Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Circle Quartet: 14

Chapter 14

“I promise you, Alice. When I grow up, I’m going to be strong. Then I’ll be your hero of all time! I’ll never let anyone hurt you!”

It was Stefan’s promise when he was a kid. Stefan was a real special friend and for me he was my buddy and my best friend. Not only that, Stefan was my whole world.

We always spent time together as we went to the same elementary school. Stefan sat beside me in class and he’s the smartest. But he’s kind of a cry-baby if someone made jokes or fun to him and I was his shoulder to cry on. We shared the same hobby, the same favourite colour and same stuffs. For example, we used to collect the Power Rangers stuffs. We even got the Power Rangers suits for birthday presents. And yes, we were born on the same day. Isn’t that impressive?

We lived next to each other so if I wanted to play with Stefan, I just shouted from my bedroom window. His room was opposite to mine. We usually played at the backyard because our houses were in one compound. Mom and Aunt Amethyst always had their evening tea while watching us play.

And that’s why Dad and Uncle Azure decided to match Stefan with me. The simple ceremony was held and Stefan and I made a vow (Dad distributed a paper so we just read what’s written on the paper). It was the happiest moment in my life. Stefan, too, was really excited and he told me that he’ll marry me when he turns 20. He loved the number actually.

One summer night, Dad and Uncle Azure brought us to a small campsite – owned by the Silver family. We’re having nice little summer camp there. We built a campfire and Uncle Azure played guitar while we all sang some songs. Of course the Country Road song was on the lists. Mom and Aunt Amethyst cooked mushroom stew – which is my favourite until today.

Because it’s too early to go to bed, Stefan asked me to go look around the campsite. Before that, we got the permission from our parents who were busy gossiping and discussing about golf – Dad and Uncle Azure of course. Jeff and Zayne on the other hand were making their own project which I didn’t know anything because it’s boys’ stuff.

Both of us are can see clearly in the dark so it’s easy for us to walk around. Suddenly, the bushes shook. Stefan and I stayed stiff and Stefan picked up a stick. Something was inside the bushes and I could see a pair of red eyes staring at us. Then it growled.

Stefan told me to run but I didn’t want to leave him there, alone. The thing that was hiding in the bushes suddenly approached us. It was a bear; a big black ugly bear. Stefan tried to hit it with the stick but to no avail. That bear was getting angry. We ran and screamed for help. The bear was chasing us.

I ran as fast as I could but I tripped on a root and fell. Stefan tried to help me but the bear was getting nearer. Suddenly, Stefan’s eyes changed to silver. Brown fur was growing all over his body. This was the first time I’ve seen him changing. In one blink, Stefan was now a werewolf. Not really a werewolf but a werecub because of his small appearance.

He lunged to the bear and scratched its face and body. He bit the bear’s neck but the bear was too big for him. Suddenly another wolf, this time it was bigger, jumped to the bear and bit its neck. The bear howled in pain and retreated. The big wolf chased after it. I stood up even my feet were wobbling and trembling in fear.

I was very grateful that Stefan saved me. I ran to him but he growled angrily at me. I was stunned as I could see his silver eyes were glowing. He barked at me and I told him that I’m his friend. I tried to touch him so that he’ll calm down but he bit my right arm. I screamed in pain. Uncle Azure appeared and hit Stefan’s head with one blow. Stefan fainted and slowly changed back to his normal being. My arm was bleeding so Dad took me to the hospital. I couldn’t heal on my own that time.

After the incident, both Stefan’s and my family moved. My family moved to the mansion while Stefan moved to the other states because the Silvers received a mission, a dangerous one. I haven’t seen Stefan after that. I just wanted to know why he did that to me. Dad told me that it was an accident because Stefan couldn’t control his new power yet.

Five years passed and Dad received phone call from Uncle Azure. He was so excited because the Silvers moved back in town. Mom was happy too. Coincidently, Grandma Zelda was holding a party so the Silvers were invited too. I was so glad to hear the news because I could meet Stefan once more. Maybe he’s grown up to be strong, just like he said before.

I was wearing a beautiful red glittering gown that night while Jeff wore a black tuxedo just like Dad. I was so excited to meet Stefan that I couldn’t help smiling all the time. Grandma Zelda announced the arrival of the Silvers. I quickly shuffled to the front to meet them. Stefan was getting taller and he looked so handsome in his tuxedo.

Dad called me to meet the Silvers and Uncle Azure praised at my lovely gown. Aunt Amethyst hugged me and she said she loved my haircut. I said hello to Stefan but he didn’t say anything. He just stared at me and glanced away. I was dumbstruck of his behaviour. He never acted this way before. I asked him why but he just walked away and left me.

I could feel my heart crumbled and scattered like pieces of jigsaw puzzle. And yes, it’s hurt. I’ve been ignored by my own best friend whom I worshipped most. He’s changed. I could see that. I held my tears from flowing down. It wasn’t the time to cry. I glared at him with full of hatred. I won’t forgive him, ever.

He started to talk to when we’re in high school. Actually he just said hi or nodded or told me that his mother sent regards. We never had a long friendly talk liked we used to be. He acted like nothing ever happened between us and that made me hated him more.

I told my Dad once that I wanted to cancel my engagement with Stefan but Dad refused to do that. It will break the family rules.

“Just because of the Silvers are very close with us it doesn’t mean I have to marry their son?” I said to Dad one day when he came to my room to talk.

“You got to understand, Alice. I promised Azure that if I have a baby girl, then she’ll be married to his son. I thought you’re happy about this. Both of you have already made a vow,” said Dad, consolingly.

“That was a long time ago. I was a little kid and that was not a true vow. You made us read what had written in that paper, remember?” I sighed. “Besides, werewolf and vampire are supposed to be rivals. They can’t be together.”

“Alice, you’ve been reading a lot of fiction about vampires and werewolves. Look, this is the twenty-first century. Anybody can get married to whoever they wanted to. I married your mother who is a witch. A lovely witch, by the way,” Dad smiled and when I stared at him, he cleared his throat. “And your Uncle Archie married with a shape-shifter. And we are happy living together.”

I folded my arms to my chest, still not satisfied with Dad’s answers. Then I told Dad that Stefan doesn’t even like me. But Dad said Stefan was shy because he has grown up and it’s normal for a guy who feels embarrass when they wanted to talk to the girl whom they loved. Then he told me the day that he met Mom and I had to listen from the beginning of his love story until the end.

When Dad left the room, I pondered for a while. I have to forget about Stefan. I took out my old albums which are full of old pictures of me and Stefan when we were small and locked them in a chest in the basement. I didn’t want to look at them anymore.

Ghost Story #2

Year: 1990

This thing happened after the orang-utan ghouls incident. No one said a word about that anymore although that 'thing' was still there. I never played under the house again even in the morning. I never dared to take a peep under the house.

Every night, my late grandmother will go to the mosque which is the opposite side of the road. But that night, she wasn't quite well so she stayed home and looked after us. She usually performed her prayers in her room. In that house, there's only two small rooms. The living room was the biggest because there was only an old TV set on the corner. No sofas, no dining table.

My parents went to my other relative's that night and they only brought my brother along. I stayed at my late grandmother's house with my cousins. We played among ourselves; rolling, giggling. Then my cousin started to tell ghost stories. His sister warned him not to tell ghost stories anymore but he was very stubborn. He told about 'nenek kebayan' (the term for witch in Malays) and she liked to eat little children.

I didn't feel anything as he continued talking about 'nenek kebayan' because I knew that he was telling lies. He asked me if I was scared or not but I shook my head. His story didn't make any sense to me. Suddenly, someone knocked on the door. We were taken aback and my female cousin - she was 2 years older than me, braved herself to ask who was knocking. It became silence. I thought that somebody was making a prank.

Then the door has been knocked again. This time it was louder. But it stopped after knocking five times. We stared at each other and shrugged. That time, I heard a cackle. It sounded like an old woman's cackle. I asked my cousins whether they head the sound but they didn't hear anything. Then I heard a voice of old woman, calling out my name. I was so scared so I ran to my grandmother's room. She was praying at that time. My cousins rushed to the room too.

After my grandmother finished praying, she scolded us because we made lots of noises. We told her about the knocking door and I told her that I heard an old woman's cackle. But my grandmother won't believe us and told us to go to sleep. We decided to sleep with her. 

I was awaken in the middle of the night. It was dark for my grandmother switched off the lamp. When I tried to get back to sleep, I heard that woman's voice again, calling my name. It's getting louder and louder. I covered my ears and I could heard her laughter.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Country Road

This song is sang by Olivia Newton John.

The original singer is John Denver. But I prefer this one :-)

For you, Stefan <3

Circle Quartet: 13

Chapter 13

My family did a surprise visit this evening. I was so shocked, plus, dumbfounded when they shouted ‘surprise.’ I didn’t say anything but lunged at them and hugged them tight. I finally burst into tears, so as Ace and Sable – Sable cried the most. Jeff arranged another party for tonight and everyone couldn’t wait for that. Oh, Jeff also planned the surprise visit too. I received some presents and cards from my cousins. Grandma Zelda will give her ‘special’ present later. I hope I get something cool like sword or daggers. I can use them during the mission.

Abbie and I told them our result and they were all cheered. We have 3 more days to spend with our families before going to the Academy. And yes, we have to stay in a dorm. It’s like a boarding school, I guess. I didn’t have chance to roam around the Academy yet. Maybe after the registration day, I guess.

The party starts at 8 sharp at the Gathering Park. The park sounds like buzzing bees as there are more people joining the party. Half an hour later, the smell of roasted chickens and grilled beef perfumed the park. Ace is showing his grilling ability to Mack and Malcolm while Sable acting as a food critique. Jeff joins me and Abbie as he tells us a bit about the Academy. He has been in the Academy for years before he’s been transferred to the Assassin Unit. Jeff’s stories makes Abbie carried away and she asks a lot of questions on the missions. Abbie loves adventures just like I do. I think we will be a good partner.

The party ends earlier than the previous one because Mom and Dad have to go back home tonight. They have to go to work tomorrow while Ace and Sable are in the middle of special training with Grandma Zelda; they only have one day break. Jeff and I send our family to the nearest airport where Mom’s private jet is waiting. I hug Mom and Dad, again and they tell me to enjoy my new life in Academy. I promise them to send e-mail once a week.

I wave to them until they board the jet and stop waving until the jet is out of my sight. Jeff wraps his arm on my shoulders and tells me that they are going to visit me again.

“Wanna stay at my house tonight?” asks Jeff as he rides me to Uncle Santos’ house.

“I would love too,” I smile widely. I never been to his house before so I think I’m going to have a brother-and-sister day like we used to have. “But I need to get my stuffs first.”

Jeff nods and drives to Street 69. We stop at Uncle Santos house and I tell him that I’ll be staying at Jeff’s house for one day. Then I go to Abbie’s room and get my stuff; only the important ones. I stuff them in my bag pack.

It was nearly midnight when we reached there. I can hear the sound of ocean; the waves hit the sand. So Jeff is living near the beach, I guess. Jeff takes me to my room which he already reserved it for me in case I’ll be staying here. And yes, I like the room very much with red and black theme. Jeff knows my favourite colours.

I wake up earlier than usual because I had a good sleep last night. I roam into the kitchen. The kitchen is quite small but very tidy. I open the fridge and there are lots of canned foods inside. I giggle as I take one can of tuna. Since when Jeff eats tuna? I think I’m going to make sandwiches. There is a loaf of bread on the dining table. Jeff will be happy if he knew that I made sandwiches for him.

I hum merrily while spreading the tuna on the bread. Then I heard a door been opened and someone is walking down to the kitchen. It must be Jeff. I can’t wait to see his face if he sees what I’m doing now. As I want to shout ‘good morning’ to him – I can see his shadow from here, my jaws drastically drop. The guy who enters the kitchen is not Jeff. It’s Stefan! And he’s only wearing a short!

I scream on top of my lungs while cover my eyes with both of my hands. The butter-knife drops on the floor. What is he doing in Jeff’s house? And why Jeff didn’t tell me that Stefan is here? He’s ruining my good-morning surprise!

“Alice! Alice! Calm down, okay?” Jeff rushes to the kitchen and gently shakes my shoulders. “It’s just Stefan.”

“Just?” I yell on top of my lungs. Jeff winces. “What is he doing here? Tell him to leave!” I point to half-naked Stefan who is staring at me bluntly.

“Hey, I didn’t do anything,” he raises his hands in offence.

“Put on your shirt, you idiot dog!” I shout at him. Stefan hurries to his room.

“Alice, calm down,” Jeff rubs behind my back, trying to cool me down. “Stefan is staying here with me before going to the Academy.”

“What? Stefan is staying with you and you didn’t tell me?” I shout in hysteric.

“Look, I’m sorry. I totally forgot to tell you. Honest. I didn’t mean to fright you like this,” Jeff hugs me. “I’m sorry, okay?” he mutters.

It takes 10 minutes for me to calm down. Stefan slowly walks into the kitchen after he puts on his shirt. He apologizes for scarring me like that he promise he won’t do that again.

My brother-and-sister day plan is totally ruin because of this stupid werewolf. Now I have to make extra sandwiches for him! Three of us are having breakfast near the cliff. I can see the line of horizon from here. And I also realize that Jeff is the only residence here. There are some shady trees standing on the left and right of the yard. Jeff’s house or should I say cottage is kind of suit him because he rarely lives here. As an assassin, he has to work 24/7.

Jeff tells his plan for today and he wants to take me to a small town nearby. Stefan is invited too, of course because Jeff can’t just leave him behind because of me. I am not agreeing into his plan but I don’t say anything about it. I have to stick to the plan. Somehow.

We decide to go to town after both Jeff and Stefan taking shower. As I walk back to my room, I realize that Stefan’s room is next to mine. Thank God I’ll be leaving this evening. Tomorrow, my life will begin. Living in a dorm is one on my wish-lists ten years ago.

The town is very peaceful, unlike Sewra where people busily bustling here and there. All they focus are work, work and work! But this little town is different. There are rows of small shops. I can see people talking with each other and some of them greet us as we are walking nearby. I can smell fresh breads from the bakery. And there are musicians too! I love this town! We stop at the bakery to buy some bread – actually I am the one who want the bread. I buy 5 garlic bread sticks and they are bigger than I ate at home.

Then we sit at the bench where the musicians play their violins and cellos. I tell Jeff that I really like this town so much and thank him for bringing me here. Then Stefan stands up and approaches those musicians who have just finish playing a song. Stefan talks to them and they nod and smile. Stefan takes the violin form the shortest man among the musicians and starts to play music.

 Wait a minute! Stefan can play violin? I really can’t believe this. The melody from the violin is very nice to hear. Stefan’s eyes are closed as he plays the violin. I don’t know much about classical music but I love this one! I stand up and walk up to him. He opens his eyes again and smiles as I our gazes locked.

“What’s the name of the song?” I ask him.

“It’s Canon by Johann Pachelbel. It’s about friendship,” he answers.

Jeff approaches us afterwards. Then he puts his hand on my shoulder. “It’s been a while since I hear you sing long time ago. Why don’t you sing a song?”

I’m taken aback of what he said just now.

“Sing a song for us, young lady. I’m sure you have lovely voice,” says one of the musicians.

This is embarrassing. I never sing in this kind of situation before. Yes, I joined choir when I was in elementary school and I loved to sing with my cousins in the bathroom before going to bed, but I can’t sing here.

“Only one song, Alice. I know one song that you like to sing when we’re kid,” says Stefan and plays the music.

I know this one! Country Road! It was my favourite song when I was small.

Take Me Home, Country Roads
Almost heaven, West Virginia,
Blue Ridge Mountain, Shanandoa River,
Life is old there, older than the trees,
Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze

Country Roads, take me home
To the place I belong,
West Virginia,
Mountain mamma, take me home
Country roads

All my memories, gather round her
Modest lady, stranger to blue water
Dark and dusty, painted on the sky
Misty taste of moonshine, teardrop in my eye

Country Roads, take me home
To the place I belong,
West Virginia,
Mountain Mamma, take me home
Country roads

I hear her voice in the morning hour she calls me
Radio reminds me of my home far away
Driving down the road I get a feeling
That I should have been home yesterday, yesterday

Country Roads, take me home
To the place I belong,
West Virginia,
Mountain Mamma, take me home
Country roads

Country Roads, take me home
To the place I belong,
West Virginia,
Mountain Mamma, take me home
Country roads

Take me home, that country road
Take me home, that country road

 I can here clapping and cheering as I finish singing. Then Stefan and I bow slightly and say thank you to everyone. Jeff join us too even though he didn’t sing. The musicians praise for my lovely voice. I think my cheeks are getting reddening.

That song reminds me when I was in pre-school. Our teachers chose this song for the choir competition and after that, that song always coming out from my mouth all the time. I still remember when Stefan made his first visit to my mansion, I asked him to sing the song with me while playing the grand. And we even share the seat as the piano’s seat was bigger to us that time.

We’re being best friend until that tragedy happened. The tragedy that I won’t forget for the past 10 years.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Ghost Story #1

Warning: This is the true story based on my experience. If you think that this story is a bull, then don't read.

I will tell you my experience with ghosts. Let me start from the year 1990.

I was in pre-school and playing house or dolls or 'masak-masak' (cooking) were my favourites. I always played these games in my pre-school during break. But I preferred playing my cousins more. I wasn't a talkative person back then so I didn't talk much in school.

It was school holiday break. Normally, during school break seasons, I went back to my hometown, Pasir Mas, Kelantan. It was a small village where my relatives from my Mom's side live.

I used to play 'masak-masak' under the house. You see, the houses were built higher to prevent from flood. Monsoon always hit here from November until January, where the long school break season started. Since it wasn't raining on that day, my female cousins and I decided to play 'masak-masak'.

There were chickens' den under the house too so sometimes we pretended to be chicken seller. I never even bothered about the number of pillars under the house. Because of my short figure, I could walk or run easily under the house. Suddenly, I felt something funny as I passed through the third pillar from the left. But I ignored the feeling and continue playing with my cousins.

That night, my late grandmother's brother, Tok Ayah, stopped by just to have a chat with my Dad and Ayah Long (my Uncle). They talked outside of the house near the stairs. I was playing at the veranda with my little brother. Suddenly, Tok Ayah told Dad and Ayah Long to go inside the house immediately. I too, have been ordered to take my little brother inside. Dad didn't say a word when I asked him why.

Next day, I heard from my cousin that there's something under the house, hugging the pillar. The third pillar from the left. I stared at the pillar that evening but there's nothing there. But that night, I took a peep from the stairs. There, I saw a black figure like an orang utan, hugging the pillar with chains wrapped on his body and neck. It growled as our gazes locked. Then everything went black.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Circle Quartet: 12

Chapter 12

 Uncle Santos picked me up at the station and he’s very happy to see me. I gave him a big warm hug. He picks up my two large bags and heads to the car. I haven’t seen Stefan and Tavis when I get down from the train. Uncle Santos puts the bags in the car boot and we’re ready to go.

I’m speechless as I enter Street 69. It’s been two years since I came here with my family for Family Day. Most of my relatives on Dad’s side live here. And yes, they are vampires. Genuine vampires. They knew that I’ll be coming so they put up some colourful banners saying ‘Welcome, Alice!’ I feel like I’m a superstar or something. But there’s no one on the street. Not even cats or dogs can be found.

Uncle Santos’ house is number two. The number one is Uncle Aaron’s house, Dad’s eldest brother. Aunt Sallie and her children cheerfully greet me. We hug and kiss on the cheek with each other and they ask me about my journey. I tell them that the train ride is quite interesting but I don’t mention about meeting Stefan and Tavis. Aileen, Aunt Sallie’s youngest daughter excitedly grabs my hand and shows me her play house with lots of teddy bears.

My cousin, Abbie, shows me her room. From now on, I’m sharing room with her as well as her two sisters, Adele and Aileen. The room is big enough for four people and I can see some collections of teddy bears at the corner. It must be Aileen’s. She’s addicted to teddy bears and each of them has the names tagged with collars.

I join them for hi-tea at the backyard. Aunt Sallie loves gardening, just like Mom. She even plants some herbs near the kitchen windows. They bombard me with questions about my families and school and Stefan. Adele wants to know how he and I get along. I just say that we’re good friends even though we’re not.

“There’ll be a barbecue tonight at the Gathering Park. All of us will be there and this barbecue is a special greeting for you, Alice,” says Aunt Sallie.

“Yeah, we even put the banners along the street. Have you seen them?” says Mack while munching on his cakes. He’s the only vampire who likes sweet things.

“I like those banners! You guys make me feel like I’m a superstar!” I giggle.

“Everybody is waiting for you, Alice. It’s been two years. So we decided to do something that will make you are welcome here,” Aunt Sallie smiles.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Circle Quartet: 11

Chapter 11

It’s another mundane Monday. The sky is quite gloomy and huge puffy grey clouds floating slowly. Rough wind shakes the trees which most of them are nearly naked. The branches sway like they are waving to the clouds. Winter is coming soon. I put on my thick maroon sweater and gloves. Sometimes I can’t stand the cold even after having a nice warm shower.

I join my family in the main dining hall. Aunt Ada cooks lots of foods today such as bacon sandwiches, porridge, tuna rolls, and mashed potatoes and of course my favourite food of all time, garlic bread with mushroom soup. Beatrice is the only one who is not here with us because she already left for her college. I think she’s going to be busy on her studies and missions.

After having nice breakfast – I ate up all the bread sticks and Aunt Ada packed me more garlic bread sticks, sandwiches and tuna rolls in two lunch boxes with two bottles of mineral water. Dad gets the car ready in front of the porch. Ace and Sable help me put the bags in the car boot and I check my things again before getting in the car. Mom trots to the car afterwards with Grandma Zelda.

Grandma Zelda hugs me and gives me a peck on both of my cheeks, telling me to be careful along the journey. My uncles, aunties and cousins waves me goodbye as I get on the car and rolls down the window. I wave them back and send some flying kisses to my little cousins. Ace and Sable join me afterwards. Dad honks the car and drives out of the driveway. I pop my head out of the window where the wind brushes my short and choppy hair and wave at the huge mansion.

Goodbye nice and spacious room. Goodbye big lovely mansion. Goodbye Sewra. Till we meet again.

17 years living in that mansion give me lots of good memorable days. I feel a little sad for leaving the house, the families. I nearly burst into tears but crying won’t help me in this situation. Life must go on.

We don’t talk much on the way to the train station. I know Ace and Sable are sad because I won’t live with them anymore. I know how they feel. It’s the same when Jeff had to leave too. Sable is the saddest among two of them. I think because he’s the youngest so he’s kind of sensitive. I can easily recognize the feelings written on his face, not like Ace. Ace is good in hiding his true feelings.

We arrive at the train station in 20 minutes. It’s been ten years since I boarded the train. The last time I boarded this train when I was 7 years old. But the train has hardly changed at all; it’s still the steam train. And yes, I’m heading to the same place like ten years ago. Not so many people prefer to board this steam train. Sable told me that he didn’t like it too. I know it’s because the train is slower than the electrical train. But still, I prefer this one. Although the journey may take some times, I enjoy watching the beautiful scenery along the way.

Mom gives me another big warm hug and so as Dad. Mom keeps reminding me about the do’s and the don’ts; she still thinks that I’m 7, not 17. Well, that’s a mother. Always worries about her children’s safety, especially to the daughters. Dad gives me the last pats on the back. Then I hug Ace and Sable and tell them to text or email me if they feel lonely. I don’t think they’ll be.

The train shriek in a shrilling voice, telling the passengers to board immediately. I take my two bags, wave them goodbye and board the train. I take a seat near the window and wave to my family again. The bell rings and the whistle whistles. It’s time to go. I can hear the chugging and the train slowly moves. I wave to them until I can’t see their figures anymore.

I look at the number on the ticket and search for my sleeping compartment. The compartment is quite comfortable with bed and a seat near the panoramic window. I put my bag pack on the bed and take a seat. I can see rows of tall buildings and houses. When I was little, Jeff and I love to sit near the panoramic window. Sometimes we popped our heads from the window to feel the wind blew on our faces. Sometimes we liked to wave at the people who lives nearby the railway.

Half an hour later, the train enters the countryside. This is the scene that I’ve been waiting. I can see lots of farms; farmers are doing their jobs and their live stocks munching the grasses. I can see some horses too. Few minutes later, my stomach grumbles. I decide to have my lunch at the dining section.

I take a seat quite far from the chattering folks; only few of teenagers that can be seen around here. I open my first lunchbox which contains 3 bacon sandwiches and 5 garlic bread sticks. As I munch the sandwiches, I spot a guy who is disturbingly familiar. He’s wearing a black leather jacket with dark blue jeans. Wait a minute! Isn’t that Stefan?

Our eyes meet and that guy approaches to my seat. It is Stefan! What is he doing here?

“Alice? What are you doing here?” he asks.

“What do you mean ‘what am I doing here’? What are you doing here?” I frown. This is getting suspicious. Is he following me?

“I’m going to the Academy but I will be staying at my friend’s house for few days. What about you?” he answers and sits in front of me.

“I’m going to the Academy too but I’m staying at my relative’s at Street 69,” I take another bite, not to bother to ask him if he wants some.

“You come here alone?” he asks.

Hello. Am I sitting with somebody else here?

“Yeah. And you?”

“Tavis is here too but he’s having a tantrum in our sleeping compartment. I think you should talk to him. He doesn’t want to listen to me,” he sighs. “Can you come with me after you finish your lunch?”

I think for few seconds and nod. Stefan thanks me and takes out his lunch box. We have silence lunch and after that I follow him to his sleeping compartment which is next to mine.

Tavis is pouting and look at the window. Stefan tells him that I’m here and Tavis turns to me and suddenly jumps from his seat and hugs me tight. He’s glad that I’m here. He lets go off me when Stefan clears his throats few times. I bring my lunch box and offer him the sandwiches.

He eats the sandwiches happily and tells me that he doesn’t want to come in the first place. Uncle Azure forced him to have his special training at the Academy for his carelessness. No wonder he’s been matched with Raina. Both of them are careless. I think Raina should have the special training with Tavis too rather than forcing her to memorize every single spell in three days. Raina love spell-casting so there will be no problem for her in doing that.

Tavis nags about Uncle Azure being unfair for half an hour. Stefan and I are being good listeners. As I see Tavis has let go all of his unsatisfying feeling, I ask him to play I Spot. He agrees and we start asking question of things that we spot along the way. Stefan joins the game too but his questions are too easy. Tavis then feels tired and falls asleep.

Before I leave the compartment, Stefan thanks me and at the same time apologizing for the trouble. I tell him not to worry because I enjoy listening to Tavis’ nagging. Tavis is just like Sable. They like to nag until they feel satisfied. I go back to my compartment and lay on the bed. I look at my watch; two more hours before I reach my destination. I think I’m going to catch few winks.  

Monday, 19 December 2011

Seize The Day

My old best friend, Kersani, dedicated this song to me. Thanks, old pal!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Circle Quartet: Chapter 10

Chapter 10

Our horse cart stops in front of a cave. The coach opens the door for us. As I step out from the cart, I know that we’re now in a country side. The place is surrounded by shady trees and I can hear the sound of birds chirping and the river flowing. I take a deep breath and exhale slowly. How I love the smell of nature! Jeff thanks the coach before he disappears. I know that the coach is one of Grandma Zelda’s henchmen.

“A cave?” whines Sable after he stretches his tired body. “I thought we’re going to the Main House of Circle.”

“Can you please stop whining? I have enough with are-we-there-yet questions back then,” I glare at him. Sable always complains and whines whenever he boards any vehicle except for the aeroplane. He doesn’t like to ride something that is slow.

“This is the right place, guys. Welcome to the 5th Stop, Calore Cave,” Jeff gives a warm welcome smile. “It looks like a cave on the outside because the House is heavily guarded by special binding spell. Did you have your invitation cards?” We nod in unison.

The first rule to enter the Main House is to have the invitation card. Nobody can enter without the invitation card. I printed the invitation card last night and fold it neatly and put it inside the cloak. We hold the invitation cards and step in.

In a blink, the cave turns into buildings like an ancient China palace. Palm trees line up beside the walkway. Bonzais are mushrooming everywhere. The green mown lawn paved the ground. We walk in a slow pace and look around with awe. This place is so amazing! The Main House stands proudly in front of us. The steps are covered with the finest marble and I can hear the clacking sound of my black leather shoes.

Strong, tall pillars standing at each corner of the House and there’s another huge stairs waiting for us. We climb the stairs that are coated with gold and reach at the hallway where rows of rooms stand both left and right. Each door has its number. Jeff tells us to look at the number in the invitation cards. The numbers represent the rooms and we must wait in that room before we’re being called by the Elders of Circle.

My room is number 17. That’s the sweet number because I’m now 17 (but I don’t think I act like one, though). I slowly twist the golden door knob and enter the room which is not too big. It has a sofa, a small cupboard, a mini fridge, a stand mirror, and an LCD TV pasted on the wall, facing the sofa. The room is air-conditioned and perfumed with citrus. I look around the room and stop in front of the mirror. I am wearing a tuxedo wrapped in a cloak – the dress code for vampires.

Suddenly the TV switches on by itself and Grandma Zelda appears. She makes me jump because I can see the reflection from the mirror. She ties her greyish hair into bun and she looks happy.

“Good morning, children. I hope that all of you are here by now. The meeting will start in 10 minutes. You may enter the Hall on the third floor. Bring your invitation card and no talking. Thank you.” The TV switches off. The time has come. I check the invitation card before leaving the room. I meet Beatrice and Raven but I just smile and nod at them. Rules number two: you can’t make any conversation in the hallway unless you are allowed to do so.

The Hall is like a parliament house. The seats arranged in U-shape, facing the two rows of seats; the Eldest of Circle and First-Rank Commanders. Each seat for Representatives has our names written on the desk. My seat is in the middle. Rule number three: You can sit down when your name being called. So, I have to remain standing and waiting for my name to be mention.

The Elders are already here and they are having whispering chit-chat. The Commanders, on the other hand, are just arrived and they are taking their seats. One of them is Jeff, sitting next to Uncle Anders, Mom’s eldest brother. There are four Commanders from each clan. The other two are Uncle Azure, Stefan’s father and Madison, Raven’s cousin from her mother’s side.

“Calling upon the Representative of the Amber clan,” Grandma Maegan, who is wearing the golden high-neck cloak, announces.

I bow and sit down. At last, after being tired of standing up, I can rest myself on the comfortable chair.

“Calling upon the Representatives of the Black clan,” Grandma Zelda announces. She looks magnificent in her golden satin robes.

The Blacks bow and take their seats. They are wearing black satin cloak with hood. As they sit down, they uncover their hoods and look around. I can see my cousins; Dafne, Andrew and Harold, sitting next to each other.

“Calling upon the Representatives of the Primrose clan,” Grandma Tanya announces. She looks rather young than my other two grandmothers because she’s wearing golden turtle neck jumper with a scarf curls to her neck.

Raven and Armand, her brother bow and sit down. Both of them wear cream sleeveless turtle neck jumper. Raven wears knee-length skirts while Armand wears khaki shorts. Our eyes are eyeing Armand for he’s the youngest among us all. I guess that he’s the rare type just like Jeff. If he’s not then he won’t be promoted to be part of the Circle.

“Calling upon the Representatives of the Silver clan,” Mr. Saba, who has long silver hair, announces. He’s Stefan’s grandfather and he looks handsome in his golden armour-like suit.

Stefan and his brothers take their seats. They are wearing grey leather jacket and gloves. Stefan looks cool but I don’t really like his unruly hair. He looks like he never combs his hair.

“Welcome to the Main House of Circle,” greets Grandma Zelda as she’s the Head of the Elders for this year. “Congratulations to all of you. You have made one good step ahead just like your parents. You have been chosen to be part of the Circle not only because of your bloodline but also your strengths, discipline and good skills. And this year we have another rare type just like Commander Amber-Black.” Jeff glances at Grandma Zelda and smiles. “May you come in front, Armand Primrose.”

Armand stands up and walks up to the front, between our seats and the Main seats. Then he bows to the Elders with honour. “Raise your head, young man,” says Mr. Saba. Armand slowly raises his head.

“Armand, you’ll be carrying two family names which are Primrose-Black. You are the youngest to carry this name. You have shown that you have great talents in shape-shifting and casting the spells,” Grandma Zelda smiles at him. Then Armand goes back to his seat.

And now, the main agenda begins. A sheet of agreement letter magically appears on our desk. Grandma Zelda explains briefly about the agreements. Our names have been written to each letter so all do we need is to read carefully before signing it. Back then, during Grandma Zelda’s era, they had to swear the oath by standing and read the oath loudly. Then they used blood as the signature of the agreement.

But in modern world like we are living in right now, we don’t need to swear loudly. All we need is to read the agreement letter and sign it by using a red pen in exchange of using blood. I read the letter carefully, word by word. The letter says:

I, Alice Amber, from the Vampire clan, swore to:

  1. Strictly adhere to the tasks and orders from the Elders.
  2. Complete all the tasks and missions that will be given.
  3. Join forces from other clan in certain missions.
  4. Take all the jobs with responsible and honour.
  5. Never betray the clan and the Circle.
  6. Keep secret of the clan from any other ordinary creature – especially humans.
  7. Not kill humans for pleasure or without explainable reasons.
  8. Be willing to sacrifice and die with honour.

I agree with all the rules stated above.

I read rules number eight few times. The missions must be harder than I thought. I confidently take the red pen and sign my name at the bottom of the letter. I put the pen back to its case at right top of the desk. When everyone signs theirs, Grandma Zelda clicks her fingers and the letters fly to her.

“You have signed the agreement. Before we adjourn our meeting, is there any questions would you like to ask?” asks Grandma Zelda.

Oh, please! Don’t ask questions. It’s kind of cold here even though I’m wearing tuxedo and a cloak. Raina raises up her hand. Everybody stares to her. Now what kind of question the she wants to ask? I hope that she won’t ask something ridiculous.

“Yes, Raina,” Grandma Maegan gestures her hand to Raina.

Raina stands up and clears her throat. Everyone can’t wait to what she’ll ask. “Is there any allowance for the complete mission?” she smiles sheepishly.

We moan in annoyance and roll our eyes. How dare she ask for the allowance?

Mr. Saba laughs out loud. Grandma Zelda clears her throat and makes Mr. Saba to shut his mouth but he still wants to laugh.

“Raina, I want to see you after this.” Raina gulps. “All off you may leave the Hall and have your lunch in the Dining Hall,” Grandma Zelda announces and she stands up.

All of us hurry to the Dining Hall, leaving Raina behind. I hope that Grandma Zelda won’t punish her like any other days.

Thursday, 8 December 2011


Here's another song that makes me feel energetic!


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Circle Quartet: Chapter 9

Chapter 9

“Hooray! Hooray! It’s a Holi-Holiday! What a world of fun for everyone, Holi-Holiday! Hooray! Hooray! It’s a Holi-Holiday! Sing a summer song, skip along, Holi-Holiday, it’s a Holi-Holiday!” Ace, Sable and I are enjoying ourselves while jumping here and there.

Holiday is the day that everybody is waiting for, whether we are too young or too old, like me. I still like jumping around either feeling joyous or ferocious. Sometimes I can get too excited that I don’t know why that I jump. Dad just laughs and shakes his head, reading his beloved Sunday Morning newspaper while Mom gives us warning nearly 4 times now. We don’t care whether we will be turned into dust-bunnies or whatsoever. We just want to jump, that’s all.

There will be no formal dinner with Grandma Zelda like usual today so I spend my whole mundane Sunday with my family in the family chamber. After we received the invitation to the Circle, we must not say any word about it to anyone except our own family. My cousins, too, are spending their time their families. It has become the custom before going to the Main House of the Circle which is located I-don’t-know-where. I never been there and when I try to ask my parents, they tell me that time will tell.

“Children, if I see you guys jumping on the sofa again, I’ll call your grandmother and cancel your name for the Circle. Don’t think that I can’t do that!” her hands on her hips while holding a feather duster. That thing can be helpful and can be dangerous too, for us.

We stop jumping around, giving her sweet smiles and carefully sit on the sofa where Dad is sticking his nose to the newspaper. I think he’s reading about the golf tournament for he is the big fan of Tiger Woods.

“Now be good children or your mother will combust this room and turn us all into a scorching lobsters,” says Dad, without looking at us. That’s how Dad gives his warning. We laugh guiltily and nod.

“How about you guys help me doing some cleaning rather than jumping around like a chicken lost its tail? Sable and Ace, you two clean the living room and you young lady,” Mom points to me with the fiery feather duster, “have to help me clean up the kitchen. Now!”

We scramble in panic like a scrambling black ant. I quickly go to the kitchen with Mom. She tells me to mop the floor as she’s already swept it. I pick a pail and a mop from the toilet and pour some floor detergent after filling the pail with water. The cleaning begins.

Mom loves doing house chores. She’ll do it every day whether she’s busy or not. If she’s busy, she’ll use magic but she prefers to do it by herself because this is her daily habit since she was young. She makes sure that everything is neat and tidy, no dust on the table and windows. The toilet must always smell nice and glitteringly clean. Not to mention that the books on the shelves must be neatly arrange.

Mom gives me permission to take an afternoon nap and I cheer and give her a sweet kiss on her cheek. She usually forbids me to sleep in the afternoon but now I need to suit myself to be active during night time. For a vampire, we are a night creature. We sleep in daylight and active at night. Unlike Dad who prefers sleeping at night because he works during daytime.

“And that’s why I’ve been thrown away here rather than being with my own clan,” he said one day when I asked him about it.

“You’ve been thrown away? That’s horrid!” My eyes widened.

“Just joking, little buddy!” he laughed and patted on my head.

Dad loves joking around just like my brothers. They always have some crazy ideas and ended with laughter. If Jeff joined them, it will be more hilarious.

Mom and I go to the grocery store to buy some ingredients for dinner. We are having beef stew and this time I’ll do the cooking. I’m not really good in cook (did I mention that earlier?). It’s the tradition from my Mom’s side that every daughter has to learn cooking and master it before they get married. Well, I’m still young and I think marriage is way too early.

“Today you are going to learn how to make beef and barley stew. So we need pearl barley, a turnip and of course the stew beef,” Mom says as we stroll in the frozen food and vegetables section. I look at the list that Mom made it before coming here and pick the stuffs that we need.

“How about wine?” I ask when we are going to the counter.

“I already ordered the wine. The best wine ever,” Mom smiles and we pay the goods. We go straight home after shopping the groceries and Mom seems happy today. She can’t stop smiling and when I ask her, she says that she’s enjoying herself. I think she’s hiding something from me. I try to read her mind but she blocks it with magic.

“Surprise!” I nearly drop the grocery bag as Jeff open the door with arms wide open. “I’m home!” He hugs me tight that I can hardly breathe.

“Jeff, let you sister put the grocery bag in the kitchen first. Then you can hug her,” says Mom. Jeff chuckles and says sorry.

I go to the kitchen and put the groceries in the fridge. Jeff helps me too. Then we go to the living room and he hugs me again.

“Happy belated graduation day, Alice. I hope that I’m not too late to say it. And I have some presents for you,” he takes out some paper bags. “This is for you two, Ace, Sable,” he hands the black paper bags to both of them. “And this one is for you!” he hands me the red paper bag.

Three of us gobble the paper bags. Ace and Sable get a wizard cloak. “Do you guys like it? I ordered them special for you, with your name at the back.”

“Thanks, Jeff! You are the best big brother ever!” They hug Jeff.

I get a box of chocolate and a vampire cloak.

“Thanks Jeff!” I hug him too.

“Hey, how come you’re the only one who gets the chocolate?” asks Sable.

“Because this is my graduation day present,” I smirk.

“That’s not fair,” Sable frowns. “Jeff, I want chocolate too.”

“I’ll give you for your next birthday, young man,” Jeff pats Sable’s shoulder. “Try the cloak, Alice. I think it suits you.”

I put on the cloak and stand in front of the stand mirror near the TV. I like it. This cloak looks cool.

“Okay, it’s cooking time. Alice, put away your cloak and come to the kitchen,” Mom gives order.

“You’re going to cook for dinner?” Ace does not believe what Mom just said.

“Of course. You got problem with that?” I frown at him.

“No, no, nothing at all. Just don’t blow up the kitchen,” he says and I smack him on the head.

We eat dinner together and everyone loves my beef and barley stew especially Ace and Sable. They are beef lovers, what can I expect. Jeff bought the best wine that Mom mentioned at the grocery store this evening. I don’t drink wine, actually. I prefer the blood. Jeff brings another box of supplies and this makes me happy.

“Are you having a break?” I ask Jeff when we are having ice-cream for dessert.

“Nope. I’m now a delivery boy,” he smiles and raises his eyebrows.

“A new job?” asks Dad.

“Not really. Grandma Maegan orders me to deliver the schedule to the Circle tomorrow. You guys,” he points to three of us with the spoon, “are going with me. You must be ready at 8 o’clock sharp. The meeting will start and 10. The late comers will be punished.” Now Jeff looks serious.