Melissa Ho was born in 2004 in Sydney, Australia. Growing up, she was captivated by the idea of creating a fictional world; to create evocative landscapes without lifting a pen from a page. Aside from writing, she likes to dance ever since she was 11.
Photography by P. M. Chatelain
I hear a girl scream. Shadows flicker around my eyesight. A distorted figure reflects against a blackened screen. I wake up, heart pounding – gasping for air. Dehydration infiltrates my senses, blocking out the connection resonating from my mind to my limbs; senses overloaded as I catch a glimpse of my reflection – bloodshot eyes haunt my vision. Dark, brown bags illuminate against the starkness of my skin as dishevelled strands of hair cover the cracked slits of my lips. I notice my window open – a strong breeze wafts through the air, contrasting against the humidity of the area. Beads of sweat trickle down my forehead as I realise my air conditioner turned off. I reach for the remote, banging it against the table as it fell. “It’s just dreams.” I mutter to myself, attempting to justify the endless dreams, no nightmares that continue to trouble me. Unconvinced, my head plops onto the pillow, its harsh, firm surface complementing the silvery claw in the night sky. Its as if my soul is bound to the apex of the moon, unable to escape this infinite nightmare. I shut my eyelids. Blankets of darkness consume my line of sight. Still, my brain could not shut down. Minutes go. An hour passes, or so my internal clock says.
Then, it began.
I woke up. Except I could not move. I laid there, unable to speak. Unable to move. Unable to do anything. Although words kept spewing inside my head, it did not translate to my mouth. Echoes of laughter emit from the walls – bile forms in my throat. Out of nowhere, a female emerges from the shadows. Her hair, ashen and smoky, and yet bore tinges of dark copper. It complements the hazel green of her eyes, but clouded in one’s past as if her soul was hollow; an empty shell waiting to be filled. So similar to mine, but far more different in nature, or so I thought.
“Hello Myra Lynwood.” She smiles, trailing closer towards my motionless figure. A small cut forms on her finger. Blood oozes down, its silky red texture cascading onto her dress. It seeps into the fabric, soaking the delicate lace. “Remember me?” She smirks, causing a slight giggle out of her mouth – it vibrates into static noise. She resumes talking – I hear nothing. Her lips continue to move. White noise filters through my ears; buzzes of low and brash. They reverberate against my skin as her head tilts, eyes narrowing as my idleness becomes clear. A hand brushes through my hair – it tickles, sending goosebumps down my spine. I caught her attention now, it seems.
“Who are you?”
Edges of raw silk graze my skin, her hands clasping my arm. It felt so real as if Anya was beside me. “You abandoned me. Disregarded my existence as if I were a mere pawn in your sick, little chess game.” She exhales, her breath flows in front of me. It swirls, creating little puffs of black smoke.
“I didn’t realise – ”
“You know what you did to me.” Black liquid streams down her face, trailing pools of ink across her sunken cheeks. “Myra couldn’t handle another one of her failed characters, did she?”
She simply stares into the void, ignoring my question as her legs drag backwards, letting go of my limbs. A heap of paper stashed on my side table is knocked down. It scatters – scraps of torn parchment litter the carpet. Looking closer, I notice harsh scribbles dotted on each piece. Crossed out words. The disarray of meaningful, and yet irrelevant sheets of one’s screeching brain. It hurts. It hurts to witness the collection of ideas. Of concepts now ancient in their creator’s brain. In mine. Every day, I suffer in agony. Enduring the torment without leaving my house. Scratched out thoughts cover the walls – hyper fixation devours my mind, the figure beside me ignored in favour of the black letters. Converging into blotches of inky mess; they blur together, concealing the beige wallpaper as my brain screams in anger.
“My unfinished symphony! Forevermore, you are gone, vanished into pure extinction.” Anya smirks, a slight giggle comes out as her body dissipates to smoke. I awake, this time able to move. A sharp sensation unsettles my senses – like a broken shard of glass, it slices; it slashes; it rips into my veins as cold air hits my skin. Although Anya may be a past character, her purpose served to unnerve me. She’s everywhere; they are everywhere. No matter where I go, these half-finished manuscripts continue to haunt me. I am stuck, trapped in a everlasting loop, barred from escaping this insufferable madness. Untucking my bedsheets, I notice my laptop – its sits open amidst the clutter of journals and novels. It flickers on. Light pours into the dimly lit room – its brightness startles the fatigue within me. Legs move forward, automation kicking in as I sit and stare at the vivid screen. An unsaved word document gawks back at me. And yet, in spite of my instincts, I don’t type. My fingers remain complacent, still at my sides. Instead, all they do is click the x button, relieving me of everything.
And once more, I am alone again, with my thoughts as company, soothing the searing burns of self-induced stress.
From the Editor:
We hope that readers receive In Parentheses as a medium through which the evolution of human thought can be appreciated, nurtured and precipitated. It will present a dynamo of artistic expression, journalism, informal analysis of our daily world, entertainment of ideas considered lofty and criticism of today’s popular culture. The featured content does not follow any specific ideology except for that of intellectual expansion of the masses.
Founded in late 2011, In Parentheses prides itself upon analysis of the current condition of intelligence in the minds of these young people, and building a hypothesis for one looming question: what comes after Post-Modernism?
The idea for this magazine stems from a simple conversation regarding the aforementioned question, which drew out the need to identify our generation’s place in literary history.
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By In Parentheses in IP Volume 7
32 pages, published 1/15/2022
By In Parentheses in IP Volume 7
32 pages, published 1/15/2022