Tsunami Anxiety – Ashane De Silva 10K

Silent. The waters on which you float,
So still, so serene, so soothing and remote;
Mind drifts away, in sweet complacency,
Self indulges, seeks permanent vacancy.

Shift. A sudden shift, not too severe-
Yet enough clout of a jolt of fear,
Tingles in the toes, shivers down the spine-
A draw back in attention, is this a sign?

Slash! A crashing wave of residing thoughts
encumbers the mind, entwines self knots,
Heart skips a beat- chest thumps louder,
Shorten does breath- paralysis grows prouder…
Blast- do the questions ever deceiving
Bludgeon- do the worries never leaving
Beat- do the doubts circling round and round
Bash- do the uncertainties running self to ground…
Drowning is the mind- deeper and deeper,
Soul going nowhere, trapped like a prisoner
Thoughts are mosquitos sucking life out of self,
Hope sinks further- into waters set like shelf…

Splash! Head egresses, charged with aggression,
Endless efforts, now a salvaged solution,
Hustling, bustling- storming for normality,
Urging is self, fighting for finality…

Slump. Self invulnerable at last- whipped and wet,
Away from the worries, the doubts, the pain,
For now. As the cataclysm may come again-
but when? Whenever- but the fightback is set.

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What a twist!

“You’re wasting your time,” he spat as blood trickled down his chin. “Assault me all you want. I told you this once already, I ain’t rattin’ out my friends.” He was in the air, suspended by chains that wrapped around his wrists. There was a crew of men in front of him. They all had various weapons, tools and other means of torturing him. He had been going through this for three days. He was covered in his own blood by this point, but his resolve remained strong: protect his friends and crew. “Now get bent!””If you would just cooperate, we wouldn’t have to take such extreme measures,” their leader said. The prisoner couldn’t help but grin.

“Well, pardon me for wanting to protect those I care about.” Suddenly, he was struck across the cheek with a wooden club. The prisoner yelped in pain and shock.

The leader seemed to be losing his patience. “We’re running out of time. Where are they?” he asked, glaring at the prisoner before him. “Don’t test me. You aren’t going to win by stalling.”

“Bite me!” the prisoner yelled as he spit out a tooth. “I’m prepared to die before I rat out my loved ones!”

“Oh, you won’t be dying. You’ll be meeting a fate much worse than that.” A sadistic grin snuck upon the leader’s face. “Your last moments will be filled with agony and screaming while your so called ‘friends’ will sob at how stubborn you were. I could let you go, but you’ve wasted too much time.”

“Ah, well. It was my choice to make.” The prisoner laughed before adding, “Hey, if you kill me now, I can at least get everyone’s rooms ready down in Hell.”

“You damn bastard… We’re running out of time. Where are they?”

“You ain’t getttin’ an answer.”

Smash!

“Augh!”

“Where are they?!”

“Try asking nicely!”

Crash!

“Owww!”

“We’re almost out of time. Where are they?”

“Hahahaha…don’t you see? You’re already out of time.” The prisoner gave a pained laugh. “You’ve already wasted it all on me…”

Gritting his teeth, the leader punched the prisoner with all his might. “That’s not true! If we send our best men now, they might marginally make it before–”

“Before the bomb explodes?” The prisoner never lost his grin. “Before this entire nation gets blown to smithereens? Lemme tell ya, I ain’t some dumbass. We wouldn’t have planted those bombs if we weren’t prepared for a situation like this?”

“Wait–there’s more than one?!”

“Life’s a bitch, ain’t it?”

“Do you know how many innocent people you’re going to kill?!”

“Yep,” the prisoner said. A puddle of blood was beneath him. All of the guards who had been previously hurting him were now looking around and chattering nervously. Even the leader was beginning to swear. “I bet we could make a lake with all that blood.”

“You bastard… Why are you and your friends doing this to us?” the leader questioned, infuriated.

“Because we can…ha…”

“…”

“I win, you torturing bastards.”

Kaboom.

A dragon struggling to run a coffee shop in a busy city

“This isn’t decaf!” somebody blurted behind me as I tried to make something resembling a large-small soy nonfat double-milk mixed-bean extra-filtered half-shot of vanilla mocha latte from Hell, or whatever the last customer had ordered. Some of these more… eccentric orders I could just never keep up with. Humans are so damn picky.

With an inward sigh, I spun around to tend to this new complaint. In doing so my tail whipped out and knocked over the drink I had just been making. I groaned, out loud this time, as I saw the irritated face before me smirk at my misfortune.

“I’m sorry sir, I’ll brew you up a new one right away,” I growled lowly. He put his cup on the counter and I promptly ate it. I’d learned in the beginning that my large mouth and fiery digestive system make for a rather simple, efficient waste disposal system.

Setting the machine to start him up a new decaf, I turned to start over on the other customer’s order. At this moment a third patron entered the shop and strode up to the counter, while talking loudly into a Bluetooth earpiece she was wearing. Three customers at once, for me this meant business was booming.

“Haha yeah, and then he, like, couldn’t figure out how to do it – um, excuse me, service please! – yeah sorry Becky, this dragon is a bit slow sometimes, but anyway…” Her voice droned on and on, as I felt a dull throbbing starting to form in my great skull. Is this what they call a headache?

I ignored her as she got lost in her conversation long enough to whip up something that would hopefully at least remind the customer of whatever drink they actually ordered, and slid it over the counter along with the new decaf to their appropriate recipients. Then I went to the register to take the annoying lady’s order.

“One sec Becky; hi yes, finally, thank you, I’d like a-”

“This isn’t hot enough, I asked for extra hot, excuse me!” The phone woman seemed utterly confounded that someone would have the audacity to interrupt her, and stared with an open jaw as the previous customer with the complicated drink thrust the cup out in my direction demandingly.

Something in me snapped. I couldn’t take these people, any of them. And there weren’t many that came here anyway. I thought this would be a nice, easy way to make some money in the city and add to my hoard under the mountain, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
“Sorry, sir, let me heat that up for you!” I bellowed, a bright glow slipping out between the scales on my belly before flame erupted forth from between my jaws and engulfed the cup of coffee, vaporizing it instantly. The man had seen it coming and dropped the drink, pulling his hand away just in time, though both he and the decaf guy ended up with singed eyebrows.
An awkward silence followed for a few seconds before all three of them turned tail and fled in terror. I knew I’d overreacted, but I chuckled despite myself. No, this wasn’t for me. I’d go back to my favorite hobby, napping in my pile of gold. Even if it wasn’t as big a pile as I’d like.
-Harmanjit Singh

I Will Never Forget You, My Mother – Edward Jin 10M

I will never forget you. You, who has clothed me, fed me, nurtured and protected me.

I will never forget you. You, who laughed, played and cried with me.
I will never forget you. You, who woke up each morning to prepare food for me, while leaving almost nothing for yourself.
I will never forget you. You, who toiled in the fields all day to earn even another penny.
I will never forget you. You, who never stopped working, even you were sick.
I will never forget you. You, who never once thought about rewarding yourself to scrape up enough money to send me to school.
I will never forget you. You, who scolded me when I played too rough with my friends.
I will never forget you. You, who didn’t rest until you found me when I got lost in a forest.
I will never forget you. You, who sent me off with a sad smile when I left home.
I will never forget you. You, who wished me good luck as I started my journey in life.
I will never forget you. You, who supported me while I chased my dreams.
I will never forget you. You, who had to let go when I took flight.
I will never forget you. You, who let me leave my home even when I won’t be able to come back again.
I will never forget you. You, who has never forgotten me.
I will never forget you. You, who has never once forsaken me.
I will never forget you. You, who breathed life into me.
I will never forget you.
I will never forget you.
I will never forget you, my mother.

Turning away from the truth- Reagan Tao 10C

I stood on the balcony, staring out at the carnage. Houses burned. People screamed. Fires raged throughout the kingdom. It was still impossible for me to believe. To think it would take this destruction to convince me, to show me what I had been unwilling to believe. What I had turned my back on. I walked back into the room fingering the fine silk quilt of my bed. The way it shone so slightly in the moonlight, the beautiful dragon pattern woven into it so delicately, everything about it seemed to open my eyes the longer I looked. How much blood had been shed to buy this blanket? How many lives lost for my sake? If only I had faced this sooner, maybe my heart wouldn’t ache so much. I knew reality would catch up with me in the end….

My father, the ruler of a large province in Afghanistan was a well-loved figure. I was watching from the balcony that day as well when he’d been mingling with the crowd, touching babies and showering rose petals on them. People called him a good kind ruler, one who had abolished the lawlessness which his predecessor had wrought. As I stared, my chest seemed to swell with pride every time a person screamed his name or wished him a long life. He looked back, seeing me on the balcony and grinned, waving to me. The whole crowd followed his lead, crying out my name now, raining blessings upon me. The son of their ruler, it brought tears to my eyes. My mother had passed away long ago so I had no one else. To me, he was everything. I idolised my father.

Later in the day, he took me for a walk, laying an arm on my shoulders as we walked, flanked by a crowd of men in suits I’d always known as his “friends.” As we waved and gifts were thrust upon us, an old man broke out of the crowd and began screaming. The profanities that spilled from his mouth were so filthy that Father covered my ears. Before that however, I’d heard many odd things. In his stream of frenzied abuse I’d heard him say that my father was wicked, that he was a murderer and he would rot in hell. I wrested free from my father’s grip, ready to defend my father against this insolent man, but felt a wet glob hit my face. I felt the warm spit dribble down my cheek. “Spawn of evil. Your father did worse to my son,” he said.

I was drawn back by my father, whose face was now drawn and white with rage. He hissed something under his breath and the men in suits closed in around the old man. I was pushed to keep walking as I asked father what had happened. He answered me shortly by saying the old man was insane. He would be taken to hospital. I believed every word. To men, his words were fact. It never occurred to me that he was lying. However, that night when I went to sleep I heard the screams. I’d only heard it because I was lying on the floor. The slightest sound had escaped through the floorboards of the mansion. I’d fallen as I turned in my sleep and I could hear the agonised moans when I pressed my ear to the wooden planks. I remember that I had went down into the basement, the only part of the house where the noise could be coming from. I was met with a terrifying sight. The old man who had spat on me was prostrate on the floor, blood weeping from a dozen cuts on his back. I saw a number of men holding cruel barbed whips. Evan as I watched they mercilessly lashed the old man’s back, drawing a small groan from him. He was too weak to do anything else.

I opened my mouth to tell the men to stop, but before I could I was bundled up and brought back out into the upper house by a grip. I knew only too well. My father. He stood there smiling at me, and I sat numbly in the kitchen as he made me a cup of hot chocolate. He placed the mug in front of me and I regarded him with terrified eyes. “Why didn’t you make them stop Father? Who are those men?” I asked.

He continued to smile, urging me to drink before he talked. He nursed his own cup has he spoke, his words turning my blood cold. “Son, sometimes there are people who disturb the peace. It’s never good to leave these people be. All you need to know is that  if I’m happy the people are too.” That was the end of the discussion. I couldn’t bring myself to go on. His approval was too important to me. But I had never been fooled. There was an unspoken message in those words. I spent the next few nights with my ear pressed against the floor to listen to those screams, but I heard them in my mind for years to come.

Whenever I walked into the market I would notice things I’d never seen before. The way people smiled but never met my gaze. How they begged my father to touch their children, but never let him hold them, as if he would snatch them away the second the children left their hands. The acrid stench of fear hung in the air and every time I walked through the streets I felt hatred bore into my back. Rebellion hung in the air and we all knew it. Maybe that’s why when we were close to it, my father took every precaution to make sure I was safe. He became frantic, forbidding me to leave the house lest I be kidnapped or harmed. But it was no use. The people refused to stay quiet any longer. I could only guess what crimes he had committed over the years, how many people he had destroyed. However, the one thing I was sure of was that the luxury of this mansion, the lifestyle we lead and the bodyguards who escorted us had been paid with countless suffering. Nothing in the mansion was clean. Including me.

When the revolt started my father ran out, but before he left he’d given me a quick smile and told me that everything would be all right. I had nothing to worry about. I watched him leave and knew that it was a lie. I went to the balcony to watch the chaos as people burnt down buildings and overwhelmed the police. Years of anger and resentment had been unleashed and I saw my father being subdued and beaten by the people. Turning away, tears streamed from my eyes as I waited on my bed. There was no hope that I could ever have escaped this and when my father died, I heard his final scream as it echoed across the town and the sobbing didn’t stop, my hands shaking as they gripped my legs and my body shaking desperate for some comfort. The real pain was to come when the cheering started. My nails bit into my legs so hard that my pants were soaked. I finally had blood on my hands. When they came to arrest me, I didn’t even fight back. Reality had finally confronted me and I hated it. “You don’t have to tell me anything,” I said quietly. “Please just kill me.” My last tears blurred my sight, but they opened my eyes.

Desperate Fantasy- Reagan Tao 10C

I stood at the glass window, fingers barely touching it. Such was the cleanness and sterility of the hospital that no sooner had my fingers left a mark did the cleaner wipe it away. I stepped back to let him continue his work, surveying the scene before me. Arthur lay on the bed, dressed in a white robe. The room itself was padded, devoid of any other furniture aside from the bed. I sat and clasped my hands to stop them trembling from rage at the injustice of it all. It terrified me how far people would go to delude themselves, to indulge in their own fantasies…

Not long ago, we had been in a hospital not as patients, but as workers. We had been fellow doctors, but whilst I was a run-of-the-mill doctor, more prone to assisting than operating, Arthur was truly the rising star of the hospital. He had the charm, heart and ability to become the leading surgeon of the hospital. That was why this fate was so degrading, so unfair to him that my heart ached when I saw him prostrate on that bed. A patient had arrived at the hospital. The fact that I even knew this was unusual. In such a crowded environment, patients were usually identified by how severe their injuries were before we had time to find their identity. But naturally, as soon as the mayor arrived, the whole hospital focused on him.

Apparently, he had suffered a heart attack, collapsing in his flat. The mayor was a popular figure in public office. Few people had issue with him and he had introduced a number of reforms to benefit the under-privileged in his time. Many people considered him to be an almost saint-like figure. Honestly, I had always felt somewhat intimidated by him. To be such a powerful figure and to be so well-loved, it was terrifying to think what would happen if he was ever harmed. The effect on the people would be devastating. People cared for him too much. Arthur was one of these people. He often expressing his admiration of the man since one of his student plans had helped Arthur afford the fees for his education. As such, upon hearing about the mayor, the terror I saw on his face was almost palpable. He immediately insisted to be the surgeon in charge for the operation. Coincidentally, I was the assisting doctor and we moved swiftly to the operating room. It wasn’t a complicated procedure. A basic operation had him in a stable condition within minutes.

However, after the surgery, I decided to take a look at his medical history. Arthur had collapsed in a heap after performing the surgery and I felt responsible to determine whether the mayor’s life was in any danger. I found it curious that he had no history of cardiac disease, or of any medical problems whatsoever. I remembered that the police had demanded a blood test to be done on him and I rushed to check the results.

I walked through the corridor, flipping through the report. My blood ran cold as my eyes raked over the sheet of paper. His blood was filled with a number of drugs, all of them highly illegal. Every drug was one he had fought tooth and nail to be prohibited. We had saved the life of a man who was playing an entire city for fools. I met with Arthur, showing him the blood test report. I expected a burst of outrage, devastation, grief as the colour drained from his face. I saw his upper lip tremble and his eyes begin to water. The last thing I expected was to have the report torn apart before my eyes.

Before I could protest, he was screaming something at me about how I had fabricated the results, how I was trying to destroy a wonderful man. I began to get angry, screaming back and I turned on him, ready to get another copy of the report when I felt a blow smash into the back of my head. I whirled around in shock. Despite the pounding in my head, I could see now with blinding clarity how transfixed Arthur was by the mayor. How far he would go to protect a man he believed to be a virtuous person. Of how he wouldn’t allow this image to be tarnished no matter what. I faded away as he continued to rant, my last sight before I lost consciousness to be of him regarding me with disgust.

When I came to, I was handcuffed to a table with a man on the other side of the table asking me questions tentatively. Did I know who I was? Why did I interfere with the blood test? Did I know the mayor personally? My mind was too foggy to process any more than that, the feeling of being interrogated so surreal that I couldn’t even answer. The man pursed his lips when I finally managed to tell him my recount of what had happened and he motioned to a guard at the door. The guard handcuffed me completely and lead me out where I was met with a truly heart-wrenching sight.

Arthur was writhing on the floor with two guards attempting to restrain him. He continued to scream “I’m not crazy!” in a demented manner, refusing all attempts to pull him to his feet. “Mayor, please save me, I just wanted to help you! Please!” The cries were not unlike a child in a pool crying for its mother, before slowly weakening and drowning into the depths. Tears streamed down his face, liquid dripped from his nose and his cries were becoming incoherent, becoming almost a gargle. He eventually stopped moving, allowing the guards to heave him up, while my guard stood there shaking his head sadly.

I turned to him, my tone low and pleading. “Do you believe me?” He shook his head before urging me along. “You’re not right in the head. The mayor wouldn’t do something like that,” he said.  It wasn’t said with malice and there was no trace of ulterior motive. All I saw in his eyes was devout belief. The mayor’s image couldn’t be a lie. The city’s fantasies were fact. We were simply some crazy doctors who suffered a sad fate, cooking up a story for ourselves to excite our lives. A few days later, I was allowed to view the mayor on television. He was sobbing inconsolably, extending his thanks to the “kind doctors” who had saved his life and their families, wishing us a swift recovery and hoping that one day we could meet again as friends.

He had visited us only hours earlier, laughing at us from behind the screen like a child would at a circus animal. It was an act. The city and Arthur still believed that the mayor was a good man. Even as the mayor could be seen mocking us, Arthur pawed at the window begging for help. Even when the mayor walked off in disgust, sneering at the man who had saved his life, Arthur smiled happily, confident that he would come back to set him free. No one would ever be allowed to know about the mayor’s dark side so I knew we would never leave. The fantasy would continue, unbroken since there was no way people would be able to accept the truth. Reality was something people would not accept, and who could blame them? The fantasy was so much kinder than reality.

Lost love (free verse poem) by Matthew Ung 10E

When I was with her I was like a child frolicking happily around the park
She was the sun rising high above the horizon, lighting up my day
Her eyes were pure, majestic like the moon shining radiantly in the sky
I reminisce when we were once together
When I lay curled, comforted under her embrace
But now that she is gone, I am alone without a friend

Now that she is gone, only the pitch black night surrounds me
The sun no longer rises above the horizon
I am a flower without the sun
I am a husband without a wife

Waves of anguish crash over me
Only the deep abyss of the ocean surrounds me
Oxygen begins to seep out
I am without the sustenance to keep me alive
I am drowning, drowning of the sorrow which is overwhelming me

I drift to shore
The water begins to recede from my lungs
The world begins to spin once more
I gaze at the sun in the distance
The sun is once more beginning to slowly rise above the horizon

The the bright ball of fire once again shines in the sky
The rays of light rejuvenates the flower
The withering flower begins to return to its former glory
The flower once again starts to bloom

I now have light in a world once devoid of light
But, I know that the sun will never return to the radiance which it once possessed
I will never stop grieving of the day I lost her
I will always remember her