I Write: Mortal – Chapter 6

“Venera? Care to explain?” Anar prompted for the second time.

“Okay, I will but let’s at least secure the school grounds first. Our witch kins are securing the forest as we speak now. The Qakkirs must not cross over into the land of kiths,” Venera replied.

Anar showed a sign of disapproval on his face but quickly hid it when he got Zola to look at him and said, “I have to go now. I need to help them but I will bring you to the infirmary first.”

Zola nodded weakly. There was not much that she could do anyway.

“Come follow me,” Anar said gently.

Zola hesitated. Anar seemed to have understood her instantly when he said while pointing towards the nearest stairwell, “It’s okay. We’ll take the stairs down. The staircase is right next to the corner there.”

Zola felt immensely relieved that she did not have to disappear into thin air like Afif and Johnson did.

She quietly followed Anar, who measured his stride to suit Zola. She was suddenly overcome by a sense of appreciation she never had for him. The guy who chaired the computer club at her high school… The guy whom she found to be boring… The guy who had been her friend for some good years….

However, her wandering mind was jolted when Anar suddenly turned to her to say, “We’re here.”

Anar opened the door to a very spacious room filled with many occupied beds. There were a few students whose faces she had seen before. She had not have the luxury of knowing everyone yet given that school had just started for them. Unfortunately, it seemed that she might not be able to get to know them for a long time.

Anar placed his left hand on her right shoulder and said, ” Come on. Have a seat over there.”

He led her to a corner with a sofa set. They sat together on the three-seater couch.

“Just rest here, okay? You can lie down if you want to. I need to help the school now,” Anar said gently before standing up to leave the room.

Zola remained quiet as Anar left the infirmary using the door. Zola found it comforting that he did not vanish in front of her.

Perhaps he chose not to?

Zola did not know what to think anymore. She decided to take up Anar’s suggestion and positioned her body to lie fully on the couch she was sitting on. She was quite surprised to find that the light above was not glaring at all. In fact, the light felt extremely soothing and calming. In a matter of moments, Zola dozed off, unaware that Anar too had disappeared outside the infirmary.

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I Write: Mortal — Chapter 5

Just before Zola could approach the girl sobbing on her right to comfort her, two student councillors escorted the girl out of the hall. They moved so quickly that Zola could not find the chance to speak to them.

Zola took another look at her surroundings. The hall was fast being emptied out, which allowed her to see a more familiar face.

“Afif!” Zola finally found her voice.

Afif acknowledged with a nod and held out his hand to her to signal her to wait for him.

Zola waited patiently for a good five minutes while Afif tended to a wounded male student. Once he was done, the student was wheeled away and Afif made his way to Zola.

“How are you holding up, Zola?” Afif asked without delay.

“I’m…I’m just…in shock,” Zola tried her best to finish her sentence.

Afif looked at her sympathetically and then took a seat beside her. He sighed, while his visage wore a frown. Clearly, there was something he needed to tell her but he didn’t know how.

“Where is Nerea?!” Lyuben bellowed as he entered the hall. Zola and Afif looked up at him. Afif rose from his seat to face him. Zola turned to look at where Venera had left Nerea previously but she was missing.

“Calm down, Lyuben,” Afif used a controlled voice to counter Lyuben’s outburst.

“Just tell me where she is!” Lyuben cried out.

“She was just here with me. Venera left her here with me,” Zola chimed in.

“Then where is she now?!” Lyuben sprang towards Zola but Afif quickly held him back.

“We’ll find her. There’s no need to flip out like that. Zola is still in shock. You can’t find her like this. Right now is not a good time to act this way. We already have a situation in our hands,” Afif said while maintaining his grip on Lyuben.

“But -“

Afif turned Lyuben’s face towards him and looked deeply into his eyes. Zola noticed a drastic change in Lyuben’s gaze, which made her feel bewildered.

What the hell was that?

The two guys broke their gaze and Lyuben stepped back, looking slightly overcome. Whatever hold that Afif had over him must have worked as Lyuben slumped himself beside Zola weakly.

Seriously, what the hell was that?

Zola wondered.

“Afif, I need a report. Are the wounded tended to?” A familiar voice interrupted Zola’s thought. Venera arrived looking slightly frazzled.

“Yes, the injured kins have been relocated to the infirmary below and
all kiths who were wounded have been sent to the hospital,” Afif said dutifully. “The wardens will explain to the kiths’ hospital as discussed. I have dispensed the memory tampering potion you passed me to each one of the kiths, even the uninjured.”

“Good, I will need you to at the infirmary to check on their progress and let me know immediately when anyone is fully healed. I need every single one of their help to combat the Qakkirs.”

“Would you like me to recall our kiths’ guardian angels?”

Venera thought for a moment before replying Afif, “No, I will need them to monitor what is happening beyond Arevig’s grounds. I just want to be sure that the Qakkirs are confined to Arevig forest. More importantly, I want them to ensure that the kiths do not remember anything about this crisis.”

“Venera!” A sullen student councillor interjected while running towards her. “We have ensured that all the kiths have been safely escorted and transported out. Potions are also dispensed to them.”

The student councillor noticed Lyuben nearby and went towards him. He placed his hand on Lyuben’s shoulder and said, “Nerea is safe.”

Lyuben looked up at the mention of Nerea’s name. The student councillor continued, “She is on the way home and safe. Do not worry about her anymore.”

Lyuben put on an appreciative smile and patted on the councillor’s hand, “Thanks, Johnson.”

The councillor by the name of Johnson then turned to Zola and his face became more sullen. “Venera, why is she allowed here?”

“I need her here, Johnson.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I’m not sure myself, which is why I need her to stay here until I’ve figured it out. Her middle name is Chichi.”

Johnson raised his eyebrows and turned away from Zola. “Whatever it is, figure it out quickly, Venera, for her safety.”

“Don’t tell me what to do,” Venera said, slightly annoyed.

Johnson chuckled and started walking away from them, “I’ll check on the action outside.”

Zola gasped loudly when she saw Johnson disappearing into thin air as he walked out. Venera, Afif, and Lyuben looked at Zola immediately.

“He… he…. he…” Zola tried to string her words together but failed as her trembling finger tried to point at the spot where Johnson disappeared.

“He’s such a show off, don’t mind him,” Venera said coolly. “Right, Afif, off you go to the infirmary now.”

“Like now? Like that?” Afif gestured towards Johnson’s disappearance spot.

“You might as well. We need to tell her anyway.”

Afif shrugged and vanished. Zola’s jaw dropped.

What the-

Before she could even finish her thought, she felt the heavy presence beside her lift off in a fluttering breeze.

Is there a window?

But when she turned to look at her side, Lyuben was no longer there. And there was no window.

Zola felt incredibly faint. Venera looked sadly at Zola. She hated this so much; overwhelming any kith with knowledge they should not be having. Just as Venera was about to address Zola, she noticed someone approaching them.

“Anar!” Zola recognised the person immediately and ran to him and hugged him. She was surprised at herself for doing so and she was even more surprised that she did not care in doing so. Anar blinked in disbelief and looked at Venera sheepishly.

It took a while for Anar to snap out of his temporary confusion. He looked at Venera and mouthed, “What’s going on?”

Venera sighed in reply.

I Challenge: Boho Berry Challenge – December: Year-End Review (28 December 2018)

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Wowsies. I actually did a challenge and completed it! Yay! It is the Boho Berry December Challenge!

Just click on the picture to know what it is all about. I’ve linked it to Boho Berry’s site regarding the challenge itself. I’m psyched to share my answers to the challenge right here.

Firstly, of course, I would like to thank my husband, Beedin, for supplying me with the notebook in which I did the journalling challenge.

It is just a small pocket notebook with blank pages in them, which proved useful in letting me doodle here and there. Thanks, Bee!

Secondly, I copied the list of topics in the challenge so I didn’t have to refer to my phone each time.

Yeah, I had a little fun handlettering the title but as you can see, I clearly lack spatial awareness. Just crammed the entire title up there on the page.

Next, I proceeded to do sort of a cover for the challenge. Was inspired by Amanda Rachel Lee’s December 2018 Bullet Journal set-up. Have a look at the following video.

Now have a look at my doodle. Bwahahahaha! So far away from her creation.

Then I went ahead with contributing to all of the topics.

1. Introductions

2. 2018 in Three Words

3. Favourite Memory

4. Biggest Accomplishment

5. Biggest Challenge

6. This Year, I…

7. Time Well Spent

8. Successes

9. Could Have Gone Better

10. Money Well Spent

11. Progress Towards Goals

Not going to share a sharp image of the above as I feel those goals are quite personal. But you can see them anyway if you put in the effort. HAHAHAHAHA!

12. New Skills Learnt

13. Breakthrough Moment

14. Smart Decisions

15. Good Habits Formed

16. Bad Habits Broken

17. Unfinished Business

18. Theme/Word for 2019

19. Start Doing

20. Keep Doing

21. Stop Doing

22. Out of My Comfort Zone

At this point of sharing, I believe I became less retrospective and more prospective instead. I think this topic should cover an event in 2018 where I got myself out of my comfort zone. Instead, I recorded what I would like to do in 2019 that would take me out of my comfort zone. But for the record, yeah, going on The Mummy ride for the second time sure was a step out of my comfort zone. All done for love’s sake! Hahahaha!

23. Setting Intentions

24. Something New

25. Self-care

I’ll just continue the sentence here: to…remain soft and smooth all year round.

26. Contribution, 27. Education & 28. Career

Once again, these turned out to be less retrospective than they were supposed to, I feel.

29. 2019 Will Feel Successful If…

30. Top Three 2019 Goals

31. Lessons Learned

There we go! Finally Huda has successfully completed a challenge! Yippy!

I must say that doing this exercise really helped me to have better ideas on how I’d like to plan out my 2019 Bullet Journal. I was really forced to sit and think through some of the topics. You can try it and you will also find that it can be tedious in certain aspects, especially when you are forced to think quite hard on life questions that you would sometimes prefer to leave unanswered. Muahahaha!

I hope everyone reading this would feel drawn to journalling and picking up similar challenges and more importantly, complete them. It would really organise your thoughts better and help you see your life from a different angle and reassess it.

Fun fact: It took me 40 minutes or so to do up this post, mostly in snapping the photos of the entries and positioning them under each heading. I wanted to start on my 2019 Bullet Journal but I’m starting to feel burnt out from just doing this post.

Yes, I have been feeling burnt out from doing little tasks recently. I think my depression is worsening but the reality is, I can never get it checked.

Because no one would believe me? Not sure. But I think it has been so overly glamourised that I much rather not deal with it.

Simple things have become so difficult to do. I take a longer time to do things that can be done in a minute or even a heartbeat.

And I feel so downright tired all the time.

Or maybe it’s just my diarrhea.

Welp.

And Allah is Ar-Razzaq, the Total Provider. – MM

I Ramble: 27 December 2018

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Meowsies.

Where do I even begin.

About ushering in 2019? Summarise 2018 and wrap up the year? About games and gaming? About being ill? About my husband? About life? About journalling? Ai yai yai yai yai. So many things yet so little energy for anything.

Maybe we’ll start with the following photo.

This is me taking a shot of my television, showing a gameplay of The Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End on PS3 by my husband.

Yup, it’s close to eleven PM when we were playing a bit of POTC. I firstly want to express that I enjoy being married to someone who not only shares my hobbies but also engage in them. Best part is that neither of us were overly particular about how each other play. I must admit that I wanted him to save his gameplay on a separate file but then my better judgment got me to realise that hey, I can always replay the level if I ever feel like immersing myself fully in the game or being a completionist through collecting every single item and unlocking every chest and so on. There isn’t any pressing need for me to not share the gameplay anyway. But yes, if I was working on unlocking achievement seriously, I wouldn’t let him have the controller. Hahahaha!

The game was a fortuituos buy. Remember, I wanted to buy the first installment of Uncharted? Well, my husband and I stumbled upon a copy at Games Resort @ Compass One. It costs $30. My husband was telling me to just get it as PS3 games have noticeably dwindled in the shops. But when you’re the sole breadwinner of the family, you will obviously get sensitive about the price. $30, albeit half the price of what PS3 games usually cost, is still a pinch to me. So I decided not to get it from Compass One. Then, just yesterday, I jio-ed mum to go to Tampines Mall to look for a bullet journal. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the journal I wanted to get but then I remembered there were two game shops at one of the levels. The first shop that I went to didn’t carry Uncharted so I decided to try the adjacent shop, GameXtreme. I found a copy and it costs $25. So I thought I might as well get it because I don’t know when my next trip to Tampines will be and that I probably couldn’t get a better deal anyway. Lo and behold! Just as I wanted to make payment, the dude noticed a sticker on the case and said, “This one three for $10. Go and get two more with a sticker.”

Gnarly! What a deal! So I grabbed POTC and Assasin’s Creed: Brotherhood because nothing else interest me. For POTC, I played it on Wii before and I really enjoyed it so I thought I’d play it again on PS3 instead. Then I simply chose AC because my husband likes the franchise. Wow. It’s so different when you’re a single gamer and when you’re a married gamer, huh? Hahahaha!

So yup! Lucky me bought Uncharted for just 1/3 of $10 instead of $30. That’s like…errr…my fractions is not good. 1/3 of 1/3? Cos you know, it is like three times less of three times less? Oh, bollocks, nevermind me. Point is, it pays to be frugal. And nice. Cos nasty customers won’t get good recommendations. Muahahahaha!

So that’s about yesterday and games and gaming. It’s been a while since I’ve touched my console so I feel the vertigo pretty damn badly this time. My head just fucking hurts all the time now. Sheesh.

Oh, yeah, I mentioned about wanting to get a bullet journal. I know, I can just use any old notebook but I really wanted to emulate the creator of the bullet journal and I think that the dots would be pretty helpful in making markings and estimating the amount of space I need for certain sections of the bullet journal.

So there goes the dream. I know I can just get it online but like I said, I have to be frugal as I am the only person who is holding the money.

But yeah back to gaming, I haven’t started on Uncharted yet ironically enough. Hahahaha! That shows just how much I enjoyed playing POTC on Wii. To be honest, I can’t recall going through the same sort of experience on the PS like I did on the Wii! Let me just check for a moment if my instincts are true. Both versions really feel a whole lot different to me! Or is it I’m demented? Let me just check for a sec.

Oh yes, they are indeed different! Oh, my God! I recall smashing crates a lot more in POTC Wii and spending more time in the sea prison in the beginning chapter. POTC PS3 is like a super condensed version of the movie and I didn’t spend as much time in the beginning chapter.

Oh, wow, wow, wow! Nonetheless, this PS3 version that is new to me, is still enjoyable. It does have that Uncharted feel in terms of having to figure your way out and scaling walls and shimmey-ing ledges. So I figured that POTC is a great warm-up game to gear me up for POTC.

I found out about the versions being different from GameSpot. Man, it has been a while since I’ve been there and blog there. Now, I miss blogging there about games and all that jazz. Really takes me back given just how much I have rambled on about games in this post! Felt like the good old times!

For a proper game post, I should write about the differences I experienced in both versions and whether I enjoy one more than the other. Apparently the Wii version is the same as the PSP and PS2 versions but the PS3 and XBox360 versions are different, with the XBox360’s varying slightly from the PS3’s.

Wow, amazing! We all discovered something new!

Anyway, I feel like I rambled on long enough. Will definitely want to complete the games I started playing on both the PC and on the PS3. Also, will definitely want to get back to bullet journalling and be more life-organised.

I really like to make up my own words sometimes. Just how do you guys live with me? Hahahaha!

And Allah is Al-Wahhab, the Supreme Bestower. – MM

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.