Poem: Heart of Stone

Heart of Stone

Why do I do this to myself?
Why do I torture myself so?
Sometimes you make me feel like the only one around:
You’re always there to lift me up whenever I feel down.
But sometimes you can be so cruel,
You crush my heart in your hand:
You leave me feeling broken.
You seem too kind to hurt me,
Yet you do it time again.
Do you even realise the pain you cause?
The truth is this, my friend:
Whenever you have need at me, I’ll be by your side:
From now until my dying day.
But I won’t leave myself exposed around you anymore,
You’ll never hurt me again for I simply won’t let you.
Like venom coursing through my veins,
I feel corruption spreading.
You did this to me.
You turned this heart to stone.

Translation: Brownie Recipe

—/—/—/ ORIGINAL \—\—\—
”オージーリッチ”チョコレート&ブルーベリーブラウニー

材料:
バター (185グラム)
小麦粉 (85グラム)
カスターシュガー (270グラム)
冷凍ブルーベリー (150グラム)
50% ダークチョコレート (185グラム)
50% ダークチョコレート ((刻む用)50グラム)
ホワイトチョコレート (50グラム)
カカオパウダー (40グラム)
卵 (3個)

作り方
1. バターとダークチョコレート(185グラム)を湯せんにかかて溶かす。
2. 小麦粉とココアパウダーをともにふるっておく。
3. ダークチョコレート(50グラム)とホワイトチョコレートを刻んでおく。
4. (1)と違うボールに卵とカスターシュガーを入れて、クリーム状になるまで混ぜる。
5. (4)に(1)のチョコレートとバターを溶かしたものを加える。
6. (5)に(2)の粉を加えて、混ぜる。
7. (6)に(3)で刻んだチョコレートと冷凍ブルーベリーを加えて、混ぜる。
8. (7)を型に流し込む。
9. 160度のオーブンで約25分焼く。
10. 外がカリッとして、表面を手で押して戦力があるくらいになったら、出来上がり。

—/—/—/ MY TRANSLATION \—\—\—
Oozy Rich Chocolate & Blueberry Brownie

Ingredients:
Butter (185g)
Flour (85g)
Caster Sugar (270g)
Frozen Blueberries (150g)
50% Dark Chocolate (185g)
50% Dark (Chocolate for Dicing (50g))
White Chocolate (50g)
Cocoa Powder (40g)
Eggs (x3)

Steps:
1. Melt the Butter and Dark Chocolate (185g) in hot water.
2. Sift the Flour and the Cocoa Powder together.
3. Dice the Dark Chocolate (50g) and the White Chocolate.
4. In a different bowl to Step 1, mix the eggs and caster sugar until creamy.
5. Add the mixture from Step 4 into the mixture of melted Chocolate and Butter from Step 1.
6. Add the mixture from Step 2 into the mixture from Step 5 and mix.
7. Add both the diced choclates from Step 3 and the blueberries into the mixture from Step 6 and mix.
8. Pour the mixture from Step 7 into a baking tray,
9. Place in the oven on 160’C and bake for approximately 25 minutes.
10. It is ready to serve when the outside is crispy, and it is solid enough when you press on the surface with your hand.

Short Story: Ashes of Regret

Ashes of Regret

Once I was known as the White Knight, one of the finest soldiers in the land. But the name no longer fits, for my hands have been stained crimson by the blood they’ve bathed in. I’ll never forget that fateful night so long ago, not as long as I live.
Our Empire wasn’t always at peace the way it is now. There was a time when war ravaged these beautiful lands. Horrible war that saw so many atrocities committed. After endless bloodshed and heartache, our people had lost the will to fight. Our enemies sought to take advantage of our weaknesses and topple our great nation once and for all.

I love this land more than anything. I’d rather die than have allowed it to be overrun by those barbarians. We needed to strike at our enemy first, with such force that they’d never dare set their greedy sights upon this wondrous land again. The Emperor knew we didn’t have the spirit left in us to do what was necessary to protect our home. I can’t imagine it was an easy choice for His Majesty to make; perhaps it still haunts him to this day. At the time we all agreed to his plan, as insane as it was, for it really did seem like our only option.

Sacrifices must be made for the greater good. That was our rationale and for me, it was an anchor against the inner turmoil that threatened to tear me apart. I was one of the one hundred, hand-picked soldiers appointed to this mission, to carry out this heinous act in His Majesty’s name.

It was in a small village, close to the northern border. Only a few hundred people were living there, leading simple and quiet rural lives, largely free of the troubles that plagued the heart of our Empire. We soldiers slowly amassed in the foothills to the west after the sun had set, so as to avoid detection. We’d removed anything that could identify us as subjects of imperial rule, and had donned the garb of our enemy. It was pitch-black as we moved out, encircling the tiny little village as it slumbered on, unaware of the terrible fate that it was about to suffer, the horrid tragedy that was about to occur.

Once everyone was in position, the horn was sounded and the men began their advance. I marched boldly toward the village, sword in hand, my resolve steel. I kicked in the door of a small home and charged in to find a man and his wife in their bedclothes, sitting up, wide-eyed and afraid. The man leapt from his bed in an attempt to defend himself, but he was too slow. With a thrust of my blade, the man grunted and collapsed in a heap on the floor. His wife screamed in horror as he fell, and I silenced her wails with a single backhanded slash across her throat.
I moved from house to house, indiscriminately killing all whom I discovered. It hadn’t taken long for the screams of the dying to awaken the entire village and soon there was naught but chaos throughout. Several of the men had been ordered to set the village aflame, the small wooden homes with their thatched roofs igniting with ease, turning everything into a raging inferno within moments. The air was thick with smoke and the cries of the villagers trying to escape from both our blades and our flames, but we were brutal and we were efficient. All who tried to hide themselves in their homes would be burnt to death, leaving nothing but unrecognizably charred corpses. Those who tried to escape the relentless fires were cut down without mercy. Some tried to slip out of the village without being seen, but our men were hidden everywhere from the foothills to the west to the woodlands to the east. We’d sealed all the escape routes; there was no way out.

With grim determination I continued my path of destruction though the village. I spared none, for my orders were strict and had come from the Emperor himself. I was soldier. If I didn’t obey my orders precisely, if I didn’t follow the chain of command, if I deviated even just a little… I would be worth less than nothing. I might even be condemned a traitor to the crown. I would not, could not fail in my duties. I was covered in blood and ash, but I was not deterred from my task. The sound of weeping from nearby somehow reached me over the sound of the carnage, and I soon found the source in a nearby alley. It was a young woman, her blonde hair tangled and dirty, her arms desperately wrapped around her stomach in horror. I could see she was with child. Her pleas for not only her own life, but that of her unborn child still haunt me to this day, but at the time I focused my resolve and I ran my sword clean through her stomach, the tip of my blade sticking out by her spine and with a sickening sound I tore the blade back out, her blood gushing out like a river, spattering the earth as she feel to meet it.

Her life was not the last I claimed that night. To me it could not make a difference, whether they were male or female, elderly or young, healthy or ill… that night they all fell before me, all in the name of duty. By the time the sun began to rise, there wasn’t a single villager left alive. The sun’s rays and the dwindling flames of the village dyed the sky an eerie red. It was a bloody dawn to follow the bloodiest of nights.

All that remained of the village was smouldering wreckage, littered with the dead. And that’s how we left it. The news that the enemy had massacred an entire village of innocent citizens of the Empire was spread, and in no time at all the people were in an uproar. A righteous fury had restored the fighting spirit to all who heard the news, and before long our soldiers once again marched forth and desecrated the enemy so thoroughly that they would never forget. I, however, never did see the end of the war for myself. After the massacre of the villagers, my commanding officer had congratulated me on my performance during the battle. In my disgust I told him, there was no battle, no pride in our actions, just the shame of our necessity. After that it all becomes hazy and all I remember is quarrelling with him, and lost in my rage and grief, I ran him through. Realizing what I’d done, I turned and fled into the foothills. All that innocent blood I’d spilt in the name of duty, and in the end my emotions won over and turned me into a fugitive anyway.

Despite the lack of life now in the village, the mountains and foothills are teeming with it once again, so I’ve been able to live out here, undiscovered by those few who remember the sins we committed that night. From my little cave on the mountain side, I have an inspiring view of the area, from the foothills where we started out, to the eastern woodlands. The village was never reconstructed and even now it is naught but a dark blight on the otherwise beautiful landscape. All that remain are the ashes… the ashes of my regrets…

Poem: Wiccan Candle

Wiccan Candle

Wiccan candle burning bright,
Brightest star in the sky at night.
Guide my path and make it true
Always lead me back to you.

Whenever I have tears to shed,
On your shoulder I’ll rest my head.
Whenever nightmares come to stay,
You send them all off far away.

All the time you’re on my mind,
Your spirit with mine intertwined.
Without you around I’d throw it in,
But when you’re around I’ll always win.

Angel Mel: watch over me,
When I’m with you I fly free,
From now until our time does end,
You’ll always be my truest friend.

Wiccan candle burning bright,
Brightest star in the sky at night.
Guide my path and make it true,
Always lead me back to you.

–/–/–
This poem was inspired by, and written about my best friend Melissa. I don’t know what I would have done without her support. Feel free to follow along her beautiful photography here: https://www.facebook.com/melissaartifexphotography

Short Story: Rope in the Closet

Rope in the Closet

He wasn’t there for me. When I needed him the most, he wasn’t there. I just wanted to scream at him.
“I thought you were my friend! I thought you’d always have my back but… instead of watching it, you stuck the first knife right in and it hurt me more than you’ll ever know!”
But, in my heart I know even if he would listen, I could never bring myself to do it. Instead I just bottled everything up; the hurt, the confusion, the devastation and betrayal I felt. I just buried them as deep as I could but everybody knows, it doesn’t matter how deep you bury it, somehow or other it rears its ugly head and unsurprisingly… that’s what it did.

They say you don’t really know what you’ve got until it’s gone and I think I know exactly what they mean. It wasn’t so long ago I had what I considered a normal life. It was nothing special but it suited me just fine. Life was slowly passing me by and before I knew what was happening, everything changed. Perhaps I should go back a bit, start from the beginning. My name is Caleb and I am, or at least was, just your run-of-the-mill teenager except… I’m gay, and madly in love with my best friend Zach. I’d always just assumed he was straight, but in my mind there was also a desperate hope that maybe he wasn’t. I know it was a pipe dream, but sometimes false hope is better than no hope, or so I’d always believed. Anyway, this whole mess started just a couple short weeks ago…

Zach is tall, dark and handsome: a real gentleman too. I know it’s a little cliché but it really is true! Ever since we were at primary school and he saved me from some bullies, I suppose I’d always seen him as some sort of guardian angel. “Look at this!” he called, snapping me out of my reverie. He was looking at his shoulder in the mirror, where there was a dark scratch from where we’d been play-fighting.
“Sorry.” I mumbled, averting my gaze from his shirtless form, feeling my face flush.
I tried staring lamely at my feet, but I couldn’t help it. He had a body that was so perfect it could’ve been sculpted by Michelangelo himself. My eyes kept creeping up and slowly running over every inch of it. He turned to face me and I quickly turned my head, embarrassed. He didn’t say anything, so I nervously glanced at him afraid he’d seen me checking him out, but he was smiling, so he couldn’t have seen me. Then the thought occurred to me; maybe he did see me looking. Maybe he wanted me to look. It wasn’t likely, I knew that but once that idea was in my mind, it just kept on coming back, filling me with doubt.
“You’re a lot stronger than you look y’know!” laughed Zach, reaching past me to grab his shirt and pulling it over his head.
“I should probably get home, before it gets too dark.” I said glancing at my watch.
“Do you want me to walk you home?” he asked.
“I’ll be fine; it’s only a five minute walk.” I said before jokingly adding “Besides, apparently I’m tougher than I look!” to which Zach just laughed.
“I’ll see you tomorrow!” I called as I left his place and headed home.

I spent the whole walk home thinking about whether or not he’d seen me checking him out. Then I started thinking about his offer to walk me home. He was definitely the kind of guy to do that, so it didn’t mean anything… did it?

When I got home I showered up and went to my room for the night. I was so tensed up I just kept wandering round, thoughts of Zach swirling around in my mind. We’d never really talked about girls either, so maybe he was gay too. I began analyzing everything, trying to work it out but I just couldn’t make up my mind. I went to bed eventually but I just tossed and turned for hours over it, until I was finally too exhausted to think anymore.

The next day I was so tired and so confused that I made the biggest mistake of my life. Zach came around first thing in the morning, which was nothing unusual. I tidied myself up as best I could before going downstairs to join him in the living room.
“Sure took your time!” he laughed teasingly as I came down.
I couldn’t help but blush a little as I smiled. God, I hoped he didn’t realise I’d taken so long just to look good for him. That would’ve been embarrassing. I vaulted over the couch, dropping into the seat next to him. I flicked on the TV and we just sat there casually chatting and flicking through random channels for nearly an hour. We settled on watching music videos while we chatted, and I sat there trying not to sing along. Things were usually so effortless with Zach, but today it seemed a little awkward for me. I guess the stronger my feelings grew, the less natural things seemed for me. Zach on the other hand, was so relaxed. That couldn’t have been a good sign… could it? I started thinking about just being honest with him, but in my heart I knew I wouldn’t follow it through. I awkwardly turned away from him, back to the music videos when one of my favourites started. The next thing I knew, Zach was quietly singing to himself. It was so funny and yet, so endearing.
“I’m going home, to the place where I belong, where your love has always been enough for me.” He sang and I couldn’t help but smile at him.
“What’re you looking at?” he asked me with a laugh.
My face grew hot, I probably looked like I’d been sunburnt I was sure I was blushing so much. Hoping he wouldn’t notice, I tried to diffuse the tension I was feeling.
“Don’t quit your day job!” I laughed punching him lightly on the arm.
“Oh, is that right?” he asked. “Well, I think it’s time somebody taught you a little respect!” he said lunging forward and pinning me to the couch. I tried to break free and sit up, but I never could beat him in a wrestling match and he kept me pinned down.
“I’m guessing professional wrestler isn’t going to be your day job.” He teased grinning at my pathetic attempt to break free from his grip.
I don’t know what happened next but there I was, pinned down on my couch with Zach above me and without thinking I stretched my neck forward and kissed him. He was frozen like a statue for several agonizing moments, and suddenly he released me and leapt off the couch. “What the hell was that!?” he demanded, looking thoroughly confused. My mind went blank, I couldn’t think of anything to say so I just sat there stuttering like an idiot.
“I’m… I didn’t… I mean… I… Zach…” and he shook his head quickly before turning and practically running out the front door without a word.
“Wait!” I cried after him, but he was already long gone. I sat on the couch feeling sick to my stomach and finally, when I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer they rushed forth like a floodgate being thrown open.

I spent that whole afternoon crying in my room. My parents weren’t around all that much, and they’d gone up north for a few days as it was, so there was nobody to disturb me. There was nobody to console me either. I dreaded going to school the next day. I was going to see a lot of Zach; we were in mostly the same classes. I very nearly didn’t go to but… I was never one to skip school. I was so anxious as I made my way to school; my stomach was knotted so tight it was painful. I made it to class just in time so I just grabbed my usual seat near the front without looking around. The teacher set us some questions and disappeared for a bit, leaving us to it. I started doing my work, trying to ignore everything else going on around me, when something solid hit me in the back of the head.
“Hey! Fag!” Someone whispered. My throat slowly constricting I threw a nervous glance behind me. Zach was sitting there with two of the guys, Chris and Miller. It was Chris’ voice I’d heard. I guess Zach must’ve told them what had happened. I was so embarrassed I just wanted to melt away into nothing. I turned my back to them and tried to focus on my work, my vision blurred by the tears welling in my eyes. By the time the bell rung, I’d already packed up and I was off like a bowshot out of the classroom.

I spent the whole break hiding out behind the old classrooms, but they found me there. I try not to think too much about it but… I still feel every kick and every punch they hit with me with. The only thing that hurt more than the actual beating was that Zach stood there the whole time and just watched them do it. He never hit me himself, but he didn’t even try to stop them either. When the bell rung and the left me there, I just stayed curled up in a ball on the ground, mud on my clothes and tears streaking my face.

I lost track of how many times that happened during that week. Every day was more of the same, filled with beatings and tears. Zach wouldn’t even look at me and I didn’t really have any other friends. The few people who I might’ve turned to avoided me like the plague. I don’t think that it was they all had a problem with me, it was more that they were just sacred of the consequences of being seen showing me any form of sympathy. I don’t blame them either; if the positions had been reversed I’d probably have done the exact same thing. Yet, I couldn’t help but wish that just one person would’ve been there for me. I’d never felt so alone, it was like there was a chasm between me and everyone else and it just kept growing wider and wider. I felt like I was losing myself and so now… here I am: in my garage, standing on a chair with a rope clutched tightly in my trembling hand as I slowly pull the noose over my head. I have my final thoughts written here and now all I have to do is step forward… and I’ll be free…

—/—/—
Rope in the Closet was the second short story I ever wrote; and while I look back and think it could definitely do some refinement, I’m proud of it nonetheless.

Poem: Cupid’s Conflict

CUPID’S CONFLICT

Heart is a flutter,
Mind torn asunder,
I don’t know what to do.

Chaos, confusion,
Divine retribution:
It always comes back to you.

Falling so freely,
Or drowning so deeply,
I don’t know what to do.

Sunshine or rain,
Draw me close, push away:
It always comes back to you.

My beating heart’s sound,
Build me up, tear me down,
I don’t know what to do.

Whenever you’re home,
When I’m feeling alone:
I’ll always come back to you.

Short Story: White Rose

White Rose

I can’t believe it… I just can’t believe that it’s been exactly one year to the day since I lost you. Not a day goes by when I don’t think about you. It still hurts; you were everything to me. Sometimes, I’d wake up all alone in the middle of the night and roll over expecting to see your beautiful sleeping face, pale in the moonlight beside me, but when I look, there’s nothing there but an empty, lonesome pillow.

I remember you perfectly, every detail from your gorgeous raven locks to your soft rose red lips and I miss them dearly, but what I miss the most are your eyes. Those eyes of yours could make the clearest cut emerald look like cheap jade and when I think of how I’ll never stare into them again, how I’ll never lose myself in your gaze… it still hurts. My heart feels like a fallen mirror, shattered into a thousand tiny pieces; each piece too sharp to put back together, each shard slicing through me, body and soul. There were times when I didn’t think I’d make it through, times when I just wanted to give it all up; throw in the towel. Each night I’d go to sleep and part of me wished I would never wake up, back into the cruel world that gave me what I wanted more than anything just to steal it back away. I wished I could dream forever, just so I could see your beautiful face one last time and never let it go. Life however, is never so kind is it?

Each day without you left me numb to my very core, never truly noticing what was happening around me, not feeling anything but the dull ache in my chest, each beat more sluggish than the last. I’ve never considered myself the strongest of men, we both know I’ve shed many a tear in my time… it was always you there wiping them away; you held my hand through all the tough times and never once did you let me give into despair but now, when I need you the most, you’re the one place I can’t follow. Not just yet, anyway.

I know you used to say that “Time heals all things” but some wounds are just too deep; there are some things that time just can’t erase. I lived through you and you through me. When you left me it was like an entire half of my heart, of my entire being was suddenly torn away from me. I know it wasn’t completely unexpected but that just doesn’t prepare you, I doubt there is anything that can. I thought we had time, I thought I’d have you just a little longer; I wasn’t ready to let you go. I don’t think I ever really will be. You were always the strong one, nothing could ever faze you. I wish I had that strength but even more so, I wish he had taken me in your place. The world can live without me, but it shouldn’t have to live without you. I shouldn’t have to live without you. I was so angry for such a long time. I was never angry at you, but I was at myself. I was angry at the doctors too, and everything from this life to the next!

I’ll never forget that morning, expecting to see those emerald eyes of yours sparkling with the sunrise, but they were closed. You looked so peaceful I didn’t realise right away that you’d finally left me, yet somehow you knew, didn’t you? I thought the pain of losing you would’ve been enough to end me but even from the other side you helped me through it. You held it gently in your soft hands, like you knew that I’d need it. Those words shall forever be on my mind and in my heart, just like you.

“Though I have departed here,
You are not alone.
Always above and besides you,
Together we are home.
Do not waste your tears on me,
For I’ve not gone away.
As long as you remember me,
Always with you I will stay.
From dawn till dusk, and in the end:
I live in your heart forever, my friend.”

You reminded me; I will never be alone. Those words have given me the strength to survive this year. I’ll never forget you, my Rose. I promise you that. Thanks to you, I finally know that somehow or other, things will be alright. Until we next meet, I shall leave this here on your grave. All that is you and all that is me; a single white rose.

—/—/—
White Rose was the third short story I ever wrote, and was based on a monologue that I had envisioned at drama for a long time.