Melbourne: Collins St x St Patrick’s Cathedral

In the arts and fashion capital of Australia, it is expected to see a long stretch of little Paris at the eastern side of Collins St, which is locally referred to as “Paris End”. Collins St. is major street in Central Melbourne that is notable for its history. It is still the home to all major designer and prestige brands, high-end retailers, and it used to be the centre of finance in Australia. The original architecture of every building is mostly preserved like any other streets in the city of Melbourne.

Walking along Collins St. towards St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I snapped a handful shots of the glamorous Collins St post-edited with creamy, vintage-looking effect as a reminiscent of its early history.

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Black Market Havoc and Mayhem

It was a good day to work in the office. Sunny and windy that uplifts every spirit of passersby on the street of the busy metropolitan.

Inside my walk-in cabinet in my fully-furnished apartment, I just had my morning bath and barely finished dressing up. It was a very exciting day. On the fortnight of our last meeting, I get to see my guy again. My best friend. My lover. More than a year later and we’re still excited to see each other. The spark never fades away and the feeling of twitter patting never fails to visit us.

I, a woman of the world of creativity and manipulation in communication fell in love with a man who is a financial genius.  I never really understood his world. Accounting, financing, marketing, business, management, stocks… stuff I find myself to be an alien every time I hear him speak about it. But despite our difference in career interests, we were more alike than anyone could imagine.

Suddenly, a grayish tint with silver sparks appeared right before my eyes and instantly he, in purple long sleeves with dark-colored tie and black slender pants, came out of thin air. It still surprised me even if it was his usual form of entrance. He’s kind of a warlock or some sort. Well, that’s something still I’m not sure how to define.

In my topless gold and blue knee-length cocktail dress and gold stilettos, he wore his rectangular spectacles and dragged me in an instant. Both of us disappeared from my apartment. This kind of act reminds me of Harry Potter’s floo powder that allows wizards to teleport by traveling in the floo network.

There was no time to wear my undergarments but I managed to grab my coat and inserted my tube golden top inside my bag. It was a lucky move.

It took us a few seconds to reach our destination. A huge condominium on a high-rise building, which he owns under some companies name is where he brought me. We would usually go there to be alone and do things as a couple so I assumed it would be the same for this day. I was standing in front of the large screen television and saw my reflection on it. My breasts were showing so I covered myself with my black furry coat and placed my bag on top of the desk. We talked for a while and decided to skip work for that day.

Surprisingly, an old officemate of our came by and to say hello in a short a tete-a-tete snack. It was Marsha, she was wearing a floor-reaching coat with illusions of elongated designs. On top flows her silky ash blonde hair that reaches her thighs. As usual, she was wearing her pretty toothpaste endorser smile as we talked over our short tea party.

As we were talking, I was nervous of dropping my hands from covering my body with my coat. It was hard to move and it feels very restrained. So I was relieved when she left and got the room for ourselves again. Eager to be in his arms, I dropped my coat and went straight to him. We both fell into the fluffy bed and I hugged him tightly as if we haven’t seen each other for months!

It felt different though. It was unusual for him to be unresponsive to my affection. As if he had something else in mind that he wanted to do. As soon as he opened his mouth to tell me that his relatives were coming, the door opened and they came in. I hid behind the walls and wore my golden tube top, fixed my long black hair and showed up.

I’ve forgotten that he bought the place not for us, but for them to have a meeting place of their classified interests. The condominium although is like a common hotel room, does have a large conference room with long table that could fit 20 people. It also has a labyrinth corridor that leads to their otherworldly place. i’ve never been there. But he told me stories about certain events. Though still I’m not an expert to define that world.

More than ten relatives came in and went directly to the conference room. Some were his cousins but mostly it was his aunts and uncles that arrived to deliver a shocking news. I don’t know what it is, but I guess it was terrible. They were all members of the Black Market, a community where they play their financial interests. At first, I thought it was just a place where illegal marketing occurs, but it was more complex than that. It’s more than a world for financial geniuses with a bit of sorcery. Way different in the world where I live in. It was pretty dark, scary, which is a dog-eat-dog world with battles of competing guilds constantly happening in every corner.

I didn’t participate in their meeting. It was way more classified than the previous stuff they had and gaining information would only do me harm. As soon as they were finished, they went to the Black Market and my boyfriend brought me with him. Finally, I’ve seen what it looks like. Their roads are as small as sidewalks but full of train tracks or rail roads. That’s where you can hover and transport yourself from one street to the next. Looking at their system, it’s not beyond the laws of physics at all. I regarded it as pure sorcery which no human can explain, but I was wrong. Their entire system as financial geniuses in a strange world is a work of geniuses in engineering.

As we travel along those tracks, I observed the stores and it felt I was in a place full of Borgin and Burkes. It’s like I was in Knockturn Alley. The one that sells dark magical objects forbidden to ordinary wizards. The atmosphere was really eerie and the people spookily stared at me as I passed by.

Finally we arrived in our destination which is different from his relatives. My boyfriend’s intention was to bargain something from a merchant, which he needs the most as of the moment. I have no idea what it was. But I went with him anyway. I sensed danger was on the way and it was one of the moments he would need me the most.

Soon after he successfully got what he needed, sirens from all over the place warned everyone of the current hazard in the Black Market. Floating men in black capes with merciless eyes quickly passed by us as if they were haunting delinquents. I tried to hide my fear but he quickly noticed it and held my hand.

We followed the creepy men to see what was going on but what we saw shocked us both. I placed my hand on his shoulder to comfort him so he wouldn’t break into his manly tears. I constantly whispered into his ears to be strong so we could get out there alive. As we tiptoed around the crime scene, our eyes were staring at the bodies on the floor. It was his relatives that we just met a few minutes ago. All lifeless on the ground. We tried to act normal to escape. I overheard that the floating men were still looking for other members of the same guild. “They need to be annihilated.” One said.

As we were finding our way out, he was silent, probably still digesting what happened or thinking of ways to avenge while I was deep in my thoughts figuring out how they were taken down in one blow. His relatives belong to one guild, Arkherna Guild. It was competing guild with the same interest that must be responsible for this. Through their knowledge, one guild could annihilate another in one attack. Must be some kind of technology that could shut down an entire system perhaps. I never knew what they do neither the others, but I know one thing is for sure, it’s never safe to be involved in the Black Market.

We were hovering for half an hour but still I can’t figure out why he was spared. I never asked him, but she spoke to me. He confided that he wasn’t a member yet. There was a delay in his membership and he was supposed to be one of them by now. For me it was a good thing, a relief. At least he’s saved. I don’t know how I can manage to live without him by my side. I hugged him tight to comfort him and at the same time, to appreciate his existence that moment. I can’t help but felt his sadness though, he was very close to his relatives. The way the Weasleys were close to each other. For him, it was always family first. I knew he was angry. He wanted to avenge them. It’s wrong but I can’t stop him anymore.

Soon after, we went back to the world I live in – The peaceful metropolitan under the clear blue skies. Far away from their dark abyss. Somehow it was relieving to feel safe once again, but never did I thought it wouldn’t last long. As we were walking on the streets, we noticed that three masked men from the Black Market were following us. They were probably from the other guild that was responsible for the death of his guild. We tried to escape running from one block to the other, parkouring from one wall to the next and climbing emergency ladders to lose them. But we reached a dead end when we entered a public room inside a hospital. We knew there was only one thing to do, to hid under the bed. It was very risky, but there were no other options left.

The men arrived and saw my hair flowing out. They were suspicious of it so my boyfriend managed to transform me into a tiny baby wrapped in pink blanket. He placed me on the bed where a woman lying there cuddled me for a while. The men left and searched somewhere else. But the woman really thought I was her baby! “You came here because you wanted me to be your mommy!” She said. So I quickly jumped off the bed and transformed back to my original self. My boyfriend was giggling behind me. His trolling was a success. But no time for more, we need to escape!

We ran and ran until we saw a legendary creature half-bird half-horse flying in the sky. It was a hippogriff piloted by one of his cousins. Right then and then, I knew, we are safe. We went to my home in the suburbs to get away from the chaos for a while. the creature landed on our balcony and we hopped off. His cousin was a lady. She left as soon as she dropped us home. She said that she needs to meet the rest of the relatives to plot too. We bid farewell and rested for the night.

On the living room, I lit the fireplace and made hot chocolates to warm us both. He sat on the couch deep in thoughts. It was hard for me to see him that way. Full of anger and sadness at the same time. I can’t think of anything else to relieve his emotional pain but to support his vengeance. I helped him think of plans to take down the other guild but I guess my ideas weren’t helping at all. I just stayed there by his side so he wouldn’t feel alone until we fell asleep on each other’s arms.

At midnight, when darkness was at its peak, the entire place was filled with terror. No different from the world of the Black Market.  We decided to come back unarmed to look for the other guild’s weaknesses. But instead, danger welcomed us. We were arrested as soon as we entered the place. Everyone was. It’s like the Nazi’s took over the entire society. The floating black men brought us to the dungeons where they keep the criminals behind special bars.

I guess everyone needs to undergo interrogation to find the rest of the members of the recently annihilated guild. As we were going down one dungeon after another, a whisper disturbed us. A voice full of wrath was calling his name. I followed the voice, it was disturbing. Soon enough, I discovered it was coming from the wall made of bricks. It was plain and doesn’t seem to be a hidden door or some sort. But strangely, a voice was coming out of it.

One of the floating black men hovered towards me and whipped his hand to the wall. Gradually, a room appeared and an offender hurriedly forced himself on to the bars, screaming in anger. He was reaching his hands towards him as he spoke in a language I never understood. My boyfriend went near him. Observing the way he stares at the offender, it can be concluded that he was his acquaintance before. They must have had a past which he never told me.

He reached his hand and touched the offender’s face. Right at that moment, time stopped for the three of us. Everyone in the Black Market was frozen in time. I, from afar, was watching them converse about a past they had. A past I wasn’t aware of. The offender was freed from the bars and my boyfriend was trapped in a bonfire made of corpses. He wasn’t burning though but in terrible pain. He was screaming. And the offender just stood there enjoying him suffer. I wanted to help, but my physical body is frozen. My mind isn’t.

The offender noticed this and went straight to me. “What strange woman you are. How are you not frozen in time like the others?”

My boyfriend broke free from the spell that bounded him from that bonfire. He thrust onto him and they fell on the ground. He quickly grabbed his purchase which he bargained the first time we went there. It was a powder of blue crest. He quickly sprinkled a handful onto the offender’s head and immediately melted its face. It was a dreadful attack. I couldn’t believe what I saw but I was thankful for it. Who knows what he could’ve done to me if he didn’t freed himself.

The time was still frozen from the others and we immediately escaped from the place. In one blink, we were back again in my apartment. He was unconscious when we arrived. Probably tired from suffering down there. I laid him to my bed and cleaned his face to freshen him up. I removed his spectacles, placed in on top of my night table as he slept like an innocent child. I was glad he was resting.

I sat there beside him and removed my stilettos. I looked at his face and tried to digest everything that happened. It was a lot to recall that only occurred in a span of a day. I learned a lot about him. What he does. Who he was dealing with. It was hard for him. A lot of pain. A lot of suffering. He never told me anything about it. But I wasn’t mad at him for that. I, too, had a secret to spare. Like him, I knew sorcery that I inherited from my ancestors. I never dealt with the Black Market though. I came from a different society. Heavenly, very light and purely peaceful. Our knowledge in sorcery is only being used to relieve all sorts of discomfort.

That moment, I wanted to use my ability on him.  So he doesn’t need to suffer anymore. I placed my hand on his forehead to wipe away his memory about the Black Market, his late relatives and everything else that would remind him of it. I want him to start a new life with me. Far away from the danger we faced. I spared his memory of his family though. And removed their memories as well about their relatives. It was wrong, but I have to save them. They don’t need to face the Black Market anymore. It wouldn’t do them any good at all. Hours later, they would all wake up without any traces of what happened. And for me to live a peaceful life as well, I decided to wipe away mine too.

Soon there was peace.

Serenity.

Reborn.

Burning Kiss

The night was about to fall when I arrived at the place to meet him for one last time. It was a humble home being renovated at the ungodly hour located in a private village in the North of Metro.

I immediately recognized it as the home of my college best friend. What nostalgia summoned me there. I asked.

Upon entering the door, I saw three men, friends of the guy I should be meeting up with, they were discussing some serious matters to the house owners, the family of my best friend.

Lately, I heard they were trying to start a business in which I don’t have any idea on what it was about. At least, that’s the most my interest in the matter could get me.

Everyone noticed as I walk reaching for the sofa, but they did not bother to greet as they were in the middle of a serious discourse. I sat there and waited until he came, the guy I was waiting for.

He came in a shoddy condition, tipsily walked towards the room and fell right beside me. The cushion of the sofa saved his head from having a concussion from a bump he could’ve gotten if he fell on the wooden table or cold ceramic floor.

He was sweating in his burning body temperature and the air didn’t seem to circulate around the room that worsened his health.

I looked at him, trying to grasp his state, thinking what I could’ve done to ease his pain for a while.  But I saw a painful sight through his glasses; It clearly reflected his sufferings from his eyes. Red tint slowly covered the pearliness of his eyeballs that triggered my alertness to panic. Trying to make a signal through my hands, I tried to grab everyone’s attention. Yet, not one was alarmed of this guy’s immediate need of medical attention. My effort wasn’t recognized.

Not soon after, the family of four looked at his friends in disappointment. I guess their minds did not meet. Their mental states weren’t mutual as of the moment to agree on the various business proposals, or at least that’s what I figured.

Darkness took over the cloudy sky and his friends bid farewell to the family. I felt that I needed to go with them to assure this guy’s life will not be in danger or else, I know, it will haunt me forever.

When I once again checked his condition, his eyes were tearing blood. That time, I felt I was in inferno, looking at a demon suffering in flames. The entire house seemed burning in sizzling fire but not one item was scorching in fire.

The guy was such a wreck. I sensed his physical and emotional pains, which ripped me apart. Tears began to roll down my cheeks in sympathy for the life he’s trying to win over the god of death.

I wanted to help him, after all, we had memories to cherish and a good story of friendship to tell. I once again attempted to get their attention for the sake of their dear friend. They immediately responded and we hopped into their red sedan.

His head laid on my lap along our way to nowhere near a hospital. I no longer panicked as I notice his health gradually improving as if a miracle happened. I guess, all along, he just needed to be near me.

I pulled out my phone and suddenly called my best friend to inform her about what happened in their home. Talking to her at that moment, while the guy was soundly sleeping in my lap, cheered me up a lot.

It was a long drive from the metro. I napped and lost track of time, but surprisingly, the sky cleared for the daybreak. We reached our destination when his friends left us to finally have the talk. They drove the car back to where they came from without the intention of returning.

The serene nature-loving place was a hilly grassland far away from all infrastructures of the city. A native restaurant built out of interwoven splits of bamboo (sawali) stood there that offered a variety of Filipino foods and cultural dances for entertainment while you dine. It wasn’t that big, but it provides other amenities you could pay for similar to that of hotels – a massage parlor, perhaps.

The entire place was very relaxing and big enough to find your own spot to clear your mind for meditation. We both entered the restaurant to fill our groaning stomachs. The interior was very native with all the wooden furnitures and decorations. Fresh flowers aesthetically pleased the area and its aroma soothed the atmosphere.

Soon after we finished dining, we stayed for awhile and began talking. We discussed the roller coaster ride of our lives during those times we were tiptoeing around what could’ve been cleared as mutual from the beginning. But it was our fate, I believe, to influence each other at some point in our existence that prepared a stable foundation for the life partners we would separately end up with.

He ended it with a brush of his lips against mine. Not too long that would be considered arousing and expression of love. But a kiss that stayed and let me felt the sincerity from the heart. An apology, a peace-making act, and an au revoir until who knows when.

However, it was a burning kiss that left a mark in my lips. It was from a demon in flames that tempted me to ask for more. But I resisted and prevailed the act of the underworld. It was the perfect time to leave everything behind now.

I knew it was the end. The end of a beautiful yet chaotic long journey. It’s time to live our lives apart and just be thankful for the good and bad memories that were left hidden behind our usual recognition. From that day on, until the rest of my days in this life, I knew I had those memories stored in my head even if it no longer crosses my mind.

Finally, I got what I was looking for some time now. Peace finally came into me to continue the rest of my existence with the man I’m in love with. The man I want to be my life partner through the ups and downs that are ahead of us.

Ultimately, both of us attained peace.