21 Times Lee Hsien Loong Totally Nailed The Whole Social Media Thing


Our dearest PM 🙂

Natalie-Kay-Es-El

It’s always a risk posting anything remotely positive about the Singapore government – the anti-gov sentiments are so darn strong online! But I can’t help but marvel at prime minister Lee Hsien Loong’s social media efforts. From food pics to humblebraggin’ posts, LHL’s various social media accounts have got all of them covered. Seriously. Props to his publicity team LOL.

Believe it or not, here’re 21 times Lee Hsien Loong totally nailed the whole social media thing:

1. That time an owl flew into his office and he tweeted AND instagrammed it like a regular person would.

LHL Owl Instagram

I can almost imagine him going “omg omg omg it’s an owl. GUYS, IT’S AN OWL!!!!” Much like a regular person would!

2. That time he humble bragged about sitting next to Aung San Suu Kyi

LHL Aung San Suu Kyi FB

What he said: “At the Singapore Summit this evening, I shared my optimism about prospects for Asia……

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The Final Evolution Chapter 8


Click here for Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Throughout the night, the rest of us discuss the chances of heading out to the beach for escape while Hermes sleeps. There is no way anyone can come down and get us. Besides, I want to get out to look for Dad. I will never leave until I have found him. If he is well, we will leave this place together. If he isn’t… I shudder once the thought crosses my mind. Dad as one of those monsters out there is unthinkable. But there is no way I will know without looking for him. Plus, at least I know that he is still alive, right?

The occasional snarling and retching tells us the metal door is still barricaded by the monsters. Hours later, I tell them that I have decided to go out via the beach anyway. There will be no progress if I were to sit here all day. Unless another human being trespasses this area, the mob will still be outside. Jim agrees.

“Listen. This is the radio phone right here.” I take it out of the backpack and hands it to Uncle Timmy. “If you decide to head out for some help, use this. They said they’ll try their best to get to us. Wait. Do you smell that?” A weird smell has wafted into the minimart and I take a huge whiff of the air.

WHAM!

There is a loud pounding on the metal door.

WHAM! WHAM! WHAM!

The pounding grew steadily louder and faster.

“What is that?” I ask, mortified.

A huge dent appears on the door.

“What the-”

BAM‼!

The door crashes open and an Alchemist storms into view, sunlight streaming in, his tank half full. The surface of the door is visibly melted by the Alchemist’s acid. He opens his mouth and roars.

“Get out of here!” Uncle Timmy shouts.

There is only one way left for us to go. Sam leads the way. We crash into shelves, toppling them as we run for the door, the Alchemist tossing them aside like toys. We run down the tunnel and I pray hard nothing is waiting for us on the other side. A short while later, the roaring of the Alchemist ominously stops. Are they heading somewhere else? These creatures have never behaved like this. They never attack unless they can hear or see. Why would it come crashing into the minimart when we hadn’t even made loud noises? How did it know we are in there? Had Hermes been right all along? I turn to check if they are coming after us, but they aren’t, and neither is Hermes. Soon, the thundering of the monsters fades away.

Sunlight shines upon us as we escape into the beach and we stop, staring at the trees, mesmerised. It is a realm of familiarity for me and I know a playground –  my playground –  stands nearby. Yet there is something drastically different. The trees are covered in dark, gray scales, their leaves vibrantly green. The ocean is clear blue and the fishes swimming in them bear the same scales of the trees. The sky is clear, instead of the usual gray thunderclouds I had seen growing up.

“Jim… This is…” I whisper, walking towards a tree and stretching out my hand.

“No. Don’t touch it!” Jim cried.

But I can’t. Something has started attacking me overhead, pelting at me from different directions as if someone has started throwing red hot stones at me, but I can’t see them.

“Dammit!” I scream, flailing my arms wildly. They hit something in the air which singes my coat. Suddenly, something grabs my legs and I slam into the ground.

“ARGH!” I yell.

I am being dragged on my back by something invisible. I can’t see where I am being taken to and crash into a tree or two along the way, nearly knocking the wind out of me. My ankles are burning.

“Jim!” I call out.

A strangled yell tells me he is being dragged too, right behind me, together with the rest. Sam is screaming for his Uncle Timmy but there is nothing any of us could do. We are being dragged like rag dolls. Finally, we slow to a stop. I manage to take a good look of the surroundings around us. We are in the playground. My playground. I slump into the sand as the Phantoms let go of me, Jim stopping next to me, our wrists burnt red. But Sam and Uncle Timmy are being dragged towards a group of Retchers. One of the monsters lashes out a tongue and hit Uncle Timmy’s face, dissolving his skin while he shrieks in pain. Jim and I stand up and prepare to run, but it is no use. We are surrounded by a whole group of them and presumably, the Phantoms. Screams and retches tell us that the Sam and Uncle Timmy are gone and are about to join the monsters’ army that is going to torture us both. There is a grunt and we whirl around.

Sitting on the edge of the slide is the Alchemist, its tank half full and its eyes boring into mine. Then it dawns upon me. Those are the brown eyes I had seen growing up, the brown eyes that fills with warmth whenever they look into mine. Those are the brown eyes of my father’s. But now, the warmth is no longer there.

“Dad?” I say softly. Jim turns to look at me as I start walking slowly towards him.

“Clare,” Jim warns softly. The retching and snarling grew louder with every step I take, but none of the creatures move, waiting for orders from the Alchemist. Dad does nothing, but stares at me, hostile, as I walk towards him.

I stop, leaving a gap between me and him as he continues glaring at me with his angry brown eyes. They narrow. For a moment we look at each other, then he lets out another roar.

“Clare!”

I turn around to see Jim being dragged away once more by the invisible Phantoms, this time towards the forest nearby. He reaches for his air pistol and fires blindly. It hits the bottom of the Dad’s tank and shatters a hole in it. Hot green acid spills out as he roars, dissolving the slide behind him. He walks over to Jim as the Phantoms slow to a stop. Then, bending over him, Dad opens his mouth and retch.

“NO!!!” I scream.

Acid spills out of his foul mouth and onto Jim’s legs and torso as he screams and thrashes on the spot in pain. The flesh of his legs dissolves in patches, revealing the bones beneath. I tremble as the endless shrieks pierce the air. I run towards him but the Retchers pin me to the ground. I watch helplessly as the Phantoms drag a thrashing Jim into the forest. Tears well up in my eyes as I begin to shake uncontrollably in fear.  Dad looks up and walks slowly towards me.

I struggle as hard as I can amongst my trembles but this seems to anger him. He leans over me and open his mouth, retching. I close my eyes, preparing for the acid to drown me, but nothing came. He roars in fury as he turns and reveals an empty tank. All of his acid has leaked out from the hole. The Retchers form a tight circle around both of us and the Dad raises his right hand angrily, poised, just like how the other Alchemist had ripped out Annie’s heart. Before he can strike, however, I cry out.

“Dad! It’s me! Clare!”

I do not know what to expect, but I am afraid, very afraid of what is going to happen next. This is my time. Hermes is right. But it has never crossed my mind that Dad would be the one to kill me. Will it hurt? Where will he toss my body? There are no Jesters to eat me up. Will he even realise that he had killed his own daughter?

But Dad just stops, his hand pausing in mid air as he uses his other hand to grip hold of my shoulder, giving it a small squeeze. A strange mist which I have never seen before is now emitting from the tank, engulfing me. It makes my throat burn. He looks straight into my eyes and I see, for a moment, a familiar warmth flash across them.

For some reason, I am no longer afraid, as though I know this is going to be the ending all along. I take a deep breath, close my eyes and bite my lip. Then his palms hit me. I refuse to scream for I know that Dad hates it when I am weak. Then his hands contract around my insides painfully. I can no longer hold back. I yell in pain as I feel something being ripped out, paralysing me. I sputter as I feel the last of my breath escape me, plunging me into a deep slumber.

*** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Epilogue

I trek through the jungle, blowing bangs out of my eyes and ignoring the sunlight that is slightly stinging me. I can tell we are nearing the sea from the sound of the water. The sky has never been so clear for years ever since I can remember and the forest air is fresh. The younger trees now bore leaves of a clean, green colour, looking much healthier than the dull ones on the older trees, though they now bore more fruit and flowers. Our birds are perched chirping on the dark gray branches of the trees, invisible in the sunlight.

Our army has been trekking for hours and I prod Dad with a stick I had found on the forest floor earlier this morning. He turns around, grunting. I gesture towards a pond nearby and he nods. Our men scramble for it and I follow suit. The water in the pond is crystal clear. Scraping some moss from the sides of the stones, I walk back and pass it over to Dad, who looks at me with the warmth he reserves just for me. I scrape some over the hole in his tank to seal it for him. Then, I return to the pond to get more for myself. I munch on the greens. It feels cool and refreshing; the tubes lining the sides of my arms are slowly filling to the brim with bubbling blue acid. My personal weapon, one that belongs solely to the leader’s right-hand man.

Dad lets us rest longer than usual and by the time we are done, the sun has gone down. Our army seems to have grown twice its size with the appearance of our flaming brothers. We continue trekking out of the forest, Jim walking by my side. Finally, we hear the loud crashing of the waves and slow to a stop at the edge of the trees. Then, Dad lets out a low grunt and we move in unison, seeking cover among the trees. I peek out over Jim’s shoulder, his flames lighting up the distance not far from us.

There they are, three humans, strolling down the beach, talking. I can smell something choking, pungent coming from one of them. I have never smelled that from a human before. We wait for a sign from the waters. Then, a low hum of the songs of the sea fills in air. They are ready. Dad gives a low grunt and all of us get into our positions, poised to attack, our Retchers already eager to charge. The trio looks around in alarm at the ruckus we are making. Then, gurgling noises fill the air as our pirates emerge from the sea, led by Matt in his eye-patch. The trio screams. Dad gives his commanding loud roar and we charge, but Dad holds me back. He signals me with a different grunt. The foul one, kill him, it tells me.

Poor guy, but I have to do as I am told and I move swiftly, digging my razor sharp claws into his chest to inject the luminous blue acid into his heart, paralysing it. After all, Dad is our great leader, and he knows who is fit enough to join us in this new world and who isn’t.

The Final Evolution © 2013 by Auby Sparksfield. All rights reserved.

Written by: Ms. Auby Sparksfield

Edited by: Isaac Tan

Click here for Chapter 7

The Final Evolution Chapter 7


Click herefor Chapter 6

Chapter 7

“Arrggghhhhhhh!” Jim and I scream at the top of our lungs and the noises outside grows even louder.

“Shut it!” A rough voice comes from the dark and a few other torches click on, which faintly lights up the place.

It looks like the mini supermarket had been transformed into a makeshift camp. There are shelves and shelves of food, but three hammocks are tied between two pipes and there are mats on the floor. A pile of what looks like burnt blankets sits somewhere near the hammocks. There are a total of three men in the room, staring at us suspiciously. One of them is a boy, about seven years old, who is sitting by a fish tank housing fireflies. The man who had spoken has long hair, a fresh wound down his face and a tattoo across his arm. The other man closest to us is clean shaven, but has chapped lips and a pale complexion.

“Who are you?” Jim asks quietly as the noise outside subsides.

“We should be asking you that.” The man with the tattoo scowls. “We’ve combed the area before. There are no other survivors.”

“We arrived earlier today,” I reply, a little hesitant. “My name is Clare, he’s Jim.”

No one says anything in reply to that. The tattooed man lights a pipe and I watch as smoke billow out of it. He glares at me for a moment and then turns around to face a shelf of canned food. The pale one takes my arm and steers me over roughly to sit next to the boy. On a closer look, I realise the tank contains not fireflies, but three, glowing, stag beetles. The little boy looks at me and offers me the packet of marshmallows he is holding. I take one over.

“Thanks.”

“He’s Hermes,” the pale man tells us, nodding over at Tattoo-man. “This boy here is Sam, my nephew. They call me Uncle Timmy. We’ve been hiding here for weeks.”

“Weeks?” I ask in disbelief.

“Yes. We were escaping from them and Hermes let us in,” Uncle Timmy answers gruffly, setting down his torch. “Now why are you two here?”

Jim takes a deep breath and launch into the story of how we escaped our school and the theme park and how we ended up here to look for Dad.

“Your best chance is to stay in here. Your father is dead,” Hermes interrupts harshly. For some reason, I hate him the moment the words slip out of his mouth.

“How do you know?” I snap at him. “I bet you don’t even know where to look.”

“You don’t either, or else you wouldn’t be here.”

“You-”

“Stop it!” Jim intercepts. “We’re here to figure out how to get out of here, not to quarrel. We have a radio phone with us. We can-”

“I’m not leaving until I’ve found Dad,” I cut in.

“Clare, you heard him. They have combed the area. There are no survivors. You saw what your house looked like,” Jim begins. “If we leave now, we still-”

“You said you’re coming with me and now you’re asking me to give up? Call the army if you want but I’m staying.” I am fuming.

“I know of a way to get out,” Sam pipes up suddenly. “There’s a tunnel there that leads to the beach.” He stuns us all at this pronouncement.

“Kid, how’d you know?” Hermes asks brusquely, breaking the silence.

“I had to feed my beetles. I knew I can’t go up there,” Sam explains, nodding towards the tank. “I was looking around here for something my beetles would eat, and I found another door that led me out to a tunnel. I followed it and arrived by a beach.”

“Sam, there are… creatures in the beach too,” I say gently.

“Well, I didn’t see any. But I let them out under a tree for some tree sap.”

“There was tree sap under a tree?” I ask, suspicious.

“Yeah. Just at the bottom of the tree trunk.”

“Is that when they started glowing?” Jim asks sharply.

“Yes.”

“Let me see it.” Jim pushes his way to the tank. We watch as the beetles crawl. When they touch a leaf, it starts burning. “Are they aggressive?” Jim asks.

“No.”

Jim takes a marshmallow from Sam and very carefully, lifts the small circular lid in the middle of the rectangular cover of the tank. When the marshmallow is dropped into the tank, the beetles attack it, but upon touching it, they head for the opening. They crash into the cover instead. Startled, Jim slams the lid shut and backs away.

“Strange. They’re not usually like this,” Sam says, staring into the tank curiously.

“I think they have become one of them. The Phantoms,” Jim whispers, looking at me.

“Here.” I pick up the torchlight Uncle Timmy had set down and shines it over the tank. The beetles first fade in the light and then reappear, glowing, safely tucked away under the shade of a leaf.

“Sam… I think what they had eaten might not be tree sap,” I begin slowly. “It could be the saliva of the Phantoms.”

“What the hell are Phantoms?” Uncle Timmy asks.

“The ones with the glowing skeletons in the dark,” Jim informs him.

“When did they become like this, Sam? When did they last eat?” I ask.

“Just this morning,” Sam replies.

“What other changes do you see?” Jim queries, cautiously tapping the tank, driving the beetles into a frenzy.

“They’ve stopped wrestling each other. They liked to do that a lot. But they haven’t wrestled all day. I thought it is pretty cool they started glowing.”

None of us know what to say.

“The Phantoms are there, I know it,” I say finally. “The beach isn’t a way out.”

“We can go out at night, they can’t see at night,” Jim points out.

“They could see us, remember? They changed direction and came straight for us just now!”

“They work together to see in the dark,” Hermes growls, his face looming into the light as he approaches us. “These… Phantoms as you call them, they can’t see with the glow from their own kind, but those retching monsters can. The Phantoms follow the noise they make.”

“They weren’t like that when we saw them in school,” Jim points out. “They were mostly with their own kind.”

“It takes time for them to realise they can make use of it,” Hermes adds. “But when they do, they use it well.”

“How do you know?” I ask.

“I’ve seen them at it,” he replies. “I have seen every single one of them. The ones that retch, their saliva turns people into something else. Same for the ones that glow. There are seafaring ones that come out from the sea. They turn people with their poison-tipped daggers. And then there are those with the tanks. They spit acid. These things, they turn everyone they see.”

“No they don’t.” I interject. “We saw it rip a girl’s heart out and eat it whole and toss her body to a mob of clowns to eat her up.”

“That is because the girl isn’t fit enough to live on.”

“Live on? What do you mean by ‘live on’?”

“She has an illness? Something like that?”

“She was already dying when we met her,” Jim says.

“Can’t live. Not with them, not with us. The best way for her is to die.”

“That isn’t the best way,” I snap at him again.

“This is the real world, lady. Open your eyes wide and see. I’ve seen your father. He was cornered by a group of those retching creatures in his own home.”

“I don’t believe you,” I retort hotly. “You don’t even know my father.”

“Brown eyes? He hangs out at the playground with you often, building sandcastles. I saw him. One day he was cornered by the retching monsters but made it home and lured them there. He couldn’t escape.”

I fall silent, glaring at him. “And you did nothing to help,” I said coldly.

“You know there is nothing one can do when he is outnumbered by them. We can only succumb to it when the time comes.”

“Rubbish. We can fight. We can help one another survive! But this is the cruel world isn’t it? You take care of yourself and neglect the rest. Selfish, evil bastard-” I begin tearfully. But before I can continue, Hermes pins me against the shelf behind me, sending it shaking precariously over us.

“You tell me whether you have saved anyone from those things out there. Have you not hidden somewhere out of sight when you were outnumbered?” he asks roughly. I think about the night I had let Johanna get attacked outside the dance studio and drop my gaze.

“I thought so too,” he sneers. “Look at yourself, in denial of all these things happening, rebelling against anyone who tries to talk sense into you, only caring about what you want. This is the way humans are. We think we’re the best, even when we’re not. Look at those things out there, figuring a way to work together to get what they want. Didn’t you see those beetles, eh? You heard the boy. They stop fighting when they transformed. These things are way better than us. Your father’s time was up, Clare, and I reckon yours will come soon.”

And with that, Hermes heads back into the darkness, leaving me shaken and guilt-ridden on the spot.

The Final Evolution © 2013 by Auby Sparksfield. All rights reserved.

Written by: Ms. Auby Sparksfield

Edited by: Isaac Tan

Click here for Chapter 6

The Final Evolution Chapter 6


Click here for Chapter 5

Chapter 6

This is the worst nightmare ever. Swearing silently in my head, I try to inch closer to Jim for fear of losing his grip. He tightens his grip on my hand. For a few minutes, we simply stand amongst the retching creatures, my mind whirring. How far are we from the left turn? How are we going to get out of here?

ARGGHHHHHH!

A roar comes from my left and I jump in fright. The image of Emma with her great tank roaring flashes across my mind. There’s an Alchemist here? But we would have seen the tank!

But there is no time to think. The Retchers start thrashing down the hall at high speed. Their flailing arms slap across my face and torso from all directions. A second roar fills the air and the Retchers speed up. Then, it strikes me – it is Jim who had roared, not the Alchemist. There is no time for us to marvel at Jim’s brilliance. We run down the corridor together with the creatures, hardly keeping up with them. Then, without warning, he pulls me to a left turn and we finally detach ourselves from the group. He pulls me to a stop, pressing me against the wall. We listen quietly, hearts thumping as the mob stampede down the hallway. We walk quickly and quietly down the corridor, hands outstretched. Then the tip of my fingers jabbed painfully into something hard in front of me. Jim opens a door and we sneak out, shutting the door quietly behind us. Fortunately, no other creatures are lurking outside.

The air is fresh on the rooftop. A cooling breeze reminds us of the excrement staining our clothes once more. The helipad is in the middle but something tells us that it would be unwise to loiter in the open. Jim nods towards a stack of crates at a corner and we settle down there, waiting for the chopper to come for us. We sit side by side and gaze at the cityscape stretched out before us. There is a Ferris wheel to the left and cable cars to the right. Some of the lights in the skyscrapers have gone out, indicating the parts of the island that have gone down under the attack of the monsters.

We wait until the familiar deep orange splashes across the sky, the sun rising up and above the skyline. And there it is, the sound of the helicopter arriving. We run towards it, grateful and relieved. But all of a sudden, the door to the rooftop burst open and the mob of Retchers come thrashing towards the helipad, attracted to the sound of the helicopter. Quickly, we climb onto the chopper as two men in pixelated green army uniform buckled us down. The helicopter rises quickly into the air as one of the Retchers lashes out its tongue, hits the door of the chopper and dissolving a hole in it. One of the army men opens fire.

“No, don’t!” I shout, but it is too late.

Its head explodes as it falls back to the ground, black bile spilling out. Seconds later, it reemerges as the Alchemist, its green tank blinding under the morning sun. It roars and the rest of the Retchers charges towards us at top speed, but we are already out of reach. Then, two figures appear at the doorway of the rooftop. Strangely enough, the Retchers back down quietly behind the Alchemist, their arms stop flailing.

“Please, help!” the woman screams.

“Hold it! There’re two more!” one of the army men stops the pilot. “Get the ladder ready.”

“No!” Jim interjects hurriedly, grabbing the man’s arm and stopping him. “She isn’t talking to us.”

We watch, half frightened, half curious, as she pushes Annie towards the Alchemist.

“Help my Annie, please!” she begs.

Annie cowers as far as she can back into her wheelchair, but her mother is pushing her forwards.

“Stop!” I scream. “Someone save her!”

But there is nothing we could do. For the Alchemist’s hand has slammed hard into Annie’s chest and she lets out a scream that sends chills down my spine. Two seconds later, the Alchemist rips out what looks like her heart and she slumps against the wheelchair, dead, blood pouring out her open wound. Then, the Alchemist looks up at us and swallows the heart whole.

I freeze, horrified at what I had just witnessed. Tears are streaming down my face as the Alchemist picks up Annie’s body and walks to the side of the roof. Then letting out its huge roar once more, he tips her over to the bouncing Jesters below. All of them scramble ecstatically towards her, then sink their razor sharp teeth into her flesh, tearing it away from her body.

“No‼!” the woman screams.

But it is soon drowned by the Alchemist’s roar and the Retchers close in on her, salivating. When they retreat, Annie’s mother is shaking on the ground, panting and retching like Johanna did.

“Let’s go.”

The chopper zooms away, leaving Annie’s mother behind as one of them. I close my eyes and held my necklace tight, shivering.

“Are you alright?” the man whose nametag on his uniform says “Alvin” asks.

I nod, unable to speak. They hand us some food and water and we gulp them down within minutes. Then, Alvin takes out a first-aid kit and starts applying cream on our scalded areas.

“Where are you taking us?” Jim queries.

“Back to our air base. We’ve set up a refugee camp there.”

“No, wait,” I cut in. “Can you take me somewhere, please. I am looking for my father.”

“And where is that?”

“Wincon’s Hat Bay, Nijuha Estate. Not far from here.”

“That place has gone down, miss. One of the first few places that got infected,” Alvin informs me. “That area is not safe anymore. There are no survivors.”

I swallow hard at the news. “No,” I say again. “I want to try for it.”

“I am not letting my team land there. We’ve lost men there when trying to pick up survivors before.”

“Please. You don’t have to come with me, I just have to get there. I’ll walk from that refugee camp if I have to.”

Alvin stares at me for a few seconds, then tells the pilot to turn around.

“We’re lowering you down by the ladder. We won’t be landing.”

A while later we arrive in Nijuha Estate. I peer out of the chopper. The streets are dirty, trash cans spilled over, other things burnt and charred, windows broken. I point out my block to them and they lower the ladder while hovering over the rooftop.

“Thanks,” I say to Alvin. Unbuckling my seat belt, I am surprised to see Jim already clambering over to the ladder.

“I’m coming with you,” he declares.

I smile at him gratefully and he nods, disappearing down the ladder. Alvin hands me a backpack as I get out of my seat.

“There’re food and weapons in there, and a phone. Call us and we’ll see if we can get you out of here.”

I nod, thank him again before climbing down the ladder. Jim is already on the ground, poised with a blade in his hand. When nothing comes thrashing out at us, we make our way into the building, walking quietly as the chopper zooms away. The entire place is quiet and not a single soul is in sight. I look down at my burnt palms and am reminded of the Phantoms. Keeping an eye out for any disturbances, I lead the way to my house.

After climbing down four flights of steps, I reach my doorstep home. The door is wide open, newspapers and broken bottles strewn all over the floor. My couch is ripped, slashed presumably by a knife that lay by the television which is cracked down the middle. Slowly, I step into my house, unable to accept what I am seeing. We check all the rooms. Chaos seems to have reigned here before our arrival. The rest of the rooms are in a similar mess – lamps are flipped onto the floor, windows broken, black bile and bloodstains everywhere… Finally when we are sure the coast is clear, Jim closes all the doors and windows. I draw the curtains and then sit on my bloodstained bed. Clutching my necklace tight, I break down into tears. Jim comes into my room and stands awkwardly at the doorway.

“Maybe…” he begins, “Maybe he escaped.”

“He would’ve told me.”

“Maybe he lost his phone like you did.”

I continue sobbing uncontrollably. He walks over and sits himself next to me, taking my hand. “Come on. We fought to come here. Let’s not give up.”

“You know, Jim, maybe that woman was right. Maybe- maybe… I mean. Look at Matt. He was supposed to be dead and then he revived. You saw the leaves of that tree. It was stained with that black stuff on the dagger and it grew leaves healthier than ever. And Em- she became so strong. Maybe it really is for the better-”

“Clare, stop it.” Jim shakes me hard. “We both know that is nonsense.”

I shake my head and stares into his brown eyes. “How do you know?”

There is a moment’s silence, and then his grip on my shoulders lessens.

“I don’t,” he says finally.

A faint snarling in a distance alerts us. We creep to the window and peer out from behind the curtains. Not far away from our block is a canal and the monsters are once again crowded around there.

“What are they doing?” I ask.

“Beats me.”

We watch them for a while as they climb in and out of the canal, splashing in the water. Whenever they emerge, there is something green in their hands. A full grown monster passes it over to a smaller sized one and it puts the green stuff into its mouth.

“They’re eating,” I whisper.

An Alchemist lumbers into view and turns to climb into the canal. For the first time, the tank looks empty. He reappears a while later, stuffing green stuff into its mouth and the tank starts filling up.

“They’re hungry when they are low on their… ammo,” Jim concludes. “They need to recharge, like a battery.”

“Like us,” I add.

“Stop it, Clare,” Jim says firmly. “They’re not like us.”

The tone in Jim’s voice makes it clear that this conversation is over. I stand up and walk out of the room.

“Where are you going?” he asks, grabbing my hand.

“I’m going downstairs to look for Dad.”

Jim thinks for a moment and did not protest. Finally, he agrees to come with me but not until we are well-rested. We empty the contents in the backpack Alvin had given us. There are two bottles of water, two torchlights, a radio phone, a few packets of biscuits and rations, two air pistols and air pellets.

“What good will these pistols do? Don’t they see that they come in a horde?” Jim asks, looking at the weapons incredulously. But it is better than nothing. We clip the pistols to our belts and eat a few biscuits. When we are ready, we walk to the door quietly and look out of the window. The coast is clear. I step out of the door first, Jim trailing behind me. The neighbourhood looks worse from here than when we were airborne. Units are burnt down and the 7-eleven shop looks like it had been looted. The cashier’s box is open, shelves crashed to the ground. We stuff our backpacks with bread and more water before heading towards another shop. The night is slowly creeping up on us after hours of walking but there is still no sign of Dad. The final hopes I have are slowly dwindling. We know we have to find a place to rest for the night, but many doors and rooms are stained ominously with black bile and blood and we dare not go higher up in the buildings. Snarling and retching noises are growing louder and louder as the sky grows darker. The streetlamps fail to turn on like they usually did.

“Can’t we just go back to that shop to stay for the night?” I say, clinging onto Jim’s jacket.

“The doors and windows are broken. They can get in as easily as we can get out. If we get cornered in there we’re dead.”

Then, a faint glowing light appears in the distance down the winding road that leads to another estate. It is growing larger as larger. The sun dips below the horizon and the retching noises join in. The glow surges towards us, lighting up the Retchers leading the mob. We turn and sprint silently out of the way, but the mob changes direction immediately and heads straight for us.

“Shit! They can see us, Jim!”

The apartment buildings loom into view again as we run back towards Nijuha Estate. But another pack is charging towards us from the front. I pull out the air pistol and fire a few pellets, but the mob just keeps coming.

“No use! Over there!”

Jim points to a dull green metal door under a block. I recognise it at once. It was once a bomb shelter that was transformed into a mini shop underground. Dad and I used to patronise the shop for cheap ice-cream. We run and slam into the door, Jim rattling the handle. But it is bolted shut.

“Shit!” Jim curses and pounds on the door.

Suddenly it swings ajar just a little. Without hesitation, we slide through the small crack slam it shut, bolting the lock. We can hear the creatures outside snarling and retching. The door starts glowing hot with the Phantom’s heat. We back away from it and climb down a flight of steps. Then a torch clicks on to our right, illuminating a pale, ghastly face in the darkness.

The Final Evolution © 2013 by Auby Sparksfield. All rights reserved.

Written by: Ms. Auby Sparksfield

Edited by: Isaac Tan

Click here for Chapter 5

Updates!


View from Bintan Cabana Resort

View from Bintan Cabana Resort

Hi all!

Sorry for the hiatus and the lack of posts! I have been on a few holidays (to Malaysia, Krabi and Bintan) and hence, haven’t been posting the last few chapters of The Final Evolution! But no worries, because starting from tonight till Friday, every night at 8pm (Singapore time), the last 3 chapters of The Final Evolution will be posted! Also, my friend Daniel and I are working on editing The Final Evolution again, hopefully to make it better! Updated chapters will be posted once more! Thank you all for the feedback that you have given me through those chapters and I hope to make it better for a more enjoyable read for you guys! That’s it for my updates! Stay tuned for The Final Evolution!

Cheers,

Ms. Auby Sparksfield

The Final Evolution Chapter 5


Click here for Chapter 4

Chapter 5

I slump backwards, resting against the tree trunk. The cackling creatures loiter around below us, bouncing. There is no way we can get down until they are gone. Jim swings his backpack forward and takes out a pen and a notebook.

“What are you doing?” I ask.

“Writing down what I just saw.”

I look over as he writes, “Alchemist, big, with acid tank”, across the top of the page, followed by “Jesters, bouncing, clown-like features”. I chuckle and shake my head. Who but Jim, the workaholic director, would be in the mood to take notes at this juncture? I reach for my necklace and fiddle with it, gazing into the sea, thinking about Dad. How is he doing? Does he know what is happening? Or is he even still…

I shake the thought out of my mind. Whatever the case may be, I have to get to him. I imagine Dad sitting next to me right now, hugging the tree trunk and admiring the cityscape with me like we used to. Once, a bird had pooped on his head and he tumbled out of the tree in shock. I chortle at the thought.

“Why are you laughing?” Jim ask, still scribbling across the paper.

“Thinking about my father,” I reply.

“What about him?”

I started telling him about the story of the bird poop and before I know it, I am recounting every little thing about Dad: how we used to go for root beer float and ice cream waffles, how we used to build sandcastles together, and how we used to race to see who could climb trees faster. After a while, Jim sets his pen down and looks at me, listening intently. At times, he smiles at the funny little things Dad did, like biting into cheese balls and had cheese squirt out onto my face, or when he pretended clothes hangers were guns and imagined we were playing real life ‘Counterstrike’ while doing the laundry. Then he has the look of envy when I recollect how Dad liked to encourage and reassure me.

“He’d do this,” I say, sitting up straight and adopting my Dad’s deep voice, “You can do it, Clare.” And then I raise my left hand and give Jim’s shoulder a hard squeeze, just like what Dad always did to me. Jim laughs. Before we know it, the sun has risen. The cackling below fades away as the sun paints orange and yellow streaks across the sky.

“You have a great father,” Jim says after a while.

“I love him. He’s all I have left in the world,” I reply, still playing with the necklace. “What about you?”

“I lost my father when I was ten, and then my mother just two years ago.”

There is an awkward pause. It suddenly strikes me how little I know about him.

“Sorry.” I manage after a while.

“It’s alright. They weren’t great parents. They divorced and… I had to live at a different aunt’s place every week.”

“That’s awful,” I whisper.

“It’s over,” he says, plucking a leaf off the branch nearest to him.

“So…Where are you going from here?” I ask him, changing the subject.

“I don’t know. The tree seems like a pretty safe place to hide in. Maybe find a jungle and go be Tarzan?”

I laugh. “Well, that’s an interesting plan.”

“What about you?”

“I’m going to get my Dad. Bring him out of this place.” There is another pause.

Jim looks at me thoughtfully as I look out into the sea once again, blowing the bangs out of my eyes. Then, my stomach growls.

“Sorry,” I say, unable to suppress my giggles.”Let’s get out of here. Those foul things are gone.”

“What if there are those… Phantoms around?”

“We’ll see.”

I begin making my descent when I catch sight of the tree branch that was pierced by the dagger the night before. “Jim, look!” I point.

Part of the branch where the dagger had struck has turned a scaly gray, but its leaves are greener than any others on the tree. I climb down and pluck out the dagger, examining it. It has a red and gold handle and a script which I can’t recognise carved into the blade. The sharp end of the blade appears to have been dipped in black liquid. Jim attempts to wipe it off with a towel. It stains the towel, but the tip remains black. He keeps the dagger in his backpack and we make our way down the tree, looking at the tree branch curiously.

We walk around nervously looking for food. Not daring to go into any of the shops, we break the door of a pushcart that says “Popcorn and Nachos” open and pack as much nachos as we can find into Jim’s backpack. Finally, we fill a giant bucket with cold popcorn and set off towards the exit of the theme park, walking as quietly as we can.

WHAM!

A loud smack breaks the tranquil silence and Jim crumples onto the floor, unconscious. Before I can respond, a stick comes down on my head and everything fades into darkness.

***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***

I struggle to open my eyes and sit up. For a few seconds my vision is blurred, then it slowly comes into focus. I attempt to push myself up but something cuts into my wrists – my arms and legs are bound. A slight cramp in my legs tells me I have been out for quite some time, lying in that awkward position. Finally, my vision clears and I look around wildly. I turn and see Jim, already awake next to me. Behind him, a canopy bed stands at a corner, right next to the window and a small little closet. At the furthest end of the room is a table where a pale little girl sits, watching, in a wheelchair. A woman is seated in a wooden chair next to her, brandishing a stick. Her graying hair is tied in a bun and her clothes are torn and tattered. I try to say something, but all I manage is a loud “ummmph!” There is a distasteful piece of cloth stuffed in my mouth.

The woman walks towards us, dragging the wooden stick on the floor behind her. She swings it upwards as she nears us. I close my eyes, crouching away. Then, the gag is removed from my mouth. I open my eyes.

“What do you want?” Jim asks the moment the cloth in his mouth is removed.

The woman does not answer immediately but strolls over to the bed and sits, looking out of the window. The pale little girl wheels her chair over to her.

“This is my little girl. Her name is Annie.” The woman finally speaks in a crisp voice.

“She’s beautiful,” I reply softly.

“She’s dying,” she answers curtly. “I want her to live, to be able to walk, run, and eat like the others.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” Jim cuts in. “But I don’t think we can help. We aren’t doctors.”

“Yes you can,” the woman says. She walks over to us and pulls us to our feet with bull-like strength. She drags us over to the window. The scenery outside reveals to be the theme park. We are in one of the hotels.

“You know what is out there. I saw you two last night.”

“Three of us,” Jim says roughly. “We had a friend.”

“And you saw him die. And then revived by the creatures of the sea.”

“How does that help your daughter?” I demand.

“Don’t you see? They can revive the dead. They make the normal people stronger,” she replies in a loud, harsh whisper. The image of Emma and her acid tank flashed past my mind.

“So?” Jim says. “What has that got to do with us?”

“You can save my Annie,” her eyes twinkle with insanity as she sinks onto the bed. “The monsters won’t come near her. You can be the bait.”

“Mother…” Annie speaks up for the first time, her voice weak.

“Hush, my little girl. You’ll be fine soon.”

The woman moves to the other end of the room and takes out two sets of clothes from the closet. She sets them on the bed. “These are what you will be wearing tonight. I want them to be able to smell you, sniff you out, and lead them to my Annie.”

“Ma’am, there must be some other way to help her,” I say desperately. “You can’t let her turn into something else.”

“Oh, my dear girl!” she exclaims as she pranced back to the window, laughing. “Look outside! Look at those things around you! How many of them are there? How many of us are here?”

She turns and looks me straight in the eyes, laughing hysterically. Then she stops very abruptly, and started walking towards me, swinging the stick upwards again.

“Don’t you realise it, stupid girl? Now we are the something else,” she snarls.

The stick swing downwards and my world goes black once more.

***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***

“Clare!”

I stir. My head feels like it has been split into two.

“Clare, wake up! It’s time to go!”

Someone is cutting the ropes binding me. I open my eyes wide. It is dark outside once again. Jim is sawing the ropes with the dagger we got from the Pirates. The little girl is sitting by the table again but the woman is nowhere to be seen.

“Run, as far as you can go,” Annie says. “I’m sorry about Mother.”

“Thank you,” Jim says urgently and pulls me to my feet.

“What is going on?” My head is still throbbing.

“I’ll explain later. Now let’s go.” He pockets the knife, grabs my hand and heads for the door.

“Wait! Annie, come with us,” I say softly, stretching my hand out.

“No. I will stay with Mother.” Annie smiles slightly and looks out of the window.

“But…” I begin.

Jim nudges me out of the door and we creep down the corridor. We turn into a staircase landing and start climbing up the steps. Jim fills me in about how Annie had said she was hungry, so her mother went out to find food. Then Annie freed him and told him that every morning at sunrise, a chopper would come to the helipad to wait for survivors.

“Annie said many parts of the island have already been infected. She had gone to many places with her mother, but they refused to go near her. In fact, they stayed away as far as possible from her.”

“Why?”

“No idea,” Jim whispers back. “But she told me about them. They prefer the dark but they’re blinded in the night and rely a lot on their sense of hearing and smell. They do attack in the day if they’re not hungry.”

“What do you mean? Aren’t we their food?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t have time to ask. I was afraid her mother would come back. She gave me directions to the helipad. That’s where we’re heading to. Come on.”

We climb in silence, listening hard. Occasionally we can hear retching coming from a distance, but we bypass the floors quietly. Finally, eight floors up, we exit and sneak into the corridor, closing the door quietly behind us. Everything is pitched black. We can’t even see each other. Jim and I instinctively grab each other’s hands and we tiptoe down the hallway, looking around cautiously. Quite very suddenly, a loud retching comes from right ahead.

“Did you hear that?”

“Ssshh… They can hear you.”

I am pretty sure our harsh whispers would have travelled to their nimble ears anyway. We inch along the corridors, our backs flat against the walls. There is a steady dripping of something which we are sure is not water. Jim slows to a stop.

“It’s round this corner, and then the door is at the next left turn,” Jim says in an undertone.

“How do we know that they are not down the corridor?”

“Even if they are, they can’t see us. They can’t see in the dark, remember?”

“They can smell!”

“When we are covered in shit? Come on. We smell just like them.” Jim tightens his hand around mine. “Let’s go, or we’d be stuck here forever.”

“You’re nuts,” I whisper back, petrified.

“We’ll be fine.” He doesn’t sound convinced himself.

Jim creeps forward slowly, pulling me along. I try to walk as stealthily as I can, even imitating their slow lumber in case we pass by them. Desperate to blend in, I check the smell of the feces on my shirt. It has been so long since we had climbed out of the sewers that I thought I smell normal. I bite my lip to stop myself from crying. Breathing as lightly as I can, I tuck my hands in to minimize my surface area, to minimize the chances of me brushing past them as much as possible. With every step I take, I feel utterly relieved not to have touched or felt anything brush past me. Numerous swear words have gone through my mind by now and I settle on “fuck” to repeat in my head over and over again.

Suddenly, Jim’s hand stiffens. He squeezes my hand and pulls me closer. I hold my breath. Something wet and cold brushes past my right, knocking into my shoulder and smearing thick liquid on my arm. A deep shadow lumbers past on my right and then another plods across my left. I take a larger step forward and stick as close to Jim as possible. Retching noises now fill the corridor and more and more shadows loom into view. Jim and I follow their slow rhythmic trudge, hunching as we squeeze past them. They are going in the opposite direction and I wonder how long we can stay undetected as imposters.

The retching grows louder and louder as we proceed and I take a chance to catch a quick breath. The air is foul and burns my nostrils. It overwhelms the smell of our feces-soaked outfits and helps us blend in. I knock into more and more shadows as I feel my movement space grow smaller and smaller. Jim navigates to the left, trying to move to the left side of the corridor as much as possible for us to make the turn. Our steps become more and more constricted, more and more cautious as we proceed, shuffling against the rest of the Retchers until we can no longer move. We are stuck.

The Final Evolution © 2013 by Auby Sparksfield. All rights reserved.

Written by: Ms. Auby Sparksfield

Edited by: Isaac Tan

Click here for Chapter 4

Invisalign


(Wordy post ahead)

Disclaimer: I am not a dentist, nor an orthodontist. The information I provided below are from my own experience and the WorldWideWeb. If you do have any doubts or need expert advise, do consult your personal orthodontist!

As some of my friends know, I started on my Invisalign treatment on 9 October 2013.

Here is a little something about Invisalign.

I chose this video partly also because the woman in there is a teacher. HAHAHA.

For those who do not know and don’t wish to watch the video, Invisalign is a treatment to correct and straighten your teeth, much like braces. However, it uses a series of plastic aligners instead of metals, wires and brackets. Therefore, it is more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. It is also less visible, unless one looks closely, hence its name (Invisible + aligners = Invisalign).

Image credit: http://www.advanceddentalcareofaustin.com/orthodontics/invisalign-austin-tx/invisalign-cost/

I started on my teeth correction treatment mainly because I had crooked teeth ever since I was little. They didn’t cause much of a problem until recently, when my wisdom teeth started pushing out on the bottom right corner. As such, the entire row of teeth on my bottom jaw started freaking collapsing. Also, for some reason, my gums were retreating, which means if my teeth remain untreated, I risk losing my bottom row teeth when I reach about 50 or 60 years old. Therefore, I decided to correct my teeth.

However, I am not eligible for braces. I have an underbite and hence, my bottom teeth will clamp down on my brackets whenever I chew. To counter that, I would have to go through a surgery to bring my jaw inwards to correct my underbite. I didn’t want to go through a plastic surgery and having to live through liquid diet for 3 weeks, hence I opted for the next available solution – Invisalign.

I have never worn braces, so I can’t really compare them. But here are some pros and cons of Invisalign (some comments comparing them to braces are from my boyfriend – he is nearing the end of his braces treatment now so he is able to compare)

Good stuff

1. Less dentist appointments

When you first get your aligners, you will realise you get them in a few packets. This is because, as mentioned above, Invisalign is a series of plastic aligners – there are quite a number of sets for you to use. Basically, you have to change to a tighter set every 2 weeks (depending on your treatment). So your dentist might give you, say, the first four sets and then after completing them, you will go back for a check and then get your next few sets. This means that you are only going for a check once in two months instead of once every month (the normal checkups for braces). On the contrary, your dentist might give you all the sets, but advise you to go for a check once every 2 or 3 months.

So if you are one who doesn’t like visiting the dentist or find it hard to do so every month (like if your job requires you to travel constantly, for example), Invisalign might be more suitable for you.

2. Own time own target

If you had read the above clearly, you will have by now realised that you have the liberty to switch between each set of aligners on your own. The good thing about it is this: let’s say you have a big exam coming up and you happen to need to change to the next set of aligners, yet you don’t want to be bothered by the discomfort, you can put it off till after your examinations period. Just give your dentist a call and tell him or her this is what you are planning to do, and they will push back the next appointment time to fit your needs. That being said, the bad thing about it is that it drags your treatment time. Perhaps your treatment is supposed to last for only a year, it might drag on to one and a half years or something. After all, you can’t change the aligners as and when you please. When they say 2 weeks, it means 2 weeks, give or take a couple of days. This is because your teeth has to settle before moving on to the next set or they will grow weak and fall off. So if you wear a particular set for one more week, your entire treatment will increase by that week. No chance that you can wear the next set for only one week.

So I guess if you are looking for time flexibility, Invisalign is a good choice. Usually I just bear with the discomfort. It is alright, really.

3. Comfortable

This is quite obvious. No metals, no ulcers! 😀

However, the first one to two days of swtiching to a new set of aligners gets uncomfortable. Your teeth are moving into their new positions, so depending on your level of tolerance for pain, you might have to go on a soft food diet. At the same time, there is a feeling of something clamping tight on your teeth. I don’t know how to describe that. The closest example I can find is how your car would feel if it has its wheels clamped. LOL. It hurts just that bit when you are eating, but it is very very bearable. Unless you have tofu gums or something.

4. Aesthetically pleasing

braces and invisalign

Image credit: http://www.fiorthodontics.com/invisalign/

What everyone hates about braces is that it is super visibile, even if your brackets are white. Invisalign is invisible.

But, some people do require things called attachments. I do, and it gets obvious, but not as obvious as metal wires. Read about attachments here.

5. No restriction of diet

No soft food diet, don’t have to avoid soft drinks etc. The only true soft food diet I went through is the very very first time I got my aligners. Actually, I was eating beef noodles or something the first day I got my aligners. But on the second day… Soft food diet! Porridge, tofu (lots of tofu. I am glad my Mum knows how to cook a variety of tofu dishes), steamed salmon, half-boiled eggs, mashed potatoes… I couldn’t even eat vegetables. This lasted for about three days and then I was back to munching on nuggets. Thereafter on the first day of changing to a new set of aligners I just eat whatever I wanted, painful or not, simply because the pain is bearable. Of course, if something is really hard and I can’t bite without feeling that my teeth are going to fall off, I won’t eat it. One example is trying to pull prawns out of its tail using my teeth (go around it by sticking a fork into its tail and use the spoon to pull out its body), or like eating well done steak.

One thing to note though, never try to deshell a crab with your teeth when you are on treatment. It shifts your teeth back or something. Everytime after eating crabs, during which I had used my teeth to deshell some parts of it, my aligners are back to feeling tight again. Get someone to deshell for you (GOOD EXCUSE EH?!) or use that pincer-like thingy to crack the shell for you. Peel everything off with your hands and shred the crab meat before eating.

Those are the good stuff. Of course, there are some annoying stuff about Invisalign which I have to get used to. I will keep the description short, because you will see why these things are annoying as you read further.

Annoying stuff

1. Brushing teeth after every meal

You have to brush your teeth after meals and wash your aligners before putting them in. If not, your teeth will be soaked in the aligners when there are germs and scraps of food left stuck in between your teeth. Not pretty, not healthy.

2. Cannot close your mouth properly

They are after all aligners wrapped around your teeth, hence you can’t close your mouth entirely. For the first week of wearing my aligners for the first time, saliva started pooling in my mouth. Now I have the habit of constantly swallowing my own saliva.

3. Restriction of eating time

They are after all plastic aligners, you have to clean them every time you remove them. And you have to remove them every time you eat. Since they are made of plastic, it is inadvisable to chew with them or even to drink warm or hot drinks with them on because they might distort. When that happens, not only do they not correct your teeth properly, but they pose as a health hazard because you are ingesting melted plastic.  This proves to be a huge problem for me because I love to snack.

So as you can see, although Invisalign offers more comfort, it does come with a price too – time management. As such, the first few weeks of my Invisalign treatment was actually quite uncomfortable. Not in a way that it causes mouth ulcers and that I couldn’t chew on food (results of having metal braces), but there are a lot of things I had to adjust in my life to adapt to Invisalign.

Before embarking on Invisalign, I was able to find out information about them. Famous Singaporean blogger Xiaxue blogged about them and even had an introduction to it filmed on internet TV (Part 1 and Part 2). I read about it at their official website, googled reviews about it… But the steps taken to adjust to it were never really documented and hence, it was really quite unexpected for me.

So to help out anyone considering Invisalign, here is a list of changes I made to my lifestyle ever since I embarked on this journey. You can expect these changes, but many things are personal to me, so you might actually face more changes than I did, or some even less. 🙂

Getting Used to Invisalign

1. Brushing my teeth after breakfast

My personal habit is to brush my teeth before breakfast daily, then have breakfast, then rinse my mouth. I never flossed, because my retreating gums bleed badly every time I do. But now, to avoid brushing my teeth twice in 15 minutes, I rinse my mouth before breakfast, eat breakfast and then brush AND floss AND rinse my mouth with mouthwash before putting my aligners back.

Thanks to Invisalign, my gums no longer bleed when I floss my teeth. 🙂

2. Eating breakfast at home

Ever since I was 13 years old, I have been eating breakfast on the go: on the way to school, on the way to work etc. But now with aligners, I have to brush my teeth after meals. I hate not brushing my teeth before heading out of home. Hence, I eat breakfast at home now. This brings me to my third point.

3. Waking up earlier

Since I could not eat breakfast on the go, my ‘getting ready time’ in the morning has to encompass breakfast on top of everything else: brushing teeth, makeup etc. This takes a while to get used to, and for the first few days of my Invisalign treatment, I was in a mad rush. Also, I like to sleep in. Invisalign deters me from doing so and this brings me to my next point.

4. More regular sleep routines

I love snuggling in bed, chatting with my boyfriend and all. But with Invisalign, I have to get up earlier in the morning. Hence, to get more sleep, I actually do sleep earlier at night, and for at least 7 to 8 hours (I used to sleep for like 4 to 5 hours a day due to a hectic schedule). Also, the longer you sleep, the longer you have your aligners on for consecutive hours. For Invisalign, you have to at least wear the aligners 18 hours a day. If you had an early dinner, brushed your teeth and put them back on right after, you can easily clock up to 10 hours. That means if you feel that it is getting a little uncomfortable in the day, you can squeeze in a little more break from the aligners after meals i.e. wait about 15 to 30 minutes more before putting on your aligners.

5. Eating faster

On top of waking up earlier for breakfast at home, I do have to eat faster. This not only saves time in the morning, but also when having meals outside of home and when you have a schedule to meet. I am still going to school, and sometimes I have to squeeze in time to brush my teeth during the lunch breaks. Not only that, if I am simply out on a lunch or dinner outing with my friends, I try to eat faster and be done before they are done. That way, I can brush my teeth while they are still eating so they do not have to wait for me to brush my teeth before leaving. If not, I will brush my teeth after everyone has left. Paiseh lahh.

6. No snacks or desserts

Because I can’t chew with my aligners on, or drink hot drinks, I have to turn down offers of snacks from my friends. I don’t even snack on my own because I simply do not have the time to keep going to and fro to brush my teeth. Besides, taking them out means I am clocking less hours for my Invisalign. I have also cut down on drinking Starbucks for the same reason.

But thanks to Invisalign, I think I am growing healthier and saving more money. 🙂

7. Makeup routine

Slight change: instead of normal lipsticks, I use lip moisturizers and lip gloss. Reason being brushing my teeth three times a day (at least for 3 meals) dry out my lips. Some lipsticks make them even drier, hence I use moisturizers to prevent chapped lips.

8. Sleeping position

I am serious about this. Because you cannot close your mouth properly (read above if you missed it, under ‘Annoying Stuff’), it also means that you have to sleep with your mouth slightly open. This poses a huge and disgusting problem: drooling. The first few nights I wake up with sticky streaks on the sides of my mouth and a wet and smelly pillow because I have the habit of sleeping on my side. GROSS. Now I have to sleep facing upwards. And I like to bury my face in my pillow or my bolster. I can’t do that now. So to get a similar cosy effect, I sleep with a pillow AND a bolster covering my face while I hug one of them. In Singapore, this is not cool. Literally. Because of our humid weather I wake up sweating. Hence, I now sleep with blanket only covering my feet.

Amazing how Invisalign can even change the way you sleep eh.

9. Less forgetful

Without my toothbrush I wouldn’t eat anything and would even starve just to avoid wearing my aligners with uncleaned teeth. Hence, I check my bag consistently to make sure this “Aligner Care Pack” follows me wherever I go. 🙂

Aligners Care Pack

In it contains: a travel-sized toothpaste, a travel-sized toothbrush and my aligner casing. And while I check my bag for my care pack, I check for essential things too (might as well), like keys, phone, EZ-link card, notebook and pen (or at least my tablet).

(I need to have a notebook and pen because if I get inspiration to write, I can’t wait. I HAVE TO WRITE THEM DOWN SOMEWHERE).

But, keeping those things in a bag stinks it up after some time because the things get wet. Then the water goes stale in the bag, so recently I have taken my bag for a wash and am currently using an unglamorous ziploc bag to put my stuff. I am going to get a box to put my toothbrush and stuff since boxes are easier to wipe dry and hence, no smell!

I guess I could use Febreze too but… it only gets rid of the smell and germs but technically the stale water is still there right? I don’t wanna put something with stale water into my mouth.

10. Taking less selfies

Don’t laugh. Most girls take selfies. But now I take less because I can’t smile properly. I feel like I have horse teeth and my lips get overstretched when I smile. It does look a little different in pictures, but not ugly. I am just not used to it and so I do it less. My Instagram now has more pictures of quotes from stories than my own pictures now. It is another way of displaying my self-love. Kthxbye.

There you go. A list of things. In the first few weeks of Invisalign I wished I could just hibernate throughout, wake up and my treatment is done. But now that I have gotten used to this, I am liking my Invisalign more and more. It is correcting my underbite! Without a jaw surgery! 😀 And my gums have stopped bleeding. YAY!!!

That’s it I have for you. If you have any questions about Invisalign, email me or leave a comment and I will do my best to answer them for you! (Email form is below) Though again, they will be answered based on my personal experience. If you need expert advise, consult an orthodontist!

For those considering Invisalign, I hope this is useful information for you. Enjoy the process. It is actually pretty exciting to feel your teeth move!

xoxo,

Ms. Auby Sparksfield

Update: Cost of Invisalign

Many of you have asked me how much does Invisalign costs. It ranges between SG$6,000 to $10,000 (I think). Mine costs SG$7,000. It really depends on the individual and you will have to consult your orthodontist about it, which is why I didn’t update any. Some of you might experience more expensive or cheaper rates of treatment. 🙂