Tuesday, January 26

Photo of the Week

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
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