Mind the Mud

I woke up to a loud emergency alert on my phone warning me about strong winds and flooding. It has been drizzling all day long since a few days. The weather report states a hurricane is expected to strike Central America. I sigh and get out of bed. The gloomy weather has made me lazy and dull. I drink a banana smoothie and decide to head out for a walk since all I have been doing is lying on the couch and whiling away time doing unimportant things, such as work. So, I decide to start my day by being a little more active even though it’s wet and cold outside.

I grab my rain jacket, plug in my earphones, and step out. I get engrossed in an episode of Radiolab about Time on Spotify and take several rounds around the park in the neighborhood. After an hour long walk, I grab a coffee and a sandwich from a nearby cafe and walk back home. On reaching the entrance to my place, I notice strange, muddy footprints near my front door.

The footprints do not look like shoe prints or animal footprints, they look different. Strange! I get worried and quickly check if I had left my door unlocked. Thankfully the door is locked, but I still do a quick check to see if there is anyone inside. I check the living area, under the couch for any animal, patio, bedrooms, bathrooms, under the kitchen sink, and find nothing.

The strange part is not about seeing the muddy footprints, it is about the unfamiliarity of the footprints and how they abruptly end near my front door.

These footprints kept appearing repeatedly outside my door for the next few days, which I found rather unusual and upsetting. I put in more effort and looked further to find out where the steps start and why they always ended near my door. My futile attempts only led me towards puddles near the entrance of the apartment with no other clue. After wasting a good amount of time, I would groan angrily and go back to doing my daily tasks.

It is Halloween today, my friend from work, invites me over to a costume party at her place. I wear a simple grey dress which has a furry tail and a hood with ears. It is a werewolf costume but it makes me look more like a cat. After a long night of chatting and drinks, I sober up and drive back to my place by 2 AM in the morning. Tiredly and sleepily, I hunt for the house keys inside my handbag without noticing that there is something near my feet. I realise this and pause for a second before looking down. I let out the loudest shrill scream upon seeing a wolf in front of my door.

Immediately, the lights in the neighbour’s house turn on and an old woman grumpily opens the door. She looks at my deeply shocked face, the animal, and starts laughing.

She starts apologizing for not informing me about her new pet, “I am so sorry dear, meet Hemlie!”, she says.

She pets the animal and continues speaking,

“My grand daughter wanted a husky before Halloween so she could dress him up as a werewolf and take him along for trick-and-treating. On her way back with her friends, she lost Hemlie and came home crying. She fell asleep an hour ago after crying all night long. Poor girl and look here he is, I guess he found his way back home. Smart one, this boy!”, she bends down to pat his head and grabs Hemlie’s collar.

“He must have scared you.”, she looks up at me and smiles in the dim light of the corridor.

I smile at her confusedly and look at the dog’s feet and see him wearing a weird pair of oversized boots. I tell my neighbour about the strange muddy footprints that I have noticed near my door.

For a while she looks confused but then immediately looks at me apologetically, “Oh dear, I had no idea about this. My grand daughter has been taking him out in those shoes and must have made Hemlie clean them up on your door mat before entering our home, because you know I am a stickler for cleanliness!”, she says sheepishly.

I crawl into the bed feeling relieved that the strange mystery of the muddy footprints is solved and also silly for worrying too much about little things.

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

Mystery|Murder|Drama|Hope

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Book Review

Miracle Creek is a story about a family that moves from South Korea to a town called Miracle Creek in Virginia for a better way of life. Pak Yoo and Young along with their daughter Mary set up a therapeutic medical device called a HBOT chamber. HBOT, is a hyperbaric oxygen chamber with pressurized oxygen. This therapy involves breathing in pure oxygen to heal patients with special medical needs. Soon, an unfortunate event occurs – a mysterious fire explosion of the Miracle Submarine, resulting in the death of two patients. Was this incident an accident or a murder? Miracle Creek is centered around this murder mystery that deals with a fast-paced and thrilling courtroom drama.

It is written by debut author Angie Kim who includes many of her life instances in this story. Angie Kim, similar to Mary’s character also moved from South Korea to Baltimore with her family at a very young age. The author tackles difficult themes such as immigration, identity crisis, and challenges of parenting based on her personal experiences. Angie Kim is a practiced trail lawyer who draws on her experiences for a realistic courtroom setting.

The story starts with a slight tension in the air followed by the fire explosion of the Miracle Submarine. From here on begins the courtroom trail, where the mother of one of the patients is charged with murder. As you proceed, the story goes into the background of the main characters involved in the accident. These include, Pak Yoo – father, Young – mother, Mary – daughter, Matt – patient of HBOT, and Elizabeth – mother of her deceased child, Henry, who finds herself accused of committing the crime.

The murder mystery keeps you gripped right from the beginning till the end. You will find yourself guessing and reaching a conclusion on who might have possibly committed the crime. Can it be the South Korean family for the insurance money? A frustrated mother? The protestors who are against unsafe medical treatments for autistic children? Or an angry wife? I personally had three suspects. I cannot say that I was surprised and neither was I certain but it was a clear ending with no loose ends.

The story is not just about solving a murder mystery but it also deals with many powerful themes and problems which we face regularly in our lives. There are many excerpts in the story which are brutally honest and true. I found myself agreeing and relating to many of them. This book deals with elements such as autism and parental challenges, immigration and its language barriers, neglected childhood resulting in teenage rebellion, infertility and self-doubt, making it a heavy and full-filling read.

“There’s something, though, about the sounds that other people make. Not talking, necessarily. Just their sounds of living – creaking upstairs, humming a tune, watching TV, clanging dishes – that blot away your loneliness. You miss them when they’re gone. Their absence – the total silence – becomes palpable.”

Coming in at just under 400 pages, Miracle Creek is an easy recommendation if you are looking for something entertaining. It is a varied and heavy read with glimpses into the lives of several different characters.

“We all have thoughts that shame us…but if that were to actually happen, that’d be unbearable”

Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens

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Heart-felt|Drama|Mystery|Feel Good

One morning, Kya wakes up and watches her mother walk out of the door and she knows life will never be the same again. Where the Crawdads Sing is a story of a young girl left alone in an isolated marshland and an intriguing murder mystery of Chase Andrews.

Catherine Danielle Clark, commonly known as Kya, is the main protagonist. This six-year old girl learns to survive alone in the marshland when her dysfunctional family abandons her at an early age. The murder investigation is of handsome Chase Andrews, who is a popular kid in the neighborhood and his association with Kya, ends up making her a prime suspect. It is typical for readers to feel pity for Kya, however, author Delia Owens’ beautiful narration conveys how every weakness contains within itself a strength.

This fictional novel is written by debut author Delia Owens whose extensive knowledge in nature, wildlife, birds, and of course marshlands creates a beautiful imagery. It makes the book all the more interesting to read as it takes you closer to nature and you can truly experience Kya’s adventures and her intense connection with the natural world.

The growth of Kya’s character and the murder investigation gives this book a powerful and engrossing storyline. Your heart goes out to Kya when she waits in vain for her family to return. During times of loneliness and trouble Kya always relies on nature, her seagulls, and birds for companionship and solace. Then, Tate comes in the form of hope, who remains by Kya’s side as a friend, a great support, a mentor and a companion. When Kya gets a little confident, she meets Chase Andrews and tries to explore the other side of the world, until the unthinkable happens. This book takes you on a journey of emotions, there is sadness, fear, joy, pride, passion, love, hope, and peace. It is a wonderful tale of a “Marsh Girl”, a murder and nature’s secrets.

Where the Crawdads Sing is a fantastic piece of work and it is difficult to put down the book once you get into its world. I wanted to remain in it and did not want the story to end. All the hype about this novel is true, it is a must-read!

You Yearn For..

Day 66

The ineffable mysteries of the soul

Has many untold endless desires –

Needless appetite for mastery,

Wretched craving for possessions,

Delusory hope for enlightenment,

Bountiful want of happiness,

Intense moments of fierce passion,

Perpetual period of peacefulness.

A Girl’s Tale

Day 60

I’m wickedly passionate

Thoroughly delightful.

My mysterious charm

Will truly enchant you.

A fragrant passing breeze

Or a joyful ecstasy

Just one gaze will totally bewilder you.

A Bird’s Song

Day 38

A bird fluttered around,

Singing a mysterious song.

No usual chirping or sounds of calling out.

It sang a deep, quaint song,

It was brief but melodious.

Eerie, sinless and sensuous.

The mellow, bold tune

Soon began to fade.

The bird passed into oblivion,

Only the song hauntingly remained.