Sunday, September 20

Photo of the Week

Envy

Envy

Letters, Photo of the Week
photo by ELIJAH JOHN M. ENCINAS/ THE FLAME Mindlessly scrolling through his feed, he promptly stops at a post that caught his attention. Breaking: Thailand saw no new cases. The headline reads in a local Facebook post. Under it are strings of comments brimming with envy. He cannot help but stew in the same sentiments as his fellowmen. The people in neighboring countries seem to be slowly easing back into the streets while he and millions of others are still stuck in the same confinement for months on end. While others are already shoulder to shoulder with their friends and family somewhere, he is stuck memorizing the four corners of his room like the back of his hand. The only times he can see the familiar faces are through the four corners of the screen. As he steps outs...
Asphyxia

Asphyxia

Letters, Photo of the Week
photo by MARLOU JOSEPH B. BON-AO/ THE FLAME Trigger Warning: transphobia, violence, murder The hands of a brute coil around her throat.  She gasps. She screams inside, I can’t brea—  Her delicate fingers held the ones cramping her neck. Pleas— With eyes turning bloodshot, she sees him. She sees his face—the last one she will see alive.   His face; that ivory skin and hazel eyes. The eyes clouded with a burning rage that would soon ignite. With little power she has left, she pushes his chest. She hits it—nothing. His heart; not beating like a rock. He grabs her hair and plunges her head down— She screams with bubbles coming out of her mouth—voiceless and unheard.  Hel— Once again, a woman who was meant to be a muse was forced into becoming a mermaid. With
Disconnected

Disconnected

Photo of the Week
"THE principles of—" “not—“ “Everyone to—" Reconnecting. A familiar purple wheel emerges across the screen. It begins spinning as the voice of my professor fades. No Internet connection. The screen darkens. I disable my data and enable it again. Upon refreshing the page, I wait anxiously. I catch sight of myself on the dark screen. My reflection looks even worse today—the lines on my face are getting bigger and my frown is getting deeper.  Why do I look so exhausted? Reconnecting. A data warning pops up but I swipe to dismiss it. If I plan well, I will still have enough data to attend tomorrow and pass the needed output. The loading wheel continues to spin unceasingly. It is mocking me. With its every turn, I feel my patience diminish along with it. I d
Ang Tatlong Bestida ni Ate

Ang Tatlong Bestida ni Ate

Photo of the Week
TATLONG beses ko lang nakitang magbestida si Ate. Ang unang beses ay nang ikasal siya. Naaalala ko pa ang yari ng gown; wari’y agos ng dagat ang pagkakabagsak ng puting seda. Ang mga beads nito’y nagmimistulang bituin kapag nasisinagan.  Ngunit higit pa sa gown, tanda ko ang abot langit na ngiti ni Ate, na siyang pinakamaganda sa lahat. Ang pangalawang beses ay mula sa retrato. Mayroong larawan si Ate ng kanyang cap ceremony. Napakalinis niyang tignan—mula paa ay nababalutan ng puti, habang ang ulo naman ay napapatungan ng pinakaaasahang cap. Sa pagkamit ng pangarap ay kitang-kita ang kanyang pagkagalak. Kaya nama’y gulat ang inabot ko nang isang hatinggabing nag-videocall kami, isang mukhang dekada ang itinanda ang bumati. Bakas kay Ate ang pagtitiis sa pamatayang sh
Homeward

Homeward

Photo of the Week
I remember the silent drive to my hometown after the suspension was announced. I was itching to leave the campus right away to avoid being stuck in traffic. But little did I know, this would be my last time traversing these routes. If I only knew what was about to come, returning to our house in Guagua would not have been my first thought that day. I would be spending the next five months inside it anyway. Even now, I still scramble for some semblance of normalcy in my life. I find it at my work desk; as I open my laptop and remove the tape that covers the webcam. For the umpteenth time, I checked my appearance in the camera before putting the headphones on. "Agyu mu yan," I whispered to myself as I pressed the button. "Good morning, class!" On the other end, I ...
Catnap

Catnap

Photo of the Week
AMID the disorganized array of tents and harried footsteps of people, a cat waits patiently. This cat liked many things. He liked taking naps in warm places. He liked being handed scraps of leftovers. But most of all, he loved being petted. He loved gentle touches on his fur, head, and at the special spot he reserved only for his favorite person. His favorite person always arrived with things he enjoyed best: a warm lap, bites of chicken, and hands that scratched him behind the ears. He is getting hungry. Meowing, he approaches one woman who is eating. She reacts by shooing him away. Rejected, the cat sniffs disdainfully. His favorite person always has better food anyway. Come to think of it, where is that human? She is missing today, as well as the day before. A l...
Ambrosia

Ambrosia

Photo of the Week
A curse is sweeping the kingdom. No one knows where it came from; only that one day it had manifested through pus-dripping boils. With hundreds getting sick, the kingdom turned into a wasteland of dying livestock and people. All that remained strong was the impenetrable wall surrounding the castle. Desperate for a solution, the king sent his guards. They went out, questioning and accusing citizens of casting the curse. In the end, they returned only with tenfolds adding into the body count. Next, the king turned to his knights. His knights roamed, stopping the curse the only way they knew. Each time someone spoke ill of the king, they were thrown in the dungeons. Eventually, the number of prisoners grew. Thus, the curse spread among them and to the guards. Exhausted, ...
Backbreaking

Backbreaking

Photo of the Week
photo by ELIJAH JOHN M. ENCINAS/ THE FLAME “MA, mag-eenroll ba ako?” my son asked me. I did not know how to answer. Work hard. This became my mantra as I continued working on-site with the promise of a higher salary. I never let the mountain of paperwork on my table faze me in the slightest. If I have to go home late to finish them all—if I have to lose sleep, then so be it. The excitement on my son’s face when I hand him his much-needed laptop makes the dark under-eye circles and the fatigue all worth it. Almost there. This is what inspires me to start a business. From the moment I get home from work, I start making dishes so that I can respond to numerous orders of food online. On weekends, I deliver the products myself. The fulfillment of the quota is a remind
KOnekSYon

KOnekSYon

Photo of the Week
>YES2ANTITEROR BILL...Mdaming salamat tatAy...lagotkau ngaun mga sAlut s liponaN!!! *Share* C taTay nlng matino ngaun. Bat b andAming kontRa....pandemya nga maki2Sali p teroRista’t adik!!! Kaya tuMataas OCVID ehh...terorista lng tAkot z antierrorBill… MAGKaCOVED sNA CLA!!! <1 Message Request: SouthEast-Asian Coalition for National Security *Accept* <Good evening. Ito po ba si Lucio Ramirez?  <Si Ms.Hannah from SEACNS ito. Nag-aapply po kayo bilang guard sa firm namin? >Gud evening po...opo nagpasa po aq resume noon...Tanggap po ba? <Kakilala niyo ba si Martin Romullo? Dati po siyang nagtatrabaho dito. >Ay opo...kumpare ko p sia...parehas p kami ng hilig nian...Kmzta po siya? <Iniimbestigahan siya ngayon. Na-red tag kasi sa NPA.  <Tutal kakumpare