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I'm an author based in the Pacific Northwest who loves both writing and reading a variety of stuff. I'm also an Asian and American subculture fanatic who grew a distinct love for telling compelling stories and sharing them with others. This is why I decided to combine my aspirations with my interests - thus kicking off my writing career. I'm a lifelong learner who travels whenever possible to seek new experiences for both personal growth and for my writing. I wrote this novel to not only showcase my passion for the romance genre, but also to hone my craft!
Outside of building out my novelist career, I currently make a living by working in the software industry at Microsoft and thus expanding my skills beyond just writing. I hold a versatile degree in both science and business - an education that taught me the importance of exploring a high variety of fields no matter the activity. Other hobbies include exercising, drawing, learning guitar, and playing Switch games!
Warning: Depictions of self-harm. Readers discretion is advised. Harvey's music blasted from his laptop, causing everything on his desk to vibrate. His pens and keys shook against the commanding sound waves, which jumped from its epicenter like an earthquake. He had turned the basement of his rental house into a DJ club. He was surprised a neighbor hadn't come banging on his door yet with fire in their eyes, asking him to shut it. “I ain't no therapist, but ya'll got the gist!” He sang the lyrics to his song even louder. It was a Thursday evening, and tomorrow was going to be his debut as a DJ at a local bar. There was no choice but to erupt his basement into an eardrum-smashing destruction - practice was all that filled his mind. The next verse featured a harsh rap which Harvey chanted along: “Money, cash, bank, the coins are in my fanny! Ya'll fuckin' mofos want empty hands, saying love, love love!” The music then spun into a dubstep-style track for a half minute, until the next verse arrived: “Ain't no fuckas saying no to ya'll dimes, just buy them bitches before they mine! Love ain't real, ya mental shit only wants to feel-” Cling! Harvey twitched and stopped his rap abruptly, startled by the loud clang below him which pierced his ear, even through his rowdy music. He directed his gaze below the table at the source of the noise. His lucky penny, which dropped to the concrete floor of his basement thanks to the loud vibrations of his table, was finishing its twirl before flattening. Face-up was heads instead of tails. “God dammit, can't believe I lost my groove just ‘cause of a coin,” Harvey muttered, and paused his music. He bent down to pick his penny up under the table. And that's when he heard it. Not the sound of his music; not the clinging of his coin. It was a faint rumble from upstairs in the house. Harvey glanced up to the ragged ceiling of his basement, pretending to see through the wood. His own music still echoed in his ear, making it hard to tell if he was only hallucinating. He looked back at the coin, peering at its shiny heads surface. It reminded him of a certain conversation he had with his housemate, Samuel, just a few days ago. “Dude, what if I told you I'd off myself based on the flip of a coin?” Samuel asked while sipping a beer next to his friend at their dining table. “The fuck? You're messed in the head, my guy,” Harvey replied, putting his can down and raising his eyebrows to his friend's weird statement. “Then the coin better land as a tails. You gotta support me for Friday night's party, it's my DJ debut!” “Haha, true that.” Harvey's eyes glared at the penny for only another second before a dark feeling of unease filled him to the brim. Samuel had never made such a joke before during the three years he knew him. Wait, he can't be ser-! Before the thought fully passed through his mind, his body moved before his brain. Without picking the coin up, Harvey dashed down the hallway to the stairs of his basement. He leaped a few steps up and reached the first floor of his house without issue. That was when the rumbling noise from one more floor above had become real. There was shaking between the walls, yet no footsteps bounced into his ear. “Shit!” he gasped. He ran to the next staircase, and flung himself up to the top floor of his house. In front of him was the door to his housemate's room. Grabbing the doorknob, Harvey gritted his teeth when it wouldn't open. “You fucking idiot!” he screamed and clenched both his hands into stone to brace for impact, and readied the kick of his life. His body flung at the door, shoe first at the knob, and he jumped as if delivering a karate hit. Thump! He watched the knob cave into the cracked wood, until splinters emerged. Finally, on the fifth attempt - Thwack! - the knob fell through the crack of broken timber, and Harvey barged into his friend's room. He reached to the back of his pants for his pocket knife - a small Swiss Army blade which featured multiple tools - and glanced desperately around for the silent Samuel. After performing a three-sixty, his eyes landed on - The closet! Harvey gulped. With his head covered in sweat, goosebumps devouring his skin, and every limb jittering, he swung open the sliding door to Samuel's closet. “Fucking hell.” The sight of his unconscious friend, hanging on a rather thin rope tied into a noose, was almost enough to give him a heart attack. Instead, his chest sank like a ship, and his hands twitched while reaching for the rope to cut it. With every back-and-forth movement of his knife, the tears around Harvey's eyes grew. By the time his friend dropped to the floor, those tears had already trickled down his cheeks. “Wake up, please, I'm begging you!” He dragged the fainted Samuel out of the closet, laid him on his back, and began performing CPR on both his chest and his mouth. After what felt like forever, Samuel's eyes slowly opened.
Nothing but lush green filled the vision of Roman Santos, who spun to admire the spectacle. Under the shiny leaves, the umber-colored branches of the tree were well-hidden. It was like a sea of emeralds surrounding him, dancing in the air to the tone of the gentle wind which gave them a rhythm. Except that wind was from his own professor's fan. Roman crawled on all fours with his back only an inch from the jagged pine wood. Ever since he drank Dr. Miro's elixir, his entire body had shrunken down to the size of an ant; each leaf had become as big as his entire body. Dr. Miro's words from just an hour earlier still echoed in his head: “It's a true test. Drink this elixir, and you'll shrink so much that my bonsai tree will appear as a giant force of nature.” “So you're promising me that if I find every piece of gold slathered on its leaves, I'll win a million dollars?!” Roman asked as he hunched over his chair next to Dr. Miro's desk. “Yes,” the professor answered. “Remember, Roman. This bonsai tree is special. It's the rarest species in the world - one which can grow gold on its leaves. All you need to do is shrink down, collect the gold, and trade it in for cash.” As his recollection faded, Roman peered down the tree trunk, landing his eyes at the dirt which hosted the roots. Time to start hunting for that gold… he thought. With his sights on the first leaf in front, it didn't take long for him to locate his first piece of treasure. The glossy yellow made it easy to detect, and it appeared more splashed than slathered. Roman worked away at pulling the gold off of the leaf's surface - his fingers clawed at the edges while he heaved at his prize. By the time it finally unstuck itself from the leaf, Roman found his forehead drenched in sweat. “Ugh, this will take a while…” But it wasn't until the third leaf, at the sight of its thin and weak-looking petiole - “Wait, I'm so stupid…” - was when he realized how simple the task assigned to him truly was. With both hands gripping the sides of the leaf which was as wide as his entire torso, Roman twisted the entire blade menacingly. Within seconds, the petiole ruptured, tearing the entire leaf off its branch. “Alright!” One by one, Roman began breaking each leaf off entirely, while dropping them to the ground below between snaps. This is a much easier way to collect the gold! “Ouch,” he muttered, caressing his knee as it caught a bump on the twig he kneeled on. He forgot the tree's branches were snaggy and hardly sittable. I just have to avoid the sharper parts, he thought, and grinned as he continued collecting. To Roman, it simply meant higher risk, higher reward. For a million dollars, nothing was impossible. And so he continued breaking off every leaf from the bonsai tree. By the end of the day, only one thought lingered in his mind: How should I spend my million bucks? Not a single leaf remained on the tree. A smile engulfed his face as Dr. Miro greeted him from the ground below. “Congrats, now please come down.” A red ladder appeared just below his feet, prompting him to finally come down from a long day of treasure hunting. Roman smirked as he reached the ground, observing the pile of leaves he gathered next to the trunk. “You completed the task in a way I expected you to,” Dr. Miro explained. “Nice, now where's my money?” But then it happened. “Wait, what the fuck?!” Roman cried as his feet began sinking into the dirt. Any yank from either leg proved to be useless. “Your time has come to an end,” Dr. Miro explained with a sigh. “What do you mean?!” Roman yelled as the dirt underneath continued swallowing him up like quicksand. “You became greedy, and prioritized your own self-interests over the health of my bonsai tree.” “Screw off! You're the one who told me-” “Yes, that I know. And it's not just your fault, it's our fault.” With one last scream of agony, Roman's head tucked under the enveloping dirt from the ground. Two Days Later João walked into his former professor's lab while a policewoman followed from behind. “Dr. Roman Miros Santos passed away in his lab yesterday due to cerebral hypoxia,” the cop explained. “I recall he was also suffering from a few mental illnesses, and sometimes referred to himself as two different people,” replied João. “But even our president loved him.” “That's ‘cause he was an advocate for the President's Deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest project last year…” “Ah, yes, I remember his ten-year-old bonsai tree was completely dead when I found his body. No leaves, no life,” answered João. “There's a lot of folklore about that bonsai tree species. It's said that Gaia, the Goddess of Nature, created that tree to test the morals of humans. It could grow gold, but the only way to extract it without damaging the tree was to let the leaves fall by themselves. Gaia was testing greed. The tree's bumpy branches represented the uselessness of those who knew, but ignored its pleas for help.”