She Has Time

Senar Arcak

This was amongst my very first attempts in creative writing. I have always liked stories with a bit of weirdness and tried to in this very amateur writing to bring about the idea that “We are all a bit weird sometimes” with unexpected qualities. I wanted to share it with you, I hope you enjoy it!

What is about time that makes it so precious? Isn’t it something that humanity imagines and then measures? For Sarah and Nova the timing of their meeting was a good omen. It was two weeks ago in a crossroad of Irvington when Sarah lost control of her bike and almost took Nova’s left eye out. She wished she were dead instead of embarrassing herself in front of such a handsome man. But when she saw Nova just staring at her, she could do nothing except for asking his name, in half a smile half a blush. But within her excitement and happiness she never forgot time was tricky and wondered if that was an illusion too.

Now, Sarah has just moved into a bigger place in Lane Road, Irvington and she thinks it is time she invited Nova to her new place for their third date. She cannot stop herself from looking out the window to see Nova. She knows that he is supposed to be with her now, but she doesn’t check the time to know that. 

Her new place has a cozy kitchen with light wooden floors and a big white window above the sink. Even though the kitchen is invaded with the heavy and sour smell of baked potatoes, roasting duck, and wine Sarah doesn’t open the window or the curtains. The curtains in the new house are almost always closed. The coziness of the new place is wounded by the dimness and thus a sullen quietness rules the house. 

With oven mitts on her hands, Sarah rushes into the living room to look out of the window again. Like the kitchen, the curtains are closed tightly and Sarah’s anxiety is only visible in the TV light. The living room doesn’t have a dining table yet so she has put everything on the floor over the white carpet, in the middle of the room. She lights the scented candles and hopes that Nova will find it romantic rather than odd, like having a picnic on a beach with an ever-burning fire that lightens up the sound of waves crashing to the rocks.

She likes the thought of light and fire, but never turns on all the lights in the house. Brightness is a discomfort for her. She doesn’t like to see the big dark metal clock on the wall, which was a gift from her colleague. Although darkness and the infamous clock on the wall hoard Sarah’s creeping anxiety, she cannot completely avoid it. She likes to know whenthe uncanny thrill of time may ambush her. That is why she still keeps the metal clock on the wall. It is a feeble attempt to keep the enemy closer so that he may be scuffled by her sight. 

She doesn’t like to hear the ticking sound either. She always diverges from time. The bulging numbers and the ominous mechanical tick- tocks make her senseless. Checking time is like looking over a shoulder to see a fleshless body stalk; it is never there when she stares. But when she spies it with the corner of an eye she is certain that it is prowling behind her. 

She has been waiting hours for Nova when she hears the sound of the tires on the gritty ground outside. It’s him, finally. She sprints to the door and sees Nova’s figure through the opal glass. But before she can open the door she feels contorted and twisted in the sharp silence of the long dark entrance. A realization suffocates her; Nova has a small backpack on his back. He is not planning to leave tonight. She has never – not for a split second- considered this while inviting him over for an early dinner. Her body thrashes with lurching anger and frustration. There again it’s all about timing. Her hand is still on the doorknob and she is well aware that Nova can see her standing. But it doesn’t matter, stalking time is closing in again and it is pressing. 

“Hey, are you gonna invite me in now? I’m soaking.”

She opens the door wordless and senseless. He doesn’t really see her face as he puts his red backpack down and takes off his coat. The only thing she can see is the twirling of the raindrops on the red backpack. 

“Wow, I like the place, but isn’t it a little too big for just you?”

“No, believe me, I never get lonely.” She cannot believe her own words that are spilling from her. At that moment she wants to tell him, she wants to howl out everything she sees and let it end there. She doesn’t want the crippling uneasiness clutching her. She looks at him and the only thing she can think of is his unnerving decision to bring a backpack. The bright red backpack stashes his daring lateness that is special to this day. So she forces herself to smile. 

She takes his hand and takes him to the dark living room. Neither of them says a word. They slowly sit and she gazes at him as he babbles. Her attention is again on the red backpack in the hallway right across from where she is sitting. The relentless suffocation of her secret returns. Her heart starts the anxious dance in her chest as soon as she looks back at Nova because she doesn’t only see Nova, but the dark stalking figure she always sees over her shoulder. Nova frowns and tries to grasp the reason of her distraction. His looks prey on hers but nothing. Sarah can see the dark figure creeping against the wall behind Nova, closing in. She also sees Nova’s eyes filling with perplexity and horror. She can hear the figure now as he slaps his silvery fingertips that create the tick-tock-tick-tock sound. The figure is dismantling itself to become darker and larger and taller. Every time this figure gets bigger the world stops for Sarah, she feels as if she is trapped in a long drenching pause. She sees it all the time but at some occasions it is something other than a stalker. He becomes an intruder. 

“It’s Time.”

“For what?” Nova blurts out. She wants to turn things over but she cannot. She cannot control time after all; it is cunning and full of deceit. Time makes its move to take Nova away from her. This deceit can last forever. And forever means a lot of time.

“It’s Time… he, I mean, I want you to leave, now.” She can hear only the tick-tocks echoing on the fingertips of time. She stands alone in the darkness while Nova gets his backpack and leaves the house without even putting on his coat. She hears Nova’s car’s faint sound in the distance. She glances out of the window. It is still raining. Tick, tock,, toock. She doesn’t turn around but she can feel the hands of Time piercing through her skin since it’s not just a measurement for Sarah; Time is living, beating and creeping. She never gets lonely because she has Time.


“For the Love of Metal”: Dee Snider Is Still Carrying the Flag

By Raph al Guul

Dee Snider is a legend of metal, there are no two ways about it. He’s a legend to the point that if he’d put out a shitty hip hop album today, he would still remain legendary. Continue reading

What Was the “Matrix” Trilogy All About?

Matrix 1

By Gabriel Renggli

The Matrix movies are a strange beast. The Matrix redefined the action genre, using cinematography, choreography, costumes, and special effects to raise shoot-outs and punch-ups to new levels of stylisation. The Matrix Reloaded was bigger, louder, and less focused, but cool enough to have our teenage selves excited, for the most part. The Matrix Revolutions was my first big lesson in how thoroughly an anticipated production can let down its fan base. Revolutions helped to get underway some considerable backlash, as people started looking more critically at the other two films, too. By now, the consensus seems to be that we allowed ourselves to be taken in by a case of form over substance. As in: boy, did these films ever look good, but, boy, did they make no sense at all from a story-telling or philosophical point of view.

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“Black Panther” and “Isle of Dogs”: The Limits of My Criticism

By Alan Mattli

NOTE: This is a translation of my own article, originally published in German.

Black Panther 1What do Ryan Coogler’s Marvel blockbuster Black Panther and Wes Anderson’s stop-motion adventure Isle of Dogs have in common? Well, there’s the fact that both titles feature animals. Oh, and both are American films that, crucially, are set outside the United States. But the two most important similarities are about reception: not only are both movies among the year’s best so far; few other releases generated as much discussion in the media. You’d think that this fact, along with my opinion of the two films, would be more than cogent reasons for me to review them.

However, since February, when I saw both works for the first – and not the last – time, I’ve been putting off writing about them, even though I’m less than enthusiastic about the thought of letting two five-star movies pass me by without comment. The reason for this is not a lack of intriguing talking points or stylistic choices but the knowledge of not being able to add anything meaningful to the existing discourse.

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The Great and Terrible Beauty of “Annihilation”

By Alan Mattli

AnnihilationWarning: This review contains major spoilers.

An ambitious and overwhelming tale of biological hybrids and a cinematic hybrid itself, a curious case of Apocalypse Now-meets-Under the Skin, Alex Garland’s sci-fi horror film Annihilation, a Netflix exclusive outside of North America and China, is something of a masterpiece. Based on the eponymous novel by Jeff VanderMeer, Garland’s sophomore directing effort expands upon the subdued, slow-burning intensity of his 2015 debut, the brilliant Ex Machina, and fully commits to the idea that in some stories, suggestiveness, abstraction, and open questions trump neat resolutions.

Plenty of commentators take issue with what Garland has attempted here (just take a look at the IMDb reviews), with some criticising the film for its supposed failings as an adaptation while others dwell on what they perceive to be immersion-breaking plot holes. Some also make more valid points, mainly highlighting issues with the script, which is fair enough: its language is functional, steely and stylised, which works a treat in some instances but jars in others.

But here’s what strikes me after three viewings of this extraordinary movie: I don’t care. Continue reading


The weight of words thus impassed
on streams of sounds made him aware
of all the empty strings that lie
on a full and surely scriptable web.
Then spiders roam between the flying
lines, catching now and then
flies that thought not well enough
that they perhaps are not the most
important creatures in the air.
Hence they die, with tasteful flair.

A Restless Heart and Obsidian Skies

By Raph al Guul

IMG_3248Tender feet on stony ground, a scarlet moon in the sky. She had woken to the sound of passing time or perhaps just the shadow of a dream. Something had been calling her. And though she didn’t know what it was, she felt it best to find the call’s origin.

For too long she had been looking inward and found nothing but unrest. Years, perhaps ages she spent searching for her own genuine soul. And all that was there were burning questions born out of sheer self-doubt. Soon it would be too late for questions.

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