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Great Lake Review - Fall 2012

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Title:
Great Lake Review - Fall 2012
Series Title:
Great Lake Review
Publisher:
SUNY Oswego
Publication Date:
Language:
English

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Genre:
serial ( sobekcm )

Notes

Abstract:
Editor-in-Chief Leigh Rusyn, Managing Editor Bethany Schneider, Treasurer Nilson Carroll, Online Editors Jessie Rose Murphy Brittany Sperino, Faculty Advisor Brad Korbesmeyer, Drama Editors Mackenzie Clark Nilson Carroll Rob Cigliano Gloria Edick Andrew Kowal Ashley Spinelli Susan Valazquez, Fiction Editors Angela Anthony Cassidy Carroll Shannon Donahue Ethan Gormley Joshua Louis Shannon Melero Graham Molella Luke Parsnow Joey Perez Cayla Pratt Ronel Puello Chris Valentine Shantol Williams, Nonfiction Editors Elizabeth Arnone Kathryne Davis Kaeli Doherty Naomi Fogg Torrin Kearns Martina Maio Molly Martindale Kristy Mills Amanda Muller Sarah Turner, Poetry Editors Andrew Baumgras Andrew Boyea Naomi Chaflin Shelby Coyle Holly Greenfield Danielle Kelly Meriann Pena Michelle Stiles ( , )
Scope and Content:
art Wincing the Night Away by Nathan Valeska..................cover From the Train by Nathan Valeska......................................11 Glimpse of Happiness by Kristen Burke.............................11 Indian Summer by Vala Kjarval...........................................14 Gentle Hands by Emily Griffin............................................14 Human Relations by Brittany McCann...............................19 Cede by Vala Kjarval...........................................................23 Bone Deep by James Leach...............................................33 Side Effects: loss in sex drive by Emily Tran.........................37 Birch by Sasha Padilla........................................................39 Snot Bubbles to the Floor Saves Trees by Emily Tran..........48 Beauty Among Us by Kristen Burke...................................55 Daydreams by Vala Kjarval.................................................58 Pocket Watch by James Leach.............................................58 Hiddleston by Christie Maldonado.....................................60 Land of the Free by Nichol Dye.............................................64 Bass by David Owens.........................................................67 Communal by Vala Kjarval..................................................67 The Labored Posts by Nathan Valeska.................................69 Overtaken by Brittany McCann..........................................70 Green Tea by Morgann Smith............................................74 Say Uncle by Emily Tran.......................................................91 Undertones by Vala Kjarval.................................................93 Wave of Mutilation by James Leach...................................94 I’ve Got an Egg Addiction by Emily Tran...........................113 Night Alone by Nathan Valeska...........................................120 I Carry Your Heart by Rebecca Hess................................123 Napoleon by James Leach...............................................130 Buy, Have, & Die by Emily Tran........................................134 Swamp by Emily Griffin....................................................137 Mac n Cheese Is Good With Ketchup on Black Friday by Emily Tran.........................................................................138 The Vain Fate by Nathan Valeska.......................................141 Mother by Christie Maldonado.........................................142 Unclean by Emily Griffin...................................................145 AHHHH by Nichol Dye..........................................back cover ƒiction Man’s Best Friend by David Graf..........................................6 Nothing by Seamus Lyman...................................................15 You Look Better in Red by Andrew Schneider.....................38 How Could I Not by Michelle Slowik.....................................43 Love Thy Neighbor by Marisa Dupras................................49 How to Babysit, Properly by Corinne Elizabeth....................63 Tiger Rising Epilogue by Rebecca Wemesfelder.............124 non-fiction 21 Years of Shows by K.M Alleena.....................................24 Asylum 93 by Jessica Ekert..............................................114 Drama A Curse in Paradise by Andrew Schneider........................75 5The Northern Problem by Tom Rigney................................95 poetry I Promise by Heather Cook...................................................12 Salvation in the Sludge Garden by Kenneth Packard........20 Parasitic Fascination by Kristen Burke.................................34 Metaphor of love from the eyes of foolish young men by Harry Christopher Moore.....................................................35 Do Not Be Afraid by K.M Alleena........................................40 Sister Raincloud by Rebecca Wemesfelder.......................56 Word Master by Kristin Bacher..........................................59 Sestina by Harry Christopher Moore.................................61 The Dust by Joshua Stockwell...........................................65 Tears by Nicole Montera........................................................66 Oswego by Taylor Pangman...............................................68 Grandmother by Danielle Walters.........................................71 City Living by Claire Cerra..................................................73 Haiku 10 by Anthony DiGennaro.......................................94 A Goodbye Letter by Briana Larocca...............................120 Monologue of the Trix Rabbit by Harry Christopher Moore.................................................131 Where Butterflies Never Die by Olivia Martinez.................132 Clock’s Consistency by Danielle Walters............................135 Stint of Flower Gates by Danielle Land...............................136 Hallowed Day by K.M. Aleena...........................................139 Clear by Danielle Walters.................................................143
General Note:
Great Lake Review is SUNY Oswego's student-edited literary and art magazine. Great Lake Review is published, in general, every semester, and contains primarily student art work, poetry, fiction, and other literary works.

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Sobek Digital Hosting & Consulting
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This item is licensed with the Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives License. This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to the author.

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fall 2012 great lake review

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1 e Great Lake Review Art and Literary Magazine e Great Lake Review showcases all the creative talents SUNY Oswego has to oer. We congratulate those who have submitted and have been accepted into this years edition, and encourage those who either didnt submit, or did but didnt get in, submit to editions in the future. Every semester we look for Oswegos most enthusiastic students to join our editing sta. Our meetings are fun and we work hard to put together the fantastic book you hold in your hands. May creativity never cease in your being and hopefully well see your name on the cover of your own book someday. We accept submissions year round. Please email submissions to: glr@oswego.edu Visit our websites: Greatlakereview.wordpress.com greatlakereview.tublr.com Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Fall 2012

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2 e Great Lake Review Art and Literary Magazine Fall 2012 Editor-in-Chief Leigh Rusyn Managing Editor Bethany Schneider Treasurer Nilson Carroll Online Editors Jessie Rose Murphy Brittany Sperino Faculty Advisor Brad Korbesmeyer Drama Editors Mackenzie Clark Nilson Carroll Rob Cigliano Gloria Edick Andrew Kowal Ashley Spinelli Susan Valazquez Fiction Editors Angela Anthony Cassidy Carroll Shannon Donahue Ethan Gormley Joshua Louis Shannon Melero Graham Molella Luke Parsnow Joey Perez Cayla Pratt Ronel Puello Chris Valentine Shantol Williams Nonction Editors Elizabeth Arnone Kathryne Davis Kaeli Doherty Naomi Fogg Torrin Kearns Martina Maio Molly Martindale Kristy Mills Amanda Muller Sarah Turner Poetry Editors Andrew Baumgras Andrew Boyea Naomi Chain Shelby Coyle Holly Greeneld Danielle Kelly Meriann Pena Michelle Stiles

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3 T able o f c ontents a rt Wincing the Night Away by Nathan Valeska ..................cover From the Train by Nathan Valeska ......................................11 Glimpse of Happiness by Kristen Burke .............................11 Indian Summer by Vala Kjarval ...........................................14 Gentle Hands by ............................................14 Human Relations by Brittany McCann ...............................19 Cede by Vala Kjarval ...........................................................23 Bone Deep by James Leach ...............................................33 Side Effects: loss in sex drive by Emily Tran ............. ....... .....37 Birch by Sasha Padilla ........................................................39 Snot Bubbles to the Floor Saves Trees by Emily Tran ..........48 Beauty Among Us by Kristen Burke ...................................55 Daydreams by Vala Kjarval .................................................58 Pocket Watch by James Leach .............................................58 Hiddleston by Christie Maldonado .....................................60 Land of the Free by Nichol Dye .............................................64 Bass by David Owens .........................................................67 Communal by Vala Kjarval ..................................................67 The Labored Posts by Nathan Valeska .................................69 Overtaken by Brittany McCann ..........................................70 Green Tea by Morgann Smith ............................................74 Say Uncle by Emily Tran .......................................................91 Undertones by Vala Kjarval .................................................93 Wave of Mutilation by James Leach ...................................94 Ive Got an Egg Addiction by Emily Tran ...........................113 Night Alone by Nathan Valeska ...........................................120 I Carry Your Heart by Rebecca Hess ................................123 Napoleon by James Leach ...............................................130 Buy, Have, & Die by Emily Tran ........................................134 Swamp by ....................................................137

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4 iction Mans Best Friend by David Graf ..........................................6 Nothing by Seamus Lyman ...................................................15 You Look Better in Red by Andrew Schneider .....................38 How Could I Not by Michelle Slowik .....................................43 Love Thy Neighbor by Marisa Dupras ................................49 How to Babysit, Properly by Corinne Elizabeth ....................63 Tiger Rising Epilogue by Rebecca Wemesfelder .............124 n onf iction 21 Years of Shows by K.M Alleena .....................................24 Asylum 93 by Jessica Ekert ..............................................114 A Curse in Paradise by Andrew Schneider ........................75 5 The Northern Problem by Tom Rigney ................................95 d rama Mac n Cheese Is Good With Ketchup on Black Friday by Emily Tran .........................................................................138 The Vain Fate by Nathan Valeska .......................................141 Mother by Christie Maldonado .........................................142 Unclean by ...................................................145 AHHHH by Nichol Dye ..........................................back cover

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5 p oetry I Promise by Heather Cook ...................................................12 Salvation in the Sludge Garden by Kenneth Packard ........20 Parasitic Fascination by Kristen Burke .................................34 Metaphor of love from the eyes of foolish young men by Harry Christopher Moore .....................................................35 Do Not Be Afraid by K.M Alleena ........................................40 Sister Raincloud by Rebecca Wemesfelder .......................56 Word Master by Kristin Bacher ..........................................59 Sestina by Harry Christopher Moore .................................61 The Dust by Joshua Stockwell ...........................................65 Tears by Nicole Montera ........................................................66 Oswego by Taylor Pangman ...............................................68 Grandmother by Danielle Walters .........................................71 City Living by Claire Cerra ..................................................73 Haiku 10 by Anthony DiGennaro .......................................94 A Goodbye Letter by Briana Larocca ...............................120 Monologue of the Trix Rabbit by Harry Christopher Moore .................................................131 by Olivia Martinez .................132 Clocks Consistency by Danielle Walters ............................135 Stint of Flower Gates by Danielle Land ...............................136 Hallowed Day by K.M. Aleena ...........................................139 Clear by Danielle Walters .................................................143

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6 Mans Best Friend David Graf Clayton made sure to throw his tie over his shoulder so that the blood didnt get on it. The coughing had become increasingly painful and persistent, but he knew that the couldnt afford it out of pocket. I am sad to inform you that your condition is terminal, the doctor had said about seven weeks ago. He hadnt seemed very sad at all. How long I got? asked Clayton, without batting an eye. Well, generally it takes two to three months, but Thanks doc, he said, cutting off the doctor and walked out the door. He had it all on the surface: a steady job, a beautiful wife, and a beloved dog. Until his diagnosis. Since that day the family seemed to be crumbling beneath the surface. wasnt helping them either. Hed bought the dog when he graduated from college, a beautiful chocolate lab named Buck that had started to age like his owner and very recently had gotten sick. His wife hated that dog, especially now that it left smelly messes all over the house for her to clean. She begged for him to have the dog put down and he refused. This was one of the countless subjects over which they fought and never came to an agreement. his tie, and walked back to his desk. Time seemed to stand late every day for quite some time now and it didnt really seem to bother him much at all, although he felt obligated to at least leave on time. Since the diagnosis, most of his time had been divided between the bar and walks with the dog. His wife could tell he was sick but since he hardly came home, she really didnt know the severity. Clayton planned on keeping it that way. As the sickness had gotten worse he realized that the only way to keep up the charade was to stay away. He hated disappointing her and after three years of failed pregnancy tests, he couldnt bear to add to that with

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7 his medical news. My god that dog smells, she said as he walked through the door. Nice to see you too sweetheart. Honey, dont you think its time we take care of it? Take care of it? I talked to the vet and he seems to think that there isnt much left we can do other than put it down. Is that what we do with the sick around here? asked Clayton. Put them down after all theyve given us? She stared blankly back at Clayton. Outbursts like this had become more and more frequent since the sickness. Clayton whistled for the dog and brought him upstairs; theyd be sleeping on the couch tonight. Their marriage hadnt always been like this, but shed wanted kids and he couldnt give them to her. That alone was enough to put a strain on the strongest of marriages. He dealt with it by drinking, heavily, and long walks with the dog. She had found other men. Most recently she had been seeing a handsome construction worker. He was tall, strong, sensitive. Everything that Clayton was not at this point in their marriage. His wife was not the only thing that continued to suck the life out of him. It was his tenth year working at the phone company on Tompkins Road. When he was hired he told and there he was a decade later, realizing nothing better would ever come around. The diagnosis had made work that much more dreadful. He would forever be remembered as a Verizon sales manager and he hated that. He hated the sales meetings where they gave him the same motivational techniques that never worked. He hated his boss who made him stay late or come in early. But most of all he hated the fat secretary who always said, Someones got a case of the Mondays, whenever he didnt acknowledge her half-assed small talk. Clayton left for work the next morning, his back sore from the old couch. As soon as he walked through the door his boss popped out from around the corner. Hey Clay, just want to remind you I need you to stay until seven tonight. Sound good? Thanks.

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8 Clayton rolled his eyes, nodded his head, and trudged The day dragged on and he continued to put forth a lackluster effort. The last weeks of my life, thought Clayton, and Im sitting here. Nearly half of his day was spent in the bathroom dealing with the incessant coughing. Everyone noticed but else so they all knew not to bother him. He was glad because he really didnt feel like wasting time coming up with a lie. He dreamed of the day every night. One morning he just wouldnt wake up and that would be the end of this hell. There would be no one left to disappoint, no more time wasted. He wondered how his wife would react. Of course he still loved her, but a rift had grown between them, and the sickness had turned that rift into a canyon. Im doing her a favor, decided Clayton in his head. a real man to have kids with. Meanwhile, his wife was back home enjoying her usual afternoon appointment with her construction worker friend. She too, still loved her husband, but couldnt handle receiving almost no attention from him. Ill call you, she said to the man as he hopped in his truck. He pulled out of the driveway. She went back inside and found the dog asleep under the couch. The same place Clayton had left it this morning, only now a pungent odor radiated from its direction. God damn it. She kicked the dogs rear end to move it out of the way. Im too young to be taking care of an old man already. stained the couch she was under, but she didnt seem to notice. When Clayton got home his wife was nowhere to be found. He went upstairs and found her asleep on the bed.

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9 When he came back down he could hear the faint whine of on the back porch. Disgusted, he untied the dog and brought him in the house. Theyd be sleeping on the couch again. At the end of the week, Clayton woke up for the early shift that he had been given the night before. As he opened the drawer to pull out a pair of pants, he noticed jeans under the dresser. Clayton didnt wear jeans. He didnt own a single pair. He stood holding the denim for a minute. It wasnt a him. The jeans in his hands took away all innocence though. There was no longer reasonable doubt. Its a shame. He kissed his dog on the nose and left for work. saw that morning. So thats it. The last person who cared at all about me no longer does. Claytons anger was not with his wife. He was angry a perfectly healthy marriage and killing it. He was glad to be dying, because he didnt know how to live with himself anymore. could feel beads of sweat gathering on his forehead. the fact that he hadnt been to work on time for two months straight. So Clay, I understand you were late today? Clayton nodded without turning his attention from the computer screen. Youve actually been making quite the habit of being tardy lately. Theres also a great deal of work that hasnt been handed in. Im sorry, Clay, but this is unacceptable and Im going to have to let you go. At those words he felt it coming. It felt like lava roaring up his throat. He tried to push his way out of the cubicle most painful cough he had ever felt. It seemed to last hours

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10 stare at what was transpiring. A pool of blood formed on the Clayton stood hunched over, trying to recover. He stood, nodded his head and then walked to his car. couldnt muster the courage. He pulled in the driveway behind a grey pickup truck that he had never seen before. He walked through the front door to hear voices upstairs, as well as Buck scratching at the back. Immediately he ran to the whimpering dog and let him inside. Then he turned his attention to the voices upstairs. It was fairly obvious what the voices were. Clayton sat down to contemplate his options. The long cough at work had told him that his time was nearly up. As he sat there in thought, he listened. He could hear laughter. Clayton hadnt heard her laugh like that in years. In a twisted way, he was happy. And thats when it hit him. He knew exactly what he would do. Clayton grabbed food for the dog, in case he lasted longer than expected. He grabbed a few personal items out of his safe in the basement: a watch that his father had given him when he graduated high school, a 1970 Hamilton. They dont make those anymore, he said aloud. He stuffed the watch among some clothes, food, and toiletries in a duffel bag. It wasnt much. He didnt expect it to be a long trip. No longer did Clayton concern himself with his wife was happy. Before leaving, he dug around for a pad of paper and a pencil. Once he found it, he began to write: Lots of Love, Clayton. He didnt know what else to say. Buck could sense something was going on and followed his master around. Clayton took one last look around the house, whistled for the dog, and walked to the car. The dog followed and jumped in with him. He set out into the city, onto the interstate northbound to his parents old camp up on the lake. Just a man and his dog.

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11 From the Train Nathan Valeska Glimpse of Happiness Kristen Burke

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12 I Promise Heather Cook If in this world of darkness, You only have to look to me, And I will clear your sight. When the night seems too long, And you cant wait to see the dawn, if time stands still, I will help you go on. I adore everything you are. When you feel that no one cares Just let me in, Ill be your friend. Ill help you chase your dreams. By your side I will stay, Ill be there for you everyday I only ask you this my love, Please dont ever leave.

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13 I cannot be perfect, And at times Ill make you mad. But youre the only thing that matters. The only one who ever will. Dont try to do this on your own. Life can sometimes be so cold, But I am here, And I can keep you warm, So long as you stay. I love who you are, Not how youve been. Trust me enough; take me by the hand. Ill promise to never let you go. No matter the challenge, No matter the road block, No matter the pain. You can believe that I will stay. I wont ever run away.

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14 Indian Summer Vala Kjarval Gentle Hands

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15 Nothing Seamus Lyman I leant up against my register in the grocery store. Out of the seven registers we have, only mine was open for the entire night. I dont mind it, there usually arent that many customers that come through here after ten. There were a couple of guys restocking the shelves but I didnt talk to them, they were an odd bunch. One was a very large young man; he had long hair that went to the top of his chest. He was arrogant, he acted like he was brilliant and better than everyone there. The other guy was shorter and older. He had seem to like me very much. I was new to the night shift, and this was only my second or third time doing it. I liked it so far. My boss let me bring my iPod and I could use my phone, even though no one would be awake during my shift. I was listening to Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin when a customer walked into the store. It was about ten thirty. I quickly put my iPod to the side and greeted the customer with a smile. They walked on practically ignoring me. I thought, Well thats just great, tonight is going to be a great night! I was terribly wrong. My iPod refused to turn back on and I was stuck listening to the elevator music that played from the grocery chains mass produced radio mostly with advertisements. Its pointless to have advertisements when no one is in the store, because I am certainly not going to rush over to the deli and try the new soup of the day. The younger guy that was packing came up to me to buy two donuts and chocolate milk. He had an angry look on his face. You alright? I asked. Yeah, why? he said. You just looked mad or something.

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16 Oh, well Id rather not be here, he said. Do you have a reason other than the fact that its the overnight shift? I asked. Yeah actually I do, my wife is at home and our son is sick. Id much rather be home with them tonight. Im sorry to hear that. Well if you just put your mind Yeah, he said in a sarcastic tone as he walked to the back of the store. carts move as nicely as this one. It was almost like a ballet, beautiful yet boring. I had to remind myself that it was just a shopping cart. Hi, how are you? I asked. the registers belt. Do you have your advantage card tonight, sir? I asked, as I always do. Yeah, Ill get it in a minute. I scanned his items one by one. The register beeped with each scan. Occasionally I would have to type in a code for produce, bananas 4011, and McIntosh apples 4152. I went back to scanning his items. He had a lot, more reached the end, he had already started to bag the items and place them in his cart. He swiped a credit card and kept bagging. I helped bag some of his items. He had a lot of frozen foods, a couple bags of chips, and prepackaged deli meats. He got three

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17 gallons of milk, fat free, 2% and chocolate. He had a lot of produce, which I found odd for the night time. I processed his card and had him sign the receipt and gave him his own copy. He didnt look at me at all. I quickly bagged his ground beef and chicken and sent him on his way. Have a great night, sir, I said. He just kept walking. The older man from packing came to my register now. He just had a big bottle of mountain dew, good choice for the night shift. He, too, seemed to be a little grumpy. Being me, I asked him, Whats up? Nothing, just stocking the shelves, you know, he said. Do you like it back there? I asked. I would be a little happier if they actually paid me decent money to do this. As it is I have to go to my other job at nine, he said. Oh wow thats a bummer, I said. He went on to tell me how hes trying to put three kids through college, private colleges, and he has another kid soon to be in high school. His wife lost her job that she had for twenty years, and he was left to support the family. I felt bad for him, I mean my parents helped me get through college but I didnt go to a private school, and Im taking on a good portion of the debt. I dont understand why he would do that to himself, why not tell his kids straight up? Thats what I would do; tell them that we cant afford it. But hey, its his life not mine. I cleaned the front end for the third time, it was the only thing I could do now. No customers, no one was awake to talk to, and of course my iPod was broken. After a few hours the old man came back to the front end to buy another drink. Why do you put yourself through this? I asked. What do you mean?

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18 Well, why didnt you tell your kids the situation? Im sure they would have understood if you just told them, I said. I cant do that to them, they worked too hard to just lose the opportunities given to them, he said, plus, I have a helper up there, he looked up, hes got my back. Suddenly I realized something, the difference between the old man, myself, and anyone else who was in that store that night is that he believes that everything will get better. He thinks that he can be saved, that one day he will have the money to pay for his kids educations without working. Too bad he doesnt know that were stuck here. Were not going anywhere.

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19 Human Relations Brittany McCann

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20 Salvation in the Sludge Garden Kenneth Packard I sat in a Victorian garbage gut In the middle of Sludge Garden, Where pollutants tickled my nose hairs and Towers, towering towers, towered above me, Lodged there for as long as my memory Cares to inform me, but I do know That I rarely ever saw the sun, Almost an airborne sunlight mesh throughout The garden, only allowing slight remnants Of light to grace my presence, But despite the humidity Despite the mold caked faces Despite being tied down by Waterlogged newspapers Gaining further strength I found something. And that something was a barrell of black powder, Or in lame fucks terms, A shotgun, And since it had been I cant for the life of me remember Years since a women had touched me, I felt that there was solace to gain in its Homicidal philosophies, I saw the shotgun in the looking glass of a Corner murder mart, And since knew it was for sale,

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21 And made the shotgun mine, But as I brought the shotgun outside And began to give it the Privilege of my last kiss, I found someone. And that someone was a young girl Hunched over and holding her belly, Vomiting more vomit than someone I dropped the shotgun and went over To her, I swear her hair looked like It had been molested and gnawed At by decays hair dresser, And her face looked like A piece of dough that had Been improperly roled by An unskilled baker, And her eyes looked like a Horrifying surrealist painting That depicts a blood spewing Black hole, But in her eyes there was something More, something very faint That reminded me of a breathless Landscape, the sort of landscape That can only be fully inhaled After glancing at it for hours on end, Until the suns sunset metamorphosis reveals An orange glow, that resonates on everything You see,

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22 That is what I saw in her eyes. I dont quite know why I got down on my knees And held her as tightly As I could, But what I do know for sure Is that immediately After, several gold blossoms Began to blossom in a blossomless Sludge Garden, and the girls disease That had been eating her alive Began to recede, and unoddly Enough I lost any urge to kill myself, The little girl and I walked away hand in hand, And as we did, the blossoms derooted themselves And began following us, like younglings trying To stay close to their mother, and with that They followed us out of Sludge Garden, I should mention now that I havent been Back there since then and I dont think I ever will, because I feel like those last Moments with the little girl and the Blossoms were the greatest in my entire Life, and the only memories I need of Sludge Garden.

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23 Cede Vala Kjarval

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24 21 Years of Shows K.M Alleena I am uncomfortable. The last time I was in this dusty jovially read to us from the student handbook. I look up and notice the stage is still framed as it was for last years major musical Grease, giant black and white pictures depicting younger versions of old celebrities stare down at me and I shrink under their gaze. Everyone else, however, is content, and even a little excited. This is just a club meeting, I remind myself, looking to my left where my friend Meagan sits, after shes done I can get out of here. I wish to myself that I was sitting at the end of the row, instead of in the middle with all these people surrounding me, probably judging me; I dont belong here. One of them, a girl with dark skin and dark, perfectly curly long hair, keeps elbowing me in the side each time she turns to look over her shoulder when the door in the back creaks ominously open. Hey, Karuss! exclaims another girl, blonde with a stature just like mine. The girl next to me waves dramatically, and then turns around in her seat again. Meagan nudges me in the arm and I look up from adjusts her silver framed glasses. We can go home after this. No worries! She grins, and I can feel how happy she is about this meeting. I let out a long sigh. Some days, I really wish Mom didnt work in the afternoons. I just want to be in my room, alone, to be in peace after a chaotic day in school. I hear the clicking of high heels on the stage clicks over the wooden stage, dust in her wake, and stops

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25 under the yellow stage light. Hello Mrs. Sylvester! the kids around me echo. The as she surveys her audience. I notice her dyed blonde hair is pulled back on one side with a pin. That revealed ear is covered in piercings. There must be ten silver and gold mini hoop earrings, maybe even more. If you are a freshman, you arent allowed to join up. Im sorry, thats totally a school rule, she says with an exaggerated sigh. Nobody in the audience moves. She steps down from the stage onto the grey carpeted choral risers, the grand piano. Up close, she looks different. She seemed so much younger up on stage. Who is this? That friend of yours, Meagan? Yeah! I told you Id have another person. Mrs. Sylvester smiles and nods. Whats your name? I mumble my answer, sinking into the red cushion of the auditorium chair. Cant hear you, kiddo. I its Katie. Katie Morton. Ah! her voice is loud and echoes in the big, nearly empty auditorium, So nice to meet you. Im guessing youre a Sophomore like Meagan, right? I nod almost invisibly. Welcome. Youre now a cast member for our retrospective mini musical 21 Years of Shows. My eyes snap open and I grip the wooden arms of the chair I sit in. N-no! I cant I was I mean... I was only waiting for

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26 my friend! Mrs. Sylvester grins, and I know she is glad for this reaction. She reaches behind her and picks up a neon orange sheet of paper from the back of the piano. Come join our mini musical! Any student grade 10 or higher is free to join. No auditions! Just show up in the auditorium Wednesday, September 13 th 2006. Meagan turns to me and laughs in my face. Her blue a little mischievous; she had planned this. Itll be fun, I promise, she adds. Mrs. Sylvester clears her throat. Well? Are you interested? We need everyone here there would be a missing part if you leave. All of a sudden, I feel the anxiousness of the other kids around me, as if they wait with bated breath. A headache is starting above my eyes, and my ears are ringing. I cant hear myself think. I let out a long sigh. Alright. Yes, I agree reluctantly. As sheet music is passed around, all I hear is my own self-consciousness cursing me for giving into peer pressure. This musical is the farthest from being alone! it screams, Youll make a fool of yourself like you always do. You cant sing! You cant dance! Youre not good at anything. You couldnt even speak up enough to get out of this! They will hate you! I fold my black zip-up sweatshirt over myself and frown. I know, I agree to myself, I know. Ignore it! I tell myself, Just ignore it! My right ankle is killing me. Melissa, the choreographer, is directing us to sing the opening number while doing jumping jacks, in order to simulate how hard it actually is to sing and dance at the same time. I notice, while singing out-of-tune and out-of-breath, that Melissa looks almost exactly like Mrs. Sylvester only her hair is short and

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27 very curly. She even bellows just as loud which shes doing now as she also does jumping jacks but I cant focus on her words of encouragement. I can barely breathe. I am too fat for this sort of thing. I stop to catch my breath before the rest of the cast does. Meagan notices, and as she jumps, she travels over to check on me. Thats enough for now! Take a break. Alvera I mean, Mrs. Sylvester will be in with more work for you guys! Youre all brilliant! She mutters something incomprehensible as she walks off stage and alights into a front row seat in the auditorium. You did well, Katie! Meagan whispers. I sit on the stage, following the trend of the cast and let out a long sigh. No... No I didnt, I think, but I thank her in a small voice anyway. Mrs. Sylvester parades onto the stage with some mismatched-sized pieces of paper clutched in one hand and a microphone grasped in the other. She turns her head and speaks over her shoulder to Melissa. Were working on projecting, she says with a sarcastic tone. Melissa laughs, picks herself up and glides all the way back to the last row of the auditorium. You can hear me, right? Mrs. Sylvester laughs. crossing her legs. Lines, anyone? Mrs. Sylvester asks excitedly. The others in the cast exclaim in a babble, somehow elated by this announcement. One by one, the pieces of paper are handed out. They are mostly for our scene from A Chorus Line, with some adjustments, as there are more girls than guys in the cast. I get my line my only line and somehow everything On neon pink paper, the words Im Bebe Benzenheimer, from Boston, Massachusetts! [Speak with a

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28 Boston Accent.] stare up at me in a vivid typeface. I allow myself a small laugh. In another rehearsal, I told the group that I grew up on Cape Cod as my little-did-they-know fact. Speech therapy in elementary school, along with six years in New York, removed most of that accent. Wicked ah-some! I exclaim sarcastically, invoking that accent like a fond memory. It is the only word I still cant remember to make New York enough. The girl on the other side of me giggles. She picked a good line for you, she says, reading over my shoulder. Its Karuss, the star the one with the most lines and the best voice. She clings to two full sized pieces of paper. I feel humbled by her compliment. I smile, missing the cue to stand as Mrs. Sylvester motions for us to line up. No points if Melissa cant hear you without the microphone! she says. I stop smiling and the nerves start. The points dont matter! Melissa calls back. When it is my turn, I am shaking visibly. I say my line. Even I can barely hear it. My eyes are glued to the paper. Im not getting Boston from that, Mrs. Sylvester says. She holds out the microphone, which I reluctantly take. I am the only one to need it so far. I repeat my line again. My voice, sounding nervous, echoes out over the speakers. Nope! Mrs. Sylvester exclaims in a high-pitched, staccato note, Still not enough Boston. Work on that well practice this every day. And thats it. I still shake as the others take their turn. Karuss has to step forward and act something out, but I cant pay attention. That was the loudest Ive ever heard my own voice.

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29 While my self-consciousness criticizes me again, I let out a shallow breath. No, I answer it, I can do this. I have to. It is an overcast Sunday that threatens to rain. Perfect for the-Sunday-before-Halloween weather, but not so much for a musical. This old building freaks me out a little. We had arrived behind where we would be performing, and I never looked up to catch what it was actually called. All I know is Seniors Center for the Arts. Dead ivy crawls up the side of a crumbling brick wall. Strange bronze lion statues with holes where eyes should be sit where the walkway begins. Despite their missing eyes, their gaze could easily follow your every move. A tiny spider darts in one of the Lions eyes and out of the other. I back away by a foot or so. The only tree I notice on the lawn has lost most of its color. The green grass is contrasted with a carpet of dead, dry, brown leaves. I crunch over them as I carry my ugly sized 12 character shoes with me. I am grateful, at least, that they are comfortable, despite the heels. Im nervous, and I wander away from the crowd just a bit. I dont need their nervousness, too. I hear crushed leaves crumble as someone runs towards me bearing a neon green tee-shirt. You left your costume on the bus! Meagan says, exasperated. My heart skips a beat in nervous realization. I hold it up and see the plain typed-out logo Years of Shows arched over Port Jervis Senior High Schools with Retrospective Mini Musical arched opposite under that. Thank you! No problem. Were getting set up in a couple of minutes, she says, pausing and choosing her words But I believe in you. Youve done so well so far. Remember Saturday? You got your line spot on. I am proud. This will be so worth it. I cant smile right now, so I nod. We walk back to the

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30 two eyeless lions and up crumbling cement stairs. The girls are directed into a small room that has two tables. On one sits an unplugged coffee maker without a carafe, a couple glass pitchers of ice water, small paper cups, and a paper plate with sliced lemons. The other has foods bread, cheese and crackers, cookies, donuts, vegetables and fruits those sorts of things. Dont eat the cheese! Mrs. Sylvester warns. The door frame, Hurry and change into costume and character. The show starts soon. She leaves again, and the room is suddenly in a chaos of girls trying to look their best, all of us in the same style tee shirts, each with different neon colors. I notice there are assigned spots along the wall to put our things. My name is on a neon green sign that matches my tee shirt. I sit down and force the shoes onto my tightsprotected feet, buckling them as close as possible on the as I pull on my tee shirt over a moronic-looking forest green leotard. I bought plain black slacks for the costume, as was required. I had disobeyed the rules and wore them on the bus. I am too nervous to eat right now anyway, so I cant ruin dont seem all that badly wrinkled. Im still not ready for this. Within a few minutes, Mrs. Sylvester and the band teacher, I remember to force a smile as I see just how close to these old people we will be, and how small a space we really have. I notice strange buzzing and soft crashing suicidally trying to escape the room through the glass panel in the white door to the porch. As it bashes itself into the glass, I empathize. I too would run now, but I am almost as hopelessly trapped. I let out a sigh as the lights go down and Mr. Pacer begins to play the opening number on the small piano in the back corner. sing through the major part of the show. Everyone is so happy that I feel their silent laughter and I smile genuinely.

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31 Even though my self-consciousness wonders what Ill screw up at today, I still sing. The Chorus Line scene begins with a change to blue light. The song on the piano ends, and we line up as we had rehearsed each week before. Mrs. Sylvester always told us that when we are nervous, we should focus on a spot on the wall, and not on the audience. I wonder vaguely if the audience can hear my heart beating frantically. When it is my turn to say my only line, I grin tape. I am almost in the personal space of the elderly woman in a wheel chair smiling out at us. I look up and stare at my spot on the wall, pointing my thumb at myself. I open my mouth to speak my only line But a black, hairy spider is crawling up the wall into my spot. Even with my terrible vision I can see its eerie eyes staring back into my soul. It must have been the size of the palm of my hand. I am still standing there, pointing at myself with my mouth agape, but no words come forth. The impossibly large spider mocks me as it cleans its front legs, or sharpens its teeth whatever it is that impossibly large spiders do. The silence crushes me as I stand there like an idiot. Mr. Pacer clears his throat. The impossibly large, black, hairy, judgmental spider never takes its thousand and one eyes off of me, even as it creeps up the wall to settle into the crevasse between the wall and white plaster ceiling. And who are you? Mr. Pacer says in a clear voice, assistant. Tears obstruct my vision, and the impossibly large spider blurs away. Bebe Benzenheimer. Boston. I say. A tear falls onto the brown leather shoe of the elderly woman in front of me. She reaches out a cold, bony hand and pats my arm. The wheelchair creaks as she shifts her weight. Her expression tells me she doesnt mind my screw-up.

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32 Karuss begins her lines as I step twice back into line. We break into dance. My arms feel heavy and my legs move like lead, but I dance anyway. Told you. Youre pathetic, says my self-consciousness. I lift my head with a sudden rush of anger. Why though? I ask myself, Wouldnt it be more pathetic not to try at all?

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33 Bone Deep James Leach

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34 Parasitic Fascination Kristen Burke Rocket ship across the sky. It stings my soul It burns my eyes But I dont dare look away. Like a bug attracted to a beam. Im drawn in With no rhyme or reason Towards certain doom. But in this match Youve already won. Im tearing apart Piece by piece Rip, rip, rip. Parasitic fascination. I simply cant resist Ill take my piece of heaven And hold it till its gone.

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35 Metaphor of love from the eyes of foolish young men Harry Christopher Moore While walking carefree along the beach of life, a pretty seashell may catch your eye. Halting all forward motion of your normal lifes routine, you take the time and effort to pick it up. Making yourself familiar to all its unique qualities. Having never seen another seashell before, you admire its You think youve found the perfect shell for you. Moving forward again, another shell catches your eye. Comparing it to the previous shell, You start to notice imperfections that had been overlooked. and improved. But as you continue your journey along the beach of life, more and more shells appear on your path. The more shells you pick up, the more you forget the details and reasons why you loved and picked up the ones you left behind. At some point do you realize that its impossible to pick up and love every shell you see? Do you settle for the one in your hand?

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36 Or do you continue to live your life that way until youre too old and can no longer bend down to pick them up? if someone else picked it up and kept it?

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37 Side Effects: loss in sex drive Emily Tran

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38 You Look Better in Red Andrew Schneider The soft lights of the ol Hipster Caf cast ambient shades of reds and peaches. A couple requested a small table discretely hidden away from the rustle and bustle of the bar. Where do we take it? asked the man while the woman watched his eyes trace wildly over the anonymous faces all about the place. She sat poised and sophisticated wearing a scarlet dress that gleamed like satin under the ruby lights with stolen money. Annoyingly she put out her cigarette and white smoke fade into the hot red lights above them. Ive found a better deal she led on. Looking up, she could see his eyes ignite in horror as if her words had been Death himself. His hands were clammy and cold, and his face was What do you mean? We got away. There are rules to play by! The man was almost yelling now and his voice was brimming with desperation. He looked pale and nervous as he sat uneasily atop his high-rise chair. The woman, still perfectly poised in her seat, silently revealed her clenched hand beneath a red and white checkered handkerchief and placed it delicately on top of the table in front of her. The man drew back in horror seeing the glaring metal of her small pistol. The silencing boom brought chaos to the bar as beads of scarlet red spewed romantically. I never could stand a coward in a suit she said beneath her breath, besides, you look better in red Still calm amidst the confusion of the bar she reached down inconspicuously and clenched the nylon straps of the black duffel bag. Laying in a sea of red that mirrored his love for her, he watched mesmerized while her scarlet dress disappeared into the night.

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39 Birch Sasha Padilla

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40 Do Not Be Afraid K.M Alleena I know what this looks like; an old hag with ruby, claw-like nails sitting in a forsaken carnival stall just outside the city. See Sun? It settles on the torn edges of Tarot cards, telling me your fate far too easily. That irksome nagging behind your eyes stares up at me, reversed. What more do you want of me? All I own is a deck of cards with black borders. Your shoes are worn; your blue eyes

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41 You are skeptic and grow weary of me, child. Come, let Madame Zephyr tell your fortune. Let me take your hand... Seek not the troubles of a broken home your untidy trailer and untidy children will only run you ragged for a short while longer. Is that what youve been asking? Solace from the pains of two jobs, no husband, and no patience? You feel there is no other solution. The door will open when you are brave enough to close the other. The cards tell me you are only lost what you seek is

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42 Wrong for what will be left behind. You have love. See it in the eyes of your blonde three-year-old. I regret to know the Path you are walking down yet there is time to turn around. Do not give up or walk away without knowing what you are capable of;

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43 How Could I Not Michelle Slowik The tiles that I always thought were white, I now see are tainted with mysterious stains. A brownish black color is gradually corrupting the pureness of the white. The walls are beginning to take on the same color and a faint odor is invading my nostrils. I cant place where I have smelled this before but it is very familiar. My head hurts and Im so confused. There is a metallic and salty taste in my mouth and I see the red drops falling onto the carpet. A soot like substance seems to be consuming all of the air in the tiny space Im trapped in. What is happening? Why is no one around? There are usually hundreds of people in this building and it is seemingly barren now. In the background I hear some kind of crackling or snapping noise and it sounds like it is getting closer. My vision is fading and I cant focus on any one thought. A wave of exhaustion has harder and harder to avoid the darkness invading my mind and thoughts. Maybe it would be easier to just give in and slip away. ... Jacob was the kind of guy a girl could see herself ending up with. He was romantic, thoughtful, and caring. To top it off he had dashing good looks and a perfectly toned body. The summer I met him I thought I was going to lose myself in the depth of his shining grey eyes. I watched as edge of the campground. He could not have looked more to get his towel. Watching the way he moved gave me such pleasure because no human should be that graceful at six oclock in the morning. While in my daydream state I hadnt noticed him look up at me with an embarrassed smile on his face. He wrapped his towel around his waist and proceeded to close the distance between us with his long strides. said, Were you enjoying the view? It would be hard not to, I responded.

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44 you? Scarlet. Well maybe I will see you around Scarlet, Jacob said as he was turning to leave. Hopefully. ... darkness from my eyes. My breath is coming in rasps. Its so hot in here that I can see the carpet starting to melt by the door. I start to hear loud crashes outside the room like the ceiling is collapsing. The throbbing pain in my head is back and I can feel the dried blood under my nose and in my hairline. Why is no one coming to get me? Someone must realize Im missing, I hope. I try to scream for help, to call out in case anyone can hear me but my throat is too dry to make the noise. Helpless, I am completely and utterly helpless. The familiar darkness is sweeping over me again, just as I start to feel the tears stream down my face. ... We took a walk along the lake. The stars were the sky. I often admired Jacob when he wasnt looking and tonight wasnt any different. He looked so beautiful under we have both made a point to see each other throughout the together. It felt so nice to just be with him. A part of me always wanted to be with him. I remember him looking down at me at that moment with a curious look on his face. What is it? he asked. What do you mean? I responded. I want to know what youre thinking. Why? Because I dont get you. Youre so mysterious and keep everything to yourself. Let me in every once in awhile Scarlet, he said as he bent down, grabbed my face, and

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45 kissed me with an intensity I have never felt. I didnt even have enough time to reciprocate the passion before he pulled away. Why did you stop? I breathed. You didnt kiss me back. Oh, I said and leaned into him and planted my own heated kiss onto his full lips. Wow, maybe I should ask what youre thinking more often, I like the way you change the subject. That was my way of showing you what i was thinking, Im scared of my feelings for you Jake. Dont be because I feel the same way, lets just be together and take it one day at a time. He bent once more and this time invaded my mouth with his tongue. A deep moan escaped his throat as he came up for a breath and then he was back with a hard kiss. I let the walls down that I put up to protect myself from getting hurt and just let the passion consume me. ... Why is this happening to me? I can feel the heat from door and I can see the door slowly disintegrate because of is added you get burned, if not enough is added it goes out, but when you build the embers underneath the kindling it building by consuming it from the inside out. I cant believe Im trapped here. I need to get out, I cant die like this. The room is so hot but inside I am so cold. This feeling scares me. I just need to close my eyes and clear my head for a minute. Just a minute... ... We were on Jacobs couch watching a movie and making out. His hands were gently caressing the back of my neck and the base of my hairline. It was

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46 sending shivers down my spine. The feeling was very sensual, I could not get enough of it. He gradually moved to massage my back. Slowly he slipped my shirt off my shoulders and then over my head, slightly messing up my hair in the process. When he went to push the strands of hair out of my face he gently placed a soft kiss on my parted lips. Before he could pull away I wrapped my hands in his hair and brought my mouth up to meet his. Our tongues intertwined and in no time the kiss got deeper, hotter, more intense. He picked me up and carried me into the bedroom. After placing me on his bed he stripped off his shirt and undid his belt. Jacobs abdominal muscles were cut so perfectly that I couldnt help but steal a pleasurable glance at them before he slid on top of me. Are you enjoying the view? he teased while unbuttoning my jeans. How could I not? I replied back. I lifted my pelvis up to help him slip my jeans and then unbuttoned and took off his jeans. I sat up to admire him laying on the bed in nothing but his briefs. The very familiar, embarrassed smile crossed his face and I couldnt help but blush at the memories it brought back. Jake grabbed my hips and gently threw me onto the other side of the bed. He back and unhooked my bra. Slowly he caressed each breast and slid his hands to grab my face. The kiss was hard and passionate. His eyes were full of desire and lust but there was something else I noticed in those grey eyes of his. I could not place what it was because it was a look unlike any I have seen him make. He got off the bed to take his briefs off and retrieve a condom from his night stand. I slipped under his comforter before he was back. Sliding in beside me, I felt his hand slowly trace up my thigh and over my torso. Eventually he reached behind my neck and pulled my mouth to his. He whispered something in my ear. What? I said.

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47 Scarlet, you are so beautiful and have made the time we have spent together the most enjoyable time of my life. I love you so much and never want to lose you. What? I repeated. Whats wrong Scarlet? I...I cant do this. I need to leave. I grabbed my clothes and quickly threw them back onto myself. As I bolted to the door and then to my car I heard him saying something. I didnt even turn around to hear what he was saying. Not even a minute later, I was gone. ... Jacob means everything to me, he is my whole life. The only person that understands I need to be loved and taken care of. How could I not have said those three simple words back to him? What the fuck is wrong with me? Now Im trapped in this burning building, yearning to him how I feel but somewhere deep inside me is telling me I wont get the chance. My breath is getting weaker every second that passes by and I cant even spill those warm salty drops that were ever so present the night I screwed up. I am barely conscious but the last thing I see before the darkness encapsulates me for what seems like the last time is a white foamy substance. It is invading the room and in the background and hope springs to my conscious that maybe I will get the chance to be with Jacob....if only I can get that chance.

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48 Snot Bubbles to the Floor Saves Tree Emily Tran

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49 Love Thy Neighbor Marisa Dupras It was a black Akita, I concluded after the incident, Wanna go for a walk? my mom said that day, as she did almost every day that summer. I knew these walks were her way of spending time with me before I went off to We didnt usually walk too far. Wed go down our street, North Ridge Drive, past the bus stop Id waited at every morning for eight years, and down two more streets before turning back. Still, it was enough exercise for us; the roads were long and hilly. Somehow I always wore dark clothes; short black shorts and a dark tank top with my brown hair in its usual ponytail. My mom always seemed to contrast me with light, pastel colors and her light blonde hair. She literally took on the image of optimism while I was the opposite. She appreciated the sunshine while I complained about the heat. We left our house, a yellow house with giant triangular windows, and walked down the steep driveway. As we set off, I studied our neighbors houses. Some were out in an open, suburban type lawn, but others were hidden behind long driveways and veils of leafy trees. we had lived in, except maybe for the size of the houses. I deemed one house down a dead end the castle house out of marble. It had white pillars and tall, elaborate, white fencing around it. When I asked, my mom told me they had looked at it when we moved into the neighborhood and it cost a million dollars. Most of the other houses on my street were colonial and half as expensive. When we reached the bus stop area we saw a family outside their colonial, pale blue house, working on their lawn. My mom waved at the wife. She simply stared for a minute and then turned away. My mom pretended she had not waved. They made a purposeful effort to ignore us and continued to trim bushes and pull weeds. Thats Connecticut

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50 for you. We never did anything to annoy them, unless they considered the invitation to our Halloween party annoying. They were all alike here. No help, no concern, no Christmas cards. I remember the day we moved in. The neighbor and all she brought with her was a livid, sarcastic attitude. She was furious that our moving truck had ripped up a tiny scrap of her lawn. She demanded money for it. There was no plate of cookies, no hello welcome to the neighborhood. We still dont even know her name. My dad still rants about that moment. Once we got past their house, we resumed conversing about plans, plans for the summer, for going to college, for visiting me at college. I heard something like feet padding towards us fast. I turned around and saw a big, black dog running up to us. His tongue was lolling out and he looked like he was grinning. As the dog ran up to me my mom cringed, she had this thing about big dogs running up to her. I immediately started petting this Akita, and discovered he wasnt wearing a collar. His black fur was pristine; he looked like he had come straight from the groomers. Whos dog is this? I asked. I think hes those peoples dog actually. They must have just let him out, my mom said. Theres a leash law I pet the dog as I walked. I didnt mind when it licked my arm. Seriously, who lets their dog loose without even a collar? What if he doesnt come back? Well, they just moved here, maybe they used to live in an even more rural area, my mom said. They dont exactly look like hicks. My moms silence agreed with me. We owned a second home in upstate New York, a tiny town called Saranac where everyone called each other

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51 where my parents, and I in a way, grew up. It was the middle of the sticks and people worried more about woodchucks than crime. All the houses, included ours, were small and cozy. They get run down from the long winters, but on the inside theyre usually all like stepping into a grandmothers house. So imagine my surprise when we moved here, to our giant house isolated on a steep hill, above all the neighbors, and with our own veil of trees. I threw sticks for the dog to fetch. As much as I was enjoying the friendly Akita, I tried to coax him to go back to its home as we got further and further away from it. So far no cars had gone by. I started bitching to my mom some more about the people not obeying leash laws. The road started to slant downwards a little. I heard a whirring sound and paused, it was hard to tell if it was just wind or a vehicle. Then red pickup truck appeared. My mom automatically moved off the road to the nonexistent shoulder space on the side, and expected me to follow. Instead I held the dogs shoulders and waited for the truck to pass. His ears turned forwards as he watched the truck get closer fast. He seemed like he knew better, but then he started trotting into the path of the truck. I hesitated, trying to grab a collar and remembered he didnt have one. I hesitated again as the truck was only feet away. The dog just kept walking towards the truck. I made a half assed attempt to grab the dog around its neck, but he broke free. The truck screeched to a stop just before hitting him. The dog put his paws on the driver side door. The driver opened his window. Watch your dog! he yelled. He wore a baseball cap Hes not our dog! my mom and I both shouted simultaneously. The man just threw his hands up and drove away, shaking his head. The dog returned to me. I hugged him and kissed the top of his head, why didnt I stop him?

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52 You tried to, my mom said, Its alright hes perfectly But I hesitated when he started going towards it. I said. Maris, you didnt know he was going to do that. Its Calm down, she said, Hes not dead, hes happy as ever, look! The dog, as if sensing my mood, decided to head back to its home. I glanced back and watched him run away. I felt like ripping off the next branch that stuck out into my path. We reached the third road. The houses had slowly transformed from million dollar castles to three room, portable homes with roofs starting to cave in and paint peeling off. Connecticut has strange towns like that. I still cant believe those people would just fucking let their dog run around. He obviously doesnt know to stay away from cars. Oh my God that pisses me off so much. Alright, stop with the swearing, my mom said. I dont wanna stop swearing. Im really upset right now. I noticed, but I dont like to hear my daughter say the words inside my head as we turned around and headed back. We were silent. I was thinking about my dog that lived with my grandmother in Saranac for most of his life because my hit by a pickup truck just like that once when he was young. His name was Rielly and we got him as a stray when I was only four. Rielly was my playmate every single time I went to Saranac, more so than my cousins and brother. We chased each other around in the lawn and hiked together. Eventually when I was deemed old enough to drive my grandmothers

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53 golf cart, Id give him rides to the river so he could wade and snap at minnows. He was a mixed breed, possibly a cross between a Labrador and a bull terrier. He looked mostly like a lab except for his small ears and brindle colored fur. As a child I used to enjoy using all different color crayons when I drew him. Unlike the black Akita, Riellys fur seemed to always get dirty no matter how much I brushed him. He always remembered me after my absence. When he got downstairs every morning, I was the only one he would get up for and greet. We always seemed to be able to communicate. He sensed when I wanted him to follow me, and I could tell when he wanted me to follow him. Everyone said, Rielly lives here, but hes Marisas dog. when they told someone else about him. My grandmother had a cable with a run line that she clipped his collar to. One day when he was a wild puppy, and I was a child, he somehow got loose from that cable and ran into the road and a pickup truck hit him. His back leg and hip were hurt badly. I wasnt there when this happened. If I had been there, I probably would have run into the road after him, endangering myself. My childlike and some would say, stupid, love for that one dog would have driven me to do that. My grandmother told me how when she rushed over to the road, the truck driver had already gotten out to see if he had killed my dog. He carried my dog into my grandmothers car for her and offered to pay for the vet bill or do anything he could to help. She thanked him and declined. Rielly was taken to the vet just down the road and lived to be fourteen years old. He passed away only three months before my encounter with the black Akita in my Connecticut neighborhood. I tried to hold back tears now. My mom probably sensed something was wrong seeing as I had actually shut up for a while. Are you thinking about Rielly?

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54 She has that mothering ability to read my mind I thought to myself. I nodded in response. She hugged me. Im sorry sweet girl, he lived a full life. I just hugged her back, for once I didnt feel like talking about it. When we walked past the house that owned the Akita again, the family was still outside working on their lawn. The dog was still loose, running around, digging up the lawn they were working on so determinedly in the heat. Im gonna tell them to fucking put their dog on a leash, I said. No. Maris. Dont say anything to them, my mom said in a hushed voice. The son looked up from his soccer ball and stared at me like his parents did. I stared back. Yelling wouldnt change these people. We left their sight eventually. The next few days before I returned to New York for college, I laid in bed for hours thinking. I wondered if Id ever come to miss this town I spent my adolescence in. Id moved set apart from the rest in my mind. I wonder if those neighbors would have offered to pay for Riellys vet bill if they had hit him. I cant believe I was so hesitant to stop their dog. The dog was nearly hit because of me, and then all I thought of doing was yelling at his owners. I was from Connecticut now, and thats what I would tell everyone I met at college. I decided I might miss watching the neighbors out my window from my high point at the top of the hill. I learned what I could about them from that window, since they never introduced themselves. When I came to think of it, the entire time we lived there on North Ridge Drive, not one neighbor ever invited us into their house. After a while, we stopped trying to invite them.

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55 Beauty Among Us Kristen Burke

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56 In Sunday school you sat ready to learn Ready to learn about how not to burn You expected it true, and maybe it is. I wouldnt know. Neither would you. But Sister Raincloud said, Help us, Jesus, again And chased it down with Amen Sister Raincloud taught a lesson A whole unit on creation. Brought crayons to make an impression you sat there with attention. And you, little bug raised your hand up Wanting to know up above Where the dinosaurs came from There are bones and bones and bones And Ive read books so I know, know, know. But you said you like the idea of eternity So you accepted it too, that maybe it is. I wouldnt know. Neither would you. But Sister Raincloud said, Help us, Jesus, again And chased it down with Amen If our ancestors came to be Sister Raincloud Rebecca Wemesfelder

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57 On the 6 day creatively When did the dinosaurs begin? Before or after original sin? We know we werent around The same time as the dinosaurs But there bones were found So it cant be lore. Sister Raincloud took a breath And without a blink she said, Child, how long is 6 days to God? And you lowered your head. You said an apology, graciously To someone who you hurt carelessly. You said, Im sorry God. I thought not. And chased it down with Amen.

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58 Daydreams Vala Kjarval Pocket Watch James Leach

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59 Word Master Kristin Bacher You have this way with words, So literal, so lyrical, Just so goddamn satirical. They bend, They break, They bow. You say jump, And they ask how. You bend them and befriend them You control them. You console them Down the pages as they go And youre the only one Who knows How the story Really goes How the words Will end And how To bring Them back Again.

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60 Hiddleston Christie Maldonado

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61 Sestina Harry Christopher Moore Around the world alone I was moving, across oceans blue and forests so green. Tired and jealous of people laughing. Always looking out at nearby water. Hoping on cloudy days to see starlight. But in many places wed be moving, like a stream pushing a leaf on water. Thinking of the past makes my heart so green. However, most times I would be laughing, and I would sing and dance to the music. Such peaceful joy I found in the music. Always gazing up to look at starlight. My friends and I would always be laughing. Going on road trips in my car moving, around exquisite mountains full of green, swimming in creeks of refreshing water. I saw a girl playing in the water, Her beautiful eyes of such brilliant green,

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62 Standing in the currant swiftly moving. We spent hours together that day laughing. And since then, we have continued laughing. Walking along the rocks near the water. Enjoying the clouds in the sky moving. recognizing in nature the music, while laying outside watching the starlight, holding each other on the grass so green. And when I am sad I think of her green eyes and warm smile. And my heart starts laughing. Her glowing face is like blinding starlight. Her inviting voice is like soft music. Now we move freely through the grass of green. Enjoying music while we are laughing. Near the water gazing at the starlight.

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63 How to Babysit, Properly Corinne Elizabeth observe the child in its natural setting. At this time you should take detailed notes. Second, ask the parent about all allergies and emergency contact information. At this time take more detailed notes. When the parents have left, immediately remove all household hazards from the childs play area. Examples of such hazards include: all sharp-edged objects or furniture, any easily tripped over toys, and any plush items the child may roll onto and suffocate from. Now that the child is safe from all physical harm, you must realize that all T.V. programs and movies are crammed with violence and therefore emotionally harming the child. Turn off the T.V. and remove the remote from reach. The child will now become agitated. You should attribute this to exhaustion. Take the child to bed and turn off the lights. The child will fuss but rest assured this is normal. Now, you should realize that you are only one person. Should an intruder come you will be overpowered. Invite over a friend (preferably male and trustworthy, like a boyfriend), remember you dont want to wake the child, so one should be enough. When you realize the parents are on their way home ask your friend to help you pick up and then leave so the parents will have room to park. When the completely safe and that you would love to come back anytime.

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64 Land of the Free Nichol Dye

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65 The Dust Joshua Stockwell Red dust Redder than blood The dirt roads of nowhere Traveling from light to dark Darker than the night before Before we split Split in separate directions Upstate, Downstate, Different state Some stayed Stayed in an old town No dreams Worth dreaming The dust got to them Captured them Ate them alive Stuck in routines of Traveling from light to dark Throwing up dust Red dust Swallowing them Taking them Keeping them.

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66 Tears Nicole Montera Dripping down my face, oval by oval. Blurring my vision to see past it. Clear, salty and wet, and they are mine, whether I want them or not. Weightless, but a burden, an arrow through the arteries of my heart. Simple, but disliked these tears release fright. Itsy bitsy to the eye Colossal to the heart.

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67 Bass David Owens Communal Vala Kjarval

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68 Oswego Taylor Pangman Coming back from class, I stop to watch the geese gathered around the lagoon. My gaze always upsets them. Sometimes they hiss, but most times they stop grazing and waddle away. There are one or two in particular Who stand sentinel on the outskirts, Assessing me with eyes either wide with worry Cold with militant calculation, The look of a General When ice covers the lagoon like the stoic face of a sleeping God And the wind is cloaked in snow. I wish they had no compulsion to return my gaze, So I could slip in unnoticed and spread a beach blanket on the slope of the hill slanting into the cool water. But each time I try, the General squawks orders for them to move away slowly, to avoid panic, but brisk enough so that I am never one of them.

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69 I want to be the General, Marking the horizon while my friends get drunk and watch the baseball game. I want to look into the sky, Blue with white brushstrokes and wonder what might be coming down. clipper ships sailing in from the east, and signal to my tribe. There is no reason to panic, but we need to be moving now. The Labored Posts Nathan Valeska

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70 Overtaken Brittany McCann

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71 Grandmother Danielle Walters I used to walk barefooted on pavement with you always scolding of stones that could stab at my feet. damp grass in the brink of dawn As we ambled through the park listening to the rumble of running children dashing quickly across the platforms of the playground hummingbirds whispering lullabies that seeped into my impressionable mind. Id sit with you on the bench and youd beg me to play with the other kids in a game of Red Rover. I never cared for games.

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72 I just wanted to observe you. The wrinkles around your eyes and lips spilling childish secrets without you in it.

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73 City Living Claire Cerra I dont want to see the sky And remember that I used to dream. Surround me with concrete Like the creeks I once played in Now polluted. Low clouds still form shapes Surrounding rooftops and skyscrapers With smog-bunnies and dragons Of imaginations past. All childhood playmates Are now grown and gone Did they get there? Ill never know. The stars What stars? Outshone by arrogance and ambition Hover hidden away till I deserve them again I wipe away the smog. I call on a friend. To splash stargaze stumble succeed stay And dream again of a world untouched.

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74 Green Tea Morgann Smith

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75 ACT I SCENE I (DESBIAN walks down an old road in the middle of a desert. It is getting dark and in the distance the sound of coyotes can be heard. DESBIAN begins to run. He sprints toward a large building far off down the road. He arrives at the door, the howl of coyotes becoming louder, and he sees the pack the front door and sees a star with a name on it.) DESBIAN (Reading out loud) Desbian Pritchard, Improv-Actor Now that is strange and with no windows? Well this must be the front entrance then I suppose it beats spending the night out here, thats for sure. (Turning the knob, he pushes open the front door. It is pitch black inside as DESBIAN walks in. Behind him the door slams shut.) DESBIAN What the hell? I just walked inwhere is the goddamn door knob?! I cant see a thing. (He reaches in his pocket and lights a cigarette. Suddenly, huge spotlights on the ceiling above him began to illuminate the huge building. One by one the whole building becomes illuminated and DESBIAN can see the entire open area of the square building. Along the walls, MEN and WOMEN in costume stare motionlessly at the center of the room. A Curse in Paradise Andrew Schneider

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76 DESBIAN (His cigarette drops from his mouth.) Jesus Christ! What the hell are all of you doing in the dark like this? I hope I havent interrupted a performance. (Pauses) Is this a company? (DESBIAN looks for the door again, but it is gone entirely. In the same moment a platform rises up from an opening masked DIRECTOR. Next to the DIRECTOR is a table with three piles of paper. DESBIAN watches as the man pulls the table off the platform, and then he steps back on to the platform.) CAPED MAN Come now, Company, your scripts have been prepared. (Looking around in disgust) Look alive you mindless drones! You you simple fools! (Some of the faces around the room began to take notice.) Now, I have given some of you new lines to make this day more special and well (Smiling) unforgettable that is, at least for some of us. (The DIRECTOR pauses and smiles at a beautiful WOMAN in a red dress standing against the wall.) Well then, come get your parts. I suppose these sheets are the only life you will ever have in those worthless skulls of yours! (The DIRECTOR does not notice DESBIAN. The platform lowers him back into the place beneath the stage. DESBIAN watches as the people spring to life. DANCERS began to dance in unison toward the table from all sides in pirouettes

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77 with streamers attached to their feet; HEAVY SET WOMEN sing Italian opera while marching to the table; KINGS, bow out like cones, are wearing all sorts of fancy cocktail hats. They are waltzed in by SLICKED-BACK MEN in white and black suits, some wearing top hats or fedoras, some have ties on with tuxedo shirts, and others have brightly colored bowties. They condense around the table coming and going like bees dancing, taking their scripts and return ing to their places in their same fashions.) DESBIAN (To himself) What a fantastic scene. There is something odd about all of this and about that man in the cape he appears to have some type of spell over all of these actors, but how? (DESBIAN walks over to A MAN with a mustache wearing a cherry top hat and a tuxedo jacket with long coat tails. The man is mumbling under his breath into the paper that he has put to his nose.) DESBIAN Ive never seen a company with such a shall I say artistic majesty about it... Quite a strange procession this all is, wouldnt you say so? (DESBIAN looks expectantly at the MAN, who pays him no mind.) DESBIAN minute! (Grabbing hold of a petite arm)

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78 (The MANS face stays buried in his script, DESBIAN lets him go, and looks around for someone else to talk to. He spots a WOMAN wearing a blue-plumed dress at the end of a row of line dancers. He steps in front of her.) DESBIAN Oh Hello, my name is Desbian, I am an actor. You see I came through a door (pauses). It was right over there behind that man. (Pointing to the wall) (The WOMAN still reading her script only seems to realize she has lost pace with her line. She looks up past DESBIAN and continues forward.) LINE DANCER Oh dear, this is not in the script. Where has my line gone (The LINE DANCER tries to walk right through DESBIAN. He stumbles backward, moving out of the way.) DESBIAN The script? I have a funny feeling about these spooks! Why on earth would I be in their script? (He hurries through the crowd to the table where the director left the SCRIPTS and picks one up.) DESBIAN (Reading aloud) Scarlet Davis (SCARLET looks about the table as DESBIAN is reading. She is looking for something and DESBIAN walks over to her, holding out her script.)

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79 DESBIAN (Smiling) You know it says here, today is quite a lovely day for you uhScarlet? I mean congratulations, Im sure you (DESBIAN pauses to bow, SCARLET watches him cautiously.) You see I havent gotten a word outta anyone around here everyone has their nose buried in one of these. (DESBIAN offers up the SCRIPT and SCARLET snatches it back up at DESBIAN.) SCARLET Who are you? DESBIAN Ha! Why I am an Improvactor and my name is Desbian Pritchard. I have spent the last seven years traveling the like this one. (Looks around and smiles) However, this Company is by far the strangest. (SCARLET looks back down at the SCRIPT, and then up to DESBIAN.) SCARLET No, WHO are you? What is your STAGE name? EVERY ONE here is given a stage name, not to mention none of this is in the script. DESBIAN Well of course it isnt. I dont suppose anyone could have

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80 known Id lose my way through that door, or the door itself. improv-actor named Desbian Pritchard here; I read his name on the front of the door, I (SCARLET more human now, looks all around.) SCARLET Go to the wall! And try not to be noticed, and whatever you do, dont tell anyone that you are not an actor here. (Looking around again) Alright?and dont ask me anymore questions until I come to you. No one here can talk to you. They have been here too long. I am the only one here with any sense left. Now hurry before the lights go out. (She brushes past him, and smiles as her eyes look over once more at a fairly startled, but quick minded DESBIAN. DESBIAN notices a spot on the far right wall. The lights go out before he manages to get there. Stepping on a few EVERYONE (Droning) Hello, Director. (All together) DIRECTOR Oh wondrous day! What say we let our lively play (Pausing to chuckle) BEGIN! (Suddenly the stage erupts, red and white spot lights break

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81 through the darkness, showing a speakeasy at center stage. A HEAVY VOICED JAZZ SINGER is on stage with his COUPLES twirling one another about. The BARTENDER is leaning on his elbows as a full bar faces the band, raising their glasses and bobbing their heads. The entire scene is a bustling night club. SCARLET is sitting alone at a glass table in front of the dancers. The DIRECTOR enters from out of a dark corner through a walkway of dancers to SCARLETS table.) DIRECTOR (Proposing an oversized ring) Sweet Scarlet, delicate and primrose of this, thy paradise, I ask you Wont you accept this ring as a token of my everlasting love? And join me forever in marriage and theater. DIRECTORS shoulder and DESBIAN takes the opportunity to wave hello.) SCARLET (As if stirred to realization, her mild calmness slips from her face.) Oh, yes, your proposal. DIRECTOR What did you say! (The DIRECTOR whips around to see DESBIAN.) How unexpected. A brave new serf in a freed knights armor Chillingly chivalrous. Well I suppose you are due a

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82 proper ado Desbian! (DESBIAN looks around, as a small circle is cleared around him.) DESBIAN Well lets not spoil a party on account of me moseying in. (Chuckles.) How does this place work anyway? Maybe when the lights go off, a hundred stage hands come in to set up whole stages in the blink of an eye. No. That sounds foolish, doesnt it? Or maybe, you Well surely your voice is the only one heard One might be inclined to call you divine... perhaps, but no. You wear emotions too thickly, hmmm DIRECTOR (Laughing in disbelief.) Im afraid you are very unaware. Emotion is so hard to come by these days Yours will certainly be sour. Detain that man! (DESBIAN is taken away and the DIRECTOR returns to face SCARLET who hopelessly looks on to DESBIAN.) I had not wished to write you. I wanted to save you as long as I could! I have been so lonely and all of these faces are blank and gone, I have only myself and what is left of you. SCARLET There is no love here, only the want and the wanted! I see colors to create a heart, but they will never stop trying, and so this is our curse. (END SCENE)

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83 ACT II SCENE I (One spotlight is on DESBIAN, surrounded by actors. Three actors break in from the crowd and grab DESBIAN from behind. They overcome him and drag him away from the DIRECTOR. Thick cables come from the ceiling. They tie his head, arms, and feet, rendering him unable to move his body. The actors begin to walk away from him and return to the wall before DESBIAN calls upon his aggressors.) DESBIAN You fucking PUPPETS! Look at me! (Struggling) You, sir, what is your name? ODDYSEUS (Spits.) Bottom, eh you know, Pyramus and Thisby? DESBIAN Wrong. You are the mighty Odysseus, and you have just returned to your castle in Ithaca ready to reclaim your home from wicked suitors hungry for your wife. That man there is the head of them all. How shall we handle him? (As he points across the stage, another spotlight shows the DIRECTOR, who holds SCARLET by her arm as he in tears as the DIRECTOR drops to his knees on a blank stage. They cannot be heard, but her head shakes from side to side in protest. Both scenes stay lit and all else is in blackness.) ODDYSEUS He who robbed me of my wealth, stayed well-beyond his

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84 welcome, and made force his entry upon my wife?... HA! He shall be mine to punish! (ODYSSEUS retrieves his sword and armor and joins Desbian.) DESBIAN Yes, he must be yours to punish, but please wont you cut me free of these strings, so I may help you? ODDYSEUS You are a friend of the Greeks. I will be happy to free you help me re-claim my home. (ODDYSEUS cuts the strings with his sword. DESBIAN turns to other actors around him.) DESBIAN And you sir, who are you? TRISTAN I am the puppeteer. Here is my beloved Veronica. DESBIAN No Sir, she is the beautiful Isolde and you are the mighty and brave Tristan! That cruel man there (pointing to the DIRECTOR) is the King who seeks to stand between your most spiritual bond. Now, gather yourselves and join me! (TRISTAN and ISOLDE gather weapons and armor that are placed before them.)

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85 DESBIAN And you Haggard, what might you be? CALIBAN Why Im a Court Jester, cast away because I could not dance. DESBIAN Ah, what a beautiful Caliban you will make then. Yes, and this will be your deserved revenge against him, your Prospero. (Turns around and points to the DIRECTOR) (The DIRECTOR grows more violent, pulling SCARLET by her hair and raising her off her feet, he points at DES BIAN and sees the new actors as they slowly transcend one another into a vengeful army. SCARLET cries in con tempt as she is suspended by strings above the stage. The DIRECTOR moves away from DESBIAN and his parade of actors, running up stairs that rise up from the stage before him.) DESBIAN Quickly! We must stop our enemy while we are still free of his fantasy! (Turning to SCARLET) Scarlet do not fear, the Director has lost his power over these freed actors. We will save you! TRISTAN But what are our parts? DESBIAN Your parts will be lived in unpredictability, and each deci

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86 sion is your own. You LIVE your character. It is life in play An unhinged performance of the names you now bear become it! Break the cuffs of your draw-strings, and call upon your parties... Today we are awake, NOW WE CUT OUR STRINGS! (Actors from all around begin to break mold, new characters form, and an army is soon covering the stage. High above, the DIRECTOR stands on a huge plateau; from his mask down he wears the armor of a Samurai.) DIRECTOR So it would appear you have spoiled my beautiful fantasy dare challenge my mighty will! HAHA, yes, now look into the darkness and feel the terrifying creatures that even now not puppet is everything else, and these are my beasts! stands in front of his acting army. Violent strikes of thunder and lightning crack from out of black clouds. Behind the DIRECTOR (Shouting down) Here is your Cyclops; he is for your Odysseus from Ithaca! (The giant CYCLOPS is in plain sight and his mighty head bends forward to unleash a horrible roar towards DESBIAN turns his attention to ODYSSEUS and his men.) DESBIAN

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87 Odysseus, you must take him, he is for you You mustnt fear this battle. You are mightier, more frightening, and all of Greece declares you as its humble hero! Go now, strike swiftly, BLIND HIM, and he will fall to you. ODYSSEUS Grecian swordsmen follow me into battle against this great titan! Archers ready your bows for his mighty eye, and rain down upon this giant a dark cloud of your arrows! (Raising (ODYSSEUS and his men attack. Cries can be heard from the CYCLOPS as arrows pierce his eye and send his mighty the DIRECTOR. The entire structure crashes down. The CYCLOPS sits motionless as the last of his tired breath seeps from his collapsed corpse. DESBIAN watches as the DIRECTOR stumbles up from the debris.) DIRECTOR (Wounded and enraged.) Here is your army! My King of Marke, and his men of DESBIAN Grecians! Quick, hold your shields at the front lines. You, archers, rain down your arrows. GRECIANS Yes sir!

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88 DESBIAN Tristan! TRISTAN Sir? DESBIAN King Marke is yours alone. You must take him. He is coming you and for your love, claim him and mount his head atop your sword. Today, we shall retell your story, and you shall live to see it! TRISTAN I will return bearing his blood! (TRISTAN breaks into a sprint for KING MARKE who is galloping in front of his army on his horse. In seconds, TRISTAN jumps at the horsed man and lunges his sword into the chest of the king. The horse and two men are spun out of control, and fall as the army approaching overruns the two men. A black cloud of arrows smothers hundreds of the KINGS ARMY and the few that make it to the GRECIAN SHIELDSMAN are met with swords until all that remains are defeated corpses of KING MARKES ARMY.) DESBIAN Tristian! Call out to us if you are still alive! (Pauses) Ahh! Your death will not be forgotten! can be seen, unable to move from the injuries of his fall.)

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89 DESBIAN You coward! Dont you see? We are freed puppets! You can control spirit and will no morenow face us! DIRECTOR (Laughing hysterically) You are no different than me! You have the control now, just as I did when I took it from the DIRECTOR before me! You will never leave here, no one ever does. HAHA, theyre can only be one DIRECTOR and now you will be him! (DESBIAN watches in horror, as the strings holding SCARLET lower her body, her face is in tears. Her feet reach building again. She is released and runs through DESBIANS soldiers to meet him.) SCARLET It is true Desbian, it is all true! None of us can leave. I told you to hide yourselfI wanted you to be mine and mine only. Now I am yours and everyone will forget themselves. They will be whatever you want them to be. You will forget what friendship, love, and compassion are like. You will be our Director and soon you will tie us all to strings. Tomorrow I will not know you. DESBIAN No, I wont! I wont be him! I refuse! I am DESBIAN PRITCHARD, I am DESBIAN, I AM DESBIAN! (DESBIAN falls to his knees, his hands hold up his shoulders. Before him a MASK appears. He looks up and

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90 the DIRECTOR has gone. SCARLET watches in tears as DESBIAN reaches for the mask. His hand holds its face and he draws it from the grass. Climbing from his knees he places it on his face. He turns to face his army, and his mighty arms rise above his head.) ARMY AND OTHERS DIRECTOR! DIRECTOR! DIRECTOR! (Lights out.) (END)

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91 Say Uncle Emily Tran

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92 The Girl Inside of Me Heather Cook Sometimes I run in the wrong direction. Im the cause of my own destruction, But thats just the girl inside of me. Most of the time, Im a mess. My life is just one big test That I fail every now and then. At times I suffer from melancholy, I cant always wear a smile, Ive walked too many lonely miles, But thats just the girl inside of me. I dont wear a lot of makeup, And I dont have designer clothes. At times I dont act much like a girl. Im more comfortable in jeans and boots, I dont like to wear a dress, And Ive never been to a tanning booth. Every now and then I like to get a little dirty, And some say that Im not pretty, But thats just the girl inside of me. Im not that hard to understand.

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93 I dont want a boy, I want a man, Someone that will take me as I am, And never expect me to change. And hard to love, But theres something worth keeping here. I promise you Im worth it. Undertones Vala Kjarval

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94 Haiku 10 Anthony DiGennaro Donkey Elephant controlled by the same farmer divide and conquer Wave of Mutilation James Leach

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95 The Northern Problem Tom Rigney CHARACTERS King. Married to Bielza ODel. KING Mid-sixties. Invading the northern territories in order to make it the new home of his people. BIELZA ODEL Late twenties. Strong willed and intelligent. and fails to save him before he is taken. Appears as a star vation induced hallucination. COMMANDER TAOL Upper teens. Captured Shay ODel. Is commander of his troop after Shay ODel kills his Chieftain. BOLL A younger Cheiftain, his land was captured by the King after his Chief was killed early on in the Kings retreat. An ally of necessity, he does not serve the King happily. TULKAS Of the same generation as the King he is a general who serves almost too loyaly. Milder in manner than the King and Boll he often steps between the two in times of dispute. SETTING Play takes place in a large tent with a map table movement. The tent is sparsely decorated, showing signs of nobility but little in the way of comfort.

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96 TIME Scene 1 is in the evening and the tent is lit by lanterns is well lit from the outside through the canvas. ACT I Scene 1 Within the tent. Now. Scene 2 Still in the tent. 5 days later

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97 ACT I SCENE 1 (KING stands over a large table with a map in the middle, BOLL and TULKAS read off reports while KING adjusts pieces on the map. COMMANDER TAOL enters with an ornate blade in hand) COMMANDER TAOL (Saluting) campaign. KING That was fast. Why isnt Hull reporting personally? COMMANDER TAOL The attack was a failure, Lord, Hull was killed during the retreat. KING COMMANDER TAOL The town was so small Hull ordered a direct attack in guessed. BOLL More than guessed? How hard can it be to pick out a clans warriors?

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98 COMMANDER TAOL They were all warriors, sir; man, woman and child alike. TULKAS They didnt surrender after seeing the Lights power? COMMANDER TAOL retreat. TULKAS And they pursued after claiming victory? COMMANDER TAOL Only a few pursued, Hull took the Chiefs wife. We were laden with our wounded and unable to outrun the few that gave chase caught us at the valleys lake. During a feint one man crept into our camp and retrieved the woman. Hull remained near his tent and was slain. BOLL Hull stayed back while his soldiers fought? (Turning towards the KING as he says.) That is a trait far too common in this army. COMMANDER TAOL If he hadnt we wouldnt have caught the sneak who killed him.

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99 TULKAS If he hadnt we would be short a woman and and still have a general. KING (KING takes the blade from TAOL and unsheathes it.) You caught him? Has he survived the trip? COMMANDER TAOL Yes, mLord. Hasnt said a damn word the entire way, though. KING Well, bring him here. (TAOL turns and exits) BOLL The priorities of this campaign have gone too far off course, if we are caught between the mountains and the sea we shall be conquered in full. KING Your tongue is far too loose, remember who killed your Chief, Boll. BOLL AYE! With an arrow. If the death machines werent so close behind you would not have found me so complacent.

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100 KING You dare speak so to me? TULKAS (Steps between them but looks at the KING) Boll is right, we need to move forward or this quarrel will be the least of our problems. KING I will not tolerate this insubordination. (The tent door reopens and, pushed by TAOL, SHAY staggers in with hands bound behind his back.) KING (Still angry he steps to SHAY) And who are you that thinks he may stand before me? SHAY ODEL (SHAY looks the KING in the eyes, standing to his full height.) demand the reasons for these transgressions against my people. BOLL

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101 Come...? TULKAS Demand...? SHAY ODEL (Turning his head to the two generals) Im addressing the one with the crown, not you. (Turns back to the KING meeting his eyes) So have out with it. KING (Temper rising) You come before me bound and defeated and presume to demand? SHAY ODEL Bound I may be but my people are not defeated, we have pushed you out once and next time we wont be taken by surprise. (Motioning to nearby chairs) And are not ambassadors usually given some hospitality? KING I have had enough haughtiness this day, your people stand in the way of my expansion. Surrender or die.

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102 SHAY ODEL Expansion...? (SHAY looks around at the two generals) ...No, not with this bunch. Your men are hardly fed. You are keeping the bulk of your army together and sending out small attack parties. No, you are here in desperation, not in glory. KING Desperate! Ha! SHAY ODEL (SHAY looks over at the map table, taking it in before the KING steps between SHAY and the table) Who are you running from? KING Nobody. SHAY ODEL mountains, only taking towns that lie in your way. No, if you simply wanted more land then the northern plains would now discovered is easily defended. You need the mountains between you and the North, ergo, you are being chased KING

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103 (KING is silent a moment, breathing deeply) I have given you the only answer you need and now I will have answers of my own. These mountains are maze-like, what are the best ways about it? SHAY ODEL Ha! And might I also place my home on a silver plater for you? No, you may enjoy the maze and I will laugh at your failings. If you dont wish to talk when you have the chance then you are a fool. KING Hmmph. (Turning to TAOL) Bind him to a tree outside and ensure he never sleeps and feed him not a bite. Have him beaten every once in a while as well. Tomorrow he shall have the honor of marching at our head. (Back to SHAY) After a few days of this we shall see how tight yor lips re main. (SHAY gets up and TAOL pushes towards the exit, at the door SHAY turns back to the KING and shakes his head. They exit, scene ends)

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104 ACT I SCENE 2 (Gunshots can be heard in the distance frequently but not rapidly. King stands over the map table, reads reports, moves a few pieces before throwing the whole thing over. TULKAS steps back casually dodging a few pieces. TAOL, battle weary with bloodstains limps in and stands by the entrance.) KING (Shouting at TAOL) How is this happening? COMMANDER TAOL (Saluting) mail. And they use the winding paths through the trees and even go into the caves to stay out of the Lights range. KING Then leave the blasted things behind, we fought for man to man. COMMANDER TAOL We have tried but our forces are bottlenecked and few of them hold back our many. TULKAS There are also more than initially reported, other villages must have come to their aid.

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105 KING (Shouting) Bring me the Ambassador. (TAOL exits, the KING paces back and forth. A moment passes and SHAY, hands bound before him, is pushed into his ragged clothes hang looser than before. TAOL follows as SHAY pushes himself up to his feet.) Tell me how to counter this, NOW! (SHAY is sways where he stands, his gaze shifts from the You will get nothing until you speak. All you have to do is tell me from where they are coming, where do the cave routes go? (BIELZA enters from stage right and walks towards SHAY appearance) BIELZA ODEL You are wasting away, lover, how much longer will you re main stubborn? SHAY ODEL Until Kale is victorious... KING What...?

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106 (BIELZA places her hand on his cheek and SHAY swoons but recovers with a shake of his head and turns back to the KING) SHAY ODEL BIELZA ODEL (Rolling her eyes) Give some false info, that would get you fed and help Kale (SHAY looks back at BIELZA) SHAY ODEL You know Im no good at lying. KING AHHHH! Curse you. BIELZA ODEL rest of you life just to die an honest man? (Shay reaches a hand up to BIELZA and forces a smile.) Of course you are.

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107 TULKAS (To the KING) You have driven him mad, you cannot hope to get anything of value from him now. (SHAY, slower and more strained, forces himself up again to look the KING in the eye. He opens his mouth wide trying to loosen his jaw. At that moment BOLL hurries into the tent) BOLL We have tarried here too long. They have taken the harbor and move south. Only one messenger made it out to send word. KING (Pause) They move like the locust. SHAY ODEL (Shay raises an eyebrow) Would that be Nobody chasing you to the mountains? KING And whats going to stop them coming after your people? SHAY ODEL Conveniently enough, (Sitting down in a chair) You are.

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108 BIELZA ODEL Thats not very noble of you dear. SHAY ODEL (Looking at BIELZA) Im not in a very noble mood. BOLL Who the hell is he talking to? TULKAS Our King has driven the man mad with starvation and now he sees spirits. KING Enough! (Shouting at SHAY) They tore through our country in less than a fortnight. Once done with us they will take you. SHAY ODEL Will they? Weve stopped you, havent we? (SHAY begins slumping down, head resting on his chest, and eyes drifting shut.) Im not too... (Yawns) ...concerned.

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109 KING What will it take for you to listen, dammit? SHAY ODEL Hmmm... (Opening his eyes) a long way, too... Oh, and maybe for you to stop killing my family and friends. KING (Pause) So be it. (Then to TULKAS.) Send messengers to all our captains, tell the to stop all skirmishes immediately. TULKAS (Beat) Yes, my Lord. (TULKAS salutes and turns and exits motioning for TAOL to follow. SHAY falls sleep, BIELZA kisses his forehead and walks off stage. Lights raise after a moment. TULKAS re-enters)

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110 TULKAS (KING kicks SHAY awake) SHAY ODEL Biel...? Oh. Now what do you want? KING The invasion of the Southlands has ended. Now, we must turn our attention north. SHAY ODEL We? Not yet. KING We dont have time for this. SHAY ODEL You dont have the time, and I wont help you until we have some guarantee of peace when this is all done. KING We dont have time to negotiate a treaty! SHAY ODEL Why? The conditions are simple: you will relinquish your crown and live under the mountain law set forth by those you have, and would have, killed.

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111 KING I will not accept those terms. BOLL But I will, he will no longer rule, (Turning to the KING) Willingly or not. KING Tulkas, kill this traitor! (TULKAS makes no move and stands in thought) You too? TULKAS You... Have not been a capable King. KING Traitors, the both of you. (Shouting as he draws a dagger) Toal, aid me! (BOLL draws his sword and steps toward him. KING throws the dagger which hits BOLL in the shoulder and he drops his sword. BOLL drops to a knee clutching the wound. SHAY springs forward, grabs BOLLs blade and brings it down on the KINGs collar before he has a chance to draw his own sword. KING falls motionless. SHAY looks the other men in

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112 the eyes clutching the bloodsoaked sword. TAOL enters in a hurry then stops when he sees SHAY standing over the KINGs body.) COMMANDER TAOL So... An agreements been reached, then? (Blackout.)

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113 Ive Got an Egg Addiction Emily Tran

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114 Asylum 93 Jessica Ekert Dead but vibrant colored leaves blanketed the ground while some scurried in front of me, rustling in the autumn breeze. As I lumbered through the unkempt grass I stared intently at where I was stepping in order to keep my mind off of the creepy and dilapidated buildings. After a few minutes of navigating through the of an abandoned insane asylum. Its broken windows and daunting gothic architecture stood as a testament to the forgotten ones who once were housed here. The dark clouds behind it stirred menacingly, which heightened my anxiety of breaking into Building 93. Since it closed its doors in 1996, the Kings Park Psychiatric Center had been used for many purposes: as shelter for the homeless during cold winter months, as a safe haven for local druggies, and as a place to showcase Long Island, breaking into the Kings Park Psychiatric Center was, in essence, a rite of passage. The objective was to go as far as one could into any one of the many buildings. The brave explorer had to try not to get lost in the indistinguishable hallways and patient rooms and then make it out unscathed. My good friend Kate was incredibly enthused about trespassing into the haunted hospital; I did not, however, share the same feeling. Kates main objective that afternoon was to take pictures and document everything she saw in a way that was never before seen by others. She loved her photo class she was taking in school and kept trying to get recognition from her teacher. These pictures were sure to grab his attention. Slung over her left shoulder was her tattered and worn Jansport backpack. In it we packed water bottles, two long, auburn hair was tied back into a loose bun to secure it away from her face. She had on old, ripped jeans and a plaid shirt--clothes she didnt care if they got ruined while on our mission. The psych center had been taken over by the state

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115 after it shut down. During its heyday it used to be a piggery, dairy and horse barn, bowling alley, and even its own railroad. But because of the asbestos and lead that the buildings contained, it would cost the state several billion dollars to tear down the buildings. So every door and window is boarded up with plywood and the grounds are patrolled by local police. As we skulked our way closer to the building, careful not to be seen, all the horror stories I heard as a child quickly crept into mind. A classmate in grade school once told me he broke into one of the decaying doctors houses and a ghost-dog had chased him down the stairs and out through Another time my Social Studies teacher told us hed broken into Building 93 on Halloween with a few of his when they walked into one of the rooms, they heard a faint whisper of a females voice before the door slammed shut. No matter how much they pulled, the door wouldnt budge. they got charged with trespassing. Obviously, Mr. Douglass had made this up to scare us away from going inside any of the buildings. Though I didnt want to believe in ghosts, these stories suddenly seemed to carry some veracity. We walked up to the chain-linked fence that was meant to safeguard the brick building from hooligans such as us. As we searched for an easy entranceway, I noticed the vines attached to the building. They snaked their way toward the top and had entered through the broken windows by previous intruders. The ground was still wet from yesterdays rain so the hole had turned into a muddy mess. The only way past the fence was to army-crawl through the cold, wet ground. Here, hold this for a second. She handed me the her sleeves to her elbow and laid herself on the ground. The hole was awfully shallow so she used her legs to propel the rest of her body forward. Kate wiggled her way under the

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116 fence and stood up on the other side. She tried to brush herself off but the mud was already set into her jeans and under the fence and got through the hole following the same The sun started to set behind the building; the day was ending earlier than Id gotten used to during the long summer days. I felt as though I was about to walk into some kind of horror movie, the kind where even the protagonist doesnt escape at the end. I think Kate started to think some of the same thoughts, because we had both been walking slowly in complete silence. That guy in class told me that the open window is somewhere in the back of the building on the south side, Kate whispered. Why are you whispering? Were outside. I dont know. Im nervous, I guess. through. Kate had to hoist me up while I cautiously avoided the shards of broken glass laying in the window opening. Once I made it in I swept away some of the glass so it was she didnt need much help. Kate kneeled down and opened the pack and started toying with her camera. This place was supposedly lousy with asbestos so I kneeled down with her and grabbed one of the bandanas to protect my lungs. I wasnt too sure if a bandana would really do anything, but it made me feel safer. We began to walk down a dark hallway. The paint The overhead lights were all broken and the glass had scattered and mixed in with the paint chippings. Every step we took created a loud, crunching sound, breaking the strange and eerie silence. I stayed behind Kate as she walked down the long, dark hallway, taking pictures of whatever she found interesting. It seemed that everything was worthy of documenting. She took pictures of the room with the single chair facing the bare wall. Then we walked down to the next room; it was a bathroom. The mirrors were cracked and the took pictures of that, too.

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117 observing from behind. So when she wandered into the next patient room I kept walking and turned down into a different hallway. There were no windows down this hallway to let light a couple of feet ahead of me. At the end of the hall, it opened up into what was once a recreation center. This room was a real mess. There were wooden chairs thrown around everywhere. Some of the pipes that used to be attached to the ceiling were lying upon the dust-covered dining tables. I took a few steps into the room then noticed the ground wasnt crunching under my feet anymore. I shined the light directly down and saw I was stepping on some type of clothing. I looked closer and realized it was actually a straight jacket. I followed the restraints of the jacket with the light to where they were resting upon a ledge of a gurney. I started taking steps back away from the unsettling image. It was like the hospital had closed over night without any warning. All the items they left behind began to conjure up vivid imagery of what it had been like to be a patient here. fact, there was a large mural that perhaps one of the patients had painted. It showed a group of people watching two old men playing a game of chess and next to it was an older woman with her white hair tied into a bun, sitting in a chair and crocheting. A man in a grey and white uniform held up a set of keys to a locked door. I wondered if that was supposed to represent a particular guard who had worked here--or all of them. I realized I had spent too long investigating the room and I hadnt told Kate where I was going. It was probably corridors to where we had split up. I checked all the surrounding rooms of where I left her, but she wasnt there. I Kate! I called out. No response. I walked down another hallway but it seemed the further I proceeded alone in those dark decaying tunnels of

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118 Building 93, the more my imagination started playing tricks on me. I kept thinking I saw shadows moving next to me, I walked faster as panic started to sink in. The end Some of the dresser drawers were pulled out and had clothing still folded in them. One of the beds near the window had weeds sprawled over it. I turned around, unsure of where to go. Maybe she had gone upstairs. I began to search for the staircase, and my pace picked up to a hurried jog. I felt a drop of sweat hit my wrist. I wiped my face with my sleeve and it drenched ceiling as I kept running the halls. Kate! If you can hear me, answer me! I kicked something with my foot as I was running. It made a squeak and I saw an abnormally sized rat scamper down the hall and into the nearest patient room. I let out a girly-like scream and quickly went back to running down the hallways yelling for Kate. I ran up and down every hallway to catch my breath and pull myself together. I leaned my back against the closest wall and slid to I could open the backpack and grab one of the water bottles that we had packed. I twisted the cap open and brought my head back, then hovered the bottle close to my lips as most of it poured into my mouth and the rest trickled down my shirt. I could feel my cracked lips when I licked the water off of them; they were in desperate need of some lip balm. That was when I heard something moving. It sounded like footsteps around the corner. What happened to you?! Kate suddenly exclaimed. She ran over to where I was sitting on the ground and picked been walking alone in the pitch black. This place is creepy as shit. We need to leave. She looked just as frightened as I felt. Yeah, you have no idea. I got to my feet and with one motion I fastened the pack and swung it over my shoulders. Lets go.

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119 waited below for her to toss the bag to me. She jumped out and we both ran blindly in the darkness. After we crawled through the muddy hole under the fence we kept running toward where we had parked the car. I looked back at the ominous building behind us and I immediately stopped running. silhouette of a man standing in the window, looking down at us from above. Stunned by what I saw, I grabbed Kates arm. Look! Up top--in the window! I cried. I looked at her to make sure she stopped to look at where I was pointing. in that window. I saw it but its gone. There was someone up there, I claimed. As I tried convincing her of what I had seen, I heard what I was saying and couldnt believe it myself. Youre just paranoid, Jess, she told me dismissively. We were in there for too long; I still feel on edge too. Come on, lets go back home. She tugged on my wrist to turn around and follow grass and back to the deserted parking lot where we left her car. Kate turned the engine on and we both sat there in the dark waiting for the heat to start. She took out her camera to review some of her shots while I wrestled with some of the unnerving images in my mind. I wondered what the person who wore that straightjacket had done to be put into it. Thousands of mentally ill all housed in one place. There were probably many that were violent toward others. I remember hearing stories of patients killing other patients and the staff would cover it up as accidental deaths. I could imagine screams echoing through the corridors night and day. It made me feel sorry for those who had lived here. Then my mind went back to the silhouette in the window. There was something about it that made me believe it wasnt just some homeless man. And it certainly wasnt a it was a ghost. Just one of the many patients that died in the Kings Park Psychiatric Center and never left.

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120 Night Alone Nathan Valeska

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121 A Goodbye Letter Briana Larocca We were conceived on August 5, 1966 The two of us; twins; a most infamous pair. We would be the symbol of New York, Glitzy, sharp and shiny, we stood out. As always, one twin must be older. That was North. Born in 1968 He made history I wasnt far behind. Born in 1969, South Tower Grew 1,362 feet tall in 2 years A giant by most standards. People came from all over the world To take pictures with us. We stood proud for them. We were iconic. We endured all of the elements, Every year proving to be strong Yes, so strong and reliable. Who knew we had a breaking point? 25 years into our lives we were tested. An attack on my brother North Almost brought us down. We held out, we were strong. We were sold and bought Worth 3.2 Billion dollars But only for a short while.

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122 He was hurt, and going down. I should have said it then. I loved you North. My only brother, my twin Always by my side I saw you crumbling, Crying, shaking, and bleeding The blood of hundreds. We werent strong enough. I could not stand any longer, I too was struck. I crumbled, Cried, shook, and bled The blood of hundreds. I wasnt strong enough. I begged and pleaded, Watched you burst Goodbye my brother. We were conceived on August 5, 1966 We died on September 11, 2001 Please dont ever forget us.

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123 I Carry Your Heart Rebecca Hess

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124 Tiger Rising Epilogue Rebecca Wemesfelder Sitting at the counter in that Jacksonville diner, Rob arched his back, slumped it back down, then rolled his neck around as several hollow pops sounded from it. His mouth tasted like stale coffee, but he didnt mind that. If he had a more social existence, he might be more concerned how that stale coffee smelled coming from his prickly face, but instead with boxes in his Peterbilt truck. Every now and then a waitress would give a lonely sigh and ask him if he got tired alone out on the road. She would only ask this when the diner was quiet and close to empty. He always replied the same way. Id rather be out on the road than stuck in a cage. It was at this particular Jacksonville diner where he knew he had to stop. Rob always tried to hunker down into his trips and not stop unless his bladder was about ready to burst, or his eyes were just a bit too heavy, or his stomach Jacksonville always seemed to have its lights shining extra bright for him, regardless that the night was dark and thick like a canvas tent. And so he stopped. When the waitress took away a syrupy plate from him, how they always tasted like maple syrup and bacon after eating this kind of a diner meal. He wrapped up a ten dollar bill in the receipt and patiently sat, not too concerned with when the change would come back, or even if the change was okay to stay at this diner just a little longer than usual. Two headlights directed themselves into the gravel see the car was barely running and had seen better days. He thought to himself, who hadnt seen better days? But

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125 tonight was an okay night. Better days or not, tonight was an okay night. He turned back to his coffee and inhaled the last, light brown drops. The sugar that never fully dissolved into the coffee fell slowly to the top of the cup and into his mouth. As he put the cup back down, the same soothing noise of ears. The same, yet always slightly different jingle of the bells on the front door rustled in his head. He turned slowly and saw a young woman with her head down, not sad at all but focused on something. She was wearing a dirty pair of jeans that had a worn outline of a thick wallet in the back right pocket, but without a wallet. She wore a brown leather belt that held the heavy pair of jeans up on her thin frame, and a black t-shirt that was worn to gray on the seams. The front of the t-shirt said something. Black Sabbath or maybe Rolling Stones. There was a huge difference between the two, he thought to himself, but it really didnt matter to him. Out from the bottom of the shirt popped out a tan belly, had to have been holding a baby somewhere deep inside. He smiled on the inside. The concept of mother was something he always found a lot of beauty in. What are you looking at? she said as her hands furiously weaved a perfectly messy ponytail on the top of her head. He thought, how did you do that? But instead of speaking, he pretending there was more coffee in his cup and took another sip. His heart beat once, extra hard, and then went back to normal, as though to warn him that this was important. She threw her car keys up on the counter as she pulled a money clip out of her deep front pocket and gave the waitress an order. Something about orange juice, a pack of Tums, and toast that was extra burnt. All Rob noticed was her mess of a key chain. On it was a car key, and a

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126 few anonymous keys hooked onto a key chain, along with dress. One of the arms looked like it had been knocked off and the other was glued back on. A hole was screwed into of the key chain. The waitress clinked a glass of frothy orange juice down in front of her, along with a pack of Tums that the young woman peeled open. She tossed a few in her mouth like they were candy, drank about half of the glass of orange juice, slammed it down, sighed, and looked back at Rob. She leaned her head forward, raised her eyebrows, smacked her tongue and said, Hi? asked anyone something this personal in a long time. She just stared at him. With her mouth somewhat open, she licked the leftover Tums from the inside of her cheeks and froze that way in thought for a moment. She sat up. She stared at him again. Why? She said, skeptical. He smiled at her just a little. Her skepticism turned into a smile. He could see most of her teeth. One of them was chipped just a little in the back. It was kind of cute. No freaking way, she said. Her eyes squinted until they were hardly there. Rob. Rob? She laughed, and hid her face, slightly bashful. He smiled back at her. Holy smokes, you look just like you, but different. Youve got hair on your face. When did that happen? Oh, god. When was the last time I saw you? He could feel his face was bright red. He tilted his head down just a bit. Years. A lot of years. Where have you been? Around the world and back again. Wow. God, look at you. What are you doing in Jacksonville? Im a truck driver. Just passing through. What about

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127 you? Ha. You dont want to know. Tell me. to Philly. Or wherever. I just got to get myself out of here. She sat there with her orange juice, talking and sucking the froth from her lips. She spoke about how her mom had given her an ultimatum. Her mom knew a good settle down with. She explained how she knew better than what her mom was offering. She explained that this boy, an apparent Southern gentlemen, turned out to be the kind of guy she had tried to avoid, and oddly enough, somehow was a lot like her daddy. She paused and it seemed like she was counting slowly to ten inside of herself. Then, staring at the ripped metallic paper from the Tums roll, she said the following quietly and gently. Rob, Im having a baby. This guy I was with told me all the wrong and right things to get me to where I am, and my momma was okay with it. She just wanted me to settle down like I never have wanted to. She knew better. He knew better. I knew better. Now Im running away from a bunch of people that frown upon babies outside of wedlock, but frown even more on freewill. What the hell was I thinking, Rob? Inside his head he said a lot of things. I wish I could have been there for you. Why arent you a kid anymore? Why didnt you keep in touch? Its going to be okay. Can I marry you? You have crumbs on your cheek from that toast you just inhaled, and I havent seen anyone prettier in my life. As though she had heard his thoughts, she wiped her face and the crumbs were gone. Just like all of the signs on the highways passed him, and were gone. Just like all of

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128 the angry people tried to pass him on the highway, and were out on the road than stuck in a cage, but couldnt this just be the one time when things could slow down? Itll be okay. He couldnt think of anything better to say. She put her hand on his. It wasnt romantic, but rather it was grounding, and heavy in a good way, like a mother tucking him in to bed and putting a heavy hand on his back. Youre safe, is what it felt like. God, remember that motel you lived in? Remember all of that shit we used to get ourselves into? She laughed with glossy eyes. He smiled and laughed towards his knees. His face prickled with happiness. seemed like a trip to the moon and back. Where had he been living? What were all of those keys on her key chain for? What happened to those kids they hated from the school bus? Is it going to be a boy or a girl? Where is he going? Where is she going? Why had they not kept in touch? She spoke through a yawn, Im so sore. Youre tired, too. Call it telepathy, but he could tell they were going to have to leave that diner soon. You have a place to stay tonight? Yep. Shes parked out front with a gaslight on. What about you? Ive got a couple of bunks in the truck. Theyre designed so I can bring my family with me some of my routes, cept I dont have much family. Let me buy you a tank of gas. Headstrong as she always had been, she asked the waitress for a marker. She took one of the cheap paper place mats from the counter and told Rob she would be right back. Not a few minutes later the familiar bells jingled as

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129 she came back into the diner with a backpack and told him she was ready to go. He tipped his head to the waitress, left a few dollars, smiled and said a very sincere thank you. He wasnt interested in goodbyes, and he was especially not interested in the one that was about to happen. He thought of all of the possible ways for him to suggest that they could keep in touch. The bells jingled as they exited the diner. They were a happy noise, and somehow it made his heart sink a little more. stared at him. He looked at her as she nudged her head towards her car. His heart was a hot air balloon when he noticed what she had done with the cheap paper place mat and the marker. Scribbled out in big letters read the words, SHES YOURS. She smiled at him and said I left the keys on the front seat. She gives me enough trouble as it is. But you cant just leave it here. Its gotta be worth something. Scrap metal, at least. Listen. Im sure someone could use it more than I could. And you know how I feel about keeping things caged up. I hereby set that old girl free. And anyway, you said you had extra bunks in that truck. In his head, he picked her up and hugged her. Her feet were off the ground and her arms were around his neck. Her belly stuck into him and was soft and thick. Her shampoo and the best smiles of a diner. But in real life, he just smiled at her. This was good. They looked at each other and without saying a word, they both seemed to say, Lets go.

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130 Napoleon James Leach

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131 Monologue of the Trix Rabbit Harry Christopher Moore When will it be my time God? Please tell me when? Every time I try to have myself a taste of that treat, It gets taken from me as they step on my feet. I sneak around the best I can. Seems like this torment will never end. Trix are for kids Trix are for kids! And did I get them then? NO! Its not fair I say. And who decided this rule anyway? Why am I a silly rabbit? Its not like eating Trix will form into a habit. I just want a taste of one bowl. I cant even eat them in my rabbit hole. They never seem to bother Toucan Sam. Tony the Tiger never gets hassled by the man. Sugar bear gets his share. They let that whack job Sonny eat his stuff and hes coo coo for those cocoa puffs. The only one who I can relate is Lucky my little Irish mate. I swear to God one of these days Im gonna snap, crackle and pop And theyll be cleaning up these pestering kids with a mop. The next kid who takes my Trix is gonna get a punch in the face

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132 Olivia Martinez there is no night or day, only a small ivory orb lights up the wisteria fogged sky. The gnarled trees in the fog are shadows reach up high with no hope of seeing anything between them. and lavender fading into amethyst in a pattern of an angry skull. Each eye socket gets its own wing on top while the bottom holds half of the tooth full jaw. Guardian to this realm, her wings match that of the butter only letting her arms, chest, and face be bare. Markings stream across her skin, looking like onyx vines. towards the obsidian pool of truth. She kneels over; ebony hair spilling over her shoulder. She reaches a glowing hand over the pool, making the water ripple navy blue to violet.

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133 the truth is illuminated. The pool shows a silver skeleton with its hands crossed over the chest, eye sockets looking at her. And she will have a human end.

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134 Buy, Have, & Die Emily Tran

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135 Clocks Consistency Danielle Walters I want to rip the clock from the wall tear it apart see what exactly makes it tick. the hands and face in all their perfection, soft, smooth numbered set to unchanging, impatient time. I want to understand how it keeps in motion with no sleep able to control its ticking audible only to those who sit in emptiness of silence. I long for it to whisper to me consistency.

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136 Stint of Flower Gates Danielle Land Storms are kept in the spine, Just like the spine is kept Towards the brain. The glow of the backwashed, Will degrade itself luck with time, Like time. Dash, dash The sound of the plane goes Crash, crash. As they shade the sky With whatever colors All smiles. The love in leaked stomach; A surmise in sight, Curb nicely together, Like fuck in the night. Dreams regard dreams,

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137 In spaces with queens; Their trances complete In the loft, it seems. Vexing the elegant voices In tune with the isolate Pleasures, Caught in the soon. The lifeless king chainsaw And the grace away, On the black and white gate. Swamp

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138 Mac n Cheese Is Good With Ketchup on Black Friday Emily Tran

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139 Hallowed Day K.M. Aleena The fog lurks under shrubs and across the street. The air murmurs about a bleak wind coming in from the north I feel it. The leaves relinquish their orange grip on the ends of twigs; they glide along the air thickening into fog. I see them settling in an arbitrary artwork abstract, like modern, but effortless and ancient. Hands in my pockets, I walk down the middle of the road, lingering longer than I should, hoping to get caught in the storm. The Sun sets with the echoes my steps make on the empty, sodden black top. Already, dimness is due.

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140 The headache of a long day pervades the stillness I can no longer stay here. The wind whips to remind me my hope is wrong a whisper among trees: Get out of the rain, kid. I hear this in those restless leaves. Nothing more. So I move on.

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141 The Vain Fate Nathan Valeska

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142 Mother Christie Maldonado

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143 Clear Danielle Walters Clearthe answer my brother would give me as a child when I would ask him to pick a color. Invisible air, dense water dew on photosynthesis highly substantial life. Clear puddles of tears imperceptible souls drift away that wilted three months ago. I never think to throw them out. Clearthe color my mother would paint her nails she never liked anything gaudy or bold. The thick pane within my fathers glasses too big for his face. The thrill of bubbles in the opaque container my Grandmother kept in her purse for whenever I was bored.

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144 The telephoto lens I gaze in capturing memories as they speed by me impatient to get away. Clearmy brother never was good at picking colors.

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145 Unclean

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were nice people