Nova Prima Donna – 01 – The Swan Princess

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This is a mini-project so my brain doesn’t stop working… It’s about a girl chosen by the Universal System, which guards and controls the fourteen realms, to close the final gate and stop the destroyers of realms (a sort of a clean-up program that ran amok). It’ll be different from anything I’ve ever written because the main protagonist isn’t a delicate flower, she’s more like a dandelion… She’s versatile, she’s rough and tough, and above all – she won’t take no for an answer.

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Mother would read these stories to me – stories about princesses living in beautiful kingdoms, constantly in trouble. They were damsels in distress who would need a prince to save their hearts, or princes who needed the help of a princess, even princesses who would become queens and never need saving. She’d brush my hair every night, I was probably five or six years old, and she’s take out this big book. Every other day, it was a different story: she’d ask for a summary, for what I understood from it and what it meant to me as a growing girl. Puberty was still a long way away, she was proud of what she had achieved.

Then, when I was ten years old, she passed away. She suffered a great deal, she cried every night. She wasn’t the hero I expected her to be but she was my mother, and that meant a lot. When she was buried, I placed the big book inside her coffin and we buried her with it. Maybe she would have fun reading it wherever she went. It was a dream, a lovely idea… Too bad that was all it was.

By the age of sixteen, I had forgotten all about those stories but Hollywood would attract me to them, once again. I was like a fly buzzing around a bright light. Revamping the old stories I cherished the most and shedding new light, I was overwhelmed, no, thrilled. It was a fun time, like being with my mother again.

Now, I’m here, sitting in my apartment’s window sill, hoping that something good might happen before I die of boredom. Life zoomed past me; it certainly wasn’t the life I was hoping for. Two four-hour-shift part-time jobs and a morning filled with class activities, not to mention the evenings spent with my textbooks and homework. It wasn’t an enjoyable time.

 

*

 

“Not this again…” I stared outside the window, hoping this was my chance to escape the lecture on human sexuality. “I already know what my sexuality is and how to preserve it, thank you very much.”

“Just sit by it, hold up.” Marie whispered. I wasn’t about to wait for her.

“No, I’m bailing on you today. This isn’t what I want to waste my morning on.” Placing what little I had in my arm-chair, inside by bag, I slowly and gently tiptoed outside the classroom while the teacher took out condoms.

 

The sky was blue, like an ocean with nothing but water and not a speck of land in sight. No clouds, no distractions, just blue… plain ol’ blue. I was stretched out on the grass, beneath a small tree; its branches constantly struggled with the incoming gusts of cold air. I couldn’t blame it, the wind was strong, the atmosphere was cold and the sun wasn’t doing its job properly today. As the cold wind blew, I struggled to find warmth. After giving up on the idea of being at peace here in the campus, I made my way home.

The concrete floor was dotted with green moss, it was raining every evening, and it didn’t seem to want to let up. It was that time again: the rainy season. Birds chirping, almost like calling their young ones back home, away from the incoming rain. I was hesitant to wander outside my home, if I got wet, I could get sick, and if I got sick, then I’d miss classes. I couldn’t miss any more classes… I’ll be kicked out if I did.

Tying my hair back, a pony-tail seemed like the most attractive work of art I could do with it, as I fell atop a pile of clothes. Why was the bed so soft? I didn’t need a man; I needed a big bed with a warm comforter and a hot cup of tea or coffee, whichever got here first.

The room shook when a heavy vehicle passed by; the street was just two apartments away. Looking outside my window, I saw it again: a bright light beneath a tiny tree. Was it a firefly? Do fireflies shine in a prism-like order? Do fireflies even exist here? I was overflowing with curiosity. I could still indulge in child-like wonder and awe; thought curiosity wasn’t a very good reason for me to wander off outside, especially in the middle of the night. Could I let that little bug, or whatever that was, slip from my fingers after I was so close to it?

Picking up some old, blue slippers from beneath my bed, I tucked in my dress and walked out of the apartment. Scared, yes, excited, yes, paranoid, you betcha’ but overall, I was curious. The night was cloudy, no stars in sight, not even the moon. Tomorrow was going to be the fabled harvest moon and the sky didn’t seem to want to let go. A light drizzle continued, nothing I couldn’t handle. My footsteps echoed in the night but I managed to check every direction before I made a move. Slowly walking over to the light source, I noticed something… It was a ring. A small ring but a ring, nonetheless. Strange, it was silvery, plane, with a small stone, probably zirconium. Not wanting my adrenaline to go to waste, I grabbed the ring and brought it back home, as I skipped over puddles and along muddy paths. Home is where the warmth is.

 

*

 

People were playing with a guitar outside the classroom. Again with those guys? How long will they keep at it? Nobody likes an acoustic lone-ranger… We’re into the lead guitarists or the lead singer, not the acoustic backup singer. Looking away, I tried paying attention to the chalkboard but I could barely understand anything. Math wasn’t my forte and neither was paying attention. Taking out the ring from my pocket, I kept on looking at it, examining every nook and cranny. It didn’t seem like the genuine thing a guy would give a girl or a girl would buy in an afternoon of reckless spending.  Plain silver, if it even was silver, with a stone, probably a fake, and an inscription that read: “Heed ye, lest ye fall in a deep sleep. Thou must awaken that which slumbers beneath thine eyes.” Such a poet, no wonder the ring was underneath some bushes, the guy must have been quite the loser. Besides, it read more like a threat that an ode to love. Yeah, he must have been a poor sucker.

 

*

 

The night was cold, once again, but the sky was wide awake. The stars glimmering under the darkness of the dark blue celestial ocean; the moon overpowering the shadows that formed in the streets – the blue moon was well outside its warm confines deep within the horizon. It was a lovely sight, a feeling of security and peace sunk in. As I held the ring in my right hand, warmth overwhelmed my palm. What was going on? I dropped the ring, it began to glow. Not a shadow peaked from the corners of my room; everything was illuminated by an unearthly brightness. Voices echoed through my head, they were calling me… they were saying my name… it was as if I was needed somewhere. As strange as it sounds, the feeling of being somewhere to help someone I hadn’t met before was nothing short of a déjà vu brought about by everyday activity. Something everyone has felt at the very least, once in their lifetime.

The light dissipated but everything was not normal. The room wasn’t my own; the bed was mine alright, just not in the room I had last seen it in. Had I gone mad? That must be it, being alone for so long must have finally gone to my head. For all I know, I might have snapped in the process and now I’m schizophrenic. Yes, that must be it.

There were two wooden doors carved with a beautiful golden engraving. They looked pretty expensive. Shaking in fear, I closed my hands and held the ring firmly in my grasp. Maybe, if I repeated over and over again that I wanted to go home, it would work again? Far-fetched but it was worth the short. I knelt on the floor and prayed and prayed and prayed, I had become religious in the blink of an eye. Welcome to the cult of the ring, population: me. It was pretty pathetic but that was all I had. Nothing happened. Strange, it should have worked… It always works in movies… and fairytales.

 

“Maybe I’m in some sort of dream, yeah, that must be it. And if I’m in a dream, exploring won’t hurt now would it?” I whispered to myself. It had become pretty common for me to talk to myself; that was desperation working its magic. You can’t be a single college girl without losing your mind first. “So, having said that… I can just waltz over to the door and explore, right? Yeah, I can.” Answering my own questions? Had I sunk that low?

 

My slippers were nowhere to be found, screw it, I could walk barefooted. The floor was made of, what seemed to be, marble tiles, perfectly square and joined with impeccable precision. There were flowers painted on the white tiles and swans on the black tiles. Almost like a chessboard. As I neared the window, I noticed that this was no normal room. I was in a tower, probably a few stories above ground. The place was surrounded by tiny houses and a far-off lake could be seen in the distance. Struggling to catch my breath, I calmed down for a bit.

 

“Come on, you can do it… It’s nothing out of this world. It’s just a dream, like flying or free-falling. Your mind has seen one too many animated movies and is giving you a hard time… shit, it might even be something in that tuna that is making me see things.” Taking a few steps to the door, I slowly grabbed its swan-shaped handle. It was probably made of gold, and if this was my dream, its most certainly made of gold. I was a girl with high standards in my creative processes.

There was a large hall outside the door, armors dotted the sides of the hallway, as well as large portraits of older men and women; probably people of importance. Slowly, walking down the hall, I heard a noise… No, it was music, an orchestrated piece I hadn’t heard before. The violin was very prominent but it was so different from anything I had seen before. Slowly walking towards the source of the music, the door opened. Its golden handles pushed away from my grip as a beautiful lady appeared before me. She bowed and grabbed my hand, slowly kissing it. I blushed, this had never happened before in my dream.

 

“My name is Odette; I am the princess of this kingdom. I am so sorry I dragged you to my realm without prior information. We need you, our kingdoms need you.” Her voice was soft, with a hint of uncertainty. She was unsure, I could sense that. “Sit down, please. Let me tell you the story of the thirteen kingdoms – protectors of the living realm. I am the keeper of the swan key, the princess of the swans.”

“Oh, my god… You’re the Swan Princess!” Holding my mouth with both hands, I was on the verge of screaming with excitement. “Holy fuck-” Quickly stopping in my tracks, I regained composure. “Shit, I almost lost it.” I whispered.

“There is a legend, of a day when the sky will turn red and the fourteen realms will fall into oblivion. There is unspeakable evil living beneath the floor your currently stand on.”

I observed intently as she managed to bring out a drawing. There was a dragon beneath a large tree whose branches were spread out into thirteen different directions. In the middle other branches was the fourteenth dimension: the realm of Eve. “I gather the dragon is the bad guy?”

“The dragon is the support for the fourteen realms.”

“So, if he moves, we disappear?”

“If he moves, he’ll tear everything into nothingness.”

“Why do you need me?”

“We need you to enslave the dragon, once more.”

“Why? I mean, how?” She scratched her head for a while, “What do you mean, once more?”

Ciudades Do Destino – 3 – Girl with the Prism Wings

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So, here it is… Part 3/5 is finally out. I’m excited and as I get closer to the end, I jump for joy. As before, this is unedited so hold your horses, Grammar Nazis. I’m being anarchistic today, enjoy the freedom and read on.

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“Do you know where this road leads to… emmm… Pricilla?” Cassandra shook her head, slowly trying to make sense of everything. A tall tree, a dystopian-looking city and a strange night sky held together by a living canopy. “Have we been abducted?”

“Abducted?” Pricilla looked away, retracing her steps to where she came from. “As in, taken by some unknown organization?”

“I mean aliens.”

“Nahhhhhh… This feels more like a dream.”

“Come to think of it, it does. I can see colors; that’s something far-fetched.”

“I can walk…”

 

Both girls looked on ahead, at the majestic tree. They knew there was only one place they could go, and that was the tree. Slowly, walking on opposite ends of the road, they quietly mumbled to each other. The closer they got to the tree, the more vibrant its details became. Beautiful fluorescent vine-like markings decorated the trunk of the tree, dotted with runes and leave patterns that became as bright as the stars in the sky.  The trunk must have been atleast four blocks wide, probably twenty-eight to thirty two houses in length, and as tall as any skyscraper they’ve ever seen.

The base of the trunk was surrounded by a crystalline lake, dotted with tiny flying fireflies zooming to and fro, from the surface of the water. The tree’s roots pierced its crystalline veil, popping out of nowhere, and plunging back in. On the edge of the lake, there was a soft sandy beach, probably around ten yards in length, or a hell of a lot of footsteps from the coarse soil. Large rectangular stone structures rose from the white, sandy surface. Pricilla touched the surface of the structures with the tip of her fingers, much to Cassandra’s dismay.

From time to time, tiny rays of golden light would fall on the surface of the water, reflecting upwards to the sky. As it hit the leaves on the overlaying branches, a tiny glow would emanate from the inflicted leaf – like the birth of a new star. Cassandra walked over to the edge of the sand, there were no waves. She placed one of her feet on the water; it was warm. Warm like a soothing, soul-resting bath on a cold, Christmas Eve; this was something she’d do every year with her ex-lover.

Pricilla wandered off to see the other statues, examining them well. She knew they’d make perfect portraits on a fine canvas. There were runes etched on its smooth, marble-like surface. There was a drawing that repeated over and over along the inscriptions: an oval surrounded by twelve bird wings and a halo over its head. She was scared, it felt ominous.

 

“Pricilla! I’ve found a boat!” Cassandra shouted.

Pricilla ran over to her. The boat was not tied to anything. “Was it here when we came?” Pricilla commented. The lack of waves couldn’t have possibly made the boat drift over to the shore.

“Do you suppose someone wants us to get on the boat?” Cassandra tied her hair in a bun. “Like an invitation?”

“Yeah, I get the feeling we are not alone.”

 

The got on the boat, as Cassandra clumsily pushed it off the shore. It slowly drifted, as if controlled by an external force. Pricilla lay on the edge of the boat, touching the water’s crystalline surface. It created ripples that extended exponentially and soon vanished. She commented on the strange image she had seen. Cassandra would stare into the sky and wonder what was going on. Someone must have dragged them into the place, but that someone might not be what they expected it to be.

 

“Do you believe in God, Cassandra?” Pricilla asked.

“No, I do not. I’m an atheist, and a good one at that.” Cassandra replied.

“I believe in God, but, sometimes I wish I did not. If he really was looking after me, then shit wouldn’t happen to me. Life looks so unfair from its surface but that’s only a reflection of how cruel it all sums up to be.”

“I don’t think that someone else can control every aspect of your life. You make decisions and if they go bad, then it’s your fault, ain’t it? You have to take responsibility.” Pricilla turned around, facing the sky, her long hair fell on the water. “The sky is awake.”

“More like, the sky is alive.” Cassandra gazed that the tiny golden stars, twinkling, and changing colors – like miniature prisms held by invisible strings of golden light.

 

The boat hit a land mass, as the two girls awakened from their deep trance. Pricilla fell off the boat, falling face-first into the water. Gasping for air, she kneeled on the shore. Cassandra quickly got up, gazing at her soaked companion. Offering Pricilla a hand, she took off her jacket and gave it to her. Removing her wet clothes, she put on the jacket. Walking side by side, they finally made it to the center-most island: the base of the tree.

 

“What do you think we should do?” Pricilla asked, they hoped something magical might happen. “It feels so ominous.”

“I was hoping for a massive magical head or something.” Cassandra commented. “You know, something Wizard of Oz-ish.”

“Well, I guess we’re not in Kansas anymore…” They both giggled.

 

The runes began to shine as a voice whispered, “Come…” The girls stopped in their tracks. Cassandra held Pricilla closer to her. Pricilla, not wanting to be the girl who dies first in every horror movie, grabbed a hold of Cassandra’s hand.

 

“You know, in most horror movies… There is a girl who dies first.” Pricilla whispered. “It’s usually the half-naked one.”

“It might be God. What if he’s calling us?” Cassandra commented.

“Then, I’m in no way dressed properly to meet the creator of everything.”

“You do have a jacket on.”

Pricilla glared at Cassandra, “That doesn’t make me feel safe. I’m jail-bait.”

 

Words appeared on the trunk of the tree.

He who dwells upon fleshy soil,

Baptized in thine heavenly oil,

Bow and toil;

Frail, show thine reverence.

 

“Mother told me to never talk to strangers.” Pricilla whispered.

“Could you stop whispering? It’s kind of annoying…” Cassandra sighed. “It’s a riddle, I guess.”

“It’s not a riddle. It’s telling us to bow before it.”

“How do you know?”

“I study these sorts of things. Art and literature… I’m a fan of Mark Twain and Shakespeare.”

“So, you’re a nut-job…”

“An educated nut-job, thank you very much.”

 

As they both bowed, their faces staring at their sand covered feet, a voice called to them.

 

“My little children, I have heard your cries.”

 

Echoes of voices surged through the trunk’s tiny cracks. The water rippled. It was their voices, and the people around them. They could hear their comments, their thoughts and above all – they could hear each other’s thoughts. Their lives were far from perfect.

 

“I hold a chalice, where I pour my blood to give to thee. Bring me that which you would give to obtain that which you desire.”

 

A small wooden chalice appeared before them. A strong, scented liquid filled the cup as it began to shine. Cassandra looked at Pricilla. Pricilla was baffled. What could they give to obtain what they wanted? Money for talent? Blood for happiness?

 

“I want to be free… and to be free, I need to walk.” Pricilla commented, looking at Cassandra.

“I want to be normal. To see colors.” Cassandra replied.

“It’s asking to give up something to gain something… I’d give anything…”

“Me too.”

“Then, let’s try this: I’ll cut a strand of my hair and place it in the liquid and you can give something similar and place it in the chalice.”

“I’ll pour some blood and with that, we’ve given up something, right?”

 

As Pricilla cut a strand of her hair, she placed it in the red liquid. It dissolved on contact. Cassandra pricked her finger and poured three drops of blood. They both grabbed the chalice and gave it a sip. The taste was unique. It smelled like rotting flesh but tasted as a high class wine, bittersweet with a slight grape-like tinge to it.

 

“I am nothing but a womb of desires and hopes. Now, go my children. Be happy, dance in the protection of the On-High.”

***

Cassandra woke-up in a cold sweat. Covered from head to toe, she looked around. Everything was the same except for one thing: she couldn’t move her legs.

Ciudades Do Destino – 2 – Girl with the Ivory Wings

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Okay, this is part two. Again, this is unedited and posted just so I could hear some thoughts about it… The voices in my head don’t count as ‘other’ thoughts either.

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“Pricilla, honey… I’m going out, dinner is at the table and there is some orange juice in the fridge.” Her mother called out. No sooner had she said this than the door slammed behind her.

 

Another evening by herself, not a bad way to end the day, she told herself over and over again. She grabbed the remote and turned on the tv. Her favorite show was on; it was about a girl who happened to be lawyer. She was infatuated with her; the way she dressed, her mannerisms, her courage, her self-esteem and the way she attracted guys and dumped them with no sense of attachment. She wanted that, she needed to become an independent person. Looking around for something munch on, she heard the doorbell ring. Who could it be at this hour?

It was still seven thirty but this neighborhood didn’t have many visitors after the gates closed. Carefully dragging herself over to her wheelchair, she rolled down the hall. Upon reaching the door, she was hit with a dilemma. The peephole was too high up on the door and she couldn’t just ‘stand’ and look through it. In the event that someone dangerous was on the other side, opening the door exposed her to unspeakable evil. She swallowed hard, as the doorbell rang. Come one now, there can’t be any rapists or robbers in this neighborhood. There is barely any middle class family here, much less shady characters. As she repeated those words to herself, over and over again, she realized she sounded so much like her mother; a classist.

There goes nothing. She held on to the doorknob, tightly, and slowly opened the door. The hinges creaked.

 

“Pricilla? What are you doing? Where’s your mother?” She heard a familiar voice.

“She’s out,” she stuttered. “Would you like to come in, Nathan?”

He smiled. “Normally, I don’t go into people’s homes but I’ll make an exception if you have some orange juice.”

Looking about, she giggled. “Lemon juice, just so you know.”

 

Finally, it wasn’t perfect, per se, but things were taking a turn for the best. If everything worked out the way she had planned, he’d be out before her mother came back and probably snatched him from her grip. To be at odds with someone who was supposed to be your guardian; an exhausting torture that can only be described as living in a personal hell – torture of the ironic kind.

He walked over to the living room, sitting on the sofa. She wheeled on to his side, after all, she was already sitting on something; be it a wheelchair or a sofa. He sipped on his lemonade while she wondered why she even suggested lemonade. He’s a guy; he needs some sort of alcohol not lemonade or strawberry cool-aid.

 

“So, what made you come over to our neck of the woods?” Pricilla grabbed her glass and drank some water; she wasn’t too fond of acid tasting things much less lemon. “Was it because of the wheelchair? I’ve already fixed it myself.”

“No, don’t worry. I came to talk to your mother about an issue she’s been having with her washing machine.” He evaded her stare.

Knowing full well what was going on, she poked some more. Holding on to her shirt, close to where her heart was, she looked down at the carpet. “So late at night?”

“Yeah, she’s usually home at this time, so that’s why I came over.”

 

Pricilla stopped with the probing questions and realized what everything was about. She wanted to cry but a crying paraplegic only evokes pity not sorrow. Looking around, searching the room, she realized that everything here was like a memento to the greatness of the woman she called mother. Her past was filled with audacious achievements from a woman with nerves of steel, yet, the child she longed for was born more delicate than a piece of paper; a papier-mâché princess.

She heard the door open and out popped her mother. Sniffing in what tears were trying to escape, she rolled herself over to her room. Knocking a vase, she opened the door and slammed it behind her. Locking it, she cried. Holding her face with both hands, she didn’t make it to her bed. How weak, she thought to herself. Was it weak to lose out to her very own mother or was it weak that she would always cry on her wheelchair? Probably, the fault was all on her star, it wasn’t shining like it should be.

*

“Hello?” Cassandra held her cellphone close to her ear, hoping to guess who the caller was. “This is an unknown number, who are you?”

“Cass! It’s me, Jenny!” A squeamish voice replied. She could hear loud electronic music in the background.

“Jen? Why are you calling me so late in the night? It’s nearly twelve!”

“You won’t believe who I saw in the show! Your boyfriend is here with another girl!”

She stopped thinking, her heart skipped a beat, there was something stuck inside her throat; she was unable to react properly to the news. “What do you mea-”

“It’s Lizzy! She’s here with your boyfriend. They’ve been at it for half an hour now, kissing, touching; he’s been fondling her for the last twenty minutes. It’s like they don’t care who sees them!”

Her legs became weak. “How do you know it’s him?”

“I took pictures of them… I’ll send them over to your phone.”

The phone vibrated, a set of ten pictures flooded the chat box. Yes, it was him. How dumb could she be? It was all like she had imagined; he was cheating on her. “I don’t know what to do, Jen… I don’t know what to do.” Her voice was breaking up.

“Come one Cass, you’re stronger than this. You’re smart, beautiful-”

“I’m not… I’m not… I’m just lying to myself about this.” She pressed the cellphone close to her face. “I wanted a perfect life, a perfect boyfriend with a perfect relationship and maybe a few perfect moments here and there. I wanted it all but… but… life can’t give you everything you want.”

“Come on-”

“Why can’t I have what I want? Is it too much to ask? All I wanted was to have someone to love me like I did. I know I’m a retard, I can’t see colors… Who’s going to love a girl whose eyesight is no better than that of a dog?”

“Cass, it’s not like that…”

“It is!” She slid down the side of the drawer unto the cold floor. “Just, leave me alone. I need to think.” Hanging up the phone, she pressed it close to her heart and began to cry. Tears sliding down her rosy cheeks, falling down on her legs; things took a turn for the worse. “Why can’t I have what I want?”

Her hands gripping on her small phone, even tighter, as she curled up on the floor; like a baby in a cold womb. She regretted everything she had ever said, every smile she shot him, every kiss, every night they spent together and every guy she had rejected for him. Why couldn’t she have what she wanted?

**

Pricilla woke up to the sound of birds chirping. It was a gleeful chirp, yet it sounded so far away, echoing from a distant place; almost like a memory. A light fog settled on the ground, like a slight mist running about, akin to water. Large structures rose from the ground – skyscrapers of sorts. The sky was covered by the branches of a massive tree with tiny glittering fruits that made the umbra become one with a starry night sky. As she walked down the long, winding road she noticed someone up ahead. Could it be a ghost? A spirit? A demon? An alien or some interdimensional being? Her imagination was just too big for her own good.

Closing up on the girl, she noticed her long red hair, she was a ginger huh? A ginger spirit? No, it was too early to think of her as a zombie or some ghost bent on revenge. She was wiping her eyes, had she been crying? If that was the case then they had one thing in common, despite their apparent differences. Pricilla stepped on a stone, as it jolted from a side of her sandals; it clicked and crackled on the ground. The girl turned around.

 

“Who are you?” She asked.

“My name is Pricilla and I come in peace, from the planet Earth.” Pricilla replied, holding up her hand, fingers posed as a V.

“I’m not a monster, silly. My name is Cassandra.”

“Oh, well, this is awkward… I even had a speech and all… Well then, now that you’re not a threat… My name is Pricilla, pleased to meet you.”

Ciudades Do Destino – 1 – Girl with the Ashen Wings

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This story will probably be entering a competition, pretty soon. It’s still 1/5 completed but you guys will be able to see how it develops.

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The lines lead to nowhere in the map. How in the world was she going to distinguish it from the rivers and the roads? She looked up at the ceiling, staring at its old, eroded surface. She sighed. If they wanted her to do this work, they’d have to help. Taking out a piece of paper, a pen, a pencil and an eraser, she started doodling on the side, figuring out which was which. Bridges and rising elevations, probably a river not a road; intersections, roundabouts and houses, probably a road, not a river – this was starting to feel a bit more simple than it usually was.

She looked at her watch, a small Mickey Mouse figurine moving his arms around, pointing with his small hand at the number twelve and the longer at the number six: twelve thirty in the evening and nobody bothered to call her. Untying the pink band of her wrist watch and placing it on the table, she got up and stretched. Bending over, touching her toes, her hair falling over, touching the ground like grey bristles.

Back again, stretching as far as her body could take her. She could see the entrance of the classroom, upside-down, and the world seemed unchanged. Spending all morning figuring out what to do with the map of the city, she begged for help but no one seemed to care. Handicapped was for people with missing limbs or those with special needs but color-blindness never seemed to be an issue.

Her phone vibrated, she quickly slipped her hand into her pocket. It was no use, her pants were too tight. Scratching with her long fingernails, she finally managed to take a hold of it but by that time, it had stopped. Tapping her password, she looked at the log: an alarm. Great, she was excited over an alarm clock, whoopty doo. Searching through her contacts, she found him.

You left me behind with a map…

That should get his attention, after-all, he deserves her frustration. Tapping her finger on the soft, jelly protector that covered her phone, she flipped through her photos. Sighing, she smiled at the one photo that made her day- her in a beautiful white dress and her boyfriend next to her in a tuxedo. Too bad it was all for a play, but she still hoped it would someday become a reality. Her phone vibrated. About time!

Sorry hun, there was something I needed to do. So, how’s the project coming along? Any ideas?

Unconsciously, her face met her palm at the blink of an eye; a reflex action that quickly infuriated her friends? She wasn’t that good at holding her temper. He knew exactly what was going on; he had to. How in the world could he expect her to figure out what the map was about? She was struggling as it is, with the colors. This was one class she hated the most: geography. The mathematical aspect of it all was so simple, yet why did she have to take a class like this?

Basil! You know I’m color-blind… How in the hell am I supposed to figure this out? You need to help me. 

How could he be so insensitive? Of all people, he should know better. A small chill ran up her spine, she was afraid, paranoid, probably over thinking things but it was all within the realm of possibilities. Recently, he had grown cold to her affection. Could he have someone else? Was he seeing someone? What would that mean to her? Was she the ‘other girl’ or was she the person he’d return to when there was nothing going on with the other girl?

I’m sorry hun, I’ll be there okay? Love you, wait for me XOXOX

No, what was she thinking? He wouldn’t write like that if he was with someone else, would he? It must all be some sort of mistake, yeah, that must be it. After all, he’s been with her through thick and thin, there was no way he’d just get up and leave. They had plans, they had dreams, they wanted a family; everything was moving on so perfectly, there was no way in hell that things could go bad.

Get over here, babe. Miss you.

That should fix things up a bit. An angry tone could get him angry, then she’d be angry, they’d have another fight, they wouldn’t speak to each other for the rest of the day and then she’d… O my god! He never seemed to text her when they got in a fight, as a matter of fact, she’d be the one doing the texting and apologizing. For Christ’s sake! She looked around for something to beat him with. A broom? No, too long. A chair? No, too heavy. She had made-up her mind to just scratching his eyes out. Yeah, that should do the trick. How dare he betray her trust! After all they’ve been through, after all the time she’s saved his ass from flunking. No, either he comes through that door with chocolates and a bouquet of roses, white roses to be exact, or she’d have to go Animal Planet on his face.

She hears the door open. Placing her phone on her chair, she rolled up her sweater’s sleeves. As she was about to scream out everything she’s ever thought about him, the unimaginable happened: a bouquet of white roses, some chocolates and a few heart-shaped balloons? Idiot, why did he do that? She was about to tear him a new skin and her goes on being so romantic and… and… and… she ran up to him and kissed him. How could she have doubted her one and only love?

*

The flowers where inside her favorite pink vase, which she had labeled as such so as to distinguish it from the rest of her vases; it had always been a hassle to ask for that grey item when the whole world saw in a whole spectrum of colors. The chocolates were inside the fridge, the balloons had all popped; she loved popping balloons. Now, for a goodnight’s rest… today wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be.

A strange sound awakened her from her sleep. She swore that she’d been dreaming about unicorns. Looking around, everything seemed so different: a field covered in flowers. Different types of flowers, with different colors, yes, for the first time in forever, she had finally seen colors. How could she know what colors were? It was strange, like something she knew but was unable to confirm. Colors, who knew she’d see them in a dream.

No trees, clouds covering a beautiful blue sky, sunlight piercing through their fluffy white texture, tearing a veil of white with a golden shower of light. The flowers followed closely the movement of the sun. A soft breeze picked up speed, rushing though the field, taking with it a rainbow of petals. As soon as she was about to speak, a dark object covered the sun, as darkness enveloped the field.

Cold sweat running down her chest, the sky was still dark, with the monochrome twinkling of stars just outside her window. What had happened? Searching the small drawer next to her bed, she took out a small container. Sipping from a cup of water, she swallowed a small pink pill. She promised herself that this would never happen again, but in the end, her depression would always win. Cassandra, keep it together, it’s just a dream, a bad dream, that’s all it is.

II

“Mom! Mom! Mom!” She shouted, her voice echoed through silent hallways and abandoned rooms. “Mom! I’m stuck, again…” She sighed.

The wheel screeched, as she tried leaning to a side, trying to see what was wrong. It couldn’t be the gear, no, she checked it a while back and everything was fine. Could something be stuck underneath the wheel? No, impossible… It’s too thin for something like a marble to be stuck within its surface. Groaning, she grabbed both wheels again and pulled, forcing out air from her lungs, burning as it left her nostrils. She gave up on the matter. Holding her head with her arm gentle supported on her wheelchair, she closed her eyes. I won’t get mad, not today, today I need to be happy and at peace.

“Mom! I’m stuck! Help me! I’ll be late for the presentation!” Once again, she let out a long, exasperated sigh. “Mom!” She shouted at the top of her lungs. Nobody answered.

Taking out her cellphone, she dialed her mother’s number. After three attempts, her mother answered.

“Hello dear, what’s going on?” Her voice seemed peculiar.

“Mom! Where are you? I’ve been calling for you for the past forty-five minutes!” She tried to hold how annoyed she was at the present issue. “I need you to help me out of this crack or whatever is holding my chair. I need to get ready for the presentation.”

“Honey, I’m not home.” Her mother giggled. A giggle definitely not aimed at her. “With the current traffic, I’ll be there in an hour, if I trying running through red rights.”

“You know what, never mind. Just… be there when I present my painting, okay?” She cringed at the tough of what was going on. “Tell Antonio I said hi.” Her mother was probably in the middle of something, right now. If she interrupted her, she’d have to listen to her gross stories afterwards.

Somehow, today was definitely not her day. Sitting alone, she looked around, hoping to find the source of her frustration. The door was really small and the tiled floor was smooth, at best; not something that could keep her from advancing. Leaning over to the right, she stared at the wheel, at the checkered floor and her surroundings; nothing. Leaning to the left, she did the exact same thing, except that this time, she poked around a bit, hoping to find the source of the problem. Her phone rang.

Picking up her phone she saw the ID: Mother. What would her mother want with her, this time?

“Hello?”

“Honey, I forgot to mention.” She could hear whispers in the background, “Stop it-”

“Mom, focus.”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m okay.” She cleared her throat and continued. “The guy that does maintenance on the wheelchair, and not a bad pick if I do say so myself-”

“Mom! Again, focus!”

“Well, Nathan came to fix something on your wheelchair, or was it maintenance? I’m not sure, but he removed a part and took it with him.”

“Mother! Why didn’t you say so?”

“Well, it was your day with your father and I didn’t want to bother you with-”

“You should have told me! I could have taken the wheelchair dad bought me and I wouldn’t be having these sorts of problems.”

“Well, if your dad…” There she goes again, she rolled her eyes. Blaming dad for something she did. No wonder dad left her, she’s just so immature.

“I know, mom. Talk to ya later, I need to get dressed.”

Gently slipping down into the floor, having made sure that the breaks were still in use, she slowly crawled to her bed. Unbuttoning her light blue, semi-transparent shirt, she flung it over her shoulders, falling atop a pile of plush toys. As she unhooked her bra, she looked into the mirror, ashamed of her own body. A large scar ran down the middle of her chest, as she traced, with the tip of her fingers, down this aberration stopping at her belly button. Her legs were so thin, her fingers so long, her breasts so small and her lips too thin to charm anybody. Looking away, she grabbed a pillow, burying her face on the small pink, pillow; she screamed with all her might.

“Now then,” she tossed the pillow over to a side. “It’s time to get ready. Pricilla, focus on the issue at hand… You are lady, no; you are a painter, so act like one. Grace of a swan, patience of a cat and the cunning of a fox. You can do it.”

**

Later that night, she lay on her bed, still awake though it was way past her bedtime. Looking at the clock, she could see its small hands tick-tocking their way through the night. She was too anxious to get any sleep but as soon as the clock hit midnight, her eyes felt heavy. Strange, this never happens. She was perplexed but above all, happy. For the first time, she’d get a good night’s sleep.

Closing her eyes for just a second, the next time she opened them she saw something unlike anything she had ever seen before. A large cave covered in massive crystalline structures much bigger than her. All of different colors and forms, she could identify as few crystals, mainly quartz, pyrite and probably zirconium crystals. She was impressed when she saw the floor, not only was she standing on her own two legs but the ground was dotted with rare jewels, as lakes were made of gold coins, crowns, pearl necklaces and other rare jewels. The surface of the floor was coarse but at the same time, warm and gentle. She wiggled her toes, it was a miracle, no; a dream. As soon as she took a step forward, a strong icy gale pushed her back till she awakened. Lying flat on the floor, she realized it was all a dream. Still, the idea of being able to just stand for a few seconds was enough to make her shed a tear. She still remembers a time when the ground wasn’t as cold as it was now.

 

 

 

Golden Monsignor’s Place – Step I: Drinks for Two Please

usagi_tsukino___moonlight_destiny_by_zelldinchit-d6j3ad5

Something new, which would be an understatement given the fact that I’ve taken my sweet time uploading something. Yes, things have been pretty busy for me as I’ve finished my first novel and I’m looking for a glimmer of guidance in this strange world known only to the publishing industries.

———————————————————–

The light was dim, silent as the slow paced music muffled the light whispers of the customers – this is where I met her. She was the daughter of the owner of the Golden Monsignor’s Place. An old man, well in his sixties; neatly shaved, with not a single hair on his chin; his well kempt hair lacking white hairs, unlike most men his age; his eyes darkened by the shadows of a hard life, where traces of blue had faded to the grey of regret. His firm hands were strong enough to lift a whole crate of bottles by himself; the same coarse skin that greeted us every morning. He walked, hands tied behind his back. He was a strict fellow and a demanding boss.

 

“Order’s up,” Joshua shouted from over the counter. “Keith, A Class, table 34. It’s the same salad guy.”

“Salad guy? He’s early today.” I grabbed the whole container.

“Yeah, well, that spot’s practically his.”

“That fellow has reserved it for 5 weeks now. Why do you suppose he does that?”

“Don’t know, don’t care; you’ve got work to do. We can’t afford to get behind schedule.” Jean-Paul whispered, his arm straightening up my tie. “Now, go get’em kid.”

 

The floor was glittering with golden sparks of starry wonder. Real marble on the walls; a strange thing to see nowadays as the echoes of my shoes’ heels resonated through them room along with the light clanking of the plate on the large porcelain support. I walked beside the central pool; the main attraction. Walls of crystalline, transparent water held together by tiny generators on the floor. Science was beyond me but this was something to marvel at; no support, a structure of liquid water akin to Jell-O.

I enjoyed observing the girls who would swim inside this structure. Blue miniskirts, a tight blue shirt and a small collar that blinked in a wide spectrum of colors; bringing to and fro, small jars with Tonic, an alcoholic beverage made for the elite. Finding myself staring at a small figure, she smiled.

There, a few steps from the pool, was a man dressed in a red, formal shirt with a black jacket covering his robust body. He took a sip from his glass of water and grinned.

 

“Hello, young man. We meet again.” He smiled at me.

“Good evening sir, here is your order: one Patrician Salad with a serving of St. Carlos Trout. Is there anything else I can assist you with?”

“How’s about some small talk?”

 

I realized that he was a lonely soul seeking the attention of anyone. He had taken me by surprise, like a wave of revelations. He opened the door and allowed me in, but I wasn’t interested in that. I needed my own problems solved. Do I need to listen to him? It wasn’t in my paycheck.

 

“I’m sorry, sir.” I looked at the clock. “We’re running a tight schedule here.”

“I see. It’s a wonderful place run by blissful people; I enjoy it.”

“Probably next time, okay?”

“Don’t worry, we’ll wait.”

 

We’ll? Who is we? That man needs help. I peeked back, his face overflowing with joy as he ate his salad. Strangely, it felt so nostalgic. It reminded me of myself; staring at the liquid walls, hoping to see her figure. Mother told me once: a woman cannot be swayed by words alone, but by actions – tangible gestures of affection. Strange, it doesn’t seem to be working.

 

From within the crystalline surface, a small hand appeared. Taking a hold of my sleeve, she emerged. Her long hair stuck to the surface of her tight blue shirt. Soaking wet, she smiled.

 

“Fancy meeting you here, A Class huh?” Her eyes gazed at my small necklace. She gave me this tiny golden necklace for my birthday, and I’ve keep it with me ever since. “You still carry that old thing?”

“It’s gold. To some of us, that is a big deal.” I replied, hesitant to provide any further conversation.

“It’s been…ummmm… five years? I’ll get you something new; you’ve outgrown that old thing.”

“I like this ‘old thing’.”

“Well, I don’t…”

 

Turning around, I waved goodbye and set off to continue on with my work. The boss would soon be here and I’d be in trouble if he caught me talking to his daughter. We’ve been friends ever since I was little, much to his dismay. He wanted her to grow up and become someone famous. She decided on staying her and working, gaining experience till she was ready to ‘command’ her own legion of mindless minions.

The slow sounding saxophone on the Class C section, even if they were less inclined to pay for a Class A seat, their section was still amazing. There was no pool in the middle but they were close to the entertainment. Men dressed in white suits, black ties and glistering charcoal-black shoes, reflecting the light from the crystalline chandeliers and golden wall lights.

I felt a gentle tug on my shirt’s collar. As I turned around, he placed a small cocktail on my service dish. He was looking irritated, his eyes placed firmly on the saxophone player.

 

“What’s going on, Erick?” I looked around for Candice; she was always great at dealing with these situations.

“I can’t deal with this shit.” Not again, he should know better than to start something he can’t handle. “Why do I have to deal with this dumb-ass.” He pointed his service dish at Martin.

“Martin’s just playing, he’s hasn’t done anything wrong.”

“Yeah? He’s been pinning Candice against me. I warned him! I told him shit would get real if he talked to my woman.”

“Calm down Erick, let’s just finish our shirt and go out for a few drinks, okay? The drinks are on me.”

“Man, why do you take his side?”

“Because I don’t want to see you guys beat the crap out of each other and regret it. Candice loves you but she cares about Martin in a strictly friendly sort of way. Get over and do your job.” I returned the cocktail.

 

He grumbled as he took the tiny container over to a lady sitting next to a wall. Again, another tug at my collar; seriously, why does everybody take it as normal behavior?

 

“Are you evading me?” Her again… Why does she keep bothering me?

“Maddie, please, can’t you see I’m busy?”

“No, I can’t… You’re going to sign off and go home. Let’s go out for a few drinks.”

“Is your father okay with this?”

“I’ve had a chat with myself about that…”

“And?”

“I’m okay with it, so you’d be by the front door in thirty minutes.”

“That’s kind of long…”

She ruffled my hair and giggled, “I’m a girl, and last time I checked, we took our time to get ready. Stop whining and get to it.”