Friday, December 4

Photo of the Week

Dwindle Out

Dwindle Out

Letters, Photo of the Week
She rubbed her right eye with her thumb before blinking rapidly. Her eyes were starting to hurt from staring at her computer all day.   It was a familiar photo of a girl that caught her attention. Squinting, she leaned closer to the computer’s blinding screen.  The girl in the photo was smiling toothily and waving with glee. At first examination, she thought it was her younger sister wearing the AB uniform in front of St. Raymund’s building.  Recognizing the girl’s neatly-done half-updo, she realized how wrong she was. It was her in the photo, back from freshman year. The caption of the image file read, ‘Future lawyer over here!’  A weak laugh escaped her mouth as a memory tickled her mind. Her parents did not have to persuade her to mark her first day in college— she posed
Dispirited

Dispirited

Letters, Photo of the Week
Raging storms have never dispelled the silence and desolation in this amusement park— until today.  An odd shadow arrived with a frozen, troubled gaze. I cared less of its expression and more of how it saved me from forlornness, giving me the chance to finally exhibit my bright colors. I excitedly readied my chains to give this visitor the most enjoyable ride that I have craved to offer for so long. Slowly, the mysterious entity tilted its head upwards, revealing its bluish skin etched with abrasions. Its red glassy eyes widened and reflected the glimmer of my light bulbs. Froth also began to spill over from its badly-shriveled lips and bubbled down its convulsing jaw. Deprived of hearing howls of thrill and enjoyment after months of abandonment, I was shaken by its r
Lilim

Lilim

Letters, Photo of the Week
Matindi ang tirik ng araw, nang napatigil ako sa lilim ng puno. Ramdam ang pagkapawi ng uhaw sa maginhawang simoy ng hangin. Nang nabatid ang futbol, biglang sumagi sa aking isipan si Rosa. Siya ang maginhawang sinag sa aking umaga. Napapasakit ang tiyan sa mga kwentong pabaon niya. Nababahagian ng grasya sa mga kaalaman na hindi madaling maintindihan. Sinasayang namin ang oras sa mga kaligayahan ngunit sulit naman ang mga nabubuong ala-ala. Noong nagdaang pasko, niregaluhan niya ako ng bola. Napakataas ng paningin niya sa akin kaya magsanay raw ako sa paglalaro nito. Ang bigay ko naman sa kaniya ay simpleng kwaderno paglikha ng mga piyesa niya. Kahit hindi magarbo ang natanggap niya ay nakapagiwan pa rin ito ng pagkasabik ng puso. May mga asal na hindi namin masikmura sa isa’
The Sea Is

The Sea Is

Letters, Photo of the Week
Calm.   the sea is never treacherous. it is without a doubt, a treasure to behold. its secrets are not for all to see. it lies beyond the sunlight’s touch, with the truth not  appearing as something atrocious. the crystalline horizon would never be a sight one should miss. the way the water gleams as it roars is truly a magnificent view. how its waves come to crash on the shore is never violent. it is absolutely tranquil. peaceful. serene. never would it be drowning you in its incumbent lies, luring you in so it can begin deceiving you, with a beckoning tone like that of an enchanting siren. its presence is as devilishly captivating as you’d believe. it uses its hypnotic voice to be the epito
The Witching Hour

The Witching Hour

Letters, Photo of the Week
photo by MARLOU JOSEPH B. BON-AO/The Flame Do you hear them come? The rustling of withered leaves, And the marching feet of headless priests? The sullen song of a weeping woman, Or was that of the fallen soldier, Lurking within the thread of hedges? Watching you shiver, from the sinister shadows. The chiming of the clock rouses you. Rapid and deafening, your heart goes. Your feeble legs picking up its pace. Keep your gaze straight for the dubious gate, There, a yellow radiance calls you on. Do not dare give the olden building a look, Or else the ghastly notions drag you back to its doors.  The coarse foliage of trees hovering you, Like wrinkled hands of a ruthless witch. Footfalls echoing down the grimy path, Forcing you through the unnerving elements. The airles
Living for the Dead

Living for the Dead

Letters, Photo of the Week
photo by RAINIEL ANGELYN BUENAVISTA FIGUEROA/THE FLAME I know death does not make the world go away. After papa died, mama brought in a new world of her own. There was nothing too obscure to the things she had begun to do: her eyes gleamed at the sight of a butterfly, she left floors un-swept at night, and covered all the mirrors with a cloth during wakes. Filipinos carried superstition by the spoonful, but it coursed through mama’s veins. Even after the funeral, she carried on. I lost one parent, I cannot bear losing another. We visit his grave on All Saint’s Day. No ghosts haunting us then, only the furious overcast looming overhead. Tito carries the candles but he saves one for me. I hesitate at the feeling of wax between my fingers. I refuse to give in to mama’s delusions and
Under Her Care

Under Her Care

Letters, Photo of the Week
photo by SHANA ANGELA S. CERVANIA/The Flame At the end of the lightless street stood a convenience store she frequented to grab some snacks.  The night was young, but the streets were as empty as a ghost town. Ever since people started disappearing in the dead of night and surfacing as ravaged bodies in the morning, residents were locking themselves inside their homes by sundown. Some said it was a werewolf’s work, while those who did not believe in such lores insisted it was a madman’s crime. She knew it was neither. On her way back, a female voice pleading to be left alone stopped her in her tracks. It seemed to come from the alleyway. The hairs on her nape started to rise as she heard a man laugh. The shadow she cast on the sidewalk grew larger as she was consumed by h
Tahimik

Tahimik

Letters, Photo of the Week
photo by COLEEN SHANE O. QUIAMBAO/ The Flame Huminhin na ang dapo ng araw sa aking balat; malapit na itong mamahinga. Tinakbo ko ang daan pauwi bago tuluyang gumapang ang dilim. Hindi na alintana ang tagaktak ng pawis. Sinara ko agad ang pinto at binaba ang tuyong nipa na tabing ng bintana. Saka ko lang nakuhang maghabol ng hininga. Maaari na rin akong humimbing. Ngunit, hindi pumayag ang tadhana. Biglang may narinig akong kumpas ng mga pakpak. Malayo, pero hindi mapagkakaila. Hindi katunog ng kaluskos ng ibon. “Lilipas din,” bulong ko. Subalit ngayon lang ako nakarinig ng ganoong kalakas na pagaspas. Bawat kampay ay tila mas malapit. Nagtungo ako sa kama at pumailalim sa kumot, pilit na nagkimkim ng hikbi.  Tila napakalapit na ng tunog nang bigla itong naudlot. Nabalo
Burst

Burst

Letters, Photo of the Week
Art by TCHEKY NICOLE D. CABRERA/THE FLAME   The bubble that detained him was unlike any other. Apparently, its frailty was only superficial. None of his efforts seemed capable of bursting it—or damaging it in the slightest. Five minutes ago, he was reluctantly dozing off to sleep. He urged his eyelids open each time. Suddenly, a bubble grew around him, completely enclosing him within. At once, all sounds were muted. Its transparency still allowed him to see the teacher in front. He could see a presentation on the screen, however, the words were unintelligible. Quickly, he glanced at his notebook. It was the same. His breathing grew rapid.  He looked around. Everyone else seemed to be fine. His classmates casually looked ahead. Others nodded their heads. It was only him who
Ballot

Ballot

Letters, Photo of the Week
Art by TCHEKY NICOLE D. CABRERA/ THE FLAME Six years ago, he was not there, nor on any previous election. To him, once a single ballot entered the box, it was reduced to nothing among millions. It seemed easier to yield to fate, just like many did before him. The result, however, was devastating. “Philippines tops world’s longest lockdown while COVID-19 cases continuously soar…” “Massive job loss due to COVID-19…” “More than 300 officials charged for corruption in SAP funds...” The worst for him did not need to be heard in the reports.  Misfortune came in succession. It had been months since he lost his job. The last canned sardines had gone and the rice might be next. His eldest not being able to graduate was the last thread. He needed to act. Suddenly, his narrative