Notion Press Malaysia Short Story Contest 2017

Two Bodies in One

By Jowena Locke in Thriller

“Aren’t you glad to see me?” He caressed his mother’s cheeks, watching the salty tears falling gracefully onto her cheekbones while eyes of true terror were entrenched permanently on his guardian’s cheeks. Her lips trembled attempting to attain words to speak in response to this daunting scene before her.

“Why should I?”



At the sweet tender age of five, in a kindergarten filled with children from a potpourri of backgrounds, different as light is to day – of different religions and ethnic compositions; a group of children ranging from Chinese, Indians, Malays and Eurasians were teasing one another and amongst them stood their leader – a doll-like person with pressed inky jet black hair, captivating features spread on a heart-shaped face, wearing a sundress with dirt and mud clinging to it and a joyful mien on her face. It had never occurred to her that having a different perspective of life could be the outcome of many obstacles in future; it being reluctantly placing one’s self into the depths of unknown.

Mailina was under no circumstances allowing herself to get bitten and bruised as she continued venturing out and discovering herself in a society bound by unnecessary rules in how one was to behave and where sufferable people bombarded her with questions that she herself did not know the answers to. Although a minor, Mailina was drawn to the sleazy world of drugs and sex and she set herself out to test the extremes of what society frowned upon – crime and obscenity!

Drugs, sex, and smoking – she was lured by the excitement that this world gave her existence and the adrenalin that flowed through her every time she participated in socially unacceptable behaviour, made her feel thrilled with no sense of remorse. Sadly, she never bothered about the little voice within her that incriminated and admonished her.

It may seem such a norm that teenagers are encompassed by these wrongdoings but society backboned these preposterous acts in Eastern countries. Mailina was ignorant on how to go about concealing her tracks and as her parents discovered their daughter in a night club with several other men, the idea of her escaping into the wilderness of naiveté had vanished.

“We brought you up into a fine young lady and this is how you present yourself in front of others? Why are you even my daughter, Mailina? I did not feed and raise you for this purpose!”

Her mother was in tears; with distraught as thoughts of her daughter seeking sexual pleasures with strange men crossed her mind. Never did she have the idea of sending her daughter to a reintegration centre, but if that was the price they needed to pay in order to save their daughter, so be it!

~

At some point in August, Mailina was left in a world where only the craziest could survive as not a single person was vouched sane living in an environment with wacky Arvaa bashing his already demented head against the wall multiple times and stirring other patients from their peaceful siesta. The initial day she arrived at the inferno, she sashayed in with an inimitable appearance from her tacky clothes down to her mud-spattered combat boots and an atrocious hairstyle that looked like it was from the 90’s.

Not all of us are blessed with lady luck after all, thought the raven haired girl as she stared out of the glossy glass window of her tiny and compact room; silently wishing the days in this depressing and upsetting edifice would succumb to an end. She was twirling a tiny object around her fingers, feeling it hit her flesh and enjoyed the touch of coldness it brought to her warm and heated body.

“Mailina darling, Dr. Ling is here for you,” announced the staff that was all too cheerful and the teen probed if she should be the one to be confined in this asylum.

A woman stood before her, in an egg-white gown, her chestnut golden hair pulled into a sleek ponytail, her slit sharp eyes framed by a pair of round rimmed glasses as she sneered at Mailina who was certainly ecstatic to see her again. It was a consistent uniform procedure to encounter her psychiatrist ever since she was admitted in the rehabilitation centre in her hometown.

Her parents had abandoned her; her friends left her to fend for herself and all there was left was the everlasting thrust she hoped to reconcile with the customary standards of her life. Dr.Ling could be assumed to be a sympathetic and compassionate psychiatrist but do not be hoodwinked – once the lights were lowered, the room came to an eerie silence and there was a vouched and distasteful feeling in the pit of Malina’s stomach, Dr. Ling Kei Yang was a beast in the dark; extracting true terror from the tormented screams of her ill-fated patients.

“I’ve been wondering if you would ever return for me,” Mailina snickered at the irascible shrink whilst watching her prepare for Mailina’s tenth or even twelfth attempt in creating history by discovering a cure for an illness that affected Dr. Ling’s being. Attempting a disastrous plan was bound to lead to a chasm of success or failure unless in Dr. Ling’s case – a complete and utter flop.

The malignant therapist will never foresee the pros and cons on the utmost belief that a simpleton like Mailina could aid her in unearthing the illness of her grandmother. Evidently so the old woman from the east had been a voodoo expert and the gods of the unspoken had placed a curse on the wretched witch combining her odious physique with the souls of the departed and non-existent.

“Just a simple flick of this baby and we return ourselves to step one and possibly drown yourself with a new friend,” Dr. Ling chortled while grasping tightly the perfectly sharp piston, containing a cloudy fluid which seemed to be the antidote for her grandmother’s dissociative identity disorder. Mailina was abused from the handlings of her psychiatrist and though it may seem she would be unresponsive or simply ‘not caring at all’ (her own words exactly) towards her tactics but when Dr.Ling came for a visit, her wretched and tantalised heart would skip a beat and ragged breathing would surface.

Injecting the fluid into Mailina’s physique, she felt the liquid flow through her red-blue veins and the effects of the horrendous fluid had started. Her eyes shut down unconsciously and her limbs trembled with every ounce she had, foam escaped from her pure cherry lips and the strands of hair on her arms and legs had risen as if she had been electrocuted. A hint of glee was unknowingly seen on Dr. Ling as her subject yielded to her dark rooted treatment that would arise her grandmother’s ailment in Mailina and rapidly jotted the excellent outcomes of her current lab rat.

~

“Darling wake up,” Mailina felt a slight shove from her left shoulder and slowly fluttered her eyes open to glance at who was interrupting her slumber. Peeping between the sheets, Dr. Ling plonked down beside her with a Cheshire grin planted on her face.

“What do you want?” she croaked as her throat dried up from the tiresome rest she had the night before, with the attacks happening frequently. “Are you feeling better?” retorted the psychiatrist as she was not bothered by her patient’s wellbeing and only cared about the results.

The teenage girl easily sat in a criss-cross position to await her doctor with the news. “He visited twice last night wanting to control my body saying how he needed to complete his task,” she explained whilst adding flair to her ramblings using hand gestures, emphasising the ludicrousness of her illness that made her have another personality in her body.

“That’s good, that’s good…” murmured Dr.Ling before continuing, “just inform me about his thoughts and how he communicates with you alright - I need to know his exact movements!”

A day filled with unexpected twists was to unravel upon Mailina with a newcomer intruding into her life and by no means offering a pleasing break to her. In the area where dinner was served, a posse of patients were scattered around as if like a flea market with people rooted to the ground whilst keeping a hawk’s eye on the people if ever one goes mad.

The gloomy female was situated in the middle of the room, glancing at the amalgam varying from Hakim who was stacking cups neatly as if he was joining Speed Stacks while Krishna was undergoing anxiety attacks habitually.

“Is she alright?”

“Why is she sitting like a man? She seemed pretty weird over the last few days, perhaps wacky Arvaa had gotten to her.”

Whispers were heard across the room as the group were oblivious to the gushing atmosphere. It brought concern as Mailina had her legs plonked on the four legged piece, leaning backwards in a relaxed state as she whistled at every legged brunette or black head that strolled past her. She felt, at no time bizarre throughout her stay in the building but unknowingly today, it appeared as if she was an entirely new person.

The youngster stood up and sauntered towards the exit of the cafeteria, snapping her fingers in a rhythmic tune as she observed her surroundings in the building. Out of the blue, she witnessed the lights go off and sirens starting to blare throughout the entire construction. It was her time to shine as Mailina quickened her pace as that was the signal for her to escape.

Running to the entrance, she saw that it was completely vacant except for the sleazy security guard who was always napping or ravenously eating powdered doughnuts – in this case, it was the former. Mailina released a breath at the sight of the man and tip-toed to the doors ensuring that she did not create any noise that could awaken the man. Once her feet touched the pebbled road outside the asylum, she considered herself a freed victim.

A task in hand was to be fulfilled and it should be accomplished tonight.

Striding the roads in urban centre, Mailina knew the streets as if they were implanted at the back of her head. She treaded towards the direction of her humble abode which housed her guardians who had neglected her and him for seventeen years of their lives. A two levelled house was in her view presenting a perfect home for the family. Green earthy plants were placed along the sidewalk with an attached tyre-like swing hanging on the humongous tree beside the house and glass tinted windows so clear that you could examine your own reflection in them.

Mailina walked up the steps to where her house was positioned and knocked on the majestic mahogany egress awaiting the arrival of her mother. The door creaked open and slowly, barring the feet of a woman in clad socks, dressed in an overnight gown, her lifeless grey curls were compiled into a high sock bun. The old woman opening the door was dumbfounded to see her daughter standing before her.

“Hello, mother,” said the daughter of the household whilst standing tranquil against the railing of the egress.

“Mailina, what are you doing here at the wee hours of the morning?” she choked on her words in disbelief, that her offspring was right there, in front of her very eyes.

Mailina was taken aback at the abrupt of calling her by that name, “Mailina- what are you talking about?” A sudden recognition played in her mind and continued, “I almost forgot that I was using her body but mother, don’t you remember me?”

Her mother was perplexed as she was unsure on what she just heard. Her daughter stated that she was not her child although she had similar attributes. “What gibberish are you sprouting? I do not understand what you are trying to tell me.”

“It’s me, your son, Justin.” He accentuated on who he was, “You had abandoned me when the doctor told you that I would not survive but guess what- I defied the odds and here I am today, standing in front of you. A shocker isn’t it?”

“What have you done to my daughter?” gasped the traumatised woman as she lost sense in her legs and collapsed in a heap. ‘Justin’ went approximately closer to her in terms of him enabling to see the clear specks of his mother’s features.

“You had the decision to conceive us both and kill yourself but you did not- you left me to rot whilst saving my twin but luckily I dominated her body to see you again,” articulated Justin in the body of his twin sister who had a frenzied smile on her face and it brought chills to her mother whose eyes were ajar at the sight of the deranged child before her.

“I do not know who you are but I want you to leave immediately!” Mailina’s mother demanded, showing a brave face to demolish the alarming state she was in as she leaned on her elbows with her legs dangling at the doorsteps of her home.

“Surely you should know that I cannot leave without finishing my task,” he cackled as he swiftly entered the house and sauntered towards the stairs, climbing up to his sister’s room. Opening the door, he peered in to have a glance at his sibling’s room and was surprised to find it undisturbed with her objects placed neatly on her computer desk and four poster bed. He settled on the divan, hearing the creaky noises produced from his weight.

The mother stood at the doorway taking a glance at her daughter who was at the moment, a different person and it being Mailina’s twin brother whom she had sacrificed to save herself. It seemed that karma had returned for her with the devil’s claws reaching out to clamp her. With all these thoughts attacking her at once, she had not noticed the female figure rising from the bed and proceeding in her direction. Mailina grabbed her mother’s face and cradled it between her tepid palms, forcing her to gaze upon her child.

“Aren’t you glad to see me?” He caressed his mother’s cheeks, watching the salty tears falling gracefully onto her cheekbones while eyes of true terror were entrenched permanently on his guardian’s cheeks. Her lips trembled attempting to attain words to speak in response to this daunting scene before her.

“Why should I?”

2429 words


Copyright Jowena Locke
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