Monday, January 30, 2006

The New Girl, Chapter 25

Chinese New Year is like the noisier, more dashing and outgoing cousin of Christmas. Or at least that's what I feel, gotta love this year's celebration for the almost week-long holidays we're getting with Federal Territory Day and Awal Muharram thrown in. More than that, if you conveniently get sick on Friday from too many packet drinks and mandarins, nyek nyek nyek. Unfortunately, there's always the downside of enduring long and repetitive visits to Auntie A's or Uncle B's house where you put on your best smile and engage in meaningless conversation for as long as you can. Oh well, guess all good things (read: angpows!) come at a price...

Every time Jean or May entered the secret garden, May grew older by the minute. This simple logic became more and more horrifying each time she repeated it.
"W-what...kind of evil magic is this?"
"It's more than magic," An unsettling glint twinkled in Jean's eyes. "It's given me my life back."
"At the expense of mine?" Her fear rapidly melted in anger. "There are so many other ways you can get a life, and you take mine?"
"Once again, you're not looking at the big picture. Here you stand, shouting and screaming at me as though I wanted any of this to happen. Was it my fault when my parents died before I even understood why? Was it my fault when Auntie Lilian thought she could take Mom's place? Was it my fault when Saras bullied me like crazy, and everyone shrugged it off as good-natured fun? Before you dare talk about me taking away your life, maybe you should ask about those who took away my life."
May didn't know what to say. "L-let's get out of this place first. Then we can talk."
Jean didn't reply. She seemed to be concentrating on something.
"Shhh." Suddenly her ears perked up. "I think I hear something."
Sure enough, a tiny rustling soon echoed from the bushes leading to the walkway. It sounded too heavy and noisy to be an animal. Not the cutesy varieties that the garden only had, at least.
"Im...impossible!" Jean was agape in disbelief. "It's a human. But the fairies would never let someone in without my permission!"
With fists clenched tight she stormed over to the bushes. "Come out! Whoever that is, show yourself!"
The noises stopped, as if the person was hoping that Jean didn't know he or she was there.
"I said, show yourself."
Timidly two dark hands popped out, followed by a head most unsure of the wisdom in revealing itself. It was Saras.
"You. YOU. You." Jean said in varying tones. "I would never have imagined. How on earth did you enter?"
Saras looked at her in bewilderment, then May. "What the..."
"ANSWER ME!" Jean slapped her across the face. She buckled, then fell backwards more of surprise than force.
"Not so tough now, eh?" Jean grinned smugly like a fisherman would at the one that almost got away. "You might have pushed me around like a piece of crap out there, but realise this, Saras - inside here I am the queen. This is my world."

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