Warning, Lost

The gigantic signpost, brilliantly yellow with that typical black triangle locking in the message, was the first sign of civilization in this forsaken place. Someone had scraped off the last word, though, so it simply read, “Warning, Lost.”

“Well,” ARC muttered dryly. “That certainly does reflect the current situation.”

For, you see, ARC had been wandering the woods for quite a while, now, searching for that hint of civilization he had thought he had seen a while back; having been raised in a contained world beyond civilized society, he had, quite unfortunately, not recognized the ship for what it was. Accidentally boarding it while running from the scientists meant that now that the ship has crashed, he had no idea where he was, and, to make matters worse, when he walked off to follow the faint outline of skyscrapers, he no longer has any idea where the others were anymore.

At least things does appear to be looking up. Signposts such as this was a sure sign of civilization; humans were the only creatures with a tendency to erect them wherever they go. The lamppost next to it illuminating the words in the darkness was likely the little spot of light he had seen earlier on, too.

As he observed the lamppost, ARC frowned. The carvings on it were thick and elaborate, beautiful vines crawling up from the ground and devouring the post, blooming into a flower that carries the light gently. Unlike the signpost, however, there was no sign of rust or wear and tear, no actual vines creeping all over it, nothing to show the mark nature tends to leave on even the most resilient items humans could create.

In fact, it was so well-maintained that…

Was that vine shifting?

No, no it was not. That was just a trick of the eye, caused by the uncertain light. A little more unsettled now, ARC took a step back, glancing up at the signpost once more. Briefly, he wondered what the last word actually was, before deciding that he better head back to the little shelter he had built earlier on in anticipation of nightfall.

Turning around, he halted.

Where there once was a beaten path, there was now only a thick undergrowth. The tree canopies were lower than he remembered them being, the branches almost brushing the ground. The foliage all around him were denser, darker – there was no longer any hints of light seeping through them, no uncertainty regarding how packed everything was.

Uncertainly frightened, now, ARC stepped back; his back bumped into the lamppost. He froze there, too – through the thin fabric of what was left of his shirt, he felt something move. Minutely, carefully, but something was – it was creeping over his back. And there, there – somewhere in the peripheral of his vision, there was something, someone walking along the edge of the minute clearing.

Something brushed his arm, and it broke him from the strange trance. He stumbled forward, away and turned around, morbid curiosity spurring him on. Molten silver branches reached out, spreading into a web-like net, beautiful and –

The world disappeared, then, a flood of dizzying scenes and scents and feelings replacing it, blue and yellow and crowded, coloured with warm maple and faint jasmine and biting citrus and tinted with contentment and resentment and love and hatred and distress and joy and sorrow and fear, until –

It stopped.

It all stopped, and he found himself sitting on the floor. The soft, muddy grass patch was mushy under his hand, the signpost solid besides his patch, and everything was as he remembers it, just darker – and he looked up.

The lamppost was gone; only the giant yellow sign remained.

And oh, look, it said –

“Welcome, Last”

~~~A~~~

Hakyo trekked down the familiar path, carrying the loot from the crashed container. It was sunrise, now, and, for some inexplicable reason, there was a set of footprints half-immortalized in the path, there to stay till the next storm washes it all out.

At the fork, he was tempted, for a minute, to take the longer route to avoid the clearings, but laziness won out and he stepped onto the shortcut. Almost immediately, he could feel the air closing in on him, denser and colder and altogether almost-choking. Knowing that there can be no looking back from here on, he focused on taking one step at a time. At times, there would be a shrill chirping from behind, and sometimes he would feel something brush against his shoulders, but anyone raised in this parts can tell you that the woods were dangerous – they always, always try to swallow you.

That’s why, when walking through it, you never look anywhere but ahead, because looking back means that when you turn back around, you would find so many tracks you would be lost until eventually you set foot off the path, and that’s the point where the lost souls of the woods would claim you, making you one of their numbers for all of eternity.

Hakyo did quite well, if he could say so himself, and he was almost at the edge of the woods where he saw, straight ahead, sprawled out just a bit off the path, to the left, a boy – not quite older than him, younger, in fact.

As he neared, he noticed the doll hanging from the tree sheltering him, one button and one marble staring dully unfocused at nothing, limbs hanging limply.

It rose slightly as he closed, though, and he picked up his pace. It followed, he knew – he could sense its presence, always hovering right there behind his left shoulder, but he did not look at it. He would not become its companion, because, well.

“Hakyo!” Mariangela greeted excitedly as he crossed the boarders marking the boundaries of their village. Her glance flickered briefly over his left shoulder, and she took hold of his hand as she led him home, where mother was waiting for his findings.

Entering his room, he noticed that the little statuette he had on his desk had started blooming.

The petals opened, revealing a luminous little bulb.

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29th Feb

It’s that time of the year again.

Or rather, that time every four years.

Funny how, four years ago, I had a sense of where I’m going, what I’ll be doing and how I’m getting there – yet, now, four years down the road, I’ve managed to completely  lose my way. Four years ago, I thought that it’s a fresh start, that things can’t get any worse, and, hey, stupid thing to do, huh.

Life’s really a slope with a negative gradient, now that I think about it – you’ll always look back and realise that, hey, life was better back then.

 

Clouds

Ever just sat on one of those rare and slowly disappearing patches of grasses in an urbanized city and silently panic over why you even exist in this world? Especially in a world where robots are taking over? Well, if you didn’t have even something like this, then you’re probably…well, still human, but as good as not-human.

But freaking out doesn’t help, does it. You still have to get up and get on with life, since, in this world now, you can’t even retreat from civilization to become a hermit.

So, look at the clouds and count the number of sheep-like fluffy ones, then sleep on it – waking up with grass stains is worth it, really. Then, put it behind, go home, and continue living. After all, you’re still alive.

existential crisis(es)

I haven’t really been active here despite my promise to be, and I think that I can find a few thousand reasons for this, such as how school is busier than anticipated and SAT has successfully brought me down for quite a while, all of which are true but which would really not have affected this if I was really into it.

The biggest problem, I found, is that I have nothing much to really write about – I write for the 100 word challenge, and recently, the blog I follow for that has stopped posting them, possibly because people rarely participate, and I can understand the lack of motivation. Sometimes, writing here feels like writing into the void; I have a record of what I have written, but about as many people read it as if I had just written it in a journal.

The feeling, then, is ambivalent – I’m glad that no one reads it, but at the same time, I wish that people would read it. At least then, I’d know if I’d done something wrong, yes?

I have heard many online writers complain about readers who do not appreciate their works, critiquing them, but sometimes I feel that writing without feedback is worse. At least, with the critiques, there are things you know possibly needs improvements, and there is a reassurance that, even if they hated your work, they read it; it’s vain, but personally, authors write and publish to put it out into the world for people to read. Of course, they would prefer favorable reviews, but reviews are better than none.

I do write, and as of now, I only put up my fanworks online under another name, mainly because original works I have feels… stunted? Stilted? They feel kind of unnatural, and even I have problems when rereading my own works – they can barely capture my interests, I would not inflict them upon the world. At least, with fanfiction, I feel connected to my characters and, for me, that is quite important.

The other big problem I feel is that, while on one hand, I do want feedback, on the other, I’m a little wary of being judged, which is a big part of why I don’t let my family read my work. Or my friends, for that matter. Somehow, writing online under a pseudonym for strangers I’ve never met and probably never will meet feels safer. It’s something I’m trying to get over that isn’t really helped by being told consistently that getting a good grade to go to a good university is the only important thing I should do, that I should stop doing useless things and start putting in more effort and more focus into my schoolwork, into my homework, into preparing for exams like SAT and A-levels and AP, into getting more CIP hours and getting more leadership positions and experiences, into doing more exercise.

Which, well, yeah, I know that I don’t put in enough effort. I spend too much time avoiding school-related stuff, either by reading online works or by doing my own work or hanging out with my friends. And I’ve given up quite a bit on the CIP thing, ever since last year. To top that off, I have a bad leadership track – I’ve never been a class monitress or mentor rep or subject rep, I’m not in student council or executive community of any co-curriculum activity or interest group. The most leadership I can boast of is one month as the chinese subject rep in primary 4, before being told that there’s no such position.

Then there’s the fact that I don’t even have a goal, I don’t know what I want to do with my life, other than the fact that I want to be able to write. Writing doesn’t feed me, though, and it would not allow me to survive, so I need to get a job, and that’s the problem. There’s nothing much else that interests me that I can earn with.

It really doesn’t help to grow up in a country where it feels like being a doctor or a lawyer is the only good thing you can do with your life – everything else is useless, so those are the absolute goals you must reach. Everyone, when you grows up, tells you that you should become a doctor because you’re smart, and that if you don’t want to do that, there’s always being a lawyer.

It’s as if there’s no other jobs in this world, and for the longest time, that’s how I felt, too, which is why I’ve spent at least ten years telling my parents that, when I grow up, I want to be a doctor. Because saying so makes them happy, and I want them to be happy, even if, the older I get, the less I want to actually be a doctor. I can’t stand blood, and dissecting rats and sheep’s heart in my school has only further cemented my distaste for taking a scalpel and forceps close to any sort of organism or organ, even if they’re already dead.

The worse part came when I told them that I don’t want to be a doctor anymore – it’s not that they want to force me to become either that or a lawyer, but there’s always the faint sense of ‘why are you not going to do that?’ They’d tell me, too, that they’re proud of me no matter what I do, but then there’s the constant stream of ‘You’d be better off than us’ and ‘You’d do better in life’ and ‘It’s really hard to help you when you don’t know what you want to go’ and ‘Your brother has more specific goals and actual plans than you do and he’s younger than you’, with the unspoken why can’t you be like him. The judgement’s also there when I go over to other people’s house, and they ask, what do you want to be when you grow up, and I reply, I don’t know. There’s always someone who says, but didn’t you want to be a doctor when you grow up? Or, what about becoming a lawyer, then? If not, doctor? Or accountant? Biochemical sounds good too, right?

The only thing I really know right now is what I don’t want to do, but even that’s not unshakable. I don’t want to be a researcher – but I don’t mind working on research for making plants that can survive on Mars. I don’t want to be a scientist, but then again, I don’t really know what scientists do. I don’t want anything to do with physics or math or coding, but everything nowadays seems to be concerned with that – no matter what you do, you cannot really escape these three fields. Really, at the end of the day, I’m fine with pretty much everything under the sun, heck, I’d even give being a janitor a go, which says a lot about me, doesn’t it?

Okay I just scrolled back up and realised how far off track I’ve disappeared to and I shall leave off with my existential crisis – I’m pretty sure people only start having them at 30 or 40 why am I having it before I even turn 18 – and go back to what I started out with.

I’ll start writing more, really, and I’d start trying with poems and the likes. Maybe even shape poems! It’s time to move on from 100 words, yes?

And wow I just wrote about 1200 words in one sitting in front of the laptop with all my other homework just lying around waiting for me to get to them, so I shall leave off the editing and publish this and go do my homework.

 

 

 

Lolita

 

This week a personal favourite of mine from Lana Del Rey, Lolita. Of course, I love Serial Killer, too, but this one takes the spot for the preferred song on the playlist.

Lolita
By: Lana Del Rey

One, one

Would you be mine? Would you be my baby tonight?
Could be kissing my fruit punch lips in the bright sunshine
‘Cause I like you quite a lot, everything you got, don’t you know?
It’s you that I adore, though I make the boys fall like dominoes

Kiss me in the d-a-r-k dark tonight
D-a-r-k do it my way
Kiss me in the p-a-r-k park tonight
P-a-r-k let them all say

Hey, Lolita, hey
Hey, Lolita, hey
I know what the boys want, I’m not gonna play
Hey, Lolita, hey
Hey, Lolita, hey
Whistle all you want but I’m not gonna say

No more skipping rope, skipping heart beats with the boys downtown
Just you and me feeling the heat even when the sun goes down

I could be yours, I could be your baby tonight
Topple you down from your sky forty stories high
Shining like a God, can’t believe I got you and so
Look at what I bought, not a second thought, oh, Romeo

Kiss me in the d-a-r-k dark tonight
D-a-r-k do it my way
Kiss me in the p-a-r-k park tonight
P-a-r-k let them all say

Hey, Lolita, hey
Hey, Lolita, hey
I know what the boys want, I’m not gonna play
Hey, Lolita, hey
Hey, Lolita, hey
Whistle all you want but I’m not gonna say

No more skipping rope, skipping heart beats with the boys downtown
Just you and me feeling the heat even when the sun goes down

I want my cake and I want to eat it too
I want to have fun and be in love with you
I know that I’m a mess with my long hair and my sun tan, short dress, bare feet
I don’t care what they say about me, what they say about me
Because I know that it’s L.O.V.E.
You make me happy, you make me happy
And I never listen to anyone
Let them all say

Hey, Lolita, hey
Hey, Lolita, hey
I know what the boys want, I’m not gonna play
Hey, Lolita, hey
Hey, Lolita, hey
Whistle all you want but I’m not gonna say

No more skipping rope, skipping heart beats with the boys downtown
Just you and me feeling the heat even when the sun goes down

 

Hotel California

This song is perfect to listen to when reading. Also, I’ve just gotten into the Avatar fandom and is currently just really sad about having missed the best fic in the fandom because it was taken down :C


Hotel California
By: Eagles

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
“This could be Heaven or this could be Hell”
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say…

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year (Any time of year)
You can find it here

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes Benz
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

So I called up the Captain,
“Please bring me my wine”
He said, “We haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine”
And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say…

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
They livin’ it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)
Bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device”
And in the master’s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
“Relax, ” said the night man,
“We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! “

The Broken Ones

This is one song that rang true with quite a few of the stories I’ve been reading recently. Listen to the song – it’s really beautiful.


The Broken Ones
By: Dia Frampton

I know they’ve hurt you bad.
Why hide the scars you have?
Baby let me straighten out your broken bones,
All your faults/flaws to me make you more beautiful.

I can’t help it,
I love the broken ones,
The ones who
Need the most patching up.
The ones who
Never been loved,
Never been loved,
Never been loved enough.
Maybe I see a part of me in them.
The missing piece always trying to fit in.
The shattered heart
Hungry for a home.
No, you’re not alone.
I love the broken ones.

You don’t have to drive,
With your headlights off.
It’s a pocket knife,
Not a gift from God.
Don’t you learn of love from the love they kept.
I will be your anchor slowly,
Step by step.

I can’t help it,
I love the broken ones,
The ones who
Need the most patching up.
The ones who
Never been loved,
Never been loved,
Never been loved enough.
Maybe I see a part of me in them.
The missing piece always trying to fit in.
The shattered heart
Hungry for a home.
No you’re not alone.
I love the broken ones.
I love the broken ones.

Maybe we can rip off the bandage.
Maybe you will see it for what it is.
Maybe we can burn this building,
Holding you in.

I can’t help it,
I love the broken ones,
The ones who
Need the most patching up.
The ones who
Never been loved,
Never been loved,
Never been loved enough.
Maybe I see a part of me in them.
The missing piece always trying to fit in.
The shattered heart
Hungry for a home.
No you’re not alone.
I love the broken ones.
I love the broken ones.
I love the broken ones.
I love the broken ones.

Back Now

So I’ve been gone for really long – between NaNoWriMo and my relatives in a place with spotty wifi at best and none most of the time, there really was not much for me to put up here.

On the track, for NaNoWriMo, I’ve tried it with an original story this year, in fact, with the draft outline I posted a while back, but I really lost steam barely a third through the month, and no matter how much I tried, it just stayed there – I chugged on, obviously, but I barely made the mark.

So I guess what I’m likely saying now is that I’ve completely lost interest in my own story. Which means that it would not only be boring me.

It’s kind of sad, now that I think of it, but I’ll just let it sit for a year, maybe two, until I hit upon something.

On the brighter side, I have more ideas, now, for stuff, and I know what I don’t like writing. Yay!

And I’ll be back to regular updates, too. Wednesdays with lyrics and Saturdays/Sundays with whatever comes to mind.

Notification

Sorry for disappearing for the long while – I’m doing NaNoWriMo and I’ve kind of been slapped over the head by that. Updates will hence be erratic until the end of November, after NaNoWriMo.

On another note, the story’s a struggle right now – it’s hard to grasp the character voice and the side characters insist on appearing before their screen times, causing me to have to scramble. Ah well, I’ll update soon!

Our Times

A while back, I watched the Chinese movie Our Times.

It was the second movie I’ve watched to make me cry that I can remember. The first was, of course, Hachiko, but this movie was about a relationship and not a dog, so it was surprising.

When my friend told me to watch the movie, I listened to her very rough introduction of the movie and I suspected it to be an extremely cliched movie, with ridiculous plot lines I can guess.

And it was true. The plot was cheesy, romantic, and extremely easy to predict.

It’s simple, about the normal girl you would never look at twice in the corridor, the average girl who’s crushing on the best boy in school, the star player on the basketball team who is first in the level every year, and writing love letters to her idol. Then, of course, it all starts with a chain letter delivered to her. Because of the letter, she became the ‘friend’ of the boy who’s the last place of the last class in the level, eventually becoming real friends with him and actually falling in love with him, all while helping him chase the most popular girl in school and getting his grades up by studying with him.

The thing was, though, that the filming was extremely well done, and even though everything was cliche, it was well employed and slotted in nicely with each other. The natural course of romance was easy to follow, too.

In the end, it was still a reasonably happy ending, even if it happened twenty years after the end of their high school, when the bad boy left.

I’m not spoiling most of it here, because it is a movie I think you should go into without knowing everything, because it’s really worth it.