After Years

written & illustrated by Chakriya PHOU


It had been years that I decided to build up my cave and stay there. It was because I was scared of human.

During my staying inside the cave, there were many knockers knocking my door and told me, 'Come out and see the world. There are still many good people. Don't give up if you just met few bad persons.'

After, I thought to myself that perhaps I looked at the world and people negatively, perhaps I was wrong, like the knockers said there were bad and good people, and there were a lot of good people outside.

So, I decided to leave the cave. I wanted to give myself a chance to believe once again that in this world, there were having good people.

I opened my door slowly. I stepped my feet out.

Em, the sun light, the tree, the bird, the wind.. they were good.

Then I heard a voice.

'Hello.'

It was voice of human.

I was excited to hear and to meet human face to face again. I really hoped that they would be my friend. I turned my head towards owner of sound. When I perceived them, I opened my mouth and eyes.

'What's that!!!' I yelled.

Before my eyes, it was a person, human, but half of body was snake.

What's going on? I thought.

When I was in shock, another person appeared. They were in half of wolf.

'Why! Why!' I said. I could not believe with my own eyes. What's happen?

Next, several people arrived. Oh my gosh, I shook my head. They were in half of animal, pig, dog, cow, horse, bird etc.

They smiled at me. They came to near me. And they uttered, 'Come with us. Don't go back into cave.'

'Why all of you become like this?' I spoke.

'Ha ha ha.' They laughed. 'I think you stay in cave for too long, that's why you don't know anything. Now, we are developed. Human are advanced.'

'All?' 

'At present, not all but not long, all will become like this.'

'Oh no.' I shook my head.

'Come on. Don't do like this. It is normal. If we don't change, we will not able to survive in this world. We have to change. We have to transform. Come with us, friend.'

They all smiled at me and they stepped closer to me.

I walked my feet backwards. I scanned all of them. I could see they were not sincere. They called me friend, but I could see their mind, they wanted to eat me.

'Sorry, I don't need friend.' I said. Then I ran fast back into my cave and closed the door.

My body was vibrated. My head still saw what I had seen last moment, and I was so frighten. 

The world becomes scarier. Human becomes worse.

Before I had come into the cave, they were human with animal-shadow, now they became half animal, it was worse than I ever imagined.

I took a blow. I looked around my cave. Then I said, 'I better stay here forever. In this cave, at least, I will be saved from them.'

After that, I never left my cave and I never thought of leaving it even a step.

I Dreamt

 written by Chakriya PHOU

photographed by Chakriya PHOU


I had a dream. 

I was lying on a bed in a room with small light. Water surrounded my bed. 

Then I opened my eyes and sat up. I saw a girl sitting at edge of my bed.

I was told she was not human.

She was about my age and her half low body was snake.

She glanced at me and then dissolves herself into me. 

I did not refuse and allowed her to melt into me. 

However, I claimed, 'I'm not afraid if I become a monster, but I declare that no matter how vicious I become, I will not kill any human being.'

Demona



written by Chakriya PHOU

illustrated by Sann Keo


She is a demon. She is teen demon with appearance, but her age is very old. Maybe over than 500 years.

No one know where she comes from or why she is born. Also, no one can measure her power even the gods. Just know that she is powerful demon girl.

It is fortunately that she does not cause any harm to human being. Even though plant or water. She does not willing to, she likes enjoying herself in deep forest.

One day, Demona feels bored and she wants to change her living place. She sees of a distance location. It is not on earth, in heaven, or hell. It is not among three of them. Only her can see that place and sense it exist.

She decides to go there.

She leaves her birth forest and walks on her feet.

She crosses many countries.

She does not use magic, she walks like human, but no people see her.

Why she does not use her magic? Because she wants to have fun during her traveling. She cannot enjoy view of the world if she uses magic.

Along the way, she becomes bored and bored. Walking alone is so boring. Then Demona wants to find a partner to accompany her. In her mind is target on human, but she cannot find suitable one. She continues her traveling and looks for her partner.

After that, she arrives Cambodia.

She views a girl, younger than her - base on appearance - is sitting with sad face.

Demona sees black mark on her hand. It is like a burn-mark.

It's strange that Demona is interested in this girl and she makes her body visible and reaches the girl.

'Hello, my name Demona.' She introduces herself.

The girl rises her face, looking at her, then replies her with sad low voice, 'Hello, I'm Dina.'

'Why you sit here?' Demona applies her seat next to Dina and points finger to burn-mark on her hand, 'What's wrong with your hand?'

'Oh, it's just.. I.. I just burned my hand while cooking.' Dina says.

'What did you cook then make you like this?'

'I cooked for my family.'

'Family?'

'Yes.'

'How many are they?'

 'My father, my mother and my brother.'

'They won't help you?'

Hearing this, Dina downs her face. She does not speak. Her face is sad, very sad that Demona can feel something about her family. Also, she feels that this Dina is her traveling partner.

At that time, a lady appears. She does not see Demona. She approaches Dina and throws a thing to her.

'Apply it on your burn. Don't act like this. You are not a toddler. Come in house. There are many works.'

Then the lady leaves.

Dina takes thing in her hand. It is a gel tube to remove hurt from burning. She holds it in hand and turns face to Demona before she leaves, 'I'm going home now. Bye.'

'Bye.' Demona says.

Afterwards, Dina gets up and walks after that lady into a house.

Demona looks at her from behind.

In a blink of eyes, she arrives inside Dina's house, but no one sees her. She stands at the wall with dark smoke covering her whole body. She witnesses what Dina has treated in the family.

She is ordered to do house work while her brother whom is her twin has free time and fun all the times.

She gets up early; her brother sleeps until noon.

She cleans house; her brother watches TV.

She cooks; her brother sits at table and clings spoon on plate and calls, 'I'm hungry. Hurry up.'

She does washing; her brother plays video game.

She washes and hangs cloth to dry; her brother throws cloth from his cabinet and shouts, 'Where is my underwear?'

She works whole day and goes to bed late; her brother plays phone-game until late.

She is upset. She is exhausted. So she asks her brother to help, but he refuses and tells parents. Then her parents come to scold her, 'Why you call your brother to help your work? It's woman work, not man work.'

'But I'm tried.' Dina says.

'Just housework, it is not big work, it is not heavy work. Why you say you're tired? I think you are lazy. Do it and don't call brother to do again or you will be punished.'

It is so sad to hear that. But Dina can only down her face and falls tear.

At that time, Demona notices a piece of her dark smoke is flying into Dina's body. Seeing that, Demona smiles little bit. She is surely she is her partner.

Since then, when Dina is upset from her family bad treating, a dark smoke from Demona comes into her body.

It's been years.

Demona is living in Dina's house without anyone knowing her present. She watches all what her family do to her with smiling. She does not rush. She waits for right time. When number of dark smoke inside Dina's body is enough, it will be time for her to come with her. When? She does not know, but she has plenty of time to wait for Dina.

One day, Dina carries basket of wet cloth to hang outside house. She already cooks and organizes food and dishes on table. While she is carrying basket pass dining table, her brother calls, 'Get rice for me.'

'I'm busy. Serve yourself.' Dina says.

'Come and get rice for me now.' Her brother shouts.

Dina does not reply. She continues carrying wet dress basket outside.

The brother is so angry. He throws plate on floor. The plate breaks into pieces.

Parents hurriedly come down to see.

'What's sound?'

'She does not get rice for me.' Brother points finger to Dina.

'Why don't you get rice for your brother?' Parents ask her with tense face.

 'I'm working. Rice pot is on table, close to him, why he does not take by himself.' Dina knots her eye-brows.

'It's your duty to get rice for your brother because you are girl.' Father points finger at her face.

'He has arms.' Dina says back to her father.

'Bitch.' Her father slaps her shoulder one. 'Don't argue with me. You have no right to refuse. You are girl. Heaven gives you, woman, to serve man so you have to respect and follow.'

Meanwhile Demona watches the show smilingly.

Then she notices dark smoke flies into Dina, but this time is not piece, it is huge smoke and very dark. Because this time, Dina is not sad, she is angry and anger brings big amount of demon dark smoke into her body and also her mind.

'Well, well,' Demona nods head, 'time is almost arriving.'

She takes a breath and extends her lips.

From that day, the number of dark smoke is increased as it flies into Dina's body.

Next day, Dina is cleaning house. Her brother is from playing football with his friends. He is dirty of dirt and mud. Including his shoes. He walks into house and goes up stair making mud stain all the way he walks. Dina is so angry. She shouts at him, 'I'm cleaning. Don't you see?'

'So what?' Her brother says from stairs. 'Clean it, bitch.'

Hearing that word, Dina is so angry. She throws mop on floor and steps to drag his shirt to come down.

'You make it. You clean it.' She shouts at her brother.

'Bitch.' The brother points finger at her face.

This action is causing fire in her heart. She looks at him with angry face. She cannot tolerate anymore. No, no more. Then, she hit his nose with her fist.

'Daddy, Mummy, help.'

The brother cries loudly.

The parents hear crying and run their feet to see.

'What's wrong? Who hit you?' Mother asks.

'She.' The brother points at her.

'Why you do that to my son, bitch?' Father is angry and is about to slap her shoulder again, but she catches his hand.

It is surprised for three of them. How can she become strong like this? She is not Dina anymore, she looks like different person. She is not fear, she is not scare, she does not shed any tear, she does not allow anyone to harm her even her birth-giving-persons.

This causes the family surprise and frighten. They feel she is weird. They leave her to go out house.

At once, Demona appears before Dina. She smiles at her.

Dina is not frighten. She realizes Demona is not human. Still, she smiles at her.

'Would you like to go with me?' Demona says.

'Go where?' Dina asks.

'To far place. Out of this world.'

Dina doesn't give her a thought. She nods head immediately. 

Why she agrees so fast? Because she feels enough of her living in this world. She hates everything in this world. All.

'Welcome, my companion.'

Demona spreads her arms and Dina reaches for her and they hug each other.

Talking about Dina's family. They feel Dina is strange so they go to see the monk whom is well know of great power. When they arrive at his pagoda, they narrate about their daughter to him. After that, the monk closes his eyes for a while then opens up and speaks, 'Your daughter is possessed by darkness. The darkness owner does not want to harm her. It's coincident she found her. Now she is with her already.'

Hear it, the family turns to be regret. They are worried about daughter. They ask the monk to save her.

'I cannot involve.' The monk exclaims. 'What happens today is because of all of you. Your daughter, your sister becomes like this because you, not because of demon. If you want to take her back, you have to give what you never give her.'

The three persons are so sad. They know their fault. They want to fix it.

The monk is merciful. He helps three of them arriving where Demona and Dina are.

They are crossing the bridge. Demona is arriving at end of the bridge while Dina is at her last step. Once she is about to go her foot, her parents and brother appear behind and call her.

'My dear, don't go.'

Hearing that, Dina turns her face. She sees her family is standing at another side of the bridge. They are tearing down their faces.

'We all know our fault.' Her father says. 'Please come back. We're sorry.'

'My sweet heart, please forgive me. Please forgive all of us. We're sorry. Please come back. We cannot live without you.' Her mother says.

'I'm sorry, sister. I'm really sorry. Please don't go. I will pay you back.' Her brother says.

These words make Dina falling her tears. 

Meanwhile, Demona stands silently, smiling, waiting to see result.

Now, it is difficult time to decide. Only one step remains. If she steps this one step forwards, she will completely leaving this world and will never return. She will never see place and people that make her life miserable. If she turns back, then she will return to live with her family.

Dina watches her family. She sees them clearly that they really love her and want her back. Her mother spreads her arms, her face full of tears, she is waiting for her to come into her embrace, she is scared to lose her.

She is really wanting to feel of such warmth and love. It is what she is dreaming for years from them.

It is really beautiful to imagine of harmony scenery of family reunion. It is really great feeling.

Dina smiles at her family. She is about to step back to them, and her family is happy when they see her action.

But as she is about to move, thing appears in her mind. It blocks her step.

The family becomes fear seeing that.

'Come. Please. Come. Come back.' They call together.

Well, Dina is standing still thinking deeply. She is really wanting to feel of their embrace and warmth and love, but what they has treated for many years, she cannot deny feeling, the feeling of hurt, sadness and lonely. It is very miserable during living with them. She cannot forget. No way. She cannot and will not forget forever.

Dina rises face straight to them and claims, 'It's late.'

After, she spins her body and makes last step crossing the bridge.

'No.' 

Her mother cries hardly. She falls herself to ground. Also her father and brother eyes are full of tears.

'No. Don't leave me. My dear. Come back.'

Even though, Dina does not look back.

Before leaving, Demona gives words to the family of Dina.

'It's all of you making me successfully. If you realizes faster, then you will not lose her.'

She gives a big smiling to the family of Dina. After, she walks to hold Dina's hand and both of them walk off into heavy fog and disappear forever and ever.

 




Human Fortune

 

written & photographed by Chakriya PHOU


Long time ago, there were four men searching for way to get rich fast and easily. They met by chance and decided to join adventure together.

They found a hermit in deep forest. Four of men knelt down before the hermit and told about their aim.

After hearing, the hermit said, ‘I have way to help you earn money easily.’

The men were happy. They asked the hermit to tell them. The hermit agreed.

He brought them to hut. One person stayed in one hut. After he started his teaching.

The hermit instructed first man to utter one sentence of Dharma. He said one sentence, he would get one cent.

Then hermit went to instruct second man to write Dharma. One written sentence would bring him one cent.

After, he went to third man. He taught him to say Dharma in mind. One sentence, one cent.

Last, he reached for fourth man. He told him to walk one step and say one sentence of Dharma.

The four men noted the instruction then paid goodbye to the hermit.

They traveled back to their home. When they approached cross road, they asked each other about teaching from hermit. They were surprised for it was same Dharma sentence. Four of them remembered and said goodbye to each other.

As they reached their home, they tried what they had learn. It was really effective. They got money when they practiced. They practiced today, day after they got money. The men were so happy. More they practiced, more amount they got.

Days after, they felt bored. They thought their way were difficult. They reminded about their friends’ tactic. They thought it was easier. So, they tried their friends’. First man practiced second man’s way. Second man practiced third man’s. Third man practiced fourth man’s. After, they waited for result. Nothing happened. No money came. The men wondered. Then they changed to use other tactic of their friends. No money came to them. They changed again. Still no money arrived.

The four men pondered. Later on, they decided to go back to hermit. They met each other and they told what had happen when they practiced not their way. They were surprised to learn they got same result. The guys were curious so they went to ask the hermit together.

The hermit heard their question and replied, ‘In this world, there is no easy or fast way to earn much money. What I taught you is called easy and fast way to earn money, but not to earn much money. Also, each person has own fortune. I instruct you following your own luck. If you want to be rich, you have to keep on practice your own tactic and do saving.’

Spite

 written by Chakriya PHOU


I am a person living with spite. Spite towards human. Spite towards society.

I live with hatred. I live with fire inside my heart.

I hate living with human because they look down on me, they don't give value to me, just because I am a woman.

Human and society always give price to man, even though they are not good.

I envy.

I'm angry.

My mind want to revenge.

My brain guides me, 'You should study hard, work hard and earn much money then go to far away where human does not like to go and live there.'

I follow my instinct.

I don't need society. I don't need human. When neither of them need me.

Spite, sometimes, leads us to success if we master it correctly.

Ghost Girl



written & designed by Chakriya PHOU

There was a young man named Sali from province to work in Phnom Penh.
Sali rented a room and stayed alone. He stayed for 5 days already.
Where he stayed, there were two buildings which their behind faced each other. Sali's room had window and at opposite building, there was another room and its window faced with Sali's window.
Every evening, when Sali came back from working, he usually saw a young girl, about his age, standing at that window. She wore green T-shirt and she looked down through the window. Sali wondered what she was looking at for it had nothing down there, just land and some bushes. Moreover, Sali noticed she stood without moving and she presented herself from 5:30 PM until 5:30 AM.

Friend Human, Friend Dog

written by Chakriya PHOU

Talk about a man, Sok, a farmer, lived with wife and daughter.
He had a dog. He loved it so much. He usually took dog with him to the farm.
Sok had best friend named Sao. He usually visited Sok.
One day, Sok brought the dog to farm with him from early morning. When they came back home in the evening, they met with Sao at the gate.
'My friend.' Sok called. 'How are you?'
'I'm very well, friend.' Sao spoke.
It was suddenly, the dog barked. He barked strongly towards Sao, also he grinned showing his teeth to him.

Half-Blood

written by Chakriya PHOU

2019, I was at first year of university.
At my university, there was a short article contest to publish in weekly university press. Topic was free. The selected article got 10 USD.
The article needed to write in English, no longer than 2 pages.
I tried.
Title : I Fall In Love With Not Human

Seller


written & photographed by Chakriya PHOU

What is common saying of seller?
My thing is good.

I would like to tell you a thing had happened between my uncle and a seller - woman - sold durian.
Story took place in Battambang province.
My uncle traveled to Battambang for business with his business partner.
Day before he came back to Phnom Penh, he went to market to buy thing - anything that could not find in Phnom Penh - for my grand mother.
He strolled around for a while then his eyes caught durian. He walked towards it.
The seller was glad to see customer. She promoted her durian to my uncle.
'Mr., please buy my durian. It is good. It's Cambodian durian.'
'Where is it from?'
'From Pailin.'
In Phnom Penh at that time - 25 year ago- had only durian from Kampot. Uncle wanted grandma to have new taste.
'Is it really good?' My uncle said.
'Yes of course, it is good. It is sweet.' Seller claimed.
'Well, if it is not good?'
'Then you can bring it to me and take your money back.'

Ghost Woman On Road


written & designed by Chakriya PHOU

Is ghost a myst? I don't know.. but I believe it exists since I experienced once.
It was last three years.
I volunteered in one NGO.
One day, I was assigned to travel to Takeo province for two days. I went with my two seniors, by organzation's car.
On second day, we finished late so we left for Phnom Penh around 9pm.

Fx Case


written & illustrated by Chakriya PHOU

In an old building - very old - there was only an apartment living by a man. His name was Time. He was single and stayed alone. His apartment was his home and his office.
Just looked at where he lived, it could be seen clearly that he did not earn much. Yes, he is a private detective. He worked for himself; he worked for pleasure; he worked because he liked. Money was not his priority. Still, he needed money to survive, at least to buy instant noodle.
Few months ago, there was no customer and his instant noodle almost ran out. He hoped a customer showing up today or he would starve to death.
Sitting in his chair, he heard noise. It was foot step. According to his experience, he was sure it was sound of high heel so his customer was a lady.
Due to his brain, she should be rich herself or maid of someone rich. 
Time smiled when he thought about this.
His customer was walking up the stairs. She needed to walk slowly because the stairs and way were full of dirt and garbage. Also, it was not brightening. Time wished she would not take wrong step and fell over stair.
It was more than 5 minutes to finish the stairs and walked along dirty and smelly corridor to reach the door.
Time sat waiting patiently.
Ding.
Door bell rang.

After Years

written & illustrated by Chakriya PHOU It had been years that I decided to build up my cave and stay there. It was because I was scared ...