By Fiona Cheong
It was effortless that all Sui did to exist in this time and space was to go about with her routine of peeping through the hole in the garden shed watching a gargantuan spider eat itself then regurgitate its remains to rebuild its solid shape again. This repetitive process occurred daily right on the mark three minutes after 12 p.m. No one opened this garden shed. It felt like it was intentionally locked and abandoned by its previous owners. Sui wondered if the gargantuan spider was actually putting on a show for her. Her eyes blinked twice in the second where the eight-legged spider ate its abdomen and spat it out again. Sinews of arteries tore leaving blood spattering all over the floor. It looked just like the explosion of zombie brains in Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. The acidic contents in its abdomen burned a hole with a diameter of ten centimeters into the ground. Sui reached for her stomach and felt it churned. She felt nauseous and had a putrid taste in her mouth but there was no intention to vomit as she had nothing to throw up at all. She realized few days ago that her primitive need for sustenance had eroded from the human condition that food is survival. Sui should be witnessing this grotesque spectacle with abject horror but strangely, it frustrated her with a pinch of anxiety that washed away and returned again like sand on the beach that gets swept and fetched by unsuspecting sea waves. As the spider was finishing itself off by gorging on its genitalia, the creature licked its lips, seeming to enjoy its own cannibalistic ritual. Being able to rebuild, rewire its own skeletal features and layers of flesh vein by vein, Sui wondered about the grand purpose of this self-mutilation act—‘What are you proving?’ With hands pressed to the wooden walls of the shed and a keen left eye fixed to the peeping hole; similar to a scientist peering into her microscopic lens studying the embodied flesh of a living-dead cell, the sudden shrill of bells shrieked through the air sending cosmic drops of saliva everywhere. Sui quickly took hide under the slightly extended roof of the shed and covered her ears. She wished those naggy bells would just drop dead and die but it rained on like hail stones stoning a young pup to death. Sui sat on the ground and leaned her back on the shed; her small dark brown eyes watering like hell, ears turning red from the intense pressure of that sound, and at that moment just as she kept wishing for the bells to disappear, the wooden wall of the garden shed turned into a vacuous hole enabling her to crawl into the shed for shelter. Sui, on all fours, scrambled as quietly as she could to the opposite end of the shed to avoid alarming the gargantuan self-mutilating spider of her presence. Once she felt safe, she turned around, looked up expecting to see the disgusting spider eat itself—only to find that she was alone in the shed. The immense shrill of bells worse than that of a vampire’s last caterwaul of defeat before it turns into ashes sent a majestic whirlwind of an invisible satellite-looking dish slicing through the entire space, including the shed. Sui saw it coming, closed her eyes, inevitably got punched by it and towards the end of its execution, she got electrocuted by that whirlwind of madness that left her limp for a good ten seconds. Like the dead rising from their graves by the prick of a witch doctor performing voodoo on a hand-sewn doll made of rough textured fabric, stuffed with straw, and round black buttoned eyes, Sui walked to the spot mindlessly where the gargantuan spider once terrorized. Swift as reflex and performing in an all too familiar routine she once observed, Sui peeled herself into half from head to toe. Her skeleton hopped out of her bloodied butchered body and she, the skeletal girl, showed such ravenous appetite of chewing and swallowing her now-defunct lifeless flesh. Rebuild, rewire, repeat. Similarly, as did the creature before her, all that happened for the rest of that year recycled itself till dawn and dusk no longer played their roles as they seek the indispensable universe that they and some other beings call home.