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INTRODUCTION About Me Hiii everyone, I'm Etheray! I'm a teenage girl who loves writing more than anything  in the entire ...

Friday, 20 October 2017

MICRO STORY #24: The Jangle Of Jungles

Just a random piece I wrote in an overly desperate attempt to be different. :P

#24: The Jangle of Jungles
Already the entire jungle was twittering and chirping and growling with life, and the hissing sound abruptly broke nature’s song. Trees and shrubs on the outskirts were being sucked with full force into an invisible source of power, not unlike a gigantic vacuum cleaner. Life at the edges started fading rapidly, collapsing into the heart of the jungle, the lush green and brown all slipping away. It depressed you even at the sight of it.

In mere seconds, the whole jungle was gone. But there was no sign of uprooted soil, or leftover animal paws. There was nothing left at all.

Sicdark smirked. He stuffed it casually in his back pocket. Don’t be deceived by the meek, miniature chunk of cube-shaped mud. If you try touching it, you will get a shock. It isn’t squelchy, or wet. It’s teeth-breakingly hard, gleaming only in the eyes of the hypnotised bearer. Behind the blinding light is a chasm of undefinable evil. And it emits a soft, tentative clinking sound when you toss it around in your palms.

No one will know. Who will suspect a chunk of mud as the Supreme Destroyer Of All?

He jangled the jungle as he walked away, like car keys, in his open, deadly palms. 

Copyright Rachel Tan, July 2017.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

POEM @5: Sightseeing

Watch what two parties learn of the world by sightseeing... in the dark.

Writing prompt: Write a piece incorporating shadows and darkness... but also hints of comedy.

@5: Sightseeing
Dancing candle lights
Flicker on the wall 
Boys admire the sights
Pretty girls at the mall 

Shadows lurk behind us 

Candle flames are out 
Darkness descends upon them
The power source is out 

We clutch rekindled candles

Feeling our way 
Through the mysteries 
Of the creepy night
Four naughty boys 
Filled with childish play 
Chase the little sweeties 
Amid subtle light 

We venture into the forest 

Animals calm in slumber 
Boys approach the damsels slowly lest they 
Begin squealing in fear

The night is pleasant 

But eerily quiet 
The dark is exciting 
But excruciatingly tired 


Snores halt 
Breaths stop
Hunters stand
With bow in hand 


Girls turn 
Faces fair
Fangs glare
In witches' hair 

Animals howl in the night 

Boys scream with all their might 
The creatures grope 
The boys lose hope 
For no one can cope 
In a night as 
And slippery 
As soap. 


It dawned on us, 
That nights aren't 
As romantic as they seem. 

Would you relinquish light

In exchange for lies?

Copyright Rachel Tan, 19 Oct 2017.

SHORT STORY #23: That's My Best Friend

Here's a story I wrote in response to a writing prompt, in a writers' group on facebook! I hope this will touch you deeply :)

Story prompt: Write about a funeral from a dead person's view point. 

#23: That’s my best friend
I hear crying. It's depressing, the awfully pitiful crying voices, so unlike the bawl of a baby with a spoilt toy, or the sob of a teenager who failed his exams. 
As the first hand touches my coffin, I open my eyes. I float up and levitate above the casket, as if it is all so normal, as if this blurry, pale blue form is one I have assumed all my life. 
The owner of that hand is my father. His face is weary, albeit tearless, but I know it is the hardest for him. Who else if not him must be there to assure the family that everything will be alright? 
My mother is crying, of course. I am happy that she has father, that she isn't the one needing to hold it all together for the sake of the family. She wipes her tears away, fiercely, as new ones fill her eyes. 
My two sisters, Lucy and Lisa, flank my mother on both sides. Lisa clings to mother's right leg, she doesn't understand what's happening, but she can sense something isn't right. Lucy is standing on tiptoes, peering at my lifeless face, using the frame of my casket as support. My father says something sternly to her in a sharp voice. She takes her hands away, and pries her eyes off me. Immediately after, she bawls loudly. No one would play at mock battle with her anymore. Her smiling doll lies at the foot of my casket, long forgotten. Mother, who is crying herself, tells Lucy not to cry. 
But it is only my best friend, sitting alone among the masses, that touches my heart most. Reflexively, I silently curse myself for being so mindless and naive, for even letting myself hesitate to think if anyone else could be more important, more dear to me than my own family. 
But where were they? I think to myself. Where were they when I needed them? I recall their indifferent, busy faces; their annoyed brush-offs. Even Lisa. He thinks of her when she has mother's ipad sitting on her lap. Kids nowadays, with all their noisy, high-tech devices. 
My best friend is moving her lips, probably memorising an eulogy written for me. She was the one who was there for me. She was the one who squirted orange juice in my face when I was weeping and blubbering over something trivial, then snapped a picture of me with her phone and showed it to me, making me burst out laughing. She was always the one. I love her so much, she means the entire world to me. I feel an ache in my heart at the thought of losing her. 
No, I tell myself. No. It's not wrong that she means so much more to me. I close my eyes for a while, forgiving myself, gradually letting go of the guilt of putting my family second. 
I glance around again. I have that feeling of wanting to take in every single thing, just like that feeling I got during my holiday in the hills, the feeling of wanting to just absorb and record everything in my mind, and pen it all down. Only this time, my purpose isn't to get writing inspirations.
It really, really is so peculiar. Everyone is sobbing uncontrollably, crying my name, mourning my death; while here I am, watching them. And there's another thing: before I jumped, I felt as if I was already dying. But now, I feel very much alive. 
There are only a few people left in the line. I don't have much time left. I kiss father, mother, Lucy and Lisa's heads. I forgive you, I will always be with you in spirit, I whisper. Then I float over to my best friend to say goodbye.
She memorises the last of the eulogy. She leans back in her chair.
And she smiles. It’s funny how a mere smile usually seems to mean nothing, but in a funeral can make almost everyone stare at you in surprise. It is a genuine, happy smile, not a forced one. I can feel her recalling all our memories together, all the fun we had, our petty quarrels. I can feel her rejoicing that I’d existed, not shedding tears because I have left. And what’s more, she knows that in truth, I have never left.
The last hand leaves the top of my coffin. I feel a force dragging me back into my original body. I wrap my transparent hands around her. I tell her in my heart that I love her, before succumbing to the powerful beckoning.

That’s my best friend, I think. You’re doing just as I told you to.

Copyright Rachel Tan, June 2017.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

MICRO STORY #22: It Can Do Magic

Hi! This is one of my favourite pieces. I wrote this earlier this year, for a less-than-100-word writing competition, with all my heart. I really hope you like this one, as it means a lot to me :)

#22: It Can Do Magic
She gripped it close to her heart. 

She wasn't actually supposed to look yet. However, watching her sprawled on the table, looking so dispirited, I decided to let her look now. 

I watched as strength returned to her, like a ball of fire, as she shed that coat of dead leaves. Warmth spread throughout her entire body. Her eyes sparkled, and it was as if I saw a gush of spring water spray out above her in a fountain of sheer joy. 

She held it close to her heart, her smile radiating happiness. 

Copyright Rachel Tan, June 2017.

Thanks for dropping by!

ESSAY #21: The Best Leadership Lessons I Ever Learnt

Hey guys, this is an essay on leadership that I wrote for a writing competition when I was 13, the only competition that I won a consolation prize for, haha! Again, this essay contains a really important lesson that we should all learn. I hope you enjoy it! 

– By Rachel Tan (13 years old)

I was chosen to become a probationary prefect on the 8th of May, 2015.

I had never been appointed for any important position before ----- not a class monitor, a head of a club or a group leader. This was the chance for me to experience a prefect’s life.

My teacher, Mr Loh was a prefect in his youth. He said being a prefect is being a leader, so I should be thankful to be given the chance. On the other hand, my English teacher said I had the character of being a prefect because although I was not really outgoing, I had always wanted to correct the wrong behaviour of others.

That was true. When I saw my classmates cheating during the exam, I had the strong urge to inform the teacher and advice my classmates. Once, when a friend was blamed for doing something he did not, I felt like speaking up for him. However, I never did so because that would seem like a tell-tale. I always attached importance to justice. Down with bad behaviour!

Being a prefect was a wish come true. I could tell the students not to disobey the school rules, and they had to listen. Being a prefect was a position of responsibility, so I was not being a tell-tale. It was my duty, my right. I could maintain the school’s discipline. It was being a leader. That’s what being a prefect is all about. Leading, showing a great example of high moral values, good attitude, and having the ability to also maintain good studies.

On the 12th of August, our discipline teacher gathered us to announce the names of the probationary prefects who passed their probations. I was really disappointed because my name was not called. I cried bitterly, but it was useless. My teacher consoled me and told me not to be overly disappointed, there are many other ways to become a leader.

I decided to study hard and get good results. I knew doing well in my studies would cheer me up. I studied really hard and excelled in my year-end examinations. I was really happy. It was better than I had ever done in my exam, better than I had ever believed I could do.

On the 1st of November, I was taken by another wonderful surprise. I had achieved 3rd place in an essay writing competition that I participated in 6 months ago! I was delighted. Standing on the stage receiving my prize, I beamed with pride. Being a prefect is great because you are a good example for other students, and you can help maintain the good name of the school. However, sometimes we don’t have to carry important positions to be leaders. We can also lead academically, or lead in our talents and strengths. By facing the numerous challenges and difficulties we come across, not giving up and by making an effort to lead in different ways, we are already the greatest leaders ---- of life!                                      

(500 words)

Copyright Rachel Tan, 2015.

SHORT STORY #20: Haters Will Hate, Fakers Will Fake

This was also written when I was 13, for a writing competition. Another rather cliche story, but with a very, very important lesson. I hope you like it! 
(Someone suggested I don't edit the story, so that I can see how I wrote when I was younger, and how I was as an individual then. So other than some little punctuation errors, I didn't touch this!) 
#20: Haters Will Hate, Fakers Will Fake
It was dawn. I stretched my body sleepily, and let out a big yawn. Another boring Monday, I thought.
I dragged myself to school. I walked into the class and sat at my table. I took out my books and started studying for my UPSR (The Primary School Evaluation Test) exam. It was just two weeks away, and I wanted to do some last minute preparations. “Wow Clara, how absolutely hardworking you are!” said Isabelle. Some compliment indeed. Her two friends, Emma and Sophia snickered.   
Almost the whole class hates and avoids me. They hate me for lots of reasons. They look down on me because I’m very hardworking and I like to bury my head in books. The girls, they are the kind of people who always go out together and have lots of parties. They also have Facebook and they even have their own hand phones. So, they think I’m too studious and not their type. They also say I’m dirty.
Lots of times, when I walk into the classroom, everyone’s attention will be on me and they will have this “strange look” on their faces. It looks kind of like they are laughing at me. I’m not sure if that’s true, so I can’t tell them off, but it always makes me feel nervous, and I would be thinking: What are they up to now? … Just imagine the feeling when you walk into the classroom and everyone makes way for you so that they don’t get any contact with you, in case they get your “germs”. Normally I would think, so what? They are making way for me as if I’m the Queen! However, deep down, I felt like crying.

One day, I thought of the story of “The Ugly Duckling” that my grandmother had told me when I was young. I loved to hear her tell stories. The ugly duckling somehow ended up in the nest of a mother hen when he was born. She chased him away because he was so ugly. He ran to many animals’ houses looking for a home, but no one wanted him. At the end of the story, he grew up into a beautiful white swan! I was hated and avoided by my classmates too, but would I be able to one day shine like the ugly duckling?
Days later, I met an older girl in the public library. She dropped her books and I helped her pick them up. We chatted for a while and I told her my problems. She told me that she had those problems too when she was in primary school, but she did not look down on herself. Instead, she strived to do her best in her studies without caring about her classmates’ teasing. In the end, she excelled in her studies and her friends admired her and accepted her as a friend. “There is a saying that goes like this, haters will hate, fakers will fake. Never cry over those who hate and avoid you, because it just hurts yourself. When you concentrate on what you want to achieve like doing well in your studies, and showing them that you’re not affected by them, one day they will give up picking on you because it just wastes their time. As for the fakers, they pretend to hate you just to be part of the group.” she said. She also told me to stand up for myself and not be afraid of them.
When I reached home, I thought to myself in determination, I will show them that I can do what I want to do without being affected by them! I will show them it was wrong to hate me and I can do it!
The next day, I walked to school. I was not as downhearted and dispirited as before, and I did not drag myself to school, but I was still nervous. I heard voices and laughter coming from my class, and I hoped that I would soon resolve my problems and I would one day be able to join in the fun with them.
I walked into my class, and my classmates shot me that laughing look. My heart jumped—but I soon calmed down. I walked to my place and sat down to read my favorite book. Isabelle and her two sisters walked towards me. “Hey Clara, do you really like Adam? Oh yeah and, he will never like you anyway, because you’re such a loser book worm. What’s more, you’re also such a…”
“So?” I interrupted. “I love books because books are really interesting and they give you knowledge! If you think book worms are losers, then that’s fine with me!” I said. Oh, how absolutely pleased I was with myself after saying that! Silence fell over the class and all eyes were on me. This made me feel a bit nervous, but I went on reading my book.
During recess, the three sisters looked for me again. Isabelle called out: “Hey Clara! Eating on your own again?” she laughed. “Clara is forever alone! Hahaha! Hey Clara, would you like it if Adam sat with you? I’ll call him here!” She grinned happily. From a distance, I saw her tugging at Adam’s hand, persuading him to sit with me, the dirty girl. He was shouting, “Oh my, don’t take me anywhere near her!” I just ignored them and ate my food. Who cares about them?
Well, Isabelle managed to drag Adam to my table. Sigh. They just wanted to have fun, I thought. “Clara! He is here!” Adam was very embarrassed and he struggled to get out of Isabelle’s hold. “Get this girl off me!” He shouted. I laughed. Actually, when you look at it this way, it’s kind of funny.
Suddenly, an idea struck me. “Hey everybody, Isabelle likes Adam!” I screamed. “She’s pulling him around everywhere she goes, see?” I pointed at Isabelle, still pulling Adam’s hand. She blushed and I grinned. The boys laughed at her. Hahaha! This was great!
After that day, I was very happy and I was able to pay better attention to my studies.  I studied hard and frequently went to the public library to do revision. I also met the older girl at the library a few times and I happily told her about what happened. She was happy for me too.
The day of the UPSR exam arrived, and I came very prepared. I brought some notes to read just before the exam too.
Very soon, the exam was over. We returned to school to collect our UPSR results during the first week of the school holidays. I achieved straight As in the UPSR exam! I did it! I did well in my studies without letting my friends’ teasing affect my emotions! I was so happy, I jumped for joy. My parents were very proud of me too.

It’s the year 2015 and I have left my primary school. Now I study in a secondary school. I made lots of new friends at my new school and we spend time together. Our friendship is not very stable yet, but I hope to keep my new friends and make our friendship last. When I met the older girl again, I thanked her for her advice. Haters will hate, and fakers will fake. We should not be afraid of these people. Instead, we should always believe in ourselves despite the haters and fakers. Haters just hate you because you’re better than them, and they want to be like you. Fakers fake to hate, or sometimes they even fake to be someone else, just because they want to be part of the others. We should always be ourselves because everyone is unique. We all have our own good qualities. I have achieved my target without being affected by anyone. I have shone—like the ugly duckling.

Copyright Rachel Tan, May 2015.

Thank you all for reading! 

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

SHORT STORY #19: Kindness Will Be Repaid Finally

This is a children's story I wrote when I was 13. Mind you, this won't be original at all :P . Funny that it was only two years ago I wrote with so many cliches like these, but it is a children's story after all, with a very important moral value! I hope you like it! I'm going to be putting up all my stories I wrote when I was younger, just for archive purposes, and also to see if I'm improving. :)

Story prompt: Write a story about a black bird, a bowl of soup noodles and a girl in a hurry. 

#19: Kindness Will Be Repaid Finally

Chapter 1
It was dawn, and the Sun rose from the mysterious valleys far away. I let out a loud yawn and stretched my body sleepily. After dressing up and having my breakfast, I walked to school happily.
I went into my class and sat down to read my favorite storybook. The boys all around me were playing and the girls were chatting and laughing. “Girls and boys, return to your places!” I heard a stern voice and the whole class was silent. It was Miss Aniya, our class teacher. Suddenly, everyone’s attention was drawn to the front of the class. I looked up – and I saw a girl standing beside Miss Aniya. “Class, this will be your new classmate. I hope to see that you treat her well and make her feel part of our class.”
“Grace, go and sit beside Rachel.” Miss Aniya pointed to the empty table beside me. Grace sat down beside me. She had a pair of bright eyes and a sweet smile. “Class, now take out your workbooks, we need to discuss Exercise 8. Rachel, please help Grace catch up with her homework.” Later during recess, I showed her around the school. My first impression of her was that she was quite a nice girl.

Chapter 2
It’s been more than a month since Grace transferred here. Grace is a girl with a lot of good qualities. She is a very clever girl and she really knows how to adapt to the new environment fast. She managed to catch up with her homework. Now, she even helps me with my homework. When I don’t understand the lessons teacher is teaching, she will explain it to me with patience until I understand. Sometimes, we go to the library to do homework together. When I’m in the wrong, she points it out and tells me to change my ways.
I loved my school and my class, but there was just this one naughty boy Simon and his two friends, Andy and John. He loved to make fun of people and he never did his homework. He is also very unkind. Therefore, the whole class hated him and ignored him.
“Grace, let’s meet at my house to finish our group project tomorrow.” I told Grace when walking home from school. “Okay!” she replied. She kept stopping to smell the lovely flowers along the way. “Ahhh, these flowers smell so lovely!” She sighed. I smiled. Maybe I should get a bunch of flowers for her birthday, I thought.
Suddenly, Grace and I heard laughter and some boys’ loud voices. Why were those voices so familiar? We looked in the direction of the shouting. We saw the three boys, Simon, Andy and John, throwing stones at a black bird. It scared the black bird and it flapped its wings in fright.
“Hey!” cried Grace in horror. “How dare you throw stones at the bird? Don’t injure it! It has a life, and it can feel, just like us! How would u like it if a giant threw huge boulders at you?”
The three boys did not care about Grace’s words. They just continued throwing stones at the bird. Suddenly, Simon hit the black bird with the stone. The poor little bird was badly injured. “Bulls eye!” shrieked Simon, and he and his friends laughed loudly. Those boys are so heartless, I thought sadly.
“Ha!” Simon pointed to Grace. “You’re a sore loser, and a useless girl!” Andy and John snickered. They walked off, laughing.
Grace ignored the boys completely. She was almost to tears when she saw the injured little black bird lying on the floor. She ran to it and carried it in her palms. The black bird’s left wing was injured and it could not fly. It lay on one side, breathing faintly.
“It’s hurt! I’ll bring it home with me.” Grace said.
So, I followed Grace to her house. Grace put it gently on the table. She applied some medicine on its hurt wing and bandaged it. Then, she got a cardboard box and I placed some cotton wool in it. Grace put the bird in the box.
“Hope u get better soon, black bird.” Grace said softly to the bird. Then she told me, “Let it rest. When it gets better, I’ll let it go. The little black bird must have its own parents, too. I hope they aren’t too worried.”
I walked home, thinking of the bird. I hoped it would get well soon too. Then I thought of Grace. She’s such a nice girl because she is good in her studies and kind to animals, too.
A few days later, the little black bird recovered.  I went to Grace’s house to see her let it go. “Bye, black bird! Hope to see you again!” Grace let the bird go and the bird flew off into the trees. Grace smiled happily.

Chapter 3
It was Friday. Grace and I had to stay back for some extra activities in school, so we went to the canteen to have some lunch. Grace bought a bowl of soup noodles and I ate the fried rice my mum made for me.
I looked for a table to sit down for lunch. Suddenly, Grace realized she was late for choir practice. She was in a hurry to get to the table to eat. Unfortunately, Grace tripped and fell. Luckily, she was not hurt but her bowl of soup noodles spilled everywhere. Suddenly, Grace and I heard a flap of wings. It was the little black bird Grace took home a few days ago!
The little black bird pecked up the noodles that were scattered all over the floor. “Tweet tweet!” It chirped happily, and nudged the bowl of noodles towards Grace. Grace was surprised and delighted. “Oh thank you, little black bird! That’s so sweet of you!” Grace exclaimed.
“ Hey! It’s that sore loser over there!” shouted a loud voice. It was Simon. Andy and John laughed mockingly. Grace did not mind the boys teasing her.
Suddenly, the black bird flew at the boys and pecked hard at them. The boys screamed in pain and ran away in fright. The little black bird flew up to Grace and perched on her shoulder. It sang a happy tune.

I was happy for Grace. Kindness will always be repaid finally.

Copyright Rachel Tan, May 2015.