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Literary

Lusus Naturae

The spider crept outside the window. I can hear slow, subtle movements. I do not know exactly what it is. I am alone in my bedroom now, staring at each clock’s hand passing hour after another. It’s dark, of course. Good thing, the walls are still painted blue. I love blue, and I love watching the stars.

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The spider crept outside the window. I can hear slow, subtle movements. I do not know exactly what it is. I am alone in my bedroom now, staring at each clock’s hand passing hour after another. It’s dark, of course. Good thing, the walls are still painted blue. I love blue, and I love watching the stars.

Sitting cross-legged on my quilt, I drift, hoping to snuggle myself to sleep. But the enduring harassment continues- a twisted pain knocking off my eardrums, and the veins continue to swallow air- harder and harder until it reaches my head. My eyes remain pallid, sleepless from all the paperwork and cups of coffee every single night. The bloodcurdling echo sings louder, rasher. I wonder when it will stop. I wonder what it is. No, I wonder what it will do to me. Will it gobble and chew down my brain or shatter my heart leaving its remains scattered on the headboards? How happy would he be to slice my abdomen in half, ripping my hair apart and sucking my blood like a condiment on a hot summer day! Or, chew my ear like an appetizer combined with a glass of wine. It must be delicious to die in his hands.

I glanced. It must have been long since he left me. No, maybe I am the one who left him. Memories must have come back to haunt me. Yes, to kill me, because I murdered him.  I ate his brain and stewed his liver.  Because I am afraid – of him leaving me, so I ate him, that I shall own him forever.

A few weeks later, I felt uneasy and weird. I also felt dizzy and vomited black plasma that tasted like ink every morning. I don’t understand what’s happening to me. There were nights I had severe fevers without any cause. I went to the doctor, pale and frustrated, desperate to know the cure for this disease that overcomes me, but she only told me that I’m fine and there’s nothing to worry about.

I remember how I devoured on every single thought of him, wanting, hungering for more. I reminisced the day, he asked me to marry him. He said he loved me, so I said yes. Only, to figure out I was fooled; that every single night, I found him cohabiting with prostitutes a house after another. Maybe, that’s okay. I am not a perfect woman anyway. Besides, men must have high standards regarding their sexual urges. It’s fine, even if it tears my heart away. I tried to resist the painstaking agony of seeing my husband sleep with another woman every night.

Maybe there were days he saw me. But he treated me differently; as if I were some unknown being he saw someplace; the longer days passed, he treated me more peculiar. There were days he treated me like a non-existing creature and looks at me like he sees nothing.  Yes, he would go to office jolly and vibrant each morning, but whenever he comes home, he would bring another woman to caress and cuddle. If not, he would open his beer bottles finishing them one by one, every drop on the lid. He can finish five bottles. He’s a good drinker, I must say. He’s also good at hurting women.  I remember how I used to be beaten, punched and shouted on His words still echo “Shut up, or I’ll kill you”. If I shout back at him, he’ll kick me, and it hurts so much. I don’t know where else to go. My parents died since I was a baby. An old woman only adopted me, but after marrying Frank, she got terribly sick and died. I was not allowed to visit her. Frank would beat me up. The more I screamed at him, the more he hurt me. The more I hurt him back, the more he tied me up. Oh, why do I have to endure such melancholy?

Sometimes, I wonder how it felt like to lacerate someone’s cock, squeezing the small thumb-sized pinkish muscle like a baby grape. Then, maybe I can chew it like a gum, playing it against my tongue. Then I’ll crush its cells under gritted teeth. I always fantasized those imaginations.

Ah! Just how it feels to manipulate and control someone who did the same thing before.

I don’t know what happened next. Everything is just so sudden.  It was not long ago when he told me to marry him. I’m sure, I am still fine and well though, but I don’t know about being fertile.  I never had a check-up.  But that should not be the only reason for leaving me, should it? And now his soul demands attention- to get total revenge of me. As I slowly crept down from my bed, I paced, walking in circles. What do I do, where to run? I can hear my heart palpitating loudly while the shivers ran down my spine. Beads of cold sweat dripped down my cheeks.

And suddenly, my eyes stare widely; after a moment or two, he’s here, like a godly Cereberus, a fitting ghost of darkness.  It was as if the room reduced its temperature to a Fahrenheit degree, cold and yet no air, but hollow. His eyes were huge and bright red, like blood. He was looking at me, his pupils not dilating. No head, no body, just a face, a terrifying face- a facade that would make your stomach twitch and trickle , a look none of you could imagine wanting. He’s just looking at me-all focused. I stood on the circle I’ve been since thinking of him. He’s still looking at me. I never moved. I looked at him, my fingers trembling, and quintessence screaming like hell.

I wonder if I am dreaming.  But no, he really is here and as time moves forward, the scents of cherry blossoms which usually filled my room turned to odour. Yes, bad, belching odour- a stench that smelled of Golgotha. He’s not going to leave me, is he? He’s still looking at me, salivating. After a blink, he tilted his face on the left side, as if trying to comprehend what that blink meant. But I just stayed, unmoving, reckless.

Then he returned to his normal position and grinned evilly.

And before I knew it, I was melting blood.

I was slowly dissipating like falling chalk dust.

My insides were flaring and my mouth ran dry.

Photo by Joshua Lugti

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Literary

Confession

It creeps up on me when I eat, when I am sitting in the living room, when I am about to sleep. It creeps up on me when I eat, when I am sitting in the living room, when I am about to sleep.

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Artwork by Patricia Jardin

To rest is a sin.

In the quiet moments of this new sheltered life, I have come to accept that there is a small dark corner of my mind where all the dates of the calendar are marked. From the first week of April, to the last week of May—it’s all there. It is a small dark corner. It creeps up on me when I eat, when I am sitting in the living room, when I am about to sleep.

This small dark corner reminds me everyday of what’s about to come. I explain that I’m not ready, that I need more time, that this is new territory and I haven’t taken a step further since I came here—it doesn’t listen to me. It tells me to get to work. It tells me that this is my priority, this is what matters the most in this worldwide pandemic. It forces me to listen, to do as it says, to be its puppet to be controlled with the numbers controlling my arms and legs.

But this is just a small dark corner of my mind. There are other corners. Much bigger corners.

To rest is a sin. 

I have yet to be forgiven. 

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Literary

Little Bit of Paradise

You try to breathe in the catastrophe as your thumb keeps scrolling and scrolling and scrolling until the end is reached, leaving a deep void that makes you unable to speak or act.

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Artwork by Patricia Jardin

You wake up to the sight of your room’s white ceiling. The summer heat makes your skin sweat immediately. Piled up papers stare at you from the corner of the room along with unpacked belongings from the dorm––ah, yes. You are home––earlier than expected but still, you succumb to this little bit of paradise.

You breathe in the familiarity of your bed sheet’s smell, let every caress of the fabric give comfort up until you check your phone.

Three hundred thirty-nine new cases. The death toll is now at 704. Recoveries at 1,842. The total is now at 10,610.

This little bit of paradise began to crumble from the inside. Like a volcano nearing to erupt. The summer heat began to burn not only the skin but also made its way into bones and flesh. Piled up papers began to yell, screaming for a continuation. Gentle caresses became tight grips with nails digging deeper into full palms.

You try to breathe in the catastrophe as your thumb keeps scrolling and scrolling and scrolling until the end is reached, leaving a deep void that makes you unable to speak or act.

You see posts from people staying up in their ivory towers while waving their flags of toxic positivity for all to see. You grit your teeth in disgust. The screen refreshes, showing heroes and people trying to survive from exhaustion and hunger.

This little bit of paradise of yours completely crumbles, leaving traces of guilt, fear,  and anger, all in one.

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Literary

Finding Courage

In this time, praying has become a refuge. There is solitude in knowing that you are being heard and that what you are feeling and thinking are valid.

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Artwork by Patricia Jardin

It’s nice to wake up with the thought of having food served on the dining table for the day. When you know that you have a home, your family beside you, and wondering what you will do for the rest of the day. Make Dalgona coffee? Bake? Read? Watch a new TV series? Finally finish your school work?

Watching the news has become a staple in the household. Seeing the cases increase, people helping one another, our frontliners making things easier for us, and the struggle of the people trying to make ends meet despite the difficult situation. Suddenly, watching the news brings tension, stress, and anxiety. 

In this time, praying has become a refuge. There is solitude in knowing that you are being heard and that what you are feeling and thinking are valid. It is okay to be scared in times like these but know that these too shall pass. Courage is hard to find these days but waking up and getting out of the bed is a progress. I hope you find the courage to go on day by day.

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