Diana entered the lobby of her shabby apartment. Unclenching her hands, she furiously wiped the little droplets of tears left on her eyelashes and climbed the rickety staircase leading up to the studio unit. After closing the door behind her, she sunk onto the floor. Diana leaned onto the wall and put her head between her knees. She felt weak. She couldn’t remember the last time she ate. Was it two days ago? Or three?
Diana did not remember.
She knew that her fridge was empty but couldn’t be bothered to go grocery shopping. She felt desolate. After what felt like hours, she pushed herself up and trudged towards her bed and plopped onto it, staring up at the ceiling. Diana’s apartment was as empty as her. It had no photographs, no paintings, no plants, no personal artifacts, nothing. A bed was haphazardly placed in the middle of the small space, a lumpy mustard armchair sat by the tiny window, and the open kitchen was right by the bathroom. Small beams of light shone through the narrow window, illuminating the ceiling. …
The dove’s frail wing lay on its side, still and heavy,
She sat under the shade of a towering oak tree, its leaves floating around like burning embers.
The pale snowy feathers ruffled in the wind, each gust stole more and more of her hope away.
Mellifluous chirps rang about the field, amalgamating with the autumn sunlight.
She wanted to be free.
Pain wrapped around her wing, its thorny vines digging into her flesh.
Despair crept closer, waiting to pounce.
She looked up; the sky was beckoning her with a warm smile.
Hope clawed back at the vines.
The stars always spoke to her, for as back as she can remember, they talked to her. Their whisperings came and went like the summer rain, sometimes in little rivulets, and sometimes like raging thunderstorms; pouring down onto her in torrents. It never bothered her though. She liked to hear them talk. Their voices soothed her like a mother’s comforting touch. They had been her only companions for so long. She confided in them like they did to her.
Every night like clockwork she would scale her favourite tree, climb up to the highest branch possible, and take refuge under it, and look up into the heavens. That tree was her safe haven. The thick, lush green canopy, the twisting branches, the bright yellow and red fruits, she loved them all. She loved the seemingly infinite vastness of the night sky. …
Times Square was lackluster. Vega stood in the middle, taking in the flashing billboards, the vibrantly dressed people, the lively storefronts, and bubbly chatter. Despite the cheerful landscape around him, everything seemed overwhelmingly monochrome. He saw everything in greyscale. That’s just how Vega viewed the world, colorless and grim. It hadn’t always been this way, the constant and persistent bleakness. When he was a toddler, he remembered everything around him being splashed with bright colors. His surroundings used to be as effervescent as his own emotions and soul. He had never felt tethered to the shadows back then. He had not opened the Door to the parasitic ire then, not taken that forked road. If a child Vega was the brightest spot in the stars, then a young adult Vega was the harbinger of darkness and wrath. He had been tied down to rage, chained to resentment, and carried an unquenchable thirst for revenge. By then, his world had already been painted with gloom. The Door had already been kicked wide open. The only difference a young adult Vega had with his present self was that he still had a spark inside of him back then. Vega now had nothing. His life was as dreary as his own emotions. …
The light from the flickering candles reflected in his deep amber eyes like a thousand twinkling stars in the night sky; glimmering, shining. She gulped, wringing her hands around on her lap. It was a cool autumn night and they were sat on a plush red blanket set out on her sprawling apartment balcony. He had on the large red hoodie that she loved so much, the one that he let her borrow countless times, laughing at how it almost swallowed her up.
“So, what time do you leave tomorrow?” …
The Other Side
“Ladies and gentlemen, this will be our last broadcast as the rogue planet Celestia is set to collide with our planet in approximately twenty minutes. It has been our greatest privilege to bring you the news. Be with your loved ones, feel no fear; and we will see you on the other side. Farewell and love to all,” said the pretty blonde news host with a shaky voice and teary eyes.
The channel then cut off to a live broadcast of the vast aqua planet dominating the sky, reminding every soul of their inevitable fate. Seven people huddling around the living television set stared at it dazedly. Ever since they had been young, living through the horrific conditions of their orphanage, they had decided that they would be a family. They met each other when Mark was five, Ella had been four, same with Jae and Jackson, Haru had been three, and the youngest of them, Rick and Chen, had been two. Pretty quickly they had stuck onto one another, all of them clinging onto Mark. They learned everything about each other, like how Jackson is from Hong Kong and is scared of everything that moves, how Rick is very much into fashion loves to rile up Jackson, how Haru loves every single living thing and would even adopt a crocodile if he could, how Chen loves to dance and is actually still a child inside despite what he might say, how Jae loves photography and he may as if he’s annoyed with them all, but would actually give his life for them. …
Every night she traverses the land and skies, jumping from cloud to cloud, tree to tree, passing every city, every forest. She loves to dance across the tepid ocean waters, waltzing with the reflection of the heavens. Every breeze is her tranquil sighs, every thunderstorm is her anguished rage. She draws out the fate of the world with soft touches. She neither a myth nor a legend. She is the night as her other self is the day. A flower blooms with every beat of her heart. Every leaf grows with her love and care, she has every tree under her watchful gaze. She is as old as time. Her footsteps birth every little being across the planet like forks of light. Under the radiance of the stars, she visited the moon every night; showing images of lush untouched forests. Glowing flowers fell from her flowing hair onto the lands below as she sang of the sorrows of her decaying home. She then would fly away, leaving behind a trail of glistening saplings. …
World Food Program (WFP) workers bear witness to countless alarming sights in their line of work, so WFP started a mental health campaign. Dipayan Bhatt, a WFP employee shares some of the most traumatizing things he experienced in his line of work.
Standing in front of the cramped assembly hall, Principle John Roberts of the British International School of Jakarta shook. His immaculately pressed white collared shirt crumpled around his waist as he informed the elementary student body about the 26 Dec. 2004, Boxing Day tsunami that had devastated Indonesia just the month before. …