THE GREAT LAKE REVIEW SUNY Oswegos Literary Magazine Fall 2017 Editor-in-Chief Kirsten Staller Managerial Editor Kirstin Swartz Secretary Francesca Leparik Treasurer Alicia Hughes Public Relations Coordinator Lilly Kiel Publication Designer Marissa Specioso Head Editor of Drama Bridget Dinan Head Editor of Fiction Evelyn Sokolowski Joey Bandru Head Editor of Poetry Morgan OGrady Drama Editors Moreli Abreu Emilee Crane Christian Drew Seymouk Zach Taylor Fiction Editors Bageot Dia Connor Kawola Kayla Lipson Dimitri Lockhart Carolyne Sanchez Jessica Wickham Edward Sourby Jenna Uryevick Will Zenyuk Poetry Editors Dave Drake Kirsy Guzman Ashley Johnson Joe Sigurdson Faculty Advisor Laura Donnelly SPECIAL THANKS Laura Donnelly English and Creative Writing Department
Located at 19 W. Bridge Street in downtown Oswego, the Rivers End Bookstore is GLRs off-campus home. Every year the Rivers End holds the release events for our fall and spring issues. All of us at GLR would like to extend a special thank you to everyone at our favorite independent bookstore, especially Bill and Mindy. THANK YOU RIVERS END!
Page 4 TABLE OF CONTENTS ART A Single Spark by Dori Gronich ............................. Cover Eclipse by Deanna Newman ........................ Rivers End Page Untitled by Laura Panagis ...................................... 10 Untitled by Laura Panagis ...................................... 17 Cold Wate r by Deanna Newman ................................. 26 The Creator by Victoria Jayne ................................... 33 by Dori Gronich ....................................... 35 Into the Woods by Rose Banks ................................... 37 Untitled by Laura Panagis ...................................... 44 In Bloom by Rose Banks ........................................ 47 Untitled by Dori Gronich ...................................... 49 Untitled by Laura Panagis ..................................... 63 Untitled by Nicholas Nicosia ................................... 69 Untitled by Laura Panagis ...................................... 78 Majestic Beast by Dori Gronich .................................. 84 On the Rise by AnnieNicole Woods ............................. 90 All About Balance by Deanna Newman .......................... 96 Down they Go by Deanna Newman ............................. 96 Untitled by Dori Gronich ...................................... 105 Sunset by Ashely Radder ...................................... 115 Untitled by Laura Panagis ..................................... 119 Game Over by Victoria Jayne . . . . 123 DRAMA Creature of the Night by John Ross Thompson .................... 11 Two of Them by Catherine McMullen ........................... 38 A Babys Plea by John Ross Thompson ........................... 65 Somewhere Only We Know by Logan Rowe ....................... 97 At Odds by Emily Goleski ...................................... 107 FICTION by Kevin Sun ......................................... 28 The Death of Dr. Giampiccolo by Haylie Wood .................... 51 Memorys Reprieve by Kevin Sun ............................... 80 Christmas in July by John Ross Thompson ....................... 86 Gay by Kevin Sun ............................................. 121 NONFICTION Mulberry Soles by Kevin Sun ..................................... 8 Steel Memories by Amanda Beswick ............................. 19
Page 5 Caf Adesso by Isabella Arikian .................................. 71 Pits of Hell by Winnie Blackwood ................................ 92 Tacos by Mary Katherine A. Moylan ............................. 117 POETRY Combining Fires by Brenna MacIsaac ............................. 7 Starry Nites by Nicole Hube .................................... 18 Little Miss Red by Nick Brown ................................... 22 Mother Always Spoke of the Jades by David G. Manke .............. 34 Touch Starve by Catelin Seaman ............................... 36 The Cage by Joshua Faulks ...................................... 43 Green Music by Kiont Miranda ................................ 45 7/11 by Sarah Ohlhorst ........................................ 46 People Become Poetry by Brooke Lehr ............................ 48 -2015 by Taryn Suprenant ..................................... 50 Red String Bracelet by Christina Bandru ......................... 64 Saturday Night Life by Eric Adsit ................................ 70 Dear Whisperers by David G. Manke ............................. 79 Scott by Nicole Powers ......................................... 85 Dust on the Ground by Sarah Ohlhorst ........................... 97 Rise by Nicole Hube .......................................... 94 Haiku Collection #1 by Kevin Sun ............................... 106 Swingset by Catelin Seaman ................................... 116 Photograph by Kieont Miranda ................................ 120
Page 7 Combining Fires Brenna MacIsaac your skin. My back pressed to your chest, a handful of peach skin, show me to your grave.
Page 8 Mulberry Soles Kevin Sun I would imagine the mulberry tree in our backyard was probably very useful once upon a time to the people who had previously lived in the house before we moved in. They would probably get out their ladders, climb up on top of them, and pick the little white berries from the branches. Maybe theyd be dexterous enough to scramble up the trunk of the tree and perch up high on a thick bough, throwing down the mulberries from up above at the people below. We didnt do any of that. The tree itself was pretty useless. It was all by itself, all the way in the back of the backyard. The berries just ended up being blown off by the wind, scattered all over our green yard. They actually didnt taste very good either. They were a little sweet, but something felt off about them. They were incredibly annoying to step on as well, staining the soles of our shoes or even our bare feet with that nasty violet shade, leaving behind small, ugly seeds. I really didnt like that tree and all the trouble it caused. On the other hand, my Woody doll was something I cherished as a child. I would take him everywhere with me, especially to bed. Something about him was very emotionally appealing to me. I think I had a lot of empathy for him, someone whose life was perfect until some new cool guy moved in and ruined everything. I thought about how it must feel for him to look underneath his boot and see the name of the most important person in the world to him written on his sole, and realize that Andy might not feel the same way about him anymore. The letters slowly begin to fade as time passes, and I thought about the fear of being forgotten and left behind that must have stricken Woodys heart. He was someone who felt alone and outcast from the people he used to know. I think as a kid, I could sense that. I wanted to be his friend, to let him know that he wasnt alone. I still have him back at home, though I dont take him with me anymore. I think weve both done a lot of growing up since then. I never really thought about what you must have been feeling for all these years. You are alive (a fact that often slips my mind), and you must have been living there for decades. I
Page 9 wonder how many generations of families had come and gone in your lifetime. Who were the people who planted you there so many years ago? Theyd be long gone by now, but despite everything, you still stand tall in the backyard, a resolute, determined silent giant. After all these years, your berries still continue to fall all over the square plot of green grass, still continue to stain my soles purple whenever I walk around in the backyard. I still dont really like you but I can imagine the neglect, the loneliness, the isolation you must feel after all this time. Maybe one of these days, Ill give you a sense of belonging; a purpose. Ill come home and sit underneath the shade of your leaves, or pick some of your berries and make a mulberry pie with them. One of these days, when I wont mind you staining my soles.
Page 10 Untitled Laura Panagis
Page 11 Creature of the Night John Ross Thompson INT. HOUSE LIVING ROOM NIGHT Heavy rain pouds against the house from the outside. BARBARA (18) sits on a couch, one leg crossed over the other, a book in her hands. She yawns as she turns the page. scream envelops the home. Barbara jumps up from her seat, then takes a few breaths to calm down. MELANIE (O.S.) BARBARA! Barbara puts the book down on the couch. BARBARA Coming! INT. HOUSE HALLWAY CONTINUOUS The hallway is full of doors. Barbara rushes to one of them and opens it. INT. HOUSE MELANIES ROOM CONTINUOUS The room inside is dimly lit by a plug-in unicorn night light. MELANIE (8) lies in a small bed and holds the blankets up to her chin. She shivers under the covers. Melanie points at her window. The blinds are wide open and rain slams against the windows. Lightning illuminates the sky followed by the deep laugh of thunder. MELANIE Barbara.
Page 12 Barbara enters the room and bends down until she is face-toface with Melanie. BARBARA Its just thunder and lightning, Melanie. Its okay. She goes to Melanies windows and closses the blinds. She stops for a second and turns back to the girl. BARBARA (CONTD) Whyd you open these? MELANIE Sh-she told me to? BARBARA Who? Melanie points at the window. Thunder booms. Melanie cries. MELANIE I he-heard kn-knocking on my window. I went to it and there was a girl there. Barbara cocks her head in suspicion. BARBARA A girl? Mel, its pouring out there. Why would a girl be outside? MELANIE I. I dont know. she told me to let her in. Then there was lightning. Melanie shivers again. MELANIE (CONTD) She knew my name. She told me hers was Lily.
Page 13 Barbara moves the blinds to the side and looks outside. EXT. GRASSY LAWN CONTINUOUS Theres only grass outside. No people. The sky is full of dark ness and rain. The darkness disappears for a second as thunder and lightning intermingle and enter the world. INT. HOUSE MELANIES ROOM CONTINUOUS Barbara turns back to Melanie. BARBARA I dont see anyone out there. Maybe you just had a bad dream. MELANIE It wasnt a dream. BARBARA Then whered she go? MELANIE I think she went to the front. Barbara goes back to Melanies side to comfort her. BARBARA Its alright, Mel. Youre safe now. MELANIE Her eyes. They were black. Donny told me about black-eyed children. they have no souls. And they torture the living! They come at night and try to make the people inside let them in their homes. to kill them. I dont want to die. Melanie cries harder. Barbara sighs.
Page 14 BARBARA Honey, your brother was lying. Theres no such thing as black-eyed children. Youre safe here. Calm down. Everythings going to be oThe doorbell rings. Melanie hides under her covers. MELANIE Dont let her in. Barbara looks at Melanie, trying to hold back the fear the child had instilled into her. BARBARA I wont. She slowly makes her way to the door. INT. HOUSE HALLWAY -CONTINUOUS Barbara walks down the hall at a slow pace. She tries to see if she can see through the windows by glancing at them from the side to get a look behind the closed curtains. After failing she continued on into the. INT. HOUSE LIVING ROOM CONTINUOUS She goes to the door and looks out of the peephole. PEEPHOLE POV A pale young girl, LILY (8) stands at the doorstep wearing a black poncho. She stares at the peephole. Direct contact. Black eyes. Lily smiles. LILY Open up, Barbara. Its really wet and cold out here.
Page 15 BACK TO SCENE Barbara lunges back from the door. Lily rings the doorbell again. Melanie shrieks from her room. The doorbell rings again and again, its sound deafening and somehow almost louder than the thunder. LILY (O.S.) (CONTD) Let me in, Barbara! Let me in! Barbara grabs her phone and dials a number. The doorbell stops. Barbara holds the phone up to her ear as she waits for the person on the other end to answer. MIKE (V.O.) Whats up, Bar? Is Mel alright? BARBARA Mr. Mike, theres a girl at the door. She has black eyes. She knows my and Mels name. She wont leave us alone. She wants to be let in. Barbara makes her way to the door again and slowly eases her way up to the peephole. MIKE me andThe call drops. Barbara gapes on the phone. BARBARA No. No! Melanie scream. Barbara falls back from the door. The doorknob rattles and rattles.
Page 16 The door opens. Lily stands at the doorstep, looking in at Barbara. LILY Why couldnt you just let me in? Its wet and cold out here. BARBARA Le-leave us alone! Lily takes a step into the house. Barbara tries to move back wards from where she lay on the ground. LILY I just wanted some shelter Tears stream down Barbaras face. BARBARA What are you? Lily smiles. LILY I just wanted to be dry. She advances toward Barbara. FADE TO BLACK.
Page 17 Untitled Laura Panagis
Page 18 Starry Nites Nicole Hube a caf on the corner of university and atlantic is a quiet refuge for my heart lamps illuminate a van gogh mural on the wall while the aroma of coffee grounds sends me back to my home and the lady behind the counter with the glasses a newspaper sits on a sofa in a corner near the doorway an old man raises and unfolds it he adjusts his reading glasses and carries on with his day this caf wears kitten heels and a miniskirt with stockings perhaps a sweater, too this caf would tie its hair into a messy bun would dream in the daytime and it would not walk it would dance
Page 19 Steel Memories Amanda Beswick I bounced up and down in my seat as t he van creaked to a stop, its tires sinking slightly in the mud. The sun hung low in the sky, casting orange and pink rays on the clouds. The abandoned railroad that hid behind my dance studio sat coldly in front of us. Can we go on the railroad? I asked excitedly. Only for a few minutes, dance is gonna start soon, my dad responded, a sigh hanging on his lips. He knew that once we were on the rails, there would be no way for us to make it back in time for my class. That may be why we would only go about once a month, but for me it always felt like eons had passed since the last time we went on the rails. The leaves danced in the wind as if to play music for our adventure. Flowers crept along the tracks, some inching their way between the boards. The brush and thicket crowded around the abandoned factory building that stood tall a few feet away from the track. Its brick walls crumbled and glass windows shattered from years of disuse. The tall smoke stack seemed lost without smoke billowing out from it. The scene in front of me beckoned me forward, calling for me to explore. This was our railroad and the road to our adventures summoned us. I rushed to unbuckle my seat, my dad chuckling as he shoved his keys in his pocket. I kicked my bag to the side as I swung the door open. I nearly fell to the ground as I clamored out the door. My feet sunk in the mud as soon as they touched straight towards the tracks. My dad followed slowly behind me, taking his time to avoid the deep puddles that were scattered throughout the grass. His faded t-shirt blew in the wind, hugging his portly body. He ran his hand through his receding hairline, wiping the sweat away from his face. It was warm that day, the sun had blazed as he worked on the yard while I was at school. The grass stains on his jeans seemed to match with the immense thicket. Dad, hurry up! I said as I bolted towards the factory wall. Yeah, yeah. Im coming.
Page 20 Right next to the factory was a concrete foundation protruding out towards the track. The concrete seemed to have stood there forever. Gashes and pockets formed within the concrete, probably from years of being at odds with Mother Nature. Its stone slabs had little squares cut out of them, almost like windows. I had to stand on a tree branch to look through one of these windows. I called this the Cabin large branch which had fallen off a nearby tree, stuck out from the ground and leaned up against one of the stone slabs. The branch seemed to beckon me to come down there and explore. Can I go down there yet? I asked as my dad caught up to me. One of these days, but not tonight, he told me. He always says this when I ask. to see something, anything, happen. I always thought some magical creature lived there, and it only came out when I wasnt looking. All I ever saw were squirrels rummaging through the trash. I stepped away from the Cabin, holding my dads hand to help me get down. I skipped my way to the tracks and jumped onto the rails. Suddenly I was a trapeze artist, walking the tightrope that was this rail. The audience roared as I walked carefully forward, my arms held out to give me some semblance of balance. The vision slipped away as my dad ran up behind me to grab my shoulders. Dont fall! he shouted as he shook my shoulders, making sure not to shake enough for me to fall. Rude! I said as I turned to frown at him. He returned the frown with a goofy face, his tongue sticking out and his eyes going cross-eyed. My frown soon crumbled into giggles as I jumped onto the boards between the rails. We spent the next hour kicking at the rocks and jumping on the rails. During these adventures, the world fell away. The Earth seemed to hold its breathe as we traversed the rails. Sometimes I would imagine that this railroad wasnt abandoned. Id imagine that we would jump in a railcar and travel to distant lands. We would go all over the world in that one railcar.
Page 21 of our great adventures. Railroad nail in hand, my dad on the opposite rail, we would slowly make our way back to the van. The dance class I was supposed to have gone to mustve just got out. My classmates jumped around in the parking lot as their parents followed them. The other parents grumbled to each other about my classmates, mumbling something about Exhausted from our trek to the unknown, I would climb into the van. My mud-covered sneakers would have dirtied the seat as I curled my legs under me. My dad would ease into the ~ When you think of railroads, you probably think of trains. At least, usually thats the case. Teachers tell you how important railroads are, and how they used to be the biggest thing of the 1800s. Honestly, I hadnt cared. I cared about the track my dad and I would climb on. When I was on those tracks, I didnt think of all the time and effort it took to make them. I thought of the magical fairies that lived in the Cabin by nails. When I think of railroads, I think of my dad. When I was a kid, I was told that trains used to be the best way to travel. Trains were the epitome of speed and working one outside of a museum. Millions of people had ridden trains by the time cars had come around. So many people had trains involved in their life, one way or another. The tracks grasp on the world was irrefutable. They brought soldiers to wars, they brought families back together, they made the unknown places known to the world. How could something so nonexistent in my life have been so important in some past world? It seemed almost eons away from my grasp, I couldnt understand it. Those rails I jumped on were hundreds of years old and here they were, still standing tall in my life in the present. Why they were still there, I didnt know. It seemed almost a waste of space and resources to just let them lay there unused. The only use I ever saw from them was the unintended aftermath of an industrial age. A little girl and her dad, jumping around on the ruins of a track, chasing an imagined goal of adventure. These tracks carried passengers home. They carried people to places unknown. These tracks were used for exactly
Page 22 what I used them for, adventure. Before planes, trains were the way to go. I never imagined jumping onto a plane and having an adventure. It was always a train. I always imagined a railcar speeding by, its door swung open as if it had opened just in time for my dad and I to make our daring jump. Him and I would travel until we both grew old and sat with our treasure by the tracks it all began at. It was always us and the rails against the world. I imagine a lot of people used to think that way about trains in the past, that is before planes trumped that dream. Once planes came into the picture, trains were passenger. That was never the case for me. ~ Thirteen years later, Ive moved into an apartment hundreds of miles away from my childhood home, right next to one of the Great Lakes. Its in an apartment complex that sits right in front of an active railroad. Late at night we will hear the whistle and chugging of a train passing by. Its rumblings echo through our home and shake our building. School books lay scattered about my living room, making my home running away from my rambunctious dog. Old Halloween decorations plastered the walls even though it was March. I always loved that holiday. I always wanted to visit those tracks whose ghostly train some long-forgotten magic that I used to have in my life. I was always just a little too busy, or a little too nervous of being enough, I went to them. I hooked my dog Akeela up to his leash and headed out the back door. The short sheepdog bound towards the grass beyond the paved parking lots and I slowly line borders my building, a barrier between the railroad and me. His black spotted fur seemed out of place in this ocean of green ahead of me. sunshine in a week of down pour. The ground was soft where I stepped, my feet sinking in the muddy ground. Akeela tugged on his leash urging me toward the tree line. The apartment building loomed behind me, giving me no encouragement as I moved. I knew the train didnt come by at that time but my nerves were still high. Maybe it was because I didnt have my dad to hold onto my shoulders as I walked. Or maybe it was
Page 23 because all I had to protect me was this little dog instead of having the hero that was my dad. Who would come save the day if the adventure turned sour? Once I jumped over the puddles that bordered the tree line tracks. They were lined with rocks, allowing no plant growth to even come near. The sun glared into my eyes, the trees next to me gave me no protection. The boards were synched into the rails with metal plates, each holding a year. The years moved from 1939, 1946, 1938 as the track headed away from my building. I wondered if those numbers were the years the plates were made. Or perhaps dates of the track being put together. Or maybe, it was a memento to those building it, like concrete signatures in sidewalks. Immigrants from all over worked tirelessly and cheaply to create these, itd be only fair to give them some sort of recognition for this track. Akeela hobbled along the rocks, sticking close to me. I was thankful he was no longer tugging on his leash, it wouldve made this adventure much more treacherous. A banging rhythm danced around me as a nearby tractor trailer door slammed open and shut. The wind whipped my hair into my face making it hard to see. Trash littered the rocks, broken beer bottles, candy wrappers, and even larger food containers. I crossed the track carefully, checking to see if the train decided to surprise everyone and run at that second. Clear of any catastrophic death scenarios, I jumped on the rail. Akeela sat down next to me and started licking it. Dont be a goober, I said to him. He stopped licking it and looked up at me. His brown eyes shimmered with joy. I looked down the track and saw cars passing on an overhead, oblivious to me standing there. I didnt become a trapeze artist, I didnt imagine escaping on a railcar, and I didnt fall off the rail. Instead, I got off the rail and walked a little way more to the thicket that borders the other side of the track. A rusted barrel sat on the edge of a cliff that dropped into a creak. The barrel had become more frame than barrel. It mustve been there for years. After walking next to the track for a while, I decided it was time to head back. I jumped back onto the rail and moved to the middle. Akeela anxiously waited for me on the other side, tugging at his leash again. The wind had died down so I was able to see clearly down the track. I felt the urge to walk it. I wanted to keep walking down it and see where it took me. The
Page 24 old feeling of adventuring into the unknown rose in me again, and suddenly, I didnt feel so alone. ~ Trains arent used to transport people as much as they used to. I guess that makes sense, with planes and cars nowadays. The rails I traversed no longer transported me either. Trains are now mainly used for goods, to hold things and carry things They no longer hold any magical fairies or heroic adventures in my eyes anymore. What they do hold is much more precious. They hold memories. They held my dad and mines relationship in their steel arms. Their boards are creaked with age and misuse, their nails inch out of the ground as trains sparingly pass by. They are old, they are beautiful, and they hold the wisdom of thousands of memories. Railroads and trains were considered dangerous. caused accidents, mishaps, and catastrophes much faster America was in 1832, where four people were thrown from a cart off a cliff. One of the worst accidents proved fatal to over 1700 passengers in Sri Lanka in the year 2004. Train accidents still occur to this day. Ambitious travelers all over the world face the perils of train accidents to this day and age. Theres a reason the Golden Age of railroads ended in in the 1920s. This could be blamed on cars becoming popular around this time, but it could also be because people were tired of risking their lives to travel. My relationship with my father is different, but strong. We have thousands of memories built between us and not all of them are good. Memories of the Cabin now rest in later to do with magic now but more to do with the importance of family. Our adventures have shrunken to short visits littered with errands and to-do lists. Somehow, we are still able to move forward, still supporting each other in different ways. We are more like allies now rather than princess and knight monsters of everyday life. We are both the heroes, saving each other when the other falls. ~ How are things at the house? I asked my dad. We both sat in my car, hoping to catch a break from being rained on. We were picking up my little sister, Faith, from
Page 25 school. Same old, same old I guess, my dad said before letting loose a sigh. Youre exhausted, you have to stop stressing so much. You need to just move forward and let life take its course, I said to imagine. I would always try to talk him into letting some of the stressors go. Taking one step at a time always proved too hard for him, still I tried to help him walk through everything. I know, I raised a smart girl, he said. Damn right you did. ~ When I look at us now, it seems as if the world has changed around us but we are still two heroes, trekking through the adventure we create. Railroads dont change much but the world around them sure does. The tracks that I used to go to in my childhood have a new world around them. There no longer stands the Cabin of my dreams. The brick factory is now a pristine building that has no shattered windows. The thicket though, thats still the same. Strong and beautiful as it ever was.
Page 26 Cold Water Deanna Newman
Page 27 Little Miss Red Nick Brown I just slept with the sun I invested a quarter score into them And asked for a summer back Apologized in the winter Solicide ate me in August Colored my bathwater crimson Tried to solicit a friend on the web Hit my nadir instead Then little miss red Saw her at the mall, had my credence in a fortnight In that city of grey and that mind full of blackness I had red I took quick showers again She went to new york city A train ride is 40 And if I lost my wallet And she needed a pillow Id go to the station and beg for a quarter Then do it again Until I had 160
Page 28 Kevin Sun Hector looked up yearningly at the glass mason jar sitting on the mahogany shelf in the kitchen. A light glaze of dust covered the jar, but he could still see that it was empty. He stood on his tiptoes and reached his arm up to the shelf. His hand barely even glanced the bottom of the shelf. Hector tilted his head to the side and put his hands underneath his chin in a pose that he thought made him look like he was thinking deeply about how to solve this predicament. He stood there for a moment and then walked over to the dining room table and brought back with him a chair. Hector took a deep breath before standing on top of the chair and reaching for the jar. got over it and gingerly placed it into the pocket of his overalls. Hector hopped off of the chair and ran to the back door. He Hector stood on the steps of the porch and looked ahead at the lawn of green grass where the bugs buzzed and the squirrels sprinted. He walked down the steps and kept Hector liked the way it felt. He plopped down onto the soft grass and started picking at the dandelions. Hector pinched the cotton balls were both called dandelions and thought about it for a minute before settling on the fact that they both looked like the dandy manes of lions. Hector crawled around on all fours for a minute before he found one of the cotton ball dandelions and yanked the entire plant from the ground. Small bits of soil fell from the tips of the roots and fell into the palm of his hand. He emptied the dirt from his hand and then took a deep breath in preparation for the exhale that would obliterate the cotton ball. As he was about to blow death to the dandelion, a garishly orange the seed head. Hector blew a gust of air at the dandelion,
Page 29 fast and did not move from the head. Impressed with the gently placed the lifeless stem on the grass and unscrewed the crawled into the bottom of the jar. He sealed the jar with glee and delight, capturing his newest friend. Hector thought for a *** Hector took the jar with him up to his mothers bedroom and made it his goal to impress her with his newest friend. She hadnt been impressed with anything he told or showed her for the past few weeks. Hectors mother wouldnt leave her bed. He was starting to get worried about her, and he hoped Agatha would make a difference. He knocked on the door and called out to his mother. As usual, she didnt answer him, and so Hector opened the door. A putrid smell assaulted Hectors eyes and nose, which told him that his mother hadnt gotten up from bed or showered. Sure enough, despite the darkness of the room, Hector could see the familiar slumped shape of his mother under the covers. He unscrewed the lid of the jar and Agatha crawled out onto the palm of his hand. Momma, Hector said. Momma, look, I made a new friend today. Her name is Agatha, and shes quite a brave His mother said nothing and did not move. Hector stood in the darkness and waited for her to respond. Today, he would make sure she gives him an answer. He tapped his foot impatiently as Agatha skittered around on his hand. You should really get up and take a bath, Momma, Hector said. You smell absolutely horrible! Doesnt it bother you that you smell so bad? Of course, Hector received no reply. He was beginning to feel dejected from his mothers neglect. As he walked over to his mothers bedside, the pungent smell began to get stronger. He stopped at the window and opened it, releasing the noxious fumes from their prison. Hector turned back to the bed and placed a hand on his mother and started shaking her. She felt
Page 30 softer than usual, like a jelly person. Goodness gracious Momma, youre not looking very well, said Hector nervously. I might have to ring up Doc Smith sometime, what do you think? She answered him with silence and he replied, Oh yes, I do think its about time youre due for a checkup. Gosh, looks like you dont like chamomile tea much, do you, Momma? on her nightstand the previous day and emptied it out the window. The faded pyrite liquid splattered onto the ground below and left a brief, reminiscent hint of sweetness before being smothered by the rancid odor. He looked down at Agatha and thought that she must be hungry. He left his mothers crypt and gently closed the door, hoping tomorrow she would be more open to talk to him. Hector went downstairs into the kitchen and took out some peach preserves from the pantry. He scooped some into the jar and tenderly put Agatha back into the jar and watched her feed on the fruit. Hector smiled and sealed the jar and took it upstairs to his bedroom. He placed the jar on his desk beside his bed and turned off the lights and wished Agatha goodnight. Hector clasped his hands together and prayed that he and Agatha would have more fun adventures tomorrow. *** The next morning, Hector woke up to a cloudy grey sky that blocked out the sun. He got up and checked on his fairy pet. Hector peered into the jar that had become hazy from the morning dew, and he saw that Agatha wasnt moving. the glass. She lay crumpled on the bottom of the jar, her legs folded crookedly and her wings rigid and stiff. Hector felt his heart pound and panic began to set upon him. He realized that she had suffocated in the night and felt incredibly ashamed and guilty at the death of his friend. He tearfully unscrewed the lid of the jar, lifted Agatha by her paper wings out, and placed her on his desk. A hurricane of emotions and thoughts wracked his mind about what to do with Agatha. Waves of melancholy washed over him and torrents of rage rained upon him. Hector struggled to compose himself, but he remembered
Page 31 slowly took deep breaths and counted to 10. He calmed himself and remembered hearing about people preserving insects by pinning them to a board. Hector reckoned this would be the most appropriate way to remember Agatha. Hector took out his old shoe box from the closet and some pins from his desk and prepared Agathas grave. He decorated the borders of the box with dandelion heads and laid Agatha down to rest in the center. Hector stuck a pin through Agathas body and her torso fell apart. Hector screamed in agony, as if he were the one whose body was broken and pierced. He began sobbing uncontrollably and felt like he had killed her again. His eyes rolled to the back of his skull as he stood up and began pounding his head into the wall. STUPID! STUPID! STUPID! STUPID! Hector shouted. He didnt care if he woke his mother up from her slumber; he only wanted to forget about Agatha and the short span of their friendship. Hector began to hyperventilate and his breathing became uncontrollable and desperate. He would not be consoled and was incapable of counting to 10. In the midst of his misery, Hector thought he heard something from the other room. His heart stopped beating so that he could listen for the noise and Hector could swear that he heard his mother say that she knew how to make Agatha forgive him. He listened intently and thought he heard her say in his head, Hector, sweetie, I know a way you can be with Agatha forever and ever. How, how, tell me how, Momma, Hector moaned. Eat her. No, no, Momma. I dont want to hurt her anymore, Hector cried. Honey, she told me herself that shell forgive you if you eat her. That way you will be together for the rest of your life. Hector turned away from the wall and looked into Agathas grave. His breathing was heavy and his sobbing was deep and pronounced. He reached into the box and picked up her remains. Hector brought Agatha up to his mouth and smelled her scent for one last time. It smelled soft and sweet and of happiness and joy.
Page 32 Do it, beckoned the voice in his mind. It was familiar but Hector couldnt tell if it was his mothers or Agathas voice. and a sign that said, EAT ME, but Hector opened his eyes and saw Agathas torn body in his hands again and burst into tears. Eat me. Hector thrust Agatha into his mouth and devoured her. He chewed mercilessly, his jaws pumping like pistons, crushing Agathas body into bits and pieces. She tasted bitter and sad and lonely and Hector could feel her legs getting stuck in between his teeth. Her wings crumpled and ripped apart and stuck to his gums like wet paper. Hector mustered whatever strength he had left and it culminated into swallowing Agatha down his throat. He felt sick to his stomach, but also felt an immense relief cloud his head. Hector sighed and collapsed surrounding them in a frantic frenzy. They all looked like Agatha and they were all whispering in a collective buzz: Eat me.
Page 33 The Creator Victoria Jayne
Page 34 Mother Always Spoke of the Jades David G. Manke The Jades House. Exotic aromas, endless hallways, a home. Walls, wrapped in a Victorian embrace; elegant and warm. A hearth settled into the walls, beaming with riveting curls. The ones that dance across shoulders, whether cast in sunlight, moonlight, or starlight. A twostep. Ive never had the pleasure. At least not the Jades my mother spoke of. Relatives. Their walls were different. Still draped in a Victorian shroud, elegantly deceiving. A masquerade. The hearth, black iron. Soot, unsettling. An embrace leaving an eternal hue. Coals, dimly lit beneath the cage, dress the room in sickly shadows, many of them my own. They curl and dance. The warmth from behind the gates of the pitch castle. A breath tiptoeing down the lengths of my spine. The air, thicker than the night sinks in over the barred windowsill. The coals, now bits of dark licorice, are silenced by poor penmanship. Ankle deep. A waltz stepping through a vacant night sky. Waist deep. Soot, now replaced by a molten hearth of the same hue. Neck deep. The churning waves, move with the waltz. Curls. The ones that hang across shoulders.
Page 35 Dori Gronich
Page 36 Touch Starve Catelin Seaman I have the urge to pull on his ponytail I wave at my friend when she greets me. and it leaves a purple pigment bruise. I put my hand out the window of the SUV and it went limp in the wind. My joints ache. I pool water in my hands and drown my face. I pop my knuckles. I touch the soft cat. I touch my hair. Some things I cannot touch.
Page 37 Into the Woods Rose Banks
Page 38 Two of Them Catherine McMullen INT. ELEVATOR DAY THE LIGHT FLARES ON. WE SEE THE HAGGARD VISAGE OF IAN. IAN (47) is a gray-haired man who tells himself fatherhood just isnt for him. His clothes desperately need to be ironed, and there is a coffee stain on his shirt. THE LIGHT FLASHES OFF. IT FLICKERS ON TO SHOW MARIE. MARIE (6) is bouncing in place, making scared exclamations blue raincoat into the zipped jacket with herself. THE LIGHT FLASHES OFF. IT FLASHES ON TO SHOW JARED. JARED (15) is over it. Hes just so over it. Hes looking at nothing, THE LIGHT FLASHES OFF. IT FLASHES ON TO SHOW LIAM. LIAM (17) is wearing a nice blue button-down shirt and ironed dress pants. He appears unfazed by the situation, if not some what annoyed. elevator, one person in each corner. LIAM Dad, would you just. IAN Not until whoever hit the buttons admits it. JARED But like, you hit the alarm, so.
Page 39 IAN below ours has better admit it, or were staying MARIE Wasnt me! I dont have arms, see? She turns side to side, showing off her tucked-in sleeves. LIAM Thats nice, Marie. Dad, it was me, whatever. IAN No, youve been in that corner the whole time. Marie, Jared, which one of you pushed it. Marie squeals, casuing everyon to jump. MARIE I! Dont! Have! Arms! JARED And I dont have time for this. Can we just go? It doesnt matter. IAN So was it you? JARED No. I just dont care. Youre being stupid, Dad. Youre wasting more time than the buttons would have. LIAM Dad, is there something you just need to be mad about?
Page 40 Ian stomps his foot in anger. Marie delightedly copies the ac tion. IAN Stop trying to be your mother, Liam. JARED So is that, like. a yes? MARIE You yelled at Mommy, too! Last night, you were so mad. Everyone in the elevator stiffens and slowly look to Marie. LIAM He was yelling at Mom last night? MARIE Yeah! He said. IAN I was yelling at the TV, sweetie. MARIE No, she yelled at you back, and you told her to stay quiet because she would wake us up. Liam and Jared look to Ian. Liam crosses his arms, Jared un crosses his. Ian hits the alarm button, but the elevator doesnt start moving after the alarm shuts off. The elevator has a sign for the United Womens and Childrens Hospital. JARED
Page 41 MARIE Yeah! I want to meet baby Vicky! LIAM Did you see who the woman was last night, Marie? MARIE No, but it had to be Mom! She was in their bedroom! Ian is hitting the buttons at random, trying to get the elevator to move. IAN Marie, it was just the TV, like I said. MARIE No, she said your name and everything. IAN You mustve just heard it wrong. It was the TV. LIAM What were you watching? IAN The game. JARED Your bedroom TV doesnt get the sports chan nels. You complain about it all the time. Were not stupid, Dad. MARIE Ive got no arms, though.
Page 42 IAN Would you just put your arms through your goddamn sleeves, Marie! LIAM Dont yell at her just because you screwed up! How can you bear facing Mom in the hospital, after she had another baby girl for you. JARED And if you think were not telling Mom, then youre crazy! Ian starts laughing. IAN Oh, kids, I was going to put up with it to raise you well, but if you really want to keep pushing JARED A what? IAN Means no more kids. Or so I thought. Your mother wanted more, so I didnt tell her. LIAM So that means. MARIE You all need to look! because I have no arms! Marie pushes her arms back through the seleves of her coat. MARIE (CONTD) And now I do! Two of them!
Page 43 The Cage Joshue Faulks Theres a cottage on the east side of town where deer run and the buck stops. mist hangs like breath in January, dusk and dawn play Marco Polo. This shadow of innocence is where I came of age. Reaching for beer bottles I could not drink pointing at punch-buggies I could not drive searching the skies for a blue heron I could not chase I was in the cage. My liver hurts these days vertigo strikes when I look down. Always a pair of headlights in the rear-view, clamping my nose in the presence of roses. Cage is in the word cottage, and the keys to life taunted my armspan. But now that Im free to roam greener pastures, the colors fade with the taste of beer, the sensation of a pedal to the metal. I am in the cage. The only magic is green, earning crust, yet earning no miles. A million ideas in my head, with six digit price tags and hours to take. The cubicle is my cage, my innocent smile buried under a brown nose, the heron died a long time ago when his wings were clipped. Hes mounted in my supervisors house, next to the mount of my ass. I will be in the cage.
Page 44 Untitled Laura Panagis
Page 45 Green Music Kiont Miranda Green pears, green moss, and green grasshoppers, surrounding the picnic, seems like a green face; green puke from green ice cream, as green leaves descend, and she grins cause she guessed he aint like this green. Spending those green dollars on her green vegetables, green ways of living, the plastic can be recycled like all of her past ideas, her creativeness always hindered by her believing her green methods fail, so she just follows the prose; the green on the moldy bread, the green on the apple jacks, made her get 1% milk and green bowl to pour it in, grinning as last drop touched down like a snow day right before the time of the red and green lights. But those greens shell have for dinner: broccoli, lettuce, celery, with asparagus, but only if she cooks it correctly; these greens require proper seasoning like Spring and Summer, where those greens can be breathed from a mile away.
Page 46 7/11 Sarah Ohlhorst i stand silently while you compare the brands of cheap cigarettes, a pack sinners and saints are plagued with the same aches: the vacant voids within. i am thinking of someone else while your hands are on my thighs, my neck, my back. bloodshot, tired eyes mirror the orange tints of the sunset, heaven and hell. i stay silent during the entire car ride home, while your smoke poisons my asthmatic lungs.
Page 47 In Bloom Rose Banks
Page 48 People Become Poetry Brooke Lehr When you love them, thats when it happens. Their body is a map of their past like old photographs buried in the back of their mothers closet. Their mind is a library full of books you long to read, key to inside where it is humble and warm. Ink rapidly pours onto the paper in loops and strands of cursive. Ongoing sentences swirl through your mind like a train ride you cant bring yourself to jump off of. You know exactly what is happening. They found a way into your heart through ink blotted pages, becoming a part of you, simply because they are a part of your poetry.
Page 49 Untitled Dori Gronich
Page 50 -2015 Taryn Suprenant This shallow water lies The ripples scratching at a time When I was cold, and didnt know That when we die, the silence cries. I found my heart In the story of the land like Being born In a small childs hands, and Even though the road remained the same, I was changed. The words came from my mouth, A weakness tied to a deeper sound And I gave in to the scars On my bones, and no, they wont Leave me blind to the light. I found my heart In the story of the land like Reaching out Where theres no room to stand, and Even now, When theres no other way, Im okay.
Page 51 The Death of Dr. Giampiccolo Haylie Wood San Remo, Italy, even during the night, was pleasantly warm in the middle of August. Guests could hear the waves overlapping the rocks from the balcony of the San Remo Country Manor up the hill, where a party was being thrown in the honor of Dr. Justin Giampiccolo for winning the recent election. to attend this party? Matilda Smith commented under her breath as she walked alongside her husband and partner, satin dress and emerald earrings; a wedding present from her Now, now Matilda, these are our friends, Lance said cheerfully, plastering a smile on his face as they passed a group of gossiping politicians. Old clients are not friends, Matilda said gently as they entered the San Remo Country Manor. She remembered the crimes that had been committed by these very politicians and how Matilda and her husband were hired out to make sure that their mercenaries had covered up any loose ends that the police could tie back to them. It was a room full of snakes, poised to attack each other at any minute. Inside the foyer, Matilda and Lance were met by Mr. Barbone and Mrs. Radice, two old clients and the ones who had extended the invitation to the party to the Smiths. Ciao detective Lance, and Matilda looking beautiful as I last remember you, Mr. Barbone was a gregarious man with a funny mustache and a charming personality. Former detective, if you please, Mr. Barbone, Matilda said. Id hate for my husband to get it in his head that he may continue his investigations after we have agreed to retire. My apologies Signora A wondrous occasion, Lance commented, glancing about the room, recognizing faces. His eyes landed on the standing by the buffet table hoarding sausages and accepting
Page 52 the many praises that were coming his way. If by wondrous you mean dreadful, Mrs. Radice chimed in with clear distaste. She fanned her long face with an exquisite paper fan and turned her nose away from the sight of Did he really? Lance said, feigning rapt interest. His charm and good nature were always what landed them jobs. It was Dr. Patricolo who should have won the election, everybody knows it! Mrs. Radice said passionately, rolling her large brown eyes to the elegant ceiling in distress. Now, now Signora Radice, allentare. Relax. Dr. Giorgio Patricolo was a tall, handsome man with shoulders always straight like a soldiers. Mio Amico, it is true my friend! Mr. Barbone chimed in, reaching over to shake Dr. Patricolos hand. It should have been you. Dr. Giampiccolo, he is too egoista, too big-headed! Dr. Patricolo smiled at his friends appraisals but merely shook his head at their complaints of Dr. Giampiccolo. If it should have been me, it would have been. Dr. Giampiccolo won the election. Everything will run its course the way it is supposed to in the end. Always a good sport, Mr. Barbone said proudly. Ever since we were piccolo. How long have you two been friends? Matilda asks, eyeing the two of them. Dr. Patricolo, with a winning smile and a generous laugh that was practiced and mastered by all the politicians in the room, said, I stopped wetting the bed long before Barbone did. Matilda and Lance offered polite laughs before Lance held out his hand toward his wife. A dance? Matilda gratefully allowed Lance to excuse them from the ballroom where many couples were beginning to dance the traditional waltz.
Page 53 He seems to be enjoying his new position, Matilda said to her husband, catching sight of Dr. Giampiccolo as he disappeared up the grand staircase, following what could only be a hired prostitute. Why are you looking so gloomy? Lance asked, ignoring her comment. You know I hate conversing with these people, Matilda muttered under a convincing smile. These people helped pay for that pretty dress and those gorgeous earrings my dear, Lance said back playfully, his eyes glancing around the room and admiring the amount of grandeur that it had to offer. Matilda noticed the familiar longing in her husbands eyes as he took in the spectacular chandelier and famous paintings. I hope youre not thinking of taking up any more jobs, Matilda said with a hint of warning in her voice, her eyebrow lifting suspiciously. She knew her husband had a weakness for the lifestyles of the rich. A loud thud sounded outside, followed by a collection of screams that interrupted Lance before he could reply. A large crowd rushed to see what had happened. Lance and Matilda forced their way to the front of the crowd. A man with a large belly, expensive slacks around his ankles, exposed for the whole crowd to see, lay motionless before them. It was clear from his grand clothes and strong cologne that he was a politician at the party the recently elected Dr. Giampiccolo. Matildas shocked expression turned into one of mild annoyance, while Lance looked positively joyful. I always knew you were psychic my love, Lance said happily, turning to look up at the windows of the upper levels of the manor. Where did he fall from? Matilda asked, trying to mask her disappointment. She knew her husband would jump on this investigation long before the police arrived to take control of the situation. A woman with long brown hair in stunning ringlets and bare, tan shoulders stared down in horror at the scene below.
Page 54 been. There, he said before he rushed back inside and headed for the grand staircase that Dr. Giampiccolo had disappeared up a few minutes earlier. Matilda followed quickly at his heels. Matilda could hear the sounds of a woman crying, and followed the sounds to a cracked door at the far end of the hallway. Lance pushed the door open and stepped inside. The prostitute Matilda had seen leading Dr. Giampiccolo away earlier was sitting on the love seat in the far corner of the room. Her brown, cotton dress had been pulled down around her stomach, exposing her naked upper half, though she seemed far too distressed to notice her appearance. What happened mlady? Lance asked. Dio mio morto The prostitute cried, pushing her face down into her hands. Matilda approached the prostitute, sitting next to her on the loveseat and trying to calm her down. It was clear she did not speak English, so Lance turned his attention toward the room instead. A bottle of wine sat newly opened on the mahogany desk on the other side of the room, and a tipped set in the carpet. Lance walked over to the window and glanced down, spotting Dr. Giampiccolos body and the crowd that still remained around him. Someone had pulled his pants back up from around his ankles. Footsteps sounded from the hallway before multiple guests, including Mr. Barbone and Mrs. Radice, entered the room, looking around as though expecting to catch the criminal still standing there. A waiter with a stencil mustache, noticing the naked state of the prostitute, came forward and pulled a blanket from the back of the loveseat, wrapping it around her shoulders. The prostitute looked up at him and quickly pushed him away,
Page 55 wrapping herself tightly in the blanket. Shes in shock, Matilda said, noticing the startled expression on the prostitutes and the waiters face. We need to start interviewing people, Matilda turned her attention towards her husband. Before anyone can leave the party. Il dottor Patricolo The prostitute suddenly exclaimed, looking with wide eyes at Matilda. Patricolo she repeated just as eagerly. Matilda and Lance shared a glance. Ill need everyone to leave the room, Lance said to the small group. He turned toward the waiter. Fetch Patricolo, per favore. *** minute, rubbing his wet hands together and looking shaken. His tan face suddenly looked paler as he approached Lance and Matilda and sat himself down on the loveseat across from them. A tragic thing, Dr. Patricolo spoke quietly, glancing at the opened window behind Lances head. You appear very disturbed, Lance observed. Care for a tonic? He gestured towards the open wine bottle sitting on the desk. No, no, Dr. Patricolo murmured, his face paling even more. You dont suppose, he swallowed, that it could have been me to have been attacked? If I had won the election? I dont believe so, Lance said carefully, staring at Dr. Patricolors wet hands, which he dangled from his pointy kneecaps. They steadily dripped water onto the expensive carpet under their feet. Where were you a few minutes ago, Doctor? Dr. Patricolo blinked slowly, but Lance could see his eyes shielding defensively. I was in the restroom. conversationally, crossing her legs, as though they were discussing the warm sunshine earlier that day on the beach.
Page 56 Dr. Patricolos face hardened and his jaw clenched. Im not aware if anyone watched me enter the restroom, Mrs. Smith. I dont know how it is in Scotland, but generally, I dont look over my shoulders when going to the restroom. Before Lance could say anything more, the stencil mustached waiter entered the room at a brisk walk, carrying a hand towel. He walked straight to Dr. Patricolo and handed it to him. Taking the towel to dry his hands, Dr. Patricolo jutted his chin at the waiter. Hell have seen me! Hes the waiter that stands in the restroom and hands out mints and towels. Lance turned his attention toward the waiter, who began to head for the door again. Scusi, mi scusi Lance waved the waiter back into the room. Was Dr. Patricolo in the restroom a few minutes ago? The waiter looked between Lance, Dr. Patricolo, and Matilda, a confused expression on his face. Non parlo Inglese, il signore, the waiter wrung his white-gloved hands together, glancing around at their expectant faces. He doesnt speak English, Mr. Smith. Dr. Patricolo said with a little annoyance. The help rarely do. He turned his attention toward the waiter and asked in rapid Italian whether the waiter had witnessed him enter the restroom stalls a few minutes prior to the death of Dr. Giampiccolo. The waiter hesitated a moment before he dropped his Si, si Signore. There, you see? Dr. Patricolo said, looking triumphant. I dont harbor any ill feelings toward Dr. Giampiccolo. I told you that earlier! Lance and Matilda exchanged a look before they allowed the waiter and Dr. Patricolo to leave the room. Do you think we can rule him out completely? Lance asked, as they followed Dr. Patricolo down the stairs to the ballroom, where everyone had been gathered when the police
Page 57 arrived to ensure that no one would leave the party without being questioned. Everything will run its course the way its supposed to in the end, Matilda said, quoting Dr. Patricolo. She watched as he approached Mr. Barbone and Mrs. Radice, talking in hurried whispers. He looked humiliated and annoyed by the stern set of his eyebrows and the red in his cheeks. Mrs. Radice waved a dismissive hand at him. Nobody is going to miss that buffoon! He wasnt right for the position and everyone knows it. Im not surprised someone has already done away with him. Perhaps Mrs. Radice? Lance suggested, looking to see what Matilda was concentrating on. Someone who has just murdered a man would not be boasting so loudly about how much she disliked him in front of a room full of people, Matilda said. around at the large crowd and instructing them in Italian that they will be conducting interviews of each person. Lance noticed the way Mr. Barbone switched his drink from one hand to the other, wiping his palm on his pant leg before adjusting his sleeves. Perhaps the only person you can count on to rid someone for you is a loyal friend. Perhaps, Matilda agreed. They headed over to where Mr. Barbone, Mrs. Radice, they went around the room writing down everyones name. Mr. Barbone, would you mind if we had a word? Lance asked. Mr. Barbone turned to look at the two of them, glancing them up and down as though they were suspicious characters before he smiled. Of course, of course. They led Mr. Barbone away from the crowd in the ballroom to a far corner by an open window. The warm air
Page 58 I regret saying so many bad things about Dr. Giampiccolo now, Mr. Barbone said, chuckling nonchalantly as he switched his drink from one hand to the other. Why is that, Mr. Barbone? Lance asked, plastering on a polite smile. Mr. Barbone blinked blankly at Lance before he cleared his throat and tried again for a nonchalant tone. Well, because of his awful fate, of course. A dreadful man he might have been, a nightmare really, he hardly deserved to fall to his death. And in such an indecent way. Mrs. Radice doesnt seem to mind, Matilda said, eyeing the woman on the other side of the room, who was still trying to console Dr. Patricolo by scorning Dr. Giampiccolo even in his death. Mr. Barbone chuckled easily. Mrs. Radice is an extraordinary woman, but when shes got an opinion about something, or someone, its hardly going to change. Where were you and Mrs. Radice at the time of Dr. Giampiccolos murder? Lance asked. Mr. Barbones cheerful attitude faltered. We were still in the foyer, talking to other guests. Who were you talking to? Dr. Giampiccolos brother, actually. Matilda and Lance both shared a surprised look. Dr. Giampiccolo has a brother? Matilda asked. Here? Of course, hes here. Hed never miss an opportunity to come and harass his brother about the privileges hes rewarded with by being his uncles favorite. He sounds bitter, Lance said. You would be too. Dr. Giampiccolos uncle sent him to a private boarding school in London, and his brother went to work as a waiter for parties and events at twelve years old. His uncle was very invested in him?
Page 59 Mr. Barbone glanced around them before he leaned closer and lowered his voice. He was the only one who would. Their father was dead by the time they were old enough to walk, and their mother became a Signora della Notte. A prostitute? Matilda asked curiously. Si Mr. Barbone nodded. Lance turned toward Matilda, lowering his voice so Mr. Barbone could hardly hear him. We should talk to Dr. Giampiccolos brother. We should talk to the prostitute again, Matilda said, her eyes straying over to the prostitute who sat on the other side of the room in a tall-backed armchair. The prostitute? She cant speak English. But Mr. Barbone can, Matilda said, turning to look back at Mr. Barbone. Would you mind translating for us? Wed like to question the witness. Signora Matilda led a confused looking Lance and Mr. Barbone across the room to the prostitute. The stencil mustached waiter was handing her a glass of water when they stopped in front of them. The waiter looked up at them approaching and turned to leave. Scusi, Matilda addressed the waiter before he could disappear into the crowd. Could you stay please? The waiter hesitated, trying to understand what she was asking of him. Matilda turned to look at Mr. Barbone. Could you ask her what happened before Dr. Giampiccolo fell out the window? Mr. Barbone turned toward the prostitute, questioning her in rapid Italian. She downed her water and eyed them all carefully before she took a shaky breath and began to explain slowly what happened. Mr. Barbone translated to Matilda and Lance. She says she was doing her job when Dr. Patricolo
Page 60 came running in, yelling about the election results. She says he grabbed Dr. Giampiccolo and punched him over and over. She said she screamed for him to stop but he wouldnt listen. She says Dr. Patricolo hit him so hard that he stumbled back and fell out the window. After that, Dr. Patricolo ran away. Matilda stared at the prostitute while she spoke, watching her closely. That many punches and one strong enough to knock him out a window must have left a bruise, Lance concluded. I didnt see a bruise on Dr. Patricolos hand when we interviewed him. What hand did he punch with? Matilda asked. Mr. Barbone quickly translated. The prostitute looked between them all before she shrugged frantically. Le manca. The left, Mr. Barbone said curiously. Its impossible, he said suddenly, looking at Matilda and Lance. Dr. Patricolo has just had surgery on his left wrist. He suffers from the tunnel carpale. Carpal tunnel? It would be impossible to punch with a wrist that has just had surgery for carpal tunnel, Lance said. The prostitute, noticing their conversation taking a suddenly, her eyes bulging. Must have been right! So you do speak English Signora Lance said with a voice of accusation and amusement. Are you sure it wasnt your brother who attacked Dr. Giampiccolo? Matilda asked. The prostitute looked like she was drowning, her eyes bouncing frantically from one person to the next. Her hands shook in her lap and her lower lip began to quiver. The stencil mustached waiter, who had been standing off to the side quietly, suddenly turned to leave again but was stopped by the prostitutes quick hands, who grabbed him by his sleeve and began pleading with him in rapid Italian. Ah! Stupido Let go! The waiter yelled, yanking his
Page 61 sleeve out of her grasp, but before he could run for the crowd, Lance and Mr. Barbone grabbed him by his arms and pulled him back. Lance reached for the waiters left hand and pulled off his white glove. On his tan knuckles, cleverly hidden under his glove, was a blossoming purple and blue bruise. Lance turned to his wife with admiration and pride shining in his eyes. A brother? he says, sounding astonished. How could you tell? him when I saw them standing next to each other in the room upstairs after Dr. Giampiccolo had been pushed. Look. See, the similar slope of their noses and the small nature of their ears. Of course, I couldnt just assume their relation simply on looks. Many people of the same nationalities share similar features. sister upon seeing her naked. With her profession, its not so surprising for her to be naked, and unless he had some sort of close relationship with her, why would he rush to cover the decency of an unknown prostitute? He could be a good man, the prostitute whispered harshly through her tears. Chiudi la bocca Maria The waiter spat harshly without looking at his sister. Shut your mouth! Its unlikely, Matilda continued, ignoring the outburst. After I started suspecting him, I began to think about his location during Dr. Giampiccolos assault. He said he had seen Dr. Patricolo enter the restroom, but if he had remained at his post during the time of the assault, why did Dr. Patricolo exit the restroom with wet hands? There was no one there to give him a towel. When Mr. Barbone mentioned the idea of family, of my suspicion when she gave up a very important piece of information. The bruising. The waiters are the only ones who could have hidden a bruise on their knuckles under their gloves. He was touching my sister! Il Porco The waiter interrupted, pulling against Lance and Dr. Patricolo. Your sister chose her profession, Matilda said, crossing
Page 62 her arms. Dr. Giampiccolo was a client. Whether you agree with what he was doing or not, murdering him was not the answer. *** The police, after Mr. Barbone explained who Lance and Matilda handcuffs and took him away. The rest of the guests were allowed to leave. Lance and Matilda were by the front door when Dr. Patricolo, Mrs. Radice, and Mr. Barbone approached them. We cant thank you enough for your work, Dr. Patricolo said, holding out his hand. Lance shook his hand happily. Hope there are no hard feelings for our suspicions Dr. Patricolo. None at all, detective. Former detective, Matilda said, stepping forward and looping her arm around her husbands. Ah yes, Dr. Patricolo said, a humorous glint in his eyes. A former detective will not be needing payment then, yes? look at Matilda forced him to tighten his lips and nod his head. work. For old times sake. Matilda smiled at her husband. Lets go home, darling.
Page 63 Untitled Laura Panagis
Page 64 Red String Bracelet Christina Bandru She looks in the mirror and pokes at her wrist. The red string bracelet hangs looser than it did last week. Thats good though; it means shes doing something right. She looks at the carpet and lets a tear fall. She knows the progress means absolutely nothing because shes not perfect, not even close. She looks back at the mirror. She screams but no sound comes out. The red string bracelet starts to cling to her Shes not perfect, not even close.
Page 65 A Babys Plea John Ross Thompson INT. HOUSE BASEMENTNIGHT Moonlight shines through a tiny window. Junk lays in the cor ners of the room. A dark set of stairs going upstairs are against a wall. GERARD A well-dressed thirty year old man is covered in blood. Gerard his body trembles. He slowly pulls a knife out of his leg. Gerard throws the bloody KNIFE across the room, and he takes a deep breath. His body shudders and his head falls into his bloody hands, and his tears stream down his face. Gerard whimpers and tries to stand. He grunts as he rises to his feet, only to fall back down. He crawls to the stair banister and uses it as a crutch to pull himself up. He looks at the ground to see a PUDDLE OF BLOOD. He takes a step forward and stumbles away from the banister only to fall to the ground. He looks up at the ceiling and wipes tears from his face. Police SIRENS blares from the outside. Gerard sees red and blue lights from the outside. Gerard pushes himself up, but he fell back down. He hears adoor BANG open. INT. HOUSEKITCHEN CONTINUOUS
Page 66 OFFICER DANIELLE SANTIAGE A tall, forty year old woman. OFFICER MURPHY BROWN A nervous, twenty six year old man. their guns and move forward. Danielle glances at Murphy. She points at herself and points at the ceiling. Murphy nods. INT. HOUSE LIVING ROOM CONTINUOUS In the corner of the room are stairs leading upstairs. Pictures covered the walls. The pictures shows Gerard and TABATHA (30). One picture shows Gerard in a suit and Tabatha in a wedding dress. Dainelle walks over to the pictures and looks at them. INT. HOUSE BASEMENT CONTINUOUS Gerard crawls to the stairs to the cellar door. He reaches them and smiles. He begins to lift himself up each step. INT. HOUSEKITCHEN CONTINUOUS blood leads to an open door. The door goes to the basement. He looks down the steps. INT. HOUSE UPSTAIRS BEDROOM CONTINUOUS Danielle looks inside to see ROBERT (30), His head is a pulp, and his blood everywhere. Danielle looks at the scene and holds her hand to her mouth. She looks away.
Page 67 A babys CRY echoes from another room. EXT. HOUSE CONTINUOUS A cellar door opens and Gerard crawls out onto the grass. INT. HOUSE UPSTAIRS BABYS BEDROOM CONTINUOUS Danielle stands over SERENE (1), a crying baby girl in a baby crib beside a window. Danielle sees something moving outside, and she looks outside to see... EXT. HOUSE CONTINUOUS Gerard crawls across the grass towards his car. INT. HOUSE UPSTAIRS BABYS BEDROOM CONTINUOUS Danielle runs out of the room. INT. HOUSE BASEMENT CONTINUOUS the banister, and her skull is bashed in. A shotgun lays on the steps below her and a blood trail leads down the rest of the steps. Murphy hears Danielle run across the house above him. He looks back up the stairs, and he watches Danielle run past the door. EXT. HOUSE CONTINUOUS Danielle charges at Gerard who reaches his car. Danielle throws Gerard to the ground, and she grabs her HANDCUFFS and cuffs him. NEIGHBOR A forty year old woman watches the scene from her window.
Page 68 Danielle pulls Gerard to his feet, and she brings him to the cop car. Danielle opens the door and places Gerard inside the car. Danielle slams the car door and turns around. Murphy walks outside, and his head hangs low. He looks up at Danielle and shakes his head. A babys CRY came from inside the house.
Page 69 Untitled Nicholas Nicosia
Page 70 Saturday Night Live Eric Adsit One two three four and one more. shots shoot, skin shudders. Its cold outside but Im burning up. Drinking drugs drag me down Drives to be me, and free. Past tree names on street signs and blurry lines. Wide open doors and backlit tapestry windows peer down at drunk dumb faces and I, eyes maybe Bleeding or maybe weeping, Or blinking away enter duck and breathe in the sweat. Alcohol pouring out of pores. The smell of vomit and stale beer and sex on washing machines
Page 71 Caf Adesso Isabella Arikian I was homeschooled until the 8 th grade. My mother made this decision partly because she grew up in England and did not know very much about academic institutions in the United States when she moved here with my father. Thus, she took it upon herself, and her degree in education, to become my own personal teacher, along with my two siblings. This was a time in my life that I will never forget, as I was able to experience considerably more in a varied and unique way, than what the average scholastic textbook would have offered. Many hours of my elementary school education was spent outside the regular schoolroom, enjoying what the outside world had to offer and teach me. I was also able to explore my personal interests and take advantage of real life experiences that my mother believed to be educational experiences that would prepare me for the real world. One of my personal interests is food. I love everything to do with food except for making it. I have come to understand this about myself through an experience I had while working at my fathers caf. My father is a successful entrepreneur whose primary business is a company that deals with researching into the value and effectiveness of pharmaceuticals. This is something I know nothing about, but I do understand that he is a very intelligent man who loves his children and wants them to love what they do, just like he does. He has many interests and one of these led him to acquire a coffee shop in the same location as his main business when it became available. He had always been intrigued by the food service industry. So, he made the purchase of a small coffee shop that includes, one counter with just enough space behind it for two people, a large espresso refrigerators for cold cuts, and large assortments of pastries. Unlike my dad, Ive never known what I wanted to do with my life. Although I always wanted to be one of those kids that knew exactly what she wanted to do when she grew up, I just wasnt. I came to terms with this, but my parents did not. So, they decided to do everything in their power to try and
Page 72 change that. Homeschooling did not require a structured schedule of during the day, I was able to do many other spontaneous activities. This resulted in my parents scooping us kids off at any given moment to go road tripping, or tag along on one of my fathers many business trips if we wanted to. I loved this, as I was able to see so much more of the world, which opened time in my life, I realize that it was a much more effective way of teaching than sitting in a classroom while listening to a tired and overwhelmed teacher yell at me for failing to pass a test. My mother would bring us to see exhibitions at museums instead of history class, and other times we would dress up in outlandish garments while making huge feasts as we learned about the medieval times. Homeschooling also gave my parents multiple opportunities to show me all of the jobs and careers out there childhood, they constantly volunteered my brother and I in order to give us as much experience with different lifestyles as possible. At the age of eleven they decided to drop us off at a farm in upstate New York to work for a few weeks. That experience still scars me to this day. We had to wake up at the crack of dawn every morning to manually churn this large tub land that the farmer owned. Then in the evenings, we would be expected to sing all of these church songs, which honestly felt like a form of torture. This was the only time in my life that I have ever seen my brother cry. A few brutal days later I remember convincing someone to let me call my mother because I was so homesick. Then, once I was far enough away and out of earshot from anyone I announced to her that if she didnt come bring us home as soon as possible I would run away and she would never see me again. on multiple occasions. He works with a hand-picked team of extremely intelligent people who have Masters degrees and PhDs from Ivy Leagues, so this only furthered my belief that I would never be intelligent enough to be a scientist. They
Page 73 research they had just begun to conduct. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. It made my head hurt, and my heart sink. Then lastly, when I was thirteen, my mother suggested that I spend a day working at my fathers little caf in Hoboken, New Jersey. This idea interested me the most, as my mother told me stories of her working in sweet little tea shops in London when she was growing up and having these daily interesting exchanges with people. I was also obsessed with the fact that she grew up there. So, at the age of 13, with high school, and the rest of my life my mother would say, right around the corner, I immediately agreed and eagerly waited for the day that I got to work at my fathers caf. The morning of, I got up excessively early to get ready, as I was too excited to sleep any longer. I was in the stage of my life where I loved wasting hours analyzing myself in the mirror and putting on unnecessary amounts of makeup. This seems ridiculous to me now, as I hardly remember to brush my hair in the morning these days. Anyway, I eventually pulled my hair back in an extremely tight ponytail, and put on the uniform collared shirt that was given to me. I was told that I would be working with this woman named Val, who would most likely call me Mami and give me coffee orders all day. I was ok with this, as I was only really concerned with how I was going to greet my customers when they entered the shop. However, that turned out to be the least of my worries. When we arrived at my destination, my father dropped me off, saying he was late for a meeting, or something annoying like that, so I hopped out of the car and I strutted into the glass revolving doors seemed to be inviting me in. I saw Val right away, as the shop was right by the entrance, and I hurried round back behind the counter to greet her and get down to business. She hurled herself at me with a huge bear hug at the ready, as though we were old friends. We talked about her customers that come in and order the usual at the same time every day, and we laughed about my crappy Spanish compared the ropes, how to make various types of coffees, and taught me how to work the cash register. She also told me to make myself comfortable and that today would be busy since it was
Page 74 Monday. That made a little bit nervous. However, I also knew that I could always ask Val if I had any questions, so I wouldnt get myself into too much trouble. This is where I couldnt have been more wrong. I dont think that I had been there for an hour when she approached me with this ridiculously over exaggerated puppydog face. She expressed to me with her utmost sorrow that she had just gotten a call about a family emergency and had to leave right away. I thought she was joking, as she appeared to be such an amusing woman just a few minutes ago. I was also really disappointed about the fact that we werent going to get to know each other all day since she seemed really interesting and funny. So I waited, with a blank expression on my face, for her to start laughing and tell me she was kidding. She did not, behind the cash register with a growing line of customers in front of me. So many emotions rushed through me in that moment, full responsibility for an entire caf. There is absolutely no way that could have been legal. But nevertheless there I was, standing on my own in my collared shirt and black apron just as the lunch rush began. I remember looking down at one point in the day at turned my green vans into trash from darting around and fetching various items for the customers all day. I had sweat were also burnt to a crisp from carelessly retrieving toast from the oven without any protection. There was an annoyingly loud buzz from the refrigerator and occasional crash of ice coming from the freezer. Also, I wasnt able to change the music, as listening to coffee shop radio, which made me want to casually smash my head against a wall. The agitated tapping of feet coming from the customers was rubbing off on me. This was slowly turning into the worst day ever, so I decided to take my sweet time making their food. The aromas in there consisted of burnt eggs and lots of smelly cold cuts. Not a very appealing combination. The
Page 75 egg scenario was completely my fault too, as I kept forgetting about them until I would notice the room getting dangerously smoky. I would have to stand up on this incredibly shaky, ancient stool and use a newspaper to fan the smoke away from the alarm. I probably looked absolutely ridiculous but I wasnt been much more embarrassing, not to mention the intense lecture my father would have waiting for me when we drove home later. The smoke in that little room could have resulted setting timers to remind myself. Another problem was that I was also a vegetarian at the time, and found all kinds of meat to be absolutely repulsive, so making numerous, enormous sandwiches for meat-lovers was pretty nauseating. The nadir of my day must have been having this wildly overweight man approach the counter and request a sandwich that wasnt even on the menu. The worst part was that he wanted it to be a triple-decker sandwich, which meant twice the cold cuts and three slices of bread. He also asked for me to throw a sunny side up egg in there. The idea of it made me want to dry heave. I wanted to ask him if this looked like a McDonalds to him but thought that it would probably be better for me to hold my tongue. Anyway, making this sandwich almost killed me. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, and wanted nothing to do with it whatsoever. If there was a certain way I was supposed to orientate the cold cuts and vegetables in order to make them look appetizing, I didnt do it. However, I decided I should start with putting on the condiments, which I forgot to inquire about, so I made the game time decision to smother it in mayo. He was also watching me the entire time, so I was under pressure and extremely stressed out. This is never a good combination for me, as my whole body gets uncomfortably clammy while my face turns the color of a tomato. Its very attractive, really. So, needless to say I got all frazzled and proceeded to pick it up while still wearing the gloves that I had on during the construction of this poor mans sandwich. dont right there. Then I added his requested combinations of protein, carbs, and dairy substances, which made me feel sick and wrapped it up in a
Page 76 fresh piece of foil. The end result was truly something scary. The bread was but I guess this wasnt a normal sandwich. Also, once I cut the sandwich in half the egg yolk exploded everywhere. It made the sandwich look diseased. If I were him, I would have just thrown it out and ordered a Chinese takeout. After he paid, he walked away looking extremely disappointed and revolted while muttering something like, umm, yeah, thanks, I wasnt sure if he was more grossed out with what I had given or him of if it was just my presence in general at that point. I was furious and exhausted and verging on tears. So, I decided that he was going to be my last customer of the day. I closed the shop and sat on the dirty and cried my eyes out. My father picked me up at the end of the day and I told him about what had happened. Good God! Why didnt you call me right away? he exclaimed. I was reluctant to explain to him that I failed at my task, because all I really wanted to do was show him that I can be a hard worker and ultimately make him proud of me. He is so successful and I look up to him in so many ways, that I would be broken if he saw me as the disappointment of his three children. Im sorry, I didnt want to bother you. I thought you might be upset with me, and think that I wasnt taking it seriously, I confessed. This is something that Im still working really hard at, as he is indeed always telling me to be more serious like my siblings. I have always been the one that laughs too loud in the car, which results in him yelling at me, and am certainly comparing myself to them because I know that I will never be they do. My older sister has her Masters in Social Work from NYU and my brother studies Pre-med at Fordham University, and is on the Deans List, and meanwhile Im struggling to pass all my classes. However, although Im working hard to try to be
Page 77 more like them, I know that I need to develop my own inner strengths, because I cant change who I am. Im just hoping that my father accepts me, and loves me for the way I am. Once I spilled to him all that had occurred during the day, and expressed my frustration and despair at how it had all turned out, there was a moments silence as he was taking it all in and my heart sank. I was as ready as Id ever be for his wrath. However, he looked at me with those same kind, large brown eyes that Ive inherited, and in that moment, I knew everything would be OK. Listen Bells, this wasnt your fault, dont be sad. Val should not have left you in the lurch, but things like this do happen in the food service industry and you just have to be on your toes. I was so surprised that I almost choked on my tongue and died. I was ready for a personal Bella Roast, but he was utterly sympathetic. I had forgotten that all of this was really Vals fault, but I completely put it on myself. All this time I should have reminded myself that Val had also bailed on me. Also, this made me realize that him and my mother will love me unconditionally, and always be there for me, regardless of how many times I screw up. I may fail many more times than I succeed, but if I work hard, and try my absolute best, thats all that matters. Also, although this situation made me realize what I did not want to do in the future, it was great experimental learning.
Page 78 Untitled Laura Panagis
Page 79 Dear Whisperers David G. Manke incompetent, nave. This place that you hush about; how is it that I am all over it? I retort your claims with a scream across the mountains, past the sea. Ye of little faith! I am myself! I am me! Though volume shares no discourse. Sincerely, The Whispers
Page 80 Memorys Reprieve Kevin Sun I heard my phone buzzing and opened my eyes. I never got calls from that part of town. Usually its around the bars, picking up the patrons whove poisoned themselves too much. The ones who stumble into my car with a crooked smile on their face, the ones whose gleeful grins betrayed the hurt in their hearts; theyre the ones who I preferred. They needed the ride home. I was surprised to see that I was being requested to pick up someone from Lethe. I thought it might have been a glitch in the system, but I checked with my boss and he I was still in the city, I downloaded the map for that area on my phone. Lethe was a ghost town, a long forgotten, deserted piece of history, lost in the grainy sands of time, alive only in the memories of those who used to live there a century ago. I remembered my father showing me an article in the paper that said that the nuclear meltdown of the plant in Lethe killed more than half of the townspeople. The rest of them evacuated, fearing the residual effects of radiation. I was reassured by my boss that the area has long since been cleared of radiation, and he encouraged me to just go and pick up my passenger. I couldnt help but feel a twinge of nervousness, but nonetheless, I buckled up and drove to Lethe. My silver ring glinted slightly in the darkness of the winking at me like the way she used to with those blue-gray eyes. I didnt mean to think about her that night; she just lonely desert highway. The spinning tires kicked up pebbles and sand into the air; the chilling desert winds whipped up the earths debris and formed her elegant silhouette in the air around me. Its been a while since I last saw her, and it was nice to see her in my minds eye, a glowing saint of beautiful sorrow. hold her, whisper into her ear, just one last time. Just one more time. I pulled into the town of Lethe and slowly drove down the road, looking at the remnants of the lives that were left
Page 81 behind. The drug store sign was hanging at an angle, the windows of the clothing store remained shattered, the shards of glass still spilt all over the ground. The decrepit police station no longer held any prisoners but those who were unable to break free from the shackles of memory that held them captive. I passed by Lethe Elementary School, where the children used to learn and play. I saw their shadows dancing on the moonlit ground, fully alive and jubilant. Lethe wasnt a lonely town; rather, it was alive with the ghosts of the people who used to be, who were walking around in the full emptiness of the towns dusty memory. I checked my phone again and saw that I was approaching the coordinates of my passenger. I wasnt sure at of dread that you experienced not when you were coming across something unknown, but when you were coming back to something that you used to know. It was Lethe Cemetery, wandering spirits of the underworld. Id been here once before back when I was just a kid so I could meet some ghosts; I did, but they werent what I was expecting them to be. Most of I drove into the cemetery road, looking at the rows of somber blue faces that stared down into the ground as I passed them by. Mothers and fathers hung their heads in shame and guilt; even the children looked down and away from me, refusing to make eye contact. The moon shone down on of the road, I came across the marble mausoleum of Lethes patriarchal muse: Orpheus. The pallid bust of Orpheus gazed down at me from atop the tomb, those melancholic eyes met I saw her inside that temple of death. She looked the same, even after all these years. Time hadnt left its ravaging mark on her body; she looked as beautiful as she did on our wedding day. As she walked out of the mausoleum, I could see years. Her hair was still that vibrant, golden shade of beach sand, though not as rough or coarse, no, never. There wasnt a single wrinkle on her face, Id always told her shed get lines from smiling so much, but they never really stuck. She looked into my eyes and I into hers, and saw the calm, bright, and
Page 82 soothing light within those blue-gray eyes. And here she was, in a garishly plain white dress, standing in front of me, as if she never died. Youre late, she said, smiling. Sorry, I barely uttered. Lets go home, she said, still smiling. She walked behind the car, and I heard her open the door and sit down on the leather seat. I heard her buckle up her seatbelt and hum that little melody that she used to hum all the time. I started the car and began to drive out of the cemetery. The wheels rolled easily along the dirt path, whipping up a dusty whirlwind that softly beat against the windows. The moon disappeared behind the clouds, and the moonlight stopped beaming down to the cemetery. I saw the heads of all the people slowly lift and turn to look at me. I felt them all staring intensely at me, burning those pitch-black coals of eyes into me. Those eyes followed me as I drove down the road, searing the pain and sorrow of a life left lost and unlived to the fullest into my still beating heart. As I hastily and quietly made my way out, I realized that I stopped hearing her hum that song that she used to hum. I reached the entrance of the cemetery, but I couldnt leave yet. I felt something went wrong. Something happened to her. I could feel it. I needed to see, to make sure that she was still there. I steeled myself to turn around and face her. My head slowly twisted to the side, my eyes straining to catch just a glimpse of something in their peripheries, anything to let me know that she was still with me. In the cacophonous silence of the night whose moon was shrouded by the clouds of darkness, I heard the ancient, rusty gears of my vertebrae creaking and turned around to face my fears. My eyes met hers, but they werent the blue-gray eyes that I remember. They were as pitch-black as oblivion, empty and lifeless as the void. They stared into me, wide and unbearably open, threatening to swallow me whole. She smiled, but it wasnt the smile that made you feel like everything was
Page 83 going to be alright. It was a defeated, accepting, and tired smile. The moon came out from behind the clouds, once again shining its bright light onto the graveyard. The men and women and children closed their black eyes, and crumbled into ashes and dust. The moonlight shone down on her, and for a split-second in frozen time, she looked regal, stunning, radiant basking in the light of the moon. Her skin glowed vividly under the pale moon, and she was alive. Then her face began to crack. Those lines that I always said shed get from smiling so much started to appear. A piece of her fell off and crumbled into dust. She reached out a hand to me, but it broke off, and shattered and when she closed those sad black eyes for the last time, she faded into nothing. Despondent and despairing, I turned my head back around to the front, and gripped the wheel hard. Ive lost you again. You werent meant to be found, and I wasnt meant to look for you. I shut my eyes, stepped on the gas, and accelerated. I rolled the windows down, and heard the wind howl and scream with the cries of a thousand burning souls. The engine roared with the fury of the departed and the tires screeched with the grief of the bereaved. I became lost in the sound of suffering, and in the blinding darkness of Lethes moonlit cemetery, I disappeared into the abyss of memory. I heard my phone buzzing and opened my eyes. I was surprised to see that I was being requested to pick up someone from Lethe.
Page 84 Majestic Beast Dori Gronich
Page 85 Scott Nicole Powers You cannot be a daddys girl If your father decided to leave. He did not tell me I was beautiful. He did not threaten high school boyfriends, He did not twirl me around Or teach me to dance. He turned on the football game, Gave me one good look, And shook his head in disappointment.
Page 86 Christmas in July John Ross Thompson The swing set swung back and forth as Meredith pumped and released her tiny legs, the hot July suns rays splashing on her from above. Her mother, Joy, sat on a bench beside the swing set, a phone to her ear and a scowl on her face. Ahead of them was a fence which separated them from the dangers of the crosswalk and the road. Big, fat, looks like a hobo dressed as an apple, whatever your heart desires! Just put it in the report, Christine. He needs to be found. Now, Joy demanded. Mommy, Mommy, look! Meredith said as she swung higher and higher into the air. Her mother turned away from her and rolled her eyes. Not now, Meredith. Mommys busy What? Not you, Yeah, shes getting old, I know No, not too old for him, and thats why you need to report him, now. Meredith grunted and stopped pumping her legs. She looked around the park as the swing squeaked and squealed and came to a stop. They were the only ones here. No one was on the jungle gym, no one on the slides, there werent even any kids rushing to the porta potties. It was only them. While everyone else was out vacationing or at summer camp, she was here with her mother who didnt even want to watch her swing. Meredith looked straight ahead and over the fence. There was a man there now, and the sight of him made her smile. Mommy, look! Joy turned away from her and covered her phone with the other hand. Mommys busy, Merry. Just, shh. Meredith smiled at the man across from them, and he smiled back at her. It was him Her mother had always told her that he was a big man who wore an even bigger red jacket. He even looked jolly, his cheeks red like Meredith heard they would be. He wasnt perfect, though. His beard was greyer than
Page 87 she heard it was, and she didnt see a sleigh in sight. But that didnt matter to her. He came early this year. The jolly man waved at her, and she waved back. Her mother didnt see. Meredith was sure she wouldnt have cared anyway. She was always on the phone or at work. No, Christine. Its not that hard. I dont want to have incompetent! The jolly man motioned for Meredith to come to him, his arms hung over the fence and his stomach bulged against it. Meredith pointed at him. Mommy! Santa! Honey, its July. Santa doesnt come until December No, Christine, Im not talking to you, just hold on a second. Joy put her phone to her chest and looked at Meredith. Mommy will be right back. I just need some silence so that I can talk to Christine. Joy rose from her seat and walked away, her phone back to her ear. She stood beside the slide a few feet from the bench, her body away from Meredith and the man. The man motioned for Meredith to come to him again, a smile on his face. Meredith looked back at her mother. She wanted her mother to see him, to see that he came in July, but she knew her mother wouldnt care. She doubted that her mother would even budge if Meredith were in real danger. She turned back to the jolly man and smiled. At least he would give her presents. She rose from the swing and walked to him. She could hear her mother yelling at Christine in the background, but the jolly man was all that mattered. Come here, little girl. Whats your name? he asked her in a soft and quiet voice once she reached the fence. Merry. She smiled. Why are you here now? Its so early. The jolly mans face twisted with confusion. What do
Page 88 you mean? I was just walking by and I saw you. I wanted to say hi and offer you some Presents? she asked. The man chuckled, smiled, and nodded. Yes, howd you know? Wheres your sleigh? My sleigh? the man asked. Yeah. Your sleigh and your reindeer? The man stared at her for a second then looked down at his attire. His eyes opened wide and he understood. Oh! Yes! Theyre right around the corner. Did you want me to show you them? Meredith smiled. I wanna see. He reached down to pick her up. Then come with me. Ill show you. Meredith turned back to look at her mother, still consumed with phone call and yelling at Christine. What about my mommy? Meredith asked. She turned back to him. time, she noticed that he was missing several of his teeth. Well be right back. Dont worry about her. But The man reached even more over the fence to try to grab her, his stomach contorting the fence, yet he missed. His stomach was too big and blocked his path. Meredith stared the man in his eyes. I dont want to leave my mommy. But I have presents, he said. And you can see my reindeer and my sleigh and my elves. Her eyes widened. Elves? Yes. Ill show them all to you. Just come with me. I promise, well be right back. Your mommy wont even know youre gone.
Page 89 She looked back at her mother and felt that the jolly mans words were right. Her mother wouldnt even care if she was gone. She turned back to the man who looked upon her with grey eyes. You want to be a good girl, dont you? he said. Of all people, dont you want to be nice to dear old me? And she did. Oh, she did. After all her parents taught her, she didnt want to be on his naughty list. She reached up to him, and he grabbed her by the waist. He hoisted her over the fence and placed her next to him. Hand in hand, they walked back around the corner back the way he said he came. Joy hadnt known that Christmas could come so early.
Page 90 On the Rise AnnieNicole Woods
Page 91 Dust on the Ground Sarah Ohlhorst i bear your disappointment like a cross, but God cant save me this time. each day weighs heavier on my shoulders than the next. i told you i was drowning and you sighed, sadly. we all are. there are remnants of you still under i cried that day, when i gave you my favorite book with margins covered in messy blue-inked annotations. you didnt read it. we both feel too much, too strongly. our sensitivity is all that we cling to, helpless souls with empty, unknown bodies. i cannot get up from the failure pinning me i have been trying for the past twelve months and everything has changed but nothing is different. i am still drowning. we all are.
Page 92 Pits of Hell Winnie Blackwood Hot. So hot. The tiny window facing the dumpster, full of rotting garbage on a summer day, is closed shut. The white blinds are pulled up, letting in the blinding sunshine. An invisible warm hand is clamped over my nose and mouth. I cant breathe. I need to get out. Its the pits of Hell. Hades himself stands in the corner, sitting atop the bare mattress pad. He grins devilishly. His mouth full of sparkling white teeth, blinding me with sickly He raises his garish, red right hand, burnt from boiling bulbous. Slowly he waves them at me as if to say, Welcome to your hell. I turn to the faces of my family. Theyre sardines packed in a tin can left out in the sun for too long. Am I the only one that sees him? Their blank expressions show no signs they see the giant with horns in the corner. My heart races and the warm hand tightens, completely cutting off my airwaves. A second hand grabs onto my throat. Its skin is dry and scaly, like the cracked ground of the Sahara Desert. I need to get out. I hate this place. Get me out of here. So this is where youll be staying for the next year, huh? my father asks. Oh yes, shell be safe here with me, Hades cackles. His voice is deep and endless. A black hole, sucking the life out of me. Stealing my happiness. Welcome home. He extends his tree trunk arms, that have black, rotting of the week. This isnt my home. Far from it. Double sets of fake wooden desks, drawers, and beds, in that order, are the only things in the room. They are bare. the vultures, hyenas, and stray animals. Stripped skeletons, bleached by the sun. A dull brown that was once vibrant and full of life, now aged from violent wear and tear of college students.
Page 93 The skeletons take up half the room. I stand in the only strip of free space in the jail cell. The walls, an off egg shell white, creep in closer. They are the predator and I am the prey. Hades gets closer and closer. His hot breath tickles the down my back. His rough, forked tongue darts out to lick up the droplets. I shiver in disgust. Bile forms in the back of throat. I close my eyes to escape. I welcome the darkness like a close friend. When I open them the walls are back to where they should be, but Hades now stands in front of me. His eyes saucers. I blink and they are changed. Now they are cat-like as if he is a lion. His eye color is yellow. The color of urine left in the toilet bowl for a day. Vomit green speckles are splattered throughout. This place doesnt look so bad, my father says. Hey, its your home away from home. No, its not. This is not my home. Yes, its your home away from home, Hades says. His voice is a crack of thunder and lightning. Welcome to college.
Page 94 Rise Nicole Hube its amazing what a pair of heels can do for a woman. red lips now speak louder and shatter glass ceilings; a word can bring the world to its knees. its amazing what a mirror can do to a woman; her smile fades. her radiance eclipsed by blackness. wasted warrior, sunken savior, every wall set before you was meant to crumble so your stilettos could crush your doubts into dust with every step. its amazing what a woman can do to a mirror; give it the authority to interrupt and trace every scar back to its origin until it bleeds again; give it the authority to tie a noose of white mens hands around her neck to silence her. i paint my lips the color of war.
Page 95 i cut my hair short yet i can feel every strand lift with the wind. i shatter my mirror every morning and then? i rise.
Page 96 All About Balance Deanna Newman Down They Go Deanna Newman
Page 97 Somewhere Only We Know Logan Rowe FADE IN: EXT. POND EVENING ANTOINETTE (19), dressed in a ratty old band sweatshirt and jeans, looks over Central Park. Her hands are gripping the rail ing. ANTOINETTE (V.O.) Death was never something I feared. How could I? It had been with me since I was born. FLASHBACK TO: INT. OLD MANSION BALLROOM NIGHT (FOURTEEN YEARS EARLIER) YOUNG ANTOINETTE (5), dressed in typical young girl apparel. She holds a small doll in her hand as she looks around the ball ANTOINETTE (V.O.) While other girls were playing with their dolls in their small little doll houses, I was playing with them in old decrepit houses. Young Antoinette continues to play with her doll, laughing and spinning around with the cloth doll. Suddenly, she stops as if she felt something. She looks around, trying to see if anyone has entered. Young Antoinette hears the CREAKS that old houses tend to make. She begins to become frightened, backing up against the wall. Her small hands grip the doll and she closes her eyes tightly. The CREAKS and FOOTSTEPS only become louder until GEORGE (24) and ARIA (23), her parents, come walking into the ballroom followed by a CAMERA BOY (early 20s). Young Antoi nette lets out a sigh of relief as she walks over to her mom and
Page 98 dad, allowing them to feature her in front of the camera. ANTOINETTE (V.O.) Being raised by ghost hunters wasnt the ideal American upbringing, but they were my par ents. They loved me more than I think any parents have loved any child. I never went without. Yes, I lived with the dead a lot of my life, but it was never more lively. END FLASHBACK OVER BLACK: A door SLAMS. INT. ANNIES DORM ROOM EVENING Antoinette sighs as she throws her bag onto the ground, art supplies and pencils sticking out of it. ANTOINETTE (V.O.) But we all grow up one day, dont we? Child hood wonder doesnt stay for long. Knights and princesses fade into history. Dolls become these creepy little trinkets. Life becomes less magical. ANTOINETTE (V.O.) And, no matter how much they try, parents cant protect us from everything. She crawls onto her bed and pulls her laptop onto her lap. Her wallpaper is of her, George and Aria more recently. She beings playing some sort of Indie-Folk music (Preferably The Civil Wars). ANTOINETTE (V.O.) Especially when that thing is your own body.
Page 99 Antoinette searches for the effects of Multiple Sclerosis on the body into her search bar, browsing around many different sites. ANTOINETTE (V.O.) You know, when you get hit with news that your body just refuses to work correctly, it can seem like a life sentence with no possibility of parole. She opens a new browser and begins to search about lupus. ANTOINETTE (V.O.) Two at the same time seem like a death sen tence. Antoinette eyes the bottle of pills on her night stand. She picks hands open the bottle. For a moment, she takes deep breaths, considering the bottle. The song ends and shes left in silence, which is what pulls her out of her little trance. Antoinette huffs and screws the top back on, opens her night stand drawer and dozens of pill containers and medical equipment. She gets off the bed and shuts it with her hip. She grabs her phone and begins typing. ANTOINETTE (TEXT) I cant do this anymore. Antoinette sends the text, grabs her key, and leaves the room. The browser is still open on the lupus page, showing the organ failure rates. OVER BLACK: ANTOINETTE (V.O.) Friends can help during the process of real izing you are dying. But you never want to be that hand grenade. You never want your emo tional shrapnel to plague them.
Page 100 FLASHBACK TO: INT. ZACKS DORM ROOM NIGHT (A FEW MONTHS EARLI ER) with wrapping paper and tape as he is attempting to wrap a present. His hear a KNOCK at his door and he looks up from his pres walks over to open the door. Antoinette stands in the doorway, dressed in a very feminine dress and her hair curled. She smiles. Zack looks awestruck. ZACK (teasing) Wow, I havent seen you in anything that pink since third grade. Antoinette rolls her eyes and gives him a push. ANTOINETTE Id kill you if you werent my best slash only friend. ZACK You know you look great. ANTOINETTE Thanks, but I more know that I feel highly un comfortable. Both laugh. Zack reaches for the present. ZACK (handing her the gift) Happy birthday, Annie.
Page 101 Antoinette smiles widely. She rips off the haphazardly wrapped over the font which reads Alices Adventures in Wonderland. ANTOINETTE Zack. This is too much. Its far too much. ZACK No, its no big deal. Moms friend owns a book shop and he happened to have that. So, I third edition for you. Well, Mom and Dad also chipped in, but whatever. Antoinette hugs him tightly. Zack reciprocates. When they part, they both look at each other with smiles. ZACK (CONTD) So, ready to go to dinner? Antoinette walks into his room and closes the door behind her. She pushes some hair behind her ear. ANTOINETTE Actually, I was thinking we should have sex. ZACK Uh, what? ANTOINETTE I think we should have sex. Making love? Doing the do? ZACK (laughs) Yeah, I get that. I think my question is why?
Page 102 Antoinette sits on the bed and slips off her heels. ANTOINETTE Zack, Im 19 years old and have kissed one boy my entire life. I also have one functioning kidney which, unlike having a milkshake, does not bring the boys to the yard. Im also pretty years. BEAT ANTOINETTE (CONTD) (dramatically) with this magical part of life with someone I care about. ZACK Is this really what you want? ANTOINETTE No, I asked you just for shits and giggles. Zack rolls his eyes and shakes his head. ANTOINETTE (CONTD) If I didnt want to, I wouldnt have asked. ZACK Alright. ANTOINETTE Alright. Zack walks over to Antoinette and places a hand her cheek. The two kiss.
Page 103 END FLASHBACK OVER BLACK: ANTOINETTE (V.O.) But friends can only do so much. There are sometimes where the end is truly the end. INT. ZACKS DORM ROOM EVENING Zack sits at his desk, playing some sort of video game. His phone goes off, causing him to pause the game. He picks it up and as soon as he reads the text, his face drops. ANTOINETTE (TEXT) I cant do this any more. Im sorry, Zack. Youve been the best friend a girl could ask for. I love you. He bolts out of his chair, grabs his jacket and runs out of the room. INT. ROOFTOP NIGHT Antoinette holds onto the railing, rocking her body back and forth. Tears are streaming down her face. She backs up for a moment, only to throw up beside her. ANTOINETTE (V.O.) can win. Both will do whatever they can to try to make their side the side you listen to. She wipes her mouth and her cheeks as she continues to cough. Her jacket is stained with a little bit of blood. She is shivering and shaking. INT. OUTSIDE ANNIES DORM ROOM NIGHT Zack knocks on the door frantically. DAISY (19), Antoinettes roommate opens the door. The two talk. They are inaudible.
Page 104 ANTOINETTE (V.O.) You can love people so much and always want to be in their life, but sometimes, you have to listen to your body when it says its done being alive. Zack runs down the hall. EXT. ROOFTOP NIGHT Antoinette gains a little more strength and begins to stand up. Her hands grip back onto the railing. With the little strength she has, she pulls herself to the other side of the railing. Her feet are place precariously on the edge. INT. STAIRWELL NIGHT erting himself. Finally, he reaches the top. He opens the door and... EXT. ROOFTOP NIGHT The spot where Antoinette was is now empty. The SIRENS of the city seem to become louder. Zack walks, in shock, to the edge of the roof. He looks over to survey the damage. His eyes grow wide. FADE TO BLACK.
Page 105 Untitled Dori Gronich
Page 106 Haiku Collection #1 Kevin Sun Ocean The newly arrived the tired senior sharks. Degrading No A/C in dorms. We melt, spoil, and rot like food in an unplugged fridge. Sirens Fire alarm again. Man-children left home without learning how to cook. Wendigo Oswego devil winds shriek like witches at night summoning winter. Hygiene College students are disgusting. Please wash your hands before you shake mine. Harmony Restored A stone thrown into the lake generates ripples before calm returns. Winter Mournings Sleep sweetly before the slippery snow and sleet sweep you off the street. Smile Smile not just for the Times of happiness. Smile to Bring light to the dark.
Page 107 At Odds Emily Goleski INT. CAR NIGHT TYLER (40), a tired, introverted drug addict sits in the front seat of his 1998 Subaru Forester with his hands gripping the wheel. Tyler looks like he hasnt eaten anything in days, he has dark circles under his eyes. He wipes his palms on his worn, black jeans and his nger under his nose, leaving a small red trail of blood. Hes coming down o of a high and lights a cigarette as he sinks into the seat. e car windows are rolled up. Suddenly a SIREN wails and red and blue lights ash. Tyler jolts awake and looks around panicked. He opens the car door and is blinded by the interior lights. He slams the car door shut behind him. EXT. HOSPITAL PARKING LOT NIGHT Tylers car is parked in an empty corner of the parking lot, far away from the sign that reads EMERGENCY ENTRANCE. Tyler walks the length of the parking lot with the cigarette in his mouth. He nishes it as he approaches the doors and ashes it under his foot, two feet away from an ash tray. INT. HOSPITAL WAITING ROOM NIGHT Tyler walks into the waiting room and goes to approach the front desk. He spots his sister NATALIE (38), a feisty, overambitious business woman, and her husband STEPHEN (40), a level headed family man. Natalie is wearing a pantsuit and has her hands rmly on her waist. Stephen watches her pace with his hand tucked into the pockets of his blue jeans.
Page 108 Natalie spots Tyler and looks confused. Tyler moves away from the desk and approaches them. NATALIE You heard about Dad? TYLER Uh... Yeah. Is he okay? NATALIE Could be better. Arent you a sight for sore eyes. STEPHEN No, this is good. Tyler can stay with you while I go check on the girls. Natalie scowls as Stephen hugs her. STEPHEN (CONTD) Ill be back in a few hours. Just sit tight. NATALIE STEPHEN I will. For now, you have company. Natalie stares off as Stephen kisses her on the cheek. Stephen offers a reassuring smile to Tyler and pats his shoulder before walking past. Tyler stumbles from the strong grip and nearly falls over. NATALIE Let me guess, youre drunk. TYLER Nope. What exactly happened to Dad?
Page 109 NATALIE Like you care. TYLER Im here, arent I? NATALIE Dads managing. I dont know why Mom let him up in the attic on his own. TYLER Hes a stubborn guy. Its almost Christmas, probably wanted the decorations. NATALIE Stephen was on his way over to get them for him with the girls. He drove up to them boarding Dad in an ambulance in front of the house. TYLER Is that where Mr. Perfect is off to? She turns away from Tyler and sits down by the window. She pulls out a metal water bottle and takes a long sip. Tyler sits two seats over and clasps his hands between his knees. He snies and rubs his nose. He pulls a tissue out of his pocket and dabs the end of his nose, a visible red spot appears. He shoves the tissue back and disregards it. Aer another sip from her bottle, Natalie paces again. CUT TO: INT. HOSPITAL VENDING MACHINE ROOM NIGHT Tyler approaches the vending machines full of candies and snacks. He pulls out and opens his wallet and stuffs a few bills into the machine. He loses his balance and falls against the machine, no one notices.
Page 110 Tyler looks back and forth between a package of gum and a package of Reeses. He presses a button and reaches into the bottom tray. CUT TO: INT. HOSPITAL WAITING ROOM Tyler approaches Natalie and offers her a Reeses. She pauses mid-step and stares at him before politely taking it. TYLER Peanut butter always makes you less cranky. NATALIE (rolls her eyes) And how do you know that? TYLER If youve forgotten, we lived together for a long time. NATALIE Yeah, till you ran off. TYLER I didnt run off. Dad told me to leave. NATALIE To live with your friends and get high all the time? Cant imagine it was a hard decision. TYLER Sorry I didnt end up Mr. and Mrs. Perfect like you. NATALIE I hate when you call me that.
Page 111 TYLER What, perfect? NATALIE Like youre so great yourself. Tyler knocks his head back and laughs to himself. He coughs violently for a moment. Natalie watches him shocked. TYLER I know Im not. Im the furthest thing from it, but at least I dont pretend. NATALIE Like you pretended to forget Moms birthday last month? TYLER I thought her birthday was in March? NATALIE THIS is why I cant stand you. You dont care about anything. TYLER Its easier than caring too much. Tyler dabs the tissue to his nose again and reveals a larger spot while Natalie takes a larger sip of the bottle. TYLER (CONTD) Whens the last time you talked to the doctor? NATALIE Just before you showed up. Said Dad might have broken an arm.
Page 112 TYLER Hey, remember that time we went to visit Uncle Ted when we were kids? NATALIE When Dad got drunk and fell off the porch into the pool? TYLER Yeah, Dads a bit of a klutz. NATALIE Not funny, Tyler. What if something worse had happened to him? TYLER We would have been some traumatized children. Natalie throws her bottle at him in frustration, it hits him in the face and lands in his lap. He grabs it with both hands while he processes the pain. NATALIE Why did you even bother coming? TYLER I... NATALIE You didnt have to come. You could have gone home and put who-knowswhat up your nose and passed out but you decided to come here. TYLER Its Dad, Nat.
Page 113 NATALIE I hardly believe that, theres always something. Its been over a year since I last saw you. Tyler crumples the Reeses wrapper and throws it towards the garbage can, it misses. Natalie glares and walks over and sticks the wrapper in the garbage. Tyler opens her bottle and takes a sip, its wine. TYLER Calling me a drunk but here you are with your own Chardonnay! NATALIE I have a career, I have a family. I take care of Mom and Dad, theres a lot on my plate. TYLER Oh, boo hoo. (imitating Natalie) Look at me! My lifes so tough! NATALIE Just do what you do best and leave. Tyler coughs again and spits blood onto the carpet in front of them. Natalies face softens with concern. NATALIE (CONTD) Tyler, what the hell? TYLER Its nothing. Tyler bites his tongue and pulls the pack of cigarettes in his pocket out and sticks one in his mouth. He turns away from Natalie and walks back towards the front door. Natalie stands and moves after him.
Page 114 NATALIE Where are you going? TYLER Get some fresh air. NATALIE Just sit down, Ill go get a doctor. TYLER Tyler loses his balance and leans against the wall. Natalie grabs his other arm and tries to steady him, he shakes her off. Stephen opens the front doors with TWO LITTLE GIRLS at his side. They run past Tyler, not recognizing him, and grab Natalie. Tyler continues walking towards the front doors with cigarette in mouth as he coughs. Natalie gives the two little girls a big hug and kneels down as she motions for Stephen to go after Tyler. Tyler collapses and falls into the front doors. His hand falls his nose and lips, his eyes are wide open. FADE TO BLACK.
Page 115 Sunset Ashley Radder
Page 116 Swingset Catelin Seaman Too loose shoes? Lose two shoes!
Page 117 Tacos Mary Katherine A. Moylan I looked at him across the table, slight disgust rolling off of me as wet food slowly slipped from his lips down toward that one long chin hair he never let us shave. I nearly gagged. His elbows rested on the table, his dominate hand clutching the tortilla wrap in an unforgiving grasp, lettuce and seasoned beef, no tomatoes because he hated tomatoes, squeezing out of either end as he barely took time to chew before tearing off another hunk, his jaw mechanically opening and closing with audible slops. My mouth turned downward as I set my taco down, unable to eat at the moment. He shifted forward in his chair, his big color of melted cheese and meat grease, beginning to slowly on its way trickling down his forearm. I cringed again. Fred. I barked unintentionally, a natural tone I adopted for him. What? he managed to speak around the chunk of intense focus despite the fogginess and grime of his crooked glasses. His voice graveled in this gross tone he had been speaking in lately. It was a mix between a chain smoker and an old man with a head cold. Youve got food on your face. I simply said sourly, seeing his eyes narrow in a glare, he just wanted to eat his meal in peace. Take your napkin, and wipe it off. It was a simple interaction, one we had countless times and will no doubt have plenty more of. He grunted in distaste like an angry old pup, but I didnt talk back for once. Instead of setting down his tortilla and letting it unfurl and erupt, he lifted the dead weight of his tight left hand onto the table to pinch at his napkin. It was almost like a crab claw slowly inching toward its target. He snatched the napkin in his long nails, that I would most likely have to cut that night or the next and we would bicker and then move onto a common enemy of
Page 118 the day, whether it was a mean bat of a teacher, or some girl that tried playing with his heart, but we would get through the task of clipping nails. He pushed the napkin to his face in a quick swipe, doing a poor job and then crumpled the napkin and set it down to dive back into the mauled mess of a taco. We hadnt argued which was new. Maybe we matured prod one another like cats and dogs, it was in our DNA to be thought of the life he could have had if it were me instead of him, something I would cry and wish for when I was younger. The twin with cerebral palsy, and epilepsy, and asthma. A time mind as it often does at times now, and I felt a small twinge in my heart. And yet we could be cruel to one another. The disgust I felt minutes before dulled as a wave of emotion washed over me. Most people didnt have a person to shared their entire life with and I was blessed with one, me of all people, one least deserving. I looked as I watched him talk about his day, a laugh bubbling out of his chest, a beautiful day; his toothy grin wide, a small smile lined my lips. Picking up my taco I watched him laugh, his big eyes bright, half chewed food, and all as he spoke. I was lucky to call him my brother.
Page 119 Untitled Laura Panagis
Page 120 Photograph Kieont Miranda I look at this brass, beaten down frame and realize the inside wields the axe of happiness and sorrow, but no matter how many times we swung, we were too weak to lift it. I look at this caramel-colored frame, and think back to those sweet moments we had that day; the calm, dream-like stroll by the hedges in the sunlight that rested on our melanin skin like a newborn in her bassinet, trying to foreshadow the future. I think back to the smile we gave each other as we watched the young woman with one by the water fountain in the garden, and we believed we could take a better one; we believed we could be better then. I look at this faded, water-damaged frame and watch the seconds tick past since the emotions were at a high tide; two rivers hoped to connect to a bigger body, knowing they could never be the ocean.
Page 121 Gay Kevin Sun He gazed down on the small blue planet from His heavenly throne and scanned the world with ancient eyes. He watched the lions chase the gazelles on the savannas of Africa, then the whales swimming tranquilly in the Atlantic Ocean, then the bustling crowd in New York City. He saw a parade on Main Street; half-dressed men and women adorned silly hats and skin-tight underwear and draped themselves in rainbow Gays... He muttered. a loud boom of thunder. He blew a gust of air over the world and clouds suddenly appeared over the city. He shed a tear for humanity, and a heavy downpour of rain washed over the parade. Though some demonstrators were annoyed by the weather inconvenience, most of the people kept on celebrating their pride, rain or shine. He said to Himself. He sighed and turned His attention away from Earth. Those mortals and their silly, blasphemous sinful lovers will meet their maker one day, He thought. Suddenly, He felt a strange feeling. Something was amiss in His paradise. He left the throne room, and walked over to His sons bedroom and opened the door. He saw His son in the arms of a familiar the devil held His son in a tight embrace. JESUS CHRIST! He boomed. His Father. Satan chuckled and gave a cheeky smile before vanishing in a wisp of smoke. Oh my God, Dad, you cant just-- THOU SHALT NOT USE THE LORDS NAME IN VAIN! Jesus took a deep breath and said, Dad, you cant just barge into my room like that.
Page 122 Yes, I can, He retorted. Im God, I can do whatever I want. Theres no such thing as privacy. He snorted like an angry bull and said, Anyways, what on earth were you doing? Thats the devil! You were literally sleeping with the devil! We love each other, Dad, Jesus said, as-a-matter-offactly. You what? Oh man, you werent lying when you said hes a snake, Jesus giggled. Hes alllll serpentine. I COMMAND YOU TO STOP AT ONCE! He looked at His sweaty, naked son, lying on the bed and thinking He did nothing wrong. This is disgusting, He thought to Himself. My son slept with the devil! And its even worse because Hes another form of me, so its like I slept with the devil! Jesus, He sighed. You are banished from Heaven. Leave immediately. I dont want to see you until youve performed 50 miracles and repented for your sins. Jesus laughed and responded, This is a joke, right? Thats my punishment? See you in 3 days, Dad. He watched His son step through a portal of light and disappear. Unbelievable, He thought. My own son, a homosexual! By extension, that makes me a homosexual! How could I have let this happen? So this is how Satan is growing his army. He angrily walked back to His throne and looked at the world again. The male lions were having intercourse with each other. He scowled and looked away, only to see the whales rubbing their penises against each others bodies. He sighed and looked back at New York City. The rainbow humans were all hugging each other, caring for each other, loving each other. Maybe its time for a change in the rulebook.
Page 123 Game Over Victoria Jayne
We're Nice People