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DoodleScribbles

Scribblings and scrawls of a hopeless romantic soul

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short story

Three days later

tied haired woman wearing top photo – Free Neck Image on Unsplash

I must carry on. Live this life, get up, pick the debris of your memories scattered on the floor. Breathe.

The world has not stopped revolving, I see. And my mom’s bacon and egg smell just the same. She lives with me now — for the mean time — using old age as an excuse to tiptoe into my room and check my chest for a heartbeat at night. Don’t laugh. Don’t make the funny face you always do whenever I tell you about my mother’s excessive paranoia. “I know!” I used to say, eyes rolling as I jump into your arms for comfort.

On the way to work, the old man on the street who once sold us matching rings smiles. I touch a finger which now feels bare. At two minutes past 11 o’clock in the morning, a Fat Man explodes over my life. There you are, laughing from a distance, with a woman whose hands are wrapped around your waist. I never thought the space you asked is meant for somebody else.

The sun shines with a blinding white flash in the sky. What a cruel twist of fate to see you two on the fall of Nagasaki. It’s only been three days.

“Are you crying, child?” the old man asks.

I wipe my mascara-stained tears, take a deep breath and walk away. “This is nothing. The people who experienced the black rain had it worse.”

MS

Two years ago, I wrote a Haibun titled Memories Sting. It was supposed to center on the tragedy of love but it somehow alluded to the ordeals of war. Revisiting my old blog posts reminded me of how I love weaving fiction with real history — of how comfortable it was to write Heritage and Some battles.

This story is my attempt to reconnect with the old me. It is also a commemoration of the Nagasaki bombing which marks its 75th year today.

Image via Unsplash

Rose Among the Ghosts

restaurant

He stared through the dissipating smoke, fascinated how this woman evolved from a wilted rose to a flower in full bloom. She loves silence now —

though there’s never a quiet time when you’re with ghosts.

“What?” Ariella asks.

“What?” He echoes, smiling.

“That look,” she rolled her eyes. “You’re laughing at me.”

“Why? You asked for peace and we left you for three days,” he shrugs, teasing her with a poker face. “Admit it. You missed us.”

Ariella’s eyes widen but her mouth curved to a smile. “Pretend you don’t see me, Gustav.”

“You’re the one who’s pretending, my rose.”

Word Count: 100


Written for Friday Fictioneers, a weekly writing challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields where a photo is used as a prompt for a hundred-word piece of fiction. The photo prompt this week is a courtesy of Dale Rogerson.

Last week’s prompt, I was inspired by Ali and wrote a prequel to his story. This time, I’ve decided to continue being a literary parasite (if the word exist) and take inspiration from another writer. This one is inspired by J.A. Prentice’s flash fiction titled An End to Solitude. I’m normally a scardey cat when it comes to ghosts and not-like-ours but I love how he twisted his story and gave it a lighter angle. 🙂

Head over here to join the prompt!

Beginnings

“Was I?”

I look at him hoping to see mischief in those Houdini eyes. Perhaps ten years have blurred my memory. It wasn’t I who followed a stranger to that bookstore along Rue de la Bûcherie. What was it called? Ah, Shakespeare and Company.

I did not go out of my way pretending to eye those weather-beaten shelves, fingering book spines, thinking of a way to start a conversation.

“James Joyce lies buried in the cellar” was your desperate did-you-know. I can’t believe how I fell for that—

How I fell for you.

Paris is indeed full of exotic swindlers.

Word Count: 100


Written for Friday Fictioneers, a weekly writing challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields where a photo is used as a prompt for a hundred-word piece of fiction. The photo prompt this week is a courtesy of C.E. Ayr.

It has been a while since I’ve written for Friday Fictioneers and I am happy to be back this week. This one is inspired by Ali’s micro story titled Endings. As I have said (am I’m sure I’m not the only one), it’s rare to see him write about love and heartbreak. My hopeless romantic muse got thrilled and so here’s a prequel to his tale.. 😉

Head over here to join the prompt!

 

What Happiness Looked Like

“What is happiness, Grandma?” four-year old Jenny beamed, her eyes filled with curiosity and wonder.

It’s year 2090. The unlikely symbiosis between humans and computers over the years lead to the creation of Hyperworld. Technology evolved in ways nobody believed was possible to begin with. Man, like God, has come to defy the natural law. And there is no need for such thing nowadays.

With little Jenny on my lap, I described what happiness looked like. Happiness came in different forms but always with leaves. They whispered day and night. Their color changed with seasons. Winds carried gay trills of song. They used to make the world alive.

“Does happiness still exists, Grandma?” she asked.

My wrinkled hands brushed the faded photograph. It’s an awkward picture of me walking amid what people in bygone years used to call trees.

“I hope it does, angel. I truly hope it does.”

Word count: 150


I remember the first time I joined Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, a writing prompt hosted by PJ where we were challenged to weave a piece of fiction using 150 (+/- 25 words). It lead me to a (virtual) path treaded by the likes of Rosema, Jade, Mandi, Jessie, Davy D, Millie and Ali. Back then, we had all the energy and time create our own fictional worlds and let other writers in. Fast-forward to 2019, we found ourselves caught in buzz of the real. Some of us still writes (cheers!) while others hope to get back at writing (no, you don’t stop). Of the six flash fiction writing prompts I used to join in, only three are left active: Sunday Photo Fiction, Flash Fiction for the Practical Practitioner and Friday Fictioneers.

Anybody doing these prompts?

The Tragedy of a Common Daydreamer

My mind is graveyard of thoughts. Of things profound and absurd. Of words that faded in one breath. Left buried and unsaid.

Sometimes, like ghosts, they slip through my door— in the quiet of the night when I’m two seconds away from sleep. Pulling me up from the covers.

At times, in the middle of the day, they sit with me. Side by side. At work, when I’m staring too long at the screen. Or even when I’m randomly talking to my friends.

Remember day that when you told me about the tragedy of the commons? On how individuals tend to exploit / neglect the well-being of shared resources? For a second, Ayn Rand and capitalism came to mind.

But, like all worthy thoughts, I shrugged it away.

I let my mind wander with elves, pixies and silverdusts. I thought about how tragic must it be for other people not to trudge the earthy soil down to the very womb of nature. On how magical the day is with the leaves murmuring softly as the wind blows. The birds chirping from a distance completing the grand orchestra for just you and I to hear.

How tragic must it be for other people to think climbing the mountains is common.

Believe me, I almost choked on my lunch when that memory popped in my head. And I realized, I have killed another conversation with my fancies. We would have talked about Atlas Shrugged. You probably would have asked why I read this kind of crap. And though I do not agree with Rand’s philosophy, I would have told you the woman has got something right, too.

I would have love to hear what you think if I ask you whether the dream of heaven and greatness should be left waiting for us in our graves— or whether it should be ours here and now and on this earth.

But that time has long gone. This is the tragedy of being a common daydreamer. Being left with nothing but a candle for another dearly, departed conversation.

“Here lies Maria, finally one with her thoughts.”

If I were dead, my epitaph would probably read like this.

Remember, remember

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Remember, remember, the fifth of November. Leaving home by the faint light of the rising sun. Its streaks bathing the canopies with hazy gold, as your feet forged their own path. Clambering down the slope of soil, a long bed of rock awaits. Into the very womb of nature, you walked the forested trails.

Remember, remember, the fifth of November. You fancied seeing him for the first time. Curious as a cat on how he’d talk or react if you ever say poetry or love. “He won’t arrive,” you surmised. Indeed, he was nowhere to be found. And so you remember this day as a matrimony of both happy and sad.


Borrowing this phrase from the English folk verse, The Fifth of November. This one’s for the soul who let me watch V for Vendetta and introduced me to Guy Fawkes. The very same one who didn’t show up a year ago on this day. 😂😊

Pretender

It’s 9:52. The night is young yet the house is full. People are coming in and out of the front door. On a dim corner, behind the gate, a man is throwing up.

“I need a drink,” he thought of storming in but stopped at the sight a familiar face.

Five years— she never changed. Laughing with her head back, he guesses her black shirt still carries a statement. Like “Down With Big Brother” or “Go Queer”.

“Don’t,” the word came late and before he knew it, he was walking towards the one who got away. The dice is rolled. Fuck what ifs and the mutilated could-have-beens.

“On the worst-case scenario, at least I can act as drunk fool.”


Took this photo on a poetry night at a local coffee shop here in Cebu. The place was filled with too many hopeless romantics that night.

Fragments

She pushed herself through the crowd. Away from the hoard of bodies rocking to the music, sweating and screaming on top of their lungs. She headed southeast, walked the dimly lit boulevard and reached the familiar place she’s been missing. The quaint diner is still shy of people and the Day of the Dead has left it empty. From a distance, the concert went on.

“Why are they celebrating death?” She mused.

Finding a vacant bench, she sat side by side with nostalgia. Fragments of memories played on loop. She had to laugh. “It really is the day of ghosts.”

MS


Starting today, writers and bloggers around the globe join the National Novel Writing Month (NoNoWriMo). It is an annual one-month quest where literary minds commit to writing 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. But since an average of approximately 1,667 words per day is a far cry for my turbulent mind, I’ve decided to get back into micro stories. A hundred word a day for the lazy muse. Who’s doing the same? 😀

Best of luck to all NaNoWriMo entries! 🙂

Coffee and A Little Bit of Pain

I was holding a cup of coffee when I heard her spitting curses from the other room. She was sitting in front of the mirror when I came in, her face buried on a Sylvia Plath. “What happened?” I asked.

She looked at me from her reflection with an expression I couldn’t read, “I’m happy.”

This girl is insane. I try to read her mind but fail. Like I always do.

“It’s too much,” she plainly stated as she flipped through the pages of The Bell Jar. “I keep reading these lines but nothing’s working.”

She has always been fascinated with sad stories and sad songs and everything that has to do with sadness. “What is wrong with being happy?” I asked.

She walked right to me, tiptoed and gave me a kiss. “Nothing, of course. But art doesn’t work that way. I need coffee. And a little bit of pain.”


It has been a long while blogosphere!! I miss you badly. 😭

I can never say I’ve been out for the reason that life was giving me a hard time because, truth is, I was kicking life in the butt. The past months have been nothing but blessings. And while happiness is not a bad thing, I find it hard to get back into writing. For years my muse fed on sadness and the creatures in the dark. How am supposed to handle this too much joy? Please wait for me. 🍃❤️📝

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