"And that was how the deal came into fruition," said the old man, slowly and deliberately.

Alex was gasping for air on all fours, sweating like a pig. The old man just managed to let out a snicker at the sight of a seven-year-old drowning in air. All of three seconds was all it took to show him in full detail the whole series of events that took place just hours before his death, and he was scared to pieces. Pathetic humans, thought the old man.

The old man waited for two long minutes before sighing out of boredom. In a room of infinite whiteness, there was not much to entertain a person, or an unperson, for that matter. "Are you quite done?" asked him impatiently.

Alex staggered to his feet, but couldn't straighten his back on the count of being so exhausted by the three second reflection, although to him it felt like an eternity, or close to it.

He tried with every last drip of energy still in him to choke out "Take me back to my daughter."

The old man smiled and raised his hands as if to clap them in a tango dance, but not before saying to Alex, "You have two more days. I pray you make the best of them." With that, he brought his hands together and Alex disappeared from the room.


A solid thud was heard outside, and Mak Eton turned towards the sound that was made. What was that? She turned off the stove and left the soup to settle to check what on earth made that sound. It was way too early for anyone to be visiting, unless if they came for breakfast on a workday.

Mak Eton made her way towards the front door, where the sound was coming from. If it were a burglar, it's the first time she's ever heard of a burglar trying to enter from the front door. Still, she took the 7-iron rested beside the coat rack just in case. That's why they kept it there in the first place.

With her heart racing inside of her, she held the doorknob with one hand and the golf club firmly in the other. She hasn't had this much of an adrenaline rush since, well, since ever, really. Mak Eton inhaled and in one fell swoop she opened the door while swinging back the club.

To her surprise, there was no one there, just the wind chimes being unmoved by her heroic antics. She exhaled a sigh of relief and held the club to the side of her body.

She jumped again when she finally noticed a boy on the "welcome" rug. This child was way too old to have been given off to a family, like they do to babies in those tragic movies. This one looked at least old enough for school. He looked sound asleep, although he was shivering from the cold.

Mak Eton picked the child up and was relieved that this kid was not any larger. But as soon as she picked him up, she noticed that this boy was sweating. Fever, thought Mak Eton immediately as she went to lay the boy on the couch in front of the TV. She took a quilt out of her room's drawer and covered the poor boy.

"Good thing I made extra soup," thought Mak Eton as she went to get a bowlful from the kitchen. Somehow, that boy seems familiar.

It has definitely been a long time since this blog has been updated. Thus, I update! Although, this story is a short, one-post-finished story, because I'll need a little more time to pick up where we left off (in JUNE?? SERIOUSLY??) on Another Other. Dakara..


Type. Type. Type. Type. Ding! Sreeeet. Type. Type. Type. Type.

Head down and on 150 words-per-minute on the typewriter, inspired was the only word that could describe what was being written down on the piece of paper. To run out of ribbon ink would definitely be a bummer right now. Good thing she changed it just an hour ago, before the ideas came.

And did they come. The events of the story unfolded as if they were happening right in front of her eyes, and the thesaurus was not needed this time to describe everything on the most vivid of details. The words just came. But of course, when you've read the amount of books she's read and opened and reopened the dictionary as many times as she has, it wouldn't be surprising.

Knock, knock, knock.

Head up immediately, like a meerkat sensing danger from afar, but accompanied by a puzzled look. She adjusted her eyeglasses as she squinted to see the time on the grandfather clock in the corner of her ill-kept apartment. Who on Earth could that be in the middle of the night? The grandfather clock's bell had been broken for two years now, and she has not had the opportunity nor the funds to repair it.

She remained seated while staring at the plain wooden door. Maybe I was just hearing things. A few moments passed and nothing more happened, so she decided to wave it off. Maybe it was a case of knock-and-run which seems so popular among kids nowadays. But it was pretty late for a child to still be up and about. I remember when I was a kid, I had to go to bed as early as 8. She smiled to herself being nostalgic and shook it off to continue her work-in-progress.

Just as she was about to type the first letter, there it was again, only louder this time. She turned around. "Who is it?" she said in a slightly raised voice. Careful not to wake the neighbours. Been there, don't like it. At all.

No response. Just three more knocks, only this time, they weren't knocks anymore. They were more like bangs. She got to her feet slowly and apprehensively went towards the door. The closer she got to the door, the louder the bangs got. Chills went down her spine as she saw the door rattle.

When she finally got within one foot of the door, the banging stopped. She exhaled. And slowly turned the doorknob. Creak.


A cake flew straight to her face. "HAPPY BIRTHDAY FATEEN!!!" All seven of her best friends cheered on the top of their lungs followed by a chorus of the birthday song.

Great, so much for not waking the neighbours.


A whole semester ey? Wow.

Best wishes to the blog creator, co-contributor, and friend. Happy Birthday. Another year is another gift, live it well and make it better from every point of view. Above all, may Allah's blessings be your guidance. Yeah, no presents this year. Because I peculiarly ran out of ideas of what to buy, really! Gotcha...kaw kaw.


phyto hystrix

He felt lighter. In fact, it was lighter than he was ever before, and he was not quite sure why. But in a sense it felt definitely peculiar, the way thick fogs around him kept everything blur to his eyes until all he saw was complete white structureless walls. He was not certain if he was even breathing, or if there was even air. It felt light.


His lungs were at ease. He did not hear his heart throbs, though it was pin drop silence that he should actually be able to. It was as if he had flew in a tunnel, was blown; or rather sucked by a giant vacuum to the end of the tunnel that had not still come visible. Too much easiness did not make him feel a bit comfortable at all, in fact it freaked him out to death. Death?

"What is this place,"
"This is where you belong, now."
"But I don't even know this place. And who are you, what is this place?"

There was no reply.

"Please, I need to see my daughter..are you a doctor? Who sent me here, did he send my daughter too? My daughter's not fine but I am, she's hurt, listen to me!"
"I don't think I need to, but I think you must come with me."
"What-what do you mean-"
"Oh don't you get it Mr Henders. Your time is up. What's done is done; and you are now on your own. You have lived life and it's time to return home."

Alex tilted his head to see where he was standing. What he thought should be in a hospital wasn't there. There were no nurses, no beds, no windows, no exit doors, no nothing. And the man he was talking to was the only one there. A classy suit that fits him in don't even relate him to a group of paramedic; even. How could I not notice that! He asked himself.

"You know, I'm not talking to you anymore-why am I even talking to you?! When I wake up I'm going to laugh at this foolish dream and meet my daughter."
"If you are, Mr. Henders-"
"GET OFF! And I know just what I'm going through, I passed out and that's it! When I'm back I'll run to see my daughter!"
"You would?"
"I told you I'm not talking to you any longer!"

While his senses started to fail Alex, the man in front of him laughed, seeming to enjoy the drama.

"Then why are you still talking to me?"

He pretended not to hear him laugh. He thought he'd better get started to walk but nothing seemed to move around him. It's as if time itself is not ticking anymore. He grew more and more tired and soon, he fell on the mists of thirst. When he opened his eyes, he saw the face again.

"Did you find what you're looking for?"
", me. You, you...are nothing. You hear me..? N-nothing."
"I pity you. You don't understand a thing but you think you do."
"Shush. Shushhhh..!"
"What were you looking for?"
"-ARE. Told you it's my daughter. Why...are you still around? Are you an alien or something? I told you to get away, didn't you hear me?"
"Haha, you make great jokes Mr. Henderson! Have you found her anyway?"
"No. And I'm not joking. You'll stop that at once...or I'll do something to make you."

The man turned around and walked away from him. Alex felt helpless though his hatred towards the man had grown even greater than his helplessness.

"Hey...hey, wait! Can you...can you help me?"
"You are nobody to ask me for assistance. I don't serve you."

If Alex was a child, he would-at this time-be one that we'd call stubborn little one, oddly courageous and who knows if it was at a wrong time. But he couldn't care less. What mattered was to get to his dear girl.

"-everything around me don't seem to move at all. I'm sorry I was being rude-but you know, this feels quite weird for a dream... I'm really confused, I should be awake by now. I don't know for how long I have been-"
"Sleeping?" The other snapped in. "Oh no you're not, you're not sleeping fellow. Look around you."

And he smiled, clutching Alex's collar and forcing him up. I'll lend you a hand, he said; but his 'helping hand' was too harsh for Alex that he felt as if it was a murder attempt instead; as if he was strangled instead of helped up. But again, it didn't hurt. Nothing did, other than his awful thirst.

"Oh, did I make you choke?"

Alex was silent, balancing himself as if he was a newborn. It was not long before he started to moan.

"No, no, did I-my daughter, and my wife, I want to see them, please!"
"And why do you think you deserve a chance? What made you think that you can even ask for one? Foolish!"

Then his voice grew thunderous. Alex was struck panic, he feared nothing as much as he had then. Struggling to believe that it was all a very bad dream, he begged for mercy.

"Please...I...I thought I could see her so I can tell her something very important..I missed it, but I think I deserve a chance...Please, you must've been along, you must've seen me! I taught her good things, and-and-I did treat my family well-my friends, my,my...everyone around me! I deserve another chance,just one more, please!"
"You should have done what you didn't, Mr. Henders. You thought you did and that's why you're nothing more than all the other fools! Now watch yourself perish with the ashes and weep for your sins!"

"Malin, can you get the basket on the table for me?" asked Alex to his beautiful daughter.

"No problem daddy!" the cute 6 year-old replied with a beaming smile.

He could have done it himself, but asking her to do it instilled the sense of independence in her, and for some reason, he felt that she was going to need it. He didn't want his only daughter to end up a spoiled brat like most well-to-do only children that he knows, he thought as he climbed into the big SsangYong Rexton.

"What do you think you're doing?" Marlia's voice penetrating his pool of thought. "Why did you ask Malin to carry the basket? Why did we hire Mak Eton if we're just going to subject Malin to child labour?" the suppressed fury evident in the soft but angry tone in her voice.

Mak Eton carried both Malin and the aforementioned basket into the backseat of the MPV and buckled the child's seat belt, tugging at it twice to make sure that it was securely fastened. With a kiss on the cheek, Mak Eton closed the door and waved goodbye to the seemingly happy family that was off for a picnic in the park.

Alex didn't get to spend much time with his family as the firm took up most (if not all) of his time. Unlike other jobs, his didn't allow a whole weeks' holiday as the firm he was working in, although highly successful, was relatively a small one in size. There were only 4 lawyers on it, and him being the youngest of them all, took up most of the petty cases that turn up, which were quite a bit. It was even hard to locate a free weekend on his packed schedule. So on rare occasions like this, when cases weren't flying in, were times that he wanted to spend with his family. Scratch that, with his daughter, Malin.

Malin seemed to change every time Alex looked at her, more and more beautiful every time he laid his eyes on her. Oh, how quickly children grow up, he thought to himself as he glimpsed at his offspring through the rear-view mirror and broke a smile only a proud father could give.

"So how's kindie Malin?" Alex asked as he kept his eyes on his daughter's through the mirror which at the moment, serves the sole purpose of connecting a father's eyes to his daughter's.

"Huh?" Malin looked up from her observations of the road in front.

This brought a slight chuckle to Alex's throat. He started again. "I said, how.."

"HEEYYY! TRUCK!!" Marlia's shriek cut his question short.

Alex finally took his eyes off the mirror and glanced to his right and sure enough, right on his right hand side a truck was coming at a considerable speed towards his side of the MPV.

He woke up after a considerable amount of time, about twenty feet away from the accident site on the lawn of somebody's home.

The Rexton was a wreck. It seemed that the whole of the driver's seat and part of the car's bonnet had been completely crushed. Gas and smoke filled the air, that pungent smell so associated with a busted engine and the smell of burnt tyres filled the noses of the onlookers.

However, by some miracle, the passenger's seat was still intact, and the door was open. Marlia was crying and wailing for help as she pulled out Malin, dear Malin from the back of the car. He saw a cut above her left eyebrow and upon seeing it, his legs burst into action.

"Easy there big fella!" an old man in a black suit blocked his path. Alex stopped right in time to avoid a second collision.

"Get out of the way! My daughter's hurt!" shouted Alex without giving the old man a second look.

"Oh, your daughter's hurt? How about you? You've just been in an accident. Are you okay?" asked the man calmly, hands clasped in front of himself.

"Of course I'm fine!" and upon saying these words, he realised it. Fine? How can he be fine? He felt himself, his face, arms, body. No blood. No scars. No cuts, no wounds, no bruises, no anything. Crap.

And with the obvious horror that was shone from Alex's face, the man in the suit snapped his fingers, and poof, they were in a room of infinite whiteness.

It happened then and there, Malin could feel the heat and vapour from the ground she was standing on. Right across, she could see two figures facing each other-one of whom she is much familiar of and another not.

On count of three a hysterical shriek shrunk her heart. Everything around her burned and turned into charcoal-coloured crumples, fast enough it turned into ashes that flew into her eyes and stung her nose, a fume of burning lead. Malin pinched her arm hard, and as it redden, her face turned crimson too. And she found it impossible to believe that she was there. Again came the voice, this time as if the owner of the voice meant to tug the beating flesh out of her throat.


The girl sprawled in shock, shaking way beyond control, sweating.


"Leave me alone!" She screamed to herself and the tiny frame rose and tumbled again and again in desperate attempts.

She threw her foot to the farthest end of her bed, forcing herself up. Falling on her knees, she finally got herself off the bed and sprang to the door at once. The figure she saw in her dream seemed to come out and was then chasing her from behind, somewhere she could not see. But all she knew was that, she needed to run.

Then the shriek vanished and what's left was only her mother calling out to her from down the great mahogany stairs.

"I'm coming!" She choked the words.

"What's with you?!"

The was no answer. Marlia stood an air of total power, as if she was Athena and the little girl in front her was Medusa about to be cursed to the doom of her life. Malin stopped just before her, suffocating and pretending not to be.

"I, I think I had the worst nightmare..Mum,can I.."

Marlia looked down at her. Upon seeing, something stabbed whatever bad impressions she had for the child, dead.

"Oh dear," She heard herself hushed as the child wrung her waist and shed warm tears on her gown. Words failed her and a simultaneous weird feelings took control of her mind. She fought it for hours only to realise that she was fighting with the voice within her. Soon after, the feelings resolved and she found herself sending the child upstairs to bed and kissing her on the forehead.



"I remember you have something to say to me,"

"I do? Did I say so?" The woman looked away to the tiny table beside her and reached for the switch. Click. She intended to forget it.

"Yes you said so,"

"Well now I say I don't. Nothing. I want you to sleep." She smiled. Malin replied with a stare.

"Mum wait-I'm sorry for everything,"

"For what?"

"I had a really bad dream. I'm scared. I must have wronged you, can you forgive me?"

"What did you dream of Malin?"

"I saw...I saw a terrible place. I don't know what it is or how I should describe it but it's really scary. I must have wronged you that I had such a dream," the child begged.

Marlia laid her gaze across the room. She knew at once. And left the child murmuring into wonderland. Or worse, somewhere else where she shouldn't be.

The next day greeted everyone on Earth with a beautiful eye of heaven shimmering high up upon the skies, and everyone buzzed off-office,school and yes of course-school for Malin too. Classes went on with usual teachers stepping in and out the classroom door, the boys sitting behind her jerking and throwing paper planes at one another, a young relief teacher coming in replacing her favourite Maths teacher (which she liked least) and the bell rang at noon.

She marched out of the school gate towards her usual waiting spot-the bus stop, and found herself sitting up straight against the air to lean on. She waited. And waited. First ten minutes passed not embraced, then another five minutes added to the bore. Only then did she realise how different life would turn out to be without her bestest pal around. But why isn't he around anyway? She asked a white kitty by her feet. It's fur wasn't really white the way it's supposed to be. The ashes and all, being on its own laying it's pad on the road everyday for a journey none knows when and just where it would end.

Finally a red BMW stopped in front of her. She was too busy counting the number of blue cars that cruised the road-she thought of beating Alex again on the challenge should he turn up at any second-that her mother had to honk.

Her little steps were quick ones towards the ride. Beautiful, she was. Her mother saw, and whispered a silent wish. Her most important wish. What does the child know,she said to herself in dying words. She regretted treating the child the way she had. But it often occurred that she had this anonymous fighting within her with words as sharp as razors. Even sharper, playing with the fact that should be long forgotten. The sins, unforgiven ones that chased her with every pace she made. Thud.

"Hi mum,"

"Hey,how's school?" She forced a smile.

"We had a pop quiz during Maths period 'cause the teacher's absent,"

"Flu, I guess?"

And they both laughed.

"Well..was it fun?"

"The quiz was, but today's not as always,"


" 'cause usually Alex will be waiting for me after school to play games or ask me riddles but today he's not around too. Just like the teacher. Is it that he caught flu too, mum?"

Marlia fell silent. Then she remembered of something she had been pondering about lately. That struck her with insomnia for nights.

"Who's this Alex?"

Malin seemed not to hear her. She had definitely forgotten the plead she had with the poor friend. She couldn't even notice that she had forgotten, way off she was, too excited to tell her mother about her bore of the day-hoping that her mother would have at least an offer for a treat.

"Mum, can you take me to the park? She dared herself to ask. "I can't remember the last time we went to the park together. We can play around and jump together and-"

For a second Marlia became deaf, or it was the world that was mute. The earth stopped moving for her,the way the tyres of the car were.

"No." Went her stern reply. "How can you forget the day. I can't. Still." She said as she turned to the child beside her who had now returned to reality from a long skip of it.

Hands placed carefully on laps, Malin looked up towards her mother. "Why can't we..?"

"Because that was the last time we went to the park with your father."

But that grin didn't last long.

Suddenly, a thick smoke seemed to come out of the ground just five feet from where the legs of his tiny chair met the ground. He quickly kicked himself off of the stool he was resting on, causing the stool to fall backwards.

When the clatter of the wooden chair subsided, a tall figure had already formed where the smoke had formulated. It was a slim figure with graying hair, wearing a well-tailored black Armani suit with a white shirt and red tie, the suit cut to perfection to the body which was wearing it. Now it was the man in the suit's turn to grin while Alex had put on a face of anger more than terror.

"What do you want?" blasted Alex in a controlled volume while turning away from the grinning gentleman.

"A good evening to you too Mr Henders," said the man in the suit calmly while bowing slightly, almost to mock the person in front of him.

"Whatever you have to say, I don't want to hear it!" said Alex, almost shouting and awaking the neighbouring dogs sleeping near the trash cans surrounding them.

"Well, whether you want to hear it or not, that's not in my control. However, you know that I came here for a reason, and I trust that you also know what that reason is. With all the reminders I've been sending you and all, it should be clear," said the suit-man with a lowered voice either to let the sleeping dogs lie or just for the dramatic effect, he really can't decide.

"Reminders? What reminders??" said Alex now looking into the man's deep-set eyes. They were burning, not literally, but still, they were burning.

The middle-aged man's face suddenly changed into one of mild, deliberate confusion. "Come on, don't tell me you didn't notice the people on the street that have been able to see you? And when you stubbed your toe on a rock near Malin's house. Reminders, Mr Henders," said the man with eyebrows and a finger raised.

"Yeah! I've been meaning to ask you about that. What does it mean? You said I would stay invisible and invincible!" exclaimed Alex to the point of waking the dog nearest to them. It raised it's head, saw nothing and went back to sleep. Alex could still feel the blood in his shoes.

"I told you Mr. Henders, they're reminders. To remind you that your time is almost up," said the man with a straight face.

"What???" now Alex didn't care who or what he was waking now. "I thought these deals last 10 years!!!??"

The man in the suit noticed five dogs awakened by Alex's exclamations and with a sigh, he snapped his fingers. They were poofed to another place. A place that was barren and just all white, except for a black table and two black chairs on opposite sides of the table. They stood behind each chair.

Alex had been there before, not too long ago. And sure enough, there was that thick set of papers on the table, just like before.

"You really must read the fine print Mr Henders. Don't they teach you that in law-school?" said the man with a sigh and motioned Alex to his chair.

Once Alex had reluctantly taken up the offer, the man joined him opposite the table. "Usually, it would be 10 years, but the circumstances that you requested unfortunately decreased your time in the world. First of all, you asked to be in a child. Do you know how hard it is to find a healthy looking seven-year-old in hell? I can assure you that it's no needle in a haystack, Mr Henders, it's much harder. That took 5 years off of you. Then for the invisible to everyone but one person clause took 2 years while the invincible clause took 2 (since so many souls have requested it before). They're all stated here, here and here," said the man pointing to pages 228, 376 and 444 in the document.

Alex immediately regretted the deal he sealed and the hasty decision he made when he signed that paper on page 1.

"But I need more time with my daughter!" said Alex desperately, involuntarily banging at the table. His eyes began to water as he tried to push away the memory of the tragedy that took Alex Henders away from his daughter, Malin.