Photo: Augusto Navarro
Check out Part 1 here if you haven’t already, so that you can understand the story in its entirety. Hope you enjoy this piece as much as I did writing it!
Calen exited the underground and was greeted by air he’d learned to tolerate. A strong undertone of steel wafted wherever he went in the Sprawl, and that was when the occasional miasma—garbage, oils, human refuse—wasn’t among the blend.
The odour still assaulted his senses, even after having lived with it for so long. The more privileged would at least be able to seek refuge in their homes, because these homes often had filtered air-conditioners installed. For Calen, fresh air was never an option.
Photo: Alex Knight
Calen often rode the mag-lev from the first station to the last. Today, he sat beside a patchwork of steel that resembled a humanoid. It stood motionless in its designated docking bay. A Justicar, it was called. Calen—as well as everyone else—knew them better as tinheads.
The thing finally jolted to life, something Calen was waiting for for hours now. That was his cue to earn some chits. He followed the robot as it thumped down the train. Mag-lev, he corrected himself. Trains were only a fragment of his dad’s old stories. Stories of when policing was still done by humans, with much more compassion.
Photo: Nikko Macaspac
You wake up, you get ready, you join the morning commute. You work, you eat, you join the rest of the evening commute. You spend the remainder of the day tackling odds and ends, before it’s time for bed, after which life hits the replay button. Again, and again, and again.
There’s got to be something more to this.
So you want to be a writer in Malaysia
Yep. I’m as bored with listicles as you. Photo: Joshua Rawson-Harris
Great. Another top-ten things article. Here’s a stick. See that dead horse? Go ahead. Have a go.
Despite the cliché, there’s a reason for all this trite. If you’ve ever asked me what it takes to be a writer in Malaysia, what courses make the best gig magnets, or what laptops produce the best word diarrhoea, then this piece is for you.
Photo: Fuyong Hua
When it comes to scary moments—at least to me—in life, I’ve definitely sampled a fair share of them. This discounts the usual daily triggers, such as talking to strangers, going to lunch with distant acquaintances, and having a chatty Grab driver.
Today’s writing prompt is the first sentence of this piece. Enjoy!
I’m either going out for ice cream, or to commit a heinous crime. I’ll decide in the car.
Because what do I got to lose? I probably won’t make this month’s rent. The fuckin’ company threw me out, just like that. No severance package, no notice period, nothing.
Photo: Abigail Keenan
Writing truly is magical. It’s the closest thing to clairvoyance that humans will ever get to. Like how else would you describe me sharing my thoughts with you without uttering a single word?
I could take you to the scorching streets of Pune, to the biting cold of Mount Furano, all within the boundaries of a sentence.