The tour guide called me “kulit” which is the Tagalog word for naughty or mischievous because I kept on disappearing and going off by myself to take pictures. I was caught a few times trying to climb the ruins, which apparently wasn’t allowed. Lol.
Anyway, here are the pics! This is going to be a long post haha.
All photos are mine. Please credit me if you plan to use them.
Taken with Canon EOS 60D and post-processed with Meitu XiuXiu.
Thanks for visiting!
1. You know where you stand. You are his girlfriend or you are a girl he’s dating but either way he’s not scared to define it. He’s not afraid that a girl will cry and run away if she doesn’t hear what she wants to, he wants a mature woman because he is a mature man.
2. You don’t have to prod him to become a real adult. He’s self motivated to improve on his own. If there’s an area of his life that needs improvement, he’s working on it long before you notice it.
3. Texting with him is peaceful. Sometimes you have conversations. Sometimes you make plans. But it’s never a power struggle of who initiates and who texts lasts. It’s not fishing for compliments or security. It’s simply a short form of communication.
4. He calls his mom. You don’t need to tell him to…
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I’ve never been a committed person in my too-long existence.
I’m more of a drifter, cruising from one town to the other, assuming a new identity with each new address. Most people would find my lifestyle exhausting, but for me it was fun, interesting and convenient.
Oftentimes, I’d suddenly feel my spark of wanderlust ignited from within and I’d pack up and leave town, one hand on the steering wheel and the other scrolling through Google Maps, looking for the next quick fix.
Sometimes it’s not so random. Sometimes I’d follow a certain trail of sparkles in the air, knowing that it would take me to a place with bakeries and patisseries and sweet-shops that would keep me fed, with quaint-looking streets and houses that I could paint and photograph, with soft throats and wrists that would soothe the burning in my parched throat.
This time, the shimmer that floated in the air led me to a mountain town that grew strawberries and cherries as their main crop. The moment I drove into Main Street, my senses were assaulted by the fruity, sugary sweetness and I knew that I had found a new home.
The white bakery near the park served me strawberry cinnamon rolls with a flat white latte. I consumed it, feeling the sugar dissolve on my tongue and invade my bloodstream. They had a HELP WANTED sign posted on the window, and I plucked it off before heading to the manager’s office in the back.
My new house was near the edge of town. It was a small, two-bedroom building, but it had charming eaves, a pristine white picket fence and a lush garden surrounding it. I set out votive candles everywhere and unpacked my belongings by candlelight, indulging myself by dipping big red cherries in a white chocolate fondue.
I first saw the old Victorian house during one of my late-night walks. It was a large, sprawling house and had Christmas lights blazing every night of the year. The moment six o’clock rolled around, the house transformed into a fairyland of blinking white light.
I had taken to trespassing through the strawberry fields at night to stand in front of that house, watching the lights, camera in hand. Its weight was comforting in the cold.
The owner started coming out after my third time. I was a bit worried that he would tell me to get lost, but he never did. At first he would just stand by the window and watch me, hidden behind thick velvet drapes.
After a few nights, he got used to me and abandoned his post behind the curtains, standing right in front of the window and smiling at me, his black hair moving slightly in the breeze.
We never talked, but he finally invited me in.
He has bruised, bleeding lips and I think he’s trying to tempt me.
We talk about random topics, jumping from subject to subject over our cups of tea, but I’m distracted and my eyes keep straying back to his lips.
I wonder if he bit them?
I wonder if he’s doing it on purpose?
He’s telling me a story about his job, something about volunteering overseas to help the less fortunate. I listen half-heartedly, my gaze trained on his mouth like someone hypnotized. Sometimes he stops to take a sip of his chai, and he runs his tongue over his lips afterwards.
He asks me a question and I answer in length, while he sits and stares and nibbles worriedly at the corner of his lip. His teeth break the skin and a thin trickle of red stains the tip of his tooth.
I didn’t notice that I was leaning forward until I realize that I’m only a few centimeters away and his breathing has become rapid. I can hear his heartbeat hammering in his chest.
I close the distance and start sucking on his lower lip.
His blood is sweet.
Afterwards, I spent part of every night with him.
I’d read in bed and he’d write poems on my back and sometimes I’d draw on the surfaces of his too-pale skin.
But mostly we’d just lay in bed and indulge in each other, drunk on blood and strawberry wine.
It was a pleasant arrangement and I’d sneak out in the morning, tired and bruised but with my lips red with his sweet, sweet blood. But he had begun to get attached to me, and with it brought a feeling of unease. I was sure I saw him a couple of times during my shift at the bakery, hunched behind other people, his eyes watchful and on me.
I knew I had to leave town that night.
The moment I stepped inside his door, I smelled the trepidation, ripe and thick in the air.
He was holding a gun with his finger on the trigger, and a thin sheen of perspiration gleamed dully on his forehead.
“I can’t let you go,” he whispered. “Take me with you.”
I smile at him lovingly, trying to work my compulsion on him. But his eyes are crazed behind their outward calmness, and I know that no amount of compulsion would work on him now.
“What you’re feeling is all an illusion,” I say, trying to reason with him. “My saliva produces a chemical that drugs you and makes you feel euphoric. It’s not permanent – you’ll recover after a week or two.”
“I don’t want to recover!” He shrieks. “If you leave me, I’ll die. So I’m going to have to kill you unless you stay here with me.”
“Don’t be like that,” I beg him, because I don’t want to kill him.
His eyes are filled with tears. He has gone completely white, and the red wounds on his throat and wrists blaze starkly. The wounds, made by my teeth and loved by my lips.
He raises the gun to eye-level, and his hands are no longer shaking. His eyes have lost their last vestige of sanity.
I shake my head sadly and smile.
“Good-bye,” I whisper.
There’s a gunshot, and to both of us, it’s like a clap of vicious thunder.
I leave town that night, my belly full of blood and my eyes full of tears. I still taste him on my lips and I sigh with regret.
Why does it have to end like this every time?
But I don’t have time to wonder for long – I see a faint trail of sparkles in the air, and feel a smile tug at the corners of my mouth.
There will be a new town.
There will be bakeries to feed me with sweets, picturesque houses to watch, and soft, warm flesh to feed from.
And maybe, I’ll have another chance to lie supine in bed, drunk on blood and strawberry wine.
Disclaimer: Photograph credited to Google Images.
The next day, Zelda got out of bed groaning. That horrid section B-13! And still nothing was relevant about the drug trade. She began talking to Nyurka, her half-wolf, half-Siberian husky as she got up and headed to the shower.
“You know, I can’t wait to get back to Luna Plateau and the Base so I can kill Reinhardt.” Zelda stepped into the shower stall and turned the water on full force.
“And, Nyurka, I’m not getting much progress on teh case. All I know is that the drugs are passed through the school before they’re distributed to potential clients.” She began to wash herself. Nyurka barked and wagged his tail.
Zelda stepped out and began to towel herself dry. Ten minutes later, emerging from her room in her usual goth-y fashion, she ran back to the sink to brush her teeth.
Her morning rituals done, Zelda patted her dog on the head, grabbed her satchel and a cropped blazer, and rushed out of the suite so that she wouldn’t be late for class.
“Here she comes,” Sean Felton announced, looking towards the door. “Y’all think she’ll like the surprise?”
“Is she crazy?” Jason Harker muttered to Ren Monteiro. “Running in the hallway is forbidden.”
The ‘surprise’ was a skeleton sitting in one of the students’ chairs. A new one had come to the biology department, supposedly donated by one of the teachers. The boys had sneaked it out of the lab and smuggled it into the classroom, inside an extra-long gym duffel bag.
“Heya. Good morning,” Zelda called out, slamming the door and rushing inside. Her eye caught the skeleton seated on her chair, grinning at her.
She stopped dead.
The class waited expectantly for her reaction.
Zelda dropped her bag to the floor and picked the skeleton up. “What’s this doing here? I thought I dropped this off at the bio department.”
Sean blinked. “You two…know each other?”
“Sure,” their adviser answered, flashing something that could be classified as half a smile. It was sort of twisted, and plenty spooky.
“Sure?” Section B-13 echoed.
“Yep. He’s a friend of mine who died in last year’s war. Since he had no family to bury him and he was dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, I decided to donate his skeleton for academic purposes.”
Zelda frowned a little and shook her head. “Oh, well. Might as well take him back there.”
“I’ll help you,” Sean said, jumping up and picking up the feet.
The skeleton jangled as the two of them carried it out sideways.
Sean and Zelda walked back to their corridor in silence, until they spotted a tall boy with spiky black, red-streaked hair enter the classroom.
“Who is that?” inquired Zelda, turning to the boy beside her.
“He’s Rick Brighton, of the prestigious Brighton family,” answered Sean, making air quotes with his fingers. “He’s got a brother here, too. The Brightons were one of the first British families to migrate to Nianta.”
“Oh,” Zelda tapped her lip thoughtfully, her eyes narrowing a bit. She didn’t say anything at the moment, but she filed the information for later reference.
Back inside the classroom, Zelda checked the attendance and began to start their Intro to Psych lesson. “Hey, everyone. Where did you stop last week?”
A few voices volunteered “Interpersonal adjustment, miss.”
“Oh. Okay, thanks. Can anyone tell me a quote made famous by John Donner?”
Rick Brighton raised his hand. “‘No man is an island?'”
“Right. We are all biological and cognitive beings, but we are at the same time social beings. Other people play important parts in our lives, and in our lesson for today, we will learn all about interpersonal adjustment.” Zelda set down her tablet and strode to the front of the room. “Adjustment involves understanding how we perceive other people and social situations, and how we respond to other people…”
After an hour, she sat down with a pounding headache while the others went to different classes. Two minutes later, she heard the sound of footfalls. She sat up and took off her jacket.
“Where’s the new teacher?” A male voice demanded.
The arrogant tone of his voice made Zelda seethe. “I am the new teacher,” she answered, a slight lilt of disguised rage in her voice. “What–” the hell “–are you doing in here?
“Relax, please. I just wanted to see if Querada was telling the truth about their hot new teacher. And I can see that they’re not mistaken.” The young man gave her a tilted smile. He had fair skin, blonde hair and liquid green eyes. The colour of his necktie indicated that he was from the Honours class.
“I’m Kevin Brighton.”
So what, Zelda thought. “Karyna Dereveau,” she responded cordially.
“You’re French. You don’t look like it,” smirked Kevin. “New to the job?”
“Then you may find it difficult, indeed. I regret that my brother belongs to this section, we he could be exposed to bad influence and questionable behaviour.”
Despite her misgivings, section B-13 was in her charge, and no one was going to come in, poke insults at them, and get away with it. “Really?” Zelda said sarcastically.
“Yes. Don’t you believe me? But you will see.”
Zelda fixed him with a glare. “I don’t believe you. MY class may be…spirited, but they’re not bad people.”
Kevin shook his head and started for the door. “You will see, sooner or later. So long, mademoiselle Dereveau. A pleasure.”
Zelda stared at his retreating form and gritted her teeth. The battle lines had been drawn. So, B-13 was despised by everyone in the school. She would not allow her class to be picked on, no matter how much she hated them personally.
“Troublesome, huh? I’ll show you what trouble really looks like.”
Rick Brighton was staring at the floor.
“See him?” Ren pointed at the dark-haired, somber-faced boy. “He’s always like that. He needs to be calm and quiet while communicating with them.”
“With whom?” Zelda asked, wrinkling her eyebrow and watching Ren sit at the corner of her desk.
“With them. He sees things.”
“Who? Sees what?” repeated Zelda, exasperated.
Ren rolled his eyeballs. “Spirits, you know. Ghosts. Phantoms. Apparitions?” He counted them off one-by-one using his fingers. “They say he’s psychic.”
Interest piqued, Zelda glanced over. Rick must have felt her gaze, because his brooding, sea-grey eyes slid over to her direction. She turned back to Ren. “Are you sure?”
He shrugged. “Be my guest and check him out.”
Rick Brighton was moderately surprised when the new teacher took a seat in front of him. He could sense her urgency, and her need for…something…some palpable. She needed to know something. Something that, he sensed, she was better off not knowing.
“Rick. All by yourself?”
He smiled. He was indeed a loner, but by no means unsociable. Now the girl before him, he knew that she preferred to be alone and had no talents whatsoever when it came to socialising. “Yes, I am all alone.”
“Oh.” She looked at her hands. Rick looked at her body-fitted t-shirt. It was black and had WHAT ATTITUDE PROBLEM? printed on it. Beneath it was a forlorn-looking stick drawing of a child with big, empty eyes. The child was clutching a bleeding teddy bear.
“Do you need something?” he asked, more suggesting than inquiring.
“I…I need…” her voice was breathless, desperate. There was an air of intense urgency in her eyes. But suddenly, as she opened her mouth to speak, her features shuttered down as if someone had pulled a curtain over a window. Rick blinked, salvaging what little he had seen – vast, black stillness only with small gaps of light in between. A patched-up memory.
“Sorry about that,” Zelda said, giving him a calm smile. “I didn’t know what I was thinking.” She got up, her face unreadable. She walked away, leaving Rick once again all by himself.
The B-13 section had no interest in Mrs. Smith’s history sermon. Well, to state the truth, no one was. The teacher herself looked sleepy, but rambled on and on about the four empires and the wars that had divided them. Most of the students were blissfully asleep, and Mike, Rick, Ren and Ted were the only ones sluggishly awake.
“What did Karyna want to know?” demanded Mike, leaning back on his chair.
Rick shrugged. “Nothing, really.”
“Well, what did you find out about her?” Ted wanted to know.
“Very little. She’s deep…and no one’s seen through her yet.”
Ren doodled listlessly on his textbook. “Does she have a boyfriend or something?”
“Or something,” Rick murmured.
Ted’s eyes opened wide with horror. “Oh no…it wasn’t the skeleton, was it? Oh, NO.”
Rick looked puzzled. “What skeleton?”
Ren ignored Ted. “Does she love him?”
Rick turned to Ren and shook his head. “No…I don’t think she quite understands what love is.”
you’re so quiet
your smiles are spare
your laughter rare
your throat contracting while you swallow
your hands are strong
your lips are plump
perfect for biting
i stare at the back of your neck
where your haircut ends
and your skin begins
and all i can think of
is skimming over it
with sharp teeth
and feel you wince
and hear you breathe
but none of that happens
we stay apart
and smile at each other
polite and distant
did you want to hold my hand?
maybe i imagined it
but i really wanted you to kiss me.
image sourced from Tumblr
|Photo taken from Google Images.|