OMOE excerpt

Just to tease you a little…

Something about this country crushes the soul and breaks spirits. Some pundits say Singapore was just built for the sake of commerce: a machine, nonetheless, soulless with a heart of stone. You see it in the faces of people who stream into the train stations or walk down the streets hurriedly, lost in their own worlds–bland, boring and pragmatic. Not a nice description of Singaporeans.

Yet Singapore still attracts a steady flow of immigrants, eager to start new lives, drawn to the prospects of safe streets and secure jobs. The same goes for the Myriad–new lives, new homes, new landscapes for theirs to change and modify. They bring their own politics, petty grievances and bad habits. We mostly stick to our own business. Sometimes the politics overlaps. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes the petty grievances follow individuals or families until the present day. There are Myriad factions good at holding grudges. Tit-for-tat, an eye for an eye. Tooth and claw. Fang and talon. Grudge-bearing honed into an art-form.

Sometimes old histories refuse to go away. They nurse them and let the bitterness fester. I have witnessed this first-hand. The bitterness becomes a dagger that twists the psyche, a weapon to slice and dice emotions. It’s an ugly business. We end up having to deal with the mess for years.

I often think we are all composed of grievances and grudges, little and big dark secrets. Some of us walk like live billboards, the grief and rage hanging around like ominous thunderheads. Some prefer to keep the grudges secret, like tiny slivers of steel that sink into their intended victims like voodoo curses.

But this is Singapore, not a back street in New Orleans. Singapore–living on the edge of the Ring of Fire. Singapore–strait-laced on the surface, but roiling with untamed rage beneath, like the magma. Bland, boring and pragmatic? I don’t think so.

* * * *

The dreams returned, creeping in, at first as strange nonsensical snatches of colors and voices then fleshing themselves out in full detail. I was pregnant then with my third child, a boy. Dreams often accompanied my pregnancies. Real, powerful Dreams, as Ling would say–with a capital “D.”

Most of the dreams had a common theme: obsidian. I was not a big fan of semi-precious stones and held only a cursory interest–useful when I browsed the aisles in a random New Age shop. I would have to ask Amethyst, one half of the fey sister pair, about it.

Black, glistening, sharp-edged serrated teeth. Fangs. Elongated canines. In various forms: statues, sculptures and…temple figurines.

At first I ignored the dreams and figured it was my overworked subconscious, compounded by my Lang side and pregnancy hormones. In the dreams, wolf-me bristled, bared teeth and protected self or pack. The obsidian theme persisted until I gave birth and the frequency dropped drastically and eventually tapered off. Or so I thought.

When Aidan turned one, the dreams returned.

This time, the fangs morphed into a more definite shape.

This time, I knew there was trouble.

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