Encyclopedia of Emotions 18

The Fragile Heart

By: Coralyhr

Rane stared at the still water. It was not rising. ‘No. I can’t do anything about it.’

‘You didn’t do anything about it.’

‘I can’t. The world is that way,’ explained Rane, ‘You can’t stop the arrows from coming. I’ve tried to tread carefully so I don’t get hurt, but there’s only so far that I can go.’

‘So the world is at fault?’

‘Yes.’ She paused. ‘No. You are at fault too.’

‘Me?’

‘For being so fragile. For failing me.’

Bai smiled. Rane wondered if he heard the conversation. She felt awkward standing in the middle of a lake, talking to the ground.

‘Fragile…’

‘You broke so easily. Just a little bit. You didn’t survive very long did you.’

‘No. I didn’t. I always thought it was your fault.’

Rane was silent.

‘And apparently, you think it is my fault. Where do you think we are right now?’

‘Elusive.’

‘No. We are gone. You want to know what you’re not feeling anything. You don’t really want to know.’

‘I do want to know.’

‘Then why don’t you accept the answer?’

‘I’m not happy with it.’

‘You can’t be happy if the question is why are you not happy.’

‘I’m not satisfied.’

‘You can’t be satisfied-‘

‘Okay. I get it. What do you want me to do?’

‘Fix it.’

Rane sighed. ‘I’m not humpty dumpty. There are no king’s men to try and put you together. And they ultimately failed.’

‘All the king’s horses, and all the king’s men, could not put humpty dumpty together again. I know that nursery rhyme. It was your favourite one.’

‘I liked the colours of the pictures,’ said Rane. ‘And how they assumed that Humpty Dumpty was an egg. But maybe, maybe, Humpty Dumpty was a heart.’

‘Maybe. Yes. Maybe indeed.’

‘I can’t fix you. I don’t know anyone who can. But you have to live with it and stop coming up with a solution.’

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Encyclopedia of Emotions 15

The Way Out

By: Coralyhr

Drawing on paper stopped making me feel better. Better felt just like nothing. I could not make myself feel anything. I began to draw on my hand. With a sharp pen. There was black ink at first, then red mixed with the chemical pigments.

Poisonous, I thought. Maybe I could feel something. There was a searing pain. But when it faded and the picture washed off over the days, there was nothing again.

There was only so much I could draw on myself before someone noticed. When it was noticed, there was nothing to feel. I was not allowed to feel that anymore. Because it was killing me. I wanted to know how they knew I was still alive.

The counsellor was not interested in telling me. She wanted me to talk, but I had nothing to say. I would say something, but it was too late. The words were gone. The feelings were gone. I was gone.

And I only realised that I was gone because she asked me to say something. Here was a voice who wanted to hear mine. Someone whose eyes were not looking at the clock. She had a pass that allowed me to skip class. The room had air-con. There were toys on the table. A pretty doll too, but not the plastic kinds. It was porcelain and fragile. But it had kind eyes.

Say something, I told myself.

I told her I would not draw on my arm again.

She smiled. I wanted to see the smile again. But that was the last time I received that pass.

No, I did keep my promise. I did not draw on my arm.

Encyclopedia of Emotions 14

The Island of Fear

By: Coralyhr

YueLi handed her a dog bowl. The swirling liquid in it had the smell of bitter almonds. Rane knew what it was. “I’m not going to drink this,” she said.

“You will,” said the mouthless YueLi, her eyes flicking over Rane. “You always do what I say. I have all your secrets. I will tell people.”

“No,” said Rane. “You’re not like that.”

“You don’t know me at all,” YueLi said, tilting her head to one side. She began to fill another dog bowl with a dark red liquid from a glass bottle. The smell of iron filled the air. “You were never really thinking about me. It’s always been yourself.”

“No. I… I cared about you too.”

YueLi put the second bowl in her other hand. “If you really did, you’ll drink it.”

“It’s poison,” Rane said.

YueLi stared at her. “It’s not.”

“I can smell it.”

She took out a knife and held it out. “Come on, be a good friend. You can do it, Rane. You just need to try a lot harder.” She tapped Rane’s cheek with the flat of the blade, “One day you’ll be good at it. Maybe.”

Encyclopedia of Emotions 9

The Page of Doubt

By: Coralyhr

The pinkish fur-ball yelled at them to stop, plunging his own claw into a comrade on the left. There was a shrill cry now and a bloodbath ensued. Rane could not stand it anymore. She began to close the door.

“Wait!” called the pinkish fur-ball. “Trust me, it’s not what you think it is.”

Rane stared at it. “Yes. I think that’s just what it is.”

The pinkish fur-ball kicked PinPin and climbed up his companions to stand so that he was level with Rane’ s head. “What do you mean?”

“I can’t trust anyone here. The only thing I can trust is that I can’t trust anyone. You are all lying to me. Bai is lying to me. The old woman is lying to me.”

“Bai never lied to you. He can’t.”

Rane let go of the door knob. “What do you mean he can’t?”

“That’s who he is. He can’t lie to you.”

“You can lie to me. Maybe you’re lying by saying that he can’t lie to you.”

“Fine. But he’s your guardian. He can’t lie to you.”

Then the pinkish fur-ball was kicked off the pile of the little creatures and disappeared into the foray.

Rane had other things to ask, but he was gone.

PinPin (who Rane could spot easily simply because he was matted in the most blood) pressed himself against the mesh. “Rane. Rane. You didn’t go into the other room did you?”

She shook her head. “No. There’s nothing inside.”

PinPin hooked his claws on the mesh. “There is. Touch the walls. You’ll see.”

“Why would I want to do that?”

He looked hurt. “You’re really suspicious aren’t you?”

She pushed blonde hair behind her ear. “You would be too, if every time you try to figure something out, it kills you.”

PinPin kicked one of his friends away so Rane could see him clearly. “I would, I think. If I had anything to figure out. But if you never know, it will still kill you.”

Encyclopedia of Emotions 6

The Meaning of Home

By: Coralyhr

She stepped towards one of the walls with the photographs. They depicted stick figures with faces were all coloured in with a dark pencil. Rane idly guessed a 6B pencil. The glass from some of the framing was cracked. There were knife marks in the walls and marks of furniture having crashed into the wall.

Rane noticed the windows had a curtain bar above them but there were only tatters of the cloth once used as a curtain.

She turned to look at the four doors. The knobs of the door were grey but there were red handprints smudged all over. The carpet at the edge had uneven dark red patches. Her stomach churned uncomfortably.

The old woman still had pale white skin and pure white hair and black eyes with no irises. But now, her frown was a smile. She was still holding the glass. It was empty since Rane had drank the liquid inside but now it was half full again with a swirling red liquid the same colour as the stains below the doors to the rooms.

The old woman held up the cup and swirled the liquid. The smell of blood filled the air. “It would have been better,” she said, her smile un-twitching, “if you hadn’t struggled.”

“I…” Rane said, swallowing the bile rising in her throat, “would have wanted to know anyway.”

“Now you do. What difference does it make?”

Enlightenment?

Encyclopedia of Emotions 5

Treading on Eggshells

By: Coralyhr

Rane took a step sideways. Bai pulled on the chain with all his strength. She cried out, the knives and swords scratching her on either side like oversized sharp fingers.

She tripped over the last knife and tumbled to the ground, all her wounds crying out. Her palms hit the ground with a thump and she crouched there, trembling. Blood dripped from a wound on her cheek and stained the stark white floor.

Her vision blurred because of the pain. She was gasping, but she barely heard herself. Rane squinted at the droplets of blood that were forming patterns on the floor.

“Stand up,” Bai said, smirking.

Rane wiped blood that dripped into her eye. “Shut up,” she hissed. “It’s painful.”

He shrugged and tugged at the chain, jerking her upright. All her wounds screamed. “If you stay here until the wounds heal, you’ll be here forever.”

“Why,” she coughed out the word. Her neck began to hurt again.

“Time heals wounds but there’s no time in Elusive.”