Red Shoe

“I’m sorry but no…It’s not you.. it’s me… You are kind, wish we could stay as a friend”.

Rejection, rejection, and another rejection. It feels like getting a slap in the face again and again.

Kim keeps thinking why it is so hard to get a girlfriend. He did everything he could possibly imagine. Greet them in the morning and night every single day. Buy them chocolate, flowers and exquisite dinner. Keep them company whenever they feel lonely. Answer their call in the middle of the night to keep them company when they can’t sleep. Nevertheless, it was useless. They end up leaving him or rejected him whenever he asked for a serious relationship.

He keeps looking at the two sheets of paper in his palm. He was hoping to score this one after 20 years of waiting by inviting her to the amusement park. 20 years and still single! What am I doing? Is it the look? Is it the money? Is it the physique? What is wrong with me? He keeps muttering to himself while pondering into the lake. He took bits of crackers that he bought from the market while on his way here. He crumbled it nicely and threw it into the serene blue water making the nearby ducks race towards the spot it is in. He’s done this every time he would visit the lake. He doesn’t know why, but the lake seems to attract him whenever he was feeling emotional. A sense of nostalgia can be felt lingering in his heart whenever he’s there. But he never remembered the first time he visits the lake. He just thought that it may be way back ago when he’s still a kid. That’s why he didn’t remember.

He went a few steps backward and sat down on the wooden bench that was placed there. He took a deep breath, and closed his eyes, bent his head backward and resting his back on the bench. “Warm”. It was a sunny day with a slight breeze. A perfect day for an outing. But to him is just another chapter of his broken-hearted story. He let himself to be bath from the warmth of the sunlight that pierced through him.

The sound of two children resonates nearby the lake. A girl was chasing the boy in front of him with tears in her eyes. “Give me back my shoe!” Kim was standing there looking at both of the children running towards him. He wanted to stop the boy but both the boy and the girl just phase through him as if he was not even there. “A dream?” The boy finally stops at the side of the lake where the girl finally caught up to him. “You are not going anywhere! Give it back to me” The boy grin and raised the red shoe that was in his hands. “If you want it to go and get it”

Suddenly, a loud splashing sound vibrates near the middle of the lake. As he regained his consciousness, his eyebrows burrow while his jaw was dropping. Looking at the scene before his eyes, no one would believe what is happening at that moment. A wall of water is standing 30m tall in the middle of the lake. Birds were flying aimlessly, some ducks are caught in the wave, and the lake has receded until one could even see the ground. What was shocking was that the water did not stop rising. It continued to become bigger and bigger.

He wanted to run, but he just woke up and his mind was still in the state of shock. He looks around, left and right nearby the vicinity. However, no one was there. Was no one here? How could that be? A good day like this and no one came to the lake. Could it be that everyone already escaped while he was sleeping?! He cursed in his heart thinking how to save himself. The tall wall of water would surely go down soon creating a splash of water which would blow him strongly. This much of water could easily produce a force that would break his body when it suddenly drops. He slapped himself, checked all his things and run with all his might.

But he stopped. Something felt amiss here. Clearly, he heard a sound of splash just now. Then something fell into the lake? But I don’t see anything. He slowly took a step forward in hesitant. Then he thought to himself “What if someone fell into the lake? Then, could I just leave the person dying there?” But that huge wall of water could drop anytime. He clenched his fist, gritted his teeth then run towards the lake. The water of the lake has receded so much that he could even reach the ground with only the tip of his pants soaked. He runs around shouting hoping that the person would hear him. He made a full circle but still, no one was there. He then got closer to the wall of water and his body went deeper into the lake.

The water is now up to his waist. His movement became a bit sluggish as the pressure of the water holding him back. He desperately shouted again and again while time to time he would dive into the lake to check. To his avail, he can’t find anyone! He looked again at the wall of water which made his face crooked. The water astonishingly reached the height of 100m! He cursed again and looked into the water. He felt regret but there is nothing he could do. He tried his best but that is all there is to it. The person probably got sucked in the middle of water already. Even if the person survived, he or she would not last long.

There is no way he would risk himself for an unknown person who could not even exist in the first place. But somehow his heart tells him that he should look again. He gave a deep sighed and turn back. He took a heavy step towards the side of the lake. Suddenly, a heavy impact falls upon his entire body causing him to plunging him into a miserable state. In an instant, everything turns to black?

No he was wide awake, standing well beside the lake as if nothing happened. But this scene.. seems familiar? It was the dream again.

“Go and get it!” “No don’t!” Plop. The girl started to cry heavily as she saw her favorite red shoe was thrown away into the lake by the boy. Seeing how much the girl cries and knowing the boy’s name is Kim as well. He felt guilty and decided to help the girl. He went toward where the red shoe fell and dove into the lake. He went deeper and deeper when suddenly, a heavy feeling surge towards his body causing him to lose control. It causes him to fall deeper. He could not breathe properly. He thought that he would die of drowning as the water kept pushing him down. His head then hit the ground and finally, it stops.

He rubs his head and feeling panic he tried to swim after remembered that he needs to get out for air! But then, “I can breathe?” Is he really inside the lake? It feels warm as well. He felt like he was dreaming, but he could feel the aching pain from his exhausted muscle when he was enduring the surge of water striking upon him. However, he could see all the fish swimming around him in the lake. It feels like he is inside an invisible dome. He walked swiftly toward the source of the warmth he was feeling. Finally, he stopped and saw a girl floating about. She seems to be sleeping. Her face was pure white, and her black hair was hanging just below her shoulders. She looked like someone around 10 years old.  She was wearing a delicate red dress which perfectly suits her small stature. And in her hand was the red shoe.

Kim felt cautious looking at the girl but since he decided to take the shoe back with him he get closer towards the floating girl. As the closer, he gets a sense of familiarity could be felt in his heart. He keeps asking himself where he has seen this girl before. His focus now redirected from the shoe towards the fairy-like girl who was floating in the water. Finally, he stood in front of the girl when suddenly she grabbed him by the neck and opened her eyes. She stares into his eyes as if she was looking into his soul. He suddenly felt an immense pain in his chest, causing him to faint again.

“Hey wake up you lazy bum!” “huh?” Kim is once again in a confused state. “Huh my foot! How could you fell asleep in an amusement park anyway? And with me as well! Aren’t you the one who invited me here?” He rubs his head in guilty, and replied her “I’m sorry Joy.”

Wait who is this girl? How do I know her name? Why am I in an amusement park? Wasn’t I was diving into the lake just now. But why did I dive into the lake?… What lake? Must be a dream…

“Hey stop spacing around and let’s play!” She grabbed his arm towards her making him get off from the wooden bench. They walked around and finally stopped at the roller coaster. Luckily, there are only two of them and no one else was lining up. She dragged him to the front and pushes him forward.

“Seriously Joy? Are we going to sit at the front? No, no, no!” “Hey! Don’t be a chicken Kim, take a step!” Kim braced himself and took a big gulp. He was not a brave a person in the first place. Why would he think of going here anyway? The sounds of a manly scream could be heard nearby the roller coaster.

“Next to the haunted house!” Oh no.. he cursed himself. He wanted to run away if he can but how could he do it in front of a girl. He then tried to find an excuse. “Don’t tell me you are scared Kim?” “W-what..d-do you mean?!” The girl giggled and drags him all the way through the end of the haunted house. A louder manly scream can be heard nearby the haunted house.

The couple went all over the place; playing with various thrilling and extreme rides. Every single one of it was accompanied by a manly scream that was somehow from the same person. Kim finally gave up and rests himself at the wooden bench.

“Is this is all you can do?” Kim had a bad taste in his tongue after her piercing words. All though he felt miserable but it was the first time he enjoyed himself with a girl. Not just any but a beauty as well. She was about the same age as him. And despite her spiteful comments, she had a great personality and great appetite as well! It was cute to see her eats all the food they saw while walking from one attraction to another. Although it was a few hours, he felt so close with the girl. It was like he has known her for his entire life.  He just smiled while looking at her. He let himself rest at the familiar wooden bench.

“Where are you going? You are not thin-.. No Joy.. No stop.” The girl steps forward without stopping and finally half of her body immersed in the lake. She looked back at ‘Kim’ and finally dove right in. The boy just stands in awe. He stares blankly where the girl had dive in. Kim who just realized what just happened immediately rose up and run towards the boy. While running he shouted “Hey! Don’t be a chicken Kim, take a step!” Seeing that the boy did not budge he shouted again “Don’t tell me you are scared Kim?” When he’s finally beside the boy his legs gave in and fell to the ground on his knee. He muttered to himself “Is this is all you can do?” Tears then dropped to his cheek heavily without stopping. He cannot control the surge of emotions flowing through his mind. He beats the floor until he could not withstand the pain anymore. Blood was dripping from his mouth and nose. And tears kept falling down. In his heart, that scene was the most regretful event that has happened in his life.

A warm sensation can be felt wrapping around his body. “So you remember now?” As he heard the voice, he cannot help but to feel guilty and deep sorrow, as if there was a wound in his heart reopens. “I’m sorry Joy, it’s my fault. I’m sorry, I’m sorry…” The hug becoming tighter as she replied “It’s okay Kim, I know it was not your intention. I’m here now and that is what matters.” “Yes Joy, I’m here with you now. I’m not going to leave you anymore. We will stay together forever.” The two couple continue to cuddle each other as both of their body went deeper into the lake.

The next day…

“How could this happen? Good thing we found his body floating. If not, then he might trap in here forever.” A group of people wearing black tailored suit gathered nearby the lake after the shocking event of a huge geyser standing at the height 100m due to an active volcano beneath the lake which triggered yesterday. Good thing that there was no one in the area during the incidents except for one man. They found a man with his body wraps around by a skeleton that seems to be belonging to a child. And it looks like the child is hugging the man. However, what confused them the most was the smile on the man face. He looks like as if he died peacefully. And in his hand was a pair of shoe, a red shoe.

Crazy How Life Works

Did you know you could drown without having to be underwater? What if you wake up every morning gasping for air like a fish out of water? If being alive is precisely the thing suffocating you to death, why not just welcome death, and end the misery? I remember when I used to be the little girl in a park playing under the warm rays of the sun. My family and I had this special park we always went to right on the outskirts of town. I remember how we would fly kites and run around with wide, goofy grins plastered on our faces. I used to enjoy just staring out at the vast ocean under cloudless azure skies with the sand beneath my toes. I remember what it felt like to be alive.

My name is Tessa, short for Teresa Martin Johnson. I am 21-years old, and I currently live with my family in a small island off the coast of Florida. I grew up here in this little island with a population of around 200,000 people. I have dark brown eyes, long, wavy brown hair and I am around 5 feet 6 inches tall. Contrary to the stereotype about girls, I rather enjoy playing video games and soccer during my free time. I also love alternative rock bands and playing the guitar. I tend to bite my bottom lip when I get nervous.

When I was 16 years old, my brother hanged himself. My family and I, we were never the same ever since. My mother became paranoid, afraid of everyone and everything. My dad tried his best at first to keep our family together but in time, he just gave up. Nowadays, he barely comes home.

I used to have a whole bunch of friends back in high school but all that changed around 2 years ago when a guy holding a clipboard diagnosed me with chronic depression. Depression has become my best friend over the past few years. We eat together, sleep together and there is not even a single second when we are not together. My best friend tells me I am not worthy or wanted, that the world is cruel and life is meaningless.

But life wasn’t always this way for me.

Let me take you back to one sunshiny beautiful morning, in the school cafeteria of Rosewood High.

“Tessa, can’t you at least pretend to look like you’re having fun when we’re taking pictures?” my best friend, Cheryl asked. She was scrolling through her gallery of our pictures from last night’s party with an unsatisfied expression.

“I’m sorry, I never wanted to go to that stupid party anyway. I only accompanied you there cause you’ve been whining all week about wanting to meet Noel,” I replied. Noel is this guy in our Biology class and Cheryl has been vowing for his affection since like the third grade.

“Hey, come on now. It wasn’t just so I could meet Noel. You needed to get out of the house and meet other guys too. You’re like 16 and you’ve never even had a serious boyfriend before.”

“I’m committed to my video games, geez. Besides, what’s the big rush? I believe the right one will come at the right time. I just need to be patient. You should try that sometime too, you know. You have a new crush like every single day.”

“Oh, shut up,” she said with an agreeing smile.

The bell rang, signalling the end of recess, which meant I needed to start making my way to soccer practice. I grew up playing soccer with my brother which was how I developed an interest in it. My family and I used to go out to a park nearby our house almost every Saturday. My mum would pack ham and egg sandwiches from home for us to have a picnic there. My brother and I would play soccer with my dad and my mum would be reading a book on a picnic mat under a tall, shady willow tree.

My brother was also the reason I got into video games. When I was young, we had a Playstation 2 which we shared together. He was always Player 1, and I always had to be Player 2. From battles against each other using lightsabers in Star Wars to racing against each other in Crash Bandicoot, we played all sorts of games together.

Before practice began, coach made us run a few laps as warm up. While I was running my laps, I noticed a guy around my age playing soccer on the field. He looked about 6 feet tall with chestnut brown hair, and he had on a Nike T-shirt and shorts. You could see his muscles through his shirt and he looked physically fit for his age. I wonder if my brother knew him since he knows almost everyone on the team.

When the whistle sounded, we divided ourselves into two teams and started our game. I was the striker so my job was to basically receive the ball and shoot as many goals as I could. I love the feeling I get when I’m out on the field. The sweet rush of adrenaline, the sound of my feet stomping on the grass, and the cold wind nipping at my face as I’m sprinting after the ball. It feels like a high I get to achieve without having to pop any of the pretty pills.

After practice, I saw Cheryl at the benches waiting to drive me home. Contrary to popular belief about redheads, she is actually really nice and easy going. With her pixie haircut and petite figure, she really is as cute as a button. I remember the first time we met. I had been a freshman at Rosewood High and I still did not know for sure where my classes were so I mistakenly entered the wrong room.

Inside the room, I saw Cheryl on the piano playing to the tune of Canon in D Major by Johann Pachelbel. I just stood there mesmerised by her performance and I felt the hairs on my body standing. When she was made aware of my presence, I apologised for intruding but complimented her on her skills. The girl really has a talent in music. She said thanks and offered to show me around to all my classes. We had been best friends ever since.

Before heading home, we decided to grab dinner together at a diner nearby our school. We frequented this diner because it makes killer strawberry milkshakes and the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever.

“Hey, what do you think about taking a trip somewhere with me next weekend? We could go anywhere you want, just a little getaway time for both of us to chill and unwind. What do you think?” Cheryl asked, already giddy with anticipation.

“Sure, where were you thinking?” I replied in between mouthfuls of my mac and cheese.

“We could take a hike up to Island Glades and swim in the waterfalls. Or we could even take a train to the city and go on a shopping spree. Oh my gosh, I can’t wait,” she said, no doubt already planning out the places to go and things to do in her head.

“Yeah, I guess I could do with some relaxing and unwinding too. Sounds awesome, it’s a date,” I said with a wink, starting to feel a little excited myself too. Little did I know that fate would have different plans in store for me.

I reached home that night after dinner at around 11.00pm. My parents had both gone away for a conference that week so it was just me and my brother at home. I dashed up to my room and threw my backpack on the bed and proceeded to head to my brother’s room. I wanted to know if he had taken his dinner. 11.08pm, the moment I knew my life would from then on be forever changed. The moment I opened the door to my brother’s room. What greeted me was a sight no one would ever wish on their greatest enemy.

Hanging by a self-made noose was a lifeless body with the face of what looked like my brother but I could not recognise him. His eyes were closed, his lips blue and cold, and he looked like he could have been sleeping, if not for his neck twisted unnaturally at a distorted angle. I noticed the small wooden stool knocked down on the floor. As my mind began to comprehend the situation, I turned away as my stomach heaved, my nostrils filled with the scent of my own bile rising up from the back of my throat.

Slowly, I staggered backwards until I heard a thud behind me as my back hit the wall. I wanted to scream and cry as tears clouded my vision and threatened to spill. I reached for my smartphone and dialed 911. I tried my best to form coherent sentences so the operator could understand what was going on. The last thing I could remember was hearing my heart pounding in my ears as one question kept racing through my mind: How could he do this? Everything went blank as darkness engulfed me.

Today marks the 28th of September 2017. It has been exactly 5 years since I lost my only brother and the memory of his lifeless corpse still remains the subject of my night terrors. I had just finished my final class today at Pacific Bay University where I’m currently studying my second year of degree. I’m majoring in Chemistry because I just figured with all the drugs I’ve been taking these past few years, I must have become an expert by now. My phone started to vibrate in my pocket. It was Cheryl.

“Hey, the class is over right? Wanna come over to my place? We could play Wii, and grab McDonald’s for dinner. I know you can’t resist the temptation of french fries.”

“As tempting as that sounds, I’m sorry but I can’t tonight. Jake and I already made plans.”

“Boo, fine then…” A moment of silence passed.

“How are you feeling? I know today must be extra hard for you.” I could hear her sighing through the phone.

“Just remember I love you and if you ever need to talk, don’t ever hesitate to talk to me okay? You’re my best friend and you know I’d do anything for you.” She said with a hint of desperation in her voice.

“I know, I’m as fine as I can be. I gotta head home now but I’ll talk to you later okay? Thanks for checking up on me.” I said, trying to reassure her and myself.

“Okay, talk soon,” she replied before hanging up.

Besides Cheryl, Jake, and my mum, I don’t think there is another soul out there that genuinely cares for me. Cheryl was the only one there for me when my life went to hell and I am beyond grateful she decided to go to the same university as me. As for Jake, he’s my Korean-American boyfriend and we’ve been dating since my freshman year. Little did I know the boy I met on the soccer field clad in Nike sportswear all those years ago would end up becoming my boyfriend. We’ve never said a word to each other before in high school but he was the only guy that dared to approach me since I started university.

At first, I was really cautious because I had built up my walls so high to shut everyone out of my life. But he just came in like a wrecking ball knocking down all my walls and his persistence eventually paid off. I eventually threw caution to the wind and took a risk with him. A decision I don’t regret making at all. When I told him about my past, he was so kind and understanding I couldn’t help myself from falling for him. His ridiculously good looks and killer physique did not help either.

When I got home, my mum was in the kitchen slicing apples. I gave her a hug from behind and I could feel her entire body relaxing. Without having to say a word, we both knew exactly what the other was feeling. My brother’s death had blown up our happy household into smithereens and none of us have been able to get over it yet. My useless father resorted to alcohol as his way to cope with everything that happened and frankly I can’t even remember the last time he was sober anymore.

“How was school? Have you eaten anything? You want some fruits?” my mother asked.

“I’m good, mum, thanks. I’m gonna take a quick shower and then I’ll be down in a jiffy. Instead of cooking tonight, why don’t we just order some Chinese takeout? How does that sound?” I asked.

“Alright, sure. I’ll call to see if your father wants some too.”

The mention of my father made me ball up my hands into fists. My mum is still so devoted to him and treats him with the respect he doesn’t deserve. He treats us like trash and I hate him for it. I hate him for abandoning our family when we needed him the most. I left the kitchen and headed up to my room.

We may have moved to a new house to try and get a fresh start but nothing really changed. On the way to my room, I couldn’t help myself from wondering if my brother was still alive, he would have had his own room right next to mine. I wondered how he would decorate it and what kind of wallpaper and curtains he would have picked out. They probably would have been blue, my brother loved all shades of blue.

Unconsciously, the tears welled up in my eyes and I could feel the invisible force pressing down hard on my heart again. I undressed and entered the bathroom. I opened the medicine cabinet and found my razor. As I closed my eyes, the blood from where the blade was pressed to my wrists trickled and streamed down the sink with the running water. I cut until I started to feel lightheaded and then I cried. I cried until I was sure my tear duct was all dried up.

After having Chinese food with my mum, no surprise my dad couldn’t make it back, I texted Jake to ask what time he was picking me up. He told me 10.30 so I had plenty of time to kill before then. I microwaved some popcorn and both me and my mum were sprawled out on the couch in front of the television. We put on reruns of Game of Thrones and made small conversation about the characters in the movie.

“Hi there, Shortcake.” Jake pulled me in for a hug and kissed my forehead.

“Hey, I’ve missed you so much. Where were you today?” I muffled against his hard chest while taking in the sweet scent of his T-shirt.

“I’m sorry, I had soccer practice all day but I was counting down every second till I could finally see you. Let me make it up to you. You ready to go?” He said while reaching for my hand.

“Where?” I asked as we made our way to where his car was parked.

“It’s a surprise. Just trust me.” He winked and looked at me with a sly smirk. God, I love this boy.

He drove us to a secluded beach with plenty of coconut and palm trees swaying against the cool midnight air. He knew how much I loved going to the beach so he must have discovered this hidden getaway for me. He laid out a mat on the sand, took off his shoes and removed a box of strawberries from inside his bag. He knew my favourite fruit was strawberries.

Under the moonlit night with the serene silence and only the sounds of nature encompassing us, I closed my eyes and tried to take it all in. For the first time today, I could finally breathe and relax. I look to my right and see him looking at me intently with his concerned big, brown eyes.

“What are you thinking about, shortcake?”

“If I could be one mythical creature, I would so love to be a mermaid. Like Ariel, I would spend forever in the ocean singing and dancing without a care in the world. Something about the water always seems to calm me down, kind of like a siren call tugging at my heart. What about you? Who would you like to be?”

He laughed at me and thought about his answer for a moment.

“Hmm, if I could be anyone I wanted? Batman. Definitely Batman. I would give anything to ride the Batmobile.” He smiled at me with his eyes.

“Or Prince Eric. Just because he gets to live happily ever after with Ariel,” he added.

“I don’t believe in happy ever afters, babe.”

“Not yet, but it’s my job to change that. All I need is time.” He reached for my hands and gripped them tight. I love how his hand fits so perfectly in mine and just a simple gesture like this sends my stomach into a frenzy of butterflies.

“Actually, I’ve been meaning to ask you something. So, you know how I told u before about Chuseok? It’s basically Korean Thanksgiving Day and it’s like a week from today. Next Friday, I’ll be going back to Korea with my family for a week to celebrate at my grandparent’s house and I was wondering if you’d like to join us?” Jake asked, looking hopeful.

“Oh my god, are you serious? I would love to go. I’ve always wondered how Korea was like, I wanna see the hometown you grew up in. Seoul, right? But, are you sure your parents wouldn’t feel burdened if I were to join?” I enquired.

“Of course not, they love you as much as I do, Tessa. You know that.” Jake replied.

“If you’re absolutely sure, then count me in.” I gave him a small smile.

(End of Part 1)

(To be continued…)





If I were to choose a flower that i like, I would definitely go with dandelions.


When it bloom it turns yellow,

It might not smell good like roses or lavenders do, but Bees like them too.


And when it is time for them to spread their seeds,

With a slight push of wind they took the chance,

To drift into the skies,

Never caring where they land.


As long as it can find a place to rest, It will grow again and live again.


Everyone is sick of having the same routine every day. But not for me. How I wonder if I got a chance to stay a day without any changes. There's people who study, there's also people who work and even people who do nothing. And for me, I do all of that. There'll be a morning I'll woke up as a high school student, or an office worker, or even as a farmer. My life, my wealth, my house, they change. Luckily not my parents.

There's once my mom have said "It's fate who brings us tomorrow. We’ll never know what we will be tomorrow, Rick. " . It’s bitter yet a truth story of my life.

Yesterday, I was a baseball’s player son and today, I woke up as a fish monger’s son. At this age, I should probably go to school. But it's okay as finally I got no homework and no assignment for today. That's a good point we got there. Most of the time, if I was woke up as a farmer, fisher or an unemployed person, I'll use this time to go out and look at the people.

I'll help my parents if they really need my help, but most of the time they didn't need me. 

For this 18 years of life, I've meet a lot of interesting person. But, I barely make a friends with any person in my life. Because I know, if I make a friends today, I'll lose them tomorrow. So what's the point of having friends? It's better to stay alone without hurting or being hurt by anyone.

A day passed by so quickly. Living in a poor family is somehow tiring. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be a president or an artist son? Well, I hope so.

The next day goes as I'm being a doctor's son. This time my house becomes much more fancier than the previous one. And I can see that my mom's doing her chores like a pro and father is compiling his document. But it's somehow weird that how my parents can do their work even though they'll woke up as a different person every day? Again, I didn't care much about this. And today i decided to go for a walk as my mom goes for shopping and father goes to work.

 Step by step. Hands in the pocket, heads bowing to the ground. But literally my head's flying high leaving where i am now. 

Suddenly, my eyes caught my memento. This memento, my only gift from my only friend, Tim. That playground, the first and the last place we met. Oh, it was already 10 years ago. From day to the night, we done everything together, from playing games and sharing our secret. He's the only one who know my life story, that my life changed every day. Shockingly, he believed that. He's my only friend and I'm also his only friend. We share everything together, as what best friend would do. And one of the things that I craved for, this memento. 10 years has passed, my life changed every day, but still this memento still on my neck. 10 years has passed, and we're living in the different world. Tim, do you still remember me? Do you even exist now?

I keep walking, looking to the ground. Suddenly, I stumbled to a person and fell down. His face look somehow familiar to me. Madly, he rise up and clean his cloth a little bit. I know that he's just new here, my heart say. With a small smile he introduce himself a little bit and told me that he's a traveler asked me if I could bring him for a walk here. As I got a lot of time today, I just nodded with agreement. 

Everywhere, everything, we do it together. It's been a while since I got my. We shared a lot of story together. Then I know that he's traveling all over the world, just to find his long separated friend. I shared my story that I changed my life every day. Shockingly he believed that. He said that his long separated friends also said the same thing like I said. At that time, he didn't believed that but then he cannot met that person, so then he believed that.

He is Tim. The one I’ve lost, the one I’m missing a lot. I brings him to a tight hug. It's been 10 years. How I miss him. My first and only friend that I got in this world. That time, I cried my heart out. How I wish that my life won't change tomorrow. 

But then, he said that he'll continue traveling tomorrow. Then, he continued. "Not only your tomorrow will change. Every person’s tomorrow will change. That's rule of life. You won't keep everything forever, sometimes you need to let it go. Tomorrow is going to be better than today. Because of that, never lose hope and keep going for tomorrow. Your life change, but your memory not. Keep the best memory ever.

The sunset is fading. He gave me his last hug, then he leave. We’ll meet again. I promise.

 It's a new morning, as a minister’s son. I've lost him today, but I'll meet him again, one day. 

Ouh, what I’ve discover? What you’ll find tomorrow will always shock you, never lose hope.


Muhammad Luqman Hakim bin Mohd Fauzi

Batch 17

Seoul National University (LEI)


My heart is pumping, my breath is getting faster. Stinging sensation on my muscles is getting stronger as I exert all my energy towards the finishing line. This is it!

“Hey watch out!” Suddenly a hand reached out to me as I was about to fall down into the deep forest. 

“A mountain is not a place to daze out man” A guy with a red cap, wearing navy blue shirt was waving at my face. He had a skinny pale face. I can clearly see his cheek bone. Although he looked like a sick-person, he had a sturdy body, fit for a hiker within this mountain area. 

“The name Tony what’s yours?”

“Usain” I replied softly. “Okay Usain, nice to meet you. I won’t ask why you are here but be careful will you? Anyway, wanna climb up together?”

From that onwards I spent my time chatting with Tony while on our way up the mountain.

 To be honest, I was not sure myself why am I even here. I should be on track training for the next Olympic. It was not because I don’t want to train but I just can’t. My colleague himself was the Gold-medallist who smashed the world-record last Olympic. I never beat him whenever we race. It feels like I’m just a ‘filler’ since they need at least 2 people from each country to participate. My coaches keep saying I could take the Gold medal this year. I know too well that is just a way for them to keep me in the team. In fact, coach doesn’t even care how well I do. The government paid the coach a lot for training me. Surely he wanted to keep me.  I held on and continued to train trusting that his hopeful words were real.

Eventually, one day I overheard two of them talking in the changing room. 

“Hey coach, what do you think about Usain?” I hide myself while trying to listen. “You don’t have to worry about him, at least we got one runner down. That if he manages to get to the finals!” Hearing it crushed my hope into pieces. One thing that I had pride the most was easily trampled. Feeling lost, I went up to the mountain to find myself again is what I was hoping. Truthfully, I am just running away from my own battle. But who am I to fight? I am just a small existence when compare to the world fastest man. I am no one. The heavy feeling keep on pressuring as if there are these several hands holding my leg making me unable to run anymore. 

I don’t know why but I just told Tony about my story. Tony suddenly stands up and climbed up to the nearest boulder. I could see the moonlight shone onto his face. He had this kind of serene expression as soft breeze was blowing to his face. I could feel a sad yet warm feeling coming from his eyes. 

“Look up Usain, Can you see how beautiful they are? Like how many stars are there? The universe is so huge. I can’t believe how small we are!”

“Indeed, we are small and insignificant”

“But those small people are the one who build the rocket and eventually step on the moon. The same people who sailed the seven seas and explore the whole world! The same people who keep on chasing their dreams no matter how small they are. Even if you are small compare to the whole universe, so does others. But they manage to do these great things! Why? Because they believe they can! They have dreams they want to achieve. Your life is your story, and you are the main character! I can see it in your eyes. Even if you talk as if you want to give up but you still have the passion don’t you?

And he was right. I didn’t really give up. I just want someone to tell me I can do it.

“And you can do it!” Tony smiled confidently while looking straight into my eyes. 

After that day, I gained back my confidence and decided to run again. I am now the fastest man in the world. 

On the same day, I received a letter from Tony. To my surprise, he actually has a rare incurable disease called ‘spinocerebellar degeneration’ which causes his neuron to degenerated, unable him to perform daily activities such as walking or even talking. Given time would cause fatality. He was scared of thinking how his life would be if the symptoms becoming worst. Instead of facing it he decided to put himself to rest in the mountain. Though, his mind changed after our meeting. He told me it was my burning desires to win help him to face his fear. He sent this thank you letter just to tell me he will chase his dream of conquering Mt. Everest one day.

Sometimes we don’t know how much a person is suffering from his life. You might feel it is a bother to lend a helping hand. Although without us noticing it, that hand we refuse to lend might lead to even bigger contribution to other. Remember that, even a small action can make miracles.


Batch 14

Sungkyunkwan University


“Uncle, can you tell me that story one more time?”

“Alright young one. I can vividly remember that situation. Partly because it happened rapidly, but mostly because the situation was not really much of a difference than before. It was that one night, the night when I was pushed from side to side. Rather than painful, it was somehow natural. I knew there were others around me also being pushed, judging by the sort of painful sound that I can hear from my own space. At that specific time, my memory flashes back to a couple of weeks prior, when the others around me sent signals; the way for us to communicate with each other. The signals, unravelled that in a few weeks all of us will finally get to exit the space of nothingness; now. My mind kept thinking of the possibilities of the things we get to discover and see once we’re out of this space. Will it be beautiful? Or will it be another nothingness? Not knowing anything gave me that atrocious feeling of fear but at the same time euphoria.

Minutes passed and I am still being pushed. I can’t even do anything, I’m completely powerless to endure the pushing; not knowing whatever is happening outside of my space. It was until then I finally feel myself slowly being pushed, or rather, sliding out. My eyes still can only see nothingness, but I can feel the space around me widening, until I felt no boundaries. I felt myself laying down on something solid; cold solid.

Suddenly I was lifted up to air by soft touch. It was delicately holding on to me. “He’s out! Look at how beautiful he is.” The voice triggered me. That must’ve been the voice of beings called human. I can still see nothing but darkness, but the voice gave me the feeling of calmness; I am saved. “I’m naming you Indiana Jones. Because you look like one.”

Indiana Jones. That was the name they gave me.”

“Can we skip to the things that you’ve learned? I love that part!”

“Okay. So a week after that I could finally open my eyes. The world was beautiful. Big things around me, I can see what I was eating. At that point, my whole senses were finally completed because I discovered sight. Seeing things made me more anxious. Whatever they do made me intrigued.”

“So did you go and figure them out?”


“Of course, a week after! My feet finally gained strength and I was able to walk! I was walking all around the house but I was quite unstable so I bumped into a lot of things. I still couldn’t go up to the massive tall things though because I could only make small jumps. It was not until about 3 months till I was able to make huge jump. From that day, I managed to discover a lot of things! More hidden spaces high above the ground, more secrets they hid, and apparently more dusts! Also, the image projecting square on the table...that one thing that I wanted to see upclose the most.”


“I can’t wait to discover things just like you, uncle! I can see why they named you Indiana Jones the cat.”

“Young one, you will discover many things. I’ve learned many things the past 14 years living with them. Despite my mischievous manners, they still loves me. You too, will soon know how lucky it is to be with them, for you are adopted despite your blindness.”

“Yeah uncle, I believe so too. I’m excited to finally uncover the adventures and possibilities I have in stored for me. Thank you for your story! I can’t wait to touch the square on the table like you too. And probably play with that fluffy thing they used to touch me yesterday.”

“Maybe we’ll go up there after you are able to walk stably. Be patient. More things are coming on your way.”

The Pen

Batch 13

Korea University


“Daniel, could you please come up here and read your son a bedtime story!” his wife shouted.

Her husband had fallen asleep with his head inside the holosphere entertainment unit again. “Yes, dear – coming,” he managed to blurt out in a groggy daze, not quite sure what was going on. Last he remembered, he was watching a sector level Star Trek game. No wonder he fell asleep. A Star Trek game is just a little more exciting than watching vegetation grow in slow motion.

He got up; shuffled his four feet up the white stone ramp and into his son’s nest chamber.

“Read me a story, daddy!” his son shouted gleefully as his antennae made little circular motions of excitement.

“OK, OK, calm down and let me think… What story haven’t I read you yet? Have I read you Golden mandibles and the three Xoak grubs?”


“How about The three tiny crustaceans?”

“Yes, two times.”

“What about The swamp-fly who cried arachnid? – that’s a good one.”

“Daaaaad, you read that to me a mega-qua-zillion times!” his son threw his claws in the air in frustration.

“Wait a minute… I know a story, but it’s not in any reader chip. A special story my dad used to tell me. I think you’re old enough to hear it,” Daniel said slyly as his son started to beam with pride.

“Tell me dad, pleeeeease.”

“OK, let me think….”

“Once upon a time, a long time ago, and many light-years away, a spacecraft from a planet called Earth was sent to a nearby star. They were the first humans to travel to a neighbouring solar system. When they finally reached this new system, they picked up a strange signal coming from the fifth planet, so they followed it to investigate.”

“What was it dad?” his son asked impatiently

“Just wait, you’ll find out, just let me tell the story.”


“Now, where was I? Ah yes. So they landed on the fifth planet; the signal led them to this small object, and they could tell it had been made by another intelligent life form. It was purple in colour; shaped like a cube with what appeared to be some form of hieroglyphs over its entire surface. It was easily picked up with their appendages; the object’s surface looked like some type of metal, but was remarkably light in weight. The humans were very excited about finding this object, as it was their first proof they were not alone in the universe. They explored this planet for a long time looking for more evidence of the civilization that made it, but found nothing else. When they brought it back to Earth, their world welcomed them back like heroes; their whole planet was very excited about this discovery. But what was it; what did it do, if anything? It was made of materials they didn’t know; it had a power source they didn’t understand. They studied it for a long time, taking it apart piece by piece, and finally they thought they knew what it was.”

“What was it!” interrupted his son

“Hold on, I’m getting there… They thought it was some sort of new power generator. The humans were all very excited. They decided to recreate this alien device, but to make things easier, they would build it on a much larger scale. The planet Earth sought out their greatest scientific minds, their greatest engineers, and experts in other fields. The humans worked on it for 23 ellipse durations.”

“Wow, that’s a long time – Those scientists must have died of old age!” exclaimed his son in shock.

“Aaah, no. I’m 35 durations young, and plan to live quite a few more,” said Daniel with uncertain confidence.

“A-ny-way, they finally recreated this power generator a thousand times larger than the original object. They didn’t have the materials that the original was made of, so they had done the best they could with what they had. Unfortunately, their version was very crude in comparison, but they were eager to see what it could do. Maybe it could make their space ships go faster, or power a huge weapon to defend themselves against unknown future enemies.”

His son interjected – “Like the outpost cannons of Mapzorp – they can destroy an entire planetoid with one shot!” his son bragged with delight. “PAAAH-BOOOM!”

“OK, we can do without the sound effects please. Can I continue?” In reply, his son nodded with extreme exaggeration.

“So, the big day came; the whole planet was very excited, and there was much rejoicing. The President of their world had the honour of pressing the button that turned on this alien power source. He made a speech about what a great day it was in human history; that this day would be remembered for all time, or something like that. You know, blah-blah-blah.” His son frowned impatiently at his dad’s mockery of a politician – his left antenna began to twitch.


“OK…. So after his speech, he pressed the button. The gigantic purple cube started to glow slightly, and then began to hum loudly.” Daniel picked up his son’s slurpy-cup to demonstrate the rest. “Next, it lifted off the ground and started to spin. It spun faster and faster; shot up into the sky and into space. It hovered up there above the planet for a short time; came down at an incredible speed, and destroyed the planet. THE END.”

“How did it destroy the planet?”

“It’s too complicated.”


“You’re too young to understand.”

“Please, Dad.”

“OK, OK. Do you remember what happened when that asteroid hit the moon orbiting K2B-II?”

“Wow, that’s soooooo abominable!”

“Yes, I thought you’d like that,” Daniel said looking bored. “Anyway, there’s more.”

“More to the story?”

“Yes. You see, this is a true story, and do you know what the object really was that the humans had found?”

“Was it a secret-super-duper-ultimate-planet-killer-weapon from the evil Killian Empire?”

“Aaaaah, no. It was… a child’s toy!” The pause for effect was a nice touch, he thought.

“NO DUNG!” his son yelled.

“Hey, watch the language. Yes, a child’s toy from the most advanced world in our galaxy – Phantagon.”

“So the moral of the story is…” he waited for his son’s answer.

“Don’t… build, a really big toy, on your homeworld?”

“No, not exactly…. Never mind. Go to sleep now.”

“OK, goodnight dad.”

“Goodnight, son. Don’t let the humans bite.”

His son smiled. It was the best story his dad every told him, and one he would never forget. Funny humans, he thought, but that President of Earth was right about being remembered. He retracted his mandibles, and went quickly to sleep.



BY LINA (Batch 17)

“We will be friends forever. Won’t we Kevin? “I asked doubtfully as I wolfed down a huge bite of french toast. The quote ‘nothing lasts forever’ that we learned in English class today somehow made me wonder whether it was really true. ‘Even longer’ he answered after a few seconds of silence. All the moments rolled down as tears as I held the photograph. I hoped it was only a bad dream as I slowly dragged myself out of my queen sized bed. A monstrous yawn stretched the length of my face.  It has been three days since I lost Kevin and every night since that day I have been having nightmares and woke up in the middle of the night sweating. My heart was always hammering as my mind was always jumbled with this thoughts. I looked at the photograph again. There he was standing next to me in the photo still with his calm smile and joyful face that never failed to entertain me. His ocean blue eyes were still alive in this photograph. I closed my eyes as my mind couldn’t bear to think anymore.


Living in a serene village near the pristine sea was a real treasure for me as its tranquility and refreshing atmosphere with the picturesque sea was the perfect getaway whenever my head was on the verge of insanity what with all the school’s work and pressures. Everyday my best friend and I will go to the sea to watch the sunset as the invigorating coolness of the sea breeze caressed our skins. I still remember the precious moments we spent together looking at the stars and the magnificent moon from my balcony with a cup of hot chocolate made by my beloved mother. As the moon played hide and seek with the cloud, we talked about a lot of crazy stuff like building a path to the moon, creating a device that can bring us to other dimensions and so on. Both of us believed that magic exists and he used to say all the time that he will be receiving the admission letter to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry soon and would have to leave me alone.  Most of the time, we stayed together and faced all the leaps and bounds of life together but I never knew it would end soon.


Dawn was almost breaking. A touch of sunlight peeped from behind the hills in the distance. The deafening sound of my alarm clock made me lay wide awake on my bed. The first thing that came into my mind was the science project that I had to do with Kevin. Without hesitation, I got up from my bed and rushed to the bathroom. After getting ready, I took my backpack and ran downstairs and almost hit my mother who was holding a cup of white coffee. “Watch your steps”, said my mom with a stern look. I quickly munched on some cookies from the table and drank the white coffee prepared by my mother for me. I wished my mom goodbye and cycled all the way to Kevin’s house which was just a stone’s throw away from my school. I pedaled my bicycle faster as I was afraid Kevin might be waiting for me for a long time. I saw him waiting for me in front of the house from far. He ran towards me excitedly as he saw me and everything happened in that few seconds. That few seconds that changed my whole life. I heard a large crashing sound and from a distance came the spluttering sound of an engine. I stood motionless for a while before realizing what just happened. I ran towards Kevin only to find him lying on the ground as blood was splattered all around him. Tears started to roll down uncontrollably as I heard him saying his last words goodbye my friend as his soul left this world. Although it has been a few days after the heartbreaking incident, I felt very lonely and a part of me was feeling guilty thinking it was all entirely my fault.


I disliked the feeling of being inside the home and decided to take a walk around the beach. I walked so long until I came to a place I wasn’t familiar with at all. There was a house which looked old and one lonesome tree stood by the house swaying in the wind swept by the tree whispering to the air and surroundings. As I was so tired from the long treacherous journey, I decided to rest outside the house for a while. Suddenly I heard the creaking sound of the door being opened and there stood a man who looked in his mid-thirties. He had tousled dark brown hair which was thick and lustrous. His eyes were mesmerizing deep ocean blue with flecks of silvery light throughout and he had dark eyebrows, which sloped down his serious expression. He invited me into his house and offered me a cup of freshly brewed coffee. The taste was so nice and magical that I forgot all the worries at that very moment. He noticed the sadness on my face and out of a sudden asked me am I ready to take the risk if I am given a chance to save my friend. I was really shocked as I couldn’t remember telling him about the incident that took my friend’s life. But on the other side of my mind, I was thinking whether there really was a chance to save Kevin.


Although it seemed impossible, I felt something magical and mysterious about the man.  If it was really possible, I would be willing to do anything to save my best friend. He gave me a small device that looked like a pocket watch that had a time and date carved onto it. It was in gold and had a beautiful design and writing which said, “You have the power to change the past”. It was all like a dream and I was wondering whether I would remember all this when I wake up. But when I pinched myself I felt painful and realized the things I read in fantasy books was coming to reality. I had a time turner in my hand. If only Kevin was there with me he would have felt very excited but guess what, I can save him using this and we can chat about this experience one day.

.    .    .    .    .    .

“Kevin, the keys are on the table. Make sure all the doors are locked when you leave, okay honey?” I said to him before exiting the house. “Okay. Anything for you, dear” a disembodied voice replied. I turned off the lights and closed the doors as there was no one else present there. The dark clouds that had been gathering all morning gave way to thunderous roars and big droplets of rain fell directly on my face and clothes. I tasted the droplets that mixed with my tears. The pain in my heart was excruciating as I clutched the golden pocket watch in anger.


Kara held a forked willow stick out in front of her by the ends. Ten-year-old Sam trailed her aunt across the field, their steps swishing in yellowing knee-high grass. The stick quivered, then twisted like a cat, reaching for the ground.

“This is for show, mind,” Kara said. “Folk like to see something happening, something to tell them you’ve done it. But you don’t need the stick, understand?”

Sam nodded, looking up into Aunt Kara’s face. Wisps of fair hair escaped from Kara’s braid and caught the light of the full harvest moon in the darkening sky. If Sam stood in just the right place, she could make the moon into a halo around her aunt’s head.

The moonlight was dazzling-bright, bright enough to cast shadows. When Sam shaded her eyes, she could see her aunt smiling, her one crooked front tooth and the sweet, clear blue eyes. Sam’s mama had those eyes, too, but Sam’s eyes and hair were brown, like her father’s.


“What really happens,” Kara said, “happens inside you. You got to feel the earth. She’s got warm places and wet places, soft and hard places. You can feel the water in her, feel it in yourself. Your feet feel damp and cool, even in your shoes, and then you know you’ve got the right place. The wetter your feet feel, the closer the water.”

Sam nodded again. Kara led her away a few paces in the field.

“Close your eyes,” she said, and spun the child around. She steadied Sam with a hand on her shoulder. “Take hold. Lightly, now. That’s right.” She set the ends of the stick in Sam’s hands. “Now open your eyes, but don’t look too hard at anything. Just walk forward and feel the earth.”

But wherever she walked, however hard she tried, nothing happened. If Aunt Kara took the stick, it bent almost to breaking to reach the ground, but in Sam’s hands it was dead as her mama’s broom.

“Never mind.” Aunt Kara kissed Sam’s cheek and smoothed her sleek brown hair. “We’ll try again another day. There’s always a water witch in this family.”

But they never tried again. Two days later Aunt Kara cut herself canning. The wound sickened and the poison spread up her arm in red streaks. Nothing helped her. She died at the dark of the moon when life goes out of things and death comes easy. They buried her in the family graveyard, on the rise at the back of the farm, where her grandparents and parents lay, and her brother who died a baby.

Sam took the forked willow, drying though it was, and walked in the field every day, trying to find the spot where Kara had held the fresh-cut willow while it arched and twisted towards water. She knew it was foolish. A real water-witch didn’t need a stick, and no stick would help if you weren’t one.

When the full moon rose again, Sam climbed up to the graveyard in the evening. The air was blue and chill with fall. Leaves made a bright rustling carpet for the little graveyard. Sam laid the stick down on Aunt Kara’s grave.

“I couldn’t do it,” she said, “I tried and tried. I’m sorry, Aunt Kara! I’m sorry we don’t have a water witch in the family now.” She cried as hard for her failure as she had for her aunt’s death.

When her tears were gone, she turned and started down the hill. The moon floated before her, and she wondered where she would have to stand to make it into a halo for herself.

When she was halfway back to the house, with most of a field to go, the wind came up, a little breeze that brushed over her cheek and crept through her hair to the back of her neck. She shivered and began to hurry back to the warmth of the house.

Then, just for a moment, the breeze was a warm breath.

“Aunt Kara?” Sam said. Foolishly, she felt as though her aunt was standing behind her, smiling down at her. She paused, longing to turn, afraid it wouldn’t be true.

Then she felt the smallest touch of cold on her left foot, through the woollen sock. The cold spread rapidly across her sole, over her toes.

Bending, she quickly undid the laces of her shoe and pulled it off.

Her sock sagged away from her foot, dripping cold, clear water.


The End.


Ivory Rose Quinten, a young red-haired girl who made her way through the crowd while flaunting her dress that had the same colour as her hair. Her sun-kissed skin glowed under the bright sunlight bringing out her best look. Nevertheless, she walked with pride and stopped at her locker. When she opened her locker, chocolates and flowers dropped from it and were collected around her red stiletto heels. She bent over to pick all of them up just to find that all of them came from the same person. Caden Layne Ellsworth. Her eyes roamed around to search for the guy and after a few seconds, her eyes landed on the guy wearing all white; from his bag to his shoes. She tried hard to meet his eyes but to no avail. Caden blushed a little when he saw that Ivory was trying to catch his attention but he avoided it and continue talking to his group of friends. He felt his heart was thumping so hard he was scared that his friends would hear it. The time was right as the bell gave out its loudest ring and everyone rushed to their respective classes.

“I gotta go first guys. See you guys later.” Caden walked away without glancing towards Ivory because he was scared that she might caught him red-handed.

“Hey! Caden!” Ivory shouted the moment she saw Caden was walking away from the scene. Much to her disappointment, he vanished in a split second. Caden, who was hiding behind the walls took a peek to see whether she was still there or not. He released a sigh of relief and started to walk to his class.

“Hey! Thought you could run away from me?” Ivory appear out of nowhere in front of him making his heart thumped once again. Who would have guess that the school’s nerd is in love with the school’s devil.

“Hey Ivory! What are you doing here? We should be in our class by now. I think I will have to excuse myself.”

“Let us not beat around the bush, shall we? Well, both of us know that you’ve been giving me all the chocolates and flowers.”

“What are you talking about? I have no time for this, I have a class to catch up.” He walked away from the conversation without any further ado and he left Ivory alone by herself in the middle of the empty hallway.

“Hey Caden! What are you doing out here? Wanna help us out? We are bored.” The thorns in Caden’s life, Erik and his gang. Erik giggled with his friends and they quickly surrounded Caden.

“Don’t worry, this time might leave only a bruise or two, not like last time.” Erik laughed and all of them kept on pushing Caden around until his face bumped into the chest of Erik.

“We promise!”  Erik offered a pinky promise; mimicking the voice of a child. All of them burst into a louder laughter and the empty hallway seemed small to Caden. They dragged him across the hallway and entered the male toilet. Caden did try to escape but they kept on a good grip on his arms. Erik made sure that nobody enters the toilet and an evil-like smile is perfectly formed on his face. Nobody could hear Caden’s heart-wrenching screams but the thin air.

After a few classes has passed, Caden made a silent entrance to the last class which was the Biology class with bruises here and there on his body and took the most-end window seat. Despite his pain, he took out his book and wrote about Ivory. After all, she was just his fantasy and everything that she did and whatever she was wearing was by his command. A world he created for a guy who needs an escape from the real world. Fantasy you may call it but he has always hope that it is his reality. Ivory Rose Quinten, a fantasy that nobody can touch nor bully.