Note to Self #2

Remember to savour the little moments.
If you go around waiting for some glorious ‘in-your-face’ event, then everything will disappoint.

You can be sure of that.

But if you learn to find joy in the little things, it won’t feel as though you’ve missed out on
something huge. Everyone in your life is there for a reason; make sure you find a reason to
remember every…single…one.

Bad memories may be tough, but if we had the power to dispel them we wouldn’t be ourselves.
Good memories make us want to relive those moments when time seems to stop and they make
you feel as though you are in charge of Time itself.

Find good memories in the little things…

– R.B.

Note to Self #1

Perhaps you spent a little more time than you should have loving him. Hey, you weren’t even sure it was love (you thought it was, don’t lie!). But how could you resist? Huge pools of chocolate that were inviting you to take a dive, as the rest of the world dissolved around you.

A thousand words were said in one tiny, eternal second.
Wishing won’t make things happen though…

You should have told him how you felt…
You should have asked if he felt the same…
You should have been honest with yourself…

– R.B.

©DeclarableSerene

Todorrow (Part 2)

Todorrow (Part 2)


His world had turned to ash: thick and black that seemed to cover every inch of the plains he stepped on. Sometimes it drifted in the air too. Toxic. Suffocating him from the inside out…tighter, tighter…tighter. Surely it was impossible to fight? Surely he would never be able to breath again. He could feel the soot burning his throat. No matter how much he tried to stop the inhalation, tried to crawl on his hands and knees, the cloud pressed down on his shoulders endlessly. Every time he tried to speak the words trickled from his mouth in a cloud of black vapour and joined the looming demon. Buckled knees and he would drop to the floor like a stone in a river. Perhaps this was his river…his nightmarish river of darkness.

Swallowed whole.

What if he didn’t care about what other people said? Would they get tired soon enough? Did they not have anything better to do than pick out everything he already hated about himself? Of course they didn’t. They would keep picking and picking and picking until the nail was drilled into him.
He couldn’t help but wonder if unscrewing it would hurt more than when it was put there.
Maybe he would leave it there. Cover the wound with a t-shirt and he would be fine, right?

No.

Like that would help him. He needed it out. He needed it out now! None of this ‘quick like ripping off a bandaid’ stuff though; it would take time for the scar tissue to build.
But he would show them some day. He would wear his scar with pride.

He would rise from the cloud of ash.

©DeclarableSerene

Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / CC BY 2.0

Todorrow

Todorrow


Deeper, darker, drowning, she was suffocating in her own mind. Captured by the dwellings of her innermost thoughts. The power which they possessed was one with which she was inept to compete. How? How could she possibly fight? Clawing with every inch of her being to try and reach the top. The surface. A day when she would truly be able to face the world. She’d been told she had to keep fighting, that’s all she’d ever been told. But what the hell did they know? They weren’t her! How did they know how hard it was? Answer…they didn’t! Every time she tried to wade her way through the sea of thoughts she would drown, sinking…and waiting for that infamous moment when everything would become peaceful and she would just drift away. That moment eluded her every time; wake up in her bed gasping for breath, tears streaming down her face.

Another day. Another day to screw up. Another day to do every possible thing wrong. Another day to have people laugh in your face. Another day to spend your free time alone. Another day to get home and cry. Another day to cry yourself to sleep.
Of course, this was a normal day for her, she had learnt to expect this a long time ago. It was routine now, and there was nothing that she could do to stop it. No-one cared anymore, they all gave up on her. Left her. Left her because she “wasn’t getting better” and because she was “beyond help”. What the hell? Weren’t people supposed to help her through? No, don’t be stupid. That’s the brutal truth of this world, everyone fends for themselves, they don’t care who gets left in dust. So, what was she gonna do? The answer was simple, she had to get up and kick the dust right back in their worthless, despicable little faces.

©DeclarableSerene

Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn / CC BY 2.0

The Citadel

Tensions had already begun to rise among the newly elected council members in the House. Cameron wasn’t entirely sure what he would do if the minority actually managed to get a formidable force together and act out against him. Of course, the dark period that was the Citadel’s history of segregating people as a result of their birthday was wrong – there was no question about that. He would know. There was nothing he could remember about his parents. But now wasn’t the time for his emotions to influence the decision he made regarding his citizens. Impartial – he had to remain impartial. Some people still believed in the ways of old, when people were grouped by their suggested personalities. As the man in charge, Cameron Durell needed to put a stop to them.

The House – or so Cameron thought – had done an excellent job of cleaning up the mess that Truman had created. They had successfully managed to eliminate The Brotherhood. But could they really be sure that no-one else would follow suit? A Council meeting was called later that day. Cameron would need to hold a ballot. Would he tell the citizens of the Citadel that Truman had simply been vanquished? Or, would he tell them that Truman was dead? By 17:00, the votes had been collected and counted. The overwhelming majority voted that Truman should be pronounced dead.

Come the morning, Cameron had prepared himself for the speech he would have to make to his people. Truman was dead. That was all they had to know. Everything after breakfast was a veritable blur; the arrangement of a press conference, the preparation of the Council and the shut-down of public entrance to the House. The Chancellor emerged onto the balcony, just above the courtyard and was greeted by a flurry of flashes and snapping cameras.

“I stand before you today, in order to address the rumours surrounding former Chancellor Ruric. These words come of no ease to me, I can assure you. But, Truman Ruric…is dead.” Immediately, the swarm of prying vultures descended upon him with their questions.

“That is all I am willing to say on the matter at this time,” Durell stated curtly, turning around and heading swiftly back into his quarters.

Later that evening, councilwoman Blake burst through the ornate wooden doors that lead to the Chancellor’s cabinet.

“Chancellor Durell, there’s something very wrong,” the petite, blonde woman had reached the steps leading up to the rostrum, sounding exasperated.

“What is it, Blake?” Durell sighed, rising slowly from his chair.

“A group of people in long, white robes have gathered in the courtyard, calling themselves The Collective. I believe it’s some reformation of The Brotherhood.” Durell had already walked over to one of his floor-to-ceiling arched windows by this point, raising his hand to rake it through his hair in frustration. Sure enough, a sea of white had flooded the courtyard, wielding plaques and chanting, “Long live Truman!”

Hastily, Durell made his way down the spiral staircase that lead from his cabinet to the art corridor. Racing through the seemingly never-ending corridor, the Chancellor reached the front door. Heaving the door, Cameron emerged onto the marble platform, which had stone stairs leading up from it from the enormous courtyard. A chorus of negative cheers blared into his ears. What had he done? Just then, a tall, thin man emerged, as the waves of people parted in order in order to let him pass. The man simply stood at the bottom of the stairs. A sudden hush took hold of the crowd.

“We are The Collective. We know what you have done. Do not think you can fool us. Truman is alive.” A hood was covering the man’s face, so that a dark shadow was cast where his eyes should have been.

“You have lied to your people; do not think we will let you get away with this.”

Abruptly, the man turned walked away, the walls of people closing in on him seamlessly as he passed.

Councilwoman Blake had come to Cameron’s side soundlessly. She rested a hand on his shoulder reassuringly. Cameron stared wide-eyed as this form flowed through the gates and parted, disappearing from sight. His ears began to ring and his vision blur. How could possibly repair this? Like some faraway land, Durell saw a hazy projection of Andrya Blake in front of him, both hands on his shoulders. She was saying something or other. A weight was crushing down on Durell’s skull. He wasn’t sure how much longer he would be able to keep himself standing.

Section Break

“Nero! Al! Rayon! Hustle up!” Secular’s voice boomed across the expanse of greenery and shook the boys of their focus. Nero raised his spare hand to pause the sim and turned to his friend. Pausing momentarily to exchange quizzical looks, the two boys began to make their way towards their instructor.

“Now initiates, I haven’t got all day!” Hearing these words, they began to sprint. Having reached the mountain of a man, Nero and Al were greeted by a disapproving sneer from a boy with a head of fiery, crimson hair.

“I have an assignment for the three of you,” their instructor began, every ounce of his voice oozing seriousness, “the Chancellor just requested a security detail on the streets of the Citadel, but made it expressly clear that this was not to be a big operation. Therefore, I believe that this would be good experience for the three of you – should you be up to the task.” All three of the boys stood open-mouthed for a moment as the significance of the task they had been entrusted with, sank in.

“You can’t be serious, sir. Me, with…them?” Rayon whined.

“I am deadly serious Rayon, whine like that again and you’ll be on clean-up duty.” The two other boys found it extremely hard to supress their laughter.

Within the hour, the trio had left the walls of the school and were en route to the Citadel. Rayon made no attempt to talk to Nero and Al as they made their way to the summit of a steep hill that would render them five minutes from their destination.

“We’re almost there.”

“Oh, well someone’s brightened up.” Al whispered, sarcasm dripping from his words.

“Hey now, I wouldn’t go that far – “

“I’m a metre in front of you. I can hear everything you’re saying.” Al simply scrunched up his nose at this whilst Rayon’s back was still turned. Nero rolled his eyes and thumped his friend on the back of his head.

The top of the hill gave the most magnificent view – a sort of untouched beauty that would hold a strong case for theists’ arguments from creation. It was peaceful too, as the three of them looked out over the Citadel. The only sound to be heard was the rustling of trees in the nearby forest and the chirping of birds as they had their merry conversations.

When the boys reached the streets of the Citadel, they realised that serenity couldn’t have been further from the truth. A column of flames engulfed a nearby bakery, all around groups of people burst into explosive arguments and a horde of people wearing white cloaks looked as though they were heading toward the House.

“Anyone have any idea who they are?” Nero stood perplexed next to Al on the pavement.

“No clue.” Was all Al could think to say.

“You two really are complete and utter idiots aren’t you? They’re The Collective, they believe Truman is still alive,” Rayon’s voice had an odd, wistful quality to it, “we should follow them.”

The newly-formed team tracked the cloaked mass along the street, Nero revealed three white cloaks and handed two to his partners. Al gave him a puzzled look as he took one and surprisingly, Rayon nodded his head slightly in approval. Suited up, the infiltrators weaved their way amongst the people, making sure to keep one another in plain sight, as they had been trained to do. Nero had almost reached the forefront of the group, when a thick fog began to roll in from the distance.

“Al! Rayon!” The two boys appeared as if they hadn’t left his side, but somehow everyone else had dissipated. Only the three boys were left on the street as the ominous cloud continued to press on.

“Wait, where’d everybody go?” Rayon’s head darted from side to side like a meerkat looking for its mob.

“I have no idea, but I don’t want to stick around to find out – we need to get to the House.” Al took immediate command in that moment, and turned, beckoning for the other two to follow.

“You three are not part of The Collective.” A haunting voice, unmistakably male, called out to the trio. Al halted instantaneously and spun on his heel. Nero took the opportunity to conjure a bow and arrows, whilst Al crafted a mace and Rayon began channelling his inner fire. A shadowed figure emerged from the fog and walked towards the temporary patrol guards. The slender figure was adorned in a similar fashion to the people that the boys had seen earlier. But a fine gold lace trimmed the edges of this particular robe; a four-leaf clover crest was covering his left breast in a similar material.

“Lower your weapons, I am not here to fight you.”

“Then why are you here?” Rayon’s voice sounded strained – a side of him that Nero and Al hadn’t heard before.

“Why my young boy, I am simply here to offer your ruler a warning. Whether or not he chooses to adhere to this warning is up to him – but it will be of great cost to his people if he does not.” An arrow whizzed through the air, having been fired from Nero’s bow and looked as though it was heading straight for the heart of the man standing before them. Miraculously, the arrow turned and sailed vertically, skimming the tip of the mysterious individual’s hood. A harsh, throaty cackle emanated from the mouth of the figure then. The slight up-turn of his lip could be seen beneath his hood.

“How did you –” Nero began, bewildered. Al stood slack-jawed, unable to contain his shock. Rayon tightened his jaw, willing himself not to show weakness. He would not let them see. He just couldn’t.

Something flew out from the man’s garb. Rayon immediately retaliated by sending a plume of fire towards it. Again and again and again. Nothing was working, why wouldn’t the damn thing burn? Nero fired at the unnamed threat once again – and missed. The thing was still flying towards them. Al hoped that he had accumulated enough power as he began readying himself to create a force field. Tiring of launching inept fireballs, Rayon wondered what else he could do. Nero removed something from mallet space. The first thing he could think of. A huge rifle. He fired immediately for the on-coming threat. A bolt of electricity followed the bullet. All three boys stood and watched as, yet again, another onslaught missed their target. Al took this as a sign to engage his shield. Buzzing could be heard around the boys and as Nero looked closer, he could see tiny ripples of light.

“I can only hold this for a few minutes, so we need a plan – fast.” Already sounding slightly breathless, Al warned his team.

Rayon – who had been silently pondering since his last failed attempt to obliterate the flying object – piped up, “I have a plan.”

“Spit it out then.” Nero replied urgently.

“Open mallet space, create a portal and I’ll jump in it. Then I’ll need you to create a loophole and toss it into the air so that I can jump through the other side – it’s the only way we’ll be able to surprise whoever that is over there and I’ll be close enough to do some serious damage.”

“I don’t know…that sounds dangerous…”

“Seriously guys, I’ve got another two minutes at most.”

A hissing sound snapped the boys from their reverie and they could finally see what was flying towards them. A ‘King of Death’ playing card. Unbeknownst to the trio, the miscreant was edging ever closer.

“Truman…” A sound, barely a whisper escaped Rayon’s mouth. “We need to do this…NOW!” Rage engulfed the boy in that moment, sending his hair and fists into a frenzy of roaring blue flames. Nero opened mallet space and watched intently as the other boy jumped into his portal. Knowing that the shield would be in the way, Al deactivated it.

“Now N…” His voice was raspy as he collapsed to the ground in exhaustion.

“Al!” Nero rushed to kneel by his friend’s side. Remembering Rayon, he generated a pothole and launched it as high as he could into the air.

Immediately, the sky was flooded with a deep blue light. The supernova that was Rayon headed straight for Truman.

BOOM…

©DeclarableSerene

Review: Wasp (2003)

Short Film

Directed by: Andrea Arnold

The Only One


Set in modern-day Dartford, ‘Wasp’ depicts young mother Zoe (Natalie Press) and her four children as she struggles to provide basic necessities for them (i.e. food). When Dave (Danny Dyer) turns up and asks her out she is desperate to see where it may lead, despite what it might mean in the long run.

Zoe is first and foremost a loving mother: she sings and dances with her kids, plays games with them and her maternal instinct to protect overrides any other feelings she has on various occasions. Some of her actions however, do raise a cause for concern: she swears in front of her kids, fights in front of them and is even borderline abusive towards them at times (the eldest, Kelly, in particular). Having said this, being twenty-four with four kids is no easy feat and with Zoe being not much more than a child herself, naivety is to be expected.

Credit where credit is due – Press played the part beautifully.

Can the same be said for her co-star? Well…it’s Danny Dyer. Dave is your stereotypical East-London cockney lad and we all know Dyer can play that part to a tee (even if it’s painfully unpleasant to watch) but the script didn’t really do him any favours. With lines “modern bird” and referring to someone as “property”, who can blame me for being a little agitated?

Acting aside, I have to say that my favourite part of the film was the cinematography. I particularly enjoyed the single (possibly hand-held) camera used – it added to the reality of the situation, which is often lost in simple close-up shots of actors’ faces. The opening shot of the family running down the stairs was integral to setting up the pace of the film.

Whilst certain aspects of the film weren’t particularly to my tastes, it was refreshing to watch a film that depicts situations from a true-to-life perspective.

©DeclarableSerene

Photo Credit: Randen Pederson / CC BY 2.0

Review: KFC

COLN_PRT_1X125


Hornchurch. The battleground of the two generations. Home of the mighty bingo hall – and KFC.

Greeted by the Kernel, we enter; only to find ourselves squashed up against the wall like the Simpsons fighting for their spot on the couch – shoulder to shoulder with the riffraff of the general public.

Stepping up to the counter like a contestant on X-Factor being stared down by Simon Cowell as he asks: “What do you want?” I begin to panic. Mind goes blank. I desperately crane my neck to see the menu but all hope is lost. My mind goes blank. Swimming into a veritable blur, the words menu become incomprehensible. Panic rises within me and I point aimlessly – “That one!”

You know that feeling you get? It’s like a thousand eyes boring into your soul – yeah that one. That’s pretty much what happened after I’d utterly failed my audition. Without realising it, I’d actually screamed (a rather distorted one at that) my order and everyone in the audience had stopped tucking into their bargain buckets to turn and gawk at the latest national failure.

Simon (as ever) remained unimpressed.

“Anything else?”

“No. That will be all. Thank you.” All the hoodies in the world couldn’t save me from the humiliation I felt in that moment. My food seemed to take an eternity to prepare (I thought this was meant to be fast food!) and I was left to wallow in my shame. Maybe the workers just wanted to torture me some more. Hm…

When the food did eventually arrive, I immediately hugged it to my chest, contemplating whether or not to bury my head in the paper bag. Alas, the bag was far too greasy and before I reached the exit it had split on me. Chicken, chips and grease cascaded down my front and I could hear the trickles of laughter beginning. Go…NOW! So I ran – as fast as I could. As much as I hated to admit it, KFC had defeated me, I’d even forgotten about my friend in the queue who bore witness to the entire fiasco.

1-0 to the older generation.

©DeclarableSerene

Photo Credit: Ken Prosser / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Hellfire…

Hellfire


Ten years prior, Hades’ hellfire rained from the Heavens and irradicated every ounce of life from any other organism that wasn’t those in the courtyard of Westminster Abbey. Still now, people recall the piercing screams that could be seemingly heard for miles. Suffocation, anguish and impending death; it was all anyone could do to run from the angry flurry. Those few who were in the Abbey must have had the Almighty smiling down on them that day, for not one flame so much as licked with the walls of the towering place of worship. Yet, just few centimetres in front of the North Gate, mothers fell to their knees cradling their children, in one last hope that the Lord would at the very least save their young. Satan’s flames engulfed them without leaving so much as a scorch mark behind.

Kelsie emerged from her tent early that day, hoping she would have time to go down to the lake and take a dip before morning roll-call. Wind whipped forcefully around her, making her field of vision a hazy grey. Lifting her hand delicately, she watched intently as a fleck of ash floated slowly onto the calloused palm. Not yet. For the love of God – please not yet. Just then, Caleb folded out of the House tent and bounded towards her. Enveloping the young girl, he lifted and held her with a grip like a vice and squeezed with a strength that could insinuate a thousand years apart.

After a moment that seemed all too short, Caleb placed Kelsie back onto solid ground before grabbing her slight wrist and dragging her towards the House tent. A fresh smell of burning tainted their nostrils and ash flared up from the soles of their shoes as they raced towards the entryway.

“What’s going on Caleb? Caleb!” Kelsie urged her voice not to crack, as her feet carried her automatically amidst a mound of twisted tree roots and dead bramble that crunched audibly beneath their tread. Having reached the tent, Caleb unzipped the door and entered, with Kelsie in tow. Nothing could have prepared Kelsie for the sight she was about to behold; Caleb held her against him as those gut-wrenching sobs emanated from her throat and tore through the tent. Her grandmother was gone.

©DeclarableSerene

Photo Credit: Nart Elbrus / CC BY-SA 2.0