If you want an exciting life, don’t do something big unless you know you might regret it a bit later.



In the dead of night, two groups of people rise.

The first, for worship;

The second, to engage in mischief or idleness

All while the rest of us sleep.



The first encounter they ever had with the Beast was during a long hike in South Mardigo.

50 km from the drop site, they were surrounded by trees in the steaming jungle. Their patience gradually dwindling with each step they took, sticky thighs rubbing. Faces sticky and oily, there were no smiles. Some kind of bird squawked up in the trees, hidden from view behind a maze of leaves.

The dull crunch crunch crunch of their walking was unbearably monotonous but no one was in the mood to liven the air.

Suddenly Alexis stopped; all of a sudden she was very tense, and her posture changed. Instinctively the rest stopped too, and strained every available sense to detect whatever it is that their leader had noticed. Nothing. There was no sound.

There was no sound.

The place was unnaturally quiet; no birds, not even the faint rustle of leaves. The jungle was still, the silence very suddenly grew deafening. And then it was there, in front of them.

A green, shiny beast with spikes along its head, slicked back. Thin, glowing red pupils stared menacingly at the group through huge milky white orbs, as it slowly stood on its hind legs. Frightening though the sight, they could not help but be transfixed. Never had they seen anything like it.

And just like that, they found themselves staring at trees again.



I once knew a boy who was born into a happy family. He was happy for the first few years of his life, then people changed, and things changed for him. The little boy was confused, and he tried his best to comprehend it all. Oh yes, he tried.

That boy tried to make sense of all the scolding he got, how it was his fault things happened or went wrong. He looked to his parents for answers, but they took turns accepting, and then rejecting him. That made him love them all the more, for he thought he wasn’t loving them enough to begin with. There wasn’t much in his younger years, only a lot of tears, a corner of the house, and the persistent shouting. And still his strong love for them.

He grew up shakily, not knowing what was what, and how to react to this and that. He started to ignore what happened at home – from not talking, to taking beatings stiff as a rock. All that carried into school, where he started to fail his subjects effortlessly. He didn’t care for the F’s because he got far worse at home. He had become hollow and he had forgotten how to love. The teachers tried to fix things, but everything was far too broken.

Then one day they came to his house, looking for his parents. He didn’t know what to do, so they sat him down and spoke to him. His parents were upstairs, listening, and soon they had to make their presence noticed. Then they were spoken to. The boy sat quietly, knowing there was no use in saying anything. They told lies and weaved stories to cover up; but eventually the tales showed inconsistencies, and the people saw through the smoke. More visits, paperwork, counselors, people telling him ‘everything will be alright’.

The boy was taken away, but his parents kept watch of him. They knew exactly where he was and whom he was living with. But without the boy at home, there was a gaping hole in their lives. The hole must have done something, because the parents started to think. Somehow the boy knew all this, but he kept silent.

It was presumed that they ‘changed’, though all anyone could be certain of was that they still had their eyes trained on the boy. He could not escape them, and he resented them for it.

But the boy was strong and he learned to face his troubled past. He fought his demons, he broke out of his shell, and he grew up. He did not want to remain a weakling. The parents watched. He knew they were watching.

The boy then became a young father, with a son who bore a striking resemblance to him. He loved his son and wife a lot. In his son he saw his past life, and to this boy he gave all the affection and love he had once wanted so badly. And still the parents kept watching. The father watched the new father, waiting to see what would happen.

Ten years flew past, and the boy was living a fulfilling life with his loving wife and dearest son. He was a good father; his son was a loved child. But some nights when he watched his son sleep, The Boy wondered why his father had stopped loving him so suddenly. He would then go outside and weep silently. The Father would watch his son cry, The Mother by his side. Streaked cheeks and quivering lips. She always cried and The Boy always saw her tears through his own, but he didn’t care.

Fifteen years past, and The Mother was no more. Overcome by sickness. The boy had nothing to say to that.

Twenty years, and The Father more alone than ever. He still watches his thirty year old son. He has lost the ability to be cruel. He only feels a black emptiness, and he wants his little boy back. But he is still so afraid of reaching out.

I once knew a boy, and he thought he knew me. I can clearly remember now, how much I used to love him… But will he love me back again?




I once knew a boy who was born into a happy family. But for some sad reason, that slowly crumbled and the boy got hurt. In the end he was taken away, to live with someone else. That did something to his parents; it was a hard blow that made them realize their stupidity… but they were too empty and too guilty to right their wrongs.

I once knew a boy, and he thought he knew me. I can clearly remember now, how much I used to love him… But will he love me back again?



The television is on but he isn’t really watching. Slumped on his sofa, his eyes a glassy blank and his right hand still barely holding on to the soda can that had long been empty. The illusion that he was in control; he knew there was nothing in the can but did not do anything about it. Instead he chose to focus on the argument that since he was still holding on to the can, there might just be something left inside. No one would be any the wiser. It was pathetic. He heard something at the door. Oh great. She was home. For a brief moment he thought that if he kept his mind blank and just forgot that he was there, he’d disappear.

‘Shouldn’t you be writing something?’

‘Hmm?’ He pretended he wasn’t listening, like he was paying attention to the TV. He tried to hide the fact that he was being useless; it was useless.

‘Don’t pretend. I know you were listening,’

‘Yeah yeah I’m taking a break, can’t you see? You know what, I think sometimes you think you’re so smart but you’re actually just really, really stupid and you wanna take it out on me,’

She pursed her lips. She looked like she was about to curse but instead:

‘You’re frustrated with yourself, DON’T take it out on me,’ and with that she went to her room.

He let out a long sigh.

‘There’s nothing good on TV anymore…’


An hour later he was slouched in front of the computer, ready to tap away. Just ready, not tapping away. I need inspiration, I need something to get me started. Pssht, yeah right.




Some things are decided for us.

I don’t want to travel unless she’s with me.

At the same time leaving them behind makes my heart heavy.

Therefore i am happy to stay put.

I have everything i need right here.



It was a dry and hot afternoon as i set out for the restaurant, all the while consumed by a curious desire to drop my things and run till i was drenched and thirsty, mouth and tongue absolutely dry. I knew it was just my mind trying to take my attention away from what was to happen, which was somehow making me slightly nervous, and i thought it clever.

My workplace was not so far away and in less than a half hour i found myself at the entrance of The Soup Kitchen, our agreed-upon meeting spot. It was my suggestion and she’d happily agreed. I still don’t know why i made that phone call and i don’t regret it, but if you asked me to choose again, i’d say no. Not yet, at least.

This had been the place where we’d first officially dated five years ago, and it was an easy choice to make. Perhaps the familiarity of the venue would ease my growing nerves, and it didn’t hurt that their clam chowder was simply divine. It could also be that i didn’t get out much and this was clearly the only option on my mind.

To be honest this was perhaps the fourth time i was dining here, yet the place felt oddly familiar. It must have been the smells… yes, the aroma of the food served here has become inextricably linked with joy and good times. I’m big on smells, you see, and they really hammer in memories and feelings.

I gave my name and was shown to our table. What an interesting coincidence at that, for i found myself back at the exact same spot from five years ago. There was something reassuring yet slightly off-putting about being back in this seat. It was a good day, that day, but today is still uncertain.

Work had brought me to another country for a year, of which i had been back here a total of zero times. In that span we had grown first closer, then rapidly drifted apart. There was nothing of bad blood between us; things had simply taken their natural course and we followed along without protest. I guess eventually the waves stopped crashing, i washed up back to these shores, and we figured it made sense to pick up where we left off.

But something didn’t feel right.

And that’s when i saw her at the entrance of the restaurant. She did a quick scan and spotted me, her eyes going wide and a big smile breaking out instantly. She gave a cute little wave that somehow managed to convey the excitement and happiness she was feeling. I returned her smile, conscious that it wasn’t as automatic and sincere as i’d hoped it would be.

I have to admit she looked as good as i had imagined, though i remember she used to look better. Time, life, work and stress had started to take its toll on her, and in her short walk to the table i could see she no longer had that spring in her step. Her posture wasn’t one of strength and health, rather of practiced habit. But still her eyes had that unmistakable spark, her lips right at home in that sweet smile.

I stood up and we both embraced. Not as long as lovers do, but not as short as friends would.

‘Hey you remember this table, right!’ she asked excitedly.

Of course i did. And so we spoke, not forgetting to take some time off to scan through the menu.

The conversation flowed. I found her voice irritating, something i had never felt before.

She told me some exciting stories. Her actions were excessive and her style lacking.

Our food arrived, and as soon as i got that first mouth in, i knew the universe got at least some things right. So goo- why is she chewing with her mouth open?!

Obviously she was having a great time and was nothing less than thrilled to be able to see me again after so long. In fact she rapidly began so sink back into her comfort zone, to the way she used to be with me back then. She had that softness in her eyes again and she appeared to be at home, with me.

The conversation took us somewhere i can’t remember. I was losing focus, getting bored, doing my best to look as excited and into-it as her. Then i got an opening and just dropped the bomb.



‘Shall we get married?’

I couldn’t stop myself. I had no idea what i was doing but none of that showed on my face.





And she started crying.

She loved me so much and we were always so good together and yeah we fought but we stuck through it all. Then we drifted apart and gosh that was so strange but we were okay and where were we after that, i didn’t know, but it didn’t feel wrong. And then you came back and i couldn’t receive you and silence for a few days and then you called me and oh Jacob, this is all so much, oh Jacob… I’m… I’m ready. Yes. I’ve wanted this and i still do and i knew we still loved each other yes we should get married oh my God you just proposed to me oh baby did you just propose i’m sorry i can’t stop crying oh baby come here.

She was crying and smiling and holding me and i was smiling and not really holding on to her and screaming in my head.

I wanted to pick my things up and run, just get away, but then i saw there was still some delicious clam chowder in my bowl and my heart did a little jump for joy.



If i could turn back time, would i do it again?

Of course not.

It was an accident that was meant to happen. It’s true that i’ve learnt a great deal from my injury and it has made me become a much better person in so many ways. Whilst i accept how things happened and am grateful as well, i will definitely, absolutely refuse to break my back attempting that stunt once again.

Sometimes we need an absence of choice so we can move forward; that’s the only way we’ll swallow the bitter pills we need.



There was a time when i thought that having alone time was the best thing in the world. That rapidly changed as i approached 30; my circle of friends had dwindled considerably and for the first time ever, i began to feel lonely.

As if the universe took pity on me, i literally ran into the girl that i knew i had to marry. I don’t even know why she said yes but within a year we were hitched and happily living together.

For another two years the both of us conquered life with a little more zeal and zest than before we were married. There was something about having someone on your side, like a teammate, that made things just that much easier or bearable. Life seemed pretty awesome, until the old loneliness crept back in.

The two of us were one; that’s the only way i can put it. I’d come home to find her at computer, or napping, or reading, and though happy, we would feel this emptiness lingering. On the days that i was home and she went out to work, i couldn’t help but feel that something was missing from our household.

And then it hit me: we needed a child. We were a damn good couple and we were ready for the next ‘natural step’ in our lives.

I broached the topic with her and she took it up surprisingly quickly. Apparently she had been toying with the idea as well but didn’t really know if it was just a mood or a legit thing. After a bit of thinking and forecasting how life would be with a baby around, we decided once and for all that we would indeed try for a child.

And less than a year later she was brought to this world. I’ll tell you the truth, the moment i first saw her i couldn’t help but recoil a little at how ugly she looked, but they cleaned her up and there she was… my adorable little girl.

The first few days were exciting: everything was new to her and us, and we didn’t mind the sudden and extreme disruption in our schedule. One moment i thought she looked more like me, and then awhile later i was sure she took after her mom more.

In about two weeks the reality of having a child began to sink in, and it was not fun. Her constant crying, the lack of sleep, and how alarmingly quickly the novelty of having a newborn wore off… it started to take a toll on me.

I found myself dreading going to bed because i knew i’d have to wake up again not long after. No more impromptu dates as either one of us would be too tired. I hated it. Most of all, i hated that i hated it. I wasn’t prepared for it and i beat myself up over it.

Why didn’t we just get a dog or a cat instead?

And then one day, when my wife took the day off to go for a short spa retreat with her close friends, i was alone with the child. At first she slept quietly, but then the crying began.

It would not cease. Whatever i did, it never stopped. It kept crying. IT was inconsolable and starting to frustrate me greatly.

I picked IT up and cradled it, shushing and singing and rocking gently. No use.

So i did the only thing that came to my mind: i hugged IT close to me, tightly, its face pressed into my chest, till slowly but surely, it stopped moving. I kept hugging. I didn’t want to let go till i was sure.

I stood that way for about a half hour, then put it down in the crib and went to take a nap.

I had given us a chance to take a step back and try something else instead. A cat, probably.

And if that didn’t work, we’d just make another.

For the first time in a long while, i slept like a baby.



It’s funny how a person could once be a huge part and priority of your life, and very quickly mean nothing to you. Whether they lived or die, you wouldn’t bat an eyelid.


Sometimes we pour in a lot of resources and effort to make a stupid idea work just because the boss doesn’t have the cojones to go with a slightly riskier but better idea, or just can’t accept that someone else had a better way of doing things…



I make myself look happy because it keeps everyone from getting too sad.


Most of how good you look depends on your teeth.