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Table of Contents o

Letter from the Editor


Poems: • •


Non-Fiction: • •


The 13 th Floor The Bus

Fiction: • •


Ode to Tea My Sins: A Poem without Grace

Making it Make Sense Retribution with a Cause

About the Author

Letter From the Editor This is a collection of my work that has come to me in very unexpected ways, I never knew events in my life could ever be used in poetry or fiction, or any kind of writing for that matter. But I’m glad it is because it has lead me to write these creative works of writing for you today. Hope you enjoy reading and much as I did writing! -Ashley Gomez


Ode to Tea As a bachelorette it is difficult to choose There’s: Earl Grey and English Breakfast, Yorkshire and Pomegranate, And Irish, and PG Tips Each tall dark and handsome. How am I to make a decision between the each of you? How you each sway me with that wonderful fragrant aroma of yours, You all have your own way to stray me away from your competitors And bring me straight back to you. You style yourself so well throughout the day. Each mug is like a collection of well-tailored suits They’re all there just sitting in a large confined space, And it’s just deciding on one that’s the hardest. But in the end there is only one that has stolen my heart, And that is the Earl Grey, In the tall royal blue mug waiting patiently In front of me by the counter awaiting for me to give him some sugar.

My Sins: A Poem without Grace The dirt in the backyard flew away It flew around & around & around

Above the fence and over the back street

Why are you looking for dirt?

You have to find it after looking for it

Because I only want to feel it

It is better to be covered in that dirt Than pretend you’re clean


The 13th Floor The elevator was broken, the phone was supposed to be too… we felt trapped just like in a horror movie and we screamed in terror as the phone was ringing after we threw it across the room to hang up. There wasn’t supposed to be anyone on the other end because the phone was already old and there was no plug in… But I’m getting ahead of myself, this is the story of the phone on the 13th floor. My friends and I were celebrating one of their birthdays in downtown Austin and we happened to be near the The Driskill Hotel so me being both the history nerd and the big mouth asked if they’d heard of it. Since being the history nerd I wanted to stop by because it’s a beautiful historical Victorian hotel but it’s also one of the most haunted hotels in America. Now I am the last person to take to go see a scary movie even if all the lights are on and there are other people in the room, so going to the Driskill was actually the last thing I wanted to be doing, hence the haunted bit. But my friends being horror movie and supernatural enthusiasts decided they wanted to go and since it was my friend’s birthday I thought I’d take one for the team. As we entered we looked around and saw gorgeous chandeliers, elegant marble, and expensive antique wood and pretty much anything fancy you could name. We figured since the inside was so nice the very top would have a killer view, so we took the elevator to the very top floor, which also happened to be the 13th floor of the hotel. Everything had gone so far so good and I had actually been rid of the fear that had been haunting me as we stepped in the Driskill, until we reached the 13th floor. It was a very small space with only 5 rooms and no windows at the top but it looked like the elongated illusions you see in movie where the rooms look farther away than they are. And in the corner there was an old Victorian phone on a table with a mirror above it. It looked so old timey and cool so I asked my friend to take a picture of me holding the old phone, but as soon as I picked it up to pose I heard the voice of a little girl on the other end, but the phone wasn’t even plugged in I went pale and mouthed to my friends “there’s a little girl on the phone”, one of them took the phone from me but had an intense look on her face and suddenly hung up and said we should run. After being utterly freaked out we ran to the elevator, which we figured was our safe blanket at this point, until the phone rang and rang, and we could have sworn was getting louder, we frantically pushed “the down button” to release us from this real life horror movie. But the elevator wasn’t working, and we were so terrified. We ran toward the red exit sign and bolted down all 13 flights of stairs and booked it out of the hotel; and my friend never did tell me what she heard on the phone that day.

The story of late that my mom always tells people comes out when someone asks “So how do you do it when Ashley comes home? Do you bring her? Does she drive? Or does she take the bus?” Once hearing this my mom always begins with “Oh yes the Bus, have I told you about that?” Well she was supposed to get on the 9am Megabus from Austin to Dallas for Easter Break and she was supposed to call me when she got up so I would know when she made it to the bus okay. But I never got a call, I waited….. and still no call, so I decided to call, it must have been at least 20 times and nothing. I kept thinking something happened to her, what if she didn’t get back home last night? What if she was taken mid-way to the bus? What if something awful happened to her? All these questions were going through my head and finally I couldn’t take it anymore, I called both the campus police and any RAs available until I could reach one, including some people from Main Building. So one of them finally got in touch with me and told me they would first check her room and would call soon after. And those have to have been the most agonizing 5 minutes of my life. After waiting what felt like forever I finally I get a call, and it was her, my daughter, it was from Ashley! I cried and I cried but I was also so angry at this girl, for all this pain and sadness she cause me. Boy, did she get quite the lecture when she got home. As it turns out the she wasn’t missing or not come home, the whole time she was sleeping! She didn’t hear the phone, or the door, or anything because she was out cold. During all this commotion she had not only overslept, she missed the bus too. After that heart attack and near death experience I nearly had, my daughter ended up getting three things that day, a new bus ticket, a tracking device, and a boyfriend. But that’s a whole other story.



Making it Make Sense Everyone has a place of origin and usually knows where they or their family originate from. My family is one of the exceptions. Until last year I never really questioned where my family came from, all I knew was when I filled out forms we were always classified under Mexican and Hispanic. I had always assumed our family had some roots in Mexico but I honestly had no idea. I had asked my mom if she knew anything about where we originated from and she started by saying she asked her grandmother the same thing. But every time she did, she would get shot down and my great-grandmother would change the subject. For some reason this was very hush-hush business, and no one spoke about it. It began to intrigue me on why no one wanted to talk about this matter and so began my journey to find out where I was really from. So I began to do some digging. I got on to find out anything I could to solve this mystery. As I filled out my information to see where I resided, I couldn’t help but get anxious and a little skiddish. What could have possibly happened that would cause my family to react in such an unsettling manner? I continued filling out things like: Name, DOB, Mother, Father, Grandparents, Birthdays, and City/State. It felt like I was never going to get through this. Then it was the moment of truth, it felt like forever watching the little ancestry leaves twirl in rhythmic circles on my computer as I awaited my fate. Finally after what seemed like hours of waiting, the results popped up. It read: Place of Origin- Sevilla, Spain. And out of nowhere there was a list of over 100 documents in the “Immigration and Emigration” section that covered both my family and Sevilla, Spain. It turns out a very long time ago, we’re talking like the 1800s, my family was of royal descent. But something scandalous occurred that caused the rest of the family line to never speak of it. According to this my family used to be very wealthy and then something quite similar to the

Russian Revolution happened, we were ruined, we lost our title and were then exiled to live in Venezuela for some time until our identities slowly became nonexistent and we blended in with everyone else. According to the documents from the News Papers and archives whatever happened back then was big, as big as the Titanic sinking big, but as quickly as it escalated, it just as quickly disappeared out of the history books. All that was left was these saved documents on this website. I continued reading though the papers and soon I found that around the 1900s my family had moved to America and had since then settled in Texas. It was still unknown to me what scandal occurred so I carried on with my research. I had to know what happened and why this scandal sparked all this trouble. One question was answered about my history but why we didn’t talk about it was still a mystery. After about the 87th searched document I found what I had been looking for, it was a document labeled CLASSIFIED in all caps and italicized with what I now recognized as our royal seal. But before I could click on the document the screen went completely black. The power went out... Although the plug had literally been pulled on my progress, that wouldn’t stop my endeavor to uncover the truth.

Retribution with a Cause “It’s better to be covered in dirt than pretend you’re clean”. That is what I tell myself every day. My name is Jack Scheffelson and I am a trained mass murderer. It’s kind of my job, well part time job. When I’m not off killing people for a living I come home to my wife and partner, Michelle. She is my pride and joy and more than any man could ask for, when you ask her to hide bodies for you she’ll drop what she’s doing and is right there when you need her. I’m a lucky guy, I know. Technically my wife and I are Mr. and Mrs. Gerard to our friends who know nothing of us. To them Michelle is a nurse at the St. Michael Hospital and I play the role of a “prestigious” lawyer as I’m told, which is pretty handy as an undercover position. Granted we did actually go to school for these degrees but we both had another career in mind. One that involved a little more of an ass kicking. Now don’t take it the wrong way, I’m not some psycho going on a killing spree, my work is to take care of threats and people who are in the way of my company’s work. The Sicarius Company is who I work under and the new man in charge happens to be my best friend, Sean Carson. He has known my wife and I since Pre-School, kind of strange right? We all grew up overseas on the same military base our parents worked in and for as long as we can remember we’ve all been interested in crime scenes, mystery, and overall action. It’s always been a wonder to us, until one day we were told each of our father’s just so happened to die at the same time. Suddenly a great opportunity arose, a man named Frank Jones came to us and offered us jobs right out of high school, he put us into college and got all three of us great jobs. He told us he had worked with our parents and that he needed our help figuring out how they actually died. Frank has taught us all we know, and as of now my wife, my best friend, and I are all working

together to not only find the killers, but anyone else who tries to get in the way of this search or comes off as a potential threat. Believe it or not being a highly trained mass murderer a pretty intense pressured job, and there’s times where I do get concerned about what I do. And then question myself if I killed the right guy or not, or why I’m really doing this. I know it’s because it’s something Frank asked us to do in memory of our parents, and I mean he gave me a better chance at a better life, but I just don’t understand why we are actually doing this… Half the time Frank doesn’t tell us who we’re killing or why, he just tells us to do it. But what do they have to do with our dad’s deaths? And why aren’t we spending more time finding their killers instead of this secret vendetta Frank seems to have? It’s just none of it makes sense after a while. In times like these I sometimes I like to pretend my wife and I are really just a nurse and a lawyer living in the suburbs with all our friends, but then I realize that’s not who we are and then I remind myself that “it’s better to be covered in dirt, than pretend you’re clean.” It was just another day at work, well the fake work, and I was going out for lunch. That’s when I noticed him. He was just there sitting on a park bench reading a newspaper but every two minutes he would put down his paper and stare at me while I was waiting in line at the food truck. Pick up…read…put down…look up, that was his routine and then he’d walk away. He did that for three days, every day the same time, and then he just disappeared until the fourth day I caught him writing a note on my car and made a run for it. The note read:

Go to your house and don’t be alarmed, I did what I had to get ahold of you, go to the mantel for more instruction.

I jumped in my car and speeded straight to the house. He turned the key in the lock and opened the door. It was completely empty, there was nothing left in his previous home — furniture, decor, everything gone; all except a bright post-it right above the mantel just like the guy said. He noticed Michelle was gone too, she was supposed to have a luncheon with the other nurses at the house today, but she was nowhere to be found. He read the next note:

This was the only way I could contact you and get you to listen to me, I know how your father died and I have Michelle. Come to this address so we can talk: 700 Yorkshire Ave, Richmond Hills Why in the hell does this guy have Michelle, why would he take her? When I get my hands on this guy! And he said he knows something. What could this guy possibly know? I crumpled up the note and headed to the car, when I got there I broke down the door and stormed inside. “Michelle? Michelle! Where are you?” I frantically yelled. “She’s safe don’t worry”, said the man in the darkest corner of the room. “Come, sit” he instructed. “You have no—“ I started. “That’s no way to treat your father-in-law. My name is Tim Parker. Now I’ve already explained things to Michelle and after you hear me out you can see her again”. “Your father and Sean’s are still alive, but they are being held in an isolated prison. I alone was able to escape. The Sicarius Company you’ve been working for these past 23 years is corrupt and tried to have us killed when we found out. Luckily I had a decoy and was able to get away, the world thinks I’m dead and I did it for my daughter’s own good, she is all I have left. I wanted to protect her and her new husband, but then I found out they drafted you both and found the numerous accounts of identities you had when I was tracking you down. You both moved

every five years, started with Mr. and Mrs. Green, very creative I must say, then Mr. and Mrs. Clark, and the newest Mr. and Mrs. Gerard. Travelled from Rome, San Francisco, then Austin. I have spent years looking for you three. And I knew I had to get to you before they did, but I was only able to get to you and Michelle, I couldn’t find Sean.” “Well geez you sure know how to ease a guy into things.” I started again. “Wait, so do I know I can I trust you? You did kidnap my wife and rob my home, why should I believe you?” The little man pulled out a dog tag with bedazzled blue, green, and silver crystals outlining it with the inscription reading Daddy will be with you no matter where you are when you wear this. “That’s the dog tag Michelle made you in Elementary School… right before you disappeared” I began quietly. “And she told me you engraved it for her and—” “Then I had one made too so we’d match” finished Parker with a m smile. “So what happened to you? What about our dad’s?” I had so many questions for him. “Why are they in prison? What did you find out? And when can I see Michelle?” As I sat to ponder all this I realize how much sense it was making. It explained why I felt uneasy about our job, why we could never stay in one place because they didn’t want us asking questions, and why they reeled us into their company whoever “they” really are, it was to keep us quite. And Frank, is he behind this? Or is he just as oblivious as we were? Parker began to snap me out of my thoughts “All in good time my boy. First let’s get Michelle in here and we’ll go over this all together and find a way to take down the company and free Howard and your father and find a way to get Sean to be a part of our newly founded rebel group” explained Parker. “And exactly how are we going to do that Mr. Parker?” I asked genuinely curious.

“Well Jack old boy, initially we’re going to need back up and lots of it, and lucky for us I’m friends with over half the globe. From there we’ll plan accordingly and make the proper arrangements. And when we finally get to them, their secrets will be taken to the grave with them, because they’ll all have a bullet in them for every person they’ve ever had slaughtered.”

About the Author

Ashley lives in Austin, Texas where she attends University to become a teacher, she is interested in writing because she loves working with kids and looks forward to teaching them about writing and seeing what they can do. In her work she chose topics that revolved around her life and things she finds interesting.

The Unexpected  
The Unexpected