ISSUE IV – September 2Ol4
Hello. I am Monocle.
If I am not mistaken, I believe we have a mutual friend –
The Morningside Muckraker. (Small world, isn’t it?)
Well this is
‘Cause here’s some
stuff that will really tickle your Crackers --------------------------- Anonymous -------------------------------- 4 Etched in Stone------------------- Lauren Kim ------------------------------- 5 Adventures of Captain Damos: Part IV: Manoeuvres------------ Levon Golendukhin ----------------------11 Longing------------------------------Jae Woo Park ----------------------------12 Peach After Storm------------------Minji Reem -----------------------------13 The Dock ----------------------- -----Nelson Hua ----------------------------14 No Such Flower --------------------Minji Reem------------------------------15
Etched in Stone BY: Lauren Kim
Tara bade her mother goodbye as she pranced out the door. She was supposed to meet Helen by the river and was already late. Her hair flew out behind her like a sheet of silk dyed a bright red as she raced in the direction of the forest. Over rocks and small streams she skipped, light as a fairy. This clearing within the woods was her home. She knew every neighboring tree and vibrant flower by scent and name. Slowly, Tara’s leaps became smaller skips, until she finally started walking. She was no longer in safe territory, or so her mother told her. The path leading directly from her cottage home led eastward, toward the town. But westward was the wilder forest. And here it was that Tara enjoyed her freedom. Her slow strides finally brought her to a clearing, surrounded by a circular formation of trees. This clearing was much smaller than the one in which her cottage house happily sat. But the space was big enough for two young girls, eagerly waiting for their new day of activity to begin. The big flat rock was there, as usual, in the middle of the clearing. Her friend was not here yet. She might as well look around while waiting for Helen. And so Tara ventured further west from the clearing. The flowers along her way seemed to bow in a cascade of movement as she took one step, then another, into more unexplored territory. The vibrant sapphire blue, sunny yellows and fiery reds and oranges of the flora at her feet kept her occupied. Until the waterfall. During their previous days of merriment, the two friends had always passed by, but never paid much heed to the roaring column of water. Now, Tara was standing right at the riverbank. The waterfall was to her left, and the water streamed downhill toward her right. The lovely gushing and bubbling sound of the water fascinated the little girl. There was a light mist created by the cool water residue falling from above, the
There was a light mist created by the cool water residue falling from above, the source of the waterfall which Tara never saw before. But through the mist, she saw a gap between the waterfall and an entrance to a cave that the two friends had not previously spotted.
Oh how foolish am I, I can’t even see where I am going. How will I find anything valuable here? And with that last thought in mind, she fell into darkness, through a gap she could not see. Her tumble was short, and she fell on her bottom, landing atop something soft. She felt a sharp pain on her leg somewhere.
Tara slowly crept forward to check out the cave. Curiosity got the better of her, and she was soon standing right at the entrance, the waterfall rushing along behind her. She grew ecstatic. She would finally show Helen that she was much braver than her: she would go into the cave, find something valuable deep inside the dark depths, and bring it back to the clearing where Helen would be awaiting.
This is what you get for not thinking things through, you silly little girl. Self-admonishment only made Tara feel worse. Tears stung her eyes. She just wanted to go home. But her misery was washed away just as quickly as it had come, replaced with curiosity once more. There stood a stone statue, just a few feet away from her. The stone figure was that of a lady, her tresses carved around her face and tumbling down, like a waterfall, to her feet. She was beautiful; her eyes were closed, her lips were smiling.
What should this token be? A curiously shaped stone? Some flower that grew only within the cave? Alas, it would make no difference. The little girl found that, above all else, she simply wanted to satisfy her curiosity. Tara sniffed. This would be no hard task.
Tara managed to stand up, her pain temporarily forgotten. A couple of steps forward, and she was standing right in front of the beautiful stone figure. She felt the corners of her mouth stretch involuntarily upward; something about the lady made her feel warm inside. Tara remembered
Into gradual darkness she continued, until the light from outside was barely visible. Her curiosity getting the better of her, she ventured further in until she could not even see the ground beneath her feet.
the smell of her mother’s freshly baked cookies, the brilliant rainbow colors of the flowers and trees outside and Helen’s laughter of delight during the girls’ many playdates. She would find a way back to all of these. Sitting around and crying would do no good.
While circling around the stone figure, Tara had reached a wall of stone behind the lady’s tresses. It, like the statue herself, was lit up. And the light was coming from a faraway speck of light, off to the side. Of course! The light was what had enabled her to see this statue! And light meant an exit.
Again, Tara gazed once more into the beautiful countenance of stone and wondered how such a beautiful thing had come to be abandoned in this gloomy cave. Where was its owner? Was the statue sad? But no it was smiling! The lady looked as happy as—
Beautiful stone lady forgotten, Tara made a mad dash for the speck in the distance. She could gradually hear the steady rush and bubbling of the waterfall as she drew closer to the light. At last, she stood at the round exit. She felt a joy like no other as she saw the softening red of the dying day bathing over the landscape before her. There were trees lining the path before her, leading away from the cave, standing like tall and steady giants ready to guide her back home. She stood there for a little longer, her heart still racing in her chest. Tara could no longer remember what happened prior to this moment; all she wanted to do was to get home.
—wait, it was supposed to be dark in here, was it not?
She could hear Helen yelling her name somewhere above her. That was right. Tara recalled the fall now. The waterfall was somewhere above her, as well as the riverbank. Tara answered her friend, to which Helen came running downhill. The redheaded and dirt-covered little girl embraced her friend in a warm hug.
Tara stepped out of her car and brushed her dark auburn hair out of her eyes. As she gazed upon the familiar trees and clearing of her past youthful days, Tara could not help but feel something weighing heavily against her joy and nostalgia. She quickly checked the display on her phone for the umpteenth time that day, to see if there were any new messages.
filled with a sense of dread that she couldn’t really explain. The harsh pounding of the water was like television static that had been amplified a thousand times over. No, this was not a pleasant place to be. She took a few steps backward and slipped down the short hill over which the river flowed down to the right. Now this was familiar. The sensation of falling, of not knowing where you would land, of not knowing if you would live to tell another tale…
She slammed the door of her car shut and ventured further out into the clearing. Not much had changed since that day 25 years ago. The trees were still there in their round formation. The wind still blew coolly through the gaps in the trees, creating a whistling sound as it passed by her ears and softly grazed her cheek with a strand of her dark red-brown hair.
The landing was less graceful, albeit shorter, this time. Her fall ended with her face-down in damp dirt, arms scratched and a dull throbbing pain in her left knee. Tara groaned but picked herself up. At least she was still on firm ground, and she was outside in the light.
Tara could still hear the laughter of two young, naïve girls in her mind. What foolishness. And yet, the little girl of the past did not have to worry about pleasing others at work, about others depending on her, about trying to find time for herself. The laughter in the distance persisted. Tara followed these sounds westward, until she heard another familiar sound.
But as she picked herself up, she faced a familiar sight. A gaping, dark and round entrance. And somewhere deep within that dark world was a speck of gray, which Tara now recalled was something she had discovered in the past. She felt herself drawn to that statue, almost as if she were a firefly being drawn involuntarily to a bright lamppost. She took her time, with strides that were slow but steady.
She stopped. It was a waterfall again. But her heart was immediately
And finally, Tara was gazing upon a familiar face. Time had been gracious to this stone lady; her features were as delicate and beautiful as ever. Tara subconsciously lifted a hand to her own face and rubbed at the creases that had already started to form around her forehead.
The air rang with peals of laughter and excited yells, all coming from one little girl with fiery red hair. This was her first ever time being surrounded by such bountiful nature! Look at the trees, they are like brown giants with green hair! And look at the butterflies, they are so pretty and delicate! Oh-h, and look at that waterfall! Isn’t that the most beautiful thing ever?
But wait, was this really the same statue? As far as Tara could remember, the beautiful lady she found 25 years ago had been smiling. But the stone figure in front of her now was visibly sad. Her stony lips were pursed into a grim line, her eyes closed as if in sorrow. Tara felt a pang in her chest, perhaps of sorrow… reflecting what she saw?
Tara found herself being dragged by the arm toward the same waterfall she had first stumbled upon more than 60 years ago. But whether it was because of the excitement and noise that the little girl in front of her was making, or because she was starting to lose her hearing (she suspected the former was the case), Tara could not hear the same rushing and aggressive pounding of the waterfall that she had heard during her previous visit. The air was calm, a mist forming and spreading from the waterfall. The sky was bathed a light pink and orange-red.
A little disturbed by what she was witnessing, Tara turned around and left without a word. She had come for a last look around the area before signing the contract of sale that would grant her family’s cottage to a real estate developer. The home would be destroyed, the land used for some greater good. Tara did not know, nor did she care. Neither she nor her mother would ever have reason to return to the clearing near the forest again.
Struck by sudden inspiration, Tara found herself calling to the little child, who had started chasing squirrels. Almost as if by second nature, Tara’s footsteps led her downhill, a little away from the waterfall and riverbank, to the right, and in front of the lower cave entrance once more.
She brought out her phone again, to find numerous text messages and notifications of new e-mails on the display. She had tarried for too long in that cave of her childhood. Duty called.
The little girl’s hand in hers, Tara ventured forward. Don’t worry, my child, there’s nothing here that can harm you if you just keep your eyes open and be careful with your steps.
The little girl had been right; time had not been so kind to the lady’s face this time. Moss had started growing around her forehead, curled around from the back of her head and across one cheek. But her features remained delicate, and her eyes closed, thoughtful as ever.
But these words were unnecessary. The girl had already spotted the prize at the end of the road. She let go of Tara’s hand and bounded forward to the stone lady.
But, by God, the little red-headed child had been correct!
Oh look! What a beautiful woman! She has some funny colors on her face, and her hair is so long, but I can tell she is a nice person.
A smile was visible upon her lips, thin but true. A smile that had carried on through the years. A smile that had endured through thick and thin, through sorrow and joy. An innocent smile that had faltered, oh yes. But a smile that had never truly disappeared, etched in stone.
Tara looked down at the child. Oh really? And how do you know this, dear? Isn’t it obvious? Her smile says it all! Tara blinked. And blinked again. No, that couldn’t be right? The statue that she remembered was sorrowful; surely, the woman had been beautiful, but her face bespoke a deep woe, a kind of sorrow one would feel gnawing away deep inside the heart. Afraid to confirm if this was true, but just as curious as the red-headed youth had been so many years ago, the now white-haired Tara glanced up and straight into the stony countenance.
Illustration by: Michael Betts
Adventures of Captain Damos
Part IV: Manoeuvres “Look, Lawrence, see you through this lens
The cannon setup on their ship? Their guns are placed in low suspense, The foe ships' hulls apart to rip. Those heavy weapons slow their pace, And pull their vessel deeper down. If round the fluyt our ship we race, This battle we can turn around!” So caught our sails the starboard draft, As with each gust we gather pace, And nearing fast the cargo craft, Forsaking combat for a race. The lightness of the Phoebe’s frame, Quite weak against a hit direct, It gives the ship its speed and fame For hard manoeuvers to perfect.
As winds inflate the Phoebe’s sails, The Captain eyes with calm his prey: The fluyt, which by the frigate trails, Approached by us with no delay. The panicked frigate races forth, And swerving leftwards past the fluyt, While fighting tempests pushing north, The Phoebe with its guns to shoot. Our greater speed extends our rifts, Evading thus their cannons’ aim, The laden fluyt near helpless drifts, As we prepare its goods to claim. Two minutes past, their guns we skirt, And round the fluyt we turn at last, It floats between our ships, inert, Its captain, beaten, pacing fast.
Illustration by: Minji Reem
Longing BY: Jae Woo Park
Peach After Storm BY: Minji Reem Â
the peach has revived after the storm has gone
Dock BY: Nelson Hua
No Such Flower BY: Minji Reem
I was afraid my flower would wilt but there was no such flower to begin with
‘Twas truly a
pleasure meeting you.
I’ll see you again soon.
But in the meantime,
LETS KEEP IN TOUCH. I shall be awaiting your telegram (formally called “email”). My address is: email@example.com.
The Morningside Muckraker's very own literary supplement.