NEW! Drop Down Now Included In Vertex

This month another new addition to the Vertex Framework is the S5 Ultimate Drop Down. This is a feature that was seen in several Shape 5 designs. Many have asked how to add to other designs so we decided to build this into the framework so every design here on out will have this functionality. Be sure to read more about this new feature here: Features:

  • Customize almost everything! Shadows, borders, gradient, opacity
  • Contains 6 module positions drop_down_1, drop_down_2, drop_down_3, drop_down_4, drop_down_5 and drop_down_6
  • Auto adjust to the height of your content
  • Set your own open and close text
  • And many more features!
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Jun 2013

Crash and Burn – Chapters 4-6

Chapter 4 – What I didn’t know about you

It’s been seven days since the accident. My grandparents are getting ready to travel to where the hospital is to see me, but they don’t live in the same country, so I won’t be expecting them for a while. I thought after all of this, I would still have my friends to get me through this, but it’s been like they don’t even exist. I haven’t heard from any of them. I guess it shows what great friends I have, or should I say had. I guess it’s just another unfortunate event to add to the list. But I guess there is one good thing. I’ve made a new friend, here in the hospital. It’s Felix Moon, the boy from the kids’ playroom in the hospital. We see each other every day now, same place and same time. He draws me a picture every day, and now I have four of them, all under my pillow. When I take them out and look at them, they make me smile, and I know they are just scribbles, but for those few minutes I look at them, I can almost feel the fog of misery that surrounds me lifting, the sun on that beach shining, the water calm. But the second I look away from the picture, the cloud of misery makes its heavy descent back down on me and the horrific images from the accident flood back into my mind, the sun no longer shining.

I push the cereal around the bowl with my spoon, making it all mushy. I sigh and drop the spoon in the bowl with a clang. I push the bowl and tray table away from my bed. I flick on the TV, even though I don’t feel like watching. The morning news flashes on. The reporter babbles on about some government problem. I turn and gaze out the window.  A low mist blankets over the top of the skyscrapers, and cars move along the intertwined highways below like an army of ants. I turn back to the TV, the reporters now talking about too many jobs being lost. The world is just filled with misery, I think to myself. I close my eyes and rest back on the pillows. The flash back from three days ago appears in my mind. I open my eyes quickly. I really don’t want to see that again.

A sudden raised voice from a room in the hall makes me jump. I slide out of bed, bumping my legs painfully on the edge, and slip into my wheelchair. I wheel out into the dim hall. There are more voices now, and they seem to be arguing. I continue to wheel down the hall, following the voices. As I get closer, I can make out what they are saying.

“How could you say that? He’s my son!” A woman yells, sadness clearly evident among the rage in her voice.

“Just calm down!” A male voice shoots back in a hushing tone, “He’s going to be ok. Everything will be ok.” The man finishes, his voice softer now.

“How do you know?” She cries, “He’s been going through this Leukaemia for ages now!  How much longer do you think he can take this?” She sobs. I reach the door. The number 204 is plated on the door in a silver metal. My breath catches when I realize I know the door. It’s Felix Moon’s door.

“What are you saying?” The male voice says.

“He’s getting weaker, Daniel. He’s a little boy. I just don’t know how much more of this therapy he can take. It’s hard. I just can’t bear to see him like this.” She says. I recognise this voice. It’s Felix’s mum. So I assume the other voice is Felix’s dad.

“Felix is stronger than you think Lillian. He’ll get through this. We’ll get through this. We just have to be positive, and pray for the best.” Daniel softens. Felix’s mum’s racked sobs flow out in the hall, making me sick.

I wheel away from the door, suddenly feeling bad for listening in on a personal conversation. But now I know why Felix is in this place. He has Leukaemia. The little boy that looks so healthy has Leukaemia. I think back to the conversation between Felix’s parents. I feel sick at the thought of my little friend having a disease that could take his life any day now. I feel like talking to him, seeing his little face that radiates happiness. So my body almost wheels itself to the one place I know he’ll be –The playroom. As I approach the playroom, I suddenly realize something. I need Felix. I need his endless happiness to haul me from my darkness and into his light. And if he…goes, what am I going to do? He’s my saviour in this misery and I need him. He makes me so happy. His whimsical ways make me laugh so much. I never thought a little kid would be able to save a fifteen year-old me. I know we haven’t known each other for very long but I know I need him. And he needs me.

I wheel into the playroom, my ears searching for Felix. And then I see him, drawing on the table near the window like when we first met. Those sapphire eyes meet mine, his floppy black hair falling over his brow. A smile creeps up onto his face and I can feel my misery just melting away.

Chapter 5 – A trip down memory lane

Felix and I end up spending the rest of the afternoon together, until the sun begins to set over the skyscrapers, bathing the city in an orange glow. He scribbles on a crisp white piece of paper, while I fiddle with a Rubik’s Cube, struggling to get all the colours where they should be.

I throw the Rubik’s Cube down onto the table, realizing that I’m never going to conquer the cube. Felix looks up and watches the cube topple across the table, finally coming to stop just centimetres from the edge. Felix stares at the cube for another second before going back to his drawing. I rest back in my wheelchair, and look out the window. I can literally see the sky turning from an intense orange to a midnight blue. I look back into the room, and realize how dark it’s gotten. Someone flicks the bright lights on. I turn back to the window, but the reflection from the lights has turned the window into a mirror, no longer letting me see outside, only letting me see what I’ve become. I see my usually tanned skin has become milky pale, and I’ve lost a lot of weight. I can see Felix in the reflection too. He’s turned around, so that he’s facing the window too. My eyes meet his in the reflection. He holds my gaze for a second before turning back around and continuing with his drawing. I turn too, not wanting to look at what I’ve become anymore. I reach over and snatch the Rubik’s Cube from the edge of the table.

“How long have you been here Felix?” I ask.

“Been where?”

“Here, at the hospital.”

“A year I think.” He says, counting with his fingers. “Yeah, a year.” He looks up at me for a second before going back to his drawing.

“How long has it been since you went to school?” I question. All the questions I’ve wanted to ask seem to just pour out of me.

“I don’t remember. But I love school.”

“Oh.” I say quietly, looking away. We both go silent. He stops scribbling and puts the green crayon he’s using down. He rests his chin in his hand and stares off into the distance.

“I wish I didn’t have this leka…luki…leku…” He attempts, concentration scrunching up his face, struggling to pronounce a word.

“Leukaemia?” I guess, even though I know the truth; that unbelievable truth.

“Yeah that. I wish I didn’t have that. Then I could go home. And even go to school! Yeah, I wish I was home. I have better crayons at home.” He chirps, picking up the green crayon by its tip with a fake expression of disgust, his pink tongue poking out. I laugh and so does he. He throws the crayon playfully to the floor. I notice his hands are covered in red texta. The irregular squiggles almost reminding me of blood…

Suddenly I feel sick, and the smile on my face twists into a straight line. My head throbs and I have to close my eyes. An image begins to materialize at the back of my mind, and I struggle to open my eyes again.

Tears of agony stream down my face, mingled with thick, glossy blood. The teeth on a circular saw bite through metal on my right, showering sparks over my body, filling the air with a piercing noise. It’s dark and the walls of my crushed metal prison feel as though they are closing in. The only thing I can see is the hot orange line of glow, following the circular saw’s path. My limbs are tangled under crushed metal and broken glass presses on my skin. With a clang, a square of metal falls away from the saw, revealing the outside world which is engulfed in the night. Cold bitter air rushes in from the gaping hole, making it hard for me to breathe. A figure in a neon vest clambers into the wreck, others like him peering in from the hole.

“Don’t worry; we’re going to get you out of here.” The figure says, using his saw to cut through the metal crushing my legs. Sparks fly everywhere, hitting my skin with a sizzle. He tears the lose metal away from my legs, chucking it over his shoulder and out the square hole. I begin to sob, as the weight of the metal on my legs lessens, the numbness of my legs fading and revealing the true gut-wrenching pain that’s there. Yet my whole upper body remains numb. The man lifts the last piece of metal away and tosses it, narrowly missing another man in a neon vest. The man with me slides his right arm under my knees and his left arm around my waist, clearly intending to pull me out. He beings to reverse out through the whole but I let out a cry of pain, making him stop.

“Stop,” I plead.

“We have to get you out of here.” He says firmly, attempting to reverse out again.

“No!” I cry, “You don’t understand.”

“There isn’t much time left! We have to get you out.” This time he reverses more forcefully, almost through the hole now.

“No, I’m stuck.”


“My arm…” I breathe, cringing at the sudden bolts of pain coursing through my blood. The man moves forward and leans over me.

“The door folded over his arm! We have to cut him out from the other side!” The man yells to the other men outside, backing out through the hole without me.

Another man climbs in and leans over me, talking through a walkie talkie to the men outside, describing the position of my arm. The saw jumps out from the metal on my left side, too close to my face for comfort. The saw tears through the metal, the sound making me want to throw up. The man with me shifts my arm out of the way of the saw, and the sound of a crack from my arm slices through the air. That’s when I scream with the pain. The man next to me yells into the walkie talkie.

“Get the ambulance ready NOW!”

I gasp for air as hot blood gushes from my body, separating around a sparkly white bone popping out from my shoulder. The air seems to get thicker with every gasp I take and the man continues to shout in his walkie talkie. My vision starts to blur, but not from my tears. Black splotches begin to appear at the corners of my vision, growing with every second. I take my last frantic gasp of air as the black completely takes over my vision, the blood gushing more than ever.

The last thing I hear is the sirens dying away, and the man whispering, “Hold on kid.”

“Aiken?” A voice echoes in the darkness. I gasp and open my eyes, my head spinning. “Aiken!” A little voice rings.

I blink a few times and the playroom of the hospital comes into focus. Felix is standing next to me, his hand on my arm.

“Felix?” I mumble, holding my hand to my head.

“Aiken are you ok?”

“I…I have to go.” I stutter, a single tear slipping from my eye. I wheel quickly out of the room, without a second glance back at Felix.

I spend the rest of the night in my room, refusing to eat or do anything but lie in bed. The nurses try to talk to me, but I barely give them a nod.

I glance at the clock, the glowing numbers showing 1:45 am. I stare up at the ceiling. What happened today? Was it another vision of the night or am I going insane? I replay the scene in my head. I open my eyes before I hear the crack of my collarbone breaking and it tearing out through my skin. I mentally toss away the image.

I was scared this afternoon, wheeling back to my room. Something tells me in my heart that it was another vision. And that scares me. I don’t want it to be true. I don’t want any of this to be true. I just want to be home, with my family.

Hot, glossy tears spill from my eyes as I think of my family.

I think of my dad. I think about how he was such a control freak, but was an absolute genius. I think about how he would fall over laughing at his own lame jokes, and we would laugh to, because he looked so ridiculous. I think about how he would cook up feasts on the barbeque, wearing aprons with random stupid meat quotes. I think about how he taught me to play soccer, and would take me fishing on lazy summer days. I think about we used to bark at each other over the footy, and how there would be an uproar in the house when the teams we barracked for were playing against each other. And even though he was terribly embarrassing, I wouldn’t change him.

I think about my little sister too. And I get angry at the thought of such a young life wasted. She was only 13. I think about the doctor’s words, “She’s been reported missing. They’re doing everything they can to find her but…they say she probably isn’t alive.”  Mina hasn’t been found yet. And I hate that I don’t have any more faith that they will find her. It hurts to think that she’s out there somewhere, probably dead. I can see her lifeless, limp body, her lips a sickening blue as she lies in the crumpled grass. I shake my head to get rid of the image. The picture doesn’t linger.  I think back to when we were young and would get into fights. Sometimes we wouldn’t speak to each other for days. But then I’d take her out for ice cream to say sorry. She forgave me every time.

And I think of my mum. I would give anything to have her here with me right now…Anything. I regret all those times where I gave her attitude or talked back. I regret raising my voice at her. She did so much for me. And I hate the fact it took her death for me to see it. I think about the times where we would run together, or she would cook my favourite foods when I was upset. I remember her beautiful tinkly laugh, and her infectious smile. I miss the way she would roll her eyes playfully at my dad’s jokes when he wasn’t looking, and then we’d all laugh. I miss her hugs and the way she smelt like vanilla. I miss how she would stay with me sometimes when I couldn’t sleep, even though I was fifteen years old.

Tears run down my cheeks and drip off my chin onto my neck. I stay like that for the rest of the night, thinking about my family in the dark.

Chapter 6 – Don’t leave me too

I roll down to the playroom the next morning, the thoughts of my family still lingering in my mind, the things I would say to them right now still on my tongue.

I roll through the doors, bumping my leg as I go. I wince with the pain and continue on into the room, my eyes searching for Felix. My eyes scan the room, but Felix isn’t there. I roll further into the room, hoping that he might be crouched down, even hiding somewhere. But he isn’t there.

Suddenly it feels as though there are rocks being shoved into my stomach, and the air feels as though it’s being squeezed right from my lungs. I begin to panic, thinking back to that night I heard Felix’s parents talking, and how his mum had noticed he was getting weaker…

No. I push the thought from my mind. I tell myself that I’m probably over reacting. He could be sleeping, or even in therapy.

But I know that today isn’t his therapy day. I know that he eats at six every morning because he likes the cartoons on at that time. I know he’s always here at the playroom. And I know something’s wrong.

I wheel back out of the room and down the long white corridor, illuminated by the fluorescent lights. Babies’ heart-breaking cries echo through the hall. I end up at Felix’s door, a million thoughts racing through my mind. What I see when I open that door, isn’t what I was prepared for.

Felix is lying in bed, his eyelids half closed. His skin is milky white, paler than before. The rose in his cheeks has faded, and his normally ruby lips are now a dull pink. Even though blankets upon blankets cover him, I can tell he is thinner than before. And his eyes have lost their sparkle.

I wheel over slowly to his bed, where his mother is clutching his hand. His dad is slumped in a chair in the corner, his eyes bloodshot. I have a feeling he may have been up all night. Felix’s mother briefly looks up at me, giving me the smallest of smiles. Felix turns to look at me as I reach his bed. The emotion in his watery eyes makes me choke.

All the depth in those deep blue sparkly eyes is missing; his eyes now only a greyish blue that seems out of place against the translucency of his skin. It’s like they’re someone else’s eyes.

“What’s happened?” My voice is barely above a whisper.

“Felix is…” Felix’s mum begins, a tear slipping down her cheek, “A little unwell at the moment.”

My throat feels like it’s been stitched together, and I can barely get words out – let alone air.

“Will he be ok?” I whisper, biting my lip.

“I…I don’t know.” Felix’s mum’s voice is barely audible. I close my eyes, hoping that when I open them again, I’ll be in the playroom with Felix, those deep sapphire eyes glimmering.

Only, when I open them again, I’m not in the playroom. I’m in Felix’s room, and he isn’t well. He’s sick – Really sick. And it scares me.

“Aiken?” Felix rasps, blinking slowly.

“Hey.” I whisper, trying to smile.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t there in the playroom today.”

“Don’t worry about it.” I say softly. A nurse walks in.

“Mr and Mrs Moon may I please speak with you for a minute?” The nurse says, looking over the top of her glasses. Felix’s parents look at each other, a mental conversation flying between them. They get up slowly, following the nurse out. Felix’s mother glances back at Felix, tears sliding down her face. I watch them walk out.  The door clicks shut behind them. I turn back to Felix. He breathes out deeply, seeming more relieved that his parents had left than I was. He closes his eyes.


“Yeah?” I snap back into focus.

“You know what?”


“I’m happy that you came to the hospital.”

“Oh yeah?”

“M-hmm,” Felix hums. “I just wanted you to know that.”

My eyes begin to water, “Yeah.”

He looks up at the ceiling and closes his eyes. “I’ve had fun. Thank you.”

Tears start to well up in my eyes and I bite my lip to keep them back.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, right?” I say anxiously, my tears on the brink of spilling down my cheeks.

“Maybe.” He opens his eyes and looks at me.

“What do you mean?” I snap, “You’re going to be ok, Felix.” Tears stream down my face as I realize that I’m not ready for what’s coming. I don’t want the storm clouds to swallow my little ray of sun. I lean over and hug him. And he squeezes me back. He buries his face in my shoulder and I wish I didn’t ever have to let go. Felix had become my only friend, the closest thing to a brother… a family. Tears drip off my chin and onto Felix. And as we hold each other, I realize that I may just be about to lose someone again.

I finally let go of Felix as the nurse and Felix’s parents walk back in, their faces sullen. Tears stain Felix’s mother’s cheeks and Felix’s father’s arm hangs heavily around her shoulders.

“Aiken I–” She begins, tears spilling from her puffy eyes.

“I’ll go.” I finish, hanging my head low to hide my tears. I wheel over to the door.

“Good-bye Aiken.” Felix says. “Thank you.”

“Bye.” I say, choking with tears. I reach for the door handle, not ready to walk away from the person who broke through my misery and not ready to walk out of the sun and into the shade. The sun was so warm on my skin. But now I have to walk into the shade on that beach, watch the tide come in and swallow me whole.

I shut the door behind me with a click. I hated how much that felt like a good-bye, no matter how much I didn’t want it to be.

“Don’t leave me too.” I whisper.

(continue reading ‘Crash and Burn’ in the next post: Crash and Burn – Chapters 7-9)

By Alicia M. 10WI


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