shut on your face.
 –
Then I’ll let people read you from cover to cover. I hope your pages crinkle and yellow, and that readers comment in critical awful-ness, not critical acclaim. I’ll withhold my comments. You withhold your anguish, but why would you? The world wouldn’t care, unless you’re some famous bloke, or something.

Burn [Special Stylistic Piece]

You stand rather still as tears burn down my face, but that’s okay/ I know that’s just how you are. 🙂

 

You stand in the alley, rather still as your best friend slips another pill, burning the insides of her body with each suspicious exchange of money and sweaty packets from the poison-dealers / You didn’t want to interfere in the toxic paradise she inhaled, not because she threatened to kill you or anything, but because you were plain scared. A perfect fool, scared you’d tear her away from the happiness that your twisted mind felt she deserved.

 

You stand in the living room, rather still as your sister feeds her report book to the crackling fire in the hearth, five years’ of below-average grades just sizzling away in orange flame / You refused to say anything, sitting stoically at the dinner table, even though your sister’s eyes burned with tears at the mathematic failure she was.

 

You stand with both hands in your pockets, rather still as your mother’s throat burns with another guzzle of vodka, as her fingertips burn from the grime on the neck of the bottle / You don’t want to call Social Services or send her for Rehab / You didn’t want to call up her mom in Kansas, and you threw away the doctor’s name-card a long time ago.

 

You stand with shoulders hunched forward, rather still as five years of your own education flashes before your eyes, reflected in the one A-grade and the seven preceding U’s / You are blinking hard, hard, because you feel tears prickle, you feel tears burn your eyes from the inside out

 

You stand with a cardboard box in your hands, rather still as the doors to your now former-company slam shut in front of your face / You feel raindrops on your back but don’t budge from your position, because you won’t be needing the dress-shirt for a while.

 

You stand, but just barely, as a cold needle of a syringe punctures your skin / The wave of nausea that comes from the injection causes your body to spasm in painful waves that don’t feel as humiliating as the weird looks others are giving you / You want to stand still now, but you can’t.

Tears burn down your own face / I don’t offer a single tissue, but that’s okay / I know that’s just how I am. 🙂


Hello! Survived one rigorous week in the Singapore education system…No, I did not think that the holidays would last forever #PragmaticBlogger, eh? 😉

Thought I would try out a new style of writing for this post, especially since there are so many different ways to interpret the single-syllabelled word, Burn, and so many ways to contextualize a piece revolving around the word Burn.

Hopefully, I brought one of the meanings of Burn out to everyone? Feedback would be greatly appreciated! (or via Comments)

Written in response to this prompt

Small and SKINny

He’s small and skinny when I first meet him. There’s not an ounce of heart in his eyes and no sign of a flush colouring the pale, unblemished skin that coats his bones, but I’m no judger of appearances. How can I be, with hair the colour of mint ice-cream so pleasurable on a hot day it’d be a sin, a sun-baked tan body and three piercings, all in questionable places?

But he’s small and skinny when I first meet him, and when I last see him, lying in a coffin with hands clasped to the front, prosthetic leg covered neatly by a charcoal-gray pant leg, he’s thick—thickened with muscle. I can tell that his eyes are more alive than they ever were, holding more heart than they ever had since the time I first met him. ‘Cause he fell with his eyes open and that’s the way he was buried.

 

Taking a first look at him back when he was small and skinny, you’d suspect he was just one of those kids who lived down the block and who had no girlfriend and no siblings to speak of, just a plain young boy living in scruffy sneakers and jeans edged with scruff and too-long hair that acted as dandruff curtains sweeping his eyes. Not a good look for a boy, but he wasn’t any kind of boy.

He wasn’t just that kind of guy. He was actually a huge surprise.

He was a surprise when he was born; ‘first slid out of his mother’s womb. He wasn’t a planned child and hence, even after his birth, remained an unplanned burden of his biological mother’s. She gave him up. That was in the plan as soon as she saw his face and his little body—instead of thinking about the times they’d share together, she thought about the expenses saved if they were lived apart, as soon as the umbilical cord was spliced and his connection to his mother was gone forever.

 

He was small and skinny the second time I met him. We met in a shed, at a party—our mutual friend Davis thought that holding parties in the shed was all things Great and Rad and Cool and Hip. I went because I’d wanted to treat myself. A week of tests was over, and I wanted to get drunk. I wanted illegal drink to burn down my throat and the feel of others’ lips on me burn through my skin.

I spotted him huddled in the quietest corner of the shed. Shed-parties were squeezy and too warm, and he was wearing a sweater. It reached til his  jean-clad thighs and I threw away my cup of drink before sauntering over, chuckling, bubbly laughter flowing out of all my holes—

Why’re you wearing this? Are you dumb?

He just stared at me with those owlish, enlarged eyes, and didn’t speak. My eyes trailed from his face to his lips and they quirked in a smirk, as if proud that he hadn’t answered my question.

Idiot. His lips were pink and his flesh was so pale it seemed tinged pink, too.

I turned away from the small, skinny boy. I was looking for someone else, someone with hungrier lips and hungrier eyes and a hungrier heart. The drink wasn’t enough to fully consume me; I needed a stronger intoxication. That scared me.

It was then when he spoke. “Don’t you think it looks good on me?”
Well, I only saw him for a total of three times, and in fact, I didn’t know his name until the third time I saw him—he was in his coffin and no longer a small, skinny boy. It had been fifteen years since he asked me that question, and I could finally answer.

I glared down at this boy, once small, skinny, now lying pressed in a suit with hands clasped over and flower petals paler than his complexion. I hadn’t known his name but apparently he’d known mine, because I got invited to his funeral.

“Yes, you idiot. I do think that you look nice in that big sweater of yours.”

I fully intended to leave the venue, but I took one last look at him and muttered his name in the darkest tone I could muster. I turned to leave and knowing that despite attending the funeral, his name would be lost in my mind, somewhere far, far away—and he sat up.

He sat up. In his bloody coffin. And without a word, stepped out of it, my mouth still agape, and smirked. “I look good in my skin, don’t I?” He peeled it off and there stood the smallest, skinniest boy I’d ever seen.

LOFC #1: A Court of Mist and Fury

LOFC. Lusting Over Fictional Characters. A new web-series, presented to you exclusively right here, on fssther!

Who am I kidding. There have been numerous cases of avid readers falling into talented, super-genius-to-the-point-of-evil, have-I-mentioned-talented authors’ traps. By traps, I mean traps in the form of amazing characters–sadly, fictional characters–that us teenage girls/boys here in the non-fiction world want to actually marry and have children or fight wars with them or end the King of Hybern’s reign of terror on all seven courts in the land where faeries prowl, I don’t know!

All I know is that I’m sick, incredibly sick–down with a severe case of LOFC. And that’s because I, instead of being an obedient teenage daughter who was to write a thesis paper–stop stop stop the guilt is overwhelming me gAAAH–I went and binge-read the two most heavenly, sizzling-with-romance-and-sexual-tension, amazingly written, laced-with-freaking-beautiful-sentences-that-Adonis-himself-carved-out-of-his-amazing-Greek-chest, A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury.

These two books will shatter you. They will blow your mind better than anything–or anyone, says the vile blogger–can. Sarah J Maas, the author of this series, is a High Lord in the Court of Teenage Fantasies herself (for those of you who have read A Court of Thorns and Rosesplease get the reference!).

While both books left me shivery with a farily equal mix of amazement, excitement, and exhilaration, I titled this post LOFC: A Court of Mist and Fury because it was in the second book that I found my one true love.

Nestled right within the pages, or manuscript of Sarah J Maas’ incredible writing. Mhmmm.

Rhysand. Gods-damn you, Rhysand, I love you so so so so much

Ahem.

AHEM.

I haven’t lusted over a fictional character this much (this much meaning I’ve hunted high and low for perfect pictures of Rhysand on my Tumblr and my Twitter account, and have changed all my social media icons and headers to pictures of Rhysand and not Feyre because I’m utterly jealous of her Feyre) since…

Since Finnick Odair and his sugar cube-ness, in The Hunger Games. And, to be honest, I’ve never felt a ton of irrevocable joy hit me, full-force, right in the stomach, whenever I read someone’s name being mentioned.

Except Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Mr Lee Kuan Yew was an extraordinary man in all the good ways a hardworking man of such high calibre could be. I feel happy when I hear fellow Singaporeans respecting this man and all the wonderful contributions he’s given to Singapore.

But back to the point: I feel like I’ve just swallowed fifty spoonfuls of Lucky Charms cereal down my throat and washed it down with cinnamon hot chocolate whenever I read Rhysand in A Court of Mist and Fury. Whenever my enlarged, blood-shot eyes (that’s what I get for reading e-books late at night, the laptop screen simply a barrier between me and my fictional husband[s]) spot the capitalized, letter R of his honourable name, I feel actual fire charge up my abdomen–has anything ever made me feel this way before?

Actually, I went for a great buffet in Malaysia and it did make my senses go all haywire No. No, nothing has ever made me feel as elated, with zings of energy zipping from my toes to my knee-caps to the tips of my fingers and the bridge of my nose, as I feel whenever I come to bits about Rhysand in the book.

And I didn’t just (lust) (fantasize) (crave) fall in love with Rhysand because of how he looks–There are many excellent messages that books can convey, but if there’s one thing that I want to highlight on the excellency of books, it would be the fact that readers love characters because of their character (pun full intended). We only see characters as how they are through words, rows of beautifully-written sentences that authors bless us with, so how sculpted a character’s cheekbones are or how shiny their hair is, is left up to the proliferation of imagination we shower upon the books, as acts of affection and love for the exquisite, beautiful-to-the-point-of-ethereal stories bound inside the hard/paper-back covers. Whew that was longer than I expected–I fell in love with Rhysand because of how he is.

Because Rhysand is someone who would forgo his own dreams and happiness to save an entire world who thinks that he’s a villain.

Because Rhysand is a person who does everything for a reason, for a heart-breakingly worthy reason.

Because Rhysand isn’t a disrespecting idiot, to himself, or anyone else. Instead, he gets tattooes on his knees that remind him never to bow to anyone.

Because Rhysand is wise. He seems like a more mature, wise fella than most of the cast of extremely three-dimensional, interesting characters: He subtly imparts advice to Feyre through strange remarks or even compliments/insults, and knows when words of encouragement are needed.

“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”

Because Rhysand is considerate, and doesn’t blatantly tell Feyre “ay wassup you ma mate let’s get in bed“; instead, Rhysand holds it it, Rhys withholds this and doesn’t even try to assert his own love on the one person who makes him happy–he understands that Feyre loves someone else for the time being–he gives his girl time.

Because Rhysand wants people to see him for who he truly is, and not for the frightfully beautiful, inhuman mask that he often dons. He wants people to appreciate his rough, hewn edges–much like us humans yearn for others to do, too!–he’s human, although he’s Fae.

“I fell in love with you, smartass, because you were one of us—because you weren’t afraid of me, and you decided to end your spectacular victory by throwing that piece of bone at Amarantha like a javelin.

Not only that, Rhysand is proud of his people, and of the secret city he painstakingly hid away from Amarantha–that terrifying, hellish wench

AHEM. As you can read, I feel extremely emotional about these two books, and the casts of characters brought alive within the books’ covers. BACK TO THE POINT; I especially admire Rhysand’s love for his people, and the ‘family’ he belongs to, the family made up of Mor (<3), Amren, Azriel, Cassian, and finally…Feyre.

I love, to a great extent, the depth of the relationships characters have with each other in A Court of Mist and Fury. There are intricate secrets and so many inside jokes, more inside jokes that characters have with each other than the number of pages that the book has…! The sizzle of magic and threads of chemistry holding each Court and each family–biological family or brought-together family–will never fail to hook me in and hold me in a trance, eager to finish the chapter (that’s what I tell myself. One chapter. HA!).

Oh well–this post turned from lusting after Rhysand to me going on about how beautiful the book is in its writing, in its plot, and in its characters that seem very much alive to me.

In case you’re interested in reading the books flinging yourself head-first into the wonderful land of seven Courts and High Lords and Ladies (WHEN IS #3 GOING TO BE RELEASED?!), here is a sypnosis of A Court of Thorns and Roses, and a sypnosis of A Court of Mist and Fury (they’re on Sarah’s website!)

 

WITH THAT…folks, this is the end of Episode One of the new series, LOFC: Lusting over Fictional Characters! Hope you enjoyed reading through this drabble. 😉

You didn’t enjoy this?

Too bad. I got Rhysand, he’s all I need 😉

I’M KIDDING, FOLKS–PAGE VIEWS AND WORDPRESS LIKES COUNT, TOO!