Friday, October 31, 2008

Part 3 of the pirate story.

Well, for Halloween I went to a dinner thing hosted by Carmen. We ate and then...took pictures and laughed at each other. Yeah. Random things. So afterwards 95% of the ppl migrated to KLCC to walk and things. I didn't follow cos my dad would skin me alive and think that I'm crazy. Though I understand he just doesn't want me to walk around at night. And he thinks the guys I hang out with are weird...wait, in fact he thinks all my friends are weird. Anyways I'm glad he's so nice and letting me go out without worrying so much anymore.

Here's part 3 of the pirate story:

Captain Seth had this strange stipulation in his contract—Miere and Arla were, by all means, expressly forbidden to even step over the kitchen threshold. They couldn’t understand why. They served the food, but had no idea about how raw ingredients were transformed into piping hot dishes.
Sure, they had seen their aunt cook before, but they had not been very interested. Now, however, the huge kitchen of the Cutlass Inn evoked strange feelings of leeching curiosity. The entrance to it was inconspicuous, a wooden door that looked like a part of the wall. The food was passed to the servers through a small window with a rickety countertop.
Miere and Arla felt a twinge of envy seeing all the other waiters streaming in and out of the kitchen, but Captain Seth was a formidable force to be reckoned with. When he had sailed the seas, he had the reputation of a powerful plunderer, pillaging and hacking his way to amassed fortunes of gold and jewels. This fortune had not come without some bloodshed and rolling heads. At least that was what Henny had sombrely narrated.
So they stayed away, only sneaking occasional glimpses into that elusive room as the servers opened and shut the doors. Miere gazed in awe at the groaning machines: a mass of grey and black, with purring boilers, snarling stoves and dead-cold iceboxes. Arla caught the pneumatic hisses, mechanical grinding and blunt snap of gas-gun-starters. The kitchen looked all the more mysterious as it was continuously wrapped in a cloak of dense white smoke, like fallen clouds of a summer’s day. The hardened faces of the chefs were only visible as fleeting circles of brown and white as the smoke made allowance.
What got to them most was the aroma. Everything smelled better when cooked, even garlic. Once it had browned in oil, the pungent smell was converted to a crisp fragrance, accentuated further if onions and mushrooms were thrown in. Meat sizzled; oil seeped in, and its smell was brought on a charred wind. Vegetables had a faint freshness as they turned limp and bright green in the wok.
Once, Arla had tried to sneak in, but halted when she saw the Captain looming over her, lamp-eyes fuelled by annoyance. Hastily she backed away, lips forming a silent apology. He just stared, like a stone sentinel.
Despite all that, the girls were allowed some freedom outside the inn. On slow days they were permitted to take walks on the beach bordering the inn, with the sea beyond it, crouching like another world.
Neither of them could swim very well, and when they stared out at the blue expanse, surface undulating unto the horizon, a feeling of inadequacy overtook them. It wasn’t just a normal feeling. It was the feeling that only their eyes remained as a point of view as their bodies disintegrated into sand. Their minds could not even begin to fathom the depth beneath the crystalline veneer, or the living things that lurked there. The sea emptied them, stripped them of sentience, and swallowed them whole. Their minds grew out of their bodies and floated off into the sky where seagulls ate their thoughts.
This was why the duo paid particular attention to the ships and boats moored at the port-warehouse, where their cargo was stored. It was a pleasant diversion from the mesmerising sea.
Many types of vessels would dock, form the ancient, barnacle-encrusted barges to the small boats used for recreational fishing. The whole area was as complicated as a construction site, planks leading to ships or lying about haphazardly. Pieces of rope were scattered like intestines. Debris skittered on the sand, which was dyed a dirty brown form oil spillage.
Most of the people who alighted in these shores were burly, dark-skinned labourers who moved the cargo into the warehouses. Sometimes Miere and Arla would get lucky and spot a hidden foreign dignitary, or even a glimpse of a different race they never knew existed. The most spectacular so far was the princess swathed in saffron and fuchsia silks with gold bangles ringing like melodious mini tambourines.
The beach was where they met Iki. As far as they could tell her seemed human, but his skin had a strange bluish tinge and his ears were slightly pointed. When they asked him about it, he just flashed an enigmatic smile and hung his head like a dog in the rain.
Iki had a ship, not very big but comfortable enough for about five or six people. His only companions were Darien and Mik. Darien resembled Captain Seth, in the sense that he mostly kept to himself and answered things in a curt manner; Mik was more carefree, full of failing jokes and lame one-liners. Both were of the same race as Iki, though Darien had a dark purplish hue to his skin, a sort of insignia for inner darkness perhaps.
Iki explained that the three of them were suffering from permanent wanderlust. Their aim was to wander aimlessly, seeing the whole world as it really was. It was a picaresque journey into their souls. Or maybe they just had too much time on their hands, Mik joked.
The three of them had decided to stay on this piece of land for a while. To this, Miere and Arla realised that Iki might own a map. Upon request Iki produced one, a yellowed sheet of paper showing spidery ink sketches. He gestured somewhere down south, to a small piece of land connected to a larger one.
Arla’s eyes traced the map, following its contours until she saw an island to the east. That was it! That was their old home, Akiba. They had followed Nature’s twisted fingers and arrived at Syraz, and this town, Karsal. Funny.
Then Iki asked about their lives—were they locals? To which the girls slowly unravelled their story, through many conversations. A friendship developed gradually, the three foreigners regaling the stranded sisters with stories of their nautical adventures.
And all the while, Captain Seth watched from his window, like a sniper who had lost his gun.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A continuation...

Here's the following part to the story about pirates:

Miere and Arla were assigned to Henny’s care. She became an important, if slightly distant, mother figure. She taught them the inn’s layout and the fastest route from this table to so-and-so destination and from that table to the current one. They were forced to balance many plates of food at once, moving through the crowd, fearful that their precarious stack of kitchenware would topple, and grace them with fine porcelain rain. Even though there were breakages, Miere and Arla soon learnt the principle of restaurant gravity and adapted to the situation. Soon they were passing dishes between tables like a pair of acrobats.
They proved to be popular. After all, they were girls of teenage age, at the peak of growth and enthusiasm, full of confident chatter. Not to mention that the way they wore their tousled hair in a bun and the taut, sinewy legs under the short waitresses’ dresses added to their appeal. It was a typical restaurant trick—pretty servers.
Not to say that they were vapid beings. Both girls possessed a good degree of education and intelligence, and they picked up the local slang quickly. They loved engaging in challenging banter with some of the more erudite customers, often tossing in a wink or smile for added effect. For the simpler roughneck drinkers, a wink and smile was often enough.
Henny also often purchased books, which the girls devoured with fervent ardour, even if some were cookbooks. From the solid lady herself they learnt finer craft such as stitching and embroidering.
There were of course the unwelcome attentions of male patrons foisted on Miere and Arla, but a sharp word was often enough to silence them. Sometimes Seth would intervene and insert an effective threat when things got bad.
However they were never allowed to go to the kitchen.

Yes I know it's a bit weird, but then what can you expect from me?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

He died.

Dear readers,

Max, the family's 15-year-old Labrador Retriever, died this afternoon. The vet came this afternnon and gave him a shot of pink liquid. Within minutes his tongue lost all colour and his eyelids started descending. Then he drew two shaky breaths and was gone. Snap. Just like that. This is euthanasia. Mercy killing.

My mum sounded a bit choked up. Then I sounded a bit choked up. Then we all sounded a bit choked up. I mean, seconds ago he was there, and then he went. Oh well, we were offered two choices: either treat him or kill him. We decided there was no point in treating because the poor dog was too old and probably couldn't take the treatment. He was also suffering from arthritis and couldn't walk properly before. So we let him go.

Rest in peace, Max. You lovable fat dog.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Open houses everywhere...

Well, thanks to the nice amount of Malay and Indian friends that my parents have, I end up being dragged to all the open houses this holdiay. Not that I'm complaining, cos the food is nice, and I get money on top of it all. Hah. XD

Am practicing for Founder's Day on Wednesday. We're the first on the list. Aiyak. Hope we make a good impression.

Max seems to be better. He's not dying, but he's just lying in his cage and can stand up now. Phew...

Here's a part of a story that I wrote. It's about pirates.

There was that faint whistling sound emanating from the creaky boards in the wall again. The sound of a fast wind tearing through many holes. A wind that no doubt heralded rain. Buckets were pushed along the grimy floors, in order to catch the inevitable rain that would come weeping through the holes.
The air smelled different suddenly. It tasted of forgotten sea-salt and was humid and viscous. A knife, a rip—and the torrential rain spiralled down in fury.
Nevertheless the patron of the Cutlass Inn were promised hot food and some satisfactory, if a little weather-beaten, shelter. Captain Seth ran a tight ship. Or rather, ex-Captain, after he was forced into retirement due to the loss of his left arm and leg to a rogue shark. But the ship was still tight. Orders were barked, and duly followed as swarms of waiters and waitresses and cooks and cleaners elbowed and skated their way through.
This was probably the reason why he didn’t notice the two limp figures scrabbling at the door.
When he did catch a hint of the sound,. Though, they were almost half-dead, limbs turgid and swollen from diffusing water, hair like limp seaweed curtains, and clothes dyed into unrecognisable colours by the mud.
Captain Seth did the only thing he could do. He screamed.
A matronly woman rushed up, sharp eyes taking a quick account of the strangers. She was rather ponderous, but her deftness made up for it. She promptly hauled them across the inn, draped over her shoulder. A small grunt ensued.
Henny took the strangers to the small servant’s quarters behind. She moved them to the front of a small fire which radiated substantial heat. She bit her lip. Hmm. Two girls, with the same face shape but different hair and lips. Sisters, probably, There couldn’t have been more than three years in their age difference. One had coal-black hair and paler skin; the other had more of a chestnut mane, and was toffee-coloured. She noticed a shuddering heaving of their chests: proof that they were still alive.
Working quickly, she towelled them dry, and soon their eyelids began to flutter open. The pale one woke first. Henny shovelled a spoonful of purple medicine into her mouth, and forced it down with a mug of herbal tea.
The girl spluttered, cheeks glowing red. When she had settled down, she scrutinized this thickset woman quizzically, noting her heavy jowls and long jaw, her straight stern brow and angular eyes and nose which must have once been objects of beauty.
“Who are you?” she asked at last. Her voice sounded detached, like it was trapped in a hovering bubble.
“Henrietta, but the common handle’s Henny. And you are?”
The girl paused. She was slowly sweeping up the fragments of memory scattered in her brain. She recalled a ship. Then the growling sky. Its black countenance. The waves which had swayed in ominous reply. The battering of water on wood. The crack. And the water was like a savage creature. Swimming. Flailing.
And now here. Henny was administering the same medicine to the other girl. She was efficient.
“Miere.” The answer came.
“A strange name. Not from around here. And this here lass?” Henny inquired further.
Small nod. Miere wondered where they were now. She and Arla had been travelling towards Corinth, the mythical island that bore the strange Joba tree, along with their uncle. They had been excited to investigate the tree, which was rumoured to have weather-controlling powers. In lieu of the previous storm, she considered this ironic.
Where were they now? In a slightly worn-down establishment in the company of a brusque lady. Judging from the inordinate amount of noise, she guessed that they were in a restaurant of some sort. A bemused Arla was flitting about, eyes jumpy.
Just then a shadow enveloped them. Looking up, the girls saw a man, straight-backed, of impressive height. The first thing they noticed was his apparent lack of left-side appendages. His left leg was replaced by a rod of harsh steel, and his left arm was a mass of intricate metal gears fused together. Both gave off a sharp glint in the light.
“Hello...hello...hello...” he intoned, his voice a low bass hum. Miere and Arla sensed his eyes searching them, like orange lamps in a fog. His lips curled into a thin smile. Despite their dishevelled appearance, theses girls were quite pretty. Especially the black-haired one. The other one looked lively too. Excellent.
“Well, since you two have obviously been shipwrecked, you might as well stay here,” he offered, voice like a rusty knife. “Permanently.”
Miere and Arla figured they had nothing to lose. Better to have their basic needs taken care of rather than rot in a foreign place.
“Alright.” They agreed simultaneously.
“Wonderful,” Seth grinned, displaying a set of unnaturally white teeth.

To be continued...dun dun dun!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Noooo! Max!

Well anyways came home today and had violin class. Teacher says I'm too tense with my bow, that's why my playing sounds weird at times. Tomorrow I only have malay assessment so that's all well and good.

Then my sister comes rushing up and tells me that the family black Labrador, Max, has been sick and lethargic since morning. He won't move, won't go for walks, won't eat. Then I hear the dog barking like crazy. He's lying pathetically outside, and his breathing seems difficult.

I think, I think, he's gonna go. Quite soon. Oh well. Not to say I am particularly sad; he is quite old after all so that'll put him out of his misery...I think he's almost 12 or 13 years old...really old dog.