Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Chapter 17: "Enter"

Was at MPH after work yesterday, and I'm still shopping for a good book to splurge my salary on! Here lies the eternal dilemma: those blasted paperbacks all cost almost the same, be they thick or thin. When I want to buy a thin one, it doesn't seem worth the price...but when I want to buy a thick one, I know I'll end up not reading it. Arghh!
But anyway, I started on The Alchemist there, which seems pretty excellent so far. Looking forward to continue if lunchtime and after-work schedules allow. Methinks I'll end up finishing the book entirely in MPH. Which leaves me still searching for a book to buy. =p

The sun lay lower now. We had been walking for three hours straight, pausing only for an occassional five-minute breather. Strangely though, my throat didn't feel the least bit dry.
Every once a while, Archiver would talk about the supposedly fabled past of Blogspot - the great masters he had served, the wonders he had seen them do, and the like. Curiously enough, I observed, he would never talk about himself. Everything he said revolved only around Blogspot and the Hims.
"Archiver," I asked him once as we sat to watch more abandoned Blogs. "Where did you come from? How did you end up here in Blogspot?"
He lifted his eyes to the seamless sky and pondered. "That is a long story, I suppose."
A long silence ensued.
"Come, come," at last he got up. "Keep moving. We have taken long enough already."
Shrugging to myself, I got to my feet and trudged faithfully behind.

Finally, as the sky was about to throw on a coat of orange, we arrived at a sullen iron gate. There was nothing at all noteworthy about this, except for the two piercing words emblazoned across it: CLIMAX CITY.
"Attttt last," Archiver took in the air like it smelled of cherries. "I am back home."
Homely was have been the last word I would choose to describe the place. The sun's rays seemed to shy away from the winding brick paths beyond the gate. Following it, my eyes spied upon a cacophony of buildings with a solitary tower standing tall.
"Ah. Here He comes."
Out of nowhere, a red flash shot out of the ground. It streaked across the gate, leaving a trail as it went. The trail formed words which read:
You have taken long enough.
"Forgive me, my Lord." Archiver bowed his head. "I still am recovering from the battle and cannot travel fast enough."
The words appeared again. Pathetic.
This is the Garrick? The flash circled my head.
"Indeed he is."
What about Phocadis?
"Defeated by him."
The iron gates creaked noisily, making me half-expect them to burst out of their hinges, before being opened by unseen hands. A rush of unusually cold air greeted me.
Enter. Your friends are inside.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Chapter 16: "Abandoned"

Been posting far too little of late. And I don't find myself dreaming about stories all the time anymore, like I once did. Maybe it's work. Maybe it's growing up. Wonder what this means for my Twisted Tales I've lovingly nurtured for almost two years now.

"Ah," Archiver scooped up the soil in his hands. "Drier. We are almost there."
We had been walking for almost a full hour in the steadily rising sun. Strangely, he had not spoken even once to me apart from pointing out directions.
"This way." he gestured around a brick column.
Next to the opposing columns, I noticed some shadowy figures drifting in and out. They took on all forms and sizes; some towering over me, some nothing more than paper-thin wisps. I even went through one or two and didn't notice till they reemerged behind me, seemingly displeased.
Inexplicably, an air of gloom hung over the place. Not a single smile was to be seen.
"They all are abandoned Blogs," Archiver explained. "Blogs started enthusiastically by their owners, only to then be discarded in favour of more...exciting pursuits." he made an inverted comma with his fingers. "Now here they lie, forgotten beings not knowing what to do with their lives."
"How sad."
"Sad indeed," he turned up his nose at a filthy dwarf-like creature. "Which is why His Masterblog must come into place."
I surveyed the scene once more. "But how will that help? People would still abandon their blogs anyway."
"If you want to ensure that these pitiful beings never need to suffer such fates," Another ragged creature limped past us. "We must ensure that they never were born in the first place."
"But you would also kill the good blogs. The ones with truly passionate owners."
"A minority they are, I assure you," he scoffed. "If we continue with our old ways, Blogspot shall shrivel like a rose without water. He would never let that happen. I would never let that happen."
"And I would never let your plans be carried out as well."
"Oh, really. Why, if you do not mind me asking?"
"I simply don't feel comfortable having some wacko and his sidekick telling me which blogs are good enough and which aren't."
"Heh heh heh heh heh," he laughed his trademark way. "You take to sound advice as much as a rooster to water."
I kept quiet.
"Hurry along now. We must not keep Him waiting."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Chapter 15: "Going"

Had an accidental drinktea session till 2am last nite, after a discussion in Sunway. Yawn. Absolutely no regrets, though. =)

Climax City. Archiver had mentioned that name before, when he first brought me into Blogspot. What significance did it bear?
"Yes, Climax City," his squinty eyes grew round. "Do not be afraid, Garrick. It was meant to be your home."
My home?
"Hmph," Old Lady Melly snorted. "I thought that place burnt down ten years ago."Archiver turned to her with a cold glare. "Old Lady Melly. That is what they now call you, no?"
She stared back fiercely, not saying a word.
"What a far cry from the whimpering girl I once knew. You were an Antagonist yourself, if I recall."
"What is it with you Antagonists? We seem to be running into a lot of your kind these days."
"I hope you are not relating me to U," she snapped. "I have no desire to be part of any crazed rebellion."
The two continued locking eyes for a full minute. What past animosity did they share, I wondered.
"Then I ask you again, Garrick," Archiver shifted his focus to me. "Will you follow me to Climax City?"
"What have you done to U and Linnie?"
"Nothing, I assure you. We have them all safely locked up, awaiting your rescue."
I narrowed my eyes at him. Somehow this all seemed like a trap.
"What's in store for me at Climax City?" I asked.
"Oh, you are fearful this is all a trap. Heh heh heh heh heh."
"He only wants to talk to you. I give you my word as the sole Archiver of this land. That is all that shall happen."
I looked back helplessly at Old Lady Melly. Her face stayed stoic as before.
There didn't seem to be any other choice for me. "Take me there."
"Very, very excellent," Archiver clasped his hands in glee. "And you, Old Lady Melly?"
"I would sooner die." She spat and left in a huff.
"My, my. How cruel time can be on one's manners." Archiver shook his head. "So, it is you and me then. Follow me."
I took one last glance at Old Lady Melly storming back to her hut, sighed, and readied myself for a most uncomfortable journey.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Writer's Block

Why, hey...it's seriously been a long time since I posted. A good ten days, actually.
But no prizes for guessing what I've been up to blogwise in the meantime!
See, see, how pretty my new blog skin is! I've been tinkering away bit by bit every day in the office...and you bet your foot that I'm proud with it! I even managed to twiddle the blah-blah-blah HTML scripts to include post titles. Yeah, I didn't notice at first that this skin was designed without titles. Not until it was too late and all set up, at least!
And then there's this little matter of the banner. Of course I'll change it to a more Twisted Tales-esque one, but I'm really, really too pressed for time to create a new one. Most probably it'll be a tweaked version of the old Bobo one. I'm still very much in love with it.
Speaking of which, I'm also clueless what to do with the old skin. It seems okay at the moment to retain it for the "Desserts, Anyone?" side, no? Not expecting it to last, though...all the world's a sucker for this idea of consistency.
Hmm...that's pretty much all I have to say for today, I guess. Lol, this seems to be more a long preamble than a properly qualified Writer's Block.
No worries though, your piping dish of a new-look Twisted Tales coming soon!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Writer's Block: Waves

Hellos again all around! Was at the Sunday School Teachers' Retreat at Bayu Beach Resort this past Saturday, Sunday, and Labour Day. And a very, very welcome getaway it was, because I think I would've gone bonkers if it had been another regular Monday blues routine.
Now, what would a retreat be if I didn't come away from it renewed and refreshed, with a soul-stirring piece to spare? This piece came to me when we were asked to take a quiet stroll along the beach with God. I wasn't overly keen on it at first, since the stroll was supposed to last almost an hour, and well, it seemed intimidating to have to "reflect" and "meditate" and "pray" for so long! More so when my brain seemed to have shut down since Day One of the retreat.
But amazingly, that proved to be the best part of it all. When one doesn't think too much or try too hard, God gets His time to speak. So what if I was just admiring the scenery or having a regular walk on the beach? God was very much beside me, and all I had to do was soak in His presence.
Well then...just as I was content not to learn anything from this - the way you don't set out to gain knowledge from a movie outing with friends - whoosh! Today's Writer's Block came out of nowhere. Was it God speaking to me? Or maybe just my creative juices working overtime?
Nyahhh...it doesn't matter. Seriously.

"Come to me, child," He called. "Let your worries wash upon my shore."
Nah, it's okay. I'm starting to get the hang of it.
As to mock me, an inappropriately big wave drenched my cheeks. The salty water ran down my face the way egg would on a fool.
Here I was, sitting in the sea face back, playing a little game. I would entrench myself firmly into the sand and wait for the waves to come. The moment they did, and splash! I would try my best not to let the waves move me. It seemed a piece of cake at first, but quickly the waves resolved to beat me.
All the while, He watched from the shore with a smile, one that veered between amused and intrigued and sad. "Take my hand, child. Cast all your cares on me."
No worries! I'm even beginning to enjoy it.
True enough, the rocking feeling each time the waves pushed and rushed back was becoming quite a thrill. I pursed my lips and braced for the next wave. It was a big one!
Whoosh! I must've moved at least a foot.
Hey, hey, this is fun. Tiring, but fun.
Splosh! I made sure I didn't get swept away so far this time. Actually I cheated a little by moving towards the waves.
He sighed and watched on from the shore.

Finally, all worn out from the rocking back and forth, I got up and stretched my half-cramped legs to the shore.
"Nice to have you here," He beamed.
My face flushed slightly. "My pleasure, really. Sorry to keep you waiting for so long."
"It's okay. What matters is that you're here."
We sat feet first to the ocean, basking in the cheerful sun. The frolicking waves reached for my feet, always just touching, sweeping the sand beneath my feet back with them. The little waves then crept back in line, making way for a big wave that was all out and ready to hit the shore. And when that big wave was done - and turning into a little one in the process - another one stepped to the front of the cascading blue queue, eager to see how it would fare.
On and on this mesmerising scene went, never once allowing my eyes to wander off. Where do the waves start queuing up? I wondered as I gazed into the borderless bright sea. Further than any sailboat my eyes could clamber and sail on, for sure.
"It doesn't matter, my child." His grey eyes twinkled. "They all are a big beautiful picture, you see."
A big beautiful picture.
When I was sitting in the sea fighting the waves, that was all they appeared to be - incessant, bothersome waves. Just like the many problems we face in life.
"You don't always need me to get through difficulties," He said to me. "Many people overcome the troubles in their lives by themselves, or help from others. You don't always need me."
"But then you would be missing out on this." He showed me the sea and the melody of its waves lapping ashore. "The big beautiful picture."
"You still would get wet at times - whoops!" We jumped out of the way, albeit a little too late, as a bigger-than-usual wave came. "But now you see the beauty of each wave, the care I took to craft each one so that it would someday embrace you."
I gazed in awe at the orange sun dipping slowly into the unending ocean, hardly bothering a single note of the song of the waves. Never had I felt smaller, yet more significant.