Saturday, August 09, 2008


The pale yellow light in a large comfortable room conforms harmoniously with the light coloured wallpaper which is subtly embedded with the mustard flowers. A large and grand portrait of Stalin is held over the small bed. It is like an Native American amulet to protect the little children from bad dreams and disturbance in their sleep and it too seems to fit the tranquility of the room with Stalin's confident kind smile. The grandfather is sitting beside the bed and is taking a book from his pocket to tell the night-time story to the boy on the bed.

The grandfather reads " Long long time ago, there was a god named Zeus. He is a god in lighting and is the father of all gods. One day he had done some very bad thing with a woman called Io. His wife, Hera, found this out and so Zeus was forced to turn Io into a cattle. Hera was still worried. She sent her most obedient servant, Argus, to check the cattle in days and nights, in case that Zeus came back to find her.This god, Argus, was the most fearsome of all. He got dark ominous eyes all over his body."

"All over his body!", the boy asks.

"Yes indeed, all over his body. Each eye took turn to sleep while the other kept careful watch on Io. Zeus desperately wanted to save Io from the evil Argus and so he sent Hermes, the god of music, to save her. Hermes, with his beautiful and sweet voice, sang songs after songs to lure Argus to sleep. It was no easy tasks because Argus literally had thousand of eyes and imagine how long it would take to shut them all!"

"Did he succeed?"

"Along with his singing, Hermes resorted to his magic wand to shut all the other Argus' eyes. Slowly but surely, the eyes of Argus shut down one by one because he couldn't resist the mysterious power and the beautiful sweet singing that called him to sleep like a sheep, like a baby that was resting peacefully in his mother's lap. Finally Argus fell asleep and Hermes seized the chance to slay him. However that was not the end of the story. Hera was so furious for the death of Argus, her most obedient servant, that she recruited back the ghost of Argus and transformed the lamented ghost into gadfly to torment Io till the end of the earth."

"Why? Why was Hera so evil? Why can't she forgive Io? Isn't is right to forgive someone?"

"We are humans and human nature is always complex." says the grandfather, almost reflectively to himself, alright, that's it for tonight"

"Grandpa, can you tell me one more story? Please?"

"My dear boy, it's already too late for tonight. You really need to sleep.", the grandfather says.

The old man rises up, rather feebly and walks slowly to the door and says softly " Good night, Antony."

"Good night, grandpa", says Antony reluctantly

The old man closes the door but alas, he has left his book behind. Antony notices it and immediately seizes it. Excited, he opens it and surprisingly it is written all over with his grandfather's own handwriting. There are numerous other accounts of stories. One describes a Japanese god named Aizen-Myoo. He is the god of love and has a ferocious appearance. He gets an additional eye in his forehead and has a head of lion in his hair. Another describes a Celtic god named Balor. From his birth, he acquired a deadly ability. He has only one eye but he always closed it because anything would be dead if he looks upon it. One time, his grandson, Lugh, came to rip out his eye with a sling. He was thereafter killed miserably by his own grandson.

Antony flips pages by pages and is amazed to see the sea of gods and their stories. At the same time he finds it strange that first half of the book are written with an entirely different handwriting and he is horrified to find spots of dried bloodstain in the one of them. He reads:

13 January 1933

Dear Kitty,

You are the only friend that I could talk to without asking me questions. It's strange for everyone around me looks so weird. They have some inexplicable expression that seems to hide something. I tried to talk with mom but she never said anything beyond the weather or the household works. She would have said "Ah today is cloudy" or "The sun looks nice"

Beside when there was news of machinery breakdown, mom and dad become even stranger. Dad will immediately go back home after work and mom will also finish work earlier. Then they will be silent in the rest of the evening. One time, I dropped my pen and dad instantly glares at me for making too much sound.

I am confused. At another time I complained to mom about the little food we have and I am asking why although we work so hard days and nights, we receive so little. Who has caused all this misery? She was stunned for a moment and immediately turned pale. Then she was furious and scolded " Are you mad? Don't ever say anything like this again and now go do your work!".

Why? What's wrong with my question? Why is everyone so cold? I am confused, Kitty. I feel alone. I hope I can really find an answer in one day.

26 June 1933

Dear Kitty,

A man came to us tonight. It was raining and there were occasional thunders. I sat beside the window and was waiting to see the slash of lighting coming across in the dark sky. Dad was reading his copy of Pravda and mom was weaving for our little extra money. At first, a knock to the door was heard. Dad and mom trembled, as tough they received their death sentences. They looked at each other and dad nodded. He slowly opened the door and it was a very young man. He had fair hair and was a very pleasant looking man.

There was a strange attraction for his beautiful crystal blue eyes. They were like the lightening I was trying hard to see at night and they gave out a sense of strong confidence. Let me for now, Kitty, call him Mr.Blue.

Still, dad's expression was as white as sheet. Tears were rolling down from my mom's cheek as she was praying. Mr.Blue was surprised at first to the scene and said assuredly "Don't worry. I just received an urgent order from above to warn you of the infiltrated anti-soviet element in the farms. We, the Soviet citizens, must take the responsibility to root them out." Saying this, he gave us another assured smile and left.

Dad heaved a strong relief and mom was almost collapsed. What happened? He was evidently not a bad man from his fine appearance. Have dad and mom done something that I was not aware of? I wish, Kitty, that you can tell me the answer.

25 July 1937

It was since a few years that I didn't write because mom and dad did not permit me to write anything down on solid paper. Over the years, they became increasingly pathetic. I slowly grasp their essence of fear because I was more and more aware of a network of hidden enemies conspiring against us. Mom and dad must have known them but they are not dared to denounce them. That's why they seldom talk to anyone. That's why they bear a suspicious look on everyone. That's why they never allowed me to talk too much.

Even Leader Stalin,our beloved destined leader, called for greater vigilance and we, the pioneer of the future, must take the core responsibility to unmask the enemy. He was certainly right when last month, another machine in dad's factory , yes another one again, broke down. How could it be possible to explain these breakdowns without the conspiracy of the wreckers?

They are the trouble for my home. They make mom and dad like this. When I find them, I must grind their flesh and eat it. This is how those scoundrels should be treated.

12 February 1938

I can't believe it! It was impossible. Why? Why? Why them? How could dad be a conspirator of those scoundrels? How could mom serve as his messenger to the "center"?

It must be that mom and dad found their nest in here. Those scoundrels are well aware of it and they seize the chance to denounce them first. It should be mom and dad who should have denounced them.

May dear Stalin grant me justice on this!

13 February 1938

I have gone to discuss with the NKVD man today. It was the same man or Mr. Blue that came to us in the last few years. He bore the same fine appearance as before but his blue eyes were even sharper and more glittering. They unleashed the same strong confidence as before.

He said to me "Don't worry. We have been following those people long time ago and we know who are the enemy of the people and who aren't. From the record, your parents are definitely innocent. As a matter of investigation procedure, we need to keep them for a week. I hope you can understand this."

I thank him and there is no one more sensible than him.

20 February 1938

A week had passed but I haven't heard anything of mom and dad. What was happening to them? Has something gone wrong? Did they really participate in the conspiracy?

I went to the NKVD headquarter but to no avail. The men just won't let me in and they threatened to accuse me as one of the Trotskites. One of them even said " Hmm, I wonder how an enemy of the people will try to undermine the state by constantly annoying us."

It was at this time that Mr.Blue came to scold them. He shouted at them and said "You scoundrels! Your job is to cleanse the state. Now you threatened the innocences?"

He turned to me and I immediately burst out my questions. He said " Don't worry, we were just investigating the circumstantial evidence that is provided by one of workers in the factory. However we have strong suspicions on the motive of this worker but as a matte of the investigation procedure, we must keep them longer."

I don't know what to say. I am worried and he noticed that. He reassured " I promise to clear the matter within one month time".

21 march 1938


I hate him. He must be the damned devil. He himself must be the Trotskite. I must recount all this before I die, before I leave this world.

A month had passed and still there was no news of them. Was dad so hysterical because he feared other people figuring out his conspiracy? Did they forbid me to write anything down because it might be used against them as evidence of their plan?

I went to see Mr. Blue again. He gave me another reassurance that they were keeping for further investigation. I asked "Did you not promise to keep them just for a month?". I became more skeptical and I was almost certain that he knew it. He said "Let me bring you to see them. I am sure that you would like to meet them".

He led me to dark narrow long hallway. The feeble yellow light from the tiny light bulbs revealed the huge rough stones that made up the wall. It was damp and it was intensified in this beginning of the spring. Along this came the oppressive heat which pressed you to the point of suffocation. I smelt a stale odor that must have been risen due to the combination of the dampness and the heat.

I walked with him and became dizzier in every minutes, or worse in every second. The wall seems to bend to a horizontal way and the hallway was indefinitely extended. Then suddenly, I fell unconsciousness.

I woke up in a room.

This would be the most horrible room I have ever been. In front of me was a strange statue. It was a man with heavy beard and he was all covered with small little eyes. I began to look around and there were all bookshelves. Yet most terrifyingly they contained no books but small plastic bottles that were lined in a row. In everyone of them was floating a perfectly round eyeball.

Eyeball of different colours. Black. Brown. Green. Blue.

They seem to be staring at you.

I cried and immediately ran up to a staircase. There was no door. I bounced and kicked and pushed hard into the wall and still nothing happened. I sat down and cried. I found myself sitting on a large painting. It was a figure like a demon with a head of lion in his hair. An additional eye in his forehead made its angry expression more frightening. Wait. There was some weak light. It was penetrated from the a small crack in the roof above. I pushed up the roof and surprising one part of it rose smoothly.

I ran up and was stunned to the peaceful surrounding. The room was actually a basement and its opening was a bed.

I can't speak how much I was relieved when I saw the portrait of Stalin above the bed. Its confident kind smile soothed me and all previous oddness seemed to be nothing.

I heard the footstep and instantly I tried to run away. It was too late. The door was opened and it was Mr. Blue. He was stunned for fraction of a second but then resumed his usual confidence. The confidence in his eyes was replaced by an inexplicable evil triumphant feeling in the cold blue threads. He smiled and said " My dear girl, where are you going? Please don't worry. I am bringing you to see your parents".

I tried to rush past him to escape but something stung my neck. I fell unconsciousness again.

I woke up.

I can see nothing. There was only darkness. I touched my face and I found bondage. The rows of eyeballs flashed back into my mind and where are my eyes? I wanted to cry but was unable to do so. There was no tear.

I heard him talking outside of the door.

"Shoot this masked scoundrel inside the room for planning to assassinate me in my home. She must be conspiring with her parents to arrange this chance. "

He must be the ultimate agent of the Trotskites. Mom and dad must have knew him and so he took the first strike. He is the damned devil from the hell. His flesh should be ground for dogs and dumped into the sewers.

Antony shuddered at this hatred of a woman. He gets up and tries to lift up his bed. To his surprise, it has smoothly risen and there was a staircase below. His little body shook because this is exactly how the woman described. He wants to cry. "Are there really those eyeballs?" He slowly goes down with his two tiny legs and begins to see the terrifying expression of the figure.

Suddenly, there is sound of footsteps. Antony rushes back and is using all his force to push back the bed. Too late. The grandfather opens the door and has taken a step back. Antony is standing there speechless and feeling his cheeks burning. The grandfather quickly resumes calmness and cracked a benevolent, or rather malicious smile.

"My dear Antony, may I have back my notebook?"

1 comment:

Warren said...

Interesting story. I especially love the change of perspective from child to grandpa to girl. However, one thing I can suggest though. I don't see feminist traits in the girl until the last when you explicitly stated that she was female. Try to build on that. It makes a much more rounded character.

Overall, I liked the plot. The story shows lots of potential. If you could have expanded each scene with more details of the surroundings as well as more flesh in the body of the story, the story would really take flight. Keep up the good work.