Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Second Chance

15 years after the war, 2 years after the big Apocalypt Storm.
The small amount of survivors.
Strangely enough; it's like the world goes to a state of rewind. Amidst the ruins; skeletons; broken railways, nature made its way anyhow, resisting the stench of death and the sorrow lingering in the air. Trees growing at the strangest of places, pushing away things that are on its way to growth.

Aeda sat on an old, rusty vehicle that no longer bears its original form and stares at her surroundings.
Little houses made from the remaining parts of broken buildings contain families or individuals who needed a place they belong to; a home. Ex-soldiers who guard the area, and women gathering at the center of the area; cooking what nature offered.

The sky is not as blue as they were before for dust and dirt fill the air and the clouds are only mirroring the colour of the water on earth. However, the sky is wider now; compared to before, when buildings were so tall you feel like an ant trapped in a maze and the top of the buildings is the sky for you.

Aeda regretted nothing. She never regretted living even though she lost so much during the war and the storm. Because she had always understood the meaning of "you reap what you sow", and it is only natural that humans get what they deserve.

Nature is cruel, violent, unpredictable in so many ways. Its wrath surpasses human's knowledge; its strength surpasses human's ability and concept of protection.

But nature is also kind; for after what humans thought is the end; is actually a beginning.

Aeda stares at the buds that will soon bloom into beautiful flowers. They grow unhesitatingly from the soil that was created from dead bodies. One end; is one beginning. Nature calls, nature takes, nature gives--

a second chance.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Witch and The Twin Princesses : Part 2


"Well, that's one way to describe--this." Aurora gestured her eye to the trees in the forest. It has gotten much more silent than before, as if the animals were hiding underground. Yet, even the ground felt cold. Astrid got down from her horse and sat on the nearest giant tree root. "Are you sure about this, Aurora? Father might already find out that we ran away."
"We didn't run away, Astrid. We're just trying to find out what's happening in the forest."
Astrid raised an eyebrow,
"Without his permission."

Placing her palm on the tree barks, Aurora listened to her sister; "At this rate, it might be difficult for us to find out what's going on. So far, the attacks only happened at night. Right now, the sun is high above our heads. I don't think we'd find that creature."

"Whoa, whoa!" Aurora countered; "Sister, I do want to find that creature, and I do agree with you on that, but I'm not really looking for the creature exactly. I'm looking for some tracks. You don't expect us to enter the forest at night without even knowing what we're dealing with, do you? If we have some tracks, or clue on what this creature can do or what it looks like, at least, we might find some chances on finding its weakness."

Astrid stared at her sister. "How come you're so smart and detailed in hunting but when it comes to studying literature and history you make our ancestors squirm in shame?" 
And  at that moment, something caught her eye. The tree next to the one which root she was sitting on, it's bark was somehow scratched, three parallel lines visible against the dark brown colour of the tree. "Does that seem like a clue?" She pointed at the mark. Aurora looked closer, trying to trace any particular information passed down from Samuel during their past hunting sessions. Examining the width and length of the marks, she knew whatever that made that mark is not a human. The line is too wide for a sword or a knife, and there would be no reason to actually leave three marks, unless the weapon comes in a set.

Claws. Big, sharp claws. Strong enough to leave a mark quite deep, tall. The mark was made at the same height as the girls, and Aurora assumed that to leave an upward pattern, the creature only have to lift its arms up to its chest. And apparently, she couldn't recall any teachings from her brother about creatures like this. She knows that, at least; the creature is fast, strong, tall, and have sharp claws. Adrenaline pumping in her veins; she couldn't help but wanting to hunt, right at that moment; but she couldn't risk only one thing.


Aurora looked around for any possible traces, but there was nothing. No footprints, no tracks of broken twigs or unusually torn leaves. "Let's go back." Aurora suggested. Astrid thought her sister looked different, but she doesn't ask. She's leaving the questioning session after they get back safely. 

"Quick, Aurora, we have to hide these." Both of them took off Samuel's armor and hid them with their weapons in the haystack. Making sure no one is around, Aurora sat down on a small stack of hay. "What did you find out?" Astrid asked. Choosing her words carefully, Aurora answered. "Big, dangerous, with claws sharp enough to shred a human's flesh in one blow."
"Do you think there are other marks like that?"
"I'm not sure, but if we could do something about it, informing the general is a good step. If the soldiers are going to stay in the forest until the creature has been caught, the undertaker will run out of coffins. Well, that is even if their bodies can be recovered."
"But Aurora! What are we going to tell him, huh? Good afternoon, general. We sneaked out of the castle and found a clue that the creature might just have giant sharp claws? Aurora!"

"General Wilhelm, the king requests for your presence in the dining hall." A soldier reported. Wilhelm nodded and left the meeting, approaching the doorway, until a pair of hands pulled him into a dark, narrow space. His reflexes instantly aims for his sword, but another pair of arms stopped him. "Shhh! General, it's us!! It's us!!!"  Aurora whispered. Shocked, he calmed down almost immediately at the presence of the princesses, and bowed his head. "What--"

His question was cut off quickly. "Did your men find any traces, or marks, or clues in the forest?" Aurora asked in haste.

"FIND THE PRINCESSES!" A soldier's shout was heard, followed by multiple replies from other men and workers

"Oh, good heavens! Father found out! General, answer me!" Aurora pulled Wilhelm deeper into the darker side of the corner. "Wait. Alright. I don't know what's going on, princess. But so far I have not received any report on visible clues or marks left by the creature. Even the bloodhound lost trace of the victim's blood. Some of our dogs ran away, as if they were terrified by something."
Aurora and Astrid were relieved, at one point, that they could actually TRY to pass the newly-required information. "Okay. We're going to be quick. We sneaked out of the castle--"
"You what?!!" Wilhelm whispered his shout;
"And we found something in the forest." Aurora's serious tone caught his immediate attention.

"I'm going to need Samuel to come back here." King Richard sighed. in the past, Samuel was the only one who could make those girls sit quietly in the dining table. The Queen sat next to him, rubbing his aching, tense shoulders.
And suddenly they heard familiar giggles. The turned around and saw their daughters laughing. "Where were you?!" The Queen asked.
The stopped laughing; looking at their parents. "We were playing hide and seek in the eastern wing, mother. Apparently some of our drawings when we were little are still on the walls!" Astrid laughed. "Good heavens! Do you know how worried we were?!" King Richard stood up. "But we did nothing wrong, father. Everyone's busy and running here and there, talking about some beastly creature or something and we were extremely bored. It's the only thing we could do since Sam left." Astrid spoke softly, almost solemn.
King Richard sighed.

After the conversation ended, both of them walked into their room, Aurora refraining herself from laughing her heart out due to the drama, and Astrid had a smug plastered on her face. 


I stared at the setting sun, anxious. It's going to be dark soon and I hope General Wilhelm warned his men to be on their guards. I have a nasty feeling about this. Father and Mother are worried about the kingdom, and so do I, but I can't persuade them to leave the castle. They won't just simply do it. It's a part of being the king and the queen. I need to protect them. And other people too. And Astrid.

I looked at her. She's reading. I need to enter the forest again. This time, without her. I need to find out about something.

I need to see Rulf.


Black pants, leather boots, a black cape. Enough from being seen. The sleeping powder she put in Astrid's drink worked quick enough and lasts long enough for her to inquire what she needs. Sneaking out from the secret gate again, she finds herself walking in a much slower pace than she used to, cautious of any movement from the surroundings. 

The forest is so much more eerie at night. She hates to admit it, but it scares her, not knowing what might come next. She came to the place where they found the mark, and hope filled her heart; and she howled like a wolf.

Silence fell into the surroundings again. She tried to listen for any sound, and when she's confident that there was none, she howled again.

And suddenly, she heard sounds.  From behind, reflexes ordered her to grab her weapons and she shot an arrow. "It's me, stupid! You almost got me!"
The arrow hit a nearby tree, missed a couple of inches from a man's head.

"Damn it, it almost got you!"  Aurora groaned. Rulf gave her a glare. "Rulf, stand somewhere where the moonlight doesn't reach you. I'm in no mood to be distracted by your looks." Aurora spoke. "Ah, finally admitting you like me?" Rulf teased. "No, I really meant how you look. Get some clothes next time, will you?" Aurora sighed at the naked man as he moves to stand in the shadow of a big tree. 

"Have you ever seen a wolf wearing clothes, princess?" Rulf smirked. "You're right. If I see one, I might kill it out of surprise." Aurora answered coldly, earning a pout from the taller man. His black hair was as dark as the shadow he was standing in, but his eyes, glow in neon silver. 

"I need to find out what's going on in the forest, Rulf."

Monday, June 4, 2012

Defining Factor

“Hey, I was wondering something..”
Yuu turned to Miki and replied, “What?”

“We’ve never seen you walking with a guy.” She said, earning a sudden attention from Sora and an immediate addition from her, “Miki’s right. I never give it a thought before, but now that she’s mentioned it, we don’t see it much don’t we? Or, more like—we have NEVER seen you walking with a guy.”

Yuu chuckled, not willing to let herself get influenced by such an unreasonable topic.

“What the heck are you talking about? I’ve walked with Sho, Takuma, and sometimes with other classmates of ours as well! You’re being ridiculous!” Yuu shook her head slightly, although she knew very well where the conversation is heading to.

“We meant a boyfriend, Yuu.” Miki said nonchalantly.

“Do I have to have a boyfriend to walk with a guy?” Yuu replied, trying her best not to touch that certain topic.

Love and Relationship.

“You know what we mean, Yuu.” Sora chuckled.

“If  you insist on beating around the bush, then I’ll just be direct. How come you’re not getting a boyfriend?”

Yuu chuckled at Miki’s question. “That is so freakishly direct, you idiot.”

Miki and Sora laughed, but Yuu still insists on finding a way out.

“Because I don’t have to.” She answered and continued after sensing that her friends won’t continue anything after her; “I’m happy like this. I don’t need further reasons.”

“Just admit it, Yuu.” Sora grinned,

“Admit what?”

“You’re gay.” Miki laughed, earning a chuckle from Yuu.

“You want me to be one? Brace yourself.” Yuu got up and began to strip herself off her jacket, then starting to tease Miki’s clothes with a grin plastered on her face.

“Aww! No, dammit! Wait!! Sorry!”

Because it hurts.

Because it is just so freaking troublesome.

Because there is absolutely nothing wrong with being alone.

Because being alone does not mean one is lonely.

Because it saves the time and tears and the ego.

Because it is not the only reason for one to be happy.

Truthfully, she does not see what other people see. She knew that being in love feels good, she had experienced it, but she also knows that a heartbreak is so painful and tiring. Why waste everything when there is another way for one to be happy?

“God created this world beautiful, Kazu. There’s just a lot of things. Why do people make it a defining factor for happiness? I mean, you can always make curry rice using milk if you don’t have coconut milk. The taste might be different but you’ll still get to eat curry because the defining factor is the curry powder you’re using.”

Kazu, on the other line, laughed.

“You have to stop comparing things with food, Yuu.” He said.

“It’s easier for an airhead like you to understand. I couldn’t understand it, Kazu. It’s not like I’m unhappy or something.”

“Well, you don’t see what they see, and they don’t see what you do. The least you could do is just shrug it off. This is one of the mysteries of life which some people will never figure out unless they experience the defining factor. Like—they won’t know the correct amount of curry powder to be used to make curry that they prefer unless they themselves cook it.”

Yuu chuckled, “Hey, stop using my style of comparison.”

“Well, you’re an airhead as well, just so you know.” Kazu countered with a laugh.

“Well, the next time anyone asks me how come I’m still single, I’ll just say that I’m aiming for hard-earned money first and when I’m rich I can get any young man to live with me.” Yuu changed the phone to her left ear since her right one is getting warmer.

“Put me on the list of those young men. I want to have a rich woman taking care of me.”

Yuu laughed at the ridiculous request and said, “Then train yourself to be a good whore, bitch.”

Both of them laughed.

“Alright, then make sure you finish the homework I’ve given by next week. If you do, then we might just have time for another fun experiment outside the classroom!” Yuu spoke before the lesson ended and gathered all the books handed to her by the students. Teaching in an international school takes quite a hard work, but it suits her just fine. Smiling at the last student walking out of the classroom,  she stared at her phone and realized that there was a text message.

She smiled while reading it, anticipating her dinner in two hours. She has enough time to have some rest.

Or just do anything in between.

Walking out of the school building, she recognized a silhouette through the sunset light. “You’re freaking late, you know. I got out of my office earlier without even saying goodbye to my friends!”

She sighed, “Aw, come on. Dinner’s in two hours.”

“Yes, but we have a lot of things to do in between.”

Yuu laughed. “I just thought of that a while ago.”

“Well then, let’s get going. We need to buy some clothes for this little girl. Kai couldn’t wait any longer.”

Kazu pointed his finger at her stomach, then looked at the car, where inside, their eldest son is playing with a Kamen Rider figurine.

“Let’s just get her to wear Kai’s old clothes.”

“How dare you~!!” Kazu punched her shoulder very lightly, laughing, walking slightly behind her, supporting her increasing weight as their daughter grows inside of her.

“And by the way, I feel like eating curry.”

“I want to eat nabe. You want to eat curry, you’re welcomed to go on your own.” Yuu retorted with a smile as she entered the car.

Kai, overheard his parents’ silly fight, interrupted cheerfully; “Let’s eat curry nabe then!”

Kazu and Yuu looked at each  other.

 “Well, the taste might be different but both defining factors are there in curry nabe. So why not?”

Kazu stated, earning an approving nod from his wife.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Witch and The Twin Princesses : Part 1

"The next time both of you sneak out into the forest again, I'll make sure you will never have another trip to Samuel's palace-- ever again!"
And he sent them away.

Taking the stairs to their bedroom chamber, Aurora took off her earplugs hidden beneath her long hair. Astrid did as well. "I'm so glad we have long hair! This time he really has a lot to say, don't you think?" said Aurora. "Yes. I didn't even expect he would bring up Sam's name." Astrid smiles and opened the door for her twin sister. Earplugs couldn’t fully block their father’s voice, and the sound of their brother’s name being spoken of was clearly articulated anyway.
"But do you think he would really do it?" Aurora asked, looking out the window, viewing the scene of greenery, thinking of their brother, Samuel, and his wife as well as their little prince, far away from them.
"If he'd do it, I guess we have no other choice other but to bring him here." Astrid replied, already sitting on the bed, stares at a portrait hanging on the wall. Aurora, her, and  Sam together.  She misses Sam. Both of them do. They exchange letters often, but it is never the same. Samuel was the one who taught them to hunt, to defend themselves, to know the dangers. And she's pretty much sure Samuel misses them too.

Realizing Astrid's longing expression, Aurora sits next to her, takes her hand, and suggests; "Let's place banana skins in front of father's chamber this time."

The midnight wind brushes against his skin, making him shiver and sat closer to the fire. His friend, also a soldier, looked around, aware of any creatures that might run into them in the forest. “I really don’t understand why our King won’t let the princesses go out to hunt,” said he. His friend looked at him, replied, “The exact same reason why we’re here guarding the castle’s nearby surroundings.”
“I don’t understand that either.”
Sighing, the friend sat down close to the fire. “Don’t you see something’s wrong lately? ”
Earning a shook from his friend’s head, he continued while looking around. “Hear anything?”
“” The other one looked around as well.
“That’s exactly the point. It’s awfully silent in the forest, man. You can’t hear the animals. Only the trees.”
Realizing the truth in what his friend said, he looked up. “You reckon something’s happening?”
“I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure they stopped making sounds because they’re afraid. Two days ago I heard a growl, a loud, scary, ugly growl coming from further inside of the forest. It scared the hell out of me.”
His friend looked up again.
Noticing the silence between them, he continued, “I felt as if whatever it was, the thing that made that sound knew that I was there and I heard it, and it felt like as if it wanted to eat me.”

“No, I’m really telling you the truth, man.  I ran as fast as I can but I could still feel like that thing’s behind me. It was scary.. I couldn’t forget that feeling..”

“That fear…I couldn’t even scream. I just wanted to find a place to hide—“

“What is it, man??”
“, damn it!!”

The man ran away quick, leaving him speechless. What was that all about? He looked up where his friend looked at before. Trembling before the creature before his eyes, he was nailed to the ground as fear consumes him.

 And the same growl  from two days ago was heard again.

And this time, he failed to escape.


 "Aurora, wake up!" Astrid shook her twin sister awake as bells were rung non-stop, replacing the usual sound of birds chirping in the morning. "It's so loud!! Astrid, what's happening?!" Aurora protested in annoyance, but her question wasn't answered. She followed Astrid to the window and heard soldiers shouting;

"Find the beast!"
"Take your weapons, men! This ain't going to be pretty!"
"Make sure no one leaves the forest until we kill the beast!!!"

One shout after another, sending signs of a mixture of excitement, eagerness and fear big enough to reach the twins. "Astrid...what's going on..? It looks like..."

"War." Astrid said coldly.

"They mentioned beast, Astrid. What beast?"
Astrid shook her head. Slowly she walked towards the bed, her fingers tracing the carved wooden footboard.  Aurora understood the silence.
"Is that why the forest became so quiet and all the animals disappeared?" 
Astrid turned around to face her sister. "Maybe. We can't ask father about this. He'll surely send us back to this room. This is really strange. I feel...something..uneasy."

Aurora smirked. "It is called curiosity, dear sister. Sam taught us so many things about the forest and the creatures inside it, but he never mentioned any beast. It's natural for us to be curious. After all, the forest IS our forbidden playground."
Smiling back in agreement, Astrid spoke. "We need to sneak out. But how? I'm pretty much sure father ordered some of his soldiers to look for any sign of us trying to interfere."
Silence fills the air for a moment, until Aurora walks towards the door in a calm manner with a sly smile plastered on her face.
"Where are you going?"

"Astrid, we're going to play dress-up."

"Astrid, you walk like a girl!" Aurora nudged her sister using the hilt of Sam's sword. "Shut up, Aurora! I can't believe we're wearing Sam's clothes! They smell really old!" Astrid protested beneath the black hooded cloak that Samuel used to wear for hunting. "It's because they are old, Astrid. Now try to walk like a man before someone notices that we're both holding the Royal Sword!" Aurora whispered. Sam left three swords at the castle after he got married, and luckily, the swords are still as sharp as before and his armors fit the twins just nicely to deceive the soldiers who are busy running here and there.
Aurora enjoyed herself, wearing armors, holding a sword, stepping on the dirt and not having to mind her posture when she walks. Her boyish attitude often got her scolded by their tutors, but also often enough for her to play pranks on them. Placing banana peels is only one of her "kindest" pranks.

"Hurry up, men! We'll start hunting by sundown!" the general shouted.
Astrid looked around, amazed by the rare sight of chaos in the castle compound. What caused this chaos is not something light. Noticing something, she pulled Aurora; "Come here for a moment."
Both of them hide behind a huge stack of straw before Astrid earns a questioning look from Aurora. "Listen."

The men standing nearby were chatting.
"It was huge. He said he heard him scream but he was too afraid to go back. The creature was hideous and huge."
"And fast."
"It probably have eaten many more before last night."
"I heard the beast attacked one of the villages in the west road and it was horrible. It might come here next."
"That beast might harm the people in the castle."

"What if it knows we're going to kill it tonight?"

Astrid listened attentively for any details about the occurrence.  She pulled her hood lower and turned to Aurora. "The beast killed one of our men last night, and probably a lot of people before that."
"What beast? What kind of beast??"
Astrid shook her head. "I don't know. But if it can attack a village and kill a lot of people, then it must be something big and fast. There were no traces found, however. I wonder why.."

"You're welcomed to stay here like a rock while I prefer to go and find out about it myself." Aurora walks away in excitement, too fast for Astrid to catch her. They reach the stable and prepare their horses, ready to sneak out through the secret gate surrounded by thick bushes. They have Sam to thank for that. "Ooh.. I wish I have my arrows. This sword is heavy." Astrid sighed. Aurora chuckled. "Not a problem." She walked into one corner where stacks of straw are placed, and she buries her hand in it, trying to find something. Astrid watches her with a strange, questioning look on her face.
Aurora paused for a while and broke the silence. "Oi, you might as well help me over here."
"What in the world are you looking for??" Astrid asked, trying to search whatever her sister was searching for in the stacks of straw. Suddenly her hand found something hard, and she pulled it out. Bow and arrows. New. Lots of arrows.
"A-ha! You found them! And so did I!" Aurora pulled out another set.
"When did you--"
"They have been here for two months. I had them made and hid them here just in case father takes away our weapons. I asked the blacksmith to design arrows that have a longer range of travel. I tried one of these arrows. They're really, really fast and look---"
Aurora took one of the arrows, and slightly turned the silver metal below the tip. The tip opened up into a lotus form where each tip is sharp enough for the arrow to rip the skin and muscles. One may be enough to kill, and they have a lot of them.
"Wounds caused by these little guys takes a very long time to heal. I planned to present them to you on our birthday, behind father's back of course."
Astonished at the cruelty that the arrows possess, Astrid stared at her twin. "We look the same..but Aurora, you are one hell of a barbaric princess, you know that."

Smiling, Aurora settled down on her horse and replied, "Yeah, I've known that since my first kill in the forest . Now let's go before father finds out that the ones sleeping on our bed are pillows and clothes."

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Witch and The Twin Princesses : Introduction

Wise owl : "Little girl, you should not be wandering out here."
Little girl : "....."
Wise owl : "This forest is full of dangerous creatures, even ones unknown to the humans. They might eat you if you're not careful."
Little girl : "Well said."
Seeing the fangs as she spoke, wise owl attempted to flee, but in his futile attempt, the owl was easily caught and swallowed. Chuckling in satisfaction, the little girl quietly took a few steps forward, looking around with a pair of taunting, yellow eyes which were not seen by her previous prey. With a sarcastic smirk formed on her blood-stained lips, she dissolves into the darkness, leaving behind an echo of an eerie hiss.

 "Find them! Ahh!" the King shouted. The Queen walked closer towards him and gently placed her palm on his shoulder. "Calm down..This isn't the first time they go to the forest. They're all grown up." she said, almost whisper-like. 
"But they're not men! They're my daughters! And they chose the forest to be their playground! Of all places in the country, they chose THE FOREST!" he retorted. 
The Queen smiles, and replied, "They are indeed YOUR daughters."
And he sighed.


Observing the tracks carefully, Astrid looked at her sister and chuckled. "What?" asked Aurora. "We're too late. This is three days old." 
Aurora let out a heavy sigh and took off her hunting robe. Putting down her bow and arrows she sat on the nearest giant root and said, "Where are all the animals?!"
"Probably they got sick of us and run away. I don't know."
"But there should be at least one or two left behind. The last time we killed a wolf was a week ago! A wolf. A. One."
Astrid sat next to her sister, "Well, AYY wolf got us terribly scolded by father. The last time I see him scolding people like that was when he accidentally tripped on a banana skin, fell down the staircase and landed on his backside. It was hilarious."
Both of them laughed.
"It was meant for our annoying chaperones, thank you very much. I didn't expect father to go and check on us."
Silence filled the air for a moment, until Aurora's smile disappeared,
"But it is strange..... The forest is suddenly so...."
"Yes. Do you think something happened?"
Aurora was about to answer until a familiar sound was heard. The royal horse.
"Looks like father found out. Let's go." Astrid picked up her weapons on her side. Feeling a nudge, she looked at her sister.
"Does this mean we have to wear earplugs again? Father will surely scold us, you know."