Earth’s Wrath: The Cry of the Ocean

It was said that the water from Eau temple could heal. The temple itself was in the middle of the sea, and only us, priestesses, were allowed inside. Later this day, I received a letter containing my sister’s plummeting health condition. I had prepared a full canteen of the temple’s water when a second letter arrived. With greatest sadness, my sister did not survive.

It was said that the water from Eau temple could heal. But I believe it could do so much more; no, not the water, but the source. I believe it could bring back the dead.

I didn’t allow grief to sway me from my plan. Coincidentally, it was my turn for performing the cleansing ritual, an act which would allow me to go near the source, and borrow it for a few moments. I promised myself that I would bring it back once everything was done.

Our house wasn’t far from the shore and all members of my family were there; my sister in her simple white dress lying on her bed. She looked like she was sleeping except for the absence of the rise and fall of her chest, of the color in her cheeks, of the movement of her eyes beneath her lids. I gripped the glistening Eau orb to my chest as I slowly approached her.

“Daughter,” mother managed to rasp from her hoarse voice and tear-stained face. “You are too late. She is gone. You are far, far too late,” she accused.

As if my sister’s frail health was my fault. As if I was to be blamed for her death. I refuse to accept my sister’s end even if it goes against what was taught in the temple. “It is never too late, Mother. Not with the orb of Eau with us.”

My mother gasped. And so did my father and brothers. “What have you done, child?” my father bellowed. “That sacred orb must never leave the temple.” His eyes were panicked as he continued, “You have doomed as all.”

I stopped hearing everyone’s fearful cries for safety and stopped caring for their silent, frantic steps to flee. I knelt beside my sister’s bed and placed the orb right above her chest, made her small, delicate hands to wrap around it.

The orb started to glow and with it my hope grew. This was the right thing to do. I will save her, I thought. Outside our house, people were screaming for help, for salvation, for safety.

“The sea! The sea is retreating! Run!” they called.

Suddenly, a huge amount of wind shook the thin walls of our house, lifting my hair and skirts in every direction, lifting my sister’s body off the ground.

“No!” I screamed and scrambled atop the bed, covering my sister’s body with my own. “Ilyanae, wake up!”

And she did.

It worked! The orb worked! I was so happy a tear escaped my eye.

But as I studied my sister’s features, her eyes… Her dark blue eyes were blank and stared at nothing, her face impassive. “Ilyanae?” I whispered. Her skin turned from cold to freezing. And as her chest expanded in an inhale, water leaked out from every hole in her body so cold it burned then quickly froze. I snatched the orb before it stuck in my sister’s frozen body and watched in horror as cracks slowly formed from her eyes like tears running down her face, splitting in every direction, every part of her body, until finally it shatters into a million broken pieces.

No!” I screamed, clutching the orb to my chest, just as the ocean came crushing down upon me.

I shut my eyes. I’ve failed —failed to save my sister, failed in my duties as priestess, failed as a daughter. And yet, even as I wait for the crushing pressure to drown me, nothing came. I took a breath and realized that I could. I opened my eyes one at a time and saw the ocean above me, beneath me, around me and I realized that I’ve been cocooned in a bubble of air.

But where there should only be water, the faint light of the sun illuminates the destruction the water has done to my village. Huts that should have been in the sand floated around in pieces, carried by the strong current. Worse, I saw bodies of men and women and children, some already bloated, some still struggling to resurface, some only parts of them remained.

The terror gripped me so hard, I shook. Why was I the only one unharmed? Why was I the only one left alive? Why—

My eyes drop to the orb clutched to my chest and my father’s voice echoed to my ears.

I have truly doomed us all.

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Earth’s Wrath: The Stillness of Air

It wasn’t meant to happen. This wasn’t meant to happen. I never meant for it to happen. I did everything I was told and I did it perfectly; there was simply no room for errors.

The temple of Aera was set on the edge of a cliff, its long pillars chapped from centuries of harsh weather conditions. The old tales referred to this temple as the birthplace of storms and of hurricanes. I knew what to expect but calling the place ‘windy’ would certainly be the understatement of the year. The wind shouted warnings that my partner and I continued to ignore; warnings that were simply overlooked knowing what treasure lies within.

Inside the temple, the wind sang its history. Its lyrics were of monks who had long ago turned into dust and of hunters whose dead bodies remained a mystery. In a line or two, the wind whispered locations of hidden rooms and trap doors but only those who have been trained knew how to listen and interpret. I was one of the chosen.

“Slowly…slowly…,” my partner murmured.

“I know what I’m doing,” I snapped. My palms sweat even though the air was cool. I took a breath or two to calm my racing heart. I was hyperaware of the treasure that was laid before me and of its replica in my hand. All I had to do was quickly replace the opaque Aera orb with the fake, taking the genuine one with me and scram. And I did. My partner and I got out of the temple safely, a little out of breath, but safe. I remembered looking into each other’s eyes, our success shining in our faces. Then it happened.

It started when one of the temple’s pillars cracked; a deafening sound of stone against stone. The wind blew harder—we had to fall on our knees just to stay on the ground—and after a moment, it suddenly stopped. I looked up and saw that every natural movement—the swaying of trees, the sound of the wind, the crumbling temple—stopped. Then my partner made a choking sound.

He was clutching his neck; his eyes bulged, his face growing purple with his mouth opened as he made gasping sounds. I reached his side and tried to pull his hands away and demanded what was wrong.

“I can’t…breathe…”

“What?” I was dumbfounded. I didn’t understand what was happening till the first bird dived to the ground. I tilted my head and saw that the sky shed birds as tears, all of them plummeting to the ground, some instantly died while some in the same state of my partner then went limp.

My partner grabbed my arm with fading strength, his face pleading for me to do something.

“Help…me…”

But I couldn’t. I didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t know what to do. My naivety had caused this catastrophe and as I watched my partner sigh his last breath, I became aware of a faint glow tucked in my coat. The treasure—the orb—was glowing and it was this, I realized, that triggered everything. I looked back to the temple only to find its remaining half, the other half now fell to the sea beyond. There was no hope.

Unintentionally, I dropped the orb to the ground. The instant I lost contact with the orb, my breathing was cut off, as if I’ve swallowed a cork to my esophagus. No, I thought, clutching my throat. Panic engulfed me as I frantically searched for the orb. The moment I touched it, air came rushing back to my lungs and it took every inch of me to stay conscious even as I heaved like a fish out of water.

What have I done?

Heavy

a time comes in our life that we discover a part of us that we
don’t like.
and we keep on denying that it’s not who we are, that’s not how
we were brought up, that’s not who we will be.
and then we wonder what triggered those things, who made us
this way, what are we going to do.
then it becomes a burden in our hearts, weighing down our every
gasping breath for clarity, for peace, for freedom.
we pass people on the streets and think, “Can they feel my feet
dragging on cement at every step I take? Can they see beyond my
eyes to the crying soul beneath? Can they hear my double and
rapid intake of air as if I were a fish out of water and can’t get
enough of it?”
maybe some people did but were hesitant to take the first step.
maybe some people did but they just didn’t care.
maybe some people did but when they do try to hold out their
hands to us, we shut them out.

Hannah

All the things you’ve said
The bad ones, the hurtful ones,
The forceful ones, the pleading ones
Would soon not matter
Would soon turn to nothing but dust
scattered in the wind
With no one to remember them
But yourself
As you beheld her broken body
Lifeless
In the sea of her blood
As she drowned
In her grief and sorrow.
And then I think of what it must have felt like
If it’s freedom from them
And a prison for her
Or if it was the other way around.
I think of what they might feel
Would they feel anger and regret and sadness and longing
If I do the same thing.

Un-Me

Once in a blue moon,
I’d do things differently.
I’d have someone braid my hair.
I’d paint my nails black.
I’d joke constantly
And laugh till I’m gasping for air.

Once in a blue moon,
I’d do a prank or play a trick.
I’d lie and deceive.
I’d tickle you for no reason.
I’d be mad in an instant
And be sweet in the next.

Once in a blue moon,
I’d contemplate on life.
I’d question creation.
I’d stare into space.
I’d wish for things to be different
And be content for it to stay the same.

Once in a blue moon,
You’ll witness a different part of me.
You’ll ask yourself if I am who I claim to be.
You’ll tilt your head and wonder.
You’ll be surprised or be confused
But still accept me for who I am.