Sunday, April 28, 2013


"Saturday Morning", by Josh/Baltarc

My eyes fluttered open as the first few rays of light broke through the window. I glanced over at the clock, glowing red letters flashing out the time: 7:08. It was a Saturday; I couldve slept in if Id wanted to. Part of me strongly considered doing just that rolling over and falling back asleep. But I didnt.

Instead, I rolled the other way, my feet dropping to the cold tile and barely managing to keep my half-asleep body upright as I forced myself to stand. My mouth dropped wide into a yawn as I fumbled for my glasses, swiping them clean on the edge of my shirt and shoving them onto my face. I twisted the doorknob, quietly opening the door of my bedroom. Soft beams of light were just beginning to illuminate the still silent house. Almost too late, but not quite.

I hurried to the door and stepped outside, glancing around the yard until I spotted the ladder. I dragged it over to the side of the house, ascending as soon as I was sure it was steady.
From the roof, I could see it perfectly. The sun was just beginning to creep over the horizon, brilliant purples and oranges and yellows and reds blossoming in the sky. It was beautiful, amazingly beautiful, and I wondered how I could never have noticed this before. Yesterday shed told me that she watched the sunset each morning, and now I understood why it was almost as beautiful as her.


"Untitled", by Nicolas Joseph/Nick Silverpen

He clambered out of bed, eyes still half shut as he picked himself off the floor. He swayed back and forth as he struggled to peel open his eyelids, leaning against the doorway of his room as he pushed forward through the darkness. It was impossible to see, he simply went by memory. Little shapes danced behind his eyelids as he stumbled forward. His feet clump clumped on the steps loudly as he staggered forth, and he wasn’t sure if his curses were mental or whispers. Definitely whispers, he decided, smelling morning breath escape from his beard. 

“You’ve got to wake up,” he mumbled as he shook someone awake in the room below. They moaned, and curled up more in the warmth of their pillow. He shook them a little harder, they moaned in angst a little longer. Shaking his still asleep head, he backed out of the room, trying not to knock anything over. 

He rubbed his eyes as he walked outside, across the sand and up the bridge. A pole in his hand as he treaded forward, the rest in his pack that thudded on his waist with each pace. Eyes open now, he could see the starry sky above, little pinpricks of light glowing dimmer as the light in his eyes grew brighter. The skyline was a mix of purple and black, an inky darkness that robbed the land of all scenery. A faint breeze tickled his neck as hiked up, and he closed his eyes once more, feeling the spring in the air. There was nothing out but that breeze, the only sound his feet scuffing against the inclining pavement. 

He dropped his line in at the top of the bridge, leaning against the barrier that separated here from the driving lanes on the bridge. Fingers tugged at the line, feeling the vibrations. A cloud rolled by overhead, navy outlined in silver, just like him, idly as though it had not a single deadline in its lifetime to get where it was going. The new moon hung out somewhere up there, he knew, staring up into the sky, cloaked by its own shadow. The kid was probably dreaming of this, he supposed. Seeing it was far better than sleeping, he shrugged as he checked the line.

A scuff similar to his own took the little attention he had from the line. The kid was coming up, half dressed in a sweatshirt and overalls. Just in time too, the man mumbled to himself as he turned back to all that was before him. The sky was turning from purple to a lighter orange, as somewhere just beyond the edge, the sun was making its way up. “You made it,” he said to the kid, once he made it to the spot where the man sat. “Bait up.”

They sat in silence for a few moments, as the sun crept closer and closer toward the horizon. They watched the glow herald its arrival. As he sat, he wasn’t sure which he waited for more. The sun or a nibble. He’d been doing this everyday since he was a kid with his pop, and the tradition continued here. 

A crown broke on the horizon, unexpectedly the same time as the pole began to bend. Sure, the currents were starting, but... the man tightened his grip on the pole. What was he doing? He asked himself as he reeled the wrong way. Fixing the pole, he lightly tugged. Definitely a bite. 

Soon it was a small, yet challenging battle. He had watched the sun every day, never missed it. Now just as it was riding the waterline, here he was, distracted by some bite that would probably get away. He yanked. It yanked back. Now he was reeling in faster, as the horizon grew brighter and brighter with the shade of a shining dandelion, while the kid sat there, waiting for his own bite to come. With a final exhale of impatience, the man stepped forward, and began to aggressively pull in whatever was on the other line. 

The fish was willful, but all his meager strength could not last decades of reeling in. It  popped out, flying into the air, an image that smacked against the sun as it broke the waterline.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


"Trapped", by Eyru

The coffee was lukewarm and bland.

He'd been sitting here for over an hour now, in this coffee shop that played soft Spanish guitar music over a pair of $30 speakers glued in the corners. Nice ambiance, but no bass at all.

Sort of like his life, he thought acridly. Baseless. Ha ha.

He was handsome in an unattractive way, if that makes any sense. Hair the colour of dishwater, spiked up in the front. Sharp nose. Gray eyes. Soft mouth. He got lost in crowds often.

He licked his lips, lost in thought. He'd ordered a latte, and the girl behind the counter had even poured a neat little flower in the foam. Pretty, but unnecessary: you couldn't taste it. It was all aesthetics.

Too late now, but he should've asked for an extra shot. Pretty art couldn't make up for the lack of body.

He turned back to the laptop, setting the porcelain cup back in its saucer, next to a clean spoon and an untouched gingersnap the size of a coin. His thoughts dodged back and forth as though they were playing dodgeball with responsibility.

The screen was full of applications and programs and courses: he was sitting at a college website. A notepad lay at his left hand, blank except for a single sentence, written in a tidy scrawl: courses I could take.

He was obviously indecisive, because he hadn't written anything else.

Running a hand through his hair, he sighed and looked out the window. Beyond the glass lay a quiet, personable main street of sorts. Grocery store, cafe, bookstore, cafe, bank, clothing store, library, cafe.

Yeah, there were a lot of cafes. Nice little town, but not particularly exciting or original. One of those places where it was easy to feel trapped.

He turned his gaze back to the laptop, then shut it almost angrily, cutting off his escape. Again.

He'd be back. 


"Her Property", by Will

The wiccern lives at the heart of the orchard: a grove of twisted, living trees. One does not eat the fruit of those trees, not even animals. They are Her Property, and she is always jealous...

So when I came upon the man in gray sitting beneath the shade of the orchard tree with a thoughtful look on his face and an apple core in his hand, my first thought was that he must be mad.

“Are you mad?” I asked, shifting my books from one hand to the other.  The man glanced up with eyes like jet and drew his feet together beneath him. He laughed.

“Mad? Maybe. What do you mean?”

“This is the wiccern’s orchard. Don’t you know? You don’t eat from her trees. She’ll get you for it.”

“Is there a sign?” he asked, and his mouth twisted up in a smile. His chin was covered in stubble, and his gray clothing looked much weather-worn. I could see rips and tears in the hem, and he wore no shoes.

“You must not be from around here.” I sneered a little.

“Very perceptive of you, boy,” he replied. “I’ve come from away to the west. You see this?” He thrust out a fist, and something dangled, glinting, from the chain that was clenched between his fingers. It was metal--a medallion. I stepped forward hesitantly. Best not get too close to this mad stranger.

“What is it?” The shape of a leaping fish was engraved upon the metal, and an odd symbol. It was a sailor’s charm, I thought. We’d learned about them in schoolhouse last season.

“This is something I’ve had for a long time, boy. But it failed me five days ago. Did the storm come this far inland?”

“Storm...what are you talking about?” The weather had been overcast for the past few days, but that was nothing new.

“Ah, well maybe I am mad then. Too much time at sea has made me more fish than man...”

So he was a sailor.

“You came from the coast?” I asked, “That’s a long way, I think.”

“I’m a fast walker, boy, when I put my mind to it.”

“Well, anyway, you shouldn’t eat from the orchard trees. It’ll be bad luck for you.”

“Bad luck...” He fingered the medallion again, lids half-closed over his jet-black eyes. “Bad luck’s all I’ve ever had, I think. They say when I siren calls you from the rocks, the call stays with you all your life, if you manage to resist it. Like a fish in her net, trapped...”

“Sirens?” We’d learned about those in schoolhouse too, but they were only myths. Fish-women who led sailors to their deaths on hidden shoals.

“Aye,” he shrugged and turned away from me, staring into the darkness under the orchard leaves.

“Well, I don’t know about all that, but you’d best not stay around here,” I said, stepping back toward the country road. The school bells were ringing down in the town by now. I’d be late if I didn’t get going, and I didn’t much want to exchange more words with this strange man. His words made me shiver.

“Mm, you’d best get along to school then, boy,” the man said.

He turned back toward me for a moment, eyes wide, face smiling.

“I’ll be just fine,” he said, and winked, tossing the apple core over his shoulder into the dark. Suddenly there was a noise in the air, like a voice, but without words. It was a song. Someone singing from a great distance. The man stood up all at once, and I backed away, shivering. The sun must have gone behind a cloud, because it had grown very dark, as dark as the shade under the trees. The song rose and fell, and man turned his back to me. I thought to warn him again...but then I found that I didn’t want to, because I wanted to follow him. It was a terrible feeling, and my heart began to pound.

The song was a call. It was calling him, and me. Like a web being drawn tight. I saw the medallion flash in the dimness where it hung from the man’s hand, and suddenly he was not alone beneath the trees. Another figure stood there with one hand resting against the tree. Her mouth was open, and the melody came dancing from her throat.

The man’s voice rang out again, breaking through the song for a moment as I stood quivering by the road.

“I’ve been too long on the iron sea,” he said. “Too long running away across the waves.”

The wiccern inclined her head, and her long hair fell over one shoulder. I had never seen her before, and she was not one to be described. Her eyes were very piercing though...that much I know. She looked at the apple core that lay in the grass. Her Property. He should not have come here--

“You called me, all those years ago,” the man continued abruptly. “I know it was you, even through the mist and the rain. I’d lashed myself to the mast, you see, and the rudder carried me to safety, but I was always pulled back. Like a fish on a hook...”

His head whipped around, and jet-black eyes fixed me.

“Go, boy,” his arm went back, and he tossed something at me. I caught it out of instinct, almost dropping my books. It was the medallion, chain and all. It flashed in the sunlight as I looked at it...


The song faded, and I looked up to see an empty orchard. Just a grove of twisted, living trees. does not eat the fruit of those trees, I remembered the saying, not even animals. They are Her Property, and she is always jealous...

I continued on down the road, the medallion clenched in my fist. A slight wind whispered in the tree-leaves behind me, and for a moment I thought I heard the sound of a voice.

I didn’t look back.


"Socialize", by Legolover-361

There’s something so enthralling about being caught in a corner and pummeled till you feel blood dripping down your nose, your head is throbbing like a dubstep bass drop, and your extremities quiver in pain and fear.

Just kidding.

Not something to joke about, you say? Right. I’d agree with you, but how the heck else am I supposed to deal with it?

His name is Leon, he’s a linebacker, and he has it out for nerds who refuse to help him with homework because of his drug problems and because certain female friends of those nerds have not been regarded with much respect on his part. Sound corny? That’s because it is. Sound painful? No? Well, that’s the difference between you and me, then: You’re reading this narrative, and I’m living it.

Picture now, if you will, a typical Friday mealtime. Five-foot-two Sarah — auburn hair, freckles, good-looking but just a friend mind you — is sitting across from five-foot-seven me — buzzcut, a bit of unshaven facial hair, a few pimples and contacts. We’re eating lunch. (An aside: There isn’t any “mystery meat” or “mystery vegetables”, but everyone calls them that anyway because we rarely know ahead of time what’s being served.)

The cafeteria’s tables are plastic, circular, and kind of grimy. A rite of passage among our school’s students is that the new kid will be dared to place his hand underneath the table and press hard, and once he’s freed from the table and has washed all the chewing gum off his palm, we say he’s baptized. It’s a public school, but a slew of us belong to a few nearby Christian churches. Not that going to church on Sundays makes half the kids any better. The other half were probably decent to begin with.

I’m getting off-tack.

So Sarah and I are sitting at our own table, eating lunch, and Leon comes over and asks her quite bluntly why he doesn’t have her phone number yet because he would call her, and you can tell from his emphasis on call that he means he’s going to do it.

Sarah smiles and says no thanks, she doesn’t date blockheads.

I fist-pump under the table. Maybe Leon caught my look of exultation, because he smiles, too, and says he has girls lining up at his house.

“To slap you?” I ask.

He looks like he’s going to slap me, but then he calms down. “I have a party this Saturday,” he says instead, handing a slip of paper to each of us. It says, in fourteen-point Times New Roman, PARTY AT LEONS 1:00-MIDNITE — ALL INVITED — 147 ORIENT ST. — TIME OF YOUR LIFE #YOLO. I’m not impressed; Times New Roman is really generic.

“Everyone’s going,” he says — and, as if to prove his point, calls out to the cafeteria, “Who’s comin’ to my place one o’clock sharp tomorrow?”

A lot of voices cheer. I don’t know how Leon got so popular. Maybe rebels attract large crowds; there are surely historical precedents for that, kind of like the American and French revolutions.

“Guess which squares say they aren’t?” he continues.

“I’ll go,” says Sarah.

I turn to face her with a what-the-heck-are-you-thinking look, but she responds with her shut-up-I-know-what-I’m-doing-I’m-old-enough-to-make-my-own-decisions look. Specific, I know, but we’ve known each other since Kindergarten.

“Excellent,” says Leon, returning to wherever his friends are sitting.

I look at Sarah when Leon’s out of earshot. She shrugs. “We’re seventeen. We oughta socialize at some point in our school lives, right?”

“With him?” I ask.

“Who else is there?” she responds.

I’m still thinking of an answer to that question.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Curse by Naina:

I love people. That’s my curse.
Since I was a child, I’ve been able to feel for other people, know their inner hopes and fears like my own. I wish I didn’t have to.
I try to explain my plight but no one seems to understand.
“Oh, you’re so lucky, you’re a kind person.” I’ve never had a choice in the matter. I have  to be kind or my conscience’ll kill me.
 “I’d give anything to understand my friends the way you do.” I’d give anything to not.
“Empathy is a gift, use it well.” It’s a gift, sure, but it’s also a curse.

Imagine that you were carrying a candle in a dark room. You spread light as you hold up your candle and everyone loves you for it. You’ve given them what they need: the illumination to find their way along a dark path.
But here’s the catch: the candle burns you. Every time you hold up the candle, wax trickles down your skin, scalding and scorching your flesh. You gasp and try to rub it off, but it sticks like burning oil.
The only way not to get burnt is to extinguish the light. To stay away. Follow your own path for a change.
But you can’t do that. You can’t leave all these people in the dark. You love them too much for that. The candle burns you if you don’t help them and burns you if you do. It’s a no-win situation.

It’s a never-ending duty. I have to help everyone I meet or I’ll feel so sad I can’t bear it. I’ll probably kill myself one of these days, trying to help someone.
I love people more than I love myself. Love thy neighbour, the good book says, and I do. I love everyone I know, for all their flaws and faults. Even you. I barely know you but yet I feel obliged to whisper a few words in your ear, reassure you that it’s all right. Just so you can move on from your fears and insecurities, live a better life.
I love you even though I don’t know you. Yeah, I know, that sounded creepy.
Hush little baby, don’t say a word. Momma’s going to fix the whole sad world.

Seems weird, walking along the street, talking about this. There’s a girl crossing the road – she just broke up with her boyfriend, I think. She looks so sad. Oh, no, she’s not looking where she’s going and the car–
It’s over for me. I can hear people crying. But at least she’s safe. Goodbye world. The candle is flickering and will soon die.

Ink by John 55555:

 The boy sat alone on a high stool before the writing table. His hair was close cropped, and he wore a red tunic belted at the waist. A warm breeze blew through the sunny room and ruffled the blank, rough paper before him. He  was focused on his task. He dipped his pen into the ink, and, with no hesitation began to write.

The curse has stood on my family for countless generations. It is something we must bear, and have borne well. Our spirits have been sharpened, our determination has been hardened, and truly this evil has brought us great good.There is little room for greed and vice in our tumultuous hearts. For we can hear them, I can hear them. The whispers of the dragons.
A look of horror, then one of sorrow flew across his face. Then a a return of his quiet concentration.
They lie deep, deep beneath the green fields and black mountains. Some think them legends, most think them dead. But they live, in the darkness that is broken only by the flames of their wrath. But always, among themselves and to themselves, they whisper.
The boy's jaw clenched, and he paused. After a moment he returned to his task, with renewed speed.
They speak in secrets, old knowledge long corrupted. They speak of present, future and distant path in a single breath, and seem not to distinguish them as such.
It is my task, as it has long been the task of my ancestors, to record those of these whispers that might be used for good. The histories they speak of are beyond anything our takes tell of, and even in the foul wisdom of dragons their lie grains truth and usefulness.
But one other duty falls to me. I must listen, listen for the day they try and break free.
Depression by Tekulo:

I’m never having children of my own.  That is the conclusion I have reached after twenty years of living.
I won’t lie, the dream life sounds quite lovely.  Falling in love, proposing, getting married and celebrating with a wonderful wedding, having children, going to work every day and coming home to your family sounds nice.  Maybe it’s because it’s the way I was programmed as an animal, but having children always sounded nice to me.  A lot of people dream of starting a family, and I can feel that part of me itching away in my brain time after time.  But I will ignore it.  I have to ignore it.

The site before me sealed my determination on the matter.  Tiny pairs of lights were flying across the horizon of my vision.  It felt amazing watching them zoom past.  Just imagining those little lights on their way to a destination far away from where I am now.   They didn’t pay me any mind, but that was fine with me.  There were other lights too, and they illuminated dark pavement in a sickening orange light.  As hideous as it looked, it also seemed calm.  Staring into the darkness of the ground below, I could feel it almost calling to me; dragging me in with each and every breath I took.  I could feel it in my veins; the pulse of my heart reaching my brain and screaming with every passing moment.

Jump.  Jump. Jump.  Jump.

I never felt more alive in that moment than I ever have in my entire life.  The only thing keeping me from falling now was my hand clenching a nearby pipe on the roof.  The rest of my body was standing, leaning out to the depths below.  Looking back now, it was the scariest moment I’ve experienced.  My body was doing this on its own it seemed.  My consciousness was aware of what was going on, just a little.  Beyond my heart and my brain screaming at me, I could hear a tiny little voice.  It was almost like a whisper the way it started.

Don’t… Don’t… Don’t… Don’t…

My index finger slipped off of the pipe and my body lurched slightly toward the ground.

D-Jump.  Do-ump. Don-mp.  Don’-p

I could feel myself fighting with my own body.  That’s right, I could regain my senses.  Another finger slipped off of the metal arm which was keeping me alive.

Don’t… Jump… Don’t… Jump

The words began to pulse throughout my entire body.  My hand, however slipped completely, and for the first time since what seemed an everlasting battle, I felt fear flash through my entire existence all at once.
That was when I felt a hand grasp my own.  I was stunned as I was pulled back up to the top of the roof.  I saw a person in front of me, someone who was very close to me.  I saw a pair of lips moving quite frantically after that, but I just stared at them, my mind unable to process the noise.

This was a curse that had been passed down in the blood of my family, and I vowed that night that it would end with me.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


By Eli Brockway/Kal Grochi:

At the gates of madness, I saw a very disturbing image. I saw myself, but changed; I saw myself in the eyes of everybody around me, I saw myself in my loved ones’ eyes, I saw myself in my own eyes.

I saw my reflection, gazing back at me, pained, pleading to be set free, to be put out of his misery, hoping for somebody to come and save him, save me, somebody who could get me out of this world’s mess...or somebody to release me from it all.

I saw what I wanted most of all, and realized that it wasn’t truly so mad, more as it was truth.

At the threshold of death I stopped myself, almost knocking on his door. I dropped the knife, staring in shock at what I was about to do. Then I cursed myself, for being like the others, and proving the others right. Weak, weak, I was weak, to weak even to end myself, to get away from all the others, from their anger, their hatred, their pity!

I cried. Selfish, foolish me, I cried for myself, unable to even do that which so many others said I should, still unable to please them in the slightest. Oh, what a cruel, cruel breed of people lived around me, only caring for those whose successes could be measured in wealth, and giving no care for those whose successes weren’t, and even less than that for those like me, with no success at all. Oh brave new world that has such people in it, why can’t you be like the days of old, where if one wished not to live they simply had to stop from ploughing their fields, or join their old king’s army? Why must you make that singular solace of death so hard to achieve?

My music, my writing, my art, my life, it all comes to naught. I hold no special place in the world’s workings, in the history of the universe, and yet I can’t even let myself go from it, to continue on to a freer world, a world of naught and nothing. So why, then, why can’t I live? What life is one that is barely lived, that the liver does not understand or find himself able to use, to fulfill?

What lies are those that are promulgated about the world, that it is happy, that everybody should live harmoniously? That is not the case, nor has it ever been. So why, then, can’t I free myself, or learn to live in it?

At the threshold of death I stopped myself, and with a sigh, I turned to another threshold, the threshold of life instead. Life, which I so sorely lack understanding of,love, which I so desperately need, and a home where I don’t have to be afraid of all that which I am in such fear of now.

Ridicule, rejection, humiliation, failure, hatred and anger, pain and pity, these all have been facts of life for me so far, and yet I still hold so much fear of them, of feeling them, and receiving them, and giving them all. If I could only find myself free of them, if I could only find a key from these chains of mine and receive the happiness I so desperately find myself wanting...

Others, I know there are others, yet they are just as far away from me as are all those who do not suffer as I do, even if they be but an arm’s reach away, we all so lack understanding of each other, all of us, rich and poor, hurting and healed, whole and broken, loving and unloved. Change, change is so sorely needed in this world, and yet none can provide it, though many can try to start it.

Sighing, and steeling myself for what I was about to do, I stepped back through life’s threshold, to try and help others, even though I couldn’t help myself.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


By Kraggh:

Getting Shot in the Head

Ike suffered a blunt trauma to the head. Ivan, a doctor, picked him up.

"Are you alright?" asked Ike.

"A brief concussion. Computation skills compromised," said Ike. "I am hypothesizing that I can trust many of my own instincts at a level that the everage individual could trust theirs to carry out regular analysis. However, tomorrow, expect personality changes. The knock was to the back of my head, and the vibrations affected my frontal lobe where rationality and self-control are maintained. I will be agitated, possibly depressed. On a moral level, given that this is merely a blunt trauma as opposed to a spike in my brain, I would assume that I am morally trustworthy. At least we have that."

"Right," said Ivan. "I will run a few tests. This game of baseball is over."

Ian ran over from the pitcher's mount and Io ran over from the outfield. It was difficult having a game of baseball with only four people. Ian apologized to Ike for hitting him in the head with the baseball.

"It's okay," said Ivan. "He said it's going to be okay. And it's nothing that can't be fixed."

"Great," said Ian. "Suffering consequences for our actions isn't really our thing."

"Ywis, I concur," said Ike. He rubbed the back of his head, where it hurt the most. He had been distracted and looked behind him when he stood up to bad. Perhaps he would not have been as hard if he had been wearing a helmet. They would have to take that into consideration last time.

Ivan put the bat away and they left the parking lot. Io walked next to Ivan. "Tough hit," she said. "Who am I kidding? You'll be okay. At least it wasn't a bullet to the head."

"In that case, I would still be okay, only temporarily incapacitated," said Ike.

"We have yet to test that," she said.

A car drove up in front of them and several people jumped out with machine guns. One of them grabbed Ivan.

"You know I could very well test that. However, there's no point in trying if the risk is death. Proof might as well come about by natural means," said Ivan.

"Are you tempted to prove it right away?" said Io.

"Ywis," said Ike. "Your concern is the only thing to hold me back. However, in any event that I am to risk my life for someone else, it makes complete ethical sense to experiment it then."

"Wait, what's up with Ivan?" asked Io. They finally decided to pay attention to the violence playing out in front of them, and Ivan taking on several individuals with machine guns at once.

"He looks like he could use some help," said Ian.

"Why would I want to help him?" asked Io. "He's terrible. I have no idea what he's being doing, but he's got himself into some trouble, as always. If it was real trouble I would understand and I would help, but he can take care of himself."

Ivan got shot twice in the torso. He fell to the ground.

"There goes our mad scientist doctor," said Ian.

One of the thugs lifted Ivan off the ground and began dragging him to the car.

"He'll be all right," said Io.

"Just in case," said Ike, "I really think that it should be logical to do something."

"Wait, Ike, you're being affected by your blunt blow to the head! There's no point in doing anything! Where's the logic to helping Ivan when he doesn't want to be helped? Isn't that right, Ivan?"

Ivan coughed and responded to Io, "She's right. Stay out of this."

By now you, the reader, will have figured out that this is a very odd situation. Do not worry, it gets even less ordinary as things progress.

Ike was overpowered and had his hands tied behind his back as he was forced into the back of the van with Ivan. Not that he put up any fight. The drivers went off without them, ignoring Ian and Io. Ivan looked over at Ike. "It sucks," he said.

"I would consider this a peculiar situation," said Ike. "You will heal yourself afterward after we get out of it, when they take you wherever it is that they want to take you, because you clearly intend on breaking into their base of operations or meeting their head. Am I interfering?"

"Yes," said Ivan. "Now I'm going to have to start all over again. Ike, how could you do this?"

"Blunt trauma," said Ike. "I do not perceive myself as thinking straight."

"Well, let's change that," said Ivan. "Right now, you're a liability, no offense. If I can't have everything go as according to plan, might as well fulfill an unrelated objective. Help get me out of this van."

Ike broke out of his restraints with apparent ease and helped Ivan out of his. They then opened the back of the van and dropped out of it while it was going at eighty miles per hour out of town. They hit the shoulder of the road and rolled a ways. Then the drivers of the van seemed to notice and turned around.

"Now run behind me as a human shield!" said Ivan. "I really can't afford to get shot in the head!"

Ike did just that, and got shot in the head after fifteen seconds of this formation. He fell down to the ground, dead. Ivan at once dropped to the ground and covered the top of his head with his hands. The van pulled up to him, and people jumped out, and they grabbed him.

When they were about to drive off when the bullet hole in Ike's head began to glow, and then the droplets of blood that hit the ground also began to glow, and shine a brilliant silver until it blinded everyone. Only Ivan was smart enough to look away.

Ike's body stood up, then hovered above the ground, and disappeared.


By Nuile:

Deliberately I highlighted the page of text, took a breath, and hit backspace.

It wasn’t right. None of it was right. They were the wrong words.

I beat a tattoo on the table beside the laptop and finally returned my patient hands to the keyboard. There they remained, poised over the surface, ready to dance across the keys like a pianist’s fingers, bringing music to the blank whiteness . . .

But they hovered uncertainly. Where to start? Where to start? After starting over so many times already . . .

Something was wrong. The story didn’t feel like what I had set out to make it. I had already rewritten it thrice over; by now it had become stale. I had written the life out of it, and there was none left.

I rose and paced, running fingers agitated by an ague of frustration through my hair. The thought had come into my mind with such vigor, a bundle of energy waiting to be unleashed . . .

I had nurtured it and developed it, giving it all the care and attention it required . . .

It was fresh! It was full! It was alive! It had romped and frolicked through the realms of my mind in a state of elation and sublime perfection. It was the ideal idea . . .

But somehow, somewhere, on the path from my brain to my fingertips . . . it died. The beautiful story I sat down to begin was dead.

What it needed now was new life. It needed new breath.

It needed a new thought . . . and a new title.


I lunged into my chair and awakened the computer from the screensaver. I highlighted the old title and hit backspace. My fingers glided over the keys. One word appeared at the head of the page:


And it didn’t stop there . . .

Saturday, April 6, 2013


By Russell Johnson:


A whispering breeze. Floating petals, carried gently by the soft wind. Fine, course grass underfoot and the bark of trees standing out in sharp contrast to the greenery. Crowns of trees shading the sky like low-hanging clouds. A grey, dreary sky befitting my mood, and yet gently soothing my spirit with a strange beauty of its own.

Funny how one can take such notice of simple things like these at times like this. The little details of a scene that stand out in sharp clarity to an uneasy mind.

And in contrast to all the natural beauty? Grey stone sitting before me, and behind me, and everywhere around me. The ground is covered with carven stone sticking up into the air like so many sentinels.

Black fabric hugs my legs, arms, and torso, while socks and dress shoes comfort my aching feet. My head uncovered, my hat held in my hand in deep respect. A nice white tie catching the corner of my eye and completing my outfit. I sigh escaping my lips, the only oral evidence to any passerby of what I'm feeling or thinking.

A mind churning with thoughts and memories, of days long, long past. Days of love and life, days of exploring the new and reaching for the impossible, days of blind trust, trusting because I knew naught else. Days of bright colors and fun, happy times, of blocks and bears and spinning in the grass. Days of running and jumping, swinging and flying, singing and sighing.

Days of happiness. Days when the world is your backyard, or rather your backyard is the world. Days when every day is a new adventure, and every adventure is filled with fun, excitement, and complete lack of fear. Adventures from which you always come home to warm arms, the wiping of dirt, and the comfort of presence.

Days long gone. Days followed by shock, disbelief, fear, confusion. Days of finally coming to grips with reality, and then the pain sets in. The pain of knowing your world is gone, destroyed. Days of wondering whether there's any light at all left in the world.

Days of madness following days of perfection.

Why? Why is that even possible? It doesn't even make sense. It transcends the rationality of reality.

I sigh, and glance at the two spots of red connected to green staves I hold in my hand.

I drop the roses on the grave of my parents, whisper a few more words of communication, and turn to leave.

The words splayed across the stone now behind me:

George J. Thourne - Emily H. thourne


By Kraggh:

Ekelest dropped his shovel and collapsed to his knees, his face covered in dirt and his hands covered in splinters.  He coughed so hard than he could not feel any mucus in his throat.

"Help me," he said.  Tigrina helped him up.  He leaned against her shoulder.

They were inmuns.  They were not glorified like others for their nobility, for their age, for their sincerity, for their heart, for their history, for their humility, for their bravery, or for their heroics.  In fact, the inmuns were a people reknowned for their fun and their partying nature.

Tonight was by far not a party night.

"No, help drag me away," said Ekelest, exhausted.  "We need to get away right now!"

"What?  It's dead!" said Tigrina.

"That isn't just any 'it'.  That thing is an 'it'," said Ekelest.  "Come on, you're just any other person in the middle of all this.  You're just a bystander who got caught up in it all.  We're not safe.  We have to go."

Tigrina began dragging Ekelest along.  "But it's dead," she whispered to herself, bewildered and afraid.

As best he could, Ekelest got back to his feet, wincing at the pain.  At least he was catching his breath back.  He couldn't run away from the grave yet, only walk as fast he could.  His adrenalin had run dry.

"You weren't around during any of the wars we had with the nuadine," said Ekelest.  "I'm a veteren.  I knew some great people, and I knew of some evengreater people.  Someone once beheaded one of them and thought it was dead, and then it just came back and hunted down him and his friends a year later.  My friends died so that people like you didn't have to fear these feroceous aliens, now run!  We need to get more people.  We need to make sure that when it digs its way back up, there are enough local law enforcement around to kill it for good."

"But - "

"Just do it!" shouted Ekelest.  He slapped her wrist and pushed her, and she began running.

Ekelest could not catch up with her.  He ran as far as he could, and then he hid behind a tree.  He looked at what was left in his pistols.  he hated that his inmun arms were too weak to hold a Shock Grade 2.0 Rifle.  Those things were specifically made for these circumstances.  As it happened, he had these laser pistols, and he didn't have much left, so he had to make every shot cont.

He looked around the tree and located where he had dug the grave.  The loose soil was beginning to vibrate like a diaphragm.  Something was trying to push its way up.  His heart quivered.  He licked the blood off his teeth and ran a few trees farther down.

He heard the muffled explosion of the nuadine breaking free.  He closed his eyes shut and grimaced.  He could already feel the pain.  He thought of all his friends.  At least this was the definitive way to die, and they would be proud of him.

Ekelest turned around the tree.  There was nothing there, and an empty hole was in the ground.  He swore he could hear the nuadine lumping away.  It was retreating?  On the other hand, it had been beaten half to death.  Maybe he actually had the upper hand.  Ekelest took a bet, and ran in the direction of the sounds.  The hunt was on.