Departure

We all lose someone we love in life. But it’s how we remember them that is most important. Some keep belongings, or photos that hold blissful memories of those we cherished. Some plant trees or order benches, so they have a haven to reminisce the good old days. Many mark the day, by celebrating their loved ones lives, and by coming together as friends, family or colleagues.

Grief is different. For each and every person. For some, it creates a stream of endless tears and sadness. For others a pit of despair and pain that threatens to engulf them. In that time, family, friends, co-workers, even strangers are the light in the dark that gives us the strength to carry on. They tell us ‘It’s a hole that will never be filled, so fill it with the memories, the tears, the laughter. Fill it with love’.

Departure. Sounds like a goodbye. A departure is a ‘we’ll meet again’. A departure is a fork in the road, a road that joins back up later down the line. It’s a don’t be sad, think of the good times we had. After all, the people we love never truly leave us. They stayed etched in our hearts, ingrained in our memories and the places we visited. They are our will and strength to keep going, to make them proud…

…until the day of our Departure.

Yuki II

I don’t recall how long I stood there beneath the falling snow, gazing at the elegant lady before me. In fact, I don’t recall ever leaving. It had felt like a dream, so vivid, so real, yet impossible. Which brings me to my conclusion, I must go again tonight. I had been unable to concentrate since last night, the vision of those cold Azure eyes emblazoned upon my irises.

The sky was adorned with the glittering stars, and the moon hung low and luminous over me as I walked towards the park. There was a crisp scent coming from the freshly laden snow which had continued to fall until just short of midnight. Now the ground was a white canvas of snow, which softly crunched beneath my footsteps. The air was frigid to the point I had decided to don gloves before leaving the house, and the oxygen I enhaled was sharp and icy.

Despite the snow blanketing surrounding environment, spring had begun to make it’s presence known. The pink petals of the cherry blossoms had started to appear amongst the branches of the leafless trees that lined the dim streets. Another sign of the returning spring was the rythmic sound of drumming, a woodpecker, hard at work marking it’s territory even in the depths of the night. I looked to my watch and began to quicken my pace. She had appeared just after midnight before but this time I was behind schedule. I turned the corner, my heart full of desire and fear. Would she be there? Or was I turning senile, worked to the bone and losing sleep on these fruitless strolls?

She was there, her Azure eyes shining out from the shadows of the park as cold and uninviting as the last time. Her white hair seemed to glow even more than the luminescent snow beneath her bare feet. She seemed more solid compared to last time, where I feared even the most delicate of touches would have caused her to crumble to dust. Now her dress was made of thick voluminous white velvet and, for the first time, I noticed her hands were pale and smooth.

Struggling to maintain my composure and my senses, I looked either way down the vacant street before I crossed over to her. Closer to her. The air turned colder as I got near, almost as if the freezing atmosphere exuded from her. I was enthralled once more, the houses behind me disappearing from my mind, the darkening park winking out from existence. All that was, was her, as she began to raise her hands. I dared not breath as her silky smooth hands caressed my face. Her touch was cold and spine tingling. It was as if she was examining me, curious as to what the creature before her was. I had not realised that she had moved closer to me, although I vaguely recalled a scent of pine wood before she brought her lips to mine, and the world went white.


Yuki

It was a cold night in march when I first met her. I had been restless most of the evening, stuck at my desk staring at a blank page, when I decided I would go for a walk. Having donned a snug enough jacket, I ventured out into the cold air.

The sky was a twinkling landscape of stars, signalling the first clear night I had witnessed in a while. My breath was a shroud of frost as I exhaled, the frozen air particles seemingly dancing upwards to greet the stars as I walked beneath the dim lights that illuminated the quiet roads. In the distance I could hear the faint chime as the town hall clock struck midnight. The witching hour. The hour where I dream beyond my wildest imagination of mystical creatures, of vampires and vegan werewolves, a time when the impossible and illogical becomes reality.

The fresh icy air had done me well, the headache I had had all but evaporated. By this point I had reached the local park, it’s normally vivid green grass submerged in darkness, uninviting. Even the sky seemed to replicate the gloomy atmosphere, for the dazzling stars had winked out of existence, replaced with the swirly grey of snow laden clouds.

And then I saw her. It was as if she had materialised from the shadows of the park. Her pale skin luminated the area around her, and her pure white hair fell long and thick behind her. But her eyes, I will never forget her eyes. Sparkling like that of an Azure blue sea but as cold an uninviting as the park behind her. I was enthralled by her beauty, for in that moment she did not feel human, nor alien; she felt magical. Her clothing was made of a thin velvet and matched the colour of her hair, from top to bottom, and she was barefoot. I stood and stared from the sidewalk, the two of us seemingly unaffected by the laws of time and space when-

The first snow began to fall.

Night Crawlers

18+ only! may not be able to viewed by those under this age.

Have you ever had that feeling? The feeling of being followed down a dark alley, the feeling of invisible hands caressing your skin. The feeling of curses whispered in your ear or the receding silence as you walk below a lamp post? This is a sign of the Night Crawlers, creatures of the night who feed on flesh and delight in nothing short of paralysing fear.

Picture it. You have left the glow of the bustling town as the bell strikes midnight. Only the cold autumn wind surrounds you as you head to your home on the outskirts. Suddenly, you feel it, like plunging into an icy lake, a presence. You stop, looking around you in trepidation, only to be greeted by the creeping darkness and the sound of creaking branches. You continue to walk, slightly quicker now, eager to be home in the warmth and safe. Behind you the darkness surges forward, pursuing you. Then you come across the inviting glow of a lamp post, one of few dotted along the dark path home. With the light comes a sense of relief. The sensation of eyes watching, staring at you from the dark has ceased. Composing yourself, you venture out from the halo of light and continue onwards.

The hairs on your arms rise, but you put it down to the cold wind that rustles through the old oak trees. A shiver runs down your spine as the feeling of being watched returns. You imagine being leapt upon from the darkness, of a blade plunging into your heart, blood spurting out as a serial killer cuts you into tiny snippets of flesh. You spot the warm glow of another lamp post and start to run towards its safety. Behind you the darkness growls in fury, reaching its finger like tendrils across your body, hissing curses into your ears as you rush to the light. In your haste you trip and fall to your knees beneath the flickering gleam of the lamp. You clamber to your feet and look around in sheer terror. You are rooted to that spot, looking out into darkness. Darkness, not Night Crawlers.

Remember what I said? The feeling of being followed down a dark alley? Keeping you safe. The feeling of invisible hands caressing your skin? Trying to stop you from falling headlong into danger. The feeling of curses whispered in your ear? Warnings to stop, to turn around and run. The receding silence as you walk below a lamp post? This is a sign. I Never said they came from the darkness. Nor did I say they feared the light. The silence around a light is a warning of the Night Crawlers territory. A flickering light means it is watching and waiting, for its next meal.

As you stare out into the darkness, the Night Crawlers creep out of the light and hover silently above you. Even beneath the light, their facial and bodily features are obscured, and no shadow appears to alert you to the impending death that awaits. The only body feature accounted for is a thin spiked tail, that slowly slithers down to your head. The light flickers out. You scream in darkness as the tail wraps around you, impaling your body and snuffing the strength from you. The scream is cut off as the tip of the tail plunges down your throat. Then a slimy ooze begins to secrete from beneath the scales of the tail. On contact with your clothes, they begin to fizz and spit as they dissolve. Meanwhile you can feel the slime sliding down your throat burning your flesh as it eats you away from the inside. Unknown to you, the tip of the tail of a night Crawler is a mouth. The bodily secretion is used to liquify your flesh to make eating you simpler. While that is happening, the tail continues to tighten around your limp body, causing your bones to splinter and shatter. Its not known when you died in this process, but the next day the news reported that the husk of a female had been found beneath a lamp post, impaled all over, blood drained, bones reduced to dust. The outer layer of your flesh is all that’s left, nothing more than a shedded skin.

The Night crawlers are long gone, never far from cities or bustling towns, but always waiting, luring, their next meal into the light. Next time, someone might listen, might accept the creeping darkness over the assumed safety of the lamp posts… but whoever said they just lived outside?

Letters From Me, To The Moon, For You. (part II)

To my dear Chingu,

Your last letter was quite detailed and a pleasure to read. I am so glad you ventured out from your local area to feast upon the cuisine. The picture you included made me quite jealous! The various dishes of Tteokbokki, kimchi, Jajangmyeon and bottles of soju and Makgeolli was enough to have me drooling profusely. I insist you send a bottle of Makgeolli to me, it is sorely needed.

but I was more fascinated of your trip to Jeju island. You spoke of hallasan mountain, and the splendid view. To quote your letter, ‘a vast mountain of green stretches before me stunning yet daunting, the people at its peak just barely visible to those below. The view when I reached the top, Fubuki, was breath-taking. The clouds fluttered low below us and it was nothing short of the best thing I have done since coming to South Korea!’ the urge to jump on a jet and leave my life and depressing job is strong.

As mentioned in my last letter, work has been hard. Every day people come in and they never leave. Many of my colleagues have broken down in tears, staining my shoulders with the rivers they cry. But it is the one relief they have before they continue, an endless cycle that everyone hopes will stop soon. Me? I have cried. Alone. At home. I cry myself to sleep, where I dream of never ending ventilators, the siren of flatlines and the screams of families as their loved ones pass. Then I wake, and head to work where my dreams become reality. I have no tears for I have dried up the well so as to be a sign of hope and support for staff.

Yes it is hard, but I am hopeful that things will return to normal. Anyway, to talk o more cheerful things, I write this yet again at the strike of midnight. However this time the power is on. The moon is still shining bright, can you see it from your end? Its light gives me strength, isolated here in my house, away from the friends and family I love. when I stare at the moon, I think of you. It reassures me to know that even if I can’t hug you tight and smell your lavender scented perfume, you are looking up at the same lunar sphere as I.

I bid you adieu for now, the slumber is heavily encroaching upon my eyes. The weather has been quite cold on the nights too, I have developed a pesty cough as such. I shall wrap up warm beneath my duvet and dream of Tteokbokki and Makgeolli.

From your friend, Fubuki

P.s That cake needs delivering with a side of Makgeolli!

Letters From Me, To The Moon, For You.

To my dear Chingu,

It’s been too long since we last spoke, I apologise for not responding to your previous letter, my work has been quite… busy.

To be honest, I write this at the pinnacle of the night, the only light source being the ambient glow of the moon. You must wander, why no light of a bulb? The answer: power outage. But I am content, sitting here wrapped in blankets, snug as a rug, writing to my far away friend who I dearly miss. Although even if you were here, we could not meet up anymore than the letters we sent. I wait for a year when I can embrace you in my arms and feel the warmth of your laugh.

But enough about me and my useless chattering. How are things with the job? In your last letter you spoke of a young boy, who had somehow managed to stick a pen lid up his nose! I admit I felt rather guilty laughing about his suffering, however, it did make me recall a time I got a button stuck up my very own nostril. And the apartment? The picture you sent made me wish I had flown out with you. It is huge! You said it’s small but it looks bigger than my entire flat. 

I hope we can meet soon, if planes ever fly again or the dodgy WiFi ever allows you to facetime me. Tomorrow is my first day off in a while. My plan is to sleep and eat and sleep. Do you have any good film suggestions? I wish I could leave but I’m needed here, the numbers increase every day. 

                                  From your friend, Fubuki

P.s I’m still waiting for that cake delivery from you! 

The Last Waltz

The living room was warm and cosy, illuminated by the roaring fire in the fireplace. The wallpaper was peeling in area’s and the cobwebs hung low from the ceiling. Elsie sat comfortably, swinging back and forth in her rocking chair. The only sound other than the crackling fire, was the clickety clack of Elsie’s knitting needles. The woolly scarf travelled down her lap to the cream carpet below.

The sound of keys jangling in a door penetrated the room, as the front door was opened, then shut. ‘Elsie! Love, where you at dearie?’ shouted a gruff voice.

‘George darling, I’m in the living room! Come and get warm by the fire. How was Helen and Nathaniel?’asked Elsie. The door to the room swung open, letting in an icy draft. In the door way stood George, a coat in one hand and a newspaper under the other arm. He chucked the coat on the back of his armchair and took his cap off his balding head.

‘Hello dear, yes Nathaniel is doing fine, the little tyke has his mother chasing him round the house. It’s his bath time and he won’t listen.’ George chuckled and collapsed wearily into his seat.

All the time George had been speaking, Elsie had not looked up from her knitting. Now she stared at her tired husband fondly as she spoke. ‘poor Helen, she must have her hands full. She was just the same at his age.’

‘That’s what I said El,’ remarked George as flipped open his paper, ‘i told her she works herself too hard. She said why don’t I take Nathaniel for the weekend. So I left.’ George laughed. Elsie chuckled.

Suddenly Elsie started to cough violently, her frail hands dropping the knitting needles as she struggled to breathe. ‘Elsie! El! Dear are you okay?’ yelled George as he leapt to his feet in terror. She flailed a hand at him to not panic. In between gasps she says,

‘Water.’

George shuffled from the room and the sound of running water could be heard. Elsie stops coughing, her hand to her mouth, as colour filled her weary cheeks. George arrived with the glass of water. Elsie’s trembling hads took the glass gratefully and she brought it to her lips.

‘You need an appointment Elsie, I’m booking you in with that doctor, doctor doct- what was his name again? Anyway I’m booking you an appointment. We’re not getting any younger my dear.’ gabbled George as his wife finished the glass.

‘I-I’m fine G-George darling, don’t ‘cough’ go bothering the nice ‘cough’ doctor,’ Elsie croaked, ‘now, be a dear and pass, my knitting needles.’

‘Okay El.’ George picked up her needles and the house reverted to the sound of a crackling fire, rustling paper and the clickety clack of Elsie’s knitting…

… the car slowly pulled up outside the tiny cottage.

‘Mum, are you going to tell dad what the doctor said?’ asks Helen as she switches the engine off and turns to Elsie in the passenger seat.

‘No it would break his heart.’

‘But mum it would break his heart not to know,’ urged Helen, ‘both of you aren’t getting any younger, you need to take it easy from now on.’

‘Helena dear, me and your father may be old, we know, but we’re still the best dancers in the community,’ smiled Elsie, ‘and we aren’t the only ones who need to take it easy. When was the last time you took a day off, a moment to relax?’

‘I don’t have time, I have work, Nathaniel and, another child on the way.’ Helen tenderly touched her growing baby bump.

‘Yes well-‘ began Elsie before she burst into a violent coughing fit. Helen sat in distress as her mom’s body convulsed, fighting to stop the cough. The moment passed and Elsie sat shaking in her seat.

‘Let’s get you inside mom. Come on. I can see dad in the window.’ Helen opened her passenger door and…

… the room was dimly lit by candles. A record player plays in the background, the sound of ‘save the last waltz for me’, filling the living room.

Elsie and George stood in the center of the room, hand in hand as they danced to the music. They waltzed to the sound of the melody, graceful and elegant. The flickering candlelight illuminated the pictures on the wall. A young Elsie and George on their wedding day, a trip camping with a young Helen, as she giggled at the wriggling fish in her hand, and a photo of baby Nathaniel in his mother’s arms.

The song began to end, Elsie and George delicately embracing one another. ‘George, it’s time, let’s go to bed.’ said Elsie. George nodded and turned the record player off.

‘You go up first El, I’ll bring up some hot cocoa and put out these candles.’ Elsie nodded and left the room…

The bed was furnished either side by two bedside cabinets, the figures of Elsie and George lit by the pale moonlight that shone through the window.

George’s voice broke the silence. ‘Ahh what a beautiful night El. It’s been too many years since we danced like that, swaying across the ballroom floors. 53 years. It’s been 53 years since I first met you, as we danced to our favourite waltz for the first time. You were like an angel, El. Three years later we got married, in a field, surrounded by horse manure,’ chuckled George as stared up at the ceiling, ‘of course it weren’t all rosy. We had our fights, you got me with the frying pan once, and then came along Helena. Our darling daughter Helen, stubborn like her father and as beautiful as her mother. Then she had Nathaniel, a cheeky scamp if I ever saw one, and now a beautiful granddaughter. Ha, we’ve had a brilliant life El.’

Elsie didn’t respond. George rolled onto his side to gaze upon his wife. Her weary eyes were closed, fragile and delicate like the wings of a butterfly. Upon her face sat a gentle smile. George held her hand in his, feeling the ice cold touch of her skin. Tears rolled down his face as he held his late wife’s hand.

‘You rest now my love, we had it all, we did it all, and we loved till the very end. My sweet darling angel, El.’

The Way Of A Writer.

It is not easy to be a writer. There will be sleepless nights, nights of endless thought, days of exhaustion and days of procrastination. Today, is a day of rejuvenation, that which comes after the exhaustion and the deep dive into a new world, a world molded by you. This is the way of a Writer. We breathe in ideas and we breathe out words. Ink runs through our veins, paper encases our skin and yet our hearts lay unsatisfied with the world we created. We must create more, a world of dreams, of tragedy, of love and despair, a world of the unknown. Our minds are the hands of a clock always ticking along to the rythmn of eternity. When exhaustion comes, it comes like an impassable mountain, challenging us to improve our ideas to use each piece of our imagination to scale its rocky and crumbling cliffs.

The way of a Writer is used to the dull throbbing in the wrists, the heavy slumber in our eyes, and the opinions of others, wanted or not. For some music soothes the soul, or even inspires it. For others film, art, meditation and reading help to withhold the urge to write till the fruits of our labour are ripe and ready to be told to the world. Procrastination is not a wall in the way, but a guide to wait for the next big wave to come knocking on our souls. A Writers life sways from pure joy and ectasy as the piles of writing grow and grow, to the despair and soulless life of not having the motivation to go on. The negatives should not be dwelled upon but should be acknowledged, they are there and they are there to stay till the lights comes once again. And that…

is the way of a Writer.

Letters of The Heart.

A vast and deep ocean, and at its centre, me. I sink further into the dark depths, swallowed up by the struggles and insecurities of everyday life. It’s cold, and lonely. So lonely. All my life, spent swirling in perpetual darkness, pondering, am I important? Am I loved? Am I cherished? Will I be missed? So many questions, so many thoughts and no answers, save for the silent screams of words that were never said.

Words. Words are powerful. They come from the heart, from emotions, often said in kindness/anger/sadness/love/fear. But words are always difficult when asking for the most important things, help, support, acknowledgement. At these times, words are at the tip of the tongue, but extinguished by a suffocating throat. Close at hand yet far apart from being uttered.

The dark sea isn’t always dark. As rare as a blue moon, the light shines down to the murky depths where I sink. A moment of clarity of belief. I am important. I am loved. I am cherished. And I will be missed. We are not alone. Even when that light fades, our support, is still there in the shadows. Their hands stretching out for us to hold, warm and encouraging. Waiting for us to find our letters of the heart.

The heart, home to memories, loved ones. Home to the soul. Even when the soul is fractured, broken, lost, the heart repairs all. ‘Time heals all wounds’? Heart revives all souls, even in darkest day, the heart reminds us of who we are and who we have. And when all else fails, and the souls loses the last of its shining hope, the heart stays till the end, singing its soothing lullaby as the souls move on to clearer skies.

Souls exist not just in the living. They live in photos, reliving the memories of brighter days and happier times. They live in cherished possessions, in the red chested robin’s that visit those who have lost loved ones. They live in those they left behind, be it family, friends or the strangers whose souls they touched.

You never hit the bottom in this endless sea. There is no bottom until there is no wish. Keep wishing, keep believing, relive those happy times. You are not alone. You only need to speak/scream/shout the letters of your heart and they will come. Your lifeline, your desire to hold on in this stormy depth, even in memory, You are not alone.

The phrase I’m all alone, I’m unloved, are not truths, for even in our darkest hours someone will reach out their hand and hold us tight. They will whisper soothingly, ‘I’m here, I’m with you, tell me everything’ for time is not important when it comes…

… To The Letters Of The Heart.

Sheep in Wolves Clothing. (part I)

Gregory did not like Sheep. They reminded him of the girl’s from his college, or more precisely their selfies on instagram, faces puckered and lips pouted, just like a Sheep. He did not like how they stared blankly as they munched grass. Gregory did not like their soulless eyes or the loud, almost shrilling bleats that escaped their throats. He had nine hundred and ninety nine reasons to hate Sheep and being sent to his Uncle’s Sheep farm for the summer holidays was one of them.

Gregory woke up as his Uncle’s range rover began to trundle over uneven ground. First light was just rising in the east. He yawned from the backseat, his neck stiff from the awkward sleep. His Uncle Tom had arrived last night at his parents home to pick him up, and the journey had been one of uncomfortable silences and short answer conversations. Gregory rubbed the tiredness from his eyes as Uncle Tom turned to look back at him.

‘Ahh, Your up lad. That’s good, keep your eyes peeled after we go over this next hill. You’ll be able to see the farm, and quite possibly the Sheep.’ Uncle Tom laughed. Gregory rolled his eyes, but nonetheless looked out the passenger window as they reached the top of the hill. His stomach dropped, His Uncle’s farm had clearly seen better days, and the Sheep were everywhere. E.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. They stood scattered around the vast green hills and sweeping gold fields. They even stood on the track to the farm, some so ignorant and stubborn to Uncle Tom’s car horn that he had to get out to usher them away. Gregory could feel himself going pale. Six weeks. He had to stay here for six weeks in a worse for wear farm, surrounded by soulless, expressionless Sheep.

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