Love Letter

I had been struck by an angel. A radiant glow had entered my classroom which was stuffed with folk like myself; your average lot of messy hair, mismatched clothing, and average countenance. She was anything but. Her eyes shone with the brilliance of pure angelite which immediately drew my attention and was why I referred to her as such an ethereal being. Strawberry blonde hair was tied back into two beautiful plumes that shot out and dangled listlessly in the air, without a care in the world, but still holding the eminence of a princess. Yes, surely she was one. She had drifted to my own place of study, which was well below her station. Due to an unforeseen clerical error, for the time being she would study with us commoners until such paperwork could be sorted.

The Princess’ cheeks were rosy from the cold and brisk mid-October winds. The weather had quickly transitioned from an early autumn delight of coloured leaves flying through a light breeze to a frigid wasteland of crunchy leaves hurtling by with sharp gusting blows. Her pink winter coat kept all eyes on her. The hood was adorned with the ears of what must have been some sort of kingly bear, for I had never heard of such a thing as a pink bear in the parts of the world that I lived. The Royal Family’s Grand Master of The Hunt must have tamed such a magnificent creature who, upon seeing such a princess as the Princess, wished to watch over and keep her warm in the upcoming winter months. And there the bear must have transformed itself into a warm and cozy coat, the perfect size for all occasions. Her two mittens were also adorned with the visage of two red foxes who must have lent their wit to the Princess in the same manner as the pink bear.

I had been standing in the middle of the classroom, a wooden building block in my hand. I had been creating great structures for the better part of our late morning break. The rapturous laughter and good faith between my fellow craftsmen had been disrupted by that knock at the door. There she entered. When I claimed I had been struck by such a presence I had not been over exaggerating, as when she entered the room I found myself off balance by her beauty. I took a step forward, being pulled by her aura and lost my footing, falling forward. The block in my hand fumbled to the ground right where my knee desired to place itself. The blunder; an instant. The pain; absolute. Tears welled in my eyes and I began to cry out, my knee forming a bruise underneath my denims.

The instructor diverted her attention from the entrance of the Princess for my own wails. To this day I can barely manage to hold in my horror recollecting how I stole away the deserved attention of the Princess with my unkempt cries. Mrs. Bielenberg, whom we all affectionately called Mrs. Burger, rushed to my aid, and to my contempt, no matter her attempts my cries would not be quelled. And herein I remember that it must have been fate that I fell that day as the Princess herself began to approach. My cries began to die out as I noticed that there was a presence standing before me. I sat on the ground, my knee in my hand with a tear-stained face as I was to greet the Princess herself. In that single moment, all pain was alleviated from me. The Princess held a glowing smile on her face as she took from her jacket pocket a small parcel and held it out to me. On the belly of her fox companion laid a chocolate bar, Halloween-mini-sized, and she offered it to me with a slight gesture forward of her hand. All of my assumptions of her were affirmed. Indeed, she was a celestial deity that I had never believed to be of existence on earth.

I took the parcel and stared down at it in my palm. I would treasure such a gift for all eternity, a celestial treasure form the heavens itself. “Now what do we do when someone gives us a gift Jacob?” Mrs. Burgers voice penetrated my focus on the treasure. I looked back up toward Mrs. Burger, my jaw slack, my face dumbfounded. I tried to work out the answer to such a question but I was left with nothing. Deep down I knew the answer but with the current situation, my brain couldn’t work its way around such a thing. “Come now Jacob, say thank you to Marie for the chocolate.”

The Princess’ name – Marie. Lightning shot through my body and out my fingers upon hearing something so sublime. She was nothing like the rest of the rabble that I was so used to. So different from the three Annas, the two Jessicas, the Emilys and Natalies, the Carolines and Sarahs. This Marie was nothing of the sort. Her name must have stood for everything that was bright and good, I knew this at an instant. So caught in my awe of the Princess’ name I continued to sit in dumb silence. Mrs. Burger spoke up again, this time a little more terse, “Jacob, come now say thank you to Marie, don’t be rude.”

At the shock of being pulled from my thoughts I straightened up and looked toward the Princess, her kind eyes on me, a smile on her face. One shock turned to another as I was so taken back from her smile. I sputtered out, “Um, uh. Thanks…” Not as suave as I had hoped, but considering the situation, it was as good as I could manage.

“Good! Now was that so hard?” Mrs. Burger chimed in with her cheery voice but I barely heard it at all as I stared deep into those angelite eyes.

“You’re welcome! This is my fay-vore-it!” She spoke each word with a slight nod of her head, emphasis on each one. Each word felt as if it held its own importance beyond that of a sentence as she spoke in a strong and loud voice.

Soon after, Marie was introduced to the class by Mrs. Burger. She had hung up her companions on the hanger in her cubbyhole at the back of the class and was now wearing a gorgeous pink gown that exploded out at her waist with frills all about. I learned later that such an elegant outfit was referred to as a tutu, again showing how unique she was from the rest of us. Her family had just moved here, surely from overseas as she was the princess of a kingdom far away, and that was why she was joining the class later into the semester. She smiled widely at the whole room and in her way of speaking that held such import, she told the class her name was Marie, hiding the fact she was a princess from the rest of the students. I smiled in reply to hers, delighted that I was the only one that had figured out she was a princess.

The rest of that day was a blur. I watched Marie as we went through the usual activities. Her voice imprinted itself into me. Her laughter was angelic. I spent the rest of class that day barely listening to Mrs. Burger, or anyone else for that matter. I was simply smitten.

Class ended in a flash that snapped me out of my trance. Parents were already arriving to pick up the other children. I sat on the carpeted floor and watched as Marie gathered her animal companions along with her bag. Her mother arrived to escort the Princess home but before leaving, she turned around to me and waved, “Bye-bye Jacob!” and before I could reply she was out the door.

My mom arrived shortly thereafter, wondering why I was sat in the middle of the room and not dressed in my jacket for our trip home. All I could tell her was, “Uh… I dunno,” for she would never understand what had transpired that day and the fire that had lit in my chest.

At home, I played with my blocks, perfecting designs that I would show my fellow craftsmen at school the next day. However, I couldn’t focus. My mind was stuck on the Princess and it did not dare to leave such thoughts for a moment. The door opened, “I’m home!” a loud voice bellowed out from the entryway. I rushed over to my dad and wrapped my arms around his legs. “Hey buddy! How are you today?” He called out with an excited voice as he crouched down to rustle my hair.

“Good!” I replied. I couldn’t find the nerve to tell him that someone had taken his place as the most loved person in my life so I simply left it there. My dad picked me up in his arms in a hug.

“Welcome home honey,” my mom warmly called out as she rounded the corner to the front door. “You won’t believe what I found today in one of those old boxes when I was cleaning up in the closet.” She moved up to my dad and hugged him with me in between. This was my favourite kind of hug, a Jacob sandwich they would often call it.

“Mmm! My two favourite people,” he kissed my mom on the cheek. “What did you find honey?”

“It was some of your old love letters to me. I even found the one that made me fall in love with you in the first place.”

“Oh man, that’s kind of embarrassing now isn’t it? I don’t think I’d want to read a love letter that my younger self wrote.” My dad jokingly replied followed with a laugh and a pinched face. Their conversation continued but I had stopped listening. My mind began to run at lightning speed, was there really a letter that could make someone fall in love with you?

I interrupted my parents, “What’s a love letter?” They looked at each other, both smiling, something they often do in reply to one of my questions.

My mom was the first to answer, “Well honey, a love letter is something that you write to someone when you love them very much and you want them to know just how much you love them.”

“Uh… and it makes the other person love you?” I asked slyly, not letting any of my true intentions slip. However it didn’t seem to matter as my mom had mind reading powers that she had used on several occasions in the past. One such occasion was when I had accidentally knocked over a glass of juice, spilling it over the living room carpet. Somehow, she knew it was me even though I told her I had nothing to do with it. She employed these powers yet again as a wily smile came to her face.

“Well, let’s see. It doesn’t really make them love you but, if they already do love you then the letter might make them realize it. Does that make sense honey?”

In response, I wiggled out of the Jacob sandwich and made way for my work table. I grabbed a sheet of paper on they way and hurriedly sat down at the dark blue plastic station that I used to complete various works. It had been a gift from an older cousin whom had outgrown its uses and that now suited me greatly. I looked upon my collection of writing utensils, one that was not quite exhaustive, as I had to settle on sky blue. It was chosen for the closeness it held to the celestial shade held within her eyes that spoke of things beyond this earthly life.

I put crayon to paper and began to write. I felt my heart flow out onto the page. The letter was the whole amalgamation of all of my feelings for such a creature as the Princess. I only hoped that my words would pass to her as I had tried to express them. Time flew by as I filled the page, and soon, it was complete. I finished the letter by folding it in half and writing the Princess’ name on the front in bold lettering; “MARY.”

I steeled my resolve the rest of the night and the entire morning getting ready for school the next day. I ran through how I would give her the letter in my head, over and over. It had to be perfect, for a princess would demand no less than that. I dressed in my jacket and boots, my mom tying them up for me as I sat on the bench by the front door. Suddenly a thought came to me and I sprinted to the kitchen, one boot tied and the other not. My mom called out to me but I was already at my destination. I opened the cupboard and grabbed a Halloween-mini-sized chocolate, stuffing it into my pocket with the letter before returning to the door.

“What was that all about honey?” she asked.

“Uh… I just forgot something.”

“Okay, well are you ready to go now?” I nodded as she finished tying my other boot. We got into the car and I was on my way to see her.

She was already there when I arrived. I felt a nervous sweat encompass me and I tore at my jacket to try and get it off. My mom was already gone having said her good byes and I love yous. I was on my own. It was five minutes until class would start as I nervously walked from my cubby to the Princess herself. I held the letter and the chocolate in my hand, attempting to not crumple it. To my ultimate dismay, my nervousness pulled my hands into clenched fists and the paper crumpled with it. I stared at the letter in shock, the crayon-written ‘MARY’ now a creased mess, far from the perfection that a princess would desire. I decided that I would rewrite the letter and try again tomorrow when the Princess’ hand grabbed it out of my hands. I had unwittingly walked right up to her.

“Is this for me?” she asked in her emphasized speech, fit only for royalty. I was shaken to my core. Right after I had decided to write it again and try tomorrow, fate was chosen for me.

“Uh… yeah,” I got out, not wanting to look a fool. I held out my other hand with the chocolate in it, now slightly misshapen. “This too.” I said with my eyes unable to meet hers.

“Thanks!” she said, her face beaming. She unfolded the paper and began to read.

TO MARY

You are a PRINCES

Your eyes are ANGLE eyes.

Your smile is BIG! and NICE!

This is a LOVE LETER.

I LOVE YOU!

FROM JACOB

Marie looked up from the letter, her face still beaming, “Thanks Jacob! I love you too!” I looked back at her and all I could do was reply to her smile with my own.

Legends of Love and Luck – Chapter Five

A mysterious ship appeared on the water, approaching the docks of Green Capital. It was of a curious hexagonal design, and sailed under a flag unknown to any of the spotters at the port authority.

Legends of Love and Luck is a collaborative epic novel composed by Balckwell and Hoober, for publication on the Soup Web Zone. It is inspired by Classical Chinese Novels such as Journey to the WestRomance of the Three Kingdoms, and Bandits of the Water-Margin. Odd-numbered chapters will be composed by Balckwell, and even-numbered chapters by Hoober. We hope you enjoy the result.

Captain Shufflepuck Sails Into Town / Saint Stunk Discovers a Hullabaloo

A mysterious ship appeared on the water, approaching the docks of Green Capital. It was of a curious hexagonal design, and sailed under a flag unknown to any of the spotters at the port authority. A rowboat was sent out to reconnoitre with it in order to discover its origin as well as its purpose. In the rowboat was River Thrushing and his sister, Steam Wasping. They attached their boat to the mysterious ship. A ladder was thrown down, and they climbed aboard.

A man was awaiting them at the top, arms akimbo. This was Captain Shufflepuck. He was a burly man with perpetually sunburned pale skin. He wore a purple cap atop his head, an eyepatch over his left eye, and a great, grey, rugged coat. Beneath his misshapen moustache was a wide mouth bent into a cruel grin. River Thrushing and Steam Wasping approached him cautiously.

“My friends!” Captain Shufflepuck yelled in a booming voice, his arms spread out wide, “Welcome aboard! This is my ship, the Heophisotpopehles!”

“A fine ship, this Heophisotpopehles,” River Thrushing said, gazing around at the piles of multicoloured cloth strewn around the deck. “And where is it you are sailing from, Captain…”

“Shufflepuck! I have sailed all around the Iron Sea, my friends. Where I am from, even I can not say. Perhaps I was born of the sea! Alas, it does oft treat me as a mother may. One day scolding me, the next day providing a comforting embrace. Ah, the sea, it is my home, my mistress, my mother, my father, ah…” His words drifted away as he stared out into the great ocean.

“Just write the Isle of Ayle,” River Thrushing whispered to Steam Wasping, whose pen was wavering over the empty space next to “Origin” on a large form. “Well, Captain,” he said in a louder voice towards Shufflepuck, “what brings you to the Green Capital? Unfortunately, we can not let you dock without certain permissions, which in order to be granted require certain information…”

“My friend! I have been invited here! Were you not informed?”

“It seems not.” River Thrushing glanced at his sister, and then back at Shufflepuck. “Who was it that invited you?”

“Ah… It was a man wearing one glove too large for him, and one too small. He slouched before me, and told me, in a faint whisper, that my presence was required in the Green Capital. Of course, this was a few years ago now! I have been a little busy, ha ha!” Captain Shufflepuck’s laughter was so vigorous that it pushed him backwards a few feet.

“That sounds like Mr. Chimney…” Steam Wasping whispered.

“It does.” said River Thrushing. “And where did you meet this man?”

“It was in a dream, my friend! I remember it well. I was sailing into a land full of beautiful mermaids. They were calling to me from their rocks, and I remember that I was halfway through removing my breeches, when the man appeared before me. ‘Ah,’ I said to him, ‘We have not met before! Are you here to join in the festivities?’ He shook his head, and that was when he whispered his invitation. Of course, the dream fell apart from there, and try as I might, I have not been able to navigate my mind palace back to that delightful dream again since! Ah, but once I do my friends, once I do…”

River Thrushing cut him off. “Well, Captain, I would confirm this information with Mr. Chimney himself, but unfortunately he is out of town right now.”

“Curse my luck!” Captain Shufflepuck guffawed. “It is just like me to show up at in the right place at the wrong time! Alas, I will park my ship wherever is convenient and wait. My crew will appreciate the shore leave!” He looked around the ship, excited. The deck was entirely devoid of any crew. “And how long will I be waiting for our esteemed friend?”

“It will be within a week’s time,” River Thrushing replied. Steam Wasping opened her mouth to speak, but he nudged her with his elbow. “For the time being, you may park your ship in the dock, but unfortunately, none of your crew members will be able to disembark until we receive the proper authorization.”

“Hmm… the lads will not be happy,” said Shufflepuck, shaking his head, “but it is unavoidable. We have been at sea for many months now; one more week is but a short time to wait.”

“I am glad you understand,” said River Thrushing. “We will be off now. A pilot will be here shortly to direct your ship to a suitable docking location.” With that, River Thrushing and Steam Wasping descended the ladder and rowed back to shore.

“A queer fellow,” River Thrushing said, once they were out of earshot.

“It is not beyond Mr. Chimney’s power to employ dream summons,” said Steam Wasping. “But I wonder why he would summon such a man as that. It seems that whatever task he invited him to do would be irrelevant by now, though…”

“Perhaps he knew it would take him this long,” River Thrushing wondered aloud. “It could be that Mr. Chimney meant for him to arrive at exactly this time.”

“Do you really think so? Curious…”

“I’m just thinking out loud,” said River Thrushing. “With the recent troubles and Mr. Chimney’s disappearance, I’ve been having to think much more than usual. Perhaps I’m growing paranoid.”

“Perhaps…”

They reached the shore in silence.

    *       *       *

As Saint Stunk forded the ancient dying river of Oxun, she could percieve the disctinct smells of village life. She altered her course towards the smells, hoping to find some hospitality on this long, lonely trip. As she approached a small forest village, Boddhisatva Green Onion descended from the sky on a cloud.

“Take care, Saint Stunk!” she cried. “There is disaster in this village. I fear that a demon has hidden itself among the villagers, and is sowing great disharmony. The famous Wa Hu school of martial arts has split asunder, and its disciples are on the verge of a battle that could destroy the entire village.”

Saint Stunk nodded. “Thank you Green Onion for your gracious warning. I will be careful.”

The village was shrouded in a dense forest. Before Saint Stunk entered, she sat patiently on a stump nearby and attuned her hyper-sensitive ears to the sounds. She heard a dastardly sort of music emanating from the East, and a menacing sort of music emanating from the West. These were the chants of the newly rivalling Wa and Hu schools. The two sets of music were converging in the town square.

Saint Stunk knew of the Wa Hu school. It had been founded by Mah Ryo in ancient times. The discipline was based around impeccably timed jumps. The masters of the practice employed a flurry of dives, leaps, and flips in order to attain a favourable position against their adversaries.

When the music halted, Saint Stunk sat up and entered the village. The two factions were lined up in the village square, arranged in two long lines facing each other. The Wa clan was led by Jin Ryo, the latest in the long Ryo line. The Hu clan was led by Frivolous Jenga, who stood eight-feet tall and three inches. Jin Ryo was famous for his speed, his jumps launching him many feet into the air with no perceptible wind-up or warning. Frivolous Jenga used his long legs for powerful jumps that sent him soaring to the tops of the highest trees, from which he performed death-defying diving attacks that could crush boulders.

When Saint Stunk arrived, the two were exchanging bitter words. Saint Stunk leaned against the railing of a balcony where two older men watched the stand-off. “Not a great time to arrive in town,” one of them said.

“Seems like good timing to me,” Saint Stunk replied. She reached into her tunic and brought out a blank piece of paper. On the piece of paper, she wrote an elaborate character that neither man recognized.

Calmly, she approached Jin Ryo and Ferocious Jenga. They ceased their quibbling, and looked at her in stunned silence. She placed herself equidistant between the two combatants. Placing the paper on the ground, she whispered a single word. The paper was then picked up by a gust of wind, and sailed towards the forest. It was caught in mid-air by a phoenix, which had appeared seemingly out of nowhere. The phoenix circled the rivalling clans several times as every member stared up in awe. Then, it landed on Saint Stunk’s shoulder.

Ferocious Jenga was the first to speak. “What brings you here, Saint Stunk? This dispute is a private affair of the Wa Hu school.”

“I am not here to get in the way of any dispute,” Saint Stunk replied. “I am simply passing through on my way to the Green Capital.”

“In that case, you will find a graceful welcome at the local inn,” said Ferocious Jenga. “It is but a little ways up the street.”

“Thank you.” Saint Stunk began to walk away, phoenix still on her shoulder.

“Wait!” The squeaky voice belonged to Jin Ryo. “That phoenix… what is its significance?”

“Oh, this old thing?” Saint Stunk stroked the phoenix’s head, causing it to let out a small squawk. “Just a companion of mine.” She turned her back on the fight, and continued walking away.

Jin Ryo and Ferocious Jenga looked at each other. All of a sudden, a terrifying scream was unleashed from someone in the town square. The skin on said person’s face began to burn, dripping off their face and landing in puddles on the floor, revealing a grotesque demonic countenance underneath. The burned demon fell on their knees, writhing in pain, while their body bulged and squished, transmogrifying into a bestial shape.

But who was it? Read on to find out.

Legends of Love and Luck – Chapter Four

Xiu Wen walked through the forest in search of a certain herb that would grant her husband Hurly-Burly the speed necessary to reach the Red Capital in a certain amount of time. Suddenly, she was caught in a spider web.

Legends of Love and Luck is a collaborative epic novel composed by Balckwell and Hoober, for publication on the Soup Web Zone. It is inspired by Classical Chinese Novels such as Journey to the West, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and Bandits of the Water-Margin. Odd-numbered chapters will be composed by Balckwell, and even-numbered chapters by Hoober. We hope you enjoy the result.

Chapter Four

Xiu Wen and Distant Octopus Converge Inside the Green Onion Forest /

Infidel Carbonate and Burly-Hurly Converge Outside the GreyTown Garbage Heap

Xiu Wen walked through the forest in search of a certain herb that would grant her husband Hurly-Burly the speed necessary to reach the Red Capital in a certain amount of time. Suddenly, she was caught in a spider web. In the resulting confusion, she felt a hand reach out to grab her, and heard someone say the name “Distant Octopus.” With her renowned wits and quick mind, Xiu Wen easily deduced that the speaker was none other than her old friend, Distant Octopus.

Continue reading “Legends of Love and Luck – Chapter Four”

The Day After Tomorrow

The following is a piece of writing that I wrote almost four years ago. Thus, it may as well have been written by a different person, in a different life. Let’s agree to call it ‘fiction.’

for you, on the day after tomorrow
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It was one year ago that I received the most beautiful love letter ever written in the English language. I cherished it, and inevitably, I lost it. I remember but one of the words. That word is perhaps the most important word I have ever heard in my life. Continue reading “The Day After Tomorrow”