Thursday, 8 November 2012


In the dead of the night I woke up, hungry and thirsty. I just remembered I haven't been eating much earlier. He's still there, Frank, sleeping on the couch. Now that I think about it, it's weird (and dangerous) that I'd let a guy I barely know to sleep over at my place. I was too distraught from the nightmare that I had, I didn't even think this decision through. But he seems like a nice guy. He stayed because he was worried about me.

I was just having some sandwich when I heard a window rattling. There was wind, but I don't remember any of the windows had rattling problems when I got here. The noise was clear, but it wasn't close. The neighbors, perhaps, I thought to myself.

The rattling gets louder and louder. Now several windows are rattling at the same time. I feel uncomfortable. Is this a dream again? Is this real? I walked slowly out of the kitchen and crept towards the couch Frank was sleeping on. He's there, fast asleep, oblivious to the noise.

The wind outside blew stronger as the rattling gets louder, howling through the cracks where it had found its way into my house, bringing the cold with it.

"Frank, wake up" I shook his shoulder lightly, and when he did not respond, I shook him harder. "Frank, wake up!"

Suddenly he was thrashing about.

He was thrashing on the couch like a slaughtered hen barely hanging on to it's last breath, violent and desperate. I fell backwards, frightened from the sight of him tossing and turning as if Death is taking his soul.


The trashing gets more violent and he was scratching the couch, it ripped from his clutches. He was trying to stop it. And in the end --


His body was twisted around like a rag... his head was turned completely round and it was looking at me. It wasn't Frank. It was ---


I gasped for air, as if released from a choke. Bewildered, I looked around, it was already morning and Frank  was holding my shoulder.

"You're dreaming again..." he breathed, pulling me close. "Lucille I got to tell ya something now."

I wanted to say something, anything but words failed me. Nothing came out of my mouth. My eyes wandered around the room wildly, trying to grasp the reality, that I'm no longer in a dream.

"Don't. tell. anyone. you've been having nightmares."


"Not even your bestest friend in the entire fucking universe, you don't. Promise me."

"But I--"

"PROMISE.ME." he barked at me, holding me so tight he's beginning to hurt me.

"Y...yes I promise"

"Go wash your face," Frank finally loosened up. I still could barely move, shivering uncontrollably. I still don't understand what is going on. Why is he insisting that I don't tell anyone? And what was that thing?

It was the same damned thing --

"I have to go to Billy's for a bit, and my house too. I'll be back around 1. If ya wanna go and get stuff, this broad daylight's the time for ya to do just that."

I looked away. Frank leaned in and grabbed me by my shoulders.

"Whatever it was in your dreams it won't get to ya. It's just a dream. When ya feeling scared, and I'm not around, just keep telling yourself it can't hurt ya cuz it's just a dream. Got it?"

"Why--" I gulped. "Why do you care?"

Frank let my shoulders go and turned towards his jacket, putting it on, and grabbing his toolbox. He stood there facing the unfinished wall, and heaved a sigh.

"Because I didn't care before." he replied. "Lots of times in my life I wished I could just turn back time and fix it."

I decided I should call my uncle and make some excuse so I don't have to go to work for now.

"You okay Lucy?" Rice's worried voice answered me. "You said you just need a couple of days to sort out your new apartment,"

"I'm fine, I just... I don't think I could come to work for a while. I hope you're okay with that. I... feel sick."

"That's fine, Lucy. Maybe the moving fatigue's getting to you. I'd come and visit you when I'm done with things here at the bar."

"No, I... I'd rather just sleep it off if you don't mind, don't have to visit me or anything. I'll be fine. I'll call you when I'm feeling better."

"Alright then. If you need anything, just tell me okay?"

"I will. Thanks, uncle."

Dropping the call, I thought to myself : What's with me finding it hard to separate the reality and my dream state, driving alone at night to his bar to work doesn't sound like a good idea at all. Plus right now I'm having a fever. Probably from the shock. So I should just stay at home until the nightmares go away. If it goes away... and I hope it will.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


"Lucille, I'm at the lobby right now, I'll come up to your place soon!"

"Wait, Ody -- You're coming to my place? I didn't tell you --"

"Oh Lucille, I'm a Harrison, there's nothing much in Toucan I don't know,"

I ran in circles. My house is looking like crap. I hate to have a guest with a place looking like this. I told her not to come, and she did anyways -- God I don't like it one bit.

"503 isn't it?"

"Y -- Yeah," I want to say no. I want to tell her off, but the words simply don't come out.

"I'll be right there," and the call was dropped.

I waited for a good 15 minutes. She should have been here, I thought to myself, walking towards the door. Nobody's outside. Only a long walkway and closed doors.

"Ody!" I called out. "Ody, it's not a good time to play hide and seek,"

No answer.

"Odelia?" I walked down the walkway towards the elevator. "You there?"

Only the quiet purr of fluorescent lights answered me.

The walkway seemed to be longer than how I remembered it. I kept walking towards the elevator but I'm still not quite there. Something's amiss...

"Odelia!" A cold chill running down my spine. I began to walk faster. Has something happened to her on the way up? "Odelia!"

"ODELIA!" I screamed. The walkway seemed to grow further and further. I'm already running by now, and the seemingly close elevator door is nothing but an illusion. I'm going nowhere. It's there, within a few steps away, but I couldn't reach it. I fear for Ody's safety.

In a blink of an eye my entire body froze. I couldn't move. I couldn't speak. It was so quiet I could hear my own heart beating -- and it's beating fast. Sweat ran down my cheeks. Something is definitely wrong... and that something is behind me. I could feel -- blackness, the void of the world, opening up behind me slowly, towering behind me like a monster. I could feel it... I could feel how close I am with it, and I could feel death.

I want to turn around and look, but if I do I don't think I'll be able to look anymore. I'll be dead. And so I fixed my eyes to the far corner of the walkway, and thought of... Frank.

"Frank..." I whispered. He was all I could think of. If I could just call him now he'd come and save me. Or at least try to.

The blackness, the void, is spreading out behind me, and my heart is drained from all feelings but fear. I'm completely hollowed out. It's a dreadful feeling. It feels exactly like the time when I saw my father's burnt body. I am... hollowed.

Suddenly it bent down in front of my face, and showed me it's horrible true self --

I woke up, screaming at the top of my lungs. I've never screamed that loud before in my life -- I felt like my chest is going to explode anytime. Frank stormed into my room, dropping his tools on the floor, plunged on my bed and held me tight against him.

"Lucille, Lucille, you've had a bad dream, just a bad dream," he whispered to me softly. My tears streamed uncontrollably, holding him tight, limbs still shaking terribly from the fear that hadn't quite left my soul.

"I saw-- I saw--"

"Shh, shh, just a bad dream, just a bad dream Lucille,"

"It was terrible, Frank, it was so terrible," I stammered. It was all the words I could think of.

"Ya don't be telling that to anybody now, not even me Lucille, it was just a dream, ya hear me?" Frank replied.

"I'm scared... I'm scared... please don't leave me here alone..."

"I'm not going nowhere now Lucille, I'm here, I'm right here,"

I looked over his shoulder at the wall clock. 7pm... I must have fallen asleep earlier...

"Please stay... please stay Frank, I'm scared..."

We just sat there holding each other for something that felt like an infinity. I slowly felt better, but I still can't get the feeling out of my system. I've never, ever felt so scared in my life... and I hope Frank will stay here and keep me company.

Pinehouse Apt.

Early in the morning I heard a loud knock on the door.

"Miss Lewis! It's Frank here. Wanna take some measures for ya new panels."

Rubbing sleep off my eyes, I opened the door to find Frank grinning broadly, carrying a rusty blue toolbox and a brown paper bag.

"Ah I see I woke ya up? Maybe a lil too early for ya?"

I mumbled a no. "That's okay, I'm fine, come in..."

"Oh that's right," he said as he walked in. "Ya work night shifts at Rice's. That must be hard to wake up early from once it became habit."

I mumbled something I don't even understood, rubbing my eyes and feeling really drowsy.

"I come early so you'd get your paneling done quickly. The quicker I get them measurements, the quicker I get them fixed," he explained, observing the broken panels near the living room. "Standard wood paneling, lucky you. All this would cost you... hmm... probably $80 to $120. This damn wall needs fixing too it seems..."

"That's great...what about the paint job...? How much would that be...?" I slurred, leaning against the sofa.

"Small place like this? $150 will do, don't tell Billy though," he winked. I felt my cheeks burning from that and looked away. He went back to observing the wall. "Most of the wall's rotting and the ceiling needs a fresh coat... this house been long ignored, Miss Lewis."

"Yeah, it is. The landlord told me that at first this isn't for rent. He said most residents in Pinehouse had a big extended family and on occasions when they'd come over to visit the residents would call him up and ask him if they could have those family members stay in here. It's like a guest house of sorts, people renting for a day or two, visiting their families here in Toucan. But then it kind of decreased, the people coming in Pinehouse, so he decided it's time to rent it out. He knew it looked bad, so he said I should call someone to fix the wall and he'd pay me back when it's done."

Frank nodded, and was quiet for a few minutes. Probably thinking about something. Elsa maybe? I think I know what's on his mind : Those 'extended families' aren't really their families, if what Frank told me last night is true. Maybe they're travelling pagans and they had taken Elsa away with them.

What blue eyes. I caught myself staring at him but I didn't stop. From afar he seemed to have brown eyes. It makes me feel something inside that stings, though. It's painful.

He shifts his eyes, slowly looking back at me, but didn't say a word.

"Move out if you can. Don't stay here for long." Grimly, he whispered each word to me. "Don't get their attention, but don't stay here long." He placed his measuring tape back into his toolbox quietly, and locked it shut.

"I'll come back with Mike later with the stuff for your wall. Leave some space for em out here, I think we'd only be able to finish all of it in 3,4 days, so ya house will be a little messy." Frank didn't even look at me when he walked towards the door. "Oh I brought you some breakfast, it's in the bag, almost forgot. Sorry for waking you up so early."

And he left.

Toucan may seem a huge, but everybody knew everyone to some extent. The Bohn family is no exception. They're a small family, really. Arnold Bohn, Frank's father, used to help Dorothy out with the cotton farm she owns, and Dorothy gave him a piece of land as a thank you gift. Ody told me this on a tour around her factory. Arnold had a brother Jo, who married Ody's distant cousin and had a child -- which could only mean Elsa. After Arnold, Jo and their wives passed away from old age, the only Bohns in Toucan are Frank and his cousin. It would only be understandable if losing Elsa gave Frank a great deal of sadness, she was all the family he's got -- and now she's gone.

Pinehouse is really creeping me out now, but there's no other choice for me. Everything else is out of my budget. Uncle did offer to pay for anything I ever needed, but I don't want him to. I want to earn everything myself. I mean he'd already given me more than the other waitresses in his bar by a margin, so asking him to pay for rent is just too much for me personally.

At least Frank's house is near...right?

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

He's Coming

I called Ody to tell her I've moved out of that god forsaken house. She was overjoyed and told me she'd come over, but I told her to come tomorrow because my new place is still messy and I wouldn't want her to see it before I get it decorated. So I said I'll come over to her place instead.

Ody was gardening when I reached her castle of a house. She's on leave every Tuesday and Wednesday, so she had work through the weekends in exchange. The time she's got in these two days are usually spent on her small garden or reading books. A classic lady, as if she'd been sucked out of an 18th century storybook.

"Lucille!" She exclaimed, full of her classic vigor. "Oh God, tell me, how's your new place? You never told me you're gonna rent out, you sneaky little thing!"

"Just right for me I suppose," I replied coyly. "It's a small place, but it's got a nice view of the valley and the mountain. Didn't tell you about it because I want it to be a surprise, I guess."

"I feel so proud of you. I never liked you staying in that house, knowing what my uncle Johnny could be."

"And Hannah makes it double the effing trouble," I interjected. Ody was slightly taken aback by me calling mother by her first name. I never did that before, but I figured it's time I start getting used to kicking Hannah out of my life.

"Do you need anything for your new house? Blinds? Lamps? Fluorescent stars? Jason Statham's poster? Anything?" Ody is kicking into her gift barrage mode again.

"No, no, no... I don't, well, probably new paint but I'll get that by myself, thank you,"

"Paint! Oh! Do call me over when you're going to paint your house! I love painting!"

"Uhh... I was thinking of calling Billy Bob to do that for me actually, since I also need some fixing with the paneling..."

Ody sighed. "Nothing for me to do at all for you Lucy?"

"...Okay, you can help me choose some new bed sheets for me..."

We were just walking past the stairs when Dorothy came out of her study. She looked skinnier than I remembered her, and a lot pale. Come to think of it I haven't seen Dorothy since a few months ago.

"Dorothy? You okay?" I asked. She looked up to me and gave me a weak smile.

"I'm okay, I'm fine..." she mumbled, before collapsing on the floor. Ody grabbed her and called the housekeeper to carry her back to her bedroom. I offered to help but Ody refused.

"You just wait for me in the living room, Mrs. Finnigan and I will send her ourselves. You're the guest." Ody insisted. I can't do anything but agree.

As they went upstairs I noticed that the door to Dorothy's study is slightly ajar. I've been friends with Ody for a few years now and this is the first time I've seen the mahogany door to the study unlocked. Ody did told me once that her nana doesn't like anybody going inside the study.

Looking around, and being relatively sure nobody was around, I sneaked myself through the door.

Standing before me, rows upon rows of books on a huge bookshelf. All leather bound books with no titles on the spine cover. Dust covers the entire room like a soft tulle blanket,except for a large marble top study table and the towering books sitting on a pile next to it. Perhaps Dorothy had been reading those recently, I thought to myself.

I reached towards a book on the table. Apparently it wasn't a story book or a research thesis like most leather bound books I've seen in my life : It's a journal.


That was all there is inside the book. HE'S COMING numerously written all through the pages. Suddenly it feels like danger is lurking inside of me, a chill running down my spine. Dorothy is afraid of someone. And this someone is coming for her. Should I warn Ody?

I flipped through the pages and the pressure of the fountain pen Dorothy was using while writing the words over and over again rapidly increasing. She's really pressing into each letter as if she wants the person she was writing about to go away each and every time she wrote those words. Then it became violent, the handwriting slowly growing intense, and on the last few pages she had pressed so hard against the paper it rips along the lines where her words were scrawled.

On the very last page, my blood froze and curdled upon reading the last sentence.


There was only one Q. Lewis in this town. My father.

I heard Ody coming down the stairs talking with the housekeeper. Immediately I sneaked out of the study and closed the door behind me, just right before Ody came.

"Why didn't you take a seat just now?"

"I uh, I don't feel like sitting yet." I lied. "What's wrong with Dorothy?"

"Mom told me Nana's having some problem with her liver. The doctor prescribed her medicines for that but she won't eat any. She won't eat anything for that matter. Just drinking cold water from the tap in the kitchen, nothing else. This has been going on for months now. Mom tried to talk to her, but Nana just told her that she just don't have any appetite for anything and if she eats anything she's just going to vomit it so she won't eat. I'm worried of her..."

"Did she say anything else to any of your family members? She could be feeling a little stressed out maybe?" I tried my luck.

"Well, no, but she's been keeping herself in the study longer than she ever did before. And I'd hear her cry inside the study but she won't open the door for anyone. She just wants to be left alone."

"That's weird..." I said. "Poor Dorothy."

"I hope she'd be alright," Meekly, Ody turned and looked outside of the window across the hall. "I really care about nana."

"She'll be alright Ody, just be sure to try to convince her to eat something." I replied. Ody sighed.

I bid farewell to Ody when it's getting dark and walked towards a convenience store for a TV dinner. My mind is so clouded with the mystery of what I've read in Dorothy's journal, I didn't realize where I was walking and walked into Frank Bohn. The Frank Bohn.

"Whoa there little lady!" he exclaimed as I fell butt first on the pavement. "Watch where ya goin', don't wanna run your pretty nose into a pole!" He helped me up and cackled as I try to hide my embarrassment. Frank Bohn is the guy of Toucan, and while many talk of his philandering ways, he's still the most handsome man in Toucan and ladies would literally surround him wherever he is (which in itself explains why he's been philandering at the first place). Though he doesn't seem like he's interested to find a partner beyond the sheets of his bed...

"I'm sorry-- I wasn't thinking much-- I uh--" I stammered.

"Naw it's okay Miss Lewis. I wasn't looking round myself," he tousled his short brown hair, grinning. I'm trying very hard not to squeal like a desperate little fan-girl. "Quite dark for a lady like ya to walk around here. Ya want me to accompany you?"

Oh God.

"I uhh-- I think I'm okay-- I'm just gonna get some-- dinner and I'll be fine if I--" I pointed frantically towards random directions.

"Toucan's quiet past sundown an' ya know that Miss Lewis. Be dangerous if ya walk alone. Bad guys loves themselves a pretty lady like ya, ya know. I'll walk with ya. Ain't got nothing to do anyways."

"But I uhh-- I don't--"

"Ahhh, ya afraid I'd do things to ya like them townsfolk keep saying about me? Don't worry Miss Lewis I assure ya, ya too young for me! I'm about as old as ya late father, God bless his soul!" He laughed. God, he looks like Norman Reedus, laughing like that. An older version of Norman Reedus, but still Norman ---

"Move along and get ya dinner, Miss Lewis. I'll be waiting here. Just gonna have a puff. Take ya time."

I could hear my brain imploding.

Frank Bohn is outside of this store, waiting for me to get my lame chilled mac and cheese and offered to walk me home. WHAT. THE. F---

"That'd be $14.99, Miss Lewis." I handed my money to the cashier in a daze.

"Don't worry Miss Lewis, Bohn ain't the kinda guy that'd like, hurt you or anything. I think he means well. It is kinda dark. You should go home quickly." The cashier boy is reading my mind. All of my wut.

Walking next to Bohn makes my head feel giddy. I don't really fancy him that much but, ahh , I don't know. It just feels weird.

"Moved out of ye family's house?" He said when I told him I'm not going to Franklin's Rd. "Boyfriend?" he grinned.

"Yes and no... I moved out cuz I can't stand mother, and I live alone. As a matter of fact I'd be calling Billy Bob tomorrow so you guys could survey my place and tell me how much I'd need to pay to fix the paneling." I said mindlessly. If he'd ask now I probably will tell him my ATM password too.

"Really? That bad, the paneling?"

"There were holes either from domestic violence or the person before me lived with lots of wild buffalo."

He laughed again. I'm starting to really like seeing him laughing.

"Funny girl, ain't ya? I'll come round tomorrow then, no need to call Billy. I'll tell him myself." He looked up when I said we've arrived.

"Ya live here, Miss Lewis?"

"Yeah, why?"

He hesitated. "No, nothing. I'll walk you to yer door."

"That's not necessary, I can--"

"I insist, Miss Lewis." He looked serious all of a sudden. "Come, lets go." He literally pulled on my arm to the apartment lobby.

He finally talked to me when we're both inside the elevator.
"Miss Lewis, you been picking bad real estate here. Ya know who yer neighbors are in this here building?"

"Uhh, not yet, why? What's wrong? You're scaring me."

"Bunch of weird ass people here," he leaned and whispered to me. "These people are pagans. The whole lot of em. Don't believe such things like Jesus, these people, I tell ya. They'd rather some old god of the forests. I'm surprised they let you live in here. Probably looking for a new recruit. Now I don't care ya be believing in what god ye want, but not that god. Please do me a favor. Last girl they be bringing in was my cousin Elsa, and I never saw her again since she joined."

Finally arriving to my apartment door, he gave me his phone number. "I live right across the street in front of this building. Kinda hard to see I guess, from your window. But if there be anything, call me up and I'll get ya help. Or call the police. But I doubt they be faster than I do."

I simply nodded, my brain tries it's very best to process the information I just got.

"I'll be coming round to fix that paneling for ya tomorrow," he suddenly said out loud, probably trying to get suspicion off if anybody is listening in on us. "Take care Miss Lewis. Good night."

"Thank you, Mr Bohn."

"Just call me Frank."


Packed what's left of my stuff as early as 5 in the morning and moved here to my new place, or else mother would go apeshit on me if she knew I moved out. She's effing unstable I tell you, and those cheap vodka she's been drinking isn't helping much. God, she drinks that thing like her life depended on it. It tastes like nail polish remover.

Yes, I drink. It's my job actually. I work at my uncle's Toucan Bar as a waitress. He pays me good since I'm his niece and all, but it doesn't mean I could skimp on work with him. He's easy to get along with but he hates it if people who work for him doesn't take their work seriously. It's his pride and honor, the bar. Built it from scratch himself with Father's help back then. Uncle Rice, as everyone call him, said he'd crawled, scratched, kicked and screamed trying to keep his bar alive when it just started; so when it finally became household name in Toucan, it's only natural he'd care for it like he does now.

Besides mother, Rice is the only family I've got. After my father passed away, he took it upon himself the expenses that I ever needed in school. Sometimes mother would come and ask from him too, but usually he'd shove her ass out of the door. Mother would curse at him, saying things along the lines of 'irresponsible' and 'stingy piece of shit'. Why wasn't it her being burnt alive?

Odelia told me that lately mother was so desperate for money she's been working at the cotton factory where Ody's the manager. Sober, Ody said, though her clothes often reek of beer, which definitely comes from her boyfriend. The boyfriend, Johnny, long since disowned by her mother Dorothy Harrison, had nowhere to go but freeloading and getting drunk in the house. Sometimes he'd hit me. I was in third grade when I had to be admitted into the hospital because he slammed an empty beer bottle on my head when I said I don't want to go out and buy him his beer.

The Harrisons, rich and famous in Toucan as they are, doesn't seem to hate me even though mother took Johnny away from their family. Dorothy never showed me any kind of resentment. She actually took pity of me, although the gesture of kindness never really exceeded a few dinners and words of comfort. 

Oh, Ody is her granddaughter, by the way. Spitting image of Dorothy when she was younger. Tall, red headed and beautiful. Standing in comparison with me, Odelia Harrison is like Scarlett Johansson while I'm a ferret that smells like onions. Ody wanted to study in Canada, but Dorothy said nobody would be taking care of the family's cotton factory if everybody's going out of the town to be 'somebody', so her dreams of becoming a dentist had to be sacrificed so her brothers and sisters could go for their respective dreams. She taught me a lot of things back in high school, brilliant student, she was.

She's the one who taught me all these computer things. Blogging (and back then it was Myspace too). She said it's the 'in' thing for city kids. Everybody is connected to the internet in many ways so they'd be able to communicate without even picking up the phone to call and silly things like that, she told me. I remember saying I don't believe such things, haha. Though this slowly changed when Ody insisted Billy Bob to ask DiaLine to set up better internet connections through our town. With the faster and stable connection, comes modernization of some point. When it used to be an uncommon sight for people to use smart phones and laptops, now it's a norm. Dorothy was right to keep Ody in Toucan for some reason. She has that thing in her, where she could improve people and how they live. Ody should run for mayor soon!

I'm ashamed to admit that I used to make friends with Ody so I could use her influence as a Harrison to get to know more about my father's incident. She is a good person through and through; there's no way I could use her like that. I never told her about it, but I think she knew and she doesn't mind helping me anyways.

Speaking of father, I did try my luck with Ody to see if she knew anything or any person of interest about my father's death. She said she was too young herself to remember much detail, but she did saw Dorothy talking to a federal agent (judging from the badge he flashed at Dorothy) some time after the incident. She heard that man mentioning a Quincy Lewis to Dorothy, and she instantly turned pale. That's all that she remembered, and Dorothy never speak of any federal agent ever again after the encounter. That strikes me as weird, but my gut feeling is telling me that I'm not crazy at all when I think father's case doesn't add up and this is the reason why.

Why would a federal agent come and see Dorothy about my father? What's the connection between them? I never once see this man came to our house let alone asking us questions about the incident. Did Dorothy knew something? I'll find my chance to understand it... for now I'll just have to lay low and wait for an opportunity to find out.

Hello World

Time surely passes by quickly the less you think about it. To be really honest I stopped counting a long while ago, 17 years ago to be exact. The moment they took out my dad's burnt corpse out and placed him inside a black plastic bag, I stopped caring what day it is or how long it has been.

My name is Lucille Elizabeth Lewis. And I miss my father terribly.

Every day I would come by his grave and I would talk as if he's still there. I had never once forgotten to do so. Come storm or snow, nothing would separate me from wishing that he'd still be alive. A lot of people come to me and told me that I should let it go and move on with my life, but I couldn't. I won't leave this town for anything in this world because my father is here. As long as he's close to me, I would make it in this world, even if it means I won't see or experience what people had called 'life' outside the borders of my small town of Toucan.

My mother is a bitch. I hated her more every time I remembered my father, and that would only mean I hate her every single second of my life. As I remember it, she cheated on my father with the son of her own friend, which is pathetic and disgusting considering how selfish she became when father confronted her about it. No speck of remorse, no guilt, no hesitation. She was the reason why he always stayed at the fire department. He hated the sight of her. So much that he would only see me after school or when I do come by and visit him there. He hated her so much, he wouldn't even come home to see me.

As a result my childhood has been spent mostly near the fire brigade, where my father would see me do my homework on the floor by his bunk bed, sharing his measly meal with me because mother would forget to feed me (too busy fucking her boyfriend to remember she had a child), and sometimes sleep there with him when mother starts being an alcoholic.

I had never been the clever one in school. My grades are average, and though I long to go and study in the big cities outside of this God-forsaken town nicknamed Toucan, I hated the fact that I simply couldn't do any better. Father, before he perished on duty trying to save a woman in her house, kept reassuring me that it's okay that I'm not doing so well compared to other bright students in school, just as long as I never stop trying my best in anything I do, and to be resilient.

Resilient. That's a fairly huge word for a five-year old.

It became clearer to me as I grow up into the seemingly friendly Lucy Lewis of Toucan, the 'girl-next-door' that'd always lend you a hand whenever she could, the funny and cheerful daughter of a town hero -- that resilience takes years to master. To hide it is another story altogether, though very much connected, these two.

You see I never really believed my father died in that fire years ago by accident. I knew something is up, and I knew people are hiding it from me. I spent a few years of my life here trying to push these people into talking to me, and that leads me to nowhere but pain inside of my heart listening to the same lies over and over again like a broken tape recorder. "Quincy Lewis was caught inside the house when the ceiling falls down from the fire, and we tried hard to get him out of there but he couldn't make it."

So I changed my strategy. It's wondrous how people forgive and forget. An angsty bitter girl slowly turning a new leaf, becoming a better person ever so slowly, blossoming into a lady.

This facade has been going on for years, and I had been lucky to be born very, very patient. Tomorrow a new chapter unfolds for me.