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To realize
The value of a sister/brother
Ask someone
Who doesn't have one.

To realize
The value of ten years:
Ask a newly
Divorced couple.

To realize
The value of four years:
Ask a graduate.

To realize
The value of one year:
Ask a student who
Has failed a final exam.

To realize
The value of nine months:
Ask a mother who gave birth to a stillborn.

To realize
The value of one month:
Ask a mother
Who has given birth to
A premature baby.

To realize
The value of one week:
Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize
The value of one minute:
Ask a person
Who has missed the train, bus or plane..

To realize
The value of one-second:
Ask a person
Who has survived an accident.

Time waits for no one.

Treasure every moment you have.

You will treasure it even more when
You can share it with someone special.

To realize the value of a friend or family member:

LOSE ONE.


Mr. and Mrs. Pullox were devastated. Their son Brandon, a piano child prodigy who was sent to France for advance training, died when the train to the capital city derailed from its tracks and crashed. Poor Brandon never made it to his first recital, and they will never have the chance to see him perform ever.

Because of the time it took for the French embassy to sort everything out, Mr. and Mrs. Pullox would only be able to get their son’s body in a fortnight, and because of their financial difficulties, they were unable to take the flight to France to get his body sooner, so they had no choice but to wait.

They have yet to tell anyone about the news, and those who knew through the news were forbidden to mention it in the household for fear of upsetting their little girl Hailey, who worshipped her brother like a god. They were afraid that their little girl would never recover from such a blow, and the thought of her breaking down and losing herself into despair and depression was not exactly something they wished on the only child they have left.

Hailey did question about her brother a little when she realized that his daily night calls had stopped abruptly, but they quickly waved it off as him being busy, saying that he needed the time for himself so that he could train himself to be at his best to impress her. Being left in the dark, Hailey went about her life cheerfully, waiting for the day that would never come to see her brother perform his first concert, even if it meant only on live TV.

They knew deep down inside that on the day they receive Brandon’s body, she had to find out eventually, but until then, they’d rather keep her spirits up.

A day before the supposed date of his body’s arrival, Mr. and Mrs. Pullox were awakened by a strange noise downstairs, like someone having a conversation with another. Thinking they were robbers, Mr. Pullox armed himself with a bat while Mrs. Pullox got ready with her phone to call the police just in case.

As they made their way downstairs, they saw Hailey sitting on a stool in the living room facing the piano, smiling, talking and laughing to an empty chair where Brandon’s piano was. It was Brandon’s birthday gift when he was 5 and his favourite thing in the whole wide world, and Hailey was seated beside it as she used whenever Brandon sat there for practice. Under the pale moonlight, the couple could see faint streaks of tears down their little girl’s cheeks as she continued to talk, her tone slowly going sad.

Before they could call out to her, the piano suddenly played by itself, the wonderful music that the Pullox family were so familiar with echoing down the room they were in. The piano keys were moving by themselves, the blacks moving rhythmically with the whites as the song that Brandon had composed for them the day before he left for France streamed across the room, filling the entire house with its beautiful melody.

Anyone would’ve been scared and high-tailed out of the house, but surprisingly, Mr. and Mrs. Pullox were not afraid. In fact, tears started to pour out of their eyes as the music continued right till the very end. Hailey leaned against the piano like she used to, closing her eyes as she took in every note and every beat that came out of the strong instrument, her hand tapping her knee along with it.

Once the music ended, a gentle cool breeze blew past the Pullox family, as if in a soothing manner before everything looked like the incident just now did not happen. Mrs. Pullox let out a cry and fell onto her knees, sobbing her eyes out while Mr. Pullox knelt down beside her, his legs, too, gave way as he held his wife with trembling arms. Hailey, on the other hand, stood up from her seat, wiped away the last remaining tears from her eyes and came up to her parents.

“Brother came home. He said he is now going to a better place, and said that we shouldn’t be sad for him. He said he loved us, and not to cry too much for him when his body comes home.”

Seeing the innocent smile on Hailey’s face, Mr. and Mrs. Pullox knew that everything will turn out alright in the end.

Amnesia


He is getting more and more fed up with his wife. Every day, it was the same old thing, the same old phrase every time he reprimanded her.

“I can’t help it if I forget.”

That was the same phrase day in and day out whenever he found out that his eggs were sunny-side up when he asked for over-easy, or when his work clothes were not ironed and ready for the next day’s important meeting, or when the laundry was left outside to be drenched by the rain, or when the bed was not made for the past 2 months.

It was always the same.

“Sorry, I forgot.”

Sometimes he wondered how was it that he had ended up marrying her. He admitted that everything on her was easy on the eye. She had hair like silk, eyes like gems and lips like cherry buds. She was an angel in a demon’s body. He had to beat every other suitor off with a stick just to keep her to himself.

And he admitted that when he first knew her, her absent-mindedness was somewhat of a cute side of her that made him drawn to her, someone who needed a man to overcome such a small flaw.

But this was getting out of hand. Not only did her absent-mindedness did not go away, it got worse.

He would almost trip on wet rags that she left behind after cleaning the drawers.

He would realize at the last minute that she did not put his cell phone back into his pouch and had to drive all the way back home to get it.

He would find stale leftovers in the cupboard that she was supposed to throw away last week.

He would even find the flowers in the garden almost dying because she forgot to water them regularly.

And the answer was always the same.

“Sorry, I can’t help it if I forgot.”

Many times in his mind he was tempted to divorce her. But the thought of her sad face if he broke the news was not exactly pretty. She wasn’t one to throw a tantrum, but when she gets sad and cries, it was enough to break his heart.

Besides, divorcing someone over the reason that she was too forgetful was not exactly the best thing to say to a judge. It would probably be a one way ticket to marriage counseling, and he didn’t want that.

Once in a while, murder did cross his mind, but he was a man of peace, and he didn’t hate her that bad to warrant her death.

But the thought of the last incident where she forgot to turn off the gas stove and almost caused an explosion made him shudder as well, dreading the thought of what her forgetfulness would lead to next.

He loved her, but this had gone too far.

Then, after watching his office janitor slipping on his own mopped floor, he had an epiphany. He could try to make his wife slip and fall, and maybe hit her head, if he was lucky. That way, she could suddenly forget about everything and then he could just send her away, and then destroy all evidence that they were ever married. After all, it did happen one time when she hit her head while trying to reach for her shoes and she ended up sitting there for almost half an hour trying to figure out what she was doing there in the first place. Why didn’t he think of that?

He went home as soon as it was time to clock out, feeling very proud of himself.

He knew his wife would be upstairs surfing the net before she made dinner, so he took the opportunity to sneak out a bar of soap from the toilet downstairs and laid it strategically at the top flight of steps where she would be bound to slip on, before heading to the living room to watch TV.

When he heard the sound of tumbling, he knew that his plan had worked. Pretending to be worried, he ran upstairs and made sure that she was breathing before shaking her awake. She slowly opened her eyes, looked at him for a moment, before uttering the words he had been waiting to hear.

“Who are you?”

He was ecstatic. His plan worked flawlessly. In fact, he was so happy that he got up too abruptly and accidentally stepped on the soap that fell along with her. Before he knew it, he was tumbling down the lower flight of steps and felt a crack as his head hit the concrete tiles below.

When he regained consciousness, he found himself lying on the bed with bandages around his head, and a strange, beautiful woman with hair like silk, eyes like gems and lips like cherry buds—an angel in a demon’s body—calling out to him in a name he did not recognize…

Lost Love


Lottie and Andrea felt really bad for their friend Tamara. She had just recently found out that her boyfriend Darren had just died from a car accident due to a pile-up car crash.

It was a really bad way to go, and during the funeral, because his body was so mangled in the accident, that his family had no choice but to cremate him, scattering his ashes to his favourite place. And because Tamara was studying overseas, she wasn’t able to attend the funeral.

Poor Tamara cried for days at end thinking about her beloved Darren. Not any amount of consoling and comforting from Lottie and Andrea could make her feel any better. They were worried that she might end up doing something brash sooner or later, but so far, she stayed in her room all day and did not come out, with at least her crying to show that she was still around.

Then one day, the phone rang. When Lottie picked it up, she was surprised to hear Darren on the other line. She was afraid at first, thinking it was some kind of a horror gone bad, and Andrea thought it was some sort of a prank, but the person on the other line did not sound like he was kidding, and his voice was exactly like Darren.

When Tamara took the call, she was ecstatic to hear his voice. Darren explained to her that he was not really dead, that he was away on a business trip when that happened and the person who died was actually someone he knew at work who borrowed his car. It was really a tragic accident and he assured Tamara that he had already explained it to his parents about the mix-up and that he had went to make amends with his colleague’s family.

Darren claimed that he would not be able to be back so soon but he promised he would call every other week, and since Lottie and Andrea were housemates with Tamara, they were there to share the moments Tamara had with Darren whenever he called.

Finally, about almost a year later, Darren said that he would come to visit. Tamara was so happy that she cut classes to groom herself, preparing for the moment he will come to take her out on that long awaited date. Lottie and Andrea were so happy for her as they gave her hand, cutting half of their classes as well to be with her.

Later that night, on the time of the date, Darren promptly showed up. He was outside at the verandah, waving to her, calling her to him. While Tamara came up to him to chat with him, the phone rang and Andrea answered it while watching this romantic scene along with Lottie. It was Darren’s mother, asking if she could have a chat with Tamara, since it was the first anniversary of Darren’s death.

It was then that they remembered that it would be impossible for Darren to be at the verandah because they were living on the third floor of the campus, and there was no sign of Darren standing on a ladder of sorts.

Everything finally came into place.

But they were too late to stop Tamara as she climbed up the verandah and reached out for Darren’s hand…


To those who are reading this,

If you are reading this, you will know by now that I am no longer living. I have decided to leave everything behind and rid myself of my incompetence.

I know what I am doing is stupid, but there is nothing more I can do. I have tried to prove my innocence, tried to prove that I did not steal the PTA funds and that the money that I found in my locker was just a coincidence, that someone was trying to set me up, but no one will believe me.

I have been forced to resign myself from school rather than being black-listed as an expelled student, but still no one would forgive me or believe me. No other school will accept me because of all the rumours spreading around and my parents’ business is failing because no one would come to their shop to purchase from them due to my so-called ‘crime’.

I am tired of trying to defend myself for something I didn’t do. I know my parents do not blame me for everything that had happened, but I know deep down inside, they think I am a burden to them, and a shame to the family…and I know that “he” thinks so too.

My death may not be enough to prove my innocence, but at least it’ll give it some closure.

Goodbye.

Kiwi

--:--

To you heartless bastards,

I am sick and tired of all you hypocrites. I am going to leave this cruel world and never come back.

I know what I did to Kiwi was wrong. I know I shouldn’t have taken the PTA funds and stuff it in her locker just to frame her, but have you ever been in love? Have you ever loved someone so much that you sometimes do something stupid?

Kiwi was my best friend, but even best friends can’t share everything, and she definitely cannot share Mr. Orange with me. Everyone loved her, men and women alike, and she could have any man she want. Why can’t she choose someone like Mango, or Apple, or Melon even? Why must she choose Mr. Orange? Why must she choose the person that I love?

Everyone now hates me for what I’ve done. Mr. Orange left me, my friends ignored me, and even my own grandfather expelled me from school and disowned me from the family. I am the only family he has and he kicked me out of the house like I was nothing!

You have no right to judge me! You have never been so much in love as I did! You don’t understand what it feels like to be willing to do anything for the person you love! All you care about was that I killed Kiwi, when she was the one who killed herself!

I hope you’re happy. I hope you’re all happy!!!

Lemon

--:--

To all the ones I love,

Before I leave this world, I think I probably should leave a few parting words.

I know these months have been hard for everyone. And I only have myself to blame. I was never good with spoken words, and I never was good at saying what is on my mind, and it is my weakness that had caused so much tragedy.

I admit that I have always been in love with Kiwi, but the teacher-student conduct forbids us to be together. And I have some inkling in knowing Lemon has a crush on me, but it was Kiwi that I loved, not Lemon, yet to say no to her was a threat to my career, so I subtly allowed Lemon’s advances without ever having the chance to reject her, while continuing my secret affair with Kiwi.

Kiwi understood my plight and was willing to wait until she graduate, but I had not expected Lemon to use her power as the Principal’s granddaughter to pull such strings in framing her. I should’ve seen that coming. I should’ve stood up for her, bringing our relationship public, but my cowardice held my tongue.

I have no reason to live now. My beloved Kiwi is gone, and I had caused Lemon to be in such pain of prosecution by everyone and to throw her future away. They were right to blame me for their deaths, even though they did not say it in front of my face. I bear no malice towards the Principal for firing me. I only wish I could turn back time to set things right again, but that is just wishful thinking.

Kiwi, my beloved, I am coming for you now

Orange


I am a freelance photographer. But not the kind you think.

I don’t go around taking pictures of landscapes or portraits or events. I don’t do weddings or birthday parties or the like. I don’t submit my work to the press or the magazines. I have no connection whatsoever with any business affiliations.

The pictures I take are very niche, something out of this world.

I take pictures of scandalous suburban housewives.

No, I’m not working with a PI or detectives or whatnot. I don’t get paid by husbands who want to have their wives tailed and investigated to see if they were having an affair. Those are messy jobs that leave paper trail and will do nothing but bad news for me.

I usually go around the red district areas, places like drive-in motels or fancy hotels that are far away from civilization and check the guest lists to see if there were any people who checked in under a false name or a pseudonym. They are pretty predictable, using puns and fancy names to hide their true insecure identities, and through experience, I have learnt to spot them well.

I would then go at a dark, secluded corner and wait for the opportune moment to strike. As soon as I catch sight of my target, I will appear out of the blue and take my shot, blinding them with my camera flash. And while they are still stunned by the light, I will move towards them and whisper to their ear “I know what you did” and walk away like a bloody Lone Ranger.

It gets them every time. Once they got over their initial shock, they will turn around and beg me not to reveal their secret. They told me to name my price and lead me to the nearest ATM machine to withdraw the hush money, plus a few extras for my dinner, or supper or breakfast if I was there all night.

I do not go for scandalous men unless needed to, and I only target the ones that look like a wuss. The last thing I need is to be track down by these powerful people, beaten into a pulp and have my $1,000 above camera get destroyed.

I am not a greedy person. I take what they can offer me, I don’t ask for their phone number to racket them for more, and I never see them again. There have been a few coincidental cases where I do catch them again, but some more money that they can offer was enough to keep me away from them.

What? You say I’m despicable?

There’s not even a single film in my camera. I’m just working the snaps and the flash. They were the ones who wanted to pay me. Who am I to refuse?

Hate


Allison hated Evangeline.

Despite being childhood friends, she had harboured a deep hate for the latter all her life.

She hated her for having more friends.

She hated her for being rich and pampered.

She hated her for being more beautiful than her.

She hated her for being more popular with people and getting all the best dates.

She hated her for being able to make anyone, men and women alike, fall in love with her.

She even hated that her own parents loved her more than their own daughter.

When Allison fought her way up to her ranks and managed to snag a business tycoon for a husband, Evangeline topped her by marrying a Persian prince, making her hate her even more.

And when Evangeline had 5 beautiful children while she was still trying to have a child, her hate just went up the roof.

Allison’s friends and husband told her that Evangeline had done nothing to her to earn this sort of resentment. They told her to let it go, that her hate will just eat her away and leave her for naught. She understood that, but the thought of Evangeline being better at every aspect possible just made her blood boil.

Even when she finally got pregnant, she still couldn’t let it go. Thinking about Evangeline being happy and gay with her perfect family, living the perfect life, the one that was meant for her instead of this prissy girl who knew nothing about the harsh reality of life, irked her till no end.

On the day of the delivery, only by screaming Evangeline’s name was she able to have the strength to push her baby out.

But she did not count on the fact that because of her hate that boiled through her soul, her friends and husband was right all along about their advice.

For even though she gave birth to a bouncing baby boy, he looked exactly like Evangeline…


Nina believed in monsters. She was obsessed with them. She believed that there were monsters in the closet, under the bed, beneath the cellar doors, even in her father’s study. She believed they were in every nook and cranny in the house. She believed them so much that she studied everything there is to know about battling monsters and was always on her toes, even during the day.

Nina’s single father was worried for her. Although worried was not exactly the word to cut it. He was frustrated and anxious for his daughter’s sanity. He had tried everything: from trying to be an understanding and good father, explaining to her that monsters didn’t exist, to taking her to child psychiatrists, who all said that it was just a phase, that it was common for a child like her to have active imagination as long as she was not hurting anyone and that it would grow out in time. Still, as Nina stepped into her 10th birthday, she still made a fool out of herself, and her father was running all out of options.

Until one day, when her father was working late, Nina armed herself as usual with the essential “weapons” to keep herself out of the “monsters’” wrath. She was so occupied with keeping the monsters at bay in her little dark closet and under the bed that she did not hear a robber breaking into the house that stormy night. She did not hear him rummaging through the house looking for valuables, and she did not hear him coming up the stairs to see if he could find anything else in the other rooms.

So needless to say, she didn’t expect the robber coming into her room and started attacking upon seeing her to silence her. But lucky for her, due to her monster-mania, she had the necessary weapons to arm herself. Thinking that he was a monster, she defended herself with all her might, throwing blow after blow and luring him all the way to a trap she had made beforehand in an abandoned tool shed near her home. As soon as the robber caught up with her and was about to strike, she sprung the trap and caught the robber, locking him inside the tool shed.

When her father came home, she tried desperately to convince him that she had caught the “monster”, that she had him locked in the tool shed. She begged her father to come with her so that she could show him the “monster” and that he would believe her, but her father was too frustrated by his ransacked home and tired from work that he lost his cool and shouted at her to shut up and help him clean up the house.

The next few days she tried to make her father listen to her, to get him to see what she had caught. She even tried to persuade her friends to see her “monster”, but everyone was so fed up with her antics that they either ignored her or told her to buzz off. Even her father told her that the discussion was over and if she carried on like that, he will have to send her away.

Nina did not entirely grow out of her monster obsession as the child psychiatrists predicted. In fact, when she grew older, she decided to research on creatures and its mythology and earned a degree in her thesis research. But she never spoke of the “monster” she caught in the tool shed ever again, and through time, she forgot about it.

The abandoned tool shed remained abandoned till today. Some say it was haunted and no one dared to go near it. Some even say that during some nights, you can still hear sounds of moaning and groaning and a light shake at the padlocked door…

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