Notion Press Malaysia Short Story Contest 2017

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Bringer of Bad Luck
Published on 09-13-2017 02:27 PM
Reader Points: 10
Editor Points: 0
Rank: 275
Views: 60
The Fort
Published on 09-12-2017 03:50 PM

Bread, cheese, waterskins, dagger, revolver, some cash, extra clothes – it was all for the long ride to town tomorrow. Perhaps I should pack extra oats for Chester. As if he had read her thoug...Learn MoreBread, cheese, waterskins, dagger, revolver, some cash, extra clothes – it was all for the long ride to town tomorrow. Perhaps I should pack extra oats for Chester. As if he had read her thoughts, Chester – seemingly still awake in his stable – snorted loudly. Winona beamed with joy when the invitation came. A blow and a whinny from Chester had broken her reverie as a messenger approached with the news. At long last, her brother was to be wed and her best friend her soon-to-be sister and she the bridesmaid. She had been in such a state, skipping about and singing songs of her brother to tone-deaf Chester, forgetting that the date of the union was close. She needed to leave on the morrow, at the latest, lest it would mean missing the occasion. Chester snorted again. “Chester, don’t rush me, you hear? It’s quite a bit of journey to town and I need to do this properly. Let me finish with packing my things first and I’ll get to your extra oats after.” Silly creature. All his mind to himself. The last loaf was in and the knapsack was snapped shut. Chester whinnied now. “Patience! I’m getting the oats.” Her equine companion gave another loud snort or agitation in response. This isn’t about the oats, is it? No matter, Winona went to the cupboard, reached for the oats, grabbed a fistful and put them in her front dress pocket. If something outside was bothering him, at least these would calm his nerves a bit. She hated it when Chester got flustered, only because he was seldom so. It was only the two of them out here, after all. The horse gave another whinny. “I’m coming.” As she stepped out of the house and approached the stable, she saw what was making Chester nervous. “He’s a handsome lad.” This was a voice that had forgotten the taste of water. The man was atop a painted mare. He had a tattered hat on and was covered from head to toe in dirt. His travelling coat hung loosely on his shoulders, as though they had belonged to a bigger man. Poor illumination made it hard to see his face. The red hands holding the reins were old and scarred. “As handsome as yours is pretty. And who might this intruder be?” The man flinched a little at Winona’s tone. One can’t be too friendly. Chester nickered and nodded in the direction of the mare. “I beg your pardon. I am a weary traveller looking for a sip and a bite. My name is Vin, this is Sand. I did not mean to sneak. I was about to call upon the master of this house when I saw this beautiful creature here.” “Well, you’re looking at the master and I say no, so best be on your way now.” Winona reached into her pockets and brought the oats to Chester’s mouth. The man named Vin was silent for a while. “My lady, did I say something to slight you so?” “No. I just don’t trust you, is all.” “I see.” Vin fell silent but made no effort to move his mare. Chester whinnied at the mare. The mare which he called Sand turned to Chester and nickered warmly. Winona avoided the gaze of the mare as much as she can. She could easily deny a stranger but not a horse. These were simple creatures. Deception was not in their nature. The mare nickered some more, seemingly at the sight of oats. Vin was scanning the rest of the desert landscape, hoping to find a spot of light or two. Winona’s gaze met the mare’s. “How long has she travelled without water?” Vin clearly did not catch the question so she repeated it. “Two days? Maybe three?” “She could share the trough back here with Chester.” Despite the dim light from the gas lamp, Winona could tell that the traveller’s face lit up. He hopped off the back of his mare and thanked her fervently as she led them over to the trough. Winona brought out half of what she did not pack, the half of which would seem to spoil within the next few days, but far from it as of yet. All the while she was preparing a little supper for her stranger guest, a single thought ran through her mind constantly: Not a good idea. The last thing she wanted was for a man to get too cozy. As she passed her knapsack, she deftly reached in, pulled out her dagger and slipped it through the back waistband of her skirt.  As she stepped back out, tray in hand, Vin was standing by the fire pit, casually staring at the ashes and burnt pieces of wood.  "Make yourself comfortable by the fire pit. I'll get it burning." In no time, tongues of orange and yellow burst forth and Winona welcomed her guest to a bite. The jug of water was the first thing he reached for. Surely he would upturn the jug over his face and let its content bath him as he drank. Surely he would not care for the glass sitting by the bread. Surely-- Vin reached for the glass.  "So, where is it that you are headed?" "A new home." Vin tore off of mouthful of bread with his teeth and stuffed his mouth with a slice of bacon.  "And where might that be?" "I don't yet know," Vin said after he had swallowed. "Anywhere far from the old place is good enough." Something happened back home. Something bad. "Is that why you are carrying so little with you?" "Aye. Gone are my wife and children. Lost to a strange plague of sorts. Strangely enough, it came not for me. Only them. Peculiar. I had gone to town for a bit of business. Got what I needed and rode back home to find the house quiet. The wind chimes were the only things making any sound around. I didn't think much of it at first. They could have been taking a nice nap. When I walked in, they were far from napping and it wasn't nice. I pray that you won't live to see what I saw. I didn't stay long. I burned the house down and left. That was about five days ago. The day after we saw the fort in the clouds.” A moment of silence ensued. “You don’t believe me,” Vin continued, “and you are right to. I still can’t believe it myself. A fort in the sky. Nothing had sounded more ridiculous. The kids were all there – Torren hanging out the laundry, Betsey wrestling a stick from Panda’s jaws, Maline reading one of her adult lady books – can’t remember which. My wife had gone into the house to escape the heat, so I tended to the flowers instead. It had come so quietly, the fort. Its shadow arrived first. Then, it was just there – a towering and vast stretch of reddish-brown bricks against a backdrop of blue and white. Maline threw her book aside and ran in to fetch her mother. We all silently stared at the fort for as long as it was there. No one talked. Only Panda was barking and Sand seemed quite agitated. When she whinnied, I turned to look at her. Then, the dog fell silent. When I turned back to the sky, the fort was gone. Instead, a great cloud took its place. ‘Where did it go?’ I asked. Maline said it faded into the cloud. I was not sure if she meant that the fort became the cloud or it disappeared behind it, but I was too in awe to ask. Nothing more happened that day. The next day… Well, you know.” The fire crackled uncomfortably behind them. Vin took a sip of water. “I find all this a little – no – very hard to believe. Before you mentioned the fort, I was more inclined to believing you, that a strange plague struck your family, but now, it just seems like you are hiding something.” He murdered his family! I know it! He told the story to bewitch me. Vin gave a sigh, seemingly one of resignation. “Make of it what you will. If not the truth, then perhaps a simple fireside story, one to entertain friends and strangers with. I pray that you won’t suffer such visions as I had. And thank you for the food and water. Sand and I shall leave you in peace now.” Then, he whistled to his mare. She came trotting towards her rider. “You best be getting to bed now.” That night, Winona dreamed of the fort. She was standing in the middle of the desert, desolate and soiled, looking up into the sky and crying her eyes out. Her house was obliterated, blasted to bits. The fort was there, surrounded by glaring sunlight. It loomed over her, seemingly judging her, scrutinising her. A loud hum came from behind it and it started to crack. The line became two and two became four and four became eight, and it went on and on, until the fort crumbled and collapsed on top of her. It was then that Winona woke up. Morning had come. And Chester was whinnying. Extra oats! Once the front door was locked, Winona mounted her steed and rode west. Had the stranger not appeared at her doorstep the night previous, had the fort not invaded her dreams, she would have been in a glowing mood riding to town. Her mind would fill itself to the brim with visions of flowers and confetti and the silhouette of lovers kissing against gentle sunlight. Now it did not seem to be so, as her mind ran through images of the dream again. It was a curious thing. She had never seen the fort. Any information of it was communicated to her by means of mere spoken words from a stranger, and yet, in her mind, she saw it clear as day. She tried to make herself think of the wedding, of the floral decorations, her handsome brother, her best friend, the celebration that would come after, the rings. She made herself think of all that, and it all led back to the fort. Had Vin the Stranger bewitched me last night? How did his fancies become mine? Who is he? What is he? The town was coming into view, but it was still quite a long way ahead. Winona stopped by a fig and rested under its shade. There were patches of desert grass about so Chester could graze to his content. A light wind blew through the leaves, making the light shining through them dance before Winona’s eyes. This eventually lulled her into a restful slumber when… …the low hum returned. Her eyes shot open to behold the fort in the sky. It loomed over her as it had done in her dream. Despite its lack of eyes, Winona could feel it staring down accusingly at her, pointing an invisible finger at her very soul. What was it that I have done wrong? A bolt of lightning struck the celestial structure and once again, it crumbled. Chester screamed… …and Winona opened her eyes. The sky was clear and blue. Not a single brick from the fort in sight. Chester was sniffing out a kangaroo rat that was sniffing him in turn. Another dream of the fort. What does it all mean? Were these omens to heed? After downing two gulps from her water skin, Winona and Chester continued on their journey to town. They took another break along the way and this time, Winona took care to not fall asleep. As harmless as these dreams seemed to be, Winona wished to not have her mood spoiled this close to the wedding. As the sky grew darker with splashes of violet, red and orange, Winona arrived at the edge of town, greeted first by the post office. Lamps were lit, but there was no movement within. No sound. As Chester trotted deeper, dark shapes strewn about on the streets came into view. One of them moved. Winona pulled on Chester’s reins and watched as it made its way towards her. As it approached, its outline grew clearer. A person. The figure pulled itself across the ground with its hands, panting and groaning. Halfway down its waist seemed to be whatever was left of a long skirt, or a dress. A woman. Winona jumped off Chester back and approached her. As they came together under a lamp, Winona gave a sharp shriek and threw herself backwards, her hands slapped over her open mouth. “Eeeesh, er-eee!” the woman cried, her lower jaw dangling loosely on a few threads of flesh and tendon. Her skin was covered in lesions, her hair all but fallen off, and her eyes bloodshot. Winona was frozen with fear. The woman cried out again and her lower jaw came unhinged, along with a few others that had been kept intact by it. At that, she fell limp and did not move again after. Winona remained seated in the dirt, in shock, until Chester came over to nudge her on the back with his head. Winona approached each of the bodies. They appeared to show similar signs – lesions, bloodshot eyes, thinning hair – and more. For some, the lesions had eaten their way down to the bones of their victims. Chester snorted in agitation. Winona pulled out the oats and fed him to help calm him down. “What do you suppose happened here, Chester?” She then thought of her brother and her sister-to-be. The wedding. She hurried to the church, only to find the priest sprawled awkwardly on the steps, the upper half of his torso connected to the lower by a single intestine. No. No! “No!” Had it not been for the bouquet, Winona would not have recognised the mangled corpse in the blood-soaked dress as her sister-to-be. Much of her skull had taken over her face. Winona could still recognise her brother, only because whatever ate his fiancée’s face off went for his torso first. Back outside, the day wept with Winona, and it was a melancholically gentle downpour, almost as though the heavens were sympathetic. As she walked out of the church, she caught movement at the corner of her eye. It was the corpse of a little boy which had been sitting up against the side of the church. A few light taps from the rain, a little shift in position and gravity easily took over after, revealing a drawing in blood slowly being washed away by the rain. Winona clapped her palms to her mouth, gasping, as she realised what it was. It came.... Read more

By Samuel Po Kin Hong in
Reader Points: 90
Editor Points: 0
Rank: 172
Views: 293
The Theatre of Dreams
Published on 09-10-2017 03:37 PM

 “I don’t want to do this anymore, please.”

 

“Bao, think about the money we can make. Your fiancé just bought a half million condominium, you need to finance your seaside-themed wedding and remember that honeymoon in Paris.”

 

“We shoul...Learn More “I don’t want to do this anymore, please.”   “Bao, think about the money we can make. Your fiancé just bought a half million condominium, you need to finance your seaside-themed wedding and remember that honeymoon in Paris.”   “We should stop doing this. These are innocent lives. We can work more overtime back at our hospital.”   “No way! Those extra shifts were a misery. One assignment here can generate more than enough income to cover all our monthly commitments. Everyone needs the money, Bao. My mother requires haemodialysis. Henderson has to treat his HIV. You cannot be so selfish.”   “Listen to your senior. Let me remind you, we had a deal. I have to compensate 3 million ringgit to Eric’s family because they wanted to sue me for negligence after Eric almost died when I removed his appendix. Hence, if you guys have taken enough delight in my embarrassment, I suggest we stop all this drama and prepare for the case. Henderson should be here with the client in an hour,” Andrew interrupted.   “Nicole, anaesthesia checklist, now! We are running late,” exclaimed an animated, plump 6-foot anaesthetist from the next room.    “I’m sorry Nicole but this will be my last.”   “We will discuss later, alright? Cheer up, girl,” said Nicole as she tucked her wavy brown shoulder length hair behind her right ear. Then, she hurriedly put on her makeup, blue contact lenses and straightened her dress to portray the sexy curvatures of her hips before preparing the medications.     Meanwhile, Bao stared blankly at her own reflection while securing her long black hair into a bun. She was so engrossed in a raging battle with her conscience that she forgot to apply some foundation to conceal those freckles on her cheeks.   Suddenly, a recognisable voice with a tinge of imitated British accent was heard, “Bapak, Ibu, welcome to our little theatre where our dream is to help people who dream of achieving optimum health.” “The last time I visited Penang was back in 2010. It’s amazing how things have changed in seven years.”   “Hopefully for the good, Ibu. There are two Chinese staff nurses on duty. This is Bao, my junior and over here we have Dr. Jesvinder Singh, our jolly anaesthetist.”   While Bao wheeled the patient into the observation room, the bald-headed and lanky surgeon introduced himself to the Indonesian couple. After Andrew explained regarding the operation and the risks involved, Ibu responded, “We came here because no doctors in Aceh dared to risk an operation on my son. They told me there is no cure for liver cancer. Your country is blessed with such advanced healthcare system. We know his chances are slim but what are we supposed to do? Sit and watch him die?”   Henderson offered them a box of tissue as tears were streaming down their wrinkled cheeks. As they signed the consent form, Ibu said gloomily, “Alhamdulillah, his life is in God’s hands. We will not blame you, doc, if anything goes wrong.”   After Nicole completed the necessary documents and collected a deposit of RM50k, Bao assisted the patient to lie down on the operating table. “I’m sorry, Ira Siburian. Please forgive me.”   “It’s okay, nurse. You’re just doing your job.”   Bao quickly inserted a peripheral venous catheter into the patient’s vein and connected the Normal Saline drip. While Nicole was unwrapping the sterile surgical set, Bao attached the cardiac monitor leads on the patient’s chest and administered oxygen.   “Administer Etomidate 10mg and Scoline 50mg intravenously. Then, help me with the intubation.”   After Jesvinder secured the breathing tube in the patient’s trachea and ensured the ventilator’s settings were adjusted correctly, Bao began recording the events of the procedure. “Blood pressure 130/80 mmHg, pulse rate 82 per minute and oxygen saturation 99%. The patient is ready, Mr. Andrew.”   While donning a pair of sterile gloves, Andrew asked, “Has the patient been properly sedated?”   “He is intubated, my dear specialist surgeon,” replied Jesvinder, rolling his eyes.   “Alright, 40-year-old male, heavy smoker and drinker, diagnosed with Hepatocellular Carcinoma. The Harvester wants a pair of kidneys. As usual, Nicole and Henderson will make the delivery.”   Andrew’s hands quivered as he made a vertical incision from the end of the breastbone to the bottom of the navel using a scalpel blade. “Before you guys continue to torture him, I think he deserves some painkiller,” said Jesvinder as he injected Tramadol 100mg intravenously. After cutting through the subcutaneous tissue, peritoneum and a small part of the liver, Andrew extracted both kidneys. Nicole placed the kidneys into a sterile container filled with cool Normal Saline. As Nicole rushed out of the theatre, a sense of impending doom infiltrated the spine of the patient’s parents.   “How’s the operation, nurse?”   “Ira Siburian is in critical condition. Just when a segment of his liver was being pierced, it started bleeding profusely. We are trying to stop it but he might not make it.”   Ibu leaned over and cried on Bapak’s shoulder as Nicole dashed back into the theatre. “I’ve informed them. It’s time to finish him.”   “Disconnect the ventilator and let him suffocate.”   They waited for fifteen minutes but the patient was still gasping for air. “He still has spontaneous breathing. It’s already 11am. You should break the news to them.”   “How long will you guys need to deliver the kidneys to Frozen Section?”   “An hour.”   Andrew removed his surgical mask and confronted Ira’s parents, “I’m sorry to inform you that your son had passed away due to massive uncontrolled bleeding from his liver. His blood pressure would not pick up despite three bottles of fluids, blood transfusion and medications. We’ve tried our best.”   Ibu beat her chest and wailed, “My dear son, forgive us. We couldn’t give you a better life.”   “Can we see our son?”   “Sure, please follow me. The rhythm present on the monitor is due to the medications’ effect and if we stop the life support, he will stop breathing.”   Bapak kissed Ira’s forehead and asked, “Can we bring our son back to Aceh?”   “The flight authorities forbid us to transport a dead body in a commercial flight. A special flight will cost a fortune. Therefore, we will report that the patient is very ill, still alive, but the family is requesting for a transfer back to their homeland. If you agree, we will proceed.”   The both of them sobbingly agreed. Henderson and Nicole explained that they were going to settle some documentation at the airline company. Subsequently, Henderson returned to the reception area and said, “We need an additional RM10k for the flight and ground transportation. Ira needs nine seats to be converted into a place spacious enough to lay him down and two trips of private ambulance services. I have bargained the cheapest rate for you, Bapak. Initially, the staff at Seriwedjayo Airlines wouldn’t entertain me but I begged them.”   “Thank you so much. No problem, Mr.Henderson. We have a little cash left.”   Meanwhile, Nicole entered the theatre by sneaking in through the back door. “2 kilos of Meth and 2 kilos of ecstasy,” uttered Nicole.   “That’s all? What else did the Agent say?”   “30k per kidney. The transaction will be done by today. That’s the best deal I could negotiate, Mr. Andrew.”   “Flight?”   “5pm.”   “We’d better hurry. Remember the Emergency Response Bag and your passports,” said Jesvinder.           They quickly stuffed the two packages inside Ira’s abdominal cavity. Andrew electro-cauterized the vessels that were still oozing out blood and stitched up the incision wound. Just after covering the patient with a gown, the ambulance arrived. While Andrew was completing the forms provided by the airline, the patient was transferred onto the ambulance stretcher together with the portable ventilator, oxygen tank and cardiac monitoring.   “Good luck,” whispered Jesvinder.   After settling the payment, Bapak thanked Andrew for all his efforts. “I would like to apologize again. My two nurses and Henderson will accompany Ira back to Aceh.”   While watching the ambulance leave hastily with its siren wailing and Ira’s parents tailing behind in a taxi, Andrew said, “Can you withdraw the money from the account later? I’m getting sick of these paperwork.”   On arrival, while Henderson assisted Ira’s parents to check in their bags, the others waited in the ambulance. “My bladder’s going to burst. Monitor the patient closely.”   “Henderson, here, RM 500. A token of our appreciation for going through all the trouble. Distribute it among yourselves.”   As Nicole was approaching the ambulance, she eavesdropped on their conversation and witnessed Henderson receive the love gift with overflowing joy.   An airport official, a representative from Seriwedjayo Airlines and two auxiliary policemen were assigned to escort them through the immigration process. Before exiting the ambulance, Nicole said, “Stay calm and look innocent.”   After their boarding passes were verified and passports were stamped at the immigration counter, they arrived at the security screening area. All of their personal belongings were scanned as they passed between the metal detectors. “The passageway is too narrow for the stretcher to go through.”   “It’s okay. Over here, the patient can use the lane without the metal detectors,” said one of the security enforcers.   Bao breathed a sigh of relief while trying to wipe that bewildered expression off her face as she realized the degree of simplicity the level of security was. “Hold on a second,” another senior officer exclaimed. Her portrayal of confidence was slightly smeared when they asked, “Is he still alive? What are you guys transporting?”   “You can see from the heart rhythm, sir. He’s still alive. We are accompanying an ill patient back to his country,” answered Nicole.   “Has the doctor filled up the forms?”   After ensuring it was not a case of communicable disease, the senior officer allowed them to travel.   The ambulance team welcomed them as Ira was transferred onto the stretcher after being carried on a canvas all the way from the back of the airplane. Since Ira’s parents had to wait for their luggage, Henderson suggested, “We will bring Ira back first. Anyway, only six people are permitted in the ambulance due to insurance coverage purposes.”   Once in the ambulance, Nicole removed the stitches and exposed Ira’s abdominal cavity. Suddenly, Ira coughed and fresh blood began gushing out from his abdomen, spilling onto the canvas. “He’s in pain. Can we stop this? Please,” said Bao.   Nicole ignored her petrified compassion and complained, “Andrew did a lousy job. The arteries are not ligated properly. Henderson, take some gauze and put excessive pressure on it. I’ll put him out of his misery with an ampoule of Potassium Chloride.”   “What if a post-mortem was carried out?”   "I doubt the parents would request for it since we explained that he died during the operation. Even if they did, I’m pretty sure the health authorities would just conclude that he died of liver cancer. He’s just another ordinary citizen.”        Within five minutes of administration, the patient stopped breathing and asystole was shown on the cardiac monitoring. Nicole dug out the two packages, wiped off the bloodstains and hid them in an empty compartment.   “15 minutes more.”   The mess was starting to annoy Nicole but she managed to stitch up the wound. They cleaned up Ira with some alcohol wipes and changed his gown. When they reached Ira’s three storeyed house, they laid him down in the hall as requested by the family. After the breathing tube, medications and monitoring devices were removed, they excused themselves to allow the family members to mourn.   While the ambulance was sending them to a hotel, Nicole said, “What a day! No red packets this round?”   “No, no tips from them. Probably, they ran out of cash,” said Henderson with a chuckle.   Upon reaching the hotel, Nicole instructed her colleagues to proceed with the check-in procedure while she took care of some unfinished business. Before handing over the two packages, Nicole asked, “Secret code?”   “She sells seashells by the seashore; written by?”   “Mary Anning.”   “We will transfer RM10k into the same account after we have verified the items. Send our regards to Andrew. I’ll deliver your medical equipment to the airport tomorrow.”   “Hey, any free samples?”   “Here, feed your cravings. Take it as a compliment from us,” said the driver as he gave Nicole a few packets.   While the receptionist was distributing their room keys, Nicole said, “Guys, you left your bags in the ambulance.”   “Oh dear. Thanks. I can’t wait for a hot shower to wash away all these uncivilized bacteria,” said Henderson.        “Yay, our rooms are on the same floor. I’m starving. Can we just go for dinner first?”   Ten minutes after returning from dinner, Nicole heard some commotion along the hallway and realized that some policemen were raiding the hotel. “Why are my friends being handcuffed?!”   “Search her room,” ordered the Inspector.   “Marijuana, sir, marijuana.”   “Andrew betrayed us. Who else knows our location? I have no marijuana. They framed us! Help me, Nicole!”     Nicole was later released as the Inspector confirmed she had no possession of marijuana. Meanwhile, at the police station, the Inspector interrogated, “5g of marijuana. That’s enough to put you behind bars for five years. Who’s your boss?”   Henderson begged, “I am innocent. There must be another way to solve this. I’ll do anything you say.”   “Anything? Even if it blemishes your purity?”   The next day, at the airport, Nicole took back her medical equipment from the ambulance driver, shook hands and parted ways. Upon landing in Penang, she was greeted by a familiar face, “Hey, darling. I hope everything went smoothly. Where’s Henderson?”   “Last minute changes; he got caught too. Henderson deserved it, that promiscuous cheater!”   “Well, less men more share.”   “But I feel bad for Bao.”   “Her elimination was compulsory. You know the unwritten rules. No one quits.”   “Andrew?”   “He will be charged for organ trafficking. I recorded our conversations in the theatre. Don’t worry, I filtered yours out.”   “You managed to smuggle past the customs?”   “Yeah. They didn’t even bother to check when I told them I was a doctor. The ambulance driver told me one packet of heroin is in the Emergency Response Bag and the other is in the portable ventilator. They should just pay everything through bank transfer. It’s very risky during the return trip.”   “The demand for heroin is higher here. We can profit three times. Anyway, let me take the bag and pass the package directly to the Agent. He’s waiting near the departure area. You wait for me here. Once I’m done, I will pick you up.”   After five minutes, Nicole said over the phone, “Jesvinder, you forgot the ventilator.”   “That’s for you.”   Before Nicole could comprehend that stench of betrayal, cops surrounded her and she was arrested for drug trafficking.   Six months passed, the warden announced, “252, visitor!”   Nicole’s perplexed expression failed to disguise the awkwardness of the moment when she saw who was behind the glass partition.   “Pick up the phone,” his lips read.   “Hello, Henderson.” ... Read more

By Irwin Choo in
Reader Points: 0
Editor Points: 0
Rank: 342
Views: 18
Arthur
Published on 08-22-2017 11:05 AM

 “No! Stop!" The boy struggling hardly...Learn More “No! Stop!" The boy struggling hardly. He was lay on a wooden table with his hands and legs tied at the edge of the table. "Don’t! Please stop! I'm begging you!" He is screaming but his screams was being ignored.  His tears flowed to the cheek. “No! Let. Me. Go!" The man smirk inhumanly cruel. Right in his hand, that man was holding an iron bar with a mark plate that was made from iron at its bottom. It was heated with a blazing blue flame. He ignored the boy shriek even though he was screaming loudly from his heart. The boy was crying, a recreance cry. He walked slowly toward the boy. The boy's heart thumping like crazy. “Don’t you worry little boy. It doesn’t hurt at all. Just like ant bites.  A red and giant ant,” he said his sentences one by one. He smiled again, viciously. Outside, it was dark and raining heavily. Sometimes lighting and thunder shows itself. An abandoned mansion located in the middle of nowhere at the forest, where the poor, helpless boy was kept. Whilst the forest was silent and only the crying rain was heard, a strong scream burst out, combined with the rain.  Half a year ago... “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday happy birthday, happy birthday to you… Happy 11th birthday, Arthur!” Everyone cheerfully sang the song.  Arthur, the boy who had a fair skin, dark hair and pale green eyes, smile gladly looking at his parents and family. Their servants wore costume. On that day, they made a birthday party for him at Lancerius manor garden yard. They ate the cake and the party was very joyful. They invite many people to joined. The nobles and the commoners were everywhere at the party. They held many games for him. Lancerius family was loved by all of them because of their generousity. Despite he embraced happiness on that day, no one realize what fate had befall upon him. Late that night, when they were sleeping, a group of 4 bandits breaks into the manor. The manor was robbed and the mansion was burnt. All the household was killed by the them and burnt to the ashes. Arthur was kidnapped and his father, Duke William Lancerius with his mother, Duchess Marilynn was killed in attempt to save him. That night, the sky was coloured with the colour of fire and the air filled with smoke. Next day, the news were spread all over the country; the House of Lancerius burnt and no one survived. Young master of Lancerius, went missing. Search party were deployed to find Arthur Lancerius but it was a failure.               The boy open his eyes. He is at the abandon mansion basement. Left in a room. On the floor. He look at the bright blue sky. Birds are chirping. His face ripples hurt, although no feelings shows. He tired of all of that. And he dreamed it again. The same dream for the past 6 months after he was kidnapped on his birthday. Dream of his birthday party and his house burnt. Sold to a dark assemblage and was treat like a slave. Then, he was sold again and now, a burnt mark left at his left shoulder. Still red. Crimson angry red. Like his heart. He feels pain in his shoulder. There is still tears on his eyelids. Suddenly, the door behind him open and a few people enter the room. He look at them. They are wearing coats that looks expensive with hat and walking staff. Except the man who gave him the mark. They were smiling. “Deal, and as we said earlier. This is your payment,” said one of them while giving him a small bag of money. The man nod his head continuously. Happy to see a bag full of money in his hand. One of the men, walk close to the boy. “What is your name, boy?” he ask while holding the boy’s chin with the bottom of his staff. “Answer me.” The boy turns his head. “Arthur.” “Arthur? Arthur what?” “Arthur Lancerius. Anymore question about my name?” He look directly to the man eyes. A sharp look. He dislike the question that asking his family name. Suddenly, the man hit him with his staff. “Don’t you dare look at me, you filthy boy. And don’t you dare to say like that. I’m free to ask any question, understood?” Arthur smirk. One thing that he learned from the past 6 month is looking sharply at the eyes and the smirk. Peoples that he met hate that. But to Arthur, it is a mockery.   Arthur were brought to a huge stone mine site by carriage. Seems like those 'gentleman' own a mining site. “Place him anywhere, as long as under the sun. No one will change place with him. That will teach him. Understood?” said the man to a superior worker. He look like in the early of age 30.  “Yes,” he obey. The man and his group left.                 Then, Arthur was bring to a site where he will work with a few people. It’s not a hot place although there is a hotter place. “Start your work now. You will carry those stone to a wooden cart over there. Will you okay with that?” he ask. Arthur feels a little weird. “Why? Shouldn’t I work there?” he shows another spot, under the scorching sun. “Although you were slave here, you still a boy and you will hurt yourself. Moreover, a kid like you should be staying in a house full with servants. By the way, stop talking and do what I said.” Arthur make a move. “Wait.” “What?” he asked. He feels a little bit annoyed. The man take out a white bandage and some ointment from his pocket. He roll Arthur left hand sleeve and place the ointment to the burn mark. Then, he wrap it with the bandage. “It will recover sooner if you take care of your shoulder. Don’t do hard work.” “Thank you. I’m Arthur. May I ask your name, mister?” Arthur feels thankful to him.  “It’s Sven. Sven Volfied. Now, do your work.”   6 months he worked there. With 3 times meals per day, he continue working non-stop. Although, those men who bought him told Sven to place him under the sun several times, that man always said that he already did that and the area was cleared. He learns everything, physically, mentally and feelings of revenge. Learns how to hide inside pain and tears when was hitted by those men. Mockering them in their presence in front of them. In spite of it, Arthur made some best friends. Elliot, the boy run away from his drunken father, Soleil and Mois, a twin of brother and sister, same circumstances as Arthur was, except their own servant is the culprit and Chao Cang, or Chao, an eastern orphan teenager who were sold by an eastern traders that greeds for more money. To them, Sven is like a big brother that always protect them. Fate always change, like a wind. But now, the wind turns into a hurricane. While working, suddenly, those man who bought Arthur calls Sven to their office. But, Sven never came back after that. Some worker said that his work over here were settled because he is not really the head worker. He just filled in. Many rumors flying in the air but, the worst one is Sven was beat up till death because of disobey orders. Arthur didn’t believe all the rumors and keep working although Chao have a preconceive about Sven.  One day, while Mois was passing through the alley of the kitchen, she heard a few words from the kitchen staff. There are two of them. One of them said, Sven will be dead sooner if his wounds doesn’t treated and only eat 1 meal per day and some times, no meals. Just because he saw something that he shouldn’t see. Mois, who hiding behind the kitchen’s wall feels shock. She need to know more. She calmly walking and close the rotten wooden door. She force them to tell her everything. At that night, she tells everything to Arthur, Soleil, and Chao. They make a plan to save Sven. At that day, they still are working usually. They will carries their plan at night.  The time has come. A few people guarding the office. Arthur and Chao penetrate into the office after settle down those guards while Soleil and Mois are emaciate carriage and horses that will bring them to outside. Arthur and Chao manage to bring Sven out while the twin waiting in front of the main door with a carriage. Then, Soleil spur the horses and breaks through the main gate. Mois was treating Sven inside the carriage together with Arthur and Chao. Then, they arrive at a terrace building for the lower class and continue treating Sven. They take cover for a few days before continue their plan. Going home. Soleil and Mois will travel to France while Arthur, Chao and Sven will be going to Arthur homeland. Arthur determine to find who gives those horrible memorise to him. He have change. He need revenge in the name of Lancerius and restore his family companies. Soleil and Mois also have the same goal as he is. They need to pay back the business.After a month. In one of the Lancerius resting family house...  The door suddenly open. A beautiful lady burst into the the room. Her eyes look at him and rushing to hug him, her missing nephew. Arthur standing between Sven and Chao at the balcony. “Arthur!” she cries. “Where have you been? A year pass without you, ” she look over Arthur eyes. He seems, different. Angsty and grudge mixing together in his pale green eyes. Feeling the hunger of vengeance. “What happen to you?” ask his mother’s little sister, Lady Maria Skyeworth.  "Survival of the fittest, Aunt Maria."... Read more

By Larkspur Canceria in
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