Wednesday, May 7, 2014

(Prose) - Identity (Eye on the World 2011 Alumni Publication)


His temples were pounding. His lips were pursed together in deep concentration. Hopping through the city landscape was never an easy task, especially when it’s as high as 20 feet off the ground. As his muscles undulate with the strain of keeping a lean body moving and in the air, the thief took a scant glance at the moon, which was just above the mountains residing in the sub-urban outskirts of city. Full moon, he thought to himself, and almost sniggered bitterly from the thought. It had just occurred to him that about a month ago at about that present moment, he would be in the skyscraper he was standing on, sipping champagne and nibbling at unidentifiable foreign delicacies. The SYstem was the one who caused him to end up like this. The SYstem was all to blame.

Pausing for a breath, the thief took the liberty to gaze at the moon the second time; and as he noted the faint black spots on its surface, the thief felt a sense of calm, His thoughts began to flow fluidly, unlike the many moments of his life when they were just snippets of unintelligible matter that clashed against each other as they dashed in all possible directions within the narrow emptiness of his mind. He knew why he was here. He knew what he had to do and that it was his sole responsibility to make sure it was performed flawlessly. This was his life’s purpose.

Gingerly prying off the thick wire gauze from a wide air duct that protruded out of the building’s roof, the thief lugged his bag of tools through. Taking a last glance at the moon, the thief briefly adjusted the woollen mask that hid the details of his face and climbed through the duct to begin his work.

It was a totally different world, the thief aptly noted as he stepped through the duct. Faint, white light from an unidentifiable source danced about a surprisingly spacious ventilation canal: the thief could almost stand up fully. The walls were coated with dull aluminium sheets and bore numerous creases, almost as if someone or something frequented here…

A soft crash and a muffled groan stopped the thief in his tracks.

The thief’s face bristled with unease as he waited for more noises. A bead of perspiration was trickling down his forehead…

But there was no other noise.

The thief broke out of his rock-like stance and quietly heaved a sigh of relief. It was probably just a fickle of his imagination, nothing much that he needed to worry about. Picking up his bag of tools, the thief began threading down the duct. Somehow, doubts were already beginning to flood into his mind, ethereal wisps that hooked themselves onto the soft tissue of his brain. Fear, uncertainty, pain…

He shook his head to clear those thoughts.

Soon enough, the thief reached a ventilation point. Taking a peek through the holes of the brittle plastic grille, the thief saw that he was now just above a personal office. The weathered brown leather sofa set, the musty smell, the horrible carpet that sulked behind the door…they all felt familiar to the thief. The thief nearly hurled at this, although he did not know why. Something wasn’t right. The thief now felt that he should not be doing this, that probably, he was meant to be doing something, somewhere else. Maybe he was wrong, maybe this wasn’t his life’s purpose…

No, he gritted his teeth, sweating profusely now. I was made to do this.

He lifted the grille and dropped gently into the room. No one was working overtime, as he noted the pitch-blackness from the window that overlooked the rest of the office. Pulling out the top drawer of metal cabinet, the thief eagerly picked up a…

The thief walked in.

“W…wait, who are you?”

“I should be the one asking you. Who are you?”

“G…get away! You can’t be me….I’m…”

“But I am you. And you know it Jayden.”

With a cry of hysteria, the thief lunged at himself, only to slam face-first into the concrete wall. The thief staggered as he struggled to stand, his field of vision gradually becoming a mix of red and blurry images. In the midst of it, he saw himself. Smirking. The thief took a step forward towards himself.

“S…stay back! Or I’ll shoot!” The thief hastily took out his pistol and aimed it at himself.
“Oh, can you bear to shoot yourself Jayden? You know you can’t. I am you.”

The thief’s jaw twitched involuntarily, dislodging beads of sweat that hung desperately to his chin. The pistol in his hands was quivering together with his damp hands. The thief was sniggering loudly now.

“There’s no better end for a person like us, Jayden. You did betray the SYstem.”

“I…I didn’t. Y…you did!”

“Ah, but I am you, am I not?”

The thief screamed and pulled the trigger.

The police are currently investigating what seems to be a suicide case. Forty year-old Jayden Wee, manager of SYstem, shot himself in his office last night. The extremely intriguing part of this story is that Mr. Wee was dressed as a burglar upon the time of his death. The SYstem currently has no comments on this mystery. The police are still investigating for leads. If anyone has information on this case, please call this number…  

______________________________________________________________   Hiya, I'm back again. Above is the first of two entries that I have made for the Eye on the World 2011 Publication, which is an annual anthology from  the CAP Mentorship Programme. There was a call for alumni to submit pieces, so I had submitted this piece. It was rejected on grounds that a similar theme was already being explored, so I submitted the second piece (It's on another page! Go find it: "Dead Bird"). That was also turned down. :( Oh well, here they are for your reading pleasure! :D

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