Kaleidoscope: slices of life – that woman stares at me

Written by: Nigel Ng Ngan Siang (21-A3), Tan Le Kai (21-I4), Zuo Yuning (21-A1)

Designed by: Jervis Ch’ng Yun Ping (21-U5)

The power of any mirror lies in the fact that you can see yourself in it. 

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?

The princess took a bite from the apple,

Destined, she fell into a lifeless slumber. 

Motionless, she laid for eternity,

A prince she awaits, desperately

Till the day he came along,

Courageous, charming and rich,

He saved the princess from the witch.”

“Aren’t you the next Eminem?” His mother complimented, ruffling his long, unkempt hair.

“I may spit sick bars, mother, but unlike Eminen, I love my mother very much”. He said, staring at his mother with his deep, dark, naive eyes.

“It’s bedtime dear. Take your medicine and go to bed.”

“Yes mother.”

The next day, the boy and his mother went to explore the sleepy town. It was a quiet, remote town that remains relatively unknown to the outside world, apart from occasionally winning giant pumpkin contests. When they first moved in, the duo had travelled an hour of dilapidated road to reach the town. The boy wore a white shirt with vulgar words printed on it. It was slightly larger than his size, clearly not made for a child. Then there was his mother, a young woman who seemed to have no style. Her outfits were always a mere rotation of what was found in her closet, and it did not take long for the townsfolk to notice that her wardrobe selection was limited. Everyone in town knew everybody, so it was not long before the town folks took notice of the fresh faces. It was not long before the conservative town came to view the mother negatively. They noticed her drinking habits and questioned the choice of clothes for her son.  

The duo had moved into a house. A plain house. The house had been abandoned for a few years after the death of its home owner.It must have been sold by the government because the previous homeowner led a lonely existence.  The house was just as unmaintained as it was when it was sold. The lawn was overrun with tall grass and the structure of the house remained just as flimsy. 

From the early mornings to the late evening the mother would leave the house. The boy told the townsfolk that his mother was out for work and the townsfolk accepted his narrative. There was not much to do in town, and one had to move out of town to find decent work. The boy was instructed to stay home at all times, which he obliged. That was until curiosity got the better of him. He ran down to where the old people were found, where there were barely any children around. The old people were nice to the boy. They offered him candy, which he quickly accepted. He told them stories which utterly captivated them. This was where the town folk were first captivated by the narration of the pumpkin man. “He was tall, very tall.” the boy said. “ He wore a pumpkin for a head and is not from this town. He is from my hometown I think. I remember him as a child. I always see him in the mirror.He stands over me.”

At night, the mother returned with dinner. The boy was starving, but he imagined himself full. He stared deep in the mirror and saw himself with his belly full. The two convened over their day over dinner. The boy went on about the neighbours. Before bed, the mother and the son brushed their teeth. The boy stood in front while the mother stood behind. Through the mirror, the son looked like the mother. After that, the mother would tell the boy one of her stories, and tuck him in, not before he took his medicine. 

It was that night where things took a turn. The night was dark, but through his window the boy swore he saw the eyes of a man, who moved away upon being spotted. The man was on the lawn. The boy woke his mother up immediately, as repeatedly instructed. His mother hurried down, grabbing the key under the mat of her bathroom and unlocking the drawer. It revealed the gun that the boy had seen before. The mother stood in front, ten feet from her front door while the boy cowered silently behind her. 

It was a ghastly scene when the police arrived. It must have been stenched for days because the neighbours who reported it have smelt it from far away. The police would have confirmed two days later that bullets were fired, but only from the mother’s gun. It however would be definitive, confirmed by the police, that someone had broken in. It is however most peculiar that the stench was from a dead boar, those that frequent the woods around the small town, and to a lesser extent rotting pumpkins. Further investigations reveal footage the boy had bought the pumpkins himself from the store himself. Despite the disappearance of the boy and his mother, there was no evidence suggesting foul play so they were simply reported missing. Not except the note left behind by the boy, which included a detailed drawing of the pumpkin man as himself with a pumpkin on his head, with a note which wrote: Happy Pumpkin Day! We are going down the yellow brick road to see the pumpkin man! Good bye!

Author: The Origin*

With great power comes great responsibility.

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