A Review: Intersection (#StrangeLit Killer Seasons)
A werewolf chef, a cursed family, a spell to forget. You’ll meet these and more in the ten stories of the KILLER SEASONS installment of #StrangeLit.
INTERSECTION BY DEN LIM
Anger. Pain. Guilt.
These feelings have haunted Epy Avenida for the past six years. Once an aspiring superhero, he had failed to save the life of Congressman Conrad Cruz. Now he roams the streets of Manila as something much darker, much less of a hero.
Need. Hate. Fury.
These are the feelings Kala Cruz has hidden and carried within since the dead of her father. She won’t rest until she knows the truth of that fateful day. Now she seeks to find the superhero who had let her father die and exact vengeance.
Past and present collide as their two lives intersect one night and the sparks fly between them.
But how will their budding romance survive once they uncover each other’s secrets?
CHAPTER 1 – Epy
The first time I saw her, I thought I was seeing things. A girl in a gothic Lolita costume walking the streets of old Manila was not something anyone would ever expect to see late in the night. But there she was. She was walking through Luneta Park like she was taking a stroll through there on a Sunday morning, not a Saturday night.
I don’t know why anyone would ever walk around in this area wearing that costume at this hour. It was asking for trouble. Well, if that was what she wanted, then she got it. Behind her a fair distance, two men were tailing after her. I could tell they were up to no good. They each held a knife in their hand. I moved in closer to them, being careful that I was not seen.
As if oblivious to the danger, this girl walked slowly, letting the men get closer behind her. What was this girl doing? She was even heading inside a dark alley! I stepped into a run. Once shrouded in the darkness of the alleyway, the men would make their move.
I stopped before the entrance to the alley. I flattened myself against the wall and listened. The men had started.
I could hear the girl’s gasp followed by the guttural voices of the two men.
“Do not scream or we will kill you.”
“Please, just take my money and let me go.”
“Oh, we’ll take more than that. A nice-looking girl like you would be a lot of fun.”
“Yes, yes. I agree,” said the other one.
The men cackled with glee.
“Looks like we hit the jackpot tonight.”
“I’ll go first.”
“Why should you go first?”
“Because you went first the last time.”
“Ok, ok. But hurry it up.”
At that point, I entered the alleyway.
I quickly took in the scene before me.
One of the men was holding the girl’s wrists, restraining her.
The other was behind him, waiting for his turn. Both held knives. I needed to make sure they don’t hurt the girl. I wanted to make sure they don’t hurt anyone ever again. Disarm and debilitate. That was my plan.
I came in fast as I slid out my tonfas. They were distracted with the girl so they did not notice me until it was too late for them. I disarmed the first man as I whacked his wrist with my tonfa and I smashed the back of the second man’s head with the other to stun him. I turned to the first man. I swept the both sticks in a downward arc and broke his knee. As he fell to the ground in pain, I knocked him out with a knee to the face. The second man was next. He was recovering but still dazed. He slashed his knife at me. I dodged out of his way and countered at his face with the end of my stick, hitting his eye.
He screamed in pain and dropped his knife. I finished the fight with another hit on the back of his head. They won’t be trouble anytime soon.
As I put back my tonfas, I turned to the girl.
“Miss, are you all right?”
I met Den, the author of Intersection, as part of the #StrangeLit workshop, since I was also a participant. We were in the same age-range, so I was already curious about whatever story he would be able to complete. When we were done, and our bundles published, an initial review grouped Den’s and my story together as similar, both receiving high marks, so I got more intrigued. When I joined this blog tour for Den’s bundle, Killer Seasons, I already knew I was going to choose his story for my review.
It was a good decision, and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised.
The story occurs over a couple of hours from late night time up to sunrise. It starts with a young guy in dark costume rescuing a young girl in a pseudo-cosplay outfit from a group of thugs. In the end more than one person gets saved, old wounds are reopened and healing starts.
The two main protagonists are young people in search of answers and redemption. Epy is plagued by the guilt of a life he was not able to save years ago, while Kala is fueled by the need for answers in order to explain the death of her father.
I loved the premise, the characters and the way the story flowed. It was an effortless read. I loved that the title itself had so many meanings, and that although both were extra-ordinary individuals with “powers,” these powers were not conventional, making their superhero status even more impressive since their powers need to be used in conjunction with skills and smarts they had to develop over time. They had no automatic powers that will make them invincible, enable them to fly or even predict the future. Their powers actually always come with a price, or need to be triggered by someone else. I think this very refreshing because, in reality, nothing in life comes easily. Mere mortals have to work for an outcome, and Epy and Kala both have to work for something to achieve—or sacrifice something—even as superheroes.
The build-up was also just right. Although I already had an inkling who it was Kala was searching for, the explanation in the end made me appreciate the struggles of both protagonists even more. Their blossoming romance was also quite engaging and very realistic, down to the time they both realized they were really into each other.
I specifically loved the explanations of the their names, the relevance of the title, and the ending.
All in all, I give this story four stars. I would be interested to read the next story starring Epy and Kala—Den, go, go go!
About the Author
Den Lim has been creating characters since he was a kid. He grew up over a steady diet of comics, detective novels and YA books. And yes, he has even read Sweet Valley High.
He currently resides in Metro Manila with his wife and two sons. He plans to supplement the lack of daughters by creating imaginary ones and writing about them in his stories.
He has previously written two introspective essays entitled “Got a Girlfriend Yet?” and “Midlife Crisis at 21” for the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Young Blood section.
Intersection is his first published work in fiction.
You can visit him at www.denlim.com
You also contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and via twitter @dragonmoon174.
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26874589-strangelit