Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Danny never liked sleeping alone.

After nineteen years of being raised in his father's house, Danny had started to get too accustomed to the sound of his father coughing and hacking at the wee hours of dawn. His father was a dragon, so to speak, exhuming smoke with the frequency of a medieval beast. Doldems of empty cigarette packs would gather at the odd corners of the house; Marlboro stonehenge's appearing on top of the telly or beneath the skin in the yellowing stained tiles of the bathroom.

And then, there was the smell. A tangy sour sticky thing that clung to everything; clothes, skin, hair, nothing was sacred or spared from the nictone-scented touch of his father's presence. Danny could even recall those funny anecdotes of his life when his classmates and teachers would wonder why a 4th grade nerd like himself smelled more like some beer-gruzzling trucker who loved smoking tabacco.

But now, 14 days into the cold long December nights, Danny was faced with the prospect of having to get accustomed to sleeping in his bed alone. His father passed away after a long coughing fit that ended with a bloody mess a year ago. And when that happened, Danny was still seeing his on-and-off-again girlfriend Belinda. The two of them were smuggling some make out time underneath the sheets - their cover story being another night to review this or that subject which neither of them were even taking - when Danny heard his father's usual wee hour fit of struggling to clear his throat and most possibly his lungs begin on the dot, two minutes into three o'clock in the morning.

Belinda tought it was funny then. "Making love in the cover of coughing," she teased, and Danny chuckled while busily servicing Belinda to another height of passion. But when it suddenly and abruptly stopped, only to end with the punctuated sound of some heavy thing hitting the floor with an uneven thud, Danny knew something was wrong.

She stayed for almost a year. With him. And it was something of an achievement considering her own parents never knew. She'd sneak out of the dorm at night, join him at his house and remind him of the happier times before his dad kicked the proverbial bucket. She'd entwine him in stories and half-veiled come ons, wrap him in warm bundles of passion and lay naked on top of him, running her hands on his tight, worn shoulders. She tried to help him move on, but something had changed for them. Maybe he felt guilty that his father died while he was giving the best performance of of his life between her thighs. Or perhaps he felt wrong for hating him all those years. But something had died in that house and it wasn't just Danny's father.

And so, for the first time, Danny was alone.

Restless, Danny tossed and turned. He craned his neck and stared at the bluish glow of his still humming computer (the poor thing left on to download all the pirated shit he could get his hands on). He could hear the dogs two blocks down barking at the moon. He could hear a television set still running, the thin strains of a local show mingling in the air. He could even hear his own breathing, clear and smooth, without a hint of nicotine slowing down each breath. He felt his body begin to relax, remembering how Belinda would knead away his frustrations with those magical hands of hers. How he wanted so much to make her understand that he still could not let go of his father, considering prior to his demise, all Danny could think of was the hundred and one ways he wanted to tell him off, scream at his face, lock him up in the house or throw him away to some home for the aged. And now that he was gone, all he could feel was the guilt of finally getting what he wanted all this time-

Danny heard a coughing sound.

He stared at the wall which separated his room from his father's. He peered at each shadow and felt the cold touch of goosebumps rising upon his skin.

Another cough.

Danny's eyes twiched to each flutter of motion that was caught in his rising panicked state. The blinking of an LED. The wave of a curtain due to the electric fan. The shadowy shapes outside his closed yet uncurtained windows.

He knew the sound. He knew it and he knew it was impossible to hear it again. But there it was. And strangely, even with his screaming fear and rapidly trembling heart, he realised that somehow the sound of it was comforting. Was comfortably familiar. And was what he needed.

"Good night dad," Danny muttered to the silence that followed, then buried his face into the sheets that still stank slightly of the nicotine that used to waft the air, "Be with you soon enough."

Nikki Alfar
Tobie Abad
Gabby Lee
Andre Mischa Cleofe
Cathy delos Santos

Dominant Personality: Understanding

Good Traits: You gravitate towards people,
and are a shoulder to lean on. You give advice
at any given time.

Bad Traits: You aren't close with any one
person. You immerse yourself in other people's
problems and forget your own.

People see you as: Friendly, secretive, and
popular. People envy you, and may try and use
you as a tool

You're most like: Grace. You both have
positive relationships with people. Neither of
you have close friends, but unlike graceful
people, you try to help people out and aren't
as arrogant.

You need more: Solitude. You hardly get the
chance to breathe when you take on the world's
problems. You can't take other's
responsibilities or put them before your own.
Be selfish once in a while and discover who you
really are.

What's your dominant trait? (10 unique results)
brought to you by Quizilla

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