I Write: Stuck At Work (Original Lyrical Idea)

Written in 2016.

I’m stuck at work again
I’ve been at it since 8am
Working hard like a man
Wondering how my life turned out like this

Mama told me forget romance
You better work, baby, earn your keep
Cos if you don’t, you’ll be damned
When he leaves you, he leaves you with nothing

Sacrifice my sleep
These days I’m barely counting sheep
All the meals I had to skip
Gotta do what must be done
Just to earn my keep

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I Write: Sitting (Original Lyrical Idea)

Squalid

Are these streets I roam at

Pallid

Are these faces I stare at

Invalid

Are these statements I get thrown at

Rallied

Are these people who get bombed at

So I sit here

As I sit here

Made to awaken

By the hatred

I cannot resolve it while I’m sitting

So I sit here

As I sit here

Left to wonder

Who has the power

I cannot solve it while I’m sitting

Valid

Are these memories

Candid

Are these pictures

Rancid

Are these tastes of agony

Avid

Are these fights for something small

So I sit here

As I sit here

Made to awaken

By the hatred

I cannot resolve it while I’m sitting

So I sit here

As I sit here

Left to wonder

Who has the power

I cannot solve it while I’m sitting

I Write: My Ache (Original Lyrical Idea)

My feet ache
But not as bad as my heart
Plunged into the abyss
Waiting to hit the bottom end

My head spins
But not as dizzying as your games
Rotating on wheels
Creaking sounds of carousel

Round, round, round we go
When we stop, nobody knows

And so it turns
The wheel of life
Hoping it will bring me somewhere
I realise
We are so full of despair
The only thing we have is air

My hands hurt
From the bites of the cold
But not as cold
As your heart

My heart burns
From the flames of your lies
Screeching tyres
I gotta burn some rubber out of here

Round, round, round they go
Where they stop, nobody knows

And so it turns
The wheel of life
Hoping it will bring me somewhere
I realise
We are so full of despair
That even the day is
As dark as the winter night
I hold a light to your face
But you erased my name

The only thing we have is air
The only thing we have is air
To breathe
But we never know if we do live

And so it turns
The wheel of life
Hoping it will bring me somewhere
I realise
We are so full of despair
The only thing we have is air

And so it turns
The wheel of life
Hoping it will bring me somewhere
I realise
We are so full of despair
That even the day is
As dark as the winter night

The only thing I have is you
But you erased me

I Write: I Chant Your Name (Original Lyrical Idea)

I chant your name
A wish in the back of my head
Hoping to see you right in front of me

I cry out Your name
A desire that is deep in my heart
Hoping to know if You will hear me

Blasphemy

This love is just an illusion
Yet it’s so real to me
If I can see, I can feel
If I can feel, I can touch
I guess a little is too much

I bow down in fear
A longing to make you stay here
Hoping that you will love me

I walk away when You’re near
A yearning to be with my dear
Hoping that You will let me love him

Impiety

Your love is more than illusion
It’s so real yet I oversee
I’m deaf and dumb
And dumb and blind
I know too little in my mind

I Write: Mortal — Chapter 4

Zola awakened from her slumber, blinking as her eyes adjusted to the brightness of her room light and her ears pricked at the ruckus going on outside her room.

Damn, I forgot to switch off the light. And wow, people are so happy about the first day of classes?

She got up from her bed steadily as she rubbed her sleepy eyes a bit. She walked to the window to take a look outside.

Before she could even gasp, a firm face appeared right in front of her and his arms embraced her tightly, while a burning meteor-like giant stone flew towards them from behind him at a rapid speed.

Zola and the stranger disappeared just as the fiery stone crashed into Zola’s room, wrecking walls and shattering glass, producing a thunderous cacophony and strewing a devastating mosaic of the opaque and the transparent.

*

Zola gasped loudly as she appeared at a hall full of students with the stranger. There must have been hundreds of them; some sitting on the benches, some tending to their wounds, and a few were lying on wheeled-beds. She trembled and nearly fainted as the stranger stepped away from her and disappeared from sight. Right at that moment, a girl caught her just in time and propped her up from her left.

“It’s okay, I got you. Just try to calm down a bit. Let’s sit over there with the other first-year girls,” the girl said gently and Zola immediately realised who it was.

Zola nodded weakly and tried to muster all the strength in her legs. She was too stunned and too bewildered to say anything. She was not even sure if she knew of any questions to ask. She would just have to trust Venera. Zola sat beside a girl who was trembling like her and sobbing quietly while Venera took her place beside Zola. Zola tried to find her voice to ask Venera about the situation at hand but failed. Venera, who seemed to have deciphered Zola’s confusion, rubbed Zola’s back comfortingly and said, “I think it’s best if you don’t look up or look around yet until you are calm enough to speak. For now, just know that something very serious is going on right now. The school is in a state of emergency. More will be explained to you later when you are no longer in a state of shock.”

Zola nodded weakly again and closed her eyes for a bit. She inhaled deeply before exhaling it all out. She repeated the breathing technique her mother taught her when she was a child after waking up from a horrible nightmare. Since then, nightmares became a frequent occurrence for Zola. Zola was able to put up with it at first but the intensity of the nightmares increased until she was hospitalised for a severe panic attack one night. Despaired, her mother brought her to stay with her grandmother in a remote village in Nigeria. Zola could not recall what those nightmares were about. She could not recall exactly what happened at her grandmother’s house either. All she could recall were the times she spent happily with her grandmother, learning about flowers and their uses in her grandmother’s garden. And that the nightmares stopped since then.

“Venera…” Zola’s voiced trailed off as she turned to her left, only to find Venera’s seat vacant. During that short glance to her left, Zola noticed that a few benches were empty and managed to catch sight of a girl leaving her seat, following a line of girls who were being ushered out of the hall by student councillors. She wondered where they were heading to and if she needed to leave the hall with them as well.

“They’re being sent home, Zola,” Venera interrupted her thoughts while propping Nerea and leading her to the empty space on the bench beside Zola.

Zola found Nerea’s pallid visage and vacant stare disconcerting. She looked at Venera and asked meekly, “All of us?”

There was a look of hesitation on Venera’s face. Zola found that to be even more disconcerting. For someone like Venera to be uncertain, the situation at hand must have been a greatly distressing one. Before Venera could answer, she was tugged away by a girl who whispered something urgently in her ear as they pulled away from Zola’s sight.

Zola looked down, slightly afraid to look at Nerea and the girl on her right, who was still sobbing and trembling.

What the hell is going on?

*

“Damn it! It’s my bedtime! Give me a break! I must have already killed at least fifty of you!” Yezekael yelled as he landed a blow with his fist on the creature’s face before him.

“Ouch! Shit! Is your head made of brick or something?!” Yezekael continued to punch with his other fist.

The creature screeched horribly at each of his hit. It opened its mouth and Yezekael could spot a glowing ember emerging from the back of the creature’s mouth.

“Oh, no you don’t!” Yezekael got down and swept the creature’s legs with his right leg. The creature was knocked over and Yezekael could see a burning ball of fiery stone shooting out of its mouth before quickly dropping back into it due to gravity.

The creature went into spasms and choked. Yezekael took the opportunity to take his dagger chucked aside nearby on the ground and stabbed the creature in the chest with it.

Black liquid flowed from it as Yezekael yanked his dagger out. He was ready to plunge it in again but stopped when he saw the creature’s eyes roll up. The creature shook vigorously for a few more moments before it went limp and then immobile.

Yezekael heard a horrible screech that must have been a hundred times worse than that of the creature before him. Yezekael covered his ears quickly and looked up.

“Shit!”

The mother of the Qakkirs he killed was getting angrier, especially at him.

I Write: Mortal — Chapter 3

Lyuben gazed at Nerea’s peaceful visage as she slept soundly. He could sit up all night watching over her, which he had done on many occasions before. During the first few times of doing so, his heart ached over their forced separation. Gradually, he learnt to find peace instead.

At least she is safe.

That was the mantra he chanted to himself every night whenever the sudden pang of longing hits him. He wanted to touch her so badly but he only allowed himself to kiss her before leaving her room. For some reason, that night, he missed her more than usual. Perhaps it was the presence of the new batch of students that reminded him of their first meeting. Perhaps it was the atmosphere of the first week of school that reminded him of the times they kept bumping into each other unwittingly.

“You know, you don’t have to keep torturing yourself like this,” Yezekael’s whisper interrupted Lyuben’s thoughts.

“You know, you didn’t have to blow at Zola’s neck while you stalked me,” Lyuben whispered back.

“Oh, you saw that? And you noticed me following you all these while yet you never berate me about it?” Yezekael sniggered.

Lyuben ignored Yezekael. He had absolutely no interest in his so-called saviour and his prerogatives.

“Well, aren’t you going to ask me why?” Yezekael continued, feeling a little annoyed by Lyuben’s passiveness.

Lyuben remained unperturbed.

“Lyuben, I have followed you for about six months now yet you remain unfettered by my constant watch on you and even as immortal as you are right now, such placidity is simply beyond inhuman!” Yezekael hissed, clearly reaching his tolerance level.

Lyuben almost jumped out of the chair he was sitting on as Nerea showed signs of movement. As Nerea was about to open her eyes, a gentle voice, singing what sounded like a lullaby, permeated the room, faintly at first before it became audible to their ears. Before Nerea could make out the two shadows before her, the lullaby seemed to carry her back into deep slumber.

“Honestly, you two, I could call campus police and have you arrested for trespassing into the girls’ dormitory, what more stalking a girl creepily,” the singing voice changed into a talking voice. Both guys searched for the source of the voice while Nerea was unstirred.

“Oh, is there no better way to taunt us than to have us look into the mirror, Venera?” Yezekael said cheekily.

“Well, I could iFace you on your mobile devices but the both of you have made enough noise already. Can’t have your phones ringing in the dead of the night now, can we?” Venera replied sarcastically.

Lyuben looked away from Venera’s image in the mirror and turned his attention back onto Nerea. Venera noticed his action and addressed him kindly, “Don’t worry, Ben. She can’t hear a thing until sunrise and our voices can’t travel out of this room until then either.”

Lyuben gave a brief nod without looking at Venera.

“Did you charm him into acknowledging you as well, Venera?” Yezekael snorted in disbelief.

Venera shook her head and tutted, “You can’t charm a broken heart. Hasn’t it occurred to you that he is angry at you but not me? I wasn’t the one who turned him into a vampire!”

Yezekael frowned and replied, “Hey! I saved him! I could use some appreciation here!”

Venera shook her head again and said, “You may have saved him from death but you are killing him with the separation from his loved one. Not to mention you condemned him to eternal hell with you!”

Yezekael, furious, readied his hand to strike the mirror but Lyuben caught hold of his arm in time. Yezekael turned to look at Lyuben, baring his fangs with ferocity but stopped short when he saw that Lyuben’s eyes begged him not to. For the first time, Lyuben allowed Yezekael to see the sorrow that had been stowed away in him for so long. Yezekael’s face softened and brought down his hand. He felt as though a knife had cut through him. He looked away from Lyuben for he could bear no more that mere glimmer of mortal pain he once knew long ago. Lyuben patted Yezekael on his shoulder and turned to look at Venera to address her, “Ven, there must be something important you wanted to tell us.”

Venera gave a half-smile. She could not help but show her fondness for Lyuben but at the same time, she had grim news to share with them, “I’ve been having disturbing premonitions. What happened six months ago, might happen again.”

Lyuben and Yezekael were dumbstruck. Venera inhaled deeply, “I think the Qakkir we killed wasn’t the only one around.”

The mere mention of the creature’s name made Lyuben flinch. He could still remember the torrid pain from being attacked by it.

“Shit,” Yezekael cursed. “You mean there might be another one?”

“One more is not the problem. The problem is that we killed the baby…and the mother is not too happy about it,” said Venera.

“How do Qakkirs come about anyway? I mean, are they part of this earth? Are they aliens from outer space? Are creatures from heathens?” asked Lyuben.

“Qakkirs are what you mortals would call aliens…yes…but not from outer space…but from another dimension… An alternative dimension… Much like heathens…but not exactly a spawn from hell… Do you follow me?” Venera replied, with many pauses in between as she tried to find the right words to describe to Lyuben.

Lyuben’s brows arched in confusion.

“Basically, they’re creatures from the world of the undead, much like animals in the world of the living. They can be wild or tamed,” Yezekael quickly explained, much to the surprise of both Lyuben and Venera. “It’s just that to mortals in general, their features are too weird for them to be labelled as animals so a closer reference would be to aliens. Plus, the way they behave are like human beings except they are without human conscience and human consciousness.”

Lyuben and Venera were silenced by Yezekael’s insightfulness.

“What? I can’t be the smart one? How do I even get admitted to college in the first place?” Yezekael shrugged puzzedly.

Lyuben and Venera sheepishly muttered things like “Oh, yeah, you’re right” and “That’s true” under their breath. At least that was what Yezekael’s ears could make out.

“I think we’re lucky enough that we’re dealing with Qakkirs and not creatures like Steqryr. Qakkirs are quiet. Not quite easy to kill but at least quiet. Makes it easier for us to deal while staying under the radar of mortals,” said Yezekael.

“So what’s the plan now?” Lyuben asked worriedly.

“I have alerted the angels and I’m trying to get Zola’s angel, Anar, to watch over Nerea together with her angel, Afif,” Venera replied.

“Wait, wait, what? Angels? Are they for real?” Lyuben asked in bewilderment.

“As real as you are a vampire,” Yezekael replied nonchalantly before questioning Venera, “Isn’t Anar unreliable? He wasn’t able to discourage Zola from coming to Arevig in the first place. What makes you think he can handle two charges at the same time? Afif wasn’t doing so well either with Nerea.”

Lyuben was astonished. Suddenly his peaceful nights have come to an abrupt end with talks of Qakkirs, creatures of the undead, and angels. He was starting to feel a throbbing in his head.

“It’s precisely because Afif couldn’t do it by himself that it’d be better if he was paired up. It only seemed like Afif managed to guard Nerea because you managed to bring her to me before you went to help Lyuben,” Venera explained calmly.

Lyuben was even more astonished. He looked at Yezekael to confirm if it was true. Yezekael looked away sadly. Venera examined the silent exchange between the both of them before asking Lyuben gently, “You mean, he never told you? Oh, Ben, he felt that it was what you would have wanted him to do…to save Nerea first but he couldn’t leave you for dead either.”

In that moment, Lyuben felt all his anger melt away, especially at the sight of a melancholic Yezekael, who was usually very spirited, and sincerely said, “Yezekael, I’m sorry. Thank you.”

Yezekael nodded silently to acknowledge Lyuben for he was too overcome by the emotions upon being reminded of the fateful night.

Lyuben turned to Venera and asked, “I’m guessing Nerea is an obvious target for Qakkirs, given her encounter with the one you guys killed, hence the extra protection for her. But why were you trying to discourage Zola from coming to Arevig? And why have you decided to leave her unprotected?”

“Not completely unguarded. Yezekael will help to watch over her as well,” Venera nervously looked at Yezekael, afraid he would reject her claim.

“Don’t worry, Venera, I’m agreeable but it would help for you to explain further. What’s so special about this Zola girl?” Yezekael asked gravely.

Venera held up the Computer Club’s sign-up to them and pointed at a particular name on it.

Yezekael whistled and said in disbelief, “No way.”

“What? I don’t get it. All I see is her name,” Lyuben looked on confusedly.

Venera tapped her finger on the last name.

Afolayan.

“Mate, she’s a direct descendent of the great African witch, Afolayan. Chichi Afolayan. Any female born with that name in her name has the potential to be a powerful witch,” Yezekael chimed in.

“With emphasis on ‘potential’. We don’t know if she possesses any dormant powers and if she does, we don’t know how they can be unleashed,” added Venera. “But I decided we should loosen the guard on Zola because dormant powers can awaken when a person is facing danger. But we should all have been prepared when that time comes. Also, while Anar was trying to discourage Zola from coming to Arevig, he encountered some strange things that happened to Zola… and even around her. That is why I feel she would need lesser protection compared to Nerea. Plus, Nerea has forgotten everything about her tragic encounter and she is oblivious to the looming danger due to my spell,” said Venera.

All three fell silent, uneasy with the upcoming danger befalling everyone.

Lyuben felt his handphone vibrating. It was going to be sunrise in an hour. He informed the rest.

“See, Venera, you could have just iFace-d us. We’re sensible enough to put our phones on silent,” said Yezekael.

“Just felt I had to live up to the stereotype of witches and magic mirrors,” Venera shrugged before waving her hands dramatically. “Magic mirror on the wall…”

Both guys looked on with interest.

Venera stopped and smiled before cheekily saying, “Log me out of the group conversation, please.”

Once Venera’s image swirled out of the mirror, both guys looked at each other but it was Yezekael who spoke, “I swear, if that thing had said, ‘You have been logged out’ like our smart phone voice responder, I would have totally freaked out!”

I Write: Mortal — Chapter 2

Zola looked out of Nerea’s dormitory room window. The sky was black but the school grounds’ lights were turned on.

“Gee, it is as bright as a stadium around here,” Zola remarked.

“I actually like it. Makes you feel safer, especially when you’re returning to the dorm late at night,” Nerea replied.

“Nerea, has anything bad ever happened that prompted the school to light the place up like it is Christmas?” Zola asked curiously.

“Well…” Nerea’s voice faded off. It took her about a minute before she continued, “I supposed so. I’ve only heard rumours but they are so preposterous that I much rather just dismiss them.”

“What do you mean?”

Nerea’s brows furrowed for a moment before she answered, “Supernatural stuff. Like monsters lurking in the dark. That kind of thing, which is definitely not my favourite topic to discuss.”

“Oh, right, sorry about that!” Zola quickly apologised.

With that, the momentary tension in the room eased as Nerea’s face relaxed. She said, “Well, now you know where to find me. Room 201. Level 2, 1st door. Got it?”

“Got it. You can find me at Room 111. I wanna head back to my room and rest now. I’m only in college yet I feel so old,” said Zola.

Nerea laughed, “Don’t worry about it. We all are. It gets really quiet by 10pm. That’s how old we are.”

“Well, looks like I’ll fit right in!”

The two girls giggled and said goodnight. Zola walked out of Nerea’s room and headed towards the staircase right beside it. As she was about to make her way down the stairs, she felt a sudden cool breeze on her neck. She turned around but there was nobody at the hallway. Zola felt uneasy. In the midst of trying to shake the uneasiness off her, she jumped at a sudden sharp sound but then heaved a sigh of relief when she realised it was made by a girl who slammed the door behind her as she made her way to the bathroom at the opposite end of the hallway.

Zola calmed herself down and walked down the stairs and to her room. She felt better as she made her way through the noisy level one hallway, full of the new girls who were excitedly visiting and comparing one another’s rooms. Zola then realised that she has yet to befriend a freshman like herself. She felt a little lonely but cheered up at the thought of her new classes the next day. She would be able to make friends with them then. Zola entered her room and locked the door. As she sat on the edge of her bed, she felt a desire to look out of the window.

She had a slightly different view outside compared to the one she got in Nerea’s room. She could see the school lake better and felt deeply satisfied by the view. She was too busy unpacking and settling into her room that she did not take the time to appreciate the view. Zola leaned backwards until her back was fully laid on the bed. She shifted herself to position her entire body on the bed. Before Zola could even think about anything, she fell asleep.

The night air around Arevig College was still. Arevig College was always known for its serene physical environment. But that stillness was broken momentarily when a car pulled up to the foyer of the boys’ dormitory.

“Dude, what took you so long to get here? You missed orientation!” Afif exclaimed as he welcomed the sight of a bespectacled dark haired boy.

“How is that your first concern?! Shouldn’t your priority lie in something else?” the dark haired boy retorted with amusement at his friend.

“Don’t worry about it, Anar, she’s safe,” Afif patted the dark haired boy’s shoulder.

Anar looked at Afif with a slight worry and said, “I really hope so. I tried to convince her not to come here after what was revealed to us.”

Anar sighed and continued, “But to each, his or her own. That’s the way it has always been with human beings.”

Afif smiled knowingly to acknowledge the truth in his friend’s words. He looked up into the sky to search for the stars and found them glistening brightly. He then looked down to see Anar doing the same thing.

“Even angels need a break once in a while. Tonight is a good time for that. The stars will watch over her. Here, let me help you with your things and then I’ll show you the place to park your car,” Afif broke the silence and reached for Anar’s luggages.

“Thanks, mate! If you don’t mind, can we stretch our wings for a little bit before we make our way back to the dorm from the parking lot?” asked Anar.

Afif nodded and paved the way to Anar’s room.