Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Astyanax of Troy

The blade came against my skin, and it felt great. I finally could see all these things crystal clear. I was free at last. I wished I had done this long time ago, but I was too young, and Troy gave me nothing to fulfill my desire. A year ago, Odysseus had taken me away from the deserted land. I had imagined all the knives and poisons I could use to reach to the light. Troy had been mean to me, both the people and the sand. The sand was a curse. It absorbed the sun light and burn my feet since I was able to stand on my own feet. It absorbed all the lives of animals and trees. The sand was evil because it wouldn’t absorb my life. My soul was burried within, but it still allowed me to stand and live. It hurt more and more to walk on the empty sand with an empty soul day by day.


So last year, when Odysseus’s confidant came to Troy to take me away, I knew that I could find a way. The confidant told me that Odysseus took me as a replacement of my dead grandmother. When I heard his words, there’s a silent whisper in my mind. A way out. I must find my mother. The land where Odysseus lived was amazing. This could have been Troy if I was a boy. He was a devil however. He had a cold heart. As cold as the pain left in my skin everytime he hit me. I had been trying to run away to seek for my mother. He caught me, but he liked me so he did not kill me. Equally painful,  he would hit and kick me, and desecrate my being as a girl. One day while doing it, he shouted to me, “You look just like your dead mother.” When I heard his words, there’s a silent whisper in my mind. A way out. That very afternoon I sneaked into the kitchen and took a rusty knife from the rack. The blade came against my skin, and it felt great. I was free at last.

Sisilana D. M. Poyk
A student of English Dept. Universitas Indonesia who plays a bit of cricket. This story is inspired by a greek tragedy title The Trojan Woman by Euripides. The story was written with a twist which positions Astyanax as a female character instead of a male character like in the original story.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Faith's Scream

     Faith always thought that the universe was absurd as universe was an ocean of questions. In her childhood, her father always taught her how to pray that there was a force, a very powerful force possessed our beloved universe. The only one, the Authoritarian. The Creator of the being, the human and all, and the Ruler of the universe. The Supreme Being that had existed a long- a very long time ago even before the first human being was created, of course.

     Faith’s father said that we had to worship the Great Creator at least five times a day and did many others. He added that these rituals were a way to express of thanks to HimHim? Honestly, Faith even did not know the appropriate way to call the Creator as she had not met Him, or Her? When she asked her father about that notion, he answered that the Supreme was not a He or She, we just called Him (?) with many of His beautiful names, the Most Merciful, the most Compassionate, the Monarch, the Tranquility, the Almighty, the Faithfuland so forth. (Faith remembered, at that time, she had to remember the names, and she just ended in the 33rd name of them).

     Faith grew, now, she was a teenager. She entered the dormitory and got along with her many new female friends who wearing the same hijab as her. The dormitory was a very big place, but not a very different place at all. Here, a question about the Supreme would never be allowed. Hmm, why it had to be allowed, really? as she, and many others of her friends, had never thought that there was doubt about the Supreme. He was absolute. No one should question about His existence, her teachers had said once, hmm, maybe more. Therefore, she never questioned about Him anymore so that she rarely questioned her father anymore.

     One day, Faith went to a new school. The school was a city in her neighborhood. If she always walked to her dormitory during elementary school, now she had to go to her new school by a bicycle or sometimes her father would take her up with his motorcycle. Faith would be in her father back for some minutes before she could see the building of her new schoolIf you asked Faith about the school, there was nothing to be told really. The school was small, far smaller than her dormitory, she could say. But, despite its small size, she found many different things she must not have found in her old school. Then she remembered that she had started to ask her father again. About other names.

     When Faith entered college, she met more different friends. Some of them had the same of name about the Creator just like her. Some others had different names, but some of the names had already been familiar when she was in my middle and high school. Time by timethe names had extra addition, her God, her friend’s God, another friend’s God, and so on...... the names that actually all of us-don’t-know-who-or-what grew longer and longer.

     Another day, Faith met many new friends. They called themselves as agnostics or even atheists. Since then, she would have never asked anything anymore to her father as she thought her father would answer the same and she knew she would not have never satisfied.

      Faith is thinking whether she will become more mature, she thinks she knows everything but the world is still absurd till now. She has a question she have kept in mind for very long time. Can human intelligence overcome the intelligence limitations? Or can human intelligence recognize the limitations of intelligence itself, she always asks herself, not certain. 

Name: Hikma Rizkita Putri
This story's idea is actually in my mind for long time. It is interesting that I can write a simple story for such an abstract mind.
Time Machine: The Precious Lost

The day changed. The new sun rose. But, it’s still cold, and it’s my second time going there. I was still nerves getting there. And it’s my first day helping him to create the machine.
I stood by his door again, and it’s still unlocked. I was still confused why he did it. I entered the house and came to that room. I still saw the machine standing there. Suddenly, an old man came to me and let me sit in. He told me about the machine and the reason why he built it.
“Just do what I say, okay?” he asked.
“Y-yes, sir” I answered.
“Ok.. Let’s start it!”
Even it’s the first time for me helping a scientist, I worked the hardest. He taught me everything about the theories for creating the machine while I was helping him to clean the place. I still hoped the machine finished so that I could see my family in the past. When I made coffee, suddenly I heard a man shouting.
“FINALLY!! Now I can solve this riddle!! Now it’s almost 80%!!” the professor shouted.
I rushed to him and asked him what’s the matter. The professor only gave his laugh.
“I can break Novikov’s theory, Alex!!” he laughed.
“Novikov?!” I asked.
“Yeah!! That scientist! The one who began a bullshit about time travel! Now, we can finish it, Alex!!” he laughed loudly.
It’s also good news for me. Finally, I could be closer to meet my family again.
“Let’s work for it now! Just continue your work…”
“Y-yes, sir!” I answered.
It’s in cold night, but it’s not as cold as the workplace. The spirit kept us on fire. I hoped the machine would be done faster.

I had been there for more than months. Sometimes, I didn’t come home, just staying there and waiting for the next day. I even almost forgot my wife and my son. I even didn’t celebrate the New Year and Valentine with Suzy. Sometimes, I also didn’t pick up Suzy’s call. And I didn’t tell Suzy what I had been doing. I just told her that it was ‘works’. Anything what I said, Suzy still believed in me.
In a cloudy night, I came back home from the workplace. I arrived. Later I saw Suzy on the bed. She’s sitting there and looked like waiting for something.
“Where have you been?” she asked.
“Working…,” I answered.
“Where have you been?!” she rose her voice.
“J-just working… what’s the matter, honey?” I asked.
“I’m just wondering…,” she said. “I’m just wondering where you’ve been. You just looked so busy for several days.”
“A-Actually…,” I said.
“What’s it?!” She asked curiously.
“N-nothing, honey”
“Just tell me, honey… I’m just worried about you… You’ve quite changed…”
I was confused to answer that question. If I’d told her, she might have stopped me. However, I couldn’t hurt her trust. At least, I needed to convince her about this experiment.
“You know about the mad scientist in TV last winter?”
“Who?” she asked.
“The one trying to break the logic of time, honey… This old man tries to create Time Machine, honey…”
“So??” she asked confusedly
“I’m helping him now… At first, it’s a task from the boss… But, I want to focus on this machine…,” I told her.
“B-but, honey…”
“Can you imagine if this machine can really work? I can finally meet my family, honey… can you imagine?” I convinced her.
“B-but, honey… You don’t need that… You’ve got me and Bobby! What’ll happen if that machine can’t really work?”
“Trust me… It’ll work out… Just trust me honey…,” I convinced her again.
“Noo.. Just listen to me… It won’t work… If yeah, it’ll need to get you for a long time honey… What happen to me and Bobby? Maybe, we won’t feel the Christmas together anymore, honey…,” she started to cry
“W-what do you mean?!”
“You got Bobby and me, Alex… I can’t stand this anymore… it looked like you dumped me and Bobby, honey…,” she cried.
I hugged and calmed her. She sobbed to me. It looked like that I was the devil. I realized that I’d left her and Bobby. But, I couldn’t change my mind. I insisted to believe what I’d done.
I stopped my hug and started to convince her.
“Honey, just trust me… I won’t leave you and Bobby even I’m still helping the professor. Just trust me…”
“Okay… Promise me honey? I’ll bring Bobby if you break it.”
“Yeah.. I promise…”

The talk ended. She went to Bobby’s room. I sat on the bed, and finally slept with doubted feeling.

M. Hakim Afrianto

I’m just a-passing-through writer. Still consider many things to be written. Confused in the middle of stars. But, still need to survive. That’s why I’m a-passing-through writer. Need to get more experiences. So, I can become a good writer.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

“Are we friends?”


“I said,” my cheeks burned like crazy, “what exactly are we? Are we friends or are we something more?”

He seemed at loss for words.  “I.. I don't know.  I mean, it's up to you.”

“I really like you,” I said.

“I really like you too..”

“But I don't date guys I can't marry, so I think we should.. definitely not date each other.  I don't know, I'm confused.  Can I put my arm here? I always walk this way when I'm with someone.  Not with just anyone though, but like, with people that are close to me.  But I don't really hold hands with just any guy, so don't get the wrong idea.” I was nervous and elated and confused all at the same time, so I blabbered while linking my arm through his.  I didn't even know where the hell did I get the courage to touch him, or even why I thought it would be okay to do so after telling him that I like him then let him down.  All I know is that I really like him, and I was so happy that he liked me too.  He looked at our intertwined arms and then at me, like he couldn't decide if I was drunk or crazy or both.  “It's fine.”

“Have you ever dated outside your religion before?”


“How did it work out?”

He shrugged.  “It was okay.  Look, what I'm trying to say that I like you regardless of who you worship, okay? It doesn't matter to me.  But please, please, let's just go steady.  I want to love you as much as possible, and I can't do that unless I know for sure that you're in this 100% like me.”

“What about being friends-with-benefits?”

He shook his head.  “I don't believe in that kind of bullshit.”  I didn't believe it either.
My lips pursed.  Usually I am great with letting people go, but for some unknown reason, I just couldn't let this one slip through my fingers.  We walked in silence for the rest of the way, but by the time we arrived at the bus stop, I had made up my mind.  “What if we give it a try?” I looked up at him gingerly, hoping that he wasn't tired yet of my indecisiveness.

He smiled. “Sure.”

When you get into a serious relationship, you wish that you will stay together for a long time.  That's why sometimes when one party is breaking up with the other party, the other party will be left dumbstruck, especially if the break up is out of the blue.  I had a few experience regarding that myself.  But that day, I knew that this thing between us will definitely end.  Unlike other relationships, I know that one day we'll have to say goodbye to each other.  Now this kind of relationship I have no experience of.  I kept telling Michael about it, but he was able to calm me down every time.

You see, what's different about Michael is that when he loves, he does it so perfectly that everybody can see it from miles away, but is never restricting.  He always tells me that he loves me, and he often hugs or kisses my forehead in front of people.  But he's never possesive.  He lets me hang out with my friends, girls and guys, and doesn't complain when I spend too much time with them.  He lets me go out drinking with them, and if I get too drunk, he would come to wherever I am and drives me home.  It's the little things that he does that makes me comfortable.  In fact, a few weeks after we are officially going out, I told him all of my emotional baggages.  He listened to every single word and asked a few questions here and there.  Then he frowned rather comically and stayed quiet for a long time.  I grew more and more nervous as the seconds went by.

“You got anything to say?”

He shook his head.  “Just amazed that a person as tiny as you can carry so many baggages inside.”

My face began to fall.  “Oh.  So does that mean.. you.. you have a problem with that?”

“No.  If anything, that makes me want to love you even more.”  He smiled and hugged me.

“You don't think my baggage is bad? I think they're really bad and there are just so many of them.”

“They're okay, babe.  Everybody has their own demons inside.”

The next day, he told me that he cut up a thug's nose in a fight and that all of his six best friends died in various fights against the neighborhood's thugs.  He looked so scared when he told me, but I told him I'm not leaving. 

“How come?”

Because it was such a beautiful day, we kind of had a picnic in the university's park.  Except instead of food, we had cigarettes.  I got up and brushed the back of my jeans to get the grass off.  “Everybody has their own demons inside,” I said.  He looked at me, dumbstruck.  I smiled and extended my hand to him.  “C'mon, let's get something to eat.”

Andhini Rahayu

A third-year English student of University of Indonesia.   She has loved reading ever since she could remember—brochures, pamphlets, magazines, newspapers, comic books, young adult novels, adult novels, romance novelsbut mostly romance novels.  Bloody romantic, that one.  She draws her inspiration from the things she read and the lives around her.  She plans to write more in the future, especially for young adults who had a challenging time growing up like her.