COMING SOON!Guest-edited by F.H. BatacanCover art by Josel Nicolas"Less Talk, Less Mistake" by Xin Mei
He opened a bag of watermelon seeds and one by one popped the seeds into his mouth. He cracked them open with his front teeth and then spat the shells onto the floor. She held onto the ends of her skirt and tried to avoid being spattered with the shells.
Then, his hands, so much stronger than hers, removed hers from her skirt. He moved his hands up and down her legs. She tried so hard to keep her eyes on the screen, to read the English subtitles of the Chinese movie. The words came and went faster than her mind could comprehend them.
He whispered, “Beautiful, she is so beautiful. Ya sui.
Something excited her, something she could not understand. She looked at the actress and wondered what made her beautiful. She portrayed a Chinese princess, dressed in a Chinese empress costume, and she could not see her face because his heavy arms blocked her view.
“Look at her jewelry, her tsiu siak
. You want jewelry, too? How beautiful!” He whispered again.
She looked at the princess and thought she was decorated like a Christmas tree. She heard his voice but refused to look up. He repeated the words, “beautiful, beautiful,” until she looked up and saw the face of her grandfather. She cried out loud."God Is The Space Between" by Maryanne Moll
I remembered myself covering the full-length mirror with the sheet years and years ago, crying through the pain in my head, which had just been rammed into a wall, and remembered, all of a sudden, all the tiny details of the past eleven years--torn lips, hard slaps on the face, cuts on my thighs, punches in the stomach, kicks on the legs and hips, being locked in the bedroom until my visible bruises had healed."Grenadier" by Dominique Cimafranca
It happened so quickly. He really only had time to slam the brakes.
The brown Nissan Sentra had been following them since that intersection at Lobregat Street. On Ruste, just before the school, the Sentra zoomed forward, cut him off, and forced him onto the curb. Two men came out from the passenger side.
One carried an M-16, the other a .45-caliber.
He fumbled with the gear stick, tried to put the car in reverse. But when he looked behind him, a beige Mitsubishi L-300 was blocking the way. Its side panel door was open. He saw two men in the van. One man stood near the front of the van, pointing an M-16 at the onlookers. Another man with a .45-caliber walking towards them.
"Lock the doors!" was all he could think to say."The Last Time I Saw Uncle Freddie" by Crystal Koo
The insignia of the Hong Kong Police consists of the Admiralty waterfront framed by a garland of thirty-six leaves and topped with a bauhinia flower. Below is a blue scroll with HONG KONG POLICE printed in English and Chinese.
I have been sitting in the waiting room staring at the banner behind the empty desk for nearly an hour. They have been passing me around ever since I stepped into the Tin Shui Wai Division Station and asked if my elderly uncle had been murdered in the Wang Chau reservoir three months go.
I wrote Uncle Freddie's name in Chinese but no one had ever reported a Wong Shing Hang to have drowned there and no one recognized the name. The sergeant told me that it wasn't very uncommon for bodies to be fished out from there, given that it was part of a popular nature trail. Their records were off-limits to me and that was the end of the matter. The best I could do was to file a missing person report and to wait.
I had refused to leave and he led me into the waiting room and left me for an hour. When you're left by yourself with no one to contradict you, you become more doubtful of your position. It was possible Uncle Freddie had never drowned. It was possible he had never been murdered. In fact, it was possible that he never met up with the person waiting for him there. Maybe he had gotten lost along the way. He was pushing seventy and he had been traveling alone. "Blogcaster" by Alexander Osias
Some friends of mine went missing the other week. They were real journalists, protégés of my lolo from his days with the Times. That's the reason I chose the term "blogcaster" over the more popular and more difficult to pronounce term blogjournalist. Not only does blogcaster sound better--it's more accurate. There's no art in my writing, no effort in my research, no real danger in my anonymous (though factual) posts.
They told me that an informant had suddenly called for an emergency meeting scant days after their last tête-à-tête and didn't even haggle over price. I warned them that it sounded suspicious, but Erlinda scoffed at my paranoia. "Death will come for us in the night," she said with a fatalistic glint in her eye, "not from some coffee meeting with an aging bureaucrat." Louis laughed and slugged back the remainder of his beer.
Now, two days later with no responses to texts or calls, all I can do is hope for the best.