Murderous House

If you haven’t read Part 1 of Murderous House, check it out here.


Part 2

His heart thumped so hard that it was about to fly out of his chest as he chased after the figure who grabbed Alec. However, he wasn’t fast enough. He crashed into the door at the end of the corridor. Earlier, it swung open to allow the figure to drag Alec through.

“Alec! Alec!” Jake yelled as he pounded the door. He tried turning the knob but it refused to move. He took a few steps back and slammed the ball of his feet into the door. It didn’t budge. He tried a few more times and it didn’t work. The next time he tried, he lost his balance from exhaustion and landed on his butt.

He yelped from the pain. The sudden realisation that he won’t see Alec again made him curled up into a ball. Tears started streaming down his cheeks.

The memory of them when they were eight came flooding through. Both Alec’s and his mom were there on the beach watching over them as they chased each other across the soft and wet beach sand. When either one of them caught up with the other, they’d wrestled each other playfully until they were both on the ground covered in wet sand. In the meantime, the sea would come gushing towards them and cover them in saltwater. During that time, it would become a battle of who could get on top and pin the other down or get pushed away into the water. He remembered the part where Alec kept laughing after seeing his shorts was around his knees, floating on the surface of the water when he stood up, revealing his private parts to the world to see. He bend over to pull his shorts up, realising the drawstring had loosen. He tightened the drawstring around his waist and used a dead knot to make sure it doesn’t come loose again.

Later that day, Jake had his revenge by pulling the towel Alec had around his waist after a shower and made him chase after it from outside the bathroom to the guest bedroom.

Even though they were equally embarrassed then, they continued to laugh at each other over those incidents during their occasional reminiscing moments over the past six years.

He smiled at that memory and didn’t notice how much time had gone by. When he looked up, the door in front of him was open. He remembered why he was sitting there. He got up and charged towards the door, deeply hoping it didn’t close again. Once he was through, he heaved a sigh of relief.

The worse of the thunderstorm had gone by. But it wasn’t a good thing. Without the lightning flashes, this part of the house was dark. And without those thunders, any noise in the house would be particularly loud and sound really close.

Jake wasn’t sure if he was ready to move around in the dark but the thought of Alec in trouble somewhere in the house pushed him on. He stayed close to the wall on his left and place a hand on it, using it as a guide as he moved forward.

Alec swerved around trying to locate the sound as he thought he heard jangling sound from behind him while his eyes scanned the dark corridor for whatever made that sound. He waited for the sound to repeat. But it didn’t. He turned around and continue his journey.

After a slow stroll, his hand found the end of the wall. The next moment, it was touching air. He stopped and glanced around. It was still too dark.

“Alec, where are you?” He whispered. Not that it would do any good if his friend was unconscious or too far away. But it gave him an ease of mind. That he was doing something.

The sound of china crashing made him twerk on the spot and his head followed his ears in an attempt to locate the sound. He thought it came from above. Then came the same jangling sound. He turned around but couldn’t see anything. The hairs on his body stood up and his legs felt weak. What the fuck? he thought to himself.

He keep turning left and right, afraid of whatever is lurking in the dark and waiting to snatch him when he wasn’t looking. After a while, he realised it was ridiculous.

He squeezed his eye shut, took in a couple of deep breaths and repeated his personal mantra, “I can do it.”

He put his hand on the wall again and use it to guide him around the turn. A couple more steps and his knee struck some kind of furniture. He put his hand around his mouth to prevent himself from making any sound as he waited for the pain to subside. When he could walk again, he felt his way around the furniture and continue. The way sound bounced around the room made he believe this was a corridor.

Somehow, he managed not to crash into anything else along the way and come upon a closed door at the end of the corridor. He felt his way around to locate the knob, gave it a turn and pushed. The door opened to reveal a corridor that looked like those found in old hotels that were built in the 60s. Wall lamps spaced equally apart showered the corridor in a baleful orange. Between the wall lamps were doors leading to different rooms.

He stepped through the doorway in a more deliberate pace, unsure of what would happen. At the back of his mind, he knew it just wasn’t possible for the place to have electricity considering it was an old abandoned house but he couldn’t deny what he was seeing.

And he didn’t forget about Alec.

He tried the first door on his right and found it locked. He tried another that was behind him. Locked. He tried a few more doors until he found one where it swung open with very creaky hinges. Behind the door, it was a slightly darker room that was gently lit by the low hanging moon. His eyes darted all over the place to look for threats, only to catch Alec lying on the floor, unconscious.

He ran in and went on his knees beside Alec to try and wake him. After a few shakes and calling out his name, Alec stirred and moaned.

“My back and head hurts,” Alec complained as he tried to sit up. Jake put his arm behind Alec in case he lose consciousness and fell back to the ground.

“Are you hurt anywhere else?” Jake’s voice was shaky and soft.

Alec felt his body with his hands to locate any potential pain spot. Other than his head, back and knee, he was otherwise fine. “No,” he replied weakly.

“Come on, let’s get out of here. We can’t stay the night.”

“Agree.”

Jake grabbed and placed Alec’s right arm around his shoulders while his left hand went to support Alec’s lower back as they got up together. The process was difficult and unsteady because Alec’s unwillingness to put any weight on his injured knee. There were times when Jake had to brace himself and exert enough strength to keep them both stable. Then they hobbled towards the door only to see it slammed close halfway through. They regarded each other for a moment before increasing their paces.

Jake prayed that the door wasn’t lock as he reached for the knob. He gave it a turn and pulled. The door opened to reveal a dark corridor.

“Shit!” Jake cursed, drawing a curious look from Alec.

“What?”

“The corridor. It’s no longer lit.”

“Do you know the way back?”

“I hope so. Let’s go.”

Jake took the lead, drawing upon his memory of how the corridor looked when it was lit, secretly hoping that it was still the same corridor. Thus far, the house already demonstrated it had a life of its own. It was as though there’s a housemaster hidden somewhere in the attic or basement, spying on them and messing around to scare them. But if it were true, and this place is a legitimate entertainment place, then the owners have taken things too far by injuring Alec.

They went through the corridor in a deliberate manner, not wanting to trip over anything that could slow them down while worry hung out at the back of their minds. Yet, neither one of them dared to look behind. They didn’t want to scare themselves anymore than they currently were by seeing something or someone behind.

They made it through the first of the two doors separating them from the corridor linked to the main hall. Then they hurried through the next corridor to the last door. The good thing was Jake remembered the layout of the corridor and made sure they avoid the piece of furniture that he hit his knee with.

Before long, they were through the door and making their way back to the main hall.

Once in the living room, they packed their belongings, took out torchlights and scrambled for the main door. Staying another minute in the house wasn’t something they even want to consider. They’d rather take their chances out there in the woods where their survival skills and provisions in their bags could at least keep them alive until morning.

As soon as Alec placed his hand on the doorknob, a loud, high-pitch cry echoed throughout the main hall. The hall temperature plummeted rapidly that made every exhalation visible as white mist, giving the boys the shivers.

“Come on, let’s go!” Jake yelled as he swept the torch across the dark main hall, allowing the yellow-whitish cone of light to illuminate whatever surfaces it came in contact with. It was obvious there was a strange mist gathering around them.

“I know!” Alec replied.

Alec gripped the doorknob hard, gave it a hard twist before pulling it towards him. The door opened without any protest. He went out first with Jake following closely behind. Despite the pain he experienced across his back, Alec found the will needed to push on. With Jake providing support, there was nothing he couldn’t do.

After five minutes of threading through the forest path that led to the house, the boys turned to the right upon coming upon a fork. They decided to head east and followed the man-made path into the dark forest with the torches in their hand giving them the comfort the night won’t take their sights away.


To be continued…

Writing achievements 2018 – year in review

2018 is coming to an end in an hours’ time as I write this and it’s my hope that this post goes up before the arrival of 2019.

I for one isn’t someone who like to brat to the whole world about what I have achieved and tend to keep a low key. In fact, I’d probably reject any awards that requires me to collect on stage.

But it’s also important to acknowledge how far I have come when it comes to writing.

When I restarted this blog, it was supposed to be just for me to vent my frustrations, let me jot down what happened in my life and help me process all my emotions. After reading lots of articles about self improvement and writing, I came to the conclusion that I’m not going to do that anymore. This blog isn’t going to be about me ranting about life, the misfortunes and whatnots that I have encountered. So I decided to expand my writing into various other things.

With that, I also came to learn that there are only two metrics that matter to a writer. Everything else is just not as important. The first metric is how many articles or essays you have published in a year. Doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad. Hitting that publish button is important as a writer. The second metric is how many followers that you have. The more follower you have, chances are it indicates your writings, especially the underlying message, have somewhat captivated readers and they want more. And it doesn’t matter if they are genuine, fake or bots. It’s important to be very very grateful for those followers and keep publishing new content.

Even so, I feel like celebrating what my blog have achieved in 2018 alone. And I’m going to keep doing what I do, keep working at my writings, interact with the blogger community in whatever capacity I can and grow myself further.

In 2018 alone, I have published 110 posts for a total of 101,270 words compared to 67 posts for a total of 42,420 words in 2017.

Now those are the metrics which are more important than anything else I’ve got to list below because these numbers prove to myself that I can write. A lot. And despite the occasional but overwhelming feeling of failures, I pushed forward. I acknowledge my failures in writing and seek to do them better next time.

And now it’s time for the not so important metrics.

Compare to the year 2017, my blog has gained 1.8x views and 2x the amount of unique visitors. In terms of likes, it’s 3.49x. I couldn’t be more happier. I’m deeply grateful to everyone.

Thank you all so very much. 😀

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!

When you neglect your body, everything else suffers

The market moves very fast because of technology. It has given people access to things almost instantly. In the past, they had to wait for days if not weeks before getting their hands on it.

Because of that, as a creator, you find yourself working almost non-stop just so that you don’t get drown out by the market.

Or maybe that isn’t even the real reason or excuse. It could be the fact that you are just lazy and couldn’t be bother.

In either case, the one thing that gets neglected is the body. You eat junk food because it’s cheaper and faster to get. You don’t exercise because it requires a lot of willpower for you to get out of that chair, couch or bed.

Over time, the body becomes weaker, prone to sickness and pains. Not only that, it gains more weight. With more fats, the body becomes inflamed. Before long, your body is fighting off infections and inflammation. And that affects your brain and mental health. You get depressed easily. You can’t tolerate work and life-related stresses well anymore. Tiredness and sleepiness also become very common.

And making things even worse is age. By the time you get to your thirties, your metabolism drops even more, compounding the weight problem. And failure to take care of your body leads to even more problems.

I know because I’m dealing with them now.

My lack of physical activities the past few months (especially ever since I turned 29) has given me a ton of allergies. My tummy and overall body size have become rounder and bigger. I get tired more easily. My body aches and hurts like there’s no end because of the amount of time I spend in front of a computer or a digital device. And it’s nobody’s fault but mine.

With those issues, I find myself sometimes unable to concentrate on my tasks, lacking excitement in what I do and I just want to sleep more. Now even my fiction writing also grind somewhat into a halt because my brain just isn’t able to work efficiently.

And I know now it’s not the holiday season that’s making me so lazy. Being overweight and lacking physical activity is what make me lazy and sick more often. It’s a vicious cycle really.

So what I have to do is exercise more. Get out more.

And it’s important to set goals that are more sustainable.

So my goal won’t be about losing certain amount of weight by certain time. And I know that alone isn’t sustainable for me because I tried. My goal now is that I want to feel better about myself in terms of energy level and overall health so that I can do my best work.

Now you see, don’t ever neglect your body. Treat it well and treat it right. In turn, it will treat you good.

P.S. I’m actually using the lump that is my tummy to prop up the laptop I’m using to write while I’m lying down on my bed because my back, especially the neck, is hurting. It’s embarrassing really.

Writing on a touchscreen is just…

Writing is still writing no matter the platform. It’s all about getting the words out, to give them a physical form be it on the screen or on paper. You can write on a piece of paper using a pen. You can write using your smartphone. You can write on your laptop or a desktop computer.

But what I have discovered is that writing on a touchscreen just feel weird and difficult. Some people no doubt won’t have any problems. It’s just not the thing for me.

I got the iPhone X. With its 5.8 inch, nearly edge-to-edge display, it’s way bigger than the iPhone 6s and 7 plus display I used in the past. That means with apps like iA Writer, I can see way more of the text with the keyboard below. The Super Retina HD display meant that text are sharp and clear. Writing on that device had been a joy.

Yet, whenever I tried to write long form, like a short story, my fingers do get really tired from attempting to hit the keys. My fingers are rather fat. Combine that with hyperhidrosis, it means either wrong keys are pressed and I need to hit delete or that the key presses aren’t registered like it should. It slows down my writing by a lot, which is irritating in a way if your thoughts is faster than the words appearing on the screen.

The other issue I have with typing on a touchscreen was the lack of tactile feedback. This is one of the reason why I prefer to write using a keyboard. The sound my finger hitting the keys and the clacky feel when you press the key just feels so good. I know you could enable haptic feedback on the phone such that every key pressed will give you a vibration. But that vibration is missing when you set the phone to silent mode via that switch. Not only that, vibration requires the motors in the phone to work hard and cause faster battery drainage. For the iPhone X, that vibration mode is no more and what you get is simulated keyboard clicks, something that you won’t hear if your phone is on permanent silent mode.

The third issue I have is having to deal with the weight of the device while typing. I know smartphones are small and consider rather light. After all you carry it in your pockets everyday. But it does become heavy when you are holding it in your hands for long period of time as you type. And that particular use case happens quite often if you are writing a long article, an essay or stories. Notes taking is fine actually because those are short burst action and probably won’t be doing it over 1 or 2 hours.

So those three reasons are why I will always prefer to write on a keyboard. And in order to do writings on the go, a portable typing machine is needed. Thus, I decided to reuse the 13inch MacBook Pro (2015) that was in storage. The 15inch MacBook Pro that I’m currently using is just a tad bigger and heavier than what I would like. You know what? Without the keyboard cover, typing on that classic chiclet keyboard is rather delightful. I could type equally fast on it.

And now I’m curious about what’s the primary device that you use to write everyday? And why.

Poem – Armageddon

Grey sky with thunderous black clouds rolling bringing along massive hail of freezing stones.

The Earth crack under sheer heat; venting steam shrieking in darkness.

Plague sweeps across the lands sending shivers down spines.

With rising fear comes War and with War, hunger becomes king.

Death follows with its reapers, roaming the lands free gathering their rewards.