May 1st, 2017 | No Comments »

My two stories are inspired by an event I experienced as a child (Drive) and of my attempt to write about something that I have never done so before but has been on my mind for a while (Baby Blues). They focus on the main characters’ internal conflicts with themselves or something outside of their body, such as relationships with a loved one. The three poems have a basis on religion and space – two subjects that have intrigued me since I was a child.

In Drive, I draw upon an incident when I was younger as inspiration for the story. It is written in the first person present narrative so it can be an in-the-moment scene to further emphasize the problems in which the main character Judith is going through. However, I choose to let the story come close to breaking the fourth wall to show the dim line between her maladaptive daydreaming and reality. By letting Judith speak to the reader, it’s to show her inability to cling to anything else, and her loneliness in this trip despite her mom being there physically. The relationship between her and her mother is one of the main reasons why Judith ‘talks’ to the reader. The reader will not judge her or scold her, and they are silent listeners. Furthermore, Judith’s anxiety issues exacerbate the concept of reality and force Judith to use daydreaming as a coping mechanism from that anxiety. Many people in real life use their own version of coping to help with their problems, and daydreaming has always been a prevalent mechanism for most people – usually those with creative minds.

Baby Blue delves more into relationships and the concept of self-preservation. I use a lot of internal monologs and flashbacks to build up to the ending of the story. In the middle, I wish for a tenseness from the internal struggles of the main character Lydia as she tries to find a reason to stay and a reason to not stay. I place them in the same setting, their house, to emphasize an isolated atmosphere; particularly for Lydia to perhaps increase the stress and tension upon both her and the story.

In To The Stargazers, I like to utilize real world information and the fantastical to create a concept of god-like space phenomenon. The inspiration comes from the idea that black holes are like the angels of the real world. They are untouchable, vast, yet they hold such an unimportant existence to the majority of our minds. Therefore, I gave the black holes a voice as a collective where they talk to us humans in a style that is to mirror their ‘greater’ height of existence.



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May 1st, 2017 | No Comments »

Our home and job were nestled within the depths of Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan. Open during the evenings and closed in the morning, it was a haven for the women who needed to, or wanted to, abort their babies for reasons undescribed. Now, it barely felt like a legal business to me. Ben still saw it as legal in his own skewed definition. Legal and profitable.

Three years ago, government pulled all funding from our business and started using it on pro-life businesses that focused on keeping the babies within the women’s wombs. The dark secret about these businesses were that they meant all babies, including ones from rape or accidents.

At first his intentions were good and almost heroic. Five months ago, coincidentally when I found out I was pregnant, Ben found a site in the deep interwebs. It was a site where people paid others through cash to see live surgeries happen. Very much illegal, but dozens of users had set up their own accounts to perform or watch surgeries on people and even animals, amongst other disturbed activities. Ben’s work was one of a kind, and since not many people streamed human abortions, he was instantly made famous by the abortion surgeries he streamed live on there. He made sure his connection was anonymous, so he moved the practice from the old clinic we had to our apartment for extra safety.

The women never knew they were exploited so Ben could get money without a lawsuit, and as my belly swelled, I grew paranoid that soon, Ben would want to abort my child for that internet fame and money. These days, women were showing up less and less. Business dwindled and in addition to his abortion work and his salesman job, Ben had to take up extra shifts as a barista during the afternoons.

“We should advertise ourselves, shouldn’t we?” He asked one morning.

“This is a bad idea,” I promptly replied. Deep inside, I wanted Ben to stop performing abortions and filming it for those faceless people. I wanted him to stop profiting, and exploiting, the poor women who came here. That intense feeling grew day by day, sharpened by my own  pregnancy.

“Lydia, you know that we need money to pay rent here and to live,” Ben replied.

“We can go elsewhere, live in a cheaper town or something.” I pressed my hand upon my stomach when I felt the baby move inside. Ben took a step towards me; I took a step back and hit the counter. Unconsciously, both of my arms wrapped protectively over the swell of my stomach.

“This is what we both need, babe,” Ben said, and sighed. He had a face of defeat, but he was far from feeling defeated. “And this is what those women need. They just won’t know the finer details.”

“You already have two other jobs, shouldn’t they be enough?”

“They pay little and I get treated like shit. The internet is faceless and my watchers are happy to see me do those things.”

“What, by flashing an unconscious woman at them and then showing them the baby’s body? Reading about how they jerked off to the surgery? I saw some of their comments, Ben.”


“How strong is it going to be?” Lucy asked in a tired voice.“Will I get knocked out completely?” She gave a worried look at the surgery table as I prepared the local anesthesia.

“Yes,” I lied. No, half lied. I then turned towards the girl who was barely 16 with a sickly face and body. She looked more child than teenager, with breasts that barely formed and a body still under-developed physically. How she came to be pregnant was a mystery that I offered no hypothesis of, nor did I wanted to question her out of her own privacy. Lucy Cavill was a long time friend of mine; in the past, I babysat her. Now, I prepared her for her first ever abortion. I was disgusted with myself, and of course, I was disgusted with Ben. She, like the other women, would not know what went on when she had her eyes closed.

My eyes looked to the clock hanging on top of the wall. Twenty more minutes until Ben came back from his barista work. While we waited, I nervously looked to the place where the laptop and camcorder would be placed on after the anesthesia settled within Lucy. The baby in my stomach moved (at least, I thought it moved), before I touched my stomach with my hand. Calm down, it’s not going to be you.

The scent of flowers, mostly the asphodels, subtly laced the entirety of the room. They actually came from next door, where the room was filled with them. I regretted planting them, just as much as their symbolism gets to me every time I looked at them. They were not the prettiest flowers, but once upon a time Ben insisted on growing some so he could clear his mind with them around him.

“If I was in a better position, I would have kept her,” Lucy told me a few days ago. She just found out her baby’s sex and immediately regretted doing so. “I have names for her, Lydia. Names! And if she was born and happy, I would name you her godmother.”

Now as I looked at Lydia, whose face was blank and body stiff, I wondered if she was thinking back to that day. What did I respond with? “You should keep her, Lucy.” Yes, that. I urged her to keep her despite the girl still in high school, still living with her questionably abusive father (that time and time again I wanted her to leave), and still struggling to make ends meet. “I’m sorry, do what you need to do.” And that was how Lucy decided to abort her baby girl, even when she picked out a name for her.

“Her name could have been Willow,” Lucy lamented.

“You can still call her that,” I replied. I didn’t turn around to meet her gaze, but I knew Lucy was looking at me. The skin on my neck began to crawl as the paranoia of what Lucy’s face looked like (I imagined it to be disgust and hatred for me) made me hide myself. Even though she saw my five months pregnant belly, I still could not bear to show it in front of her. It would be an insult to her, a girl who wanted to keep Willow but could not due to her circumstances.

There was a sigh coming from Lucy, and a rustling of clothes. I wasn’t sure what she was doing, as I focused my attention on preparing the anesthesia. Since we had no government funding, the anesthesia was a mostly homemade recipe we used during the surgeries that Ben had concocted and taught me to prepare.

I spoke of the devil and here he came with his red hoodie on and jeans that were too tight for his legs. He smelled of coffee and car oil, but otherwise clean and trim. His presence was only made known when Lucy called his name with a surprised, but happy voice. He asked her some general questions like how she was doing and whether if she was certain she wanted to go through with this. At the same time, Ben pulled out his tool kit; just the noise sent my stomach ache a little.

As soon as I injected the anesthesia and checked on Lucy to make sure she was knocked out, I quickly scampered to the kitchen area. The door shut behind me with a bang, successfully forcing Ben to yell out my name in anger at that. I winced, but said nothing before I opened the fridge with one hand while I rubbed my stomach with the other.

I took out ice cream, pasta, leftover pizza, and then some orange juice. I craved barbecue but we had none. After setting them on the kitchen island, I finally indulged myself. The cloak of silence soaked in all possible noise. Even my chewing sounded far off and distant. As I ate, I contemplated my life.

Ben and I met as medical interns. I wanted to work as a nurse and him a surgeon, with an emphasis on childbirth. After we graduated, we decided to start an abortion clinic right just three blocks away from the home. The wait was long and soon we were in our mid-thirties until the legal issues passed and we were able to open the clinic. There were no abortion clinics in this part of Hell’s Kitchen so our days were filled with appointments and actual surgeries. We used to call patients back and check on them, but since funding ended we stopped doing that. Lucy was slated to help out with phone appointments, but she too was told to find another job.

Lucy never found a new job, and so she moved back in with her dad. If I could, I would have asked her to move in with Ben and I. I still asked myself why I didn’t back then, because Lucy would have been fine at this moment.

Thankfully, the government didn’t come into our house to get all of our supplies, Ben said. Then that would be the end of the road for us. What I was still surprised at was that none of our neighbors realized we did this. They never suspected anything when they saw different faces going in and out of our house. Ben said he had the perfect excuse for that. Something along the lines of having plenty of friends and relatives who always swung by to chat with us. I, on the other hand, was still worried that soon the police would arrive after someone tipped them off. I couldn’t go to jail, not when I was pregnant.

An hour and some minutes later, Ben came out heaving a sigh of relief. The abortion was a success. What exactly went on there was a mystery; I didn’t like sticking around long enough to see it..

“Lucy is doing fine,” he told me. He smelled funny again, and I felt like I wanted to bolt away and throw up with each inhale. “And we got over $1000 just from that surgery. I read a comment from this guy who said he got off from seeing all the blood and Lu-”

My mug shattered upon the floor.

“Shut up, Ben.” My fist clenched and I was ready to hurl both vomit and the food still on my plate at him. “Just…don’t talk about that in front of me, no matter who the girl was.” I felt a phantom chill trying to fight itself into my skin. Ben noticed and immediately came over to wrap his arms around me from behind. He was rocking me gently from side to side, a gesture that he always did to pacify me.

“Sorry babe,” he said. “I won’t talk anymore.” We stood like this for minutes, before the door to the surgery room opened and out came Lucy, visibly weak and shaken. She looked like she was about to fall. Ben disentangled myself from me and I stood up. We both walked over to her, but I reached her first. Lucy’s lips were pale and she was on the verge of tears. At first, I thought she found out about what Ben did, but then suddenly she was hugging me from the front.

“Willow’s gone, she’s gone…I killed her,” Lucy said, voice quaking just as much as her body was. She never let go, but she loosened her grip when my body tensed. The girl didn’t really cry, but I knew that on the inside she must be hurt beyond repair. I turned to Ben and glared at him. I wanted to tell him to get rid of Willow’s body before Lucy saw it, but then I remembered that Lucy would have seen it anyways because the body was still there, in a bucket, like what Ben always did to the aborted bodies. Bile rose in my throat and I stumbled to the bathroom.

Succulents lined the window sill. Aside from the green of these plants, the rest of the bathroom was just tiled white and dirty brown floor. The bath tub and sink were dirty themselves, and they were something that we overlooked again and again when we cleaned. When I hovered over the sink, bile slowly threatening to pour out, my mind became blank and then — A mass of red congealed mess, a shape that looked suspiciously like that of a human fetus. My face paled and I pulled back with the bitter taste of the vomit still lingering in the back of my mouth. The wall grasped me as I slid down, eyes wide and in tears. I struggled to call Ben, but my voice did find itself in time to do so. Seconds ticked by and the more I waited, the more I felt nauseous. Slowly, I rose and shuffled close to the sink again. The red congealed mess looked less like a baby’s body, but it still looked disgusting. I now blanched, wretched from my throat, before my eyes turned towards the door. Ben was nowhere to be seen or heard. Where did he go?

I carried my body in me like another life as I walked out of the bathroom. Lucy was asleep on the couch, her form shriveled and pale. The entire apartment was silent, save for the air conditioner and the television in our room. I checked there and saw no sign of Ben; I checked the flower room, no Ben; I checked the surgery room, no Ben. I wasn’t sure why I was so desperate to find Ben.

Maybe Ben left me.

That was my thought before I heard the door open and his footsteps coming in. Ben was there, smelling of the garbage disposal where he dumped Willow’s body in. The black trash bag was still in his hand, but not the body. That was the same bag he used for all the other babies. I cradled my stomach as I walked over to him, conscious of the feeling that my stomach still hurt. “All finished?” I whispered, nervously. Lucy did not have to hear us talking about her dead, thrown away baby. I knew the answer, but I wanted affirmation.

“All finished,” Ben responded with a nod, before he tucked the trash bag away into a cabinet. This all looked so easy for him: performing the abortion, putting away the dead babies in trash bags, and then disposing them. At first I thought someone would find the babies in the large trash bins, but so far nothing happened.

Lucy snored softly, her form still curled in the same fetal position upon the old sofa. When I looked at her now, I was reminded of her and her Willow. A part of me wanted to wake her up and tell her to leave so that I didn’t have to think about those images ever again. By the time I got the chance to cover Lucy up with a quilt, it was already 12 AM.

“Sleep?” Ben asked and nudged his shoulder to my own. There was a hint of playfulness in his voice. Of course he would ask for sex, even if someone was there, asleep on the sofa, even when there could be a possibility that I wasn’t up for it – and I really wasn’t. So I shook my head and left for the bedroom.

I immediately laid myself across the bed without taking off my shoes or my clothes. My mind was too busy to think of something else. Ben’s form immediately came to the other side of the bed. He took off his top and then laid beside me. Soon another day will arrive and perhaps, another customer. Another customer whose face I did not want to see. Every single face, every single deed, and every single conclusion forced my mind to reel into paranoia.

Lucy and Willow still dwelled in my mind, and in a moment of change, their faces became the faces of me and my unborn baby. I was even more afraid now that the possibility was there. If Ben cannot find any more pregnant women who were willing to abort their babies, he might come for me.

“Lucy’s pregnant,” Ben told me one day. I immediately looked at him, surprised and horrified, but also suspicious of his claim.

“She’s not like that, she knows how to keep herself in check,” I replied abruptly. In the back of my mind, I felt another idea popping into my mind. That Lucy never asked for that to happen or the act that allowed it to happen. “How did you know?”

“Her dad.”

The jar of honey I was holding threatened to slip down my arm as I contemplated Ben’s answer. Lucy’s dad was…was an unkind man. But I didn’t think of him as capable of doing such things. At the same time, Lucy could have been raped by other men that were not affiliated with her dad.

“You think he did it?” Ben’s voice brought me back to reality. He read me perfectly. “Lucy’s dad always makes me feel disgusting for some reason…” I didn’t focus on his last part, but the first. Her dad never let her talk to anyone, especially other men. Most of the times, Lucy was kept in the house. Only when her dad was gone did she leave, and only to visit us.

“Yeah, that bastard probably did it,” I replied, brows furrowing with anger. “I’m going to fuck his face up.” It didn’t take me long to subdue my anger when I realized that I was part of it too. After the dissolvement of our abortion clinic, I told Lucy to stay with her dad. I sighed, almost crying out my frustration.

“Lydia, since she is pregnant now…do you think she will come to us for an abortion?” Ben stopped, seemingly hesitating to continue on. “Surely she will want to abort it if it’s true that her father was…you know.”

I wanted to yell at Ben now too, for his callousness and greed. But, my head hurts and my angered heart wanted to shatter the ribs surrounding it. Ben knew Lucy just as well as I did. He was the one who Lucy trusted first.

Maybe, it was why Ben wanted Lucy’s baby so badly. Trust was a fragile issue in our world now.

“How is the baby?” Ben asked, as if he read my mind.

I noticed his choice of words.

“Good,” I lied. I felt Ben’s hand skim down my arm as his lips sought refuge upon my cheeks. He was always a physically affectionate person, especially now after he found out about my pregnancy. What a scary man.

“Ben, I can’t do this anymore,” I said, my voice trembling. There was a silence that flanked the sentence. A silence that was tense and thick with unfulfilled emotions and needs. Ben knew what I was talking about, what I wanted. Taking a chance, I rolled over and looked at him. His face was expressionless, a surreal slab of flesh that watched me. “Ben, I’m scared…” I added, hoping this would at least break it.

“Are you afraid that I would do something to you?” his query hung in the air between us. His form was unmoving, like a frozen wax figure.

“Yes, yes, yes, yes,” I replied, suddenly finding a strong voice and an impossibly reckless mind now that I found my footing again. Nightmares plagued my mind after he started filming his abortion to the internet users. To how he just discarded the babies, unlike what he used to do. Back then, he even went into the asphodel room to stare at the plants, his own atonement for what he did. Now, Ben was different; money hungry and fame hungry, which in turn made him cold and almost monstrous.

“The baby is ours, Lydia, it is ours and not theirs.” Ben sat up and looked down at me. I was frozen by the way his eyes stared down at me, silently caging me within their blueness. There was a strange passion in his voice, a passion that testified to his ability to manipulate.

“But your clienteles are dwindling,” I pointed out. “Soon, the userbase will lose interest and then you will turn to us.” I wasn’t sure why I was so calm, why there was nothing but a slab of indifference on my face.

“You will have nowhere to go, Lydia,” Ben then said, his own face expressionless and tame. “You don’t want to be like Lucy, not with that baby in you.”

My brows furrowed and my face paled. I didn’t want to agree with Ben, but I knew that he was right. I had no one anymore besides Ben and a mother who was too sick to welcome me back. I couldn’t just show up on my mother’s doorstep, asking her to let me stay. Now all the options were laid out to me in a row, but each option wasn’t ideal nor was it safe. I also noticed, too late, that he didn’t directly respond to my statement. A new wave of fear, paranoia, and resentment settled into my chest. Yet, I let him continue on.

“Think about it,” Ben continued on, “If you go into a shelter they cannot guarantee you anything. You have no other relatives or friends nearby, nor do you have the money to stay in hotels forever.” He was still calm, droning on and on words that I already knew. “I love you Lydia, and this is our future – me, you, our child…”

All of a sudden, like the snap of a rubber band, my mind reeled and I stared into the ceiling. Now, Ben’s words became infinitely more powerful than any other thoughts I had. To be honest, I was sure that things would turn this way. That somehow Ben would convince me to stay. Regardless of the choice I made, Ben would always turn me around.

I didn’t know what happened next, but in a matter of seconds I felt Ben taking me into his arms. He whispered things, promises, but I felt like they were empty. That was the kind of feeling where I thought I was right in my assumption. Despite my brain’s protest, I could not let go.

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