A Chapter by Anna Lee



'Baby I'm a sociopath, sweet serial killer, 

On a war path, cause I love you just a little too much' 

                                                           - Lana Del Rey, Serial Killer - 




When life was all just about bills. Unpaid bills and hounding bankers. She almost couldn't remember them. And how she hated the helplessness that she felt when she was up to her nose in debt.  


"I hate this life. I hate it that I'm this useless and helpless. That was what you want me to say right? Then hear this, yes! I am useless. I bring nothing but trouble. But for the record, I hate you. I hate all of you!" 


She rewound the memory that lingered in her mouth like a bad taste. It seemed to go on forever and she kept seeing and hearing herself crying her heart out all in the wrong direction. What is life if not a pile of unpaid bills? What is she if not someone so easily taken advantage of?  


'My heart is on loan. I don't need it. It just makes me cry or just help me find a way to hurt myself over and over again. Just rip it out and take it back,' 


If it was as easy as that.  


In her hand, she stared at the piece of paper that seemed to be a bill of one kind. She couldn't be too sure. But the numbers were arranged in a form so familiar to a bank 'fugitive' like her that she couldn't and wouldn't mistake it for anything else. The language and writing weren't something she could comprehend but it wasn't unfamiliar. Cyrillic had always been a mystery to her. Knowing but not exactly understanding made her think deeper. What was the bill for? She found it stuck inder the clothes cabinet, hidden from view if she wasn't laid sprawled on the floor, trying to read 'A Company of Swans' sideways. She thought of how it was possible to finally write and SOS. But she couldn't find any means to write on it and was still considering the possibility of being intercepted.  


Connor's in trouble.  


That one, was a crystal clear sign.  


It surprised her that she said his name, figuratively. It felt unfamiliar to her tongue, thus it was only in her mind. She didn't recall ever saying his name in their on-off communication for the past 2 years. After the 3rd month of text messaging, his financial troubles narrowed their chances of communication. The texts became scarce. IMs were...non-existent and she learned not to miss the secret confidante. It wasn't easy but she wasn't weak. She had always known it wouldn't last and she never wanted the infatuation to even happen in the first place. She had always known that 'liking' someone will start a war in her head, but she was stupid enough to bite. Logically speaking, they were 2 broken people sympathizing each other, 2 toxic people that exploit and contaminate one another. She pushed all the possible limits of her curiosity figuratively with him. And then, build a mystery too vivid not to be true.  




A skill she never had and never seemed to understand nor use. But it felt wonderful. To be wanted beyond everything.  


"I'll stop running when you find me. I'll do whatever you want me to if you can catch me. can catch me," dealt the foolish girl. 


"You're proposing an unusual deal," he answered. "Because if I ever catch you. I'm not ever letting you leave," 


She knew it was a fair warning of some kind. The world was full of this...this game of mind that people purposely play to amuse themselves. Like the games played among demons before they devour on your soul. Lea knew she was infected with the unusual infatuation of the unknown. "I'll screw you up so bad that you can't leave me. Even if you want to," he hollered. She was practically begging the devil to hurt her with the unusual candor that she was as forgettable as passing days. His word burned into her brain, causing her gut to drop. But she couldn't stop. He scared her but the dangerous threat injected excitement so much that the edgier he became, the more she was ready to provoke. His insanity...was her fix. It seemed forever since then. Now, he was there, flesh and blood, twisting her very emotion around his fingers. A month? Two? She couldn't remember. She couldn't remember anything before waking up ruined in a dark room, sweating in the cold foreign surrounding. Is this the insanity she wanted to feel? It felt bad, wrong and sick but she can't stop the crazy inception of her complicated heart.  


Was life before this that bad? 


Compared to the blood-draining unpaid loans and constantly dodging debtors, her life had plunged into a whole new level. Staring at the bill in her hand idn't signify hope or freedom. It was a reminder of yet another bad memory. It mocked her worse current situation. As well as being the resemblance of the funny notion that she can't seem to escape people who are forever taking advantage of her. Maybe it's her. She and her bad luck.  


"It would be fine if you can give that back to me," 


Startled, she turned around almost too immediately. COnnor loomed over her, leaning sideway of the wall. In the cold room, he was at ease without a shirt on his back and his jeans hung low. Like a tall leaning shadow. She still couldn't shake off the surprise she felt everytime she realized something new about him. Like how she couldn't get used to his height. Or the menacing air that he gave off too effortlessly. Even so, it could be just her imagination. She was after all, paranoid. His shagged black hair tied loosely back allowed her to see his sharp black eyes. Raising an eyebrow, he extended an arm forward. "Can I?" 


She almost threw it on the floor, but quite fearfully, laid it back on the floor instead. He clucked his tongue in denial. His fingers summoned her closer. "Here," he gestured. Seeing no harm, she got up and gave it to him. Purposely, he glided his finger inside her forearm to her palm, raking it out of her hand. Her spine stiffened in the familiar shiver. "Good girl," 


She almost ran back to her place on the floor and rolled inside the blanket that she dragged down. He was playing with her as usual. His steps were silent when he sat down beside her looking up and out of the window into the white winter outside.  


"Is it so hard?" he asked. The question was polydirectional. Lea looked out into the silver cloudy sky.  


'What is?' 


The question just lingered in her mouth. 


"To just give up?" 


She turned to look at him. To let him know how she was never giving up on anything concern of her freedom. She won't let him hold her back this way. He looked at her with a gentle smile. He held the paper up for her to see. "I just never seem to get these things right, huh?" he asked again. Flicking the paper off he reached out and held her head with both his hands and she felt the coldness emanating from him. "Do you miss them?" 


"Who?" she asked, surprising herself.  


"Them. Family, friends...yourself," 


You're asking me? You're asking me if I miss them? When you're the one who took me away from them? Lea can't perceive this contradictory actions. She almost can't. But she can't make her mind shut up. She always had to be so logical. She always had to be in control of herself. And she always had to say the truth. And the truth wasn't always as what one would expect. 


"Maybe," she answered. Now that she stared at the matured features of a man she couldn't understand. "But I don't think I have the time,"  


"The time for what?" he asked, slowly, his voice went down into a whisper. Like a descending crescendo. She felt her fingertips spasmodically stiffened, ready to push him away. "I don't think I have the time to think of anything," He pulled her closer, as though to hear her better. "Anything other than myself," she said with finality. His eyes sleepily looked into hers and she felt her own drugged drowsiness taking over.  




His fingers drown themselves into her hair, scraping her scalp and fisted them to hang heavily there.  


"Your hair, its already long," he commented, leaning his forehead on her. "You've kept your promise after all," he mused. She didn't want to listen. How stupidly biddable she was upon a promise of keeping that hair of hers till they meet. Foolish. And dangerously idiotic.'I won't cut my hair until you find me,' - a foolish promise of an idiot. 




"You're learning how to be selfish now?" he mocked after some silence. "What a nice surprise. I've never known that you could get anymore selfish than you already were. Does it make you happy now that I have you here with me?" he asked again, tugging her hair a little too hard for her comfort, causing her to face upward. The gentle smile that say all that hurtful words made her chest hurt with pain. Unbearable. How did she ever...ever thought with that little ounce of trust, that he could be genuinely sincere. 


"Yes. I'm selfish. I've always been. Why would it surprise you if I get anymore selfish than this? One can learn to adapt very quickly upon inconveniences," she retorted, nuancing every word with hitched breaths. His hard eyes flickered under the poor light. 'A million galaxies,'. It was how he made her feel everytime she look into them. All the darkness in the world was in them. Starless. But you know there are stars somewhere in there, dying.  


"I know. To want such bizarre things from life itself, Lea, I try not to be too surprised. Was the sex good?"  


She felt the familiar feeling of her insides twisting and defying gravity. It hurts. It hurts to hear him whisper that to her ear while he held her like he wanted to break every bone in her body.  


"Did you laugh everytime I told you how you drive me crazy? It must've been great for you to have someone to want you so much that he's literally insane. Was the plan to just have a f**k and run away before I wake up? So no one knows how dirty you are?"  


Stop. She wanted him to stop. Heated tears welled in her eyes as she felt deep hate and humiliation. She hated him for misunderstanding everything. And she hated him for making her realize just how true it could be.  


"It's kind of a good plan, but not good enough," 


He pulled her hair back, making her stare up at him. 


"You forgot. I am much...much...much more selfish," 


To know that there was someone out there who would be much more selfish from her, and wanted to tear open her world just to be apart of it was an ominous knowledge. And her tears spilled again. 


"And you're going to be here awhile. Think about it. You're not alone anymore. And neither am I. Let's...just stay this way," 


"You can't give me what I want," She felt her lips muttered, desperate for him to give up. He pulled her closer, onto his laps, straddling him in his caging embrace. His breath was hers, literally sharing the oxygen. "We can't always get what we want," 


He gave a humorless laugh buried deep in his chest.  


"You wanted a lover," he whispered, pulling her hand and resting the palm on the side of his face. His cool skin jumped. "I gave you," 


"You wanted a rendezvous? You're living it," he added, kissing the palm of her hand appreciatively...gently. Her heart felt a physical pain and she wished she could just stand up and walk away but her knees shook weakly. "You want your own family?" he asked, and she felt his hand slipping up from her thigh to her waist and landed on her stomach. "I can give that to you, but you're not going anywhere with them without me," he convinced her. Staring at his dark eyes, she wondered if she could have her say anymore. Her voice can't follow her heart. Where is her heart when she needed it the most? She can't ask him to let her go anymore because pleas, requests and protests won't gain her anything from him. That was what her mind kept reminding even when she fought so hard to feel deep hatred, she can't seem to tip off the ultimatum of it. Now, she can't even muster the scream or cry. Not that she'll stop trying. Just plain tired. "The freedom you want? It', Lea. You're already there. You just have me," 


Her heart that she lost - where are you, she asked again and again. Scattered in so many direction,it was broken with no possible way of becoming any smaller than it already was. Just when she thought of the unlikely, it broke again. And became dust.  





She woke up at swaying alike to being in a boat but she didn't feel sick. From her half-opened eyes and half-awake brain, she could see the blinding bright surrounding as she involuntarily buried deeper in a familiar warmth. Then the swaying stopped. She was slowly descending into plushed softness. She could feel the cloth around her shift over her naked skin. Only willing to risk reality probably hundreds of minutes later, she dared herself to open her eyes. All the time, her ears were listening to the all-too-familiar of typing and the air moving papers around. The sight that greeted her was something she wished she didn't see.  


He was there, reading over piled books and typing on a laptop, balanced on top of another stack of books. Papers were fanned open all over the pastel blue carpet and the wall in front of her was full of papers tacked to the whitish blue wall. A study at the farthest corner of the room was full of toppling books and under the study table were several mugs. A very poorly constructed book rack was located beside the study, precariously holding books full to every available spae it had. A book fell off the study and she caught a glimpse of a computer monitor. The wide living room was so bright and airy. She could feel the air moving from behind her. There must be a verandah behind the couch she was on.  


His back on her, she felt like she was seeing another man. He stooped over the book and he seemed to be reading fast. Once in awhile, he scribbled something into a notebook on the floor.  


He worked hard. 


She didn't even know what he was working on but, it seemed to have him hung up. There she was, wondering that he could be writing about rather than jumping to the nearest exit at this rare chance of being so close to freedom that was somewhere between the open verandah, thick glass-paneled picture windows and the door at the darkened corridor near her room. Reasons for finally trusting her to the freedom outside the white prison remain vague. His reasons were never vague to her but his actions misled her so many times before. And it won't fail to do so this time. She wasn't stupid enough to think he would bring her and let her linger smack in the middle of the living room without precautions of whatever attempt she could be making to run away. Her eyes lingered on his fingers that typed furiously across the keyboard. He closed the Words window, making way to an opened Mozilla Firefox window.  


Her heart stopped beating. Eyes wide open.  




He had Internet.  


She could feel that her eyes widened to the point that the chilly air hurt her eyeballs. Her breath fell short. She knew she wasn't dreaming when her vision almost greyed out by the lack of oxygen. All along, the answer was just beyond her walls. How could she had not known or guess that he would've brought something as important as a broadband? He must have. He writes. She cursed herself for being stupid. It took her whole willpower not to jump over him to grab the laptop that perched nicely on 'Statistic: Student's Guide' and 'Principles & Applications of Organic Chemistry'. Just as her heart seemed to have died and went to heaven, her mind was just getting started; whirling in a speed only known to preyed animals. 




For the first time in a long time...she remembered Lin. She could try and reach Lin! Lin always kept her inbox open. A frantic hysterics bloomed like sheets in water; suffocating her. Lin....her chest felt like bursting with the emotional hurricane but she didn't know from what - the newfound discovery that she could still escape? Or the thrill of playing the little game of 'ghost' with Connor? How will she be able to log in long enough to email her sister and erase that cache? No. Can she even get near the laptop? Her mind spinned crazily and chills went down her spine over and over again. Lea kept staring at the object of desire and swiftly scanned through the messy abandon on the floor to find the connection that he could be using since she didn't sight any broadband drive. There was no ethernet wire either. Her hands shook as she eyed in anticipation and her limbs shivered from the pumped up adrenaline. There was a reason to be excitedly hysterical. And there was a reason to be very afraid and mistake it for excitement. She didn't dare to decide, knowing fully well what will settle in her nerves. Closing her eyes tightly, she tried to get a hold of herself.  


There's hope. There's a way. Not everything was at lost. Even when she was afraid, she can't help but to hope.  





Connor sifted his fingers through the papers that he'd laid out on the floor. Looking through his previous resources that he compiled almost 3 years ago, he combined it to some of it that he attained new through the Net and referrences as well as journals.  


Designer drugs. 


Not a hard subject to write about if you seriously are looking at it from the social impact aspect. But the technical component of it brought his skill to a whole new level. He took his jobs seriously. Sometimes, way too seriously. 3 year ago, rather than just read and write the effects of psychedelic drugs, he thought it was better to just test it out. And he had no difficulty to get his hands on a few. For 2 weeks, he was constantly in senseless kaleidoscope of feelings that cause his mind to be in a serious dilemma between numbness and hyperactivity; all done at the backyard of his rent house in Kuantan. It was sickly pleasure through and through. And he was in the danger of constant addiction if it wasn't for his stubborness not to succumb. When he submitted the thorough thesis to the idiot that passed it up as his own, he was given a lump sum to spend within a month while the paper was going everywhere with credits going to someone who's name was not Connor Gordon. The habit to track down his work kind of ate him up at that point. But he wasn't sorry.  


Now, looking back at those days, he was reminded of how things had changed so vastly even when he was matched up again by chance with the slightly same thing he researched on 3 years ago. 3 years ago, he struggled just to live. He lost alot, worked hard to gain more but lost them again to things he can't control. He could control himself but he can't control the people he lived with. The drug-testing was as high as he could get. But in that reckless abandon, he was more in control. Sick. And crazy. He never thought he could feel something more than that. But he did. Lea was worse than any drugs combined. He loved the feeling but was hazardously fighting his sick mind. It felt...crazier. More wretched. And much much more pleasurable. Like he had never loved anyone before. All the bad things didn't seem so bad when he met her. Even if the circumstances of their meeting was never chaste. She was just a curious naive girl whose age was just a number. Never had he thought that naivity could be so seductively intelligent. Now, he was too addicted to quit. 


Typing the chemical component he read at the assignments' keywords, he then pressed 'ENTER' rubbing his tired face over and over again to wipe away the weariness. Looking back at the screen back, he felt his brows knitting in confusion at the chemical compound that was supposed to be apart of the designer drug that was being researched on.  


"Rechna immortalis?" 


It didn't sound like it could've come from the canabis family. What kind of canabis species is that? Is it even a canabis. The journal he had been reading was beginning to become blurs of line that got bigger. He slid back and flushed back on the couch. His head ached and he could feel sharp pain somewhere between his ribcage. It was tiring.  


"Leave the other the draft at the usual place," 


He remembered the text message he received that morning. He wasn't even half way in writing the report and already he felt people pulling him into different directions. He knew there was something wrong with him when he accepted 2 jobs that researched on basicallly the same thing. The more he typed, the more he felt that they might not be that much different from each other.  


Psychedelic drugs; discussion on the psychological and neurological effects against brain capacity. 


Drugs blueprints - Criminology. 


Though both were obviously related to each other, he can't help but to feel the nagging feeling that something was going to go wronng since he found that he kept having overlapping drafts sent over to 2 very different clients. The latter ghosywriting that went up to just a degree academic exercise standard pieced together something that didn't settle well in his mind. He was supposed to be scavenging for cold hard facts and presenting them in the form of compiled academic detailed excerpts. Not digging up things about his clients. But he suddenly felt the need to do so. And it felt as though something was bound to take a wrong turning. Getting up, he made swift move towards the corner that was contained by one thin wall with wide opening that degraded the wall's function to merely divide a small space from the big living room. A dinner table with 2 chairs was situated inside the make-shift kitchen that was complete with cabinets, gas stove and a fridge. Books littered around the floor, dinner table and even on the stove. He looked at the stove and felt a tug in his chest. Even when they have a stove and microwave, he might as well just say that he didn't have them. He mostly bought the food from outside. He had no time to cook and he would rather shoot his own head before he let Lea anywhere near them. There was nothing there. He opened the fridge and took one of the many bottled drinking water that he stuffed in there. Rummaging through his bag on the table, he took his phone and name card holder. Getting back to the living room, he noticed that Lea had shifted to her side, facing the couch. Her long dark hair spilled down the couch on to the floor like black ink. A sleeping beauty that had been asleep for a long long time. She didn't want to wake up from her world and live their sweet escape. A glimpse of silver hanging down his neck glinted on the dark glass sliding door. 


'Ya Allah, selamatkan aku,' 


O me. 


He heard her whisper in her when he kissed her shoulder before they drifted into sleep last night.  




He stared at the silver cross on his chest. So close to his heart, yet so far away. He used to believe in God. He believed that there is a reason for everything. He used to believe in everything...anything; all that could make living just bearable. But it was too much. He tried convincing himself that with every little faith that was left in him, but it got harder everytime. Now, he couldn't even pretend to try. He just can't assure himself that God doesn't exist. And he couldn't tell whether it was cause he couldn't find any reasons to deny His existence. Or cause apart of him wanted Him to be real. And perhaps, save him this once. He couldn't stop himself everytime he become conscious of whatever he was doing. He wanted to let her go, but was afraid that she wouldn't survive it. He wanted to just leave her alone, but ended up making love to her every single chance he gets. He wanted to stop running and start living, but their circumstances wouldn't let it. He wanted her to love him, but she wouldn't. A chuckle escaped his lips. So many hopes and so many dreams. But none of them were real enough to be true.  


He remembered something and took his place on the floor and put on the headphone. He typed 'Garden of Sinners - Aleah Farahannah'. Clicking one of the YouTube videos, he watched it buffered into a girl who smiled back at him, holding a violin. She pulled her headscarf a little to the back by habit and held up a ringed white notebook with words scribbled on them. 


Garden of Sinners 

Strings Acoustica 


A tall boy next to her stuck out his tongue behind her back and placed a viola on his shoulder. Connor noticed how alike the boy was to the girl eventhough he dwarfed her with his height. They both smiled a similar coy; an eerily weird contradicting reflection to one another. Knowing the actions by heart, Connor closed his eyes like the many times he did everytime he saw her place the violin on her shoulder. And gradually, a cantabile strung through; from the lower note of the viola to the chiming high note that he could imagine vibrating from her fingers.  




Transcendantal to his wavelength. Each note, forged into his brain and each crescendo bringing him closer to her in their impossible distance, although she was there, right behind him - in flesh. The minor washed over and suspended...hung high above the ground. Strong yet weak. Light in reckless abandon yet chained down so heavily to gravity. Like ghosts that wanted to reach up beyond the six-feet cold refuge. In the music, he and she had an understanding. In that freedom she had in expressing her imagination, he managed to materialize. He, for once, wanted to relate. He wanted her to understand him. As much as he wanted to understand her.  


Does she still pray for God to save her? 


The thought of her stopping herself from praying was unimaginable. She had always been a good girl if not perfect. Then till now, she changed very little when he practically had the whole world taking a 180 degrees change in his life. She pretended to be happy in her modestly significant life like he did but he had little success in tolerating any of the bullshit that was killing him. She managed moderate success in escaping to Kuala Lumpur and was going to proceed with her Masters. Despite being surpressed at every decision she took, she finally had the good things coming to her instead - slow but definite. He scoffed. Her white frontier, so amazingly predictable and acceptable. It only takes another sinner to see others' sins. And one to befriended another. To be attuned to her cold heart that sought difference, he had the pleasure of seeing how her curosity trap her analytical maturity. Now, she was as black as he was.  


He leaned his head back, feeling the warmth of her back on his head and whimsically thought of the cruel prank he wanted to play. Should he let her play and risk losing her or cheat her into staying? He flipped around with the name card he took from his bag just now. 


Euro-Strings Instruments. 


How does the Devil tempt sinners into complete surrender? Thirst them to death and force them to an agreement with the promise of a drop of water? Was Lea thirsty enough to be cheated into an agreement? Although the outcome of the game seemed obvious and cruel, he can't help noticing that for the first time, he let himself think of what she could feel. A thought he never wanted to dwell long since it never gave him any assurance.

© 2013 Anna Lee

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Added on January 2, 2013
Last Updated on January 2, 2013
Tags: bad, connor, farrahanah, garden, lea, love, sinners, strings, video, viola, violin


Anna Lee
Anna Lee

I swim in endless sea of dreams. Not asleep, but not fully awake either. LOVE : Highways, Joyrides, Music, Books, Sleeping, Fries, Lana Del Rey, Jena Lee, Red, White, Black, Sky, Fairy Tales, Roma.. more..


A Chapter by Anna Lee