“Do you know why he committed suicide?” He asked, chewing on gum like any bored young man would do.

I thought for a moment, and frowned. “Wasn’t it because of his depression?”

He remained silent for a few minutes, and then shook his head.

“Why then?” I heard myself asking, my curiosity piqued by his delayed response. “Isn’t that what some people do; when they sink too deep into the depths, and everything hems in from all sides until they have nowhere to walk on but the roads of Death?”

Tom spat his gum out onto the sidewalk. “He killed himself, that poor bastard, because he couldn’t bear to live day after day, drowning in the dregs of his colourless life.”

“He despised – no, he was terrified of – the thought; of living past his youth, into the curse of old age, and degenerating slowly – crumbling and folding into frailty and sickness, till he passed on.”

He lit a cigarette which I hadn’t noticed before, and continued. “He figured that if he took his life when he was still able and young, he wouldn’t have that happening to him. Did you know how much he hated that? He kept telling me: Tom , help me, I can’t take this shit life anymore. I tried to shake him out, I really did. But that fucking idiot was completely out of his mind – he just sat there day by day mumbling to himself, and then he took his own life yesterday. Hanged himself by the oak tree, just near the dorm. Fucking hell, he could have chosen a better place.”

He took a long drag on his cigarette, breathing out sickly nicotine fumes, and shrugged helplessly, looking forlorn. “He was going into his engineering undergraduate studies too! Top of the class, he was. Well, not anymore – he’s in the ground now, not knowing we’re having this conversation, and not knowing that he’s become a fucking prick.” Tom laughed, its hollowness ringing in my ears. “His life wasn’t colourless. His family’s rich. Nice bird hangin’ on his arm too. Sky high grades. Great life waiting for him after university. I don’t get it. Why do all these silly, philosphical fuckwits kill themselves, and why do the girls throw themselves onto them idiots?”

Tom stubbed out the cigarette, and the ashes flew onto his bare, heavily- veined arm. “Even the cig’s trying to piss me off today! Damn it, the whole lot of you are trying to drive me insane!” He swore, flinging the burnt cigarette onto the grass. I watched him walk off, and sighed.

Tom needed time alone, and now was not the time.

(I found this while clearing out my inbox…totally forgot this was still lying around! I was supposed to flesh this out but I wasn’t able to. Oh well.)

© Zelda Reville


Her face scrunched into bewilderment, but loosened itself, and a easy laug escaped from her throat – a tinkling sort of giggle, like when you accidentally hit chipped glasses against one another. She blew smoke into my spluttering face. My question must seem ludicrous to her, I thought; and my palms started to sweat in response.

Her hair, a crisp, strawberry blonde, seemed to be glued to her scalp, the strands barely moving in the slight breeze. She was dressed very simply, with stretches of pure flesh on show. The straps of her red camisole dipped their crimson vines into slightly burned skin, brushing against it with the sort of practiced demureness that often threatens to make naivety extinct. I shuddered.  Her arms moved as she drew the cigarette away from her equally tacky lips, inducing a sea of goose pimples that broke onto the marble of the badly peeling bark. I winced.

From where I was standing, I could see the flecks of dead skin emerge from her bad suntan. Like the shells of albino mealworm pupae, I thought. They come out from their chrysalis,
all bottle-black and ready to rumble.

Then my mind flashed back to the latest movie; to one of the more memorable female characters. Like Harley Quinn, but actually only a quarter badass.

Then she spoke.

“Remember – the more vivid the tattoos, the more promises these people have broken.”


Her eyes started to roll, but she shifted her gaze towards the dying potted plants. “It’s alright, sonny. You don’t have to crack your head over what I said.”

Then a brazen thought quivered in its skin; and floated, a disembodied shroud of green, to my brain, distinct and fully-formed from the remains of the broken porcelain that lay crushed under the boot of Harley Quinn’s patent leather boots. A wide, scarlet grin displayed itself on her heart-shaped face, proud and unyielding, to any man or creature whatsoever. Then, jumping from the cerebral lily pads of grey, she landed on my tongue nimbly – all ready to be asked; to be spat forward in response, where she would take her wooden bat and crush someone’s brain into a mushy pulp.

“What if I got tattooed in place of somebody else?”

She froze, her head resembling a wind vane, scarlet tipped with a proud cockerel crowning the apex, slowly tilting to the south. I bit my lip, looking down at my scuffed shoes. One of them had a big splotch of mud on the heel of the shoe,  a grubby result from yesterday’s hectic schedule.

Then she sighed.

“Trust me – you don’t want to do that.”

© Zelda Reville


Engentado Chapter 3 – Jordan

He continues to smoke, a slender hand deftly equipped with a cigarette that glows in the dim light, a beacon that refuses to be extinguished in the dusk. Dirty lilac duvets hastily pushed to a corner of the creaky bed. A crooked overhead lamp protests feebly against the dark, which swallows the both of us in an unprecedented silence. I sit on his lap, picking at a stubborn hangnail that refuses to peel off.

My bare skin prickles under the frigid current of the beastly air-conditioner, which rattles like an old-age pensioner on his last legs.



“I was just walking through the market today.”

He brought the cigarette to his lips.

“So what’d you get, Laura?”

I held up a Polaroid photo. “This.”

“What’s that, Laura?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “It’s nothing, really. Could you turn up the air-conditioner? And get my bra for me, at the very least?”

His lips pursed on a smoky drag, he glances at me. Then a car door slams, shattering the stillness, and the tell-tale rumbling chug of an ancient car echoes down the street. His face becomes nothing more than a canvas for the faintest gleam of light that first sneaks up over the drawn blinds, slowly growing brighter as it hovers over the dingy walls like a stray spotlight, finally making its triumphant ascent to the ceiling. A stray fleck of light flickers in the sticky malevolence of his eyes, where it struggles, a careless firefly drowning in a mud bog and then dies, its curious body subsumed by the inkiness. Then his gaze swiftly bonds with the childlike luminescence, still shrouded and I feel his gaze climbing over my skin, sliding off my shoulders, caressing my arms and tickling the dark mire of confusion nestling carefully between my thighs, where the light pools for a split moment, before reaching out with its spidery fingers for his face. My skin tingles, but he’s barely touched me.

Then he blinks and I watch the dark lashes part and lower in that flicker, his eyes now looking past me, staring intently at his bellybutton. His hair, slicked back, with a stray curl of ebony that now caresses his wide forehead, cradling the entire angularity of his jaw line and head. The light now slows to a creeping saunter along his face, carving in sloping cheekbones with the dexterity of a master woodcutter. And yet, still – he continues to smoke, the stream of white hanging in the air, oblivious to everything – my double-blinded love, my insatiable lust, my explosive anger.

I now watch the lithe body unfold itself, ancient veins now surging against the crashing tide of his skin that stretches waxen over his entire frame. Lines of blue and green interweave over his skin. I always complain that he’s barely skin and bone; he’s always consuming strange pills, drinking one too many shots – but there is something in the way he walks that makes me involuntarily shiver. I observe his arm that slowly extends, like the latticed boom of a crane, to pick the moth-eaten garment from the far side of the bed. But his fingers freeze in mid-air, and a grin stretches itself, Cheshire Cat-like, on his face.

 “No can do, Laura, I wanna see you hanging out like that.” The other hand reaches out towards me, cupping my right breast, teasing the already puckering nipple. I wrest away from his meddlesome fingers. Then, out of nowhere, another finger miraculously finds itself between my legs, sliding itself neatly into a well of pooling moisture that I apparently fail to notice. And I feel it going higher, and higher, and –

Click, click, click.

It lands on something cold and metallic, and then, as if unsure of the reality of the object in question, taps on it. Then I see his expression change – his head involuntarily tilting in confusion, quickly sliding into an expression of bewilderment at something that has deftly glided past his all-knowing comprehension. The ground is sliding at his feet. I try my best not to smile at this tiny victory afforded to me.

But his puzzlement gives way to a boyish smile that lights up his entire face, the sparks in the bonfire blazing brightly in the gloom. I clench my teeth, not wanting to give myself away. He whistles under a breath that has grown strangely ragged and savage. I can feel his quivering member under my thigh, ready to pounce like some caged animal that has had its freedom restored.

“I don’t believe it, Laura. You really got yourself pierced down there? Fucking hell, Laura! I dared you for the hell for it and you actually did it. Fucking hell!” He starts to laugh, a deep belly laugh that scrabbles from the bowels of his stomach, made worse by a sudden hacking cough that leaves a tiny spot of spittle on my cheek. I glare at him, but he takes no notice.

Outside the windows, the sky emits an ominous rumble as he grunts, roughly pushing me back onto the bed, and I fall back into the pungent embrace of unwashed bedsheets. A sudden fear seizes me as my back seems to plummet towards some yawning hole, but my scabby elbows kiss the soft covers of the duvet and I wince as the pain detonates, jolting towards my hands and fingers. Then the room lights up,  a beautiful, terrible cacophony of beating rain, sheet lightning and thunder, and I catch a glimpse of the dilated points of desire that mark the unsheathed cobalt surface of his beautifully lashed eyes. He sits up once more, his greedy hands smoothing out my skin, kneading it accordingly to his whims, making their way towards familiar territory. My back arches, a delicious ecstacy that maddens and tears me, as I catch a glimpse of his raven head bobbing between my thighs.


“Be quiet, Laura…” The faintly mocking illogicality echoes in my ears; running down dark tunnels strewn with half-worn shoes, urine-soaked alleys illuminated by moonlight, filthy staircases…and I am reminded of the dead dragonfly from last Wednesday. In a flash, I recall the dream from last night, but it is far too late. The polaroid flutters to the floor.

The hinges always seem to come off at some point, no matter how hard I try to fix that gate.

(Psst…read Part 2 over here!)

© Zelda Reville


The Girl With The Silver Hair

This was a short story I wrote when I was around 11 or 12, I think…LOL I had to post this here to see how far I’ve come 😂

Lira sighed heavily as she dragged her stubborn dog Mario into the house. She swept her silver-tinted hair back and gave a final tug on the leash, and Mario finally relented, slumping on the ground, panting heavily.

She leaped into the kitchen, her deep blue eyes twinkling with amusement at her twin brother, Lionel, who was trying in vain to piece a difficult jigsaw puzzle. Lira grinned.

Lira was an ordinary 15 year old girl who exceled at sports. She possessed a super agility. Her mother sometimes joked that she must have been a cheetah in her previous life. She had unusual silver hair, which was long and silky. When she first went to elementary school, her mother had to convince the principal that it was a natural hair colour and not dye. She turned heads with her soulful, deep blue eyes, swept-back cheekbones and aquiline nose. Her brother, Lionel, was the same. He had instead rugged features, with deep green eyes to match. Many girls had fallen for his looks.

Lira then headed upstairs to her room, pausing briefly to pop a CD into her CD player, and then flopped down onto her bed.

She felt restless. She knew that she had a great life, a great family and an amazing bunch of friends, but somehow, she felt that she did not belong.

She looked at her nails. They were growing too fast for her liking.  This was pretty weird.

She shook her head.

Suddenly, something exploded in her mind.

© Zelda Reville


I squat down at my newest find.

A pair of hooded eyes observes my casual saunter towards its burden.

I light a cigarette, and a perfumed stream of nicotine escapes through my pursed lips. My hand phone rings, and I struggle to retrieve it from a bag that seems highly offensive to people for some reason.  I wrestle with several dog-eared books, a half-empty bag of chips and my tangled headphones. After some minutes it stops ringing and lies dormant in my hand.  I look at my phone, wondering who on earth it is. Nobody ever deigns to call me, so this disruption comes as a rather pleasant surprise. And then I catch sight of my own reflection – a face; grim and armed, with a convenient, laconic smirk stares back from the greasy screen.

Well, hello there, I rasp drily to my own reflection.

I unlock my phone, and as my eyes dart across the illuminated screen my eyes involuntarily roll towards the dingy ceiling of the smoke stop staircase.

The boss needs me back in ten minutes.

My unwashed hair is starting to itch.  I’ve always disliked the attention it gets from strangers and familiars alike. It is always waging an endless war against the efforts of every hairdresser that has been compelled by this strange bush –  cuts, blowdries, straightening, fringes – nothing seems to tame this hideous wilderness of nature, a tangle of bristly hair the colour of brassy, bright-eyed chestnuts. Or the ambiguous hue of flowing ditchwater, glassy-jawed and open-mouthed, in the mossy canals during the September monsoons.

I’ve given up trying to explain myself too. Like how you adjust yourselves to an uncomfortable chair after some time, my awkwardness doesn’t seem to bother people anymore. Or my own perception of myself, at least. Who the fuck cares? Just simply being becomes so baffling after a while. One of my friends used to say, “Stop thinking so much, Laura, you know you’re good enough, just do it.” I think she’s got a point or two there. Well, actually, I’m not very sure whether I’m good enough. All I know is that I grit my teeth and get down to the dirty job. If it works, that’s great. The only problem is when nothing works, and you can’t do anything to correct it, and then you get sucked into the crevasse of in-betweens.  I strongly dislike in-betweens. How does one deal with greys and lavenders, azure blues and sapphires? I’d very much like to handle blacks and whites, red and blues, good and bad. This is why I dislike rainbows as well. What does one exactly do with a multi-coloured loom handle? A myriad of options and a variety of disappointments. Where do I start to choose? Hope and despair are but one and the same, albeit on different sides of the coin.

I crouch down to take a closer look, well-worn jeans scrunching at my knees, wrinkling the tough, indigo fabric; my curiosity has been ignited by this insect that refuses to take flight.  Such bravery, for a little midget that flits among the flowers trying to catch their attention, but forgetting that flowers cast their heads down, and only wink at the butterflies and bees. I laugh and an uneasy, artificial hollowness radiates throughout my body that gathers at my fingertips, emptying me of the alienating brevity that sobers my mind.

Such impudence, indeed.

Nevertheless, I am still intrigued.  My hand involuntarily reaches out, sparked by a wonder that hums and unfolds, letting go of the doubt that curdles my limbs – wanting to touch, explore, feel. Then, as suddenly as it happens, a disturbing thought blazes in my mind, and it shrinks back again, as if it had been slapped away by an invisible hand.

I peer at its large saucer eyes, lit with some compelling mystery that I can’t quite pin down, by a solitary fluorescent light that flickers with fatigue. Its eyes glow with the temptation of promises. I am led to a thousand mirrors, in which I can see myself slowly traversing a spinning atlas globe with luggage bags in hand, which soon picks up speed. A papyrus boat drifting down the river Nile. Reading a copy of Baudelaire’s The Flowers Of Evil in an empty street, the grounds full with plush, faded blossom. Mum stirring a pot of curry at the stove, as the wan light filters in through the plastic curtains, staining her skin a frangipani pink.

The simpering odour of washing powder, fried chicken and the smell of motor exhaust permeates my nostrils even as the rubbish cascades out of the litter bin, a glorious tide of spent human excesses, an ironic ode to the perverse joys of consumerist greed. A stray can rolls out of nowhere, teasing my foot with the guilelessness of a frolicking Persian cat. I give the can a stunningly vicious kick that dents its aluminium body with no effort, and a strange feeling wells inside me. 

The smoke issues from my half-burnt fag, its insouciance revealed by the manner in which it drifted. Jagged precipices of wispy smoke reached out to caress and stroke the dusty parapet, weaving itself artfully amongst the muted leaves of the overarching rain tree, never quite grasping anything in its charming, slippery hold. Almost as if it were bored with the blatant normalcy of the neatly lined cars beyond the filthy, half-chipped door –

I look to the door and through the square panel of glass that offers me a view of the grotesque.

Primary blocks of black, red and white on wheels; as compliant and frustratingly ordered as settled life; yawning and stretching its long, pale legs cocooned in sheer black stockings, winking at me as it beckons.

To what, exactly? I do not know. Would I ever want to know?

I could try, I guess.

But I’m so tired. I look at my watch again, my hunches aching in the awkward position that I am cocooned in. I crush the cigarette with my scuffed sneaker shoes. It burns the dragonfly’s left wing, a silver coin of hope that crinkles into a charred burnish.

Time to go, Laura. Work beckons.

(This was originally part of a poem, but some little bird told me that I could take this a step further and I did.)

© Zelda Reville

A Conversation Between Beatrice and Mummy

“Mummy, I don’t want to go to school.”

The rickety chair scrapes the floor unwillingly. A little breadcrumb falls, and lands on the floor.

She wipes her mouth with her tiny, spidery hands, full of eggs and ham, and everything nice. A half-empty mug filled with hot Milo sits on the table, regrettably forlorn, on a sea of red-and-white checkered cloth. The smell of fermented shrimp paste lingers in the air.

The white uniform, with its pleated blue skirt, stands out proudly. A name tag with the name “Beatrice” winks at her mum, as if asking her half in spite and half in glee, “Do you regret giving birth to this little imp already?” But her mum shakes her head, as if to laugh along with the absurd notion. Her smile beams back in reply. “How could I ever regret having my little girl?”

But the answer from the little girl hangs limply, like a wet sock, in the air. The girl repeats her sentence again. Her eyes inadvertently start crinkling down at the corners, a sob trembling her little angel chin.

“Mummy, I don’t want to go to school.”

Her mum sighs, the answer forming lines on her elegant forehead. A few strands of grey hair slide from her windswept bun.”But you must, Beatrice!”

Her answer is met by a downturned mouth, and dangerously watery eyes.

Mummy prepares herself for the inevitable rant.

“But I hate school, Mummy! If I could stop school now, I would be so happy! Studying is so boring! Why can’t I play with my friends instead?”

Mummy kneels down to Beatrice’s level, and smiles once more at her.

“Beatrice, do you know something?” She strokes her daughter’s hair. “You will leave school one day. But not now. School is good for you. It makes you see things in different ways. You can also gain valuable knowledge.”

Beatrice’s eyes widened at the new word. Her curious brain grappled with the unfamiliarity of this new unknown in her mind.”Mummy, what does ‘knowledge’ mean?”

Her mum laughed. “It means you will know much more than Mummy! And with all that good stuff stored away in your brain, you can help me too!”

Beatrice’s formerly glum expression slowly uprights itself into a resplendent smile.

“I will do my best, Mummy!”

(I’ve had this lying in my drafts for god knows how long, lol…)

© Zelda Reville

Hearing Things

A photo by Alejandro Escamilla.
Photo by Alejandro Escamilla

After a moment of silence, she spoke again, holding her coffee cup in slender hands.

“These words don’t belong to me anymore. The moment these words hit this piece of paper, they were instantly deported from the intimate haven of my brain, where they had since overstayed their welcome – it’s time now to release them into the open world, where they can become much more responsible by entering other people’s brains and overstaying in theirs instead. Annoy them, maybe.” She laughed, perhaps a little morosely, and paused, drinking in the aroma of her coffee.

She sipped slowly, continuing to speak:

“When these words step into someone’s mind, their rusty, stagnant brains slowly spring into motion, and generate possibilities that they never knew existed before. Ideas! Do you see? This is the power of knowledge. To look once more again at the world with a renewed sense of perspective; to look forth upon life once more, perhaps, with a replenished wonder.” She stopped again, and then smirked, wisely offering up another choice barb that I  was already expecting. Elise was an absolute sour puss, but she always spoke the truth – or rather, something that nobody ever talked about, or deigned to remotely discuss.  A good thinker. A little dreamy, perhaps –  but boy, was her mind sharp.

“You know, I never did like those inspirational quote thingamajigs on social media.”

I shrugged. “My girlfriend loves them. She follows a couple of those on Instagram.”

She gave a sardonic laugh, and lit a cigarette with her slim fingers. Puffing away rather roguishly she said,

“Pretty pointless, don’t you think, Eric?”

“How so?”

They inspire you into thinking that this is supposedly the way to go in life. They don’t tell you how. People, being people, always want an easy way out, so they pin this mantra into their brains while having their expensive, organic breakfast muesli – much rather like their expensive organic breakfast, it becomes a goal point for everyone to emulate, that “automatic” magic recipe to success, and to a better life. But they don’t realize that it takes enormous effort on their part – it has to be truly absorbed by the brain before you can even start going down the path.  The heart and mind must agree unanimously before this journey can be undertaken. Take, for example – that deceptively simple quote, ‘believe in yourself’. Yes, on its own, it’s truly the best thing to do when things get rough. But to a person who’s been repeatedly torn down her entire life for being what she was, or simply not having enough self-esteem as a result of, well, life, that quote isn’t going to do her justice, isn’t it? She’s got to do some soul-searching before she can realize this and confront her demons head-on. That little sentence doesn’t really say what she so desperately needs. ” Then Elise sighed. “But then again, I see some really good quotes from time to time.” She took a long drag on her cigarette.

“Fuck, I just realized. It’s just the herd mentality that I’m so sick of, I guess.”

She blew out smoke with apparent disinterest. “Look, can we talk about something else? This is so annoying.”

(A response to the Poetic Therapy prompt of the week, Rust, run by the LiteraryFuzz blog. Apparently this just came out after much rambling, my brain is now organizing a creative strike…)

© Zelda Reville

Gotta Catch Em’ All

Photo by Anonymous

Rachel sat down on the park bench in a huff, frustrated at her phone’s feeble GPS connection. The large, red banner loudly declaring ‘GPS signal not found” below the notification bar was starting to get on her nerves.

Turning her head, she saw people engrossed with their phones, walking on the well-trodden paths, as if in a daze. Then one of them would suddenly stop in their tracks, and hold their phone up, as if to take a picture – but she knew this was no picture.

It was a wild Pokemon, one only they could see with the help of augmented reality.

She wondered to herself. What Pokemon was it?

A Sandshrew? An Eevee?

Then her awakened mind whirred into life. If she caught three Eevees, each of them would give rise to the original three Eeveelutions – Vaporean, Jolteon and Flareon. Or – even better, since this was one of her favourites of all time – a Dratini? Then it would eventually evolve into the invincible Dragonight.

All this made her feel even worse. Her good friend had already caught a Kabutops, which would never have been possible in the original game. What if she never caught anything? Everyone seemed to be playing and filling their boxes at an incredible rate. How did they do it?

She looked at her battered Android phone, and sighed. At this rate, she would never catch a single one. She had meant to take a leisurely walk in the local park and catch a few, if her cranky phone allowed her. But the damned contraption had refused to cooperate.

Biting her lip, she remained frozen on the park bench, fingering her well-worn bag.

She’d brought a book along. Should she read?

She sighed heavily.

The warm sunlight streamed through the branches, lighting up the bougainvilleas for their debutantes in the furious summer. They announced their raucous arrival through bursts of violet, magenta and pink –

Their sheer vibrancy made her stare in innocent wonder. What beautiful flowers! One could almost feel their colours vibrating in the stagnant summer air. Her fingers soon stopped fidgeting.

Then her eyes widened. Beneath the flowers, a sleepy snail had hitched itself onto a glazed rock, and was hanging on for dear life, its heavy home swaying awkwardly. She laughed at its absurd position. Then she looked up, and for the first time since her arrival, noticed a pristine sky brimming with fluffy fortresses for clouds. Billowing tufts of darkening columns, strong enough to hold a thousand raindrops. She got up, and walked over to the bougainvilleas to examine them closely, and cried out in delight. A butterfly was emerging out of its chrysalis – completing its metamorphosis from an unknowing infant caterpillar, to newly confident adult. She crouched down to her knees, watching it struggle out of its broken cocoon. It had iridescent blue splotches on its jet-black wings. A strange awe overcame her, which was soon replaced by a growing sense of pride that blossomed and took root in her heart. She was now observing a sacred ritual of life. How long had it taken for this butterfly to grow? What species of butterfly was this? She made a mental note to head to the library during her next weekend break.

Then she glanced at the others.

Had they noticed…what she had seen?

“Oh my god! I caught a Dragonair!” One girl tittered excitedly to her absorbed friend, who ignored her as she walked around absent-mindedly, straying off the path…and walking over a patch of yellow wildflowers, crushing them beneath her Converse shoes. Rachel winced. She looked at another group of equally glassy-eyed individuals and tried to suppress her own laughter. This game was even more adept at turning normal people into zombies than Resident Evil.

She shrugged her shoulders, and picked up her phone again. Oh?

The map of the park had finally loaded itself on her phone…and there was a Dratini nearby.

But Rachel laughed and closed the app, picking up her bag as she hummed to herself, skipping down the stony path.

There was an even better quarry in store for her than a mere pixelated monster.

(I decided to try my hand at finishing a short story that was languishing in my drafts today 🙂 )

© Zelda Reville