Featuring Frank Iero as the writer’s muse…
ZAESTRA?!! WHAT’S UP WITH TOLERANCE NOWADAYS?
RELEASING THE NEW SECTION: VERSE, VERSE, VERSE.
“DECLARATION OF HATE” IN MEMORY OF EFRAÍN HUERTA
Issue no. 1 Nov/16
A NEVER PUBLISHED BEFORE ORIGINAL SHORT STORY
Disclaimer I do not own any of the images showed in this work, except for the cover drawing they belong to their respective creators. Besides Efraín Huerta’s poem, I’m the owner all texts showed here.
Index A Short Essay On: Tolerance………………………….……
Verse, Verse, Verse. ……………………………….……..…
One Poet, One Tribute………………………………..….…
The Great Act: Painkillers……………………..…………… 5 Letters……………………………………………………… 12
We might not have the same ideas or appearance, but our hearts are equal
To l e r a n c e , t h e m o s t important virtue of our time? Tolerance. According to the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, it is the “conditional acceptance of beliefs, actions or practices that might be considered wrong but tolerable”. At many points of human history, it has been proclaimed, in both social and political ranges, to be a fundamental virtue in any multicultural community. From the Roman Empire, that allowed its conquered people to maintain their traditions, language and religion to America nowadays, known to be one of the countries providing more liberties to its citizens.
Why has tolerance become so mainstream? I think we have to think of its meaning, as it implies a diﬀerence of opinion or values. If we were dealing with a medieval society, it would be a mere concept, since people was forced to follow the same religion, laws and principles. Thankfully, this century is not like that anymore as we have freedom to think, act and believe according to our own convictions even if they diﬀer to others’. Specially in a democratic state, a multiplebelief system, tolerance is what keeps these diﬀerences from creating conflicts. Then, if tolerance is hailed this much, why are there so many wars, discussions, cases of racism, discrimination, homophobia, extreme nationalism, religious fanaticism, social exclusion, among many, many others? We can see these even in our education systems,
that use an unilateral teaching method rather than helping students develop their own ideas. Having an individual point of view is not only natural of mankind, it is also a step of the process of choosing a concept of good that is to be respected. Still, many believe the issues mentioned above are an irrefutable aspect of our everyday life, but those are, in truth, the beginning of greater problems: separation of groups, stereotypes of what is right, even war.
WHAT MAKES THE PERFECT GIFT?
NEW PRODU CT
So, is tolerance impossible at this time? No, it is not. It is necessary for us to practice it even in the simplest of cases as a solution to conflict. In the world we live where everybody is diﬀerent –yet we are equal at the same time–, it is fundamental for us to learn to accept, understand and respect each other.
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VERSE,VERSE, VERSE. Beauty of Life
There’s beauty in everything that surrounds us. In the way silence stabs us, in the way a life is captured.
It resides within flowers, and cries out for us from the sky. It feeds on our flesh and bones. Still, it’s what makes our blood pound.
There’s beauty in the way the sun lowers, even to blind eyes it’s in the shape and color of stones, in the waves of a diaphanous pond.
Even inside our fragile bodies, in the way we are braced together and then torn apart. There’s beauty in the way we rot through time.
IN MEMORY OF EFRAÍN HUERTA
THE GREAT ACT: PAINKILLERS “Please…” The room was still, frozen, oblivious to his suﬀering and claims of innocence. No keeper opened his door, nor they slid the window open at least to get a breeze of his desperation. Aaron walked back to his bed and fell on the rough fabric, breathing raggedly, gasping for air although his throat felt as it was on fire, hurt from the several hours he had screamed for mercy.
Oh and how would his head ache from trying over and over again to recall the reason he had been imprisoned in the first place, but it was useless, and the keepers were speechless and he couldn’t feel his arms, couldn’t feel them. They had tied them to his sides with one of those despicable clothes as though he were a beast.
Six cups of water a day, three meals, two hours of music. It was impressive how fast the routine had got stuck on him. Every time they would take him out and drag him through so many halls and doors and rooms and lights Aaron would get inevitably lost, oh so lost. His head began spinning at the mere thought. When he was out there was nothing he could hold onto. He even forgot the keepers faces every day.
The young man closed his eyes and rested his head on the padded, gray wall beside him. It felt like dust against his cheek, so soft, so rough. Sigh. He wished he could take his glasses oﬀ, there was no reason for him to keep on wearing them –after all, he only wanted to forget the place and drive away, find a place to hide. His breath settled down eventually but the ghost of his screams was still scratching deep within him.
All around him went silent, including his own thoughts. Ironically, he needed that silence to think. His mind rippled vaguely around the concept of people he could have known: parents, friends… There was something bothering him, and each time Brennan tried to remember close people he would come across that tangible nothing, that hole on his heart that made his eyes tear up and his hands go cold. Those absent memories were like books written in a foreign language. He had a library full of them, and oh how much did he enjoyed holding them, trying to decipher their secrets or just admiring their beauty. He was even able to destroy and tear them apart if he wanted to, but it was always too soon, too precious to him.
His mind continued rippling again, like oil carving its way inside a water body. The diﬀerence between regular individuals’
water bodies and his was that the latter was no body but a corpse.
I sank to the bottom I sank to the bottom of the ocean
Just before falling asleep –or maybe it was his actual dream, he couldn’t tell them apart– a familiar figure appeared on the centre of his vision. What was he seeing exactly? Aaron, disgraced he was, had lost his glasses. The world had been blurred by his very own eyes. He fell to the ground on his knees and tried to search for the accessory but his arms were still tied and the next thing he felt was the floor reaching up to hit his face. The figure, meanwhile, had gotten closer and even though his eyes weren’t functional and it looked like a cloud or mist or a spirit, he would never forget those features.
She’s Percocet, my love.
like a stone
Aaron can feel the words rolling down his tongue as he holds the microphone hard and carefully as a lover. He turns slightly and catches, with the corner of his left eye, the shadow of Percocet. It’s just a shadow from that angle, as his glasses only cover his frontal field of vision. But she’s the most beautiful shadow he can think of. She’s bent forward, carrying her red bass that seems to be made of lipstick. Her brown hair falls to the sides of her head and around her shoulders. Aaron can’t see it but is sure she’s wearing a baggy black tee with the imprint of a reaper on the front, he gave it to her long, oh so long ago. The song finishes, he lets out his final cry and Percocet’s eyes meet with his. And she smiles, and he smiles back, warmth filling his limbs.
YOU DIDN’T KNOW…
The idea for this story surged after the physical changes M W suffered, although the theme was changed in the last version. Page 6
The rest of their friends just celebrate the ending of their session and start packing their instruments. It’s so late, yes there’s homework, their mothers are crazy, yes, bye, goodnight, so long. It’s Aaron’s place and he just watches as his friends are swallowed by twilight. But she stays there and for a few minutes they don’t dare to look at each other, they just pick their wires and she takes her bass slowly to its case.
Once they are done, they remain silent. It’s alright that way, though, they don’t need words nor gestures. The boy –because he feels as insecure as one– approaches the feminine silhouette and they just hold each others hands. They walk together to his bedroom and close the door quietly behind them, there’s no need to say anything. Aaron feels so ashamed, she’s so beautiful and he is just a chunk of nothing. He pulls his own hair backwards and fixes his glasses, Percocet leans towards him and holds both of his hands. They are cold. Their lips collide and it just makes everything harder.
Stop consuming everything because all I need is right in front of me
They pull apart and Percocet closes her green eyes and Brennan follows, they have time to make each other cry. The engine lays
next to them. They have talked for so long about this, it’s the only way they can be together forever, they have agreed, they have everything planned. And he still feels like it’s not the right thing and the thought just drives him insane but who’s to say he’s not mad already? She says I love you, he says forgive me.
Aaron woke up gasping, unable to find enough air in the room as somebody shut his door closed. He got up and realized his arms had been freed. He stared at them for what could have been minutes, there was also no trace of his glasses and his hair was still back, just ruined by a couple of locks that fell on his forehead. The pair of limbs is trembling, looking a little reddish. Aaron wanted to believe it was because they had been pressed against his torso the reason they have long lines drew on them. He needed to.
Thick drops of sweat ran down his back, he was cold, so cold. He wasn’t paying attention to that. It had been the first vivid dream he had had during his stay at the room. If he closed his eyes he would still feel the icy hands holding his, and the tears sliding under his closed eyelids to fall into his mouth, and the words rolling down his tongue with sorrow.
He sings. I sing! And he wants to cry from joy because the face and the sensations are fading from his memory and they might never go to the surface again, but now he’s got something to hold onto and the first verses crawl between his lips flickering but they begin taking truth gradually and now his voice is firm and the warmth of past days fills his chest. And for hours, that’s the only sound that takes place in the building. And it vibrates with fear and hope and regret and even the keepers wonder where it comes from. And he feels home.
“Brennan, out” Aaron opened his eyes and escaped slumber upon the call. His arms had been freed again but this time they were covered in bandages. He got up slowly, ready for the sting of pain to strike him, but it didn’t happened. His head is pounding slightly, just that it wasn’t like the times he had blended his brain trying to recall his past. This times it felt as if he had oversleep and the sun had hit his eyes to awake him, because that happened, right? His throat was dry but his glasses were back. Brennan massaged his nose before heading to the door.
This story contains references to albums such as “I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought me your love”, “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge”,”Parachutes” and “Stomach Aches”. Frank Iero was involved in the creation of all of them. Once he was out, the door closed behind him and a couple of keepers grabbed his shoulders to lead him to the dinning hall. He noticed they were careful not to touch the bandages. As they got lost in the intricate setting of halls and wings, the young man allowed his mind to wander around questions that, for sure, he would never be able to solve on his own.
First of all he wondered why had the bandages appeared on his arms, as they didn’t hurt and he was positive he hadn’t damaged himself, it only meant he would be tied. He didn’t know, he didn’t know at all. They arrived to the chamber and Aaron was forced to seat in a corner, barely lit by the cold light that came from the ceiling. Someone placed a paper plate with rice and a plastic spoon in front of him, a cup of water followed shortly after. He took the latter and poured it into his mouth agonizingly. As soon as it touched his tongue, he could tell the sweetness wasn’t exactly natural. Water was the most eﬃcient method to get them drugged and keep the
place nice and quiet. He gave up and emptied the container.
The worst part? He was looking forward to the eﬀects.
Sometimes the place you try to escape is the place you belong.
Aaron then proceeded to put the rice inside his mouth automatically and swallow it, barely chewing or tasting it until the plate was just stained with a few grains. After that, he just remained on his seat and stared at the ceiling without truly looking at it. The background noise of whispering and nervous laughter made him feel anxious. He’d rather be alone, locked into his quiet room away from that kind of people. He was sure he was diﬀerent from them, or was it just some kind of self pity that induced him to think that? Ahhh. He wasn’t sure anymore.
BRENNAN I S AN IRISH SURNAME T HAT MEANS “SORROW”
the same keeper took his shoulder and led him outside. He thanked the silent man through his teeth –the eﬀects of the sedative had begun and he was soon unable to speak, his eyelids were heavy and the core of his body went numb.
They took him out of the hall and through many turns and doors and under infinite bright lights. Then, they entered his room.
But it wasn’t his room and instead of a bed there was a dark wooden desk positioned heavily in the middle of the room. The rest of the furniture was just a wall clock and three defenceless chairs facing the polished monster. Aaron was led to one of those chairs –the tiniest, the one that seemed apart from the others and insignificant as a trembling mouse. The other places were already occupied. Behind the desk, the outline of a tall man remained unaltered, maybe it was just a marble sculpture. He hoped it was, he needed it.
Another keeper came to pick the utensils and left immediately. Aaron waited there for someone to take him back and just as he was suspecting they had forgotten about him,
On the remaining chairs a middle aged couple was placed, the edges of his vision would go black from time to time. The woman stared at him with fear, tears began
forming on his eyes as she leaned against her partner and whispered something to his ear. The man took her hands softly and told her something Brennan couldn’t catch. He was getting tired of being there with the strangers, why did he have to? Oh, how much did he want to lock himself inside his room forever. He didn’t want to face the keepers ever again, nor that situation were they had taken him without worrying about his will. He wanted to stay trapped between the thick walls for the rest of his miserable life and never feel the sun on his face ever again, he had decided the place was simpler as nobody questioned his acts and there were no new problems.
him. Aaron can feel her tears falling on his shoulder and going through his clothes. He got scared suddenly, he got the impression that they had just decided something about him and he just wouldn’t know. His eyes darted to all directions of the gray room. The man that came with the woman won’t stop staring at him, and the one behind the desk is just filling a paper.
The adults began talking. Yes, he was Aaron Brennan, he was 17 years old and the physical description was flawless: coppery hair, white skin, thin body, yes, that was a consequence of his cureless illness. Brennan flinched uncomfortable as he heard cureless. There was something he didn’t know. That were hiding it from him, or maybe he had forgotten that. His head began hurting again and the air was stuck inside his lungs but the medicine soothed those reactions and nobody paid him any attention.
Percocet and Aaron had planned this so long, so painfully long time. This is the perfect night, his parents are not home and they just had a session with their band, they have no regrets and their dreams belong to each other. They toss a coin into the air and it decides Percocet will be first. Aaron cries at the decision but luck has already marked the way. Percocet cries as well and whispers how much she loves him and how much she wants to do this with him. He’s the chosen one, Percocet chose him and he has chosen her, he would do anything for her, even if there was nowhere left to go he would take her there.
The adults continued talking about him but the drug is becoming more powerful and he can’t hear what they are saying. But they are done and the woman starts crying and hugs
Later, he is told he has been freed by his parents.
He takes the engine and more tears fall from his eyes, he tries to hold them back but they are desperate to go and collide against the floor and mattress and skin. It’s so elegant, so beautiful, with polished curves and dark skin. Aaron feels the need to sing, it always happen to him, each times he’s experiencing strong emotions they find a way out through screams and cries and borrowed words. His voice is broken.
I miss you I miss you so far And the collision of your kiss that made it so hard… Made it so hard…
Percocet smiles and kisses him again. Aaron puts the gun next to her head and shoots. The sound echoes one time between the walls of the room but it’s gone briefly. He begins trembling violently. She’s laying on the bed, her hair forming a halo around her head, blood coming from his forehead, her greens eyes stare at the void of death. That’s what she wanted, but she was too coward to do it herself. And he was too coward to tell her to end that madness.
The trembling man takes his eyes away from the disturbing image and places the gun now
Percocet is the name of a drug that clams pain.
next to his head, it’s both cold and hot under his finger, it will just take a motion of the appendage to take his own life away, it’s so romantic. He smiles, he doesn’t regret anything, he pulls the trigger.
And nothing happens. Aaron tries again and again and his finger hurt from trying so many times but he just doesn’t feel any kind of pain and the air supply for his lungs ends, because he realizes there was only one bullet. He cries out in despair and sorrow and even his surname makes sense now. There’s only a way to go with her and he rushes to the bathroom and begins filling the bathtub with cold water. It will leave a mess for sure but it will be worthy. Brennan opens his father’s collection of old razors and picks one, he’s got to be quick, nobody can ruin this.
It isn't that much fun, staring down a loaded gun So I won't stop dying, won't stop lying…
He doesn’t know if it’s still his own voice or just his imagination. He gets into the bathtub and the ocean saltwater of his eyes falls into the freshwater. It’s barely warm but he wants to believe it will work. The razor is so sharp he doesn’t feel it when it cuts through his skin, his blood begins
pounding out in slow motion. It was a clean vertical cut, not one of those short inoﬀensive ones. His head begins spinning but he’s smiling again, the warmth makes that blood go out faster and he losses consciousness.
For showing us how to change the world Rather than making empty music And for inspiring this soul No amount of thank you’s will ever be
There’s just peace.
enough to pay for your
Killer verses. And The next day Aaron wakes up in the room, his skins bothers him, he wants to take it out. But his arms are tied to his sides to keep him from hurting himself more. They give him painkillers to relieve the pain. The blood loss aﬀected his nervous system. That day he learns he’s diagnosed with dementia and he decides he wants to forget.
In the end we all are alone Either way, there’s someone who is Representing and understanding Our sorrow
The end! See you in the next issue!