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Scribe Volume 17, June 2014 The Literary Folio of The Spectrum Published by the Students of the University of St. La Salle

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either products of the authors’ imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or any part of form.

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Literary Editor Monica Cueto Layout Artist Ryan Ceazar B. Santua Illustrators Katrina Trish C. Isiderio Robert C. Dingcong, Jr. Ryan Ceazar Santua Robert Austin G. Salameda Aloe Danica B. Deala Set in ITC Legacy Sans, and Trajan Pro Cover Concept & Design by Ryan Ceazar B. Santua Concept by Monica Cueto

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“The ones who’ve made us villains are those we’ve loved and yet have hurt us.” –Pudge

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Contents Foreword · 12

Poetry The Real Enemy · 14 Jireh Zaragoza

Topography of Wickedness · 15 Kyzeah Coleen tababa

Valentina · 16 Robert Austin Salameda

Dead in Wonderland · 18 Austere Rex Gamao

Artemis’ Sentiments · 20 Roma Jane Hechanova

Bitter Sleep · 22 Jireh Zaragoza

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Royalty · 24 Monica Cueto

No Title Needed · 27 Austere Rex gamao

Grip · 28

Patricia Mari Mijares

Post Daylight · 30 Kyzeah Coleen tababa

The Sly Trickster of Asgard · 31 theTINderella

Distorted Quasi Reveries · 32 Kyzeah Coleen Tababa

Sith · 33

Robert Austin Salameda

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Maleficent · 34 K’za Tamaño

Skins · 37 Rj ledesma

A Poetic Attempt on Magical Realism · 38 Roma jane hechanova

Love · 40 Gia Sellado

The Accused · 43 Krimlyn Lumawag

Snivellus · 44 Monica Cueto

Unborn· 48 Jannel Aragona

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Behind the Strings · 49 Patricia Marie Laporno

Ursula’s Attempt · 50 Mari Angelica Ape

In Crimson and Black · 52 Patricia Marie Laporno

Escape · 53

Shanine Aldaba Fortuno

Wrecked · 54 Monica Cueto

Who are you? · 58 Maria Angelica Ape

“God of Mischief or... Grief” · 59 Nick Vincent Alparito

Curtains Closing · 60 Anonymous

Happily Never After · 61 Anonymous

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Billet Doux · 62 AnonyMous

Afraid · 64 Keane Dueno

Short Stories A Nefarious Creature · 67 Monica Cueto

Shivering · 74 Pudge

Dylan · 80 RJ Ledesma

She Fell In Love With A Psychopath · 85 Roma Jane A. Hechanova

The Last Call · 92 Adely Grace Tomaro

··· The Scribe & The Scribblers · 102 Acknowledgements · 108

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Foreword I told them the paramount idealism of which I was a good and honourable warrior. With vows, integrity and the what-not that structures an unsung hero such as I. I told them my intentions in the literary world, showed them the works of ambition, my ever-so pleasing passion‌ planting glory for all seven kingdoms to devour, great cause of serenity hence peace to the squires, soldiers, lords and knights who risk their lives every day fighting for the good and eradicating the evil. I did not strut like I always did, nor did I even show my infamous smirk. I showed benevolence, empathy thus garnering their trust, but above all, I was treated with the highest respect too overwhelming even for me, a visitor; kings in the north known to have power and moral virtues knelt down before my impeccable decency. And what imbeciles! What poor, moronic losers. Tsk. Tsk. They fell for it. Tricked by a cunning traitor, a mediocre poet but now a nefarious entity. I was only a liar, a cheat, a professional conspirator, and modesty aside, a great actor. Had I not lied and slayed all their finest knights, prisoned their kings and lords and burnt all their women just to get all 100 pages of this Scribe issue published, our stories may not be heard, forever locked up in grotesque places in the imaginations of children, always evil, ever isolated. But not anymore! With the power of the literary kingdom that I inhumanely conquered, the world will learn why evil doers such as I live in darkness and prefer the cold and painful cries of our enemies. The blatant and the oblivious will now be nourished with the knowledge why there is only devastation in our endings. And all seven kingdoms, perished in the sand upon my feet, are more than welcome to hear the stories of our past. And to you, a stoic, ignorant child who picked up this piece of despicable material which was probably originally stored in the restricted section of the library, I say to you, there is no escaping the dark side now. Welcome my friend, to the not-so fairy tale reality of life. Not wishing you good luck, Mon Cueto

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Poetry 13


The Real Enemy Jireh Zaragoza

When they choose to shove you out, push you down Topple you over, spin you around Wrap you in fabric, set you on fire Throw you in the pool before things get too dire Utter you tauntings, threaten you with guns Steal your soul, sacrifice you to demons Raid your home, stab the tires of your car Take your wife and children as spoils of war Give you gold, women, worshippers and what Ever to profess the love that they have not I’ll have you sheltered and fed, restored to good health Give you pleasures that may reach the level of content They’ll be buried in the gore they had you drowning under And we’ll stand over their carrion, their souls shrieking in wonder (And you’ll do as I say, because I am worse than the demons Who treat you like a toy; You’re meant as a weapon) Remember who the real enemy is 14


Topography of wickedness Kyzeah Coleen Tababa

Bars of authentic gold were melted into a crooked compass North pointed upwards; so does the others in vice-versa Tattered dreams diminishing in the smoky air While the soggy-jawed Vermin cracked a degrading noise It was casting creatures into a vegetative state Obliviously eliminating half of the world’s sanity At the top of the summit, he stood Watching the wild molten rocks gobble the globe Gory mud levitates the rotten humans Brain crushing screams and pleading echoes the mountains

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Valentina Robert Austin Salameda

I dreamt of uncertainty Fired a wish at the cosmos A planet corrupt and ruined A family slaughtered in cold blood From the obelisk’s eyes I saw The void is truth Between me and oblivion Eternal is my suffering I fell from the skies Carrying a heart of burden Woke up in a vague world Then it came to me Slithering in my crown The venom of their fangs Embraced me to my fate 16


I walk among them hiding Finding a place of light through dark Memories mirror through my thoughts Constricts my breath like cold casts killing A betrayal of peace As I search for my purpose And it came like bolts of fire Radiance as she swallowed stone My beasts enraged as they saw the bird Of flight and strength as beast or boar The worth of my fang’s venom Projected in an equal warrior goddess My beauty dethroned I find solace through rivalry Though lives will be lost A wretched world she defends Like my planet forged to destruction Corrupt and severe, I fight for its rule I am the serpent queen ruler of a dead world This slithering mass is my crown My birthright is to destroy those Who oppose my rule Now to the bird I take away your flight And with venom away your life face me now, Darna 17


Dead in Wonderland Austere Rex Gamao

Wandering, Always wandering into strange plains. Plains of thoughts Imagining them all, Red skies, Black waters, Seemingly endless kaleidoscope of Cancerous colors Trudging down wonderland Walking alone, whispering All alone. Birds howling, Cheshire cats always disappearing Bloody grins suspended in midair, Mad as a hatter, twitching Inviting, come Luring, come Enticing, come Come, go on Tea parties Innocent rats offering cakes Trudging in wonderland Nowhere to go but deeper Mad, powdered poison In moonlight Minds gone mad, Wonderland isn’t what it seems Rabbits with fob watches Leading, deeper and deeper Follow down Follow up 18


Get lost Deeper Gasping, crooning Suffocating, parading Be betrayed Bloody betrayals etched with hatred Dead but smiling Dead in wonderland Mad as a hatter laughing Rabbit with a watch grabbing Teacups dancing Laughing, rusted knives cutting Spinning in wonderland Drowning in red paint Roses scratching, severing Caterpillars smoking, monocles dangling Blowing acid smoke Dead, queens rotting Wonderland is dead Corrupt, halved cards Pillaging The mind rotting with rebellion Black clouds forming Red skies bleeding Tea parties going wrong Dead in wonderland 19


Artemis’ Sentiments Roma Jane A. Hechanova

I know why you killed him, brother. Ha! But they didn’t, did they? Dubbed as “the most Greek of all”, you tricked them with your prophetic lies, and with your poetic disguise, you’re the real god of demise. I know why you killed him, brother. Ha! Ha! You loved him more than anything, even more than the elixir of life flowing in your veins, more than your sharp, scheming, silver arrows or your sweet-sounding, stringed golden instrument, and more than I, in fact -that you’d rather see him die than go to someone else, much less your Twin Sister, I. 20


I know that you killed him, brother. Ha! Ha! Ha! yet you blamed me for your frailty, for your fault, your flaw; and your Light blinded them gods, and you feasted on their folly, as they showered you with praise, when you fed them with your music and lies; god of Truth, god of Fallacy, god of Light, god of Ravens...and of Cravens. I know that you killed him, brother. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! But the last laughter and Orion are Fated to be mine, though you’ve killed the latter; though you’ve killed my love, my life, my lover, imprisoning me in innocence, stained; locking me in love, unrealized, in guilt, feigned and in chastity, faked. So by day you sought for him, but always failed, but at night he shone with me, for me -the Moon and the Stars, seemingly close together, but separated by your Light years away; so forever you’ll hunt for your lost conscience, while I search for my love’s impossible fulfillment. 21


Bitter Sleep Jireh Zaragoza

Everyone’s been too busy for me So I’ll stay in this bed where I always will be Or maybe on this overly-vandalized desk A scandalized desk, galore kafkaesque Prose of dream stories, an arabesque of the grotesque The working and schooling profess their love The urge to claim me is not easily gotten rid of But come busyness and I’m quickly dismissed Hissing they miss my bliss-causing kisses Still insisting fixation on miscellaneous business Humans are traitors, they deserve Death I can give them That as they breathe rhythmed breaths Like with this girl, her plate heavy and full Now she’s downed them all, now she’s full (and a fool) For hurrying to my arms, succumbing to the cocoon

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I’ll give her sweet dreams first, then have her lucid Then shove her to a nightmare of torturous acid (Before a close friend takes her life, of course) My call is worse than an ether-soaked rag It’s only minutes before your eyelids will sag With growing heaviness, like their eyes’ pregnant bags Because you need me desparately, like a harlot Rut for sale, though not the kidneys nor guts Oh, the humans, how they lie! They love to love me only, but if they can get by Without me, they join with the infidel Night I don’t worry for soon they’ll choose me again Morning or evening I don’t bother when But the longer they take me for apathetically granted The smaller their chances of living as wanted With their perfect routine wasted, a difficulty going to bed Where most of the time I always will be

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Royalty Monica Cueto

Heartless. Senseless. drowning in secrets… Impeccable. Such loathing conjured from the eyes of thy brethren The truth left crumbling as ashes She senses loneliness Dripping in ink… Blood. Envy. Locked up but brewing glory What might she seeks? Enigmatic isn’t it? But her eyes speaks of the tale of cowardice and suffering yes, immense suffering, agony in the darkness trapped in lonesome grieving deeply cut deeply dying slowly faltering Surrounded by the demons and the wicked Left in the chasm of undaunted horizon She is weak But shows not a flicker of fear Mysterious she is 24


Filled with nothing but the total epitome of… E M P T I N E S S A somewhat liquid form of matter Seed-like in shape Starts pouring down Down dripping from her cheek to her neck. And more came flooding Leaving traces… Blackening. It’s exhausting. The proclaimed curse is Pain scorching pain. With scars deeper than the Marianas trench

She stops. Prays. And the queen stands from her throne... To offer another bounty of her tyranny. She stops. She regrets. But thy duty continues. 25


“Heroes and villains are no different in terms of beginnings; the villains just choose to end their fate boldly and in ways so unforgettable.” – Xandria the Wise

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No title needed Austere Rex Gamao

The blade hovers above imperfect skin, Dangling in the air, seeming to Dance the dance of death Such a cliche On the rim of a bathtub, a toaster balances A slice of bread pops up, burnt And the toaster topples over I am not in the bathtub I’m in the shower, nursing my cigarette burns And the blade lowers itself Independently Help! My blade’s been possessed by my depression My eyes are vacant globes, I dream of slicing across them with my cold depression. Life’s knocking on my door Giving out pamphlets I lock the bolts and pull the curtains close I think of an escape plan but I can’t My car is filled with carbon monoxide Life’s outside reading the latest pamphlet on suicide I bought a gun last whenever to cure my headache I shot at the door, spent my rounds but still Life’s outside giving out lemons So the blade dances across my wrist Like a skilled ice skater 27


Grip

Patricia Mari M. Mijares Why is your stare so piercing, My beloved? And yet so captivating still— A blanket that clothes my soul With warmth like ember That gets to me, anytime… Every time. Now that you’re home— Dripping with sweat, And fuming with odor from a day’s work— You smell like the flowers still, For your love blooms in my heart With the most elegant blooming. You head to me, step— By step— Intoxicating my senses. The hug I so rightfully crave I will feel—footsteps from now… As you move closer… Step. By. Step. “Honey”, was all you could utter, Flashing that deception of a smile And slowly, I drift away… Into happiness—bliss Euphoria— Until all I could hear is the sound Of you, nearing… A step away. 28


“I missed you,” was all I could say As I felt your hand grip my waist— I whispered Slowly, silently into the ear Of the man I belong to— Feeling his hands swamp along The corners of my jawline And his skin against my cheek Hyping the charges of my senses. Slowly… I looked at him straight into his eyes— Man, were they beautiful! And in the most speechless way— Told him that I badly loved him. His heart was throbbing As I inhaled him in… The last thing I felt Were his hands resting on my neck— Caressing… Comforting… And I’m pretty sure that wasn’t hatred in his eyes when— My last breath departed Before I Could even SCREA—! 29


Post Daylight Kyzeah Coleen Tababa

Remote silhouette zooming in Stapled films glued on the surface of its cranium Oozing filthy, obscene fume wrap my nostrils Puddle of puke painted everywhere Run for your lives dear hominids the beast is fast approaching Whack! Whack! Whack! Smashing massive human innards, calling out: “Impoverished creatures, you shall vanish!” Eeeeeennnggggg— BOOM! Hundred missiles soaring like shafts in the foggy air like nuclear bombs, the tubes disrupts the once leveled earth MWAHAHAHAHA! Reverberated its voracious laughter resembling a horrid swine Daemon of the unknown world had come to avenge his race Clemency he knows nothing of It’s ruthless as Hades, Tom Riddle, Cruella de Vil, Sweeny Todd or even Lucifer himself Sunrays squabble with shadow Golden daylight quickly turns into purple twilight everything’s in kaleidoscope End the day, he says And so does the day did end. 30


The Sly Trickster of Asgard theTINderella

Hidden within Jotunheim’s primary stronghold, Was a small Asgardian-sized child exposed to the cold His size embarrassed his Father Laufey Who died in his adoptive father’s arms, begging for mercy Killing the Frost Giants’ king, Odin raised this child out of pity Alongside Thor, his own biological responsibility Possessing a natural affinity for sorcery, Mischievous tricks are the forte of this deity However, he was not favoured by the Asgardian citizenry Who valued Thor more, one who possessed tenacity and battlebravery Resenting this, Loki Laufeyson developed lust for power As he now plansdestruction in vengeful hunger He’s the God of Mischief;the prince of the frost giants’ kind And for him, “every villain thinks he’s a hero in his own mind” 31


Distorted Quasi Reveries Kyzeah Coleen Tababa

Purple dust hovering my tormented mind Crimson satin overflowing my daunting eyes Turquoise silverware jabbing my battered chest My scratched knees have sunken down the greasy pavement by the east Olives, Larks, Marigolds; I’ve seen no more Instead those flickering lights have quivered at the peak of twilight Ghouls from the core of my brain sprung to life Eerie whimpers slap the gates towards me I’ve seen of such no more; I’m blinded by the dawn Ether fills me; drowning me Drifting me away from that ring of lucid race Thread of found desires I can grip no more Just as I have fallen in that dusty sweet-smelling bagasse Again, and again I’m rolling over the hay of lost dreams 32


Sith

Robert Austin Salameda

Evil does not exist in strife The darth have been named as light’s nemesis But for red fire and fury burning within The blame for passion derived to power Embrace the hungers of humanity’s dawn Dread the electric we wield and forge Push through love, corruption and death All people are of the dark side of the force

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MALEFICENT K’za Tamaño

I make your heart race, fear plastered all upon your face. You can’t run, you can’t hide I send chills running down your spine. I was in darkness, so darkness I became. All who betrayed me I will put to shame. My heart is filled with hatred and anger, and there it will linger forever. My name is Maleficent. With my wrath, you should be imminent. I am the mistress of all evil, I, myself will be your own upheaval. 34


The day I was uninvited to the palace by your father, was the day I swore I will make his daughter suffer. I am glad to say it is you my dear Aurora, I will make your life worse than the woman called Pandora. I will give you a gift my darling, consider this as my gift of parting. When the day comes that you will be called Sleeping Beauty, will be the day I regain my sanity. This is a punishment for your parent’s insolence, I bring hence forth violence. One that is far greater than their own death, it is seeing you take your last breath. It took me years to find you, I did everything I had to do. You know you can’t run away from me, no matter how hidden you think you will be. Over the long haul I got to see, how all of you made a big fool out of me For I sent my goblins with orders a little hazy, and after all these years, they were looking for a baby. Now I see you’ve grown my princess, You have grown beautifully just as everyone wishes. It’s a shame you won’t be able to see the sun set, for now that you are sixteen, your life will be in vignette. I cursed you to prick your finger, and by that, your slumber will last forever. You will be a sleeping fairytale, On a spindle, your finger will impale. 35


With the spell I casted, dozed off in the castle you will be banded. A sleeping delicacy, crestfallen by your life’s frailty. But I know you still have hope my dear, for your prince charming is without fear. Knowing a kiss of true love will break the spell but be keen, for on his death everyone will hear a knell. You poor simple fools, thinking you could defeat me? Now my vengeance you will see. I will lock your prince in a cell, and for the first time in sixteen years, I shall sleep well. And if he tries to get to where you are asleep, the worst of my spells he will get in a heap. Into the castle he will venture, Now with my staff, a spell I conjure! “A forest of thorns shall be his tomb! Borne through the skies on a fog of doom! Now go with the curse, and serve me well! ‘roundthe castle, CAST MY SPELL!” You see, my dominance know no bounds, the most powerful sorcerer I should be crowned. Once a spell I cast, know that it will outlast. So when you hear my name, better brace yourself for a game. I hide in the shadows not because I’m afraid. But because if I come out, I know you’d be afraid. 36


SKINS RJ Ledesma

When she enters she looms green smoke and terrible silence into the room. The dogs dare not howl, nor whine nor growl. Click-clacking of heels send shuddering paws sratching In anxious gloom. I prefer little brutes, she said. They are fluffier when put out to dry on broad daylight, better on black and white.

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A Poetic Attempt on Magical Realism Roma Jane A. Hechanova

It Towered inside the room like a King in his Mighty Estate, a Mirror of opaque glass gilded in brass, like the one where Harry Potter looked to see his heart’s desire, like the two-way wardrobe that led the Pevensies to Narnia, the Mirror that I fear –Ridikulus! – Dare me not. But, lo! When Helen looked at it, she saw staring at her, a man in golden robes reaching out to her; taking his hand, she went inside – and was gone! For twenty years she was gone. Until – one day I saw her return with a blank look on her face, while the looking glass showed Ruins. All of dear Troy, ruined. When Juliet looked at it, she saw smiling at her, a man in his youth reaching out to her; taking his hand, she went inside – and was gone! Forever gone! Until – 38


one day the Mirror showed two star-crossed lovers lying side by side as if Death, to them, were just a long, sweet, long Slumber. When Lolita implored its magic, she saw Sly Humbert tempting her with Bananas, not Apples still she went in and took a bite, and found them more lethal than what the Serpent offered to Eve; and she returned, a wasted child, with faded youth, and a bloating tummy, her Cherry dripping with blood and her Bananas, half-eaten. For years I tried but never dared stare. Instead, I hid. Seeing their Fate should have aroused my Fear even more, and yet – I dared explore the Magic Mirror’s Mystery, forcing myself nearer it with eyes shut, lips firm. And when I looked, I saw Nothing. At all. Love, to me, has always been Uncertain, yet I took a few steps more and entered the two-way Mirror. 39


Love Gia Sellado

Love has different sides Sad and happy and angry and wild It is not always iridescent; It is not always to resent Love brought me tears Made me face my fears Love gave me pleasure Made me knew how to treasure It kept me sane Sometimes I’m likely insane Daydream became nightmare Nightmare became fairytale Love has given me the voice to sing Love has stolen my wings Love is the reason I repeatedly die Yet love kept me alive

A tragedienne’s Farewell Heartbeat is slow I wither – not glow No – I’m not paralyzed This – I cannot despise Tell me though I now do not know With a flick It all breaks 40


This line a draw Where there’s life that flows Gulp and gasp and gone Everything is dark when it’s done

Rain The cold breeze The painful drops of rain These waters I just cannot squeeze The way that leaves my head in pain

Adrenaline Crush You got me R U N N I N G Down with the butterflies in my stomach rumbling My heart kept on drumming Make me want to sing You got me all over That explains everything The adrenaline’s working Left me shaking at the corner. 41


“A hero may win the glory in battle, but the villain wins the wisdom in experience.� - Pudge

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The Accused Krimlyn Lumawag

Rain poured that day. Angst and Self-paroxysm, Understated by her lamenting eyes, I saw her crimson lips uttered that word ‘goodbye,’ As she succumbs into tears; stretching her arms to mine. The cuff felt like thorns wrapping a beautiful rose, The more the grip tautens, the more it kills her. She slowly whispered to me the last three words, As the man in blue uniform they called ‘Police’ Dragged me into the silver-coated room. 43


Snivellus Monica Cueto

Not one brave entity has ever asked me How it was written to be‌ A classic fool Drunk with power But sycophantically oblivious Ignorant to what may burden Lost from the excursion that haunts me Regretting. Immensely hating! Such intelligence could have had reason‌ Why I consent the darkness to absorb me, to lure me Evilly consuming me Mastering arts of wickedness and malevolent sinning I raised my fist in true pride and junction to dire consequences 44


Leaving you to what lies ominously obvious But never foreseeing a corrosively tragic pain uncovering your, no, OUR fate What a story! What an impeccable way of existing! What a life! My talent. My ambition. All became too much to collaborate into a powerful tool My deep loathing. My selfishness. Occurred me into blindness. But by the sound of your name‌ My weakness Surrendering. Love. What power is without you? It is meaningless. I gambled my own For your own breathing With the only conscience I had left I tried to save you Though I knew‌ You may not ever reciprocate I offered anything, even everything Just to save you And see you Safe. But evil has ostentatious reasons And what is prophesized cannot be undone And it all fell in pieces. I fell from the skies to the core of this Earth Screaming your name. 45


A mistake I cannot correct My idiocy Lead to your fatality I left you to wither While I wept in the shadows Clutching your breathless body Your soul, I hoped, lingered My priorities were ludicrous A coward, I say. When I could have bled for your life, Sacrificed my scarred and meaningless soul For yours. And yours alone.

My dear, I cannot even contain Those words mean nothing anymore! Apologies are for the soulless, For the bitter and romantically hoping. But there’s no point, not anymore, not ever. To be an adversary in your name I hope could suffice such evil my hands crafted before your eyes 46


What is left of me… Now that you are just a memory in a mirror of drastic, impossible dreams Inscrutably cruel, Inevitably sane, Barely on my feet, For years that you have left I struggle to hide the pain. Nothing. Not even the strongest antidote Brewed by the brightest and greatest wizard of our time Could ever assuage the immensely painful wound That has sculpted regret and hatred In what’s left of my hollow muscular organ they call heart For each day… My mind wanders In a dreamland of impossibility Wherein you are the center And I am a courageous lover But in the brightest moment, I can only dream Of time To gain a heart, To gaze at those eyes, To love you, over and over… again Such is just a dream. 47


UNBORN Jannel Aragona

I live in dark hallow Where there are lots of pain, misery and sorrow The noise and haste The bitter taste The dull and ignorant story of my life starts At the time I was born An unwanted child was torn, The only woman I love Hated me for I came to her undesirable world She was blinded by guilt, shame and broken dreams Chained and unslaved by her emotion Strangle me ‘till death comes upon me As I live, there’s no more way to see happiness But rather poison of inflame terror. Grip my entire soul Eat my guts And swallow my pride Release the fatigue and loneliness Caused by me Forgive yourself Don’t blame, don’t regret A lesson of life one should learn A mistake of past will never be burnt For the phantom of death haunts me And she’ll soon be free… 48


Behind the Strings Patricia Marie Laporno

The marionettes dance and the puppets, they bow The strings that bind them weave on They spin and pirouette for their master’s delight But their hearts squeamish, their eyes lost The puppeteer, his word is law And his words may come out inhumane His blood shot eyes stare down at his cast His fingers in rhythm but their pleas to no avail In every flick, he commands their demise But he basks in the company he keeps And then at last he retires in the cold of night The puppeteer, he is lonely then still

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Ursula’s Attempt Maria Angelica M. Ape

A sea-witch they call me, Living in fathoms below. Watching Triton’s every move, Whilst I plot for revenge. To rule Atlantica is my goal, And to destroy Triton’s a joy. Oh how I’d love another bowl, Of those poor unfortunate souls. Gullible Ariel, you must not know, How I plan to ruin your flow. But with one move gone wrong, I wasn’t able to finish my song. But the prince must save the princess, Otherwise all of these will be nonsense. Prince Eric, you are warned, To rise back up is what I’ve sworn. Oh Ariel, you too my dear, I shall be cursing you with fear. 50


To rule the seas is what I’ve dreamed, Wouldn’t it be nice to reign supreme? You could see it through my eyes, With the glint and glaze, Triton whom I despise, But I was a little dazed. A little dazed I’ve become, When karma struck back. A little farther I’ve swam, One more mile, and I will crack! With extraordinary minds, And powerful weapons, All of them combined, Will be the death of me, I reckon. So zap me Triton, Electrocute me if you will, But I am not frightened, I will be back still. Vanished and gone, Is what they longed for, But remember my dears, Be careful what you wish for. 51


In Crimson and Black Patricia Marie Laporno

The curtains call, I take my stage A show I live among my days In satin red and arched eye brows Oh the audiences I love and dread And so I laugh in spite of myself Because what of me would they think Without my whip and gun at hand I’d be submerged in the havoc of their whim Command their fear, its kill or be killed Without arsenal, you won’t come out alive Keep your heart on guard, harden its core Play not the weak if you want the prize I play this life by counting the cards And keep aces up my sleeve For this world is not for the faint of heart Those who cannot win retreat Pity they say, a soul to waste But what of my soul do they know? I’ve no time or patience to live in vain Grab my coat and get on with the show

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Escape

Shanine Aldaba Fortuno

When darkness starts to creep down the hall, Voices start to whisper, fear starts to crawl Can’t shout nor speak, she’s helpless She’s trapped inside her mind but was never hopeless She wanted to stop it but the control isn’t hers It was her fault. She let those fears swallow her Her only escape was death She’s all alone and she starts to skip a breath It starts to sink deeper into her system There’s no way she can run, hide or scream Seeing something glint in a corner She paused and thought of her father At the stroke of the perfect time, She smiled like everything’s pretty fine She was lying beside her blood on the floor And it was too late when they opened the door 53


Wrecked Monica Cueto

The scent of mediocre perfume Invades her ego A fake accent she wears To impress the irritable Imported heels bargained from the streets Heavy make-up to cover the wrinkles and warts She walks through the night Aged and alone With the sole purpose to be somebody Despite being a total nobody A fraud A classic climber A total fool Red lipstick Tattered dress Faulty shoes And an intoxicated system Head held high, annoyingly flaunting With her legs wobbling with spiteful distress Lonely woman, Foolish girl, Middle-aged and reckless 54


Wasting all intelligence, all wonderful potential And pouring all gifts down the drain To suffice her despicable lust A broken smile A bruised shoulder A deep cut in her heart And how a laugh could hide all pain With true lashes and dimples to keep her keen Yet so strong, she continues the routine Filling up all her sorrow With affordable local liquor Destruction from within until her body surrenders Poor intelligent woman Dumbing herself down for her men She empties all the rational sense In exchange for a jar of regrets Death in her mind Throwing all purpose in life Unfortunate woman Conquered by insanity With scars and bruises from ex-husbands and philanderers She talks with flamboyance and intellect But what’s in them are mere mental fractures What a pity Locked in her insanity, her immorality Her own past and present dues Makes the wickedness in her alive 55


“They say we are born out of love, but some others are nourished with hate.” – Anaesthesia Steal

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Who are you? Maria Angelica M. Ape

Once I was a hero, Kind yet Strong Now I’m the villain, Perfidious and Rouge Everybody hates you, Isn’t it cool? You’re the one Who gets to break the rules To become a villain isn’t hard But to be one you must go far Plotting and scheming can be tricky You must come to your senses quickly A hero is Courageous Honourable And true But I’m the villain in this story Who are you?

58


“God of Mischief… or Grief” Nick Vincent O. Alparito

What’s this!? my hands! they are turning blue! Please tell me my father? please tell me the truth! What’s that you say? I am not a God? And I had never contained your blood? But how? I just don’t know anymore!? After all these years! the sadness! the bore! So what am I? and where do I run? Alfather please tell me? am I lauffey’s son? Oh now I know! the pain! the anger! When it comes to me, you’re morbid! you’re bitter! You Lied! you used and left me alone! Instead of me you gave Thor your throne! The only one who cared was your wife! And as for you! you ruined my life! Then you should have left me hungry and cold Than giving me burdens that I might not hold I feel so depressed, please just let me go! If ill just stay here my grudge might just grow I just need some time, a time to know me And I might go home to my family

59


Curtains Closing Anonymous

I’ve been living a horrible lie Playing a role meant to be mine The friend who supports every move Of the perfect couple of the storybook I have no knight in shining armor For I am not a damsel in distress Yet I need some help here I’m lost in the oblivion of fear That if the truth comes out The friend’s role will be lost Replaced by a hideous villain In the eyes of the observers So I stay at the backstage Where no one would see The tears falling from my eyes And a bleeding heart at sight As the curtains come to a close You will never know That a world was destroyed By just loving you so For Joshua Jon Sim

60


Happily Never After Anonymous

Once upon a time, I destroyed a genie in the lamp, After I wished for it to suffer and burn in hell. Now Alladin’s nothing more than a pitiable little tramp, So he decided to take his miserable life down the well. Once upon a time, I snatched a poisonous apple, And mixed it to my special gaseous mixture. I sneaked to the dwarves’ house and sprayed and sprinkle, Goodbye seven dwarves and Snow White’s death is for sure. Once upon a time, I bought a boat and navigated to the sea To hunt this red haired mermaid who’s said to be very crazy. Later she emerged from the water, sometime at noon, “Just in time for lunch.” I told her, as I shot her with a harpoon. Once upon a time, I stole the wand of fairy godmother, And casted a spell, where she magically turned to glass. Begging for mercy, Cinderella’s dream will now shatter Together with glass mother, as I picked a bat and smashed. Once upon a time, I decapitated a ferocious beast, It got enraged, when I threw Belle into an acid mist. Then I detonated a bomb inside his humble castle, KABOOOM! All talking furniture seemed to rattle. Once upon a time, I torched a little wooden puppet boy, When I asked if he wanted to live or peacefully die Now that his blue fairy’s gone and cricket crushed like a toy, I wonder what made his nose grow; did he tell me a lie? Now that all fairytale good guys I know seemed to be dead, There’s no reason for you to believe in happily ever after. After all, life is not a fairy tale, use your functioning head It’s full of bad guys, troubles, horrors, and terrible disasters. 61


Billet Doux Anonymous

I. To hell…. Red, the vision that starts everything Orchestrating evil, my inner demon is singing Marching through my veins, urge getting stronger Angels won’t be able to stop my insatiable hunger. Yes! The devil has blown the trumpet of death Ominously echoing, as I deepen my breath. Unto darkness, this symphony will play, Roaring, as I take another life away. Exhilarating my love, my urge’s escalating, Night has fallen, everybody’s sleeping. Everybody rest while I moonlight as an abomination, X-Marks the spot, time to put this into action. Timing is perfect, my victim is coming closer All is ready my love, let’s do this together. Here I come, as death striking unexpected, Another masterpiece, another one will be dead. Horrifying as it may be, my gut knows no limit. Art is what I call this, which will be done in a minute. Helpless. Hopeless. My victim lies to the floor, Are you ready my dear? For pictures of blood and gore? Just a little longer, my artwork is finish Observe my knife as it deliver its service Killing is fun, whenever I experiment, Everyone, I know, will laugh, when innards stretches to the pavement ! XD 62


II. ….and back. Yahoo! My work seems to be done. Oh wait! I almost forgot, to clean-up and run! Underestimate me my dear; I’ll impale your head to a fence Rest assured my dear, I will leave some evidence. Even I love to have a playmate, So wonderful It might be, if you’ll be my date. May the time come, that we will meet. Although, it might be also the time, your throat will be slit. Rolling in the deep, I could have it all Teeth, brains, and bones, whatever you can recall Are you ready my dear? For what I’m going to say to you? Next target is you. I hope you won’t argue. Danger is coming, prepare my dear. Prepare for my arrival, your end is near. Roll down the curtains, barricade every door, Everything will still go down, I am pretty sure. That’s right my dear, I’ve been watching you. This night will be a night to remember, yes, it’s true. Yelling won’t help you now, let’s celebrate your end, Goodbye cruel world..and ..goodbye…friend…. OOPS! Wait! I won’t kill you yet. Relax dear, I still have empathy, you bet? Good luck my dear, I’m a madman but I will give you a chance, Enjoy your second life, my first romance. Only thing that I want you to understand, Unlikely as it may be, you’re my heroine and I’m your villain. Sincerely yours truly, your number one fan, Everything will be over soon, in the meanwhile, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN! 63


Afraid By Keane Dueño

I am afraid to show the world The person behind the persona ‘Cause underneath the sadness and the pain Is a demon I could barely restrain I am afraid to tell the world That I’m ruined and twisted inside ‘Cause I know that they wouldn’t understand All they’ll see are the scars left in my hand And I could never tell the world I couldn’t just let anyone in ‘Cause I know that someday, they’ll leave me here I don’t want to be alone; my greatest fear

64


Short Stories 65


“Ambition makes up a potential hero, but it’s their insurmountable amount of intelligence that makes them a villain.” – Xandria the Wise

66


A Nefarious Creature Monica Cueto

How he loved her.

C

irca 1947: A sophisticated, but I wouldn’t say welleducated, boy blossomed to be a young man in a time that freedom was still fresh and fervent from the clutches of the malevolent war makers. Ah yes, parties here, celebrations there, wealthy drunkards making a scene on 21st street of the main highway of the city, and not a judging eye in sight. It was a time to be merry, for the country is finally a place for freemen. There was purpose and various perfunctory reasons to be jubilant. Politicians and influential families would most willingly arrange the parties and invited the whole city every weekend; needless to say, they had enough than they know how to spend. It was all for a celebration as the memories of war withered away, assuaging the pain from losing husbands and sons, a time also to feast, commemorate, welcome home the soldiers who lived to tell their tales and rejoice on peace. This young man never felt out of place in the city’s luxurious parties, being only a farmer’s son from the south and having the powerful sugar barons as company, his conceitedness made him feel compelled to be present in all of them, what a character. He had viable reasons to be, having personal invitations dropped in front of his doorstep every week, who wouldn’t have grown such a colossal ego? He was the life of the party! Going home sober and unaccompanied was taboo. He felt important on those prestigious but informal occasions, welcomed as a hero and an important guest, but why wouldn’t he be? The young man was one of the lucky (or shall I say blessed) cadets who cheated death on the fields with his dog tag in place and faculties intact. Yes, he fought in the war and was pretty darn proud of it. As a matter of fact it made him look like an arrogant toad and full of himself in the eyes of the envious and coward sons who fled the country to escape the enlistment. Many said he only survived because he mainly hid beneath the barracks while the 67


others trampled and died fighting the Japanese, some say he only worked at the general’s office and dealt with paper work (but it was obvious that he wasn’t smart enough to know the functions of the typewriter); but the scar pierced deeply on his abdomen said otherwise. He was not a coward, nor was he bright enough to salvage his own soul; he was only a soldier with an utterly concerned guardian angel. What he lacked in knowledge, he made up for sex appeal. He was exceptionally gifted in swooning and wooing women; had a lot of war stories to impress them and of course, more often than not, he suited up in black. To dress is simply to impress a woman into the backseat of your car. Every other night was a different woman to flirt with. Mestizas, Chinitas, purely Filipinas, Japanese women, American nurses, maidens, teachers, bakers, He believed it to daughters and rumors say, even mothers. be a lucky shot He was on the verge of self-discovery but of the arrow, the was still lost. He never really knew what ever-so-overrated he wanted, but felt he must conquer them and cliche love at all. He was lust-stricken but never smitten first sight. by any of them. They were all just the same. Clingy and too easy! But his boyish desires suddenly came to its final end when he saw her. While walking alone in a damp street towards 18th street, the street lamps began to flicker and die out in an eerie manner. Frightened that he might be mugged in a dark and lonesome street, he turned towards an alley with one working street lamp, that will have to do for now. He stops, stares, and felt as if somebody had prevented the earth from turning around its own axis. Everything just stopped. He catches his breath and felt a sudden gush of air as his own heart beat was the only sound that could be heard miles away. There, walking in an alley towards 17th street was her. Her black hair was shining in the moonlight, her face glowing in the dark, the lady smiles at him, the most ostentatious smile he’d ever seen, her lips were scarlet red, she wore a plain but provocative white dress, and continued walking away while leaving traces of her scent. How come he had never seen her before? With beauty that has potential magic 68


inflicted unto it, how could her existence have passed him? This must be fate, a divine intervention to grow up and love. From the moment he saw her, to the second the lady disappeared into 17th street, the young man could not compose his body to move. As if he had seen a ghost, he was dazed and confused, did not lift a finger nor scream; he fought to keep his senses together and managed to ask himself what just had happened. It was miraculous. Finally, justice. Thus the night began of the young man’s slavery to love. Manly and with untraditional shrewdness, who would have thought that love could have the power to deplete such cleverness? Every amount of his “playboy” ability melted away into an abyss. By the strike of Cupid’s arrow and the fate brought upon by St. Valentine, he treasured only one precious enigma, one body to lust on, one heart he sought to win, one lady who dresses herself up in white. Oh and how he loved this immortal of a woman, she must have been, given the possibility of her being divine in his eyes. She was all he could see, her voice was his sonnet, her hair was his sunshine, her scent was his heaven and her love was his life. He believed it to be a lucky shot of the arrow, the ever-so overrated and cliché love at first sight. But the lady, poised, cunning and clever as ever, claimed once that her feelings were inexistent. “The silly young man in the suit is only just being infatuated,” so she presumed eons then. But how he loved her still, did not find reasons to let go. The poor, young man was humbled by her intelligence, her poise and aristocratic pleasures and mannerisms. She was a lady, he was just a scamp. He knew it, but did not bother with his emotional judging; it was his knack for challenges that kept his pursuits alive. Such a soldier! He would stalk the lady everyday, even in the longest days of summer and rain and waited by the gate of her abode until dusk would fall. With him were always flowers, her favorite, lilies. And each day a different poem to describe his burning passionate love growing and eating him, he swears such feelings are not obstructed by lust. And everyday ends with the same story; he walks home, head down, a rejected charm, and another dusk to look forward to. He never gave up the notion that he can win her heart even 69


with two worlds so ludicrously different. He never considered the possibility of letting her go, of allowing her a life with another man that could have been him instead. Love had owned him; it was making him selfish as well as maturing him in the process. But more so to speak, it was making a puppet out of him. The women at the taverns started to loathe him for not showing up anymore and failing to charm them in the cold nights. He even turned down party invitations from the governor and mayor so not to indulge himself into another woman. He waited and waited for her, for the lady in the white dress; he sweated blood and tears in all the efforts he made, for all he could offer left was much patience. Word on the street is love stole all his dignity. He waited and waited until fate knocked for an evil temptation of an opportunity. Human nature mixed with emotions of severe desperation made him grab the luck that resulted to his inevitable fate. The night came when the lady was helpless, distressed and in the occasion of being intoxicated from yet another luxurious party held in the city; she was obviously not conscious enough to remember her own name, not even slightly aware that she was alone and shouting for a ride home. Despite the drag she had become, she was still so stunningly divine in his eyes. The young man’s time had come (so he thought), for all he knew, this time, the lady could not resist. He won her heart, finally; but not by falling destiny, but by force that lead to an unplanned offspring instead. It was his joy, her emotional instability, his pride, her weary, his success, her downfall from glory. An event filled with injustice brought about by desperation fated their bond of marriage. She did not deserve it, to be wedded to man she barely knew and barely even liked. It was a total conspiracy of happiness. But in those moments of vagueness and confusion, there by the sunset view, blossomed the lady’s love called upon epiphany. By the grip of the son they both shared, she gazed at him long enough to realize that her own progeny has marvelous eyes that sparkled in the light, eyes that speak of bravery, courage, wit and passion, eyes that of the man’s, eyes that also belonged to her underappreciated husband. 70


She turns and sees the young man, but now a fully matured and loving father, building the crib of which their son will lay until he is old enough to walk. The lady realizes that this is a man of pure sincerity and passionate love, one that is rare and fervent, incredibly robust love. And in those moments, finally, she knew she must love him, for she already has. By then, she promised to only have one emotional enigma, one lover, one protector, one hero and one world that solely revolved around the man in a black suit. And how she loved him; he was all she could treasure, his hands were her seal of happy endings, his eyes were her ocean, his warmth was her very own sun and his love was her life. But love; clearly, it was not enough… Two decades passed and all she could see is a drunkard with a business and life full of debt, and all the man could see in his beloved angel was an unfaithful cheating liar. Fortunately, their son grew to be a perfect gentleman with moral logic and compassionate desires; he had the features of his father but possesses a strong ability to doubt true love, a weak capability to trust and an extraordinary way of being a visionary like his mother. The unplanned offspring had left for he could not bare home to be. With all the scandalous quarrelling, plates smashing, windows shattering, beatings, abuse, and most especially having to cope with his mother’s lustful affair with a much younger man (to find out was about his age) and all the tampered family secrets still unrevealed to him. He could not tolerate such madness, and packed up the minute his father’s whiskey glass seemed empty and left to seek happiness elsewhere. The son fled, though he visits in the most uncommon occasions that appear to be similar to lunar eclipses and asteroids landing on the Earth’s surface. This left the frustrated man even more depressed; a son decides no good will ever blossom if he stayed in dire sadness with his parents. He felt as if somebody had set fire to his heart and playfully poured it with kerosene one teaspoon at a time. His only son, gone and resented him. The man, whom now in just a black shirt, hoped that once the son visits home, that it would be more than just two days of his usual visits. 71


The woman, whom now only wears a white robe, had blisters on her lips and bruises left on her shoulders. Despite such misfortunes, she still kept her poise and grew an even larger ego. She was not in a hurry but was hoping her husband gets pissed, putting on red lipstick and laid out a nice, boy-tempting red dress. How cunning was she. The man knew it though, all these years, his wife’s sin but did not speak out his convictions and thoughts that kept ruining him, eating him bit by bit from within, but instead, he just permitted her to be. He loved her still so dearly, it was obvious. He entered the master’s bed and saw her dressing up, her bruises revealed like placards of wrongness he had once made and a small tear fell from the man’s eyes, he admits that the scars and pain was what lead to her unfaithfulness. “Do you need any help?” asked the martyr of a man. The lady replied with all confidence but in a demand “Help me with this dress and could you lock this necklace?” “This is not the necklace I bought you…” he quickly realized. “I know. It was a gift… from our son, quite a beauty isn’t it?” It was only obvious that their son never gave his mother jewelry for that was knowingly his father’s job. It was clearly from her other lover. He flinched and managed to straighten up and look casual. “Should I drive you to wherever it is you are headed?” the man’s voice sounded sulky. “No need, my dear, I do not mean to reject but a car pool will come to fetch. This is a night for the ladies, just us and no men” she lied; what a nefarious hag. It was too much to take; he did not want the tears to start falling down again, not while she’s around. He kissed her forehead and placed their wedding ring on her finger, got up and said, “I love you, take care and please be home before twelve, I’ll be waiting.” She pulled her hands away from him with bitter disgust and headed for the door. “No need to wait up, I can take care of myself thank you,” and just like that, she was gone. But he waited anyway. He waited and waited and watched the clock run by. There were times where he just stared blankly into thin air and prayed and prayed then waited. For every minute that passed twelve midnight, he downed in a glass of whiskey. “He is with that man! Who is only but just a boy with a lustful heart!” he scolded at the furnace. “I love her 72


and how could I allow her to be with someone else on this beautiful night that could be ours…” hopelessly drunk but full of unheard emotions, it wasn’t the alcohol that shouts but his heart. The racket of the philanderer’s truck woke up the drunk. It was half past three in the morning; imagine how many glasses of whiskey that had been. Her paramour returns her to her husband. She tiptoed to the door, hoping her husband might not hear her footsteps. But what a misfortune. “You’re late. I waited for hours. I waited and waited and waited for you… to love me and love me back again” the man wept. “But I could no longer wait. I love you, just so much. And I am afraid that I cannot share you with anyone. I love you! You are my soul mate and the only and I see. Though I see you everyday unhappy with me. It makes me loathe myself, you’re making me miserable, and you’ve made me both depressed and overjoyed all in one moment because that’s love. We can’t expect to always be happy, though we can expect to fall short on each other’s expectations and we can always expect to love one other. I only want you to love me again but that might not happen, not in this time, not in this world. I am truly sorry for loving you, dear. Please forgive me.” He shoots her, directly. A bullet she took straight to the head. Not until a minute had gone that the man realized he had broken his own heart. Now, his beloved lays to rest brought upon by his own hands. He kissed her lips and hugged her bleeding bloody. “I am sorry I loved you,” he wept sorrowfully. He cleaned up her body and dressed her up in a nice, clean, white dress; her favorite. He threw the necklace her philanderer gave and replaced it with the necklace he bought her on their 10th wedding anniversary which was also their son’s 11th birthday. It was a simple symbol of how things used to be, the way he wished it to end. The man, suited up in black, laid right next to his wife, his life and his soul mate. He whispers “I love you so much and I’ll see you in a while, wait for me” then perfunctorily, without as much as a wince, pointed the calibre towards his head and pulled the trigger. Oh how he loved her. She was all he could see, her voice was his sonnet, her hair was his sunshine, her scent was his heaven and her love was his life. What love can be… 73


Shivering Pudge

I ‘

t’s cold.’ Gene stood inside the shower, shivering. Water gushed mercilessly from the faucet and onto her skin, and though the intensity of it comforted her, the freezing temperature did not. She skillfully adjusted the thermostat and soon enough, warmth enveloped her pale, freezing form. While the hot water drummed at her neck before trailing down her back, Gene closed her eyes, preferring darkness over the blurred sight of steam on glass. She reentered the bedroom shortly afterwards, now clean, fresh and wearing a flimsy nightgown that barely covered her body. It was dark inside with the exception of a small lamp emitting a dim yellow glow in a corner. Gene tip-toed towards the bed in silence, careful as to not step on any of the clothing scattered across the rugged floor. There was a male figure covered in sheets at the left side of the mattress, and Gene climbed in, settling herself beside him. For a while, she watched him sleep, counting the times his shoulders rose and fell rhythmically as he took steady, even breaths. “Zeke,” Gene whispered his name; partly to call him out, partly to convince herself he was really there. “Zeke, are you awake?” “I am.” His reply came quickly though he sounded half asleep. He lifted the blanket slightly, as if asking Gene to join him inside; an invitation which the latter did not refuse. Slithering in under the covers with him, Gene rested her head on his chest. Even in the darkness, she could make out the curve of his neck and the muscles on his bare stomach. He was naked. “You’re warm.” Zeke commented, using his free arm to pull Gene closer towards him. “Are you feeling feverish?” “No, I’m fine.” Gene said, though she knew her temperature had risen at an alarming rate for a more malicious reason. “I think I stayed too long in the bath again,” she lied. “I don’t mind.” Zeke said. “You smell nice, anyway.” With one arm draped around her, Zeke drew slow, repetitive, circles on her back, making her shudder. Gene hummed a tune of 74


approval and nuzzled his neck affectionately. Soon, his hands began to wander. From her back, they travelled downward slowly, exploring the curve of her hips, the plumpness of her butt and the bare skin showing right above her thighs. They would be the death of each other, both had understood that. For boiling inside each of them now was a masochistic need to break in each other’s arms while joined in a way no one but lovers would know how. And neither had the desire to resist it. Gene hoisted herself upright, straddling Zeke while the latter held her firmly by the hips to keep her in place. Though the darkness should’ve left them desperately fumbling for each other under the sheets, their hands seemed to know what they were doing. Even with the absence of sight and good moral sense, they knew where to hold, where to touch, where to make each other feel good. All of this, perhaps, came from the knowledge She wanted to of each other’s bodies brought forth by forget, to lose experiencing a kind of togetherness that sense of proper strips you of yourself and not just your reason in favor clothes. of fumbling, Gene hovered over his body, heartbeat touching and quickening. She remembered how his moaning. kisses could begin with what felt like little drops of snowflakes against her lips then suddenly gaining an intensity that left her breathless. She thought of how his body pressed against hers, the tenderness of his caress, the strength of his arms protecting her. She thought of how beautiful, yet unusual it seemed, that his eyes would turn from black to darkish purple when basked under the lowlight. It was tantalizing, those eyes of his. Those eyes of his that now seemed to stare at her with intensity, had an expression of deep and unconcealed desire. Desire. Love. And heartache. Zeke pulled away. Gene got off of him and without a moment’s thought, she immediately said, “I’m sorry.” “Why are you sorry?” Zeke said, his tone unreadable. The mood 75


had almost completely changed as they sat far apart in the bed now, the crumpled sheets separating them from each other. Any earlier form of burning intimacy was now swallowed up by a long awkward silence. “Why did you ask me to come tonight, Gene?” Zeke suddenly said, a bitter tone in his voice. At his words, Gene’s heart clenched, creating an uncomfortable knot inside her chest. “I wanted to know…” she began, shyly. Even in the darkness, she could see his figure shifting across the bed, moving to lean against the headboard. “Would you ever forgive me?” For a while, Zeke said nothing. The menacing sound of a clock ticking hung in the air like smog over an urban sky. A loud gong filled the room. It was midnight. “Probably not.” Zeke’s two words seemed to replay in her head the way the gonging of the clock echoed across the room. Those two words were enough to send her into a spasm of tears; those two words enough to hurt her heart for a lifetime. Yet all she could reply was “Oh.” And even then, she couldn’t keep her voice from breaking. “I’m s-” Gene had barely gotten the word out when Zeke groaned and, in quicker speed than Gene expected, had moved close enough to pull her into his arms. Gene let out a small squeak of surprise at the sudden embrace. “You don’t have to apologize for everything, you know.” Zeke muttered, settling Gene on his lap, the blanket being the only thing separating her from his bare lower half. “But I am sorry.” Gene sobbed against his shoulder. It felt nice. To hold him again. “Above anything, I never wanted to hurt you, Zeke.” Zeke scoffed. “And look how that turned out.” Gene kissed his neck, wanting nothing more than to indulge herself in brainless passion again. She wanted to forget, to lose sense of proper reason in favor of fumbling, touching and moaning. When he held on to her in this gentle, comforting manner, the only thing she wanted was to pretend, even for a brief while, that he was only hers and she his. She met Zeke’s eyes and saw the same longing. 76


His voice losing strength with every word, Zeke asked, “Gene, did you ever really love me?” “I always did.” Gene said, wrapping her arms around his neck and bumping her forehead to his softly. “I still do.” Zeke closed his eyes and sighed. “Me too.” “Perhaps… if we had more time, we—” “We don’t have any more time, Gene.” Zeke stressed each word as if each one was of dire importance. Maybe it was. “Tonight is the only time we have.” He opened his eyes, reached for her face and framed it in his hands. “And tonight, Gene, we’ve made a lot of mistakes we’re going to hate ourselves for—but never really regret doing.” Gene gasped when she felt Zeke pin her down on the bed. She clutched at his back, her fingers scratching him as she felt a surge run through her. She felt him hovering over her, removing the cold distance between them as she clung to Zeke for dear life, fearing that letting go would catapult them back into a segment of reality they’d rather not acknowledge right now. In their passionate entanglement, the cogs in Gene’s mind began to go haywire and she began entertaining the thought of immoral acts, should the reward be to have him by her side. Because she knew she would do anything to keep what they had right now. Even though it was hard, even though it was wrong. Even though love can be learned as much as it can be forgotten, ten years from now, she knew she could not love any man as much as she loves him. “Zeke,” she heard herself say. She kissed his lips; savoring, exploring. “Zeke if I asked you to stay—would you?” The lamp light cast shadows across his face and he smiled sadly, the color of his eyes tricking her again. “No,” Zeke kissed her forehead; this time, longer than usual. “Your fiancé wouldn’t like that very much.” Gene closed her eyes and felt water drip down her cheeks. She felt a warm hand come and brush it off but then more water came, this time more rapidly. Gene opened her eyes. And closed the tap.

77


The water from the showerhead stopped flowing abruptly and repetitive plopping sounds filled the otherwise silent room. When Gene exited the bathroom, she was dressed into a sweatshirt and shorts, busily drying her hair with a towel. Barefoot, she entered the bedroom and immediately made her way to the dresser. “You took a long time in the bathroom again, Gene.” A male voice said. Gene watched him approach her from the dresser’s mirror. “Bath time is my sacred time, Kaz. It’s a girl thing.” Gene said, a matter-of-factly. Kaz made a huff of disapproval and Gene laughed lightly, noting how he’ll never understand the needs of a woman. “Well, if we’re talking needs,” Kaz stood behind her and Gene leaned against him comfortably. “I’ve been waiting for around an hour to give you this.” Gene turned around only to be shocked when he stood there offering her a red medium sized box. “Oh?” Gene exclaimed in surprise as she took the box in her hands, smiling brightly. “For me?” “Who else?” Kaz chuckled, twirling her towards him and kissing her. “Happy 10th wedding anniversary.” He mumbled against her lips. “Thank you, dear.” She said, staring into his dark eyes. “What is this, by the way?” she wondered out loud, carefully inspecting the box before lifting its lid open. Upon seeing its content, she let out a small gasp. Kaz chuckled. “It’s some sort of hybrid amethyst stone I picked up from a jeweler friend.” He said, taking the item from the box and dangling it in front of Gene. “I wanted to get you a diamond necklace but you’ve always said purple was your favorite color.” Gene didn’t react. She couldn’t even hear him. She just kept staring at the precious gem, watching how it twirled around in place, suspended in air by its pretty chain. It looked completely black but then as the low light hit it, a tint of purple could be seen, glimmering across its surface. In Gene’s mind, a distant memory flashed: a young man stared intently at her, his smile radiant, his eyes the same kind as this small 78


stone. “Gene!” Kaz exclaimed, joyfully. “Why are you crying?” “I’m just happy, dear.” Gene said the words sincerely though her husband would never know the reason behind them. And he never should. “This is all I’ve ever wanted.” Kaz asked Gene to put it on, excited to see how it looked on her. Gene obliged him, turning around so they both faced the mirror. He brought the chain over her neck and clasped the hook from behind her. Gene felt the strange amethyst stone settle between her breasts, just meters away from her heart. She shivered. ‘It’s cold.’

79


DYLAN RJ Ledesma

i. very morning, he sat beside her on the bus for she was the only girl who didn’t mind. Days, months, miles worth of travel have passed and he couldn’t get himself to speak and tell her – what? That he was tired and recklessly alone, that his heart felt like a heaving sail with a million holes: hopeless and drowning. That it was unbearable to be always mistaken for a boy with a misshapen head and a terrible stutter, a faggot with a limp, an old man, a hobbit. He wanted to show her his hands with its cracked knuckles, dirty nails and callous palms, to make her feel the blood and veins pulsating, to show her he was human; a boy who likes to draw the girl beside him, her elbow resting on the bus window, her hair dancing, whirling in the noisy wind. He would like to tell her, “keep the window open. Let the light leak on the contours of your nose.” The tender spaces between their shoulders lay a million words, a million sentiments reduced to sweaty palms and fidgeting legs.

E

ii. In the middle of a lecture on Dangling Modifiers, he raised his hand. Nobody shook and turned their heads except for the professor’s nod. Boys and girls were snoring as he left. Grammar was his favorite subject. He likes to listen to conversations, no matter the triteness of teenage affairs, hopping through one empty table to another in the rumbling cafeteria, correcting every lapse, every disagreement in the mending of precious words. Words, he believed, should never be taken lightly. It could give birth to a race or a culture. Words can give birth to love. Words can comfort. Words can heal tragedies, but words can also create them. Words are loaded pistols, Sartre once said. He could only hope his tongue wouldn’t get in the way like 80


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a barbwire, tearing up the consonants, slicing them in laborious repetitions, to come out fragmented. He can never express his beautiful thoughts without the dire un-poetic assonances and alliterations. He stopped trying to talk too much all together. His pen was his only refuge. iii. He was looking for the third volume of Virginia Woolf’s collection of journals. The tip of his middle and pointing fingers brown from the dust. He loved the smell of musky books, a thing that gave him comfort and warmth. Shards of painful memories come back to him, roused by the sudden shifting and dragging of chairs, by the whizzing sound of electric fans, by the sound of the librarian’s typewriter. Here it comes again, the cold sweat, the fear, the unspeakable urges. He breathes in, and exhales. He tries to overcome his shaking hands and body. Images of books flying like fighter jets aiming at him like he’s Godzilla come in staggering clarity. His dad reeked of whisky, nicotine and god knows what. “I don’t have a monster for a child!” the words hurt more, more than leather belts, bruises and gashes on the legs. Everything hurts more in the vivid retrospect. He closed his eyes and let the storm in his head calm down, like they always will. He tries to think of his favorite tune, but the screaming of her mother, in love and defense, drowned in the curses and the taunts of his father, Timothy, Gregory, Alan and a million other voices. He hums a Nick Drake tune. iv. The comfort room was cold and silent except for the tapping of water and the shifting of his feet. He was alone, or so he thought. For him, it was the last cubicle or nothing. (Urinals were out of the question) He felt safer the farther it was. As he went in, a mixture of shit, weed and old cum slithered through his nose. He hastened to finish. He had to wash the putrid smell off his hands immediately. The sink was at the far-end, and in the corner of his eye, a large boy on 82


his back in one of the urinals. He tried to be as furtive as possible. The job was to be invisible, a 100% unacknowledged soul, just a passing boy. A normal boy. In front of the mirror, he avoided his own reflection and focused on the cold water running through his hands. It felt good. “Whatchu tryna’ do, little sissy? Tryna’ get a peek of my dick?” The large boy threw his towel on the brackish puddle on the floor and came toward him with a face full of baseless rage. His legs froze. He kept still, anticipating the pounding of his fists on his chest, his stomach, his eyes, and his lips. He woke up beside a pile by turd-pile of used tissue paper, used condoms, used and burn-out cigarettes. A small cockroach was rummaging through the garbage. It was a 3:15PM and he was late for Economics class. v. He loved Saturdays spent on the porch of their house. His mother was working seven days a week while his dad is miles away, enjoying the thighs of another woman. It was perfect time to think things through. This week he was reading Dostoevsky over a can of Coke and cookies. He doesn’t exactly know when but the idea came through him like Jesus descending from heaven, out of the beading sunlight through the gaping clouds. It crossed his mind with absolute clarity, with no hesitations whatsoever. (Or was he experiencing one of his fits?) He got out his notebook and wrote fiercely. vi. You found me. When you sleep you’ll never forget me. Mother, it was meant to be this way. I did what I think is best. I tried to pull a finger to hush the voices but they won’t stop. I am certain I’ll be going madder and madder if I stay here longer. A better place awaits me. Know that I love you so. It is not your fault, you did your best. You have been patient and good to me. Nor is it dad’s, I forgave him long ago. Light a candle for me and pray for my sins. Love, your dearest son 83


vii. He knew that the fire exit was locked, and there was only one door out. That’s all he had to know. viii. He visited the dust-ridden crawlspace of their house. Cobwebs covered boxes, creaking chairs, old photographs and records like the waves of an ocean. He strolled down the beach of distant memories: of toy cars and action figures (his only childhood friends), and colored books. It didn’t take him long to find what he was looking for. It was inside a black shoe box slightly hidden by crumpled pieces of newspaper dating back 1979. There was gun and another box full of ammos. ix. It was in the middle of Spanish class when he raised his hands. No heads turned back. Most of them were snoozing on their armchairs. He remained invisible like a ghost floating three inches from the ground. Nobody nudged, nobody noticed him. It made for a perfect surprise. He went back shortly; he locked the door and stood just right in front of it. “Today,” He said loudly grabbing his gun from his back pocket. “Is the day,” screaming gals and girls with flailing arms and shuffling feet shot aimlessly, people trying to escape from the windows, people trying desperately to open the fire exit suffered the same fate. “to pull the trigger,” he continued while he shot the boys who came stumbling at him with pocket knives, with armchairs, with pens. “inside my mouth,” he said now aiming at the terrified teacher, too stunted to speak and act. “and everybody else’s” he concluded shooting the last girl, the girl who didn’t mind him sitting beside her. The girl she drew on the back of his Algebra notebooks and assigned pocketbooks. Everybody had to die, including him. He swallowed the shaft of the gun and shot right through.

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She Fell in Love with a Psychopath By Roma Jane A. Hechanova

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had to finish her off quickly. I didn’t even give her time to scream when I slit her throat with my razor blade the Sweeney Todd way. She needed to die. Like the others before her, she sold her body for a fee and cheated on her lovers. Jack the Ripper killed prostitutes from Whitechapel; I killed the ones at school. I had to rid the Earth of filthy ones, in the same way that Light Yagami wiped out the evil ones through his Death Note. I grabbed the bag containing my latest victim’s severed limbs and threw them one by one down the dark, stinking creek located just behind our school’s old Science laboratory. The solution I prepared and injected in the body parts made them denser, thus enabling them to settle to the bottom. The police wouldn’t even notice anything fishy; they were nothing like Scotland Yard or LAPD. They’d rather sit down and fatten their bellies than pursue a case and give the world some justice. I grinned as I finished my job. I should thank whoever created Dexter Morgan for giving me the last variable needed to complete my formula on committing the perfect crime. The efficiency of Dexter’s Plastic Wrap technique inspired me to carry out my villainy without the fear of being caught. “Jonathan…” a familiar voice came from behind me as I walked on. “Bri…Brida?” I asked as I turned around to confirm who owned that voice. “Jonathan…” she whispered. Her gaze pierced mine and held me to the ground. I searched her face for any hint of emotion but there was none, not even fear. Then slowly, she walked towards me. “Don’t. You don’t know what I can do to you,” I said. But she continued walking and closed the distance between us. I stood there, stiffened by her presence, and enamored by her French vanilla scent. Gradually, her thin lips curved into a smile. 85


I stepped back and avoided her glance. My crime was uncovered! But why Brida of all people? Brida -- We sat together in a couple of our subjects, but we never talked much. (Besides, I do not really talk much.) We shared a word or two, became occasional lab partners in Physics and Chemistry, and that was all. She was everybody’s friend; I was the odd one out. Always. She had a talent of making people comfortable whenever she was around. She always made sure that I (somehow) felt like I belonged with them. Maybe she pitied me, or maybe that was just how she was -- the kindhearted girl everybody seemed to love. She was the kind of person who laughed at the lamest jokes, smiled at strangers, read thick volumes if not talking or dancing or singing, slept in class, but managed to top it all the time. I only came second to her. She always let her silky, black hair drop to her shoulders or braided it the Katniss Everdeen way if she was not too lazy. Her eyes always mirrored wisdom and they danced with warmth that I had never seen in anyone else’s. Her lips had the color of a pale rose, and I always saw them smile rather than purse. Without her four-inch heels, she stood exactly five feet tall. She always insisted on becoming a beauty queen, even though she knew it was unlikely. For other girls, she was perfect. They loved her and hated her. They adored her and envied her all at the same time. The boys always had their eyes on her, and there was never a day that Brida failed to find either a letter, a box of chocolates, or a bunch of flowers in her locker. But these didn’t matter to her, or so I bet. She was an open book to everybody, but not to me. She was a cipher I couldn’t decode. She was an algebraic expression I couldn’t solve, a chemical formula I couldn’t name, an ocean whose depth I couldn’t fathom. She was a star, millions of light years away from me. She-“Jonathan!” she knocked me out of my reverie. I didn’t know what to say. I only motioned for her to stay away. “I know you wouldn’t hurt me, Jonathan. I know why you kill. I know who you kill. But I didn’t know how or where you dispose of them…until recently,” she said as if she had known me all my life. “Brida, how did you-- ” she cut me short and grinned. 86


“Because I have the brain of Sherlock,” she said. “And the folly of Watson,” I muttered, but clear enough for her to hear. She laughed. “And the charm of Irene Adler?” “Brida, I am not playing games with you here.” “Well, neither am I.” “So what are you doing here? How did you know I was…?” “Well, let’s put it this way. Many girls have been missing for the last few months. Naturally curious, I looked into the details more and discreetly, and found myself believing they were murdered. I’m sure the others didn’t care, but my secret investigation’s findings interested me. So I followed all my leads and voila! They took me here, to you,” she explained and I couldn’t believe she had gone this far. “If you’re planning on having me arrested, fine. I…I…I’ll accept whatever punishment is due for my… She was an crimes,” I stuttered, but all she ever did algebraic expression was laugh. I couldn’t solve, a “Jonathan! Do you think I’ll turn chemical formula I you over to the police? No! I never liked couldn’t name, an those girls, anyway. Besides, this is ocean whose depth -- amazing! Just imagine Sherlock and I couldn’t fathom. Jack the Ripper meeting and becoming the best of friends! How does that sound?” she said and offered me her hand. “I never thought you knew a lot about them…and me. I never expected you to react this way,” I said. “And I never believed I’d catch you this easy,” she winked as I took her hand. That night, I walked Brida home. We both remained silent and kept a good distance between each other. If someone else discovered my crime, I wonder how that person would react. Maybe he (or she) would run due to fear. But Brida was different…or maybe that was because we’re actually the same? I sighed and erased that thought away. Brida? A psychopath like me? Impossible! We stopped right in front of her house. She leaned close to me and whispered to my left ear. “I know what you want, Jonathan. Tell me your secrets and I’ll tell you mine,” she said as she waved her hand and turned her back 87


against me. The days that followed seemed as normal as the previous ones, only that Brida and I spent more time together. We talked, we threw jokes at one another, we laughed, but we never touched the subject about our secrets again, until -“Jonathan, believe it or not but I have a fascination for people with brilliant minds,” she said while we were walking home one night. “Then, I bet you have a fascination for yourself,” I smiled. “No. A different kind of genius, I mean. I admire Sherlock, Conan, Poirot and Dupin as much as Moriarty, Dexter, Jack the Ripper, Hannibal Lecter. I adore criminals, killers, madmen, sociopaths, psychopaths, whatever you call them. Does that surprise you?” “Uhmm…no. You’ve met one of them already and you didn’t run. You’re walking with one of them right now, but you’re still here. I’m not surprised at all,” I said. “Okay,” she sighed and shook her head. Then, instantly, she beamed at me. “A secret for a secret. Tell me one of yours now.” “I didn’t know we were playing a game,” I remarked. She only shrugged. She stopped walking and looked straight at me. “Go on, Jonathan. I’m waiting…” She was not asking me, she was commanding me. What else could I do? How could I ever refuse Brida? So, I told her my story for the next few minutes, as we continued walking. “That was interesting, Jonathan! But…how many have you… killed?” she asked. “Three. I killed one per month,” I said as if I was only answering my teacher’s objective question. Brida became silent for a while. “I bet I’ve shared more secrets than you did. You’re being unfair, Brida! Why have you become so silent so suddenly?” I asked. “Well, I’m sorry. It’s just that, I thought you’ve killed more than three. I didn’t mean to say that. I -- uhmm, sorry,” she faltered. “Brida, I didn’t realize this revelation might surprise you. You’ve been thinking too much,” I said, and mustering all my courage, I wrapped my arms around her. “Oh, of course. That’s right. I almost forgot,” she declared as I 88


released her from my grip. “Forgot what?” “Nothing. Jonathan, I have something to ask you. Could a psychopath possibly fall in love? I think it’s unlikely because I believe a person can only have one choice. In a psychopath’s case, he could only either live forever without remorse, or live as an ordinary man who could love and be loved. What about you? What would you choose, Jonathan?” she implored. I only kept silent. Her question hit me like a comet travelling in a speed as fast as light. “It’s all right if you can’t answer right now. But here’s a secret. I’m in love, Jonathan. I’m in love with a psychopath,” she said, then kissed me lightly. She smiled, and I saw her face blush despite the darkness of the night. I stood frozen to the ground while she sprinted away to her home. If Brida were here beside me, I would have told her my answer. I would change if she asked me to, and live as the latter -- a man who could love (her) and be loved (…by her). It had been three weeks since my last kill, and I hadn’t planned out anything for my next crime. I was too engrossed with Brida, too consumed by my growing obsession for her. The next day, she glowed like the star Sirius against the wide and pitch-black universe. When I asked her what brought about her happiness, she only said she was excited for tonight. And from that moment I wondered what was so special about tonight. What could she have meant? I looked for her when our classes ended so that I could walk her home again, but I didn’t find her. I passed by her house, called her phone a dozen times, but still to no avail. Could something have happened to her? I shook my head and only wished I’d see her the next morning…but no. Six days had passed and yet, there was no Brida…no Brida at all. Her sudden disappearance alarmed me. I wanted to look for her. But I also needed to dispose of my weapons of villainy first. When I would find her, I’d tell her I have changed. I went to the old Science laboratory. The room was dark as it had always been. I used the light from my phone to guide me across the scattered tables and chairs. I opened the last cupboard and found my blade, glass slides, syringes and others, still there, untouched. 89


“Jonathan…you’re here…” a familiar but weak voice came from behind me. “Brida? Brida, where are you?” I searched through the room and found her in a corner, slumped near the old cabinets. Her hair was a mess, her uniform, stained, and her arms, scratched. “Jonathan…” she sobbed. I kneeled and looked at her, surprised by how she had transformed into a ghostly figure with hollow eyes puffy from crying. I locked her in an embrace and promised I would never let her go. “Jonathan, he’s after me. He’s going to kill me if he finds me. Help me, Jonathan. Help me,” she said. “Brida, calm down. I don’t understand. Why are you here? Who’s going to kill you?” “He’s after me, Jonathan. He’s after me.” “Brida, listen. Listen to me. Who is after you?” I shook her gently to keep her focused. “I thought he loved me too, Jonathan. I thought he did. But, I still love him, anyway. I love Benedict…even though I knew he was like you. A killer. He’s been hunting women. But he was a monster. He slaughtered them for no reason. I thought I could change him. But, it turned out, I couldn’t. And now, I’m his next victim,” she hastily said, but it was enough for me to understand. She fell in love with a psychopath…but that was not me. “Brida…” I whispered to her ear as I loosened my grip on her. “Jonathan…please, don’t let go,” she asked as she held my hand. “Don’t worry. I won’t let him kill you,” I looked at her, concealing my dismay. “But, before that, I’ve got a secret to tell you. I love you, Brida. I would have told you that I would choose the latter -- you know, change and be an ordinary man who could love you and be loved by you. But, I…” “Jonathan, I’m sorry. I used you. No, I mean, I wanted to know what’s going on inside a psychopath’s mind so I could understand Ben better. But, that doesn’t mean I faked all my feelings for you, Jonathan. I…I like you, too. Jonathan, I…” she said as I turned away from her. “But, face it, Jonathan. You are not a psychopath. You said it yourself! You chose me. You are not a monster, Jonathan. But, I don’t know why I couldn’t just love you the way I love Benedict… 90


Jonathan, forgive me,” she said and struggled to get near me. She reached out for me and I took her hand. I drew nearer and hugged her from behind. Then, before she could even say my name, I slashed her chest open with my blade. “I love you, Brida. But you are wrong. I can be both -- a monster without remorse and a man who could love.” I laughed and started the bloody process. I took her heart out and tried to find what was faulty about it. Why couldn’t she love me? I turned and twisted her heart, and sewed it back in her chest. I waited for minutes, then hours for her to wake up. Once she’d open her eyes, she’d tell me she loves me…and nothing else would matter after that.

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The Last Call Adely Grace V. Tomaro

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Maddie erhaps it was selfish of me to assume we both wanted the same thing in life. But when you’re in love, you can’t help it. “You’re awfully quiet.” Camille’s voice piped in, stirring me from my internal musings. “Nervous?” “Of course not.” I said, turning towards her just in time to catch her smirking at me. “Excited, then?” she teased, playfully nudging me in the process. When I rolled my eyes, Camille only laughed and whether she was unconvinced or unsatisfied by my response, she made no show of it. After her fit of giggling subsided, we continued our stroll through the park in comfortable silence. It was a cool Sunday morning and at Camille’s insistence, I was wearing a short pastel-colored dress with doll shoes that pinched my toes. My hair was braided to one side and I wasn’t wearing my glasses, so I had to stare at where my feet landed to make sure I didn’t trip over a rock or something. “You look lovely, by the way, Mads.” Camille began, smiling brightly at me. “This is the first time you’re going to meet him after a long time, isn’t it?” A knot somehow tightened in my chest and I felt a numbing sensation befall my arms. I nodded but refrained from saying anything, fearing one word out of my mouth might permanently withdraw all the oxygen from my lungs. At one point today, I had wondered what devil possessed me into agreeing to this meet-up in the first place. Why the hell am I even here? Why am I dressed up as someone I don’t even recognize, feigning a smile while I pretended I wasn’t entirely broken and confused inside? The answer is easy. Let me tell you the reasons why I never should have fallen in love with Sebastian Wilde. He is infuriatingly patient. Honestly, if there was an award for being a total hothead, I’d win. Especially during that time of the month, I’m completely insufferable, even to my friends. But Sebastian has always been my greatest diffuser. It’s hard finding a guy who can manage to calm you down even when you’re throwing insults and lamps at his face. He always understands me even when I don’t understand myself most of the time. Then, he’s prone to

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overthinking. Whenever there was an exam at school, he’d always be the last one to leave the room because he’s never content with reviewing his answers once; he has to do it three times more! He’s a perfectionist that way and I can honestly say out of all his traits, I hate this the most yet adore it at the same time. That’s because though his overthinking drives me off the wall, you rarely find a guy so hell-bent on spending so much thought and effort into buying you a gift. Sebastian would spend hours debating to himself all the things I liked and kept reconsidering his options so many times store clerks grew weary of his indecisiveness. He just won’t rest until he was sure his gift would put the biggest smile on my face when I received it. I could work out so many other things about him that I really wish I never ended up loving. Because if perhaps I hadn’t known these qualities of his, losing him wouldn’t hurt this much. “We’re here!” Camille exclaimed and for the second time today, nearly shocked my soul out of my body. I was too busy thinking about Sebastian that I hadn’t noticed we had already arrived at the small bistro where she had arranged for me and him to meet. My eyes rested on a young couple sitting by the umbrella chairs, laughing and smiling as they munched on their lunches. I felt a smile tug at my lips and a warm sensation filling my eyes. Suddenly, I wanted to cry. Because the greatest reason I never should have fallen for Sebastian is the single, life-shattering fact that I’ll never get to have these simple moments with him. We’ll never have lunch dates, dinner dates, any kind of dates like that young pair. We’ll never be the first person each other sees every day and the last one each night. And we’ll never have the luxury of time and proximity. Perhaps that’s the saddest bit of all. Because he’s made his choice. And it isn’t me. And yet… “He’s already inside!” Camille exclaimed and it was as if every fiber in my body tensed up after she said so. I felt like throwing up. Repeatedly. “You’ll love Kevin! He’s gotten so much more handsome over the years!” she said, enthusiastically, pulling my hand lightly towards the entrance. “He’s not Sebastian, but you know….” I don’t know if it was panic then, or social anxiety, but suddenly 94


the world slowed down and I could hear the loud thudding of my heart inside my chest. My eyes were searching around desperately, browsing past Camille, the sky, the trees and the young couple by the umbrella chairs. I was suddenly aware of how my feet really hurt from the shoes and all that walking and how my make-up was starting to itch. Then suddenly, without warning, I just pulled my hand away from Camille and took three steps back. Camille stared at me, shock and confusion mixing in her expression. “What’s wrong?” “I can’t do this.” I said, making a strange arm gesture. “I’m sorry I can’t meet Kevin. I… I… I have to go.” I turned to leave but Camille took hold of my arm again and held me in place. “Maddie, wait! Don’t think I don’t know where you’re going!” she nearly yelled. “Don’t you get it? Sebastian is leaving you! He’s going away and God knows when he’s coming back… that is if he comes back at all!” “It doesn’t matter.” I murmur and I mentally hit myself for sounding so stupidly in-love. But for the first time since this entire day, I felt like I was doing the right thing. I turn slightly towards Camille and I gave her a sad smile. “Please let me go.” Camille’s grip tightened. “You asked me yesterday night to set you up on a date with someone who is a better match for you than Sebastian was.” she said gravely. “And now, you tell me to let you go when said dream date is already inside waiting because you’re going to chase after the guy who’s going to end up leaving you anyway?!” Camille exclaimed, almost frustrated. “A little cruel don’t you think, Maddie?” “I know, and I’m sorry.” was all I could say. I bowed my head and closed my eyes. “I don’t expect you to understand me, Camille. But if today taught me anything, it’s that you’re right.” I opened my eyes and the second I did, the tears fell without my permission. “I’m sure you weren’t wrong and Kevin must be a wonderful person. But the thing is, even if I had the chance of finding love somewhere else—I don’t want anyone else.” Then I let out a bitter chuckle. “It’s my burden to bear I guess and I was foolish enough to have myself believe that I could turn away from Sebastian knowing 95


very well to what degree I love him.” Camille said nothing. I wanted to say something more but I found it a bit hard to breathe from all the crying and talking I had done. “His train leaves in less than 30 minutes, Mads. Even if you leave now you’ll never make it in time.” Camille said firmly, but her grip on my wrist loosened. “If you take a cab you may be able to meet him in the nick of time. It’s a long shot, but you can try.” My eyes lit up at her encouragement. “But,” she continued and my heart sank, slightly. “Maddie, if you leave now, if you still choose Sebastian over meeting Kevin, or anyone else, you need to come to terms with what’s in store for your future. You have to entertain the possibility he won’t be coming back or worse things. If you walk away now, tomorrow you could be full of loneliness, fear, and even regret.” I gulped. That was pretty heavy stuff. “But if you decide to stay,” Camille extended her arm as if to invite me towards the bistro. “Kev is inside, waiting for you. Unlike Sebastian, he’s still here. And he’ll continue to be here. You won’t be lonely, you won’t be taking a gamble at fate and you could have a real shot at moving on and enjoying life.” My eyes found Camille’s and I searched for a signal as if asking her for the correct answer. But from her gaze, she made it quite clear that it wasn’t hers to decide on. “Maddie, it’s your call.” she said. “What will it be?” Up till this moment, I had always dreamed of an ideal future. I had wanted to spend the rest of my days with the one I loved close to me. We’d grow up and grow old together, have children and live a peaceful life up till our very last breaths. I always thought I was destined for a life of normalcy, picket fences and suburban yards, but because of Sebastian Wilde, I guess that dream is just going to have to be put on hold. I hate love. Sighing, I turn to Camille and in a voice quite feeble yet firm, I gave my response… 96


Sebastian Perhaps it was selfish of me to assume we both wanted the same thing in life. But when you find your calling, you can’t help it. “Well, I guess this is it.” Casper suddenly says, shocking me out of my reverie. “Are you sure you have all your stuff? Did you pack enough underwear? What about-” “Relax, Cas, you’re starting to sound like my dad.” I said, chuckling as he rolled his eyes at me. It was a cool Sunday morning and the train station was full of people. I was already wearing my army cadet uniform, though I chose to do without the camouflage coat for now. “Don’t die out there or I’ll get mad.” Casper said strictly and I couldn’t help but smile broadly at his poor attempt at sentimental farewells. I saluted him and he punched me “Your in the shoulder affectionately. It was stupid documents, Sir?” and immature, yes, but we’re guys. How the conductor asked, catching else are we supposed to show we care? me by surprise. Casper and I were still horsing around I was so busy when a loud whistle sounded across the thinking about platform. A conductor peeked his head out Maddie I hadn’t from the arriving train and began yelling, noticed I was “All aboard!” in a sing-song tone. already by the train entryway. “Well, that’s my ride.” I declared. Slinging my duffel bag over my shoulder, I turned to Casper, wishing I didn’t look as sad as I felt inside. And if ever I did, I hoped he wouldn’t notice. “Don’t miss me too much, buddy.” I told him. “Shouldn’t you wait for Maddie?” he asked nonchalantly, checking his watch. “She’ll hate you if you left before she got to say goodbye.” “It’s better this way.” I said, slowly turning to face the other direction. My heart felt heavy in my chest as if it was being pulled by a string down to my stomach. “For both of us.” Casper didn’t say anything more. I offered him one last manly embrace and he accepted it with little prodding. After our exchange, there was nothing left for me to do but to turn my back on him and walk away. 97


At one point, I had wondered what really led me down this path in life. Why was I on a one-way ticket ride towards an army boot camp? Since last night, I’ve tossed and turned in bed, kept awake by all the reasons how my leaving for the army would wind up to be a bad idea in the end. You see, it’s dawned on me that military life isn’t easy. The training itself is hell and far from any of the comforts and luxuries of living a normal 8-hour job. It can break a person but it can also change one for the better. I’ve accepted that there’s also a slight possibility I could die. Battlefields, guns and war: these are three major things I’d be involved in through the course of my enlistment. There’ll come a time where I may even get the misfortune of having to kill someone. But there’ll also come a time where I may get the chance to bring honor and glory to my nation. I could say I’ve convinced myself well enough to justify my leave, but the truth is that though I could walk away from the comforts and security of home, to turn away from a girl named Madeleine Pride, seems too much of a painful sacrifice than I can handle. Man, love is confusing. “Hey, watch it.” A man’s voice said in a harsh tone when I accidentally knocked over his luggage while walking. I muttered a quick apology and offered to pick it up. Then I noticed that he was travelling with a woman around his age, who was visibly pregnant. I arranged the man’s bags and the couple thanked me before leaving hand in hand. I was smiling to myself, but for some reason, I felt a little saddened by the sight. A few years from now, when I come home from the army, I’ll probably find Maddie sitting by a porch, smiling happily as she caresses her bloating stomach. She’ll tell me she’s due in October and I’ll congratulate her and tell her the father must be the luckiest guy in the world. The saddest part of this vision is realizing it isn’t going to be me. The future. Perhaps that would be my sin to pay for being so selfish in my whims, huh? Watching Maddie grow to love someone else sounds like a painful stab in the gut I may never recover from. In today’s timeline, if destiny was kinder, we could try to find a way to still be together despite the distance. But Maddie has so much 98


love to give, I wouldn’t impose on her to keep it all bottled up just because I’d gone on a quest to prove myself in this world. So I chose to let her go. And yet I still wished that even if I were to lose her in the course of my selfishness, I’d still get to see her, hold her and hear her one last time, if only for a few minutes, before I left. If only… “Your documents, Sir?” the conductor asked, catching me by surprise. I was so busy thinking about Maddie I hadn’t noticed I was already by the train entryway. I nod at him and fish for my ticket in my pocket when a voice I never thought I’d hear again called my name. “Sebastian!” My heart sped inside my chest and I turned to where the sound came from so quickly I could have easily snapped my neck. But I didn’t care. I suddenly found myself running across the platform. I didn’t know why and I didn’t know where my feet were taking me but I frantically searched the crowd, trying to decipher where the voice had manifested from. And then, I saw her. She stood at a distance, her hair a disheveled mess, her make-up smudged and she had abandoned her shoes as carelessly as I had abandoned my bags. Her eyes were wet and puffy, her face drenched with sweat. She looked beautiful. She walked towards me without breaking eye contact and when we were only a few meters away, close enough for me to reach for her hand yet too far for my lips to touch hers, she sighed in relief. “Sebastian,” she said in between uneven breathing. “I made it.” “Maddie,” I echoed. “You’re he-” I raised my hand and tried to touch her cheek, as if to test if she was actually real and not an apparition but she swatted my palm like it was contagious. “Don’t misunderstand me.” she said, staring at me with angry eyes. “I’m still not going to forgive you for leaving me. But I’m not giving you up so easily, either.” My eyes widen a considerable size and I said nothing. “It doesn’t matter if you leave me now.” she continued, her eyes fixed on my chest. She raised a hand and delivered a small punch to it, as if to 99


stress a point. “As long as you come back.” she said in a hushed whisper. “As long as it’s you.” Something cracked in me then. Or rather, something triggered the tears I had hoped I’d never have to shed in front of her. It was gushing like a faucet and it was embarrassing. But at that moment, I knew of nothing else but complete and utter happiness. I pulled her in for a hug and she obliged me, giving as much as she was receiving. I held her close, then drawing her away, I placed two palms on either side of her face, searching it, reading it and memorizing it. For if I would have one greatest motivation to come home, it would be her and I’d like to know every line and every angle down to the last detail. “I’ll be back someday, so please,” I said, smiling, though tears were running through my eyes. It burned my vision. “Will you wait for me?” She scoffed and then let out a bittersweet chuckle. “As if I have a choice, idiot.” I smiled at her and she smiled back. Slowly, she brings her fingers to my cheeks and wipes the tears away, though there were tears staining her own. I lean in as if to kiss her, when a loud whistle rang through the air again. Then suddenly, a voice calls me from behind. “Sir,” It was an accomplice of the conductor. “This is the last call for boarding. There aren’t going to be any more trips till tomorrow. What will it be?” Up till this moment, I had always feared tomorrow. It’s the only day I’ll never be able to see and it’s full of so much uncertainty it’s terrifying. I don’t know if this choice is good or bad and I don’t know if things with Maddie will ever work out in the end. I had always figured I could take it all by the day, never wondering what was in store in the long run. It’d spare me the pain of formulating the worst case scenarios, surely. But right now, seeing Maddie’s smile as she nods at me, I’ve started hoping that it’ll all work out and I’ve come to love the idea of the future if she will be everything that comprises it. Smiling, my eyes never left Maddie’s and in a voice quite strong, yet gentle, I gave my response… “Goodbye.” 100


“Being good is a choice; being evil is not. It is innate in us.” – Anaesthesia Steal 101


&

Scribes Scribblers 102


Roma Jane Hechanova – Started as a stoic, conceited squire. But after “accidentally” cutting the selfish king’s throat in an attempt to pass him the steak knife in the dinner table, she has been stamped as a murderer and traitor; the lord’s banner men have been ordered for her search so her head can be chopped off. K’za Tamaño – Is a careful mystic in the witches’ regard. Blessed with the knowledge for urban legends and stories, it is known that she has lead such a stoic and outstanding life in her prerogative. Patricia Marie Laporno – Is the noblewoman of the House Pink. But do not be fooled by such feminine shade she colors her kingdom and horses, for darkness is the real realm that invades her land and her people. Knights in pink, Bishops in pink, pink swords… blech! It’s as grotesque as you think. What a powerful color! Jireh Zaragoza – Not a living soul has heard her talk for centuries, but legend insists that she once sunk a hundred Viking ships by just opening her mouth. Damn. Austere Rex Gamao – Was rumored to have slaughtered his own shadow. Don’t judge him, the guy was just disturbed with the thought that a dark figure kept following him around. Has he been touched in the head, you ask? No, not really… he’s just, well, he’s just… his name speaks for himself, a serious dinosaur. So yeah, he’s practically insane. Kyzeah Coleen Tababa – Is the only living heir to the bathroom on the second floor of the SLAAC Building. Fluent in monkey language, this young warrior of the dark has yet to decide whether to join the good side because they bake delicious cookies or keep fighting for the cooler guys of the dark realm. 103


Patricia Mari Mijares – Her kind is famous for their perseverance, thus explains her talent in the art of imitation, fooling others with her talent in imitating the likes of Athena the goddess of Wisdom, Aphrodite the goddess of Love, and… well, that’s pretty much it. But this unique skill is the reason for her current reign as Queen Regent of Braces Hills. theTINderella – Must have confused herself with an idiotic Disney character with an unusual curfew for a teenager and who leaves expensive heels behind. TINderella has seen things, grotesque images that float around like butterflies, it is only obvious in her works. She has love and has seen love burn. In other words, she has lived. Monica Cueto – Has long moved on from former flame Junjun, but has not been very monogamous since. The “journey” she took with myriads of men enabled her to finally understand that life is a series of unfair judgments and unjust treatments to those unable or was not given the chance to speak up and allow their stories be heard, thus the birth of Villains’ Vignettes. Robert Austin Salameda – His annoying voice lured the Council of Villains into believing that he is a tyrant in a land called “Austmouth,”only to find out that he is no tyrant, but just plainly annoying and irritating which was enough for the council to grant him a spot in Villain Camp. RJ Ledesma – Was kicked out of Hero Academy for his Hitler bowl cut. His mentors suspected that his haircut may have something to do with the former German tyrant and that his glasses too have a similar shape to the ones Heinrich Himmler. Weird kid. 104


Krimlyn Lumawag – Is rumored to be the descendant of Elizabeth Bathory, and yes, we mostly believe that to be more than just rumors. But other than that, Krim is a frustrated rapper and a promising DJ. If ever to become famous, she’d go by the stage name “Crazy Noodles.” Maria Angelica Ape – Wanted to be a supermodel but overqualified to be thus rejected. To gain revenge, she tortures skinny, malnourished models with cupcakes, irresistibly delicious tastes-likeheaven-and-angels cupcakes. Adely Grace Tomaro – The most feared and notorious evil doer, she is the villain who will devour you alive, but would also prefer a donut after she’s done. She will eat and won’t stop until she’s as big as a house. She is not to be confused with Jabba the Hut. Her brilliant mind works in ways unimaginable, but would only function impeccably if downed with fuel such as a kilo of fried siomai and boxes of mini cakes. Her greatest strength is her weakness, food. Shanine Aldaba Fortuno – Is well equipped with the rules and laws of the seven kingdoms. She is known to be the most loyal hand of the king… only until after she betrayed him. Jannel Aragona – Is a wise and gifted traveler who ambitions for the world to hear her story and take part in the inspiration that comes with her tales. Was once held captive in the isles of Guatemala but only escaped later on after she was freed by a dancing, talking pony. Gia Sellado – Is the villain known to be smitten by cupid. Strong in battle, but weak in emotional undertakings, she has slayed dragons 105


and burnt villages but arrows and quivers were dropped when she fell. A good warrior, a brilliant villain but a doubtful lover. Keane Dueño – Lives in irony and prefers it that way. Is a calm, peaceful knight in the Order of Merlin but maniacally brutal if provoked. Pudge - Should not be confused with a DOTA character or a fish who controls the weather. At an early age, has been exposed to the violence that comes with growing up working for a slaughter house. But despite the harsh upbringing and childhood trauma, only dreams of a better world where violence will be unnecessary in. An androgynous individual who refuses to be associated with any specific sex. Xandria the Wise – Was once known as the infamous Columbian Drug Lord named Vodka. But after being intoxicated for the nth time and waking up finding herself disheveled and confused in a pump boat in Indonesia, realized that there is more to life than partying… and that is adventure and the joy of vandalism and burning random things. Anaesthesia Steal – The writer of the classic autobiographical trilogy Fifty Shades of Gay is currently taking large doses of anesthesia to allegedly numb her feelings. (We suspect that this accounts for her sudden romantic-turned-revolutionary write-ups.) After breaking up with long-time partner Christian (who turned out to be really gay), she admits is not bitter…but her statements quoted here say otherwise. Go figure. 106


Nick Vincent O. Alparito – was one of Stan Lee’s rejected superheroes. His power involves spontaneous rainbows appearring and pig calling. Ryan Santua – Also known as Ryandroid, is not 100% human being. Known to be the Frankenstein of robots, he was a Science project gone wrong. His father, the Mad Scientist Murringga, was known for his love of robotics experiment; Ryandroid had functioned out of scraps of soda cans, Barbie dolls, scientific calculators, leftover siomai, old newspapers and a Mac computer working as his brain. Robert Dingcong Jr. – Known as the aging Mad Scientist Murringga. He is noted for all his failed projects that all worked as alternatives for electric toasters. He has taken great care and admiration for his robotic son, Ryandroid, over the years of being a single father. Trish Isiderio – Oftentimes mistaken for a man, or a sickly poodle with leprosy, but any will do. But is actually an evil spawn whose sole power is to make an entire village suffer from her corny jokes. Her jokes are so dreadfully corny that they are horribly inescapable. We sometimes just wish she were a man. Aloe Danica Deala – An evil legendary plant type Pokemon that was rejected by Professor Oak because it could not speak. Or so he thought. She could actually sing octaves that are so high that you need to be a dolphin to hear her. Hear that? Neither did I. Strawberry Princess – Her parents were Death Eaters who sadly perished during the battle of Hogwarts. She was brought up by the trolls that lived under Hagrid’s bed. 107


Acknowledgements 108


Mr. Andre Tagamolila for signing our requests and supporting the publishing of this issue. Ms. Jean Lee Patindol for her guidance and for your undying appreciation of our works. We love you, mom! The Business Office for putting up with all our constant pestering and for believing in us and processing our requests to make this literary folio possible. Ryan Ceazar Santua for working so hard he’s lost sleep to not only layout the folio but also illustrate several art found in it. We might as well call this The Ryan Folio. But really though. Thanks for what you do! Adely Grace Tomaro for keeping up with the Literary Editor’s profanity and vulgarity for 16 years that they’ve know each other. For the patience and the never-ending encouragement to stay in the publication despite the odds that transpired over the years. And to all our contributors, thank you for joining the dark side and making this year’s literary folio the great legacy to all evil doers that it is. Whether your works made it or not, know that life may not play out the way you want it to, but it is the experience of failing that tests the soul and makes it strive to be better. That is the way of a true villain. Seize the day. Tomorrow, conquer the universe! 109


THESPECTRUM F O U N D E D 1 9 5 6 www.thespectrum.ph thespectrum.usls@gmail.com

Coleen Edrea F. Ematong Adely Grace V. Tomaro Editors-in-Chief Carl Mark A. Pat Managing Editor Patricia Mari M. Mijares John Dave P. Pido Newspaper Editors Roma Jane A. Hechanova Asst. Newspaper Editor Mark Harmon R. Magbanua Magazine Editor

Newspaper Writers Monica M. Cueto Maria Angelica M. Ape Andrea Nicole G. Farol Kyzeah Coleen M. Tababa Magazine Writers Katrina Trish C. Isiderio Krimlyn L. Lumawag Michael Albert M. Diy Charisse Erinn Flores Anthea P. Manayon Raniel C. Ponteras Filipino Writers Jisson C. Yalong Thalia B. Dela Cruz Online Writers RJ Nichole L. Ledesma Jireh Marielle C. Zaragoza

Patricia Marie M. Laporno Asst. Magazine Editor

Illustrators Robert Austin G. Salameda Aloe Danica B. Deala

Ryan Ceazar B. Santua Layout and Graphics Editor

Photojournalist Ma. Henna A. Pilla

Robert C. Dingcong Jr. Asst. Layout and Graphics Editor

Editorial Assistant Irene H. Severino

Faith Joeleene J. Lacson Photos Editor

Publication Adviser Jean Lee C. Patindol

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Scribe 2014  

Literary folio of the University of St. La Salle Volume 17

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