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An independent magazine aimed at bringing the

ISSUE 18 December 2015 works of the young and talented to the whole world.


You WILL be rewarded a copy of Garde Magazine Anniversary Issue!


An independent magazine aimed at bringing the works of the young and talented to the whole world. Believing in ideas, thoughts and concepts, Garde Magazine follows the principle of simplicity and honesty.

Founders Cleo Tse Natasha Chan

cleo.tse@gardemagazine.com natasha.chan@gardemagazine.com

Creators Holly Rees

Ivy Yuen

James Clow

Contributors ODKST Kalle Ă–stgĂĽrd

Special thanks Maria Evrenos

Kaat De Groef


Content Ivy Yuen Fine Art Creations derived from maths and research

Holly Rees Fine Art Nature and humanity are one

James Clow Fine Art Why commercialise artistic talent?

Kaar de Groef Jewellery Design Connecting jewellery to our bodies

Story teller ODKST Kuro Ex Machina - Chapter 6


IVY YUEN Creations derived from maths and research Contributed by


A

re there reasons why your artworks are mainly in plain colours?

Since the media I use is usually paper, the colour of paper itself will become the leading tone. Another reason is that the theme of my artwork: death, silence (rest) made me think of light colours. I didn’t realise that at the beginning, but when I put all my works in the past years together, it looked pretty obvious. And I really need to create in a very quiet environment – with no sounds of humans around and with some music. Under that status, bright colours can’t really enter the picture. These are all with support: I have read two famous artists, Paul Klee and Johannes Itten’s articles which are about psychology and colour. Since my environment is quiet, what eyes want to see are plain colours too. Sometimes I bought really good quality colour pencils but I gave up on using them because the quality is too good and the colours are too bright.

H

ave you always preferred painting?

I think paintings with different mediums are different – painting with oil has its amazing attractions such as strong characters and bright colours, but I rarely

use it. I like to mix different medium and materials to paint and sketch. Painting makes me feel a strong communication with the artworks. It is like playing badminton that goes back and forth.

W

hy do you like to do statistics and calculations before creating?

Maybe it was because I studied economics before. I remember my thesis was about foreign companies in China and investment and I collected over 20 years of data. I like to do research and I have had training before. Everything I do needs to be supported by something, which affects my creative creation. I will prefer to collect data and analyse – maybe it is because I need to convince myself.

C

an you explain how you transform statistics and data into a piece of artwork?

Although a big part of my inspiration is about data, my artworks tend to be narrative. Numbers and figures are like stories to me and I will read them like a story book. There are reasons for numbers to appear; such as that the amount of people who take transportation during Chinese New Year in China is due to family reunion – I want to think of the reason behind the numbers. Workers were separated from their family to work


Ivy Yuen - Whe Smokes Rise (Daraya, Syria)


Ivy Yuen - Rubbles


in cities with more opportunities that led to population mobility and changes of society etc. After ‘reading’ I try to imagine possible stories which come with characters and emotions. Numbers are also with weight, just like colours.

eventually was 10m long with 21,900 days (365 years times 60 years) of waiting. Someone said it was a love letter, I just thought of “to number our days” (Psalm 90:12) from the bible.

I like literature (the first book I read in secondary school was by Chinese literature writer Chiung Yao) and I like to connect literature with my artworks. That’s how I combine numbers and literature with visual elements and images to give birth to my works.

Y

Statistics are from real life and the arts is mainly imagination. I think travelling between reality and its opposite is quite special - in this way taking out numbers may increase the reality of its opposite.

C

an you give us some examples that you did statistics for?

My early work ‘Richard, I missed you so much’ is inspired by the movie Somewhere In Time, a love story that time and space criss-cross. The leading actor from 1972 falls in love with the leading actress from 1912. He tried his best to go back to the past to find her. The actress eventually lived until 1972 and went to find him although she is a granny already. Waiting for 60 years to meet one’s lover is very touching and I really would like to know what missing and waiting for so long is like. Then I started to collect calendars from 1912 to 1972 and find out each month’s day of full moon. I wrote these full moon days on the canvas according to its sequence. Yellow dots were representing full moon day and Sundays were red dots. The work

our recent artworks are related to wars – whey does a place with no war need to care about wars? Although Hong Kong is a place with no war, it is pretty easy to get in touch with news, images and videos that are about wars from the Internet. Everyone will be attracted to them and sit at home to ‘comprehend’ war because there is none in Hong Kong. Another reason is because I have been studying time, death and the fading of lives. To me, war and death are synonyms, so I care a lot about wars.

H

ow did you start your path to art?

I liked to do arts and crafts when I was young. I would buy books to learn it and make some small things for classmates yet they had no practical usage. I was the one always responsible for the art and design part in group activities. I didn’t attend too many activities when I studied economics in Hong Kong Baptist University but I attended other schools to have classes. I accidentally attended a beginner course of Western painting in art school – that was when I started to know more about art. I would like to thank a professor who taught me back in the day because he was the one who opened the gate of art for me by thinking about life and history through a piece of painting.


“I was a choir member before and I learnt that I have to put in my emotion in order to touch others. I also learnt to put my feelings in art creations.” When I had saved up enough money after graduation, I took a diploma course of sketching and painting. Then I learned oil painting in local artist Christopher Ku’s studio for three years. I then studied a bachelor course in art school and I have been continuing creating since graduation.

W

hy do you want to keep working on art?

Sometimes I think it’s not about me giving up or not but ‘giving up’ didn’t pick me. Teachers in art school led me to another level and showed me more about contemporary art and creating: I recognised art is a language and a profession. I also understand that painting does not necessarily equal to art. Honestly, it is friends, teachers, family and colleagues’ support to make me keep walking. As an artist, there are some inevitable difficulties such as high rent and small space. But I have faith that everyone needs arts and culture just like needing water. It’s an alternative vitamin to keep one healthy.

H

ow does painting make you feel?

Painting makes me more focused because I have to spend a lot of time to observe and make delicate changes. It also calms me down and increases my attention span.

H

ow does art affect your life?

The process of creation made me more attention-focused. I will pay attention to small stuff like a pin and start imagining its appearance, shape, history and possibility. I would want to dismantle it to create another form. Another funny thing is art changes my shopping preference. I used to buy clothes, shoes and bags, now I will go to metal shops, stationery stores and wood stores etc to buy weird stuff. Apart from that, I realised that I have been more organised because I need to follow a schedule to finish a piece of work, otherwise I could not exhibit the work. But sometimes I try to improvise and allow myself to stumble a bit in the process.


Ivy Yuen - Dealth Toll


H


HOLLY REES Nature and humanity are one


H

olly Rees is a creator in the fine art sector. She said she is all about making work that engages people on some level with the issues she expresses in her paintings. Calling fine art beautiful in that there is no one single definition to restrict it to; Holly said it is “anything, something creative and something appreciated because of its intellectual/aesthetic properties.” Holly learned fine art in college and said the biggest lesson was learning how to let her practice “develop organically – like learning how to plait together all these moving strands of critical discussion and aesthetic and contextual understanding into a continually growing and changing body of work.”

Upon graduation, Holly set her mind to exploring the idea of nature versus man. “What I’m really trying to do is explore the idea of ‘nature’ as something of a social construct, it doesn’t really exist physically - the sort of man vs. nature binary is socially constructed, and in reality humanity is just as natural as everything else,” she said. “Many contemporary ecocritics (for example, Timothy Morton) explain that the idea that you can separate the two is quite a damaging one, because if ‘nature’ is separate from humanity then we can ignore it, as well as the environmental problems faced today (like global warming, pollution, etc).” In her paintings, Holly tries to look at the different ways people engage with landscapes in


Holly Rees - untitled intermediate (postcards), oil on panel, 30 x 40cm In my practice I attempt to use painting to examine the ways in which we experience and understand landscape. Intermediates – like windows, screens, postcards – can inform a potentially problematic understanding of the world around us, and create an image of “nature” as something separate from humanity. A traditional or idealist concept of Nature comes from a Romanticised image of a pristine wilderness, untouched by humans: but this concept is something that progressive ecologists and eco-critics are trying to dismantle, because it feeds into a damaging human/nature binary. If we put “Nature” on a pedestal and reduce it to an object separate from us, it’s then easy to ignore. However, if this dualism could be broken down, it would be possible to gain a greater understanding of human ecology: that environmental problems are not problems that belong to the Environment, but are problems that belong to us. I’m interested in questioning whether our experiences through different intermediaries reinforce this romanticised idea of nature. In glimpses of landscapes through moving train windows I attempt to use painting as a means to explore a more temporal experience of a landscape we’ve merely glanced at. So too in reproduced images of landscapes, like those on postcards, or in books, we gain a potentially false understanding of a place. This relates to another interesting concept, that of a “celebrity landscape” – places like the Grand Canyon that are easily recognisable to many despite having never set foot there. This line of enquiry has also lead to a parallel development of the work beyond traditional painting, in the design and build of a “Vargon” (an amalgamation of ‘vardo’ and ‘waggon’). This hand built wooden caravan is capable of moving through the landscape itself, again questioning how the ways in which we experience landscape feed into our understanding of it.


Holly Rees - untitled intermediate (outer distant), oil on panel, 80 x 60cm


order to create discussion or encourage people to consider the potential falsehood of this man/nature binary, she said. “In my next few paintings I’m continuing to look at these different intermediates through which we gain our understanding of a place; in particular still painting windows, with more of a focus perhaps on the physicality of the screen, the glass itself, and the shapes of the window panes, as well as the movement and blurred landscape through them,” she said. “I also want to continue a line of enquiry into this idea of a ‘celebrity landscape;’ a landscape people know and recognise, and in a sense have a relationship with, without necessarily even stepping foot there. Speaking of where her inspiration comes from, Holly said everything is connected. “I’m always thinking about

how we see things, especially when I’m travelling and staring out of a window somewhere; but I find ‘inspiration’ all over the shop - talking to people, a photo someone sends me, conversations, a line in a book, talks I’ll go to, a poem. I think it’s difficult to compartmentalise these things.” As to why she enjoys painting as the medium of her creations, Holly said it works well with her subject matter. “Isn’t painting after all just another intermediate, another screen through which we gain ideas about the world around us? But honestly the reasons are probably more selfish than that. I just like painting!” Asked what quality is important for creators, she said, “I think probably having a mind that’s open to learn and change and soak up the world.”


Holly Rees - London 200 Miles, oil on panel, 80 x 100cm


JAMES CLOW Why commercialise artistic talent?


W


James Clow - St. Peter, Oil on Panel, 10x15cm


I learnt that to improve, I need to continually pull the rug out from under my feet through challenging my own ideas, through focussing on the flaws in my painting and learning from my mistakes.

H

ave you realised that the Guggenheim museum of art has become a...chain store? If you are a little bit interested in art, you have probably known about the New York original (the flagship store?) from an early age, and the 1997 sequel in Bilbao you might know for it’s Frank Gehry-designed titanium skin that inspired a thousand copies. But now, as Guggenheim museums are popping up in such unlikely places as Lithuania and Abu Dhabi, we might have to really admit it to ourselves: Art is not an innocent, care-free field, but rather as full of intrigue, money and power as any shady business. This would have come as no surprise to British painter James Clow, however. Bournemouth-born and educated, this artist moved to London to study at the Wimbledon college of art, and now lives and works there. His paintings dive head-on into the deeper connections and real-world pressures that affect art, with a multitude of angles and perspectives to illuminate it. “I believe the art world is

not beyond politics and is actually often colonised, or recuperated, into the frameworks of the prevailing social order, and used to propagate conservative ideologies,” he argues. The antidote to this strangling of the art world, according to James, is in subversive spiritual themes. “Art on these themes become subversive by situating itself as distinct from the establishment...(and) transcending the social order.” Specifically, James takes his starting point in the old masters – usually Raphael. The art of this renaissance painter is perhaps the most stereotypical there is – show his paintings to a million people and they would all agree that they are truly and unarguably pieces of art. By being so recognisable and so “pure,” James can start twisting and distorting them to find new meanings and explore contemporary themes. For example, in “Lo Spasimo,” James takes a dramatic Rafael painting – a scene of Jesus fallen on his way up to Calvary mountain, with Mary stretching her arms out full of despair – and


smacks a “half price” sticker on top of Jesus. The message is clear -“the commercial has usurped the divine’s place of predominance. It is the trite promise of a saving rather than the sacrificial suffering of the Messiah that triggers Mary’s fit of emotion.” Chaotic scenes from the U.S. Shopping event of “Black friday” should support his argument that modern consumerism “follows in the footsteps of the old religious fetishism.” The choice of painting as a technique is also a conscious one. Painting is slow, meticulous and creates single pieces – this “sets the work against the spectacular, fast paced, self-replacing nature of digital media, the mass media and the Culture Industry.” Although the style he uses is those of the renaissance, James does admit to simplifying the techniques somewhat – he does not go as far as using the historically accurate type of glazing, for example. The result is still a slow, thoughtful production, on all kinds of media – even smartphone covers. A well-read guy, James is quick to support his thoughts with a quote to a philosopher or writer, but in many cases it is not neccessary. Even a brief look at the modern art world will, for example, show that it’s main characteristic is indeed “spectacle” – With Damien Hirst’s and James Koons’ flashy eye-catchers catching millions in auctions. Similarly, the “tyranny of market structures” should also be something any reader in the creative field has tasted. “Throughout my education, such an emphasis was put on sales and marketing yourself, the standard route to success as an artist is unquestioningly commercial.” Seem familiar?

James Clow - Evangelism, iPhone case My recent work constitutes an ongoing enquiry into the political and spiritual implications of my own practice. Through the considered painting of appropriated renaissance artwork, I critique the ways in which the omnipresent consumer-capitalist model has forced its way into the art world. My work resides firmly in the tradition of painting, so acknowledges and refers to that heritage. Working with themes of commodification, recuperation and spectacle, I seek to produce works that oppose the dominant visual culture without overly mystifying or obfuscating. By recognising a connection to the spiritual, which is the foundation of my medium, I question the extent to which numinous repercussions remain significant.


James Clow -Lo Spasimo, Oil on Panel, 10x15cm (Con‘t‘d) The slow, technique-heavy process serves to set the work against the spectacular, fast paced, self-replacing nature of digital media, the mass media and the Culture Industry. Conceptions of authenticity, representation and reality are all present in the work, contributing to the overall thematic explorations.

As his work is often very self-referential, the presence of religious themes can make one curious, but James refuses to reveal his own stance in the matter. If we know he’s a Christian, he argues, it could look as if he was making sincere religious art, and if we know he’s an atheist, it could seem very antagonistic, using religion as a negative to create criticism. “Whatever I actually believe, the work is probably more interesting kept open. Tying the paintings to my identity only limits the interpretative possibilities, something I am keen to avoid.” He’s not sure if this type of exploration is to be his “signature” style.“I am still open to changing what I do and exploring new ideas, so essentially I don’t know how to determine exactly what my signature is.” His up-coming project is in the same vein, however: “I’ll be working with the Chapter-house Museum in South London. This museum showcases the foundations of the historically significant , medieval monastery, Merton Priory. The museum was demolished under orders from Henry VIII and today a large supermarket stands in its place. I hope to create some work for the museum which combines the discordant spiritual and commercial uses of the site.” And certainly, as there is enough to criticise to fill a lifetime of productivity, continuing on these themes should not be a problem for James. As he states as his goals, apart from achieving as high a level of work as he can, his hope is that he can instigate “some kind of change, whether individual or systematic.” A good and neccessary motivation in the face of what he is criticising. Somewhat loftier, however, is his dream project of being exhibited alongside Rafael’s original paintings – we certainly wish him the best of luck!


KAAT DE GRO Connecting jewellery to our bodies

JEWELLERY


OEF


Kaat De Groef - Beads A bead might not only be the most used shape within jewellery, it is as well so familiar that everyone can relate to it. Its simple spherical shape can be seen as a small sculpture: perfect and complete. Through the concept of beads I explore the relationship between jewellery and the wearer. By altering its surface and changing its place of contact I play with the tactile experience of wearing jewellery. The collection focuses on the bead’s touch on the skin in order to trigger a heightened awareness of the body.

A

t first glance, Kaat De Groef ’s project, Beads, looks like simple shapes with curvy outlines. The subtle uniqueness of each piece of jewellery has delicately folded into the creators’ design skills and observation with her appreciation towards human bodies. Inspired by the connection between jewellery and their wearer’s bodies, Kaat would like to discover how jewellery can create a heightened awareness of bodies. “During my research I did a couple of sessions with a massage therapist to get a better understanding of how we experience touching from a body’s perspective. It helped me to understand the connection of body parts and the importance of that to feel in balance,” said Kaat. Such a project may sound simple to the ear, but Kaat has been paying an incredible amount of attention to details and the fusion of traditional techniques and new technologies.

Materials: Bone China Porcelain, Swarovski Crystal Pearls, Silk, Sterling Silver Photography: John Mcgrath Model: Angela Hair & Make up: Siwan Hill


In a way for me, a collection is never finished. Even during the last stages I keep thinking of ways to improve the pieces of jewellery and push the designs.

The main materials used in Beads are pearl and porcelain, while human body shapes need to be accurately measured in order to have a gapless touch of the body and the piece of jewellery. Kaat admitted that she enjoyed the cumbersome but delicate creation process. It started with a three-dimensional body scan of herself and plaster mould to ensure the direction of the project. The actual use of porcelain involved drying, firing and the finishing of porcelain which took a few days. The final pieces were slip casted into moulds so they would be hollow.

It’s not even finished yet.

“Pearl knotting - where you make a knot between each pearl to secure the string - is quite a work intensive technique but I like to combine new technologies with old traditional techniques.”


Beads consists of a few parts which focuses on the chest, neck and shoulder since they are important parts in massage therapy. Kaat was fascinated by how the seemingly endless surface of beads only actually touches a body in a very small part hence her project. Although the big pieces of beads are round from the appearance on the wearer’s body, it actually fits perfectly well with human shapes. And necklaces, of course, “pearl necklaces are such a common type of jewellery. Everyone recognises it and can related to it.” The use of porcelain has gotten to Kaat’s mind due to its tactility and pureness, in addition to the freedom of shaping. For Kaat, being creative is like nature and she was clear that she would want to do something within the arts and design criteria. Jewellery design has captured Kaat’s heart by the functionality and connection to bodies, also its intimacy and history as

an art form. After proper training in her Bachelor degree and Master degree, Kaat has matured as a creator and found her style of working. “The most important thing I learned and developed during my time in my Master course is my own method of working. I love using images rather than sketching to visualise my ideas.” Kaat said. “The most difficult thing for me is letting a collection go even if I feel it will never be finished.” Currently, Kaat is working in a renowned designer brand while she is very much looking forward to finding a similar job in the future or even setting up her own brand by collaborating with another designer in fashion or accessories. She is also keeping herself inspired for continuous development for her existing projects and new upcoming projects.


Story teller

KURO EX MACHINA by ODKST


CHAPTER 6 EXIGENCY Dawn There were eight of them. They were coming down the staircase, carrying plasma rifles. Their eyes were burning like tiny suns as they extended the stalks protruding from their grey, triangular heads. I tightened my grip on Rosalyn. “Here goes nothing”, I told my brother. He said nothing, reaching for his axe. He had his stern face on, the one that meant blood was inbound. I smiled and licked my lips in anticipation. The killing was about to begin. One of the aliens had reached the step closest to me. It hissed, extending a tongue like that of a cow, flat and wriggling. I hissed back at it through gritted teeth. The creature aimed its weapon at my solar plexus. “You die, human”, it said in its guttural voice. I thought of the mountains that rose out of the sea of purple discharge. I saw the birds, white as lightbulbs, in massive rings, circling above the grimy waves of the sea. I could hear their shrieks as they floated over us, judging us with jagged pinprick eyes. I spun, dove, and crouched under the alien’s swollen abdomen. David dropped his axe, the alien’s rifle exploding into halves. Sparks rained down on my belly as I drew a large X across the pale white sack that hung over me, laughing as the alien screamed in agony, its insides spilling all over my chest. I saw flashes of blue light. They were firing. Hiding under my imploding victim, I rolled over and started crawling up the steps. Adrenaline was surging through me. I had drawn first blood! Rosalyn seemed to vibrate in my left hand, as if ecstatic.


I made my way out from under the alien just as it toppled over, crashing into the wall and collapsing into itself. David was right behind me. Seven aliens in front of me, but they were too many and too clumsy, filling up the entire staircase. The one closest to me seemed taken aback. It was staring at its dead buddy, raising its weapon as if in a haze. Too late! I shot out without looking, without thinking. Fwap! His head went flying. Acting on instinct, I pressed up against the wall as the six remaining aliens lost their minds, firing wildly, burning through each other and their headless frontrunner. Blinded by blue light, I felt the heat from their weapons, singing my chest and my hair. The stairs were alive with energy. I shut my eyes tight, waiting for the explosion to subside. In the darkness, I felt a distant pang of anxiety. David! No time to worry. I focused on my fingertips, crawling like a spider up the wall, my back against it. “Ow!” My head hit the ceiling. I bent forward, climbing with fingers and toes until I was hanging from it like some freakish chandelier. As I adjusted to this new plane, my eyesight started to come back. I was drenched in sweat. My grip on Rosalyn was loosening. I saw David at the stairs below, hiding behind the scorched body of the headless alien. The remaining six seemed oblivious to me. They were moving closer to my brother in a group, rifles at the ready. David was searching for me, I could see it in the corner of his eyes. Even now in the heat, the stench of burnt flesh and warm blood surrounding me, adrenaline pumping, I couldn’t help but feel a burst of love for him. Not the time. Focus. Six of them, two of us. This was a matter of


seconds. I dropped. My stomach turned as I let go of the ceiling, crashing onto the back of the alien below me. There was shrieking and shuffling as I slid off it, disappearing in between warm, rubbery bodies. Everything went dark.

I was being crushed!

I heard my brother shout something. Distracting them!

Was it enough? I tried to move my arm. Stuck. My other arm was free, but useless. I needed Rosalyn. Great, I thought. Trapped between egos.

What? Where did that come from?

I was losing air, fast. Small stars were exploding in front of my eyes. I could see only darkness. Warm, pulsating bodies pressed up against me. I could feel myself sinking… sinking… In the dark, Joe Bob Fenestre says: You are an anomaly, Dawn. You have powers greater than even your brother can perceive. I feel so weak. I know you do. I’m not saying this will be easy. I’m saying it will be worth it. The darkness gets deeper as his voice fades away. The silence is complete. Where are you? I ask. I need you to tell me what to do.


There is no answer.

Explosions of light. My hearing returns as I snap my eyes open again. There are howls of pain all around me, above me. I must be lying on the floor. I blink. My eyes hurt from the light. I can barely feel my body. As I clamp my eyes shut, blue light flashes all around me.

I just want to go back to sleep.

Someone pulls at my arm. I moan.

“Five more minutes”, I mumble.

The pulling at my arm gets harder. I wince. As I carefully open my right eye, the blurry image of my brother slides into view.

“Get up”, he says. “Get up!”

I actually manage to sit up. Blinking again, I try to take a look around. My head feels several sizes too big. The staircase is covered by the charred corpses of aliens. There are black patches all over the walls. Blood and guts everywhere. The air is still vibrant with heat. David is holding one of the plasma rifles. He is covered in the dark red remains of the dead. “Come on”, he urges. “Time to go.”

He helps me get to my feet. I stumble at first, I can barely feel my


legs. We manage up the stairs. David almost slips in the puddle of blood. We make it to the top of the stairs before I start gagging. The air is so hot. The stench of burnt flesh is everywhere. Unbearable. I slide out of David’s grip, leaning against the wall with one hand. I puke. “Fuck.”

His hand on my shoulder. He waits until I’m finished.

“You ok?”

I can’t answer. I remain leaned against the wall, spitting and coughing.

His hand leaves my shoulder. I can hear him stumble back down the stairs. Don’t leave, I try to say, but I can’t make the words come out. Cold streams flow through my body. I can’t lift my head. The smell of death and flesh is overwhelming. My head is pounding. How long was I gone?

David is back. I can sense him on my left.

“What were you thinking?” He’s furious. The kind of furious that means he’s scared.

I try to answer. “I … I just …”

He won’t wait for my reply. “Come on”, he says, grabbing my arm again. We continue down a new corridor. I can make out strange, multicolored patterns all over the walls, but keep my eyes to the ground.


Our feet make disgusting sounds as we walk, leaving a trail of our attackers’ insides. I spit and gag, the taste of vomit filling my mouth. Finally we stop. I try to raise my head. There appears to be a door in front of us. David smacks something into my palm. Rosalyn’s handle. She is greasy with alien fluids. We stand in front of the door for a while, catching our breath. David is tense. I can tell that he wants to yell at me, but is holding it in. This only makes me angry. I keep my eyes firmly locked to the ground. “You have to be more careful, Do’.” He’s using his deliberate, controlled tone, the one I hate the most. “You can’t just rush in like that.”

“I … “

Why are you scolding me? My mind is reeling. Stop scolding me. “I – I just wanted to do a good job!” I stammer. My face is getting warm. I still can’t meet his eyes. I don’t want him to see me like this.

It feels like he’s going to say something else, but then he sighs.

“Yeah. Never mind. You got us through. Just cut the bullshit, okay? This is dangerous stuff.” I finally manage to look up. His eyes are scanning me, pupils huge and dark. His face has a streak of red across its left.


“What do we do now?” I say.

He shrugs. “I suppose we should walk through this door.”

I look away, then back at him, unsure if I should ask. I don’t want him to scold me again.

“Should we reload?” I manage to say.

He’s not looking at me anymore but at the door, sizing it up. “Yeah.” He throws the stolen rifle to his side, reaching in his pocket for the paper bag. I try to contain a smile. * David “Brother.” The voice is barely more than a whisper. I realize that I’ve been staring at the TV for a while without registering the content. Something about a rhinoceros running amuck at some lakeside hotel. If the story is fiction or documentary, I cannot tell.

“What is it?”

“Are you awake?”

I look to my left. She’s lying curled up on her side, she, too, watching the screen. Her bare feet are the only thing sticking out from under the blanket.


“Yes, I’m here.”

She doesn’t say anything else. I watch her lay there motionless, feet clenched, toes curled. If she’s breathing, she hides it well. I turn my eyes back to the TV. The images are rapid, disoriented. The rhino is now nowhere to be seen. I blink, then blink again. I can’t make sense of the show. I yawn. It’s a long night, and the room is warm. I feel ready to nod off. The espresso cups are empty on the table. I follow my sister’s lead, curling up on my side of the couch. For a long while we are just lying there, not speaking. In the silence of the room, you’d think my sister’s breathing would be more noticeable. But her breaths are so discreet as to be almost dismissible as a trick of the mind. Even so, I find it calming to listen for them in the darkness. The light of the TV flickers, it’s white and artificial. Just as I am about to drift off again, there is a warm weight on me. I glance at my sister. She’s slid unnoticed over to my side of the couch, spreading across my chest. She meets my eyes, saying nothing. For a second, none of us is breathing. I look back into her eyes, seemingly watching me with perfect clarity. Her body is warm against my chest and stomach. Neither she nor I seem to know what to do next. She looks down, burying her face in my chest. I pat her hair awkwardly, still not completely registering what’s happening. “Brother”, she says, her voice muffled in the folds of my shirt, “I can’t decide which one of us is dreaming tonight.”


To be continued.


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Garde Magazine #18  

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone! Fine Art and Jewellery Design with a serialisation of novel are on your way for the festive sea...

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