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Aristotle


“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.�

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Contents faculty advisors Shawn Randall, Art Mark Bennion, English

editors designers Pratik Banjade Robert Barber Alex Bush David Clayton Cheyenne Collins Amy Falke Gretchen Gehlbach Kelli Goldsberry Sterling Green Mark Grow Kailee Harrison Kellie Jamieson Kieffer McBride Katy Rea Scott Rivers Brad Sant Natalie Seid Prasun Sharma Kristin Smith Marissa Thompson Cara Thompson Brian Walton

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Josh Arnett Jenalyn Cloward Rachel Cope Jackie Crozier Elizabeth Dodds Louisa George Katherine Gingrich Natalie Hill Michael Howard Mallorie Lamb Hillary Lytle Emma Mason Hayley Nuttall Amanda Ostler Katie Pace Rachel Polay Shelby Ransbottom Devyn Ricks Janae Roberts Racheal Smith Emily Soule Carrie Southcott Kristen Stubbs Sean Ulibarri


potluck wars cardon 06 amanda a vital (resisted) magnestism bowen 08 elizabeth lion austa knutson 09 the molly mokler 10 curtains camera emma mason 11 disposable assassination julia willis 12 my mammals jay warnick 13 egg-laying the poem john blackham 14 drake, of man stephanie fullmer 21 enemy of a molly mormon katie nelson 22 confessions the doorsteps cassandra hulse 25 on

black wardrobe emilia smith 26 the flint corn brittany judd 30 grandmother, identity john apgar 34 secret days c.l. patterson 36 sunless girl laura ross 41 daddy’s and rust lyndee gardner 46 stubble mason stoddard 47 entropy bobcat sutcase bomb david delimont 52 the life in 250 words aaron bonney 54 my gallary students 56 byui writer information 72 bios

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Introduction

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Fear. We have all tasted it. It is

the tinge at the back of our necks, the cold sweat on our brow, the churning in our stomach, the apprehension of the unknown. As student artists, we often are held back from expressing our innermost feelings and thoughts because of this four-lettered word. We want to be freed from the grasp of this invisible captor. As

students explore the creative world, they can overcome and break free from the chains of fear, self-doubt and rejection. Each one of us is unique; we each have something special and different to bring to the table. This student lead magazine is the opportunity for BYU-Idaho students to break free from the chains of fear and share the creativity they have within.

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By Amanda Cardon

A

ll the dishes lay out on the long table, mismatched china and serving utensils gleaming in the sun as the housewives set their offerings in a row. Beatrice Anderson’s opus: a magnificent star-shaped

Jell-O ring in blue and red with creamy yogurt layers between the colors. Raspberries and blueberries sat suspended in the appropriate flavors of gelatin, perfect squirts of whipped cream crowning the top of the mold.

DESIGN BY AMY FALKE

Catherine Graham’s oeuvre: an impeccable cake with

a triumphantly rippling American flag, piped on the top in red and blue icing and a cloak of smooth white buttercream, hiding homemade strawberry cake.

“Darling, it is simply marvelous,” Mrs. Anderson said to her competitor, a token display of goodwill that hid the seething hatred beneath. “Every year you whip up something even more fabulous, dear,” Mrs. Graham replied, likewise not meaning a word of it as she eyed the impossible-looking Jell-O mold. Fourth of July, every year: the ladies of Springwood’s oldest church, decked out in white gloves, flowered hats, and pastel linen, husbands and children similarly coiffed, took their finest work to McIntyre Park to be judged by the congregation. Granted, that wasn’t the express purpose of the yearly potluck, but that’s what it became, no matter what anyone else thought the real reason for the buffet was—celebrating independence? How cute! It was Mrs. Anderson and Mrs. Graham who destroyed the competition over the years, coming to a stalemate in their own war as no one in the congregation could decide who was the better cook— meats, salads, side dishes, fruit concoctions, desserts, breads, Jell-O, it didn’t matter the medium—and soon a monster was created.

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Just as they were admiring each other’s work, a third dessert joined the fray. Kristina Hoffman, the wife of Major Hoffman, who was recently stationed at Fallon Air Force Base, placed a beautiful white cheesecake onto the table. The cheesecake was swirled with strawberry and blueberry ribbons and crowned with fresh fruit and glaze made from scratch on the table next to the Jell-O mold and the flag cake. “Late to the party, dear?” Mrs. Graham said sweetly, eyeing Mrs. Hoffman’s four unruly children who were rolling in the grass and getting their clothes dirty. “Michael had a small bathroom emergency, and Jessica hid my keys in her bedroom,” Mrs. Hoffman explained with an apologetic smile on her sweet but somewhat plain and hastily made-up face. “Not to worry, darling,” said Mrs. Anderson as she examined the cheesecake out of the corner of her eye. “Oh, that looks simply scrumptious,” Mrs. Graham added, which made young Mrs. Hoffman blush a little. “Perfectly easy to make, and it’s so appropriate for the Fourth,” Mrs. Hoffman said. “Quite,” replied Mrs. Anderson. Rachel, Mrs. Hoffman’s youngest, reached up to the table to investigate one of the salads, prompting her harried mother to grab her and cart her off to her father.

Slowly, Mrs. Anderson and Mrs. Graham looked at each other, both thinking the same thing as they looked at the unattended cheesecake. They were long gone by the time Mrs. Hoffman returned to see her prized dessert smashed on the dewy green grass, as if tugged off the table by a roving toddler. Only the two other women, reigning Potluck Champions, knew what had happened. “Unlucky,” Mrs. Anderson quipped as she watched the ruckus that surrounded the fallen cake. “Very,” Mrs. Graham agreed. “Well, it’s just a cheesecake,” Mrs. Hoffman said, trying to sound like she wasn’t upset, but the creases around her eyes and mouth and a tired-looking strand of hair stuck to her temple seemed to say otherwise. X-men action figure in hand, her little son crouched down and scooped up a finger of the ruined cheesecake filling, spreading it all over his face as he ate. “Yummy!” he crowed. Zacharias Smith, the preacher, did his best to smooth over this little hiccup in the afternoon’s proceedings, assuring Mrs. Hoffman that the congregation appreciated her sacrifice, even as Mrs. Graham and Mrs. Anderson stood to one side, silent, guilty, and satisfied.

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a vital

(resisted)

MAGNETISM

by: Elizabeth Bowen

A

posted caution warning,

“Wet Paint� produces in me a stark reaction: It is the pang of urgency to slap my hand on the recovering surfaceto disturb the scene. I marvel at the bluntness of the impulse, for just as attracted as I am to the tip of earth jutting from solidity am I to any presented shape of self-ruin: The absolute edge and prospect of stepping off is naturally the universal appeal; an intent which purely is the sweet whim of raw, human being. And as I tense against it, yet is the lure fatally desirable. As direly as to thrive I yearn for the thrill of thrusting myself into that which aims to obliterate my mortal passivenessYet, unnaturally nonchalant, I pass by.

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the lion Written: Austa Knutson

Designed: Cara Thomson

photo by: Katy Rea

Baleful yellow ocher Swirled with umber Ringing tiny pools Of aqueous black, I gazed at the lion’s eyes And it gazed back. It was dead. And yet it looked ruffled, as if wrested, Tousled into a proper pose after death. This beast that simply went about living a savannah life— Lounging in the shimmering heat Tearing carrion with big, yellowed teeth Yawning at flies and flicking round, scarred ears Surveying the grass for curious flickers of movement— Till one day a bolt of lightning thundered through the air And cleaved a minute hole straight through it, A bloody, acrid bullet That tore at its life essence as it spiraled deep, Trailing wisps and fragments of consciousness That quickly burned away under the smoldering African sun. And now this leonine creature This descendent of the Garden of Eden Crossed an ocean and landed here, in this trophy room, To gaze sullenly back at me— Lifeless, stuffed, a mere facsimile, Yet somehow malevolent, As if danger lurked under the curve of its claws And inside the snarling mouth And laser-beamed through the steady pupils To stare me down, a weaker teenager Unable to hold my own against this other teenager Of a different species. We gazed at each other Though the lion didn’t know it And I slowly held out a hand, palm-up, And patted its leathery nose And fingered its dry, course fur, Like fine broom bristles, And suddenly longed To wash my hand Of preservative and death.

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Curtains By Molly Mokler

It’s a crack Between the hotel-style curtains of our apartment Two thick sheets Wrinkled like an accordion, along a metal rail A dusty beige They don’t completely meet in the center They leave a slit of window, a slit of light. I wonder If the children look in and see our late night cartoons, bowls of spaghetti in pajama laps, Or if the housewife glances over and compares our Goodwill furniture to our 42 inch television. They can’t see the sharpcut laughter dancing through the cluttered rooms Or the careful memories slipped between cheap photo frames and scattered fantasy novels. Six inches and a passing glance.

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A line of sunlight on our own grey carpet Two pairs of feet making shadows

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Photo by Diana Sh

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MY ASSASSINATION

Written By: Julia Willis

Designed By: Prasun Sharma Methinks that I had not deserved as thou hast given me.

I may admit my swollen heart had greatly been misplaced. I formed the battlements, the glory, all within my fancy,

To cut, to conquer, the kingdoms round, to ever be erased.

Yet when I came to meet with thee, with thee and all the Senate, I found the crowd all pressing in and flashing silver blades. The casting of the die, the dropping of the gauntlet,

All planned out and all prepared; away the reason fades.

I feel the pain in agony. O’ why this violence? O’ why this death? From far away I heard the cry that not for me was answered.

Blinded by blood, I tripped and fell and took within a final breath. I see the faces encircled round me and see your visage blurred.

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Ye stood above, my sweetest friend, I only thought I knew.

My heart is fading and all I say is, “Not you. Not you. O’ not you too!”

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the Poem John Blackham He came to with a feeling of nausea and disorientation. The room was dark. Everything about it sent shivers of déjà vu through him. He didn’t know how he got there. When he tried to remember, a sharp headache struck him, so intense that he nearly fainted. He made to stand up and found to his surprise he was already standing. The only light in the room spilled in through a window right by a bedside, dimly illuminating the figure of the girl asleep on the bed. He felt a thrill as he looked on her face, She was beautiful. Her hair gathered like a halo around her head on her pillow, framing her heart-shaped face in blonde locks. Her breath escaped her plump lips in slow, relaxed rhythm. “Alice,” he cooed. A smile split his face. It was Alice. How did he know her? The headache intensified. He hissed in pain and sat on the bed, massaging his temples. He knew this girl, and very well, but he couldn’t recall how. Perhaps if he could recall where he had been before showing up here? Much more pain. He squeezed his eyes shut and rubbed

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all the harder. The closest thing to a memory that he could conjure up was a blank, white void. The harder he tried to remember, the worse the headache became. He gave up and let himself relax. “Alice,” he said again, and she stirred. Inside of him, something bubbled and fluttered. He turned to look at her again. Sweet warmth spread from just beneath his sternum. She shivered a little bit. The room was a bit chilly, and her blanket had bunched around her legs. He moved to draw it over her body. “Don’t touch her,” came a voice from behind him. His heart nearly exploded. He spun around in terror and saw who had spoken. Her voice was distinctly female, which was the only way he knew that she was a she. Her face was shrouded by a black gossamer veil over a white mask with painted


lips and empty eye-holes. Apart from the odd headwear, she wore a thick, chequered covering like a funeral shroud, fastened shut by a row of doublebreasted buttons from her collar down to the floor. “Who are you?” he said, “What are you doing here?” “I should ask the same of you,” she returned. “I imagine you would not be able to answer.” “I don’t know why I’m here,” he confessed, “Or who I am, exactly. But who are you?” “Did you notice what is in your hand?” she asked. Curiously, he hadn’t noticed since waking that his fist was clenched. He brought his hand to his face and opened it. A piece of crumpled paper lay in his palm, which he opened. Though the room was dark, letters of fiery tendrils were visible on the paper. It was a love poem. It was addressed to “My Dear Drake,” someone who was, to judge from the poem, a person free of any fault and owning every virtue. He admitted internally that it wasn’t a very good poem— the rhyming scheme was amateurish at best, he raised an eyebrow at the malapropisms—but it was sweet and heartfelt. “Where did this come from?” he asked. “You’ll find that the open page on her notebook, there on the table, is the original of that poem.” “She wrote this poem!” He said excitedly. “She must have written it about me! Am I right?” “Essentially.” “That means she loves me back, doesn’t it?” “She loves a boy named Drake. She wrote a poem about him. Around the time she finished writing is when you came into existence. You are her poem.” In his vague understanding of everything, he didn’t really think too much of poems as living, breathing things like himself. “I don’t quite follow.” “I don’t expect you to. Alice described you as smart, not a metaphysicist.” “So, if I’m her poem, who are you? How do you know so much about it?” “You may call me Gomutyr,” she said, “It means Mystery, with a capital M. It is not the name of the writings that made me, but it’s the best I can give you. Your life is a blessing and a curse. She created you, and now you

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are here. Know this: you must never, under any circumstances, touch her, or speak to her, or make contact in any way with the human world.” “I can’t touch Alice? Or talk to her?” he asked. “No.” “What kind of rule is that? What if I decide not to obey your rule?” She cocked her head, and said, “Bad things—but don’t worry about that now. You look exhausted. Coming into existence is difficult work. Sleep now, and tomorrow your life can begin in earnest.” Involuntarily, he relaxed, and found himself overwhelmed with sleepiness. Waves of exhaustion lapped at his eyelids and the base of his neck, and he sank to the floor, unconscious. The light was intense. Drake’s eyes opened to the blinding world of what was probably daylight. He didn’t have much experience to go by, so he had to make assumptions. The room was painted in electric blue and black. A really quite large chest of drawers opposite the four-poster bed upon which Alice had been sleeping lie open, clothes spilling out of it.

Across the room was a massive mirror, in front of which was Alice. She turned around, and began to leave the room, taking no notice of Drake. She was even more beautiful awake. Her hair now fell in shimmering locks about her shoulders, and her smoky green eyes shone with a sparkle that sent a thrill down Drake’s spine.

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Even her hideous nose-ring could be forgotten in the ensemble. Her rosy perfume filled his nostrils as she disappeared out the door, and he could do nothing but follow. The place was altogether dodgy. It was dirty, the cement ground cracked and covered in old gum. The buildings were old concreteand-cinder-block structures, and the lockers were scratched and dented. The sea of people closed in all around, but Alice flitted effortlessly through the crowds. She didn’t seem to escape anyone’s notice. Everywhere she went, a pack of girls called out to her, or a boy with a look of ill intent would greet her. To all she would smile with bared teeth and wave her slender hand. Every wave was like a slap to Drake’s face. It was so unfair. She had written her poem about him, not these people! Especially not the unsavory-looking young man she was talking to, and seemed unsettlingly comfortable with. Drake couldn’t stand the sight of him. He wore a tiny little beard just under his lower lip, and his short, spiky hair was a shade of orange that seemed incredibly unnatural even to someone whose reckoning of the world dated less than twenty-four hours back. His white shirt looked very comfortable and clean, and his jeans were tight around his skinny legs. He gave off a sickly sweet, musty smell. “Really?” he yelled at her. “You’re hanging out with him?” To his surprise, she frowned and inclined her head in his direction. Could she hear him? “Alice!” he cried, “Alice, it’s me, Drake!” She squinted her eyes, looking straight through him. “What’s up, Alice?” one of the losers asked her. “You okay?” “Yeah, I’m fine,” she said, “I just thought someone was calling my name.” She shook her head and turned back to her friends.


“You’re just paranoid,” said the boy. “You’re just a jerk,” she said with a grin and made to punch him playfully. He grabbed her arm. Drake’s breath caught in his throat. The boy pulled her in closer to him, and she kissed him. The boy kissed her back. Drake raised one shaking fist, and let it fly. The boy reeled from the blow with a yelp. So Drake could interfere with the world after all! Drake began to trembling with excitement. The boy’s spectacularly white shirt now shone red from his bleeding nose. “Drake, what happened?” shrieked Alice. “Drake?” Was this Drake? This couldn’t be Drake. “Drake, what happened?” came a voice over his shoulder. He spun around to find Gomutyr, her veil untouched by the slight breeze. “We do not interfere with their world!” “Really?” he yelled, “I just found out we can.” She was twenty feet tall. Her hands stretched down on unnaturally long and boneless arms. They grabbed him, drawing him up to her eye level. The empty eye-holes gaped at him. “At what cost, Drake? Did it feel good, dipping your finger into the fabric of reality? My rule does not exist for my sake, but for yours! Did that occur to you? Look at your hand.” A third hand emerged from her covering, grabbed his right arm brought it before his face. He had no right hand. The flesh ended in a clean stump at his wrist. “You can’t survive in the real world, Drake.” Her voice was softer. “Your existence is locked up in this girl’s mind.” “So if I ever touch or talk to her, I disappear?” he spat. “Just like that?” She set him down. She

was his height. “Even if I had been by your side the whole time you hit him, I couldn’t have protected you for very long in the human world. Do not attempt to interfere again.” Alice escorted Real Drake to a place that smelled oddly clean for a school like this one, with pale-green tiles and newer-looking paint.

Drake watched as a woman in white took Real Drake away into another room behind the desk. Alice took a seat in one of the many chairs that lined the walls, and plugged buds into her ears, tinkering with her phone with one hand. Drake sat down next to her and watched her intently. He was calmer now, but he couldn’t rid himself of the sense of betrayal. But really, he reasoned, whom had she betrayed? Not him, certainly. It was only because of Real Drake he even existed. Still, he wanted to be the one to protect her, to care for her. He reached toward her, and it was all he could do not to let his hand rest on hers. He pulled from his pocket the original Poem. Strong, it said. Caring. Kind. Chivalrous, respectful, and loving. That was what Real Drake was to Alice. He alone could make her feel


so safe and loved. He, Drake the Perhaps Not So Real, could not. Even after all that thinking, he still felt betrayed. She didn’t even know he was there, and still he felt like she had tossed him aside. But then, of course he would feel that way. The Poem said he was faithful and protective, and maybe a little bit jealous—Just like Real Drake, about whom it had been written. Perhaps he had misjudged Real Drake. Real Drake emerged from the door behind the desk, a bandage on his nose and cotton balls in his nostrils. His expression was cold. Alice popped the buds out of her ears, her beautiful smile in place. “How is it?” asked Alice. “It sucks,” Real Drake muttered. “Nose is broke.” “I’m so sorry!” said Alice. “Wasn’t your fault.” “Are you going to be okay?” “Yeah. I’m going home, actually. Going to take it easy.” “Okay,” Alice said, though she looked dismayed. “I’ll miss you in class.” “Sorry,” Real Drake replied in a flat voice. He headed for the door. “I’ll see you tomorrow!” she said. Real Drake was out the door. Alice sat back down, replacing the buds in her ears. Back to the phone. “Are you feeling unwell?” asked the lady in white from behind the desk in a loud, pointed tone. “I’m really tired,” said Alice, not looking up from her phone. “I need to rest a bit.” The woman sighed, and sat down, busying herself with whatever it was she did. Drake considered what to do next. He guessed Alice was going to be true to her word, and stay here for a while. He still wanted to protect her, in the absence of Real Drake, but something about Real Drake rubbed him the wrong way. He stood up and peered out the door and down the hallway. Real Drake was still visible at the end of the corridor. Drake looked back at Alice, and then began to follow Real Drake.

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After Drake had followed Real Drake for a few minutes, they came to a certain sidewalk, lined with nearly identical houses. A girl on the other side of the street called out to him. Real Drake stopped where he was, and smiled broadly at the girl. “Hey, Amanda,” Real Drake said. Amanda crossed the street and gave Real Drake a hug. They clung together for a moment too long. “Oh, gosh! Your nose!” she squealed. “Yeah, broke. I don’t know what happened. It’s just broke.” “I’m just headed to school,” Amanda said. “I slept through my alarm, but I have a Spanish test fourth period. Can’t miss it.” “How do you say ‘that sucks’ in Spanish?” “Que llastima!” she said, giggling. “See, you’ll do fine. Hey, come by my place after school,” Real Drake said, “We need to hang out again.” “Isn’t Alice going to be there?” “Nah. I’ll tell her I’m sick.” “Okay, then! I’ll bring the Coke I owe you.” “You better.” Their heads came together, and their lips met, bloodied nostril cotton balls notwithstanding. Drake stood dumbfounded. This was not him. “Bye, Drake!” “See you later,” Real Drake said, resuming his slouching gait home. There came a buzzing from Real Drake’s pocket. He pulled out his phone, looked at the message it received, and stuffed it back into his pocket with a huff. “Yeah, miss you, too.” His tone was not dripping with sincerity. Drake felt like he might throw up, if he had ever eaten anything before. Alice had been wrong about him—so nauseatingly, awfully wrong. Disgusted, Drake left Real Drake to mosey on home on his own. He found Alice in her room, laying on her bed. She was writing something in a notebook, earbuds firmly in place. A buzz from her phone


gave her a start. She pulled it out and smiled. She hopped out of bed, taking her notebook with her. Her rosy scent hovered in the air behind her. Drake followed her into the kitchen, where she removed a tray of chocolate chip cookies from the oven, placing them gently on the counter to cool. She finished what she had been writing, pulled it from the notebook, and left it on the table as she placed the cookies on a plate. Drake stepped in to investigate. On the paper was the Poem, with “Get Well!” written at the bottom. “Drake,” said Gomutyr. He turned, and there she was. She did not stretch to the ceiling and her arms lay hidden beneath her covering. Her black-veiled mask peered emptily at him, waiting for him to fill the silence. “You really have lost your spark,” she said. “Who am I?” asked Drake. “Why do you ask?” “Because the person the Poem was written about is so different from me. I’m not him. Who am I, then?” “You are him,” the woman-person said. “To Alice, he is everything you are.” “He’s nothing like me!” he yelled. Alice looked up, a bit startled. She had just taped the “Get Well!” note to the wrapping over the cookies. “I don’t know … he’s something else.” “True.” “Well, why can’t I be something else, too? If Drake isn’t what he should be, why do I have to pick up his slack? What if I don’t want to be some teenaged girl’s poem?” The masked face regarded him coolly, but the woman-person did not respond, so he continued, “What if I want to be more than this? I don’t want to be some ghost that follows around a girl because he’s too helpless to do anything else!” “We can’t change what we are any more than the humans can,” said the woman-person. “But we can change who we are.” “Then why don’t you? Why don’t you change?

How do you watch everything around you burn to ashes, and do nothing to stop it?” “Without me, what would become of people like you? Where would you be without me? You’d have disappeared into the void from whence you came, never even knowing your name. That which makes me be gives me power and wisdom;

without me, our kind wouldn’t last long at all. We’d flare up and then extinguish, like sparks on a cold night. I can’t shake this world by the shoulders, but I can give our kind a chance to live for longer than a few seconds. That is how I have taken what I am and used it to change who I am.” He stared at Alice as she looked for her shoes. “You said you couldn’t protect me for long in the human world,” he said. “Not for very long at all, no.” “How long is that?” “Ten minutes.” Alice had her shoes on, and was donning her sweater. “I need to tell her who the real Drake is.” “Are you aware of what will happen if you do?” “I’ll cease to exist?” “Sort of.” It was the strangest thing to imagine not existing. What is it like to not think, touch, know, see, hear, or want anything? “Will I ever see her again?” “Who knows?” “Will it hurt?” “Probably.” He took a deep breath, trying to shove away the headaches that were already coming back. He hid his hand-less arm behind his back.

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as she was asked, handing him her bright red “Let her see me.” cell phone. He took it with his good hand and “Drake!” Alice squeaked. “How did you get in looked through the contacts until he found here? I didn’t even hear you come in!” Drake. Drake didn’t answer her. He only drew her into “Is this my number?” he asked her. She nodded. the first and last embrace he would ever feel, He called it and put it on speaker phone. After a and held her. She was soft and delicate to his feel, and he held her as if she were made of glass. few rings, he heard his own voice answer flatly, “Hey, girl, what’s up?” Alice shrieked and Her perfume filled him with a tart sweetness, jumped away from him. and the touch of her skin sent trills and tingles

throughout him. She was taken aback, and didn’t seem to know how to react. She held him back, awkwardly. He began to feel very weak, and his head began to swim. He hadn’t much time. “What is it?” she asked. “Alice,” he said, a smile curving his lips. She was listening to him! Finally he could speak to her. He only wished the circumstances were different. “I’m not who you think I am.” “What?” she frowned. He pulled the poem from his pocket and showed it to her. She blushed. “Yeah,” she ventured nervously, “I wrote that for you.” “I know.” “How’d you find that, anyway?” “Alice, do you love me?” She withdrew a little bit. “Drake, you’re scaring me.” This was getting to be too much. There was a gnawing in the pit of his stomach. His knees began to shake, and his vision blurred around the edges. “If you love me, let me see your phone.” She did

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“Hey Drake, this is Drake,” he said, “How’s it going with Amanda over there?” “Who the freak are you?” Real Drake yelled. “I’ve got your girlfriend on the line. One of them, anyway.” “I don’t know what you’re talking about, man,” Real Drake said. “Alice saw you with Amanda after you went home,” Drake lied. “I thought maybe you’d like to explain to her what that’s all about.” For several seconds, no one said anything. Finally, Real Drake piped up, “Well, she should really mind her own business. Who are you—” Drake hung up. Alice’s arms hid her face as she sobbed silently, sunken in a seat at the table. Drake sat down beside her. He couldn’t see the woman-person now, but he knew she must be reaching the end of her strength. He was too weak to talk, and so he rested his stump of an arm on Alice’s back, until the lights around him began to flicker, and one by one, they each winked out.


Enemy Of Man

(Stephanie Fullmer) designed by: Pratik Banjade

Let’s take a look, shall we? Into the past, the wounds of man. To the moments you pinned Upon your heart So you wouldn’t forget. And those people, don’t you remember? The friends, the strangers. Never once would their eyes Reveal who they truly were. For Time has changed all things. The very hands of Eternity Sift through your thoughts. Memories are but grains of sand Poured out of the mouth. They are tossed to and fro Bashed together, hacked, battered, Tumbling along, hoping to remain The same yet Time will tell; The thoughts have been skinned, Bruised, broken, shattered, Washing up on the shorelines of your mind Again and again ‘Till but small remnants stand As crumbling broken towers, Bitter cathedrals of blackened stone Skeletal husks of a forgotten age. You see things as He would have you see. Mosaics in your mind have been tarnished, And where once beauty lay, Only shadows remain. And you are but a silent Spectator, never once seeing The deceit, never once pointing An accusing finger towards The enemy of Man. student outlet 2012

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5’3” 5’ 4’9” 4’6” 4’3” 4’

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CONFESSIONS of a

Molly Mormon Written by: Katie Nielsen Designed by: Marissa Thompson

My hand moved slowly across the page of my

journal. The paper was thick, like parchment, and the rough grain snagged at my dry skin. Winter cold sapped my body of moisture like no other weather could and when I stopped to scratch, white flakes of dead skin fluttered down to the page like lightly falling snow. As I scratched, I read back over what I’d written so far.

It was nice to see my family-in-law for Thanksgiving. Justin’s mom is incredibly kind and welcoming. She even did our laundry for us while we were there even though we’d brought enough clothes for our four-day stay. There were 14 people gathered together for Thanksgiving dinner. I sat on the “adult” end next to Justin and his sister, Lisa. The food was great, although I ate way too much, as usual. The black inked words shimmered and blurred in my vision as I thought back over the long holiday I’d had from college. But as I thought, I had a sudden, disturbing realization. Nothing I���d written in my journal was true. Okay, so my husband and I did travel to the tiny middle-ofthe-woods town of Belfair, Washington, and we did have Thanksgiving dinner with 14 people, but that was where the veracity of my entry ended. I frowned and bit my lip, then flipped the journal to the next page and moved one finger across the paper, feeling the bumps of my words like Braille through the page. I lifted my pen and set the

point to the first line of this fresh sheet. Slowly, I scrawled the words, “This Thanksgiving weekend was—” but before I could finish the sentence I was scribbling it out with violent strokes of my cheap Bic ballpoint pen. I couldn’t do it. As much as I wanted to write the truth, I couldn’t force myself to release those same words that caught in my throat when I tried to speak them to my husband or even communicate them with my friend, Rebekah, who lives down the road with her husband, two-yearold, and infant. Journals are supposed to be true accounts of our lives, a sort of compendium of our innermost thoughts, fears, hopes, and dreams. But I wonder if anyone can ever really be that honest with themselves. In journals, we create the person we want future generations to see—smart, hardworking, patient, virtuous, and doing good to all men. But have people really ever found the courage to say what they really feel? Truth, once it is written in stark, cold ink on paper, cannot be refuted or ignored or glossed over.

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I put down my pen and looked out the window. A few flurries drifted across the dark gray sky, never really landing anywhere. I couldn’t write the truth in my journal where future generations might find out the kind of person I really was. I looked around my tiny apartment living room, thinking hard. That was when my eyes lit on the red, marbled composition notebook I’d bought on a whim at Target earlier that week for 49 cents. I picked it up from beside the couch and leafed through the cheap, lined pages. Then I turned back to the front page and, gathering my thoughts, poured them onto the page.

I felt a sense of calm and rightness as I read back over my words. This was the truth, if I’d ever told it.

terrible mess they were making with the frog-eye salad I’d spent over an hour putting together and the thick turkey gravy distilled from the drippings that Sherrie had so carefully preserved. I paused in my writing as the doorknob of the front door rattled. I waited to see if it was my husband home from his group meeting on campus. After a moment, however, I realized it was just a gust of November wind swirling around the stair landing of our third-floor apartment. I unfolded myself from the couch and stumbled across the living room to make sure the door was locked, my legs stiff from being folded for so long. As I came back to the couch I realized how dark it had become and I turned on the side table lamp, blinking in the sudden brilliance. I sat down again and eagerly reopened the notebook. It surprised me what a relief it was to finally admit to myself everything I’d truly felt that weekend.

Watching those kids eat was like watching a group of starving grizzlies fight over an open garbage can. I suddenly wondered if this was really what I wanted. Did I want to be that woman—the one whose hair was in constant disarray and didn’t have a shirt to This Thanksgiving weekend was a trial of my patience, her name without a stain or a tear? The woman with at best. It was my first big holiday away from home, stretch marks from pregnancy and white splotches and I spent a good deal of my time wondering what my of spit-up on her shoulders? That lady in the grocery family was up to, what kinds of pie my dad made this line with the squalling kids and a cart piled high with year, and whether they were thinking of me as much as diapers and onesies? Rebekah is already planning I was thinking of them. But of course it wouldn’t have my baby shower in preparation for whenever I do get been polite to sulk in my room for four days, not after pregnant but I wonder . . . is the life of a Molly Mormon Justin’s parents were kind enough to spend $400 on really what I want? plane tickets to get us up there. So I helped my mother-in-law, Sherrie, as she prepared Thanksgiving dinner. She is the kind of woman you would love to hate; incredibly generous, creative, patient, and in short, the world’s best homemaker and mother. She set the bar pretty high for me and sometimes I wonder if I will ever really measure up in the eyes of my husband. He and she still talk for hours every day on the phone. Dinner itself was bedlam. Justin’s sister, Lisa, adopted four siblings who came from a sexually abusive household a few years ago, and she already had three children herself, so the arrival of her family more than doubled the number of people and quadrupled the decibel level. I sat on the adult’s end, but I was still only two chairs away from the closest noisy and excessively messy child. I had to avert my eyes from the

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My pen stopped and I rubbed my wrist. It was cramping from my furious writing speed. My handwriting was sloppy but legible and I felt a sense of calm and rightness as I read back over my words. This was the truth, if I’d ever told it. Suddenly, I heard the beeping of a car being locked and footsteps on the apartment stairs. I jumped, fumbled to close the notebook, and looked around for someplace to put it, frantic for some reason I couldn’t explain. Finally, I tossed the book underneath the couch, sat back, and flipped on the TV to a random channel. Keys jingled in the lock, and then Justin walked in the door. “How was your day?” he asked, smiling. “Quiet,” I answered, nudging the binding of the book further under the couch with my heel.


On On the the Doorsteps Doorsteps written writtenby: by:Cassandra CassandraHulseHulse written by: Cassandra Hulse designed designedby: by:Gretchen GretchenGehlbach Gehlbach designed by: Gretchen Gehlbach Away from Away from Away from IceIce cream dripping offoff chins, cream dripping chins, Ice cream dripping off chins, Chips crunched in in thethe carpet alittle feet, Chips crunched carpet alittle feet, Chips crunched in the carpet alittle feet, Fingers digging into watermelon rinds, Fingers digging into watermelon rinds, Fingers digging into watermelon rinds, Red juice sliding down thethe edge of of a chair, Red juice sliding down edge a chair, Red juice sliding down the edge of a chair, Chicken grease and boogers smeared across rosy cheeks. Chicken grease and boogers smeared across rosy cheeks. Chicken grease and boogers smeared across rosy cheeks. Listening to to Listening Listening to Aunts’ and uncles’ boisterous laughter, Aunts’ and uncles’ boisterous laughter, Aunts’ and uncles’ boisterous laughter, Little sobs whining over stolen dolls, Little sobs whining over stolen dolls, Little sobs whining over stolen dolls, Diluted songs on old guitar strings, Diluted songs on old guitar strings, Diluted songs on old guitar strings, Soft hushes to to thethe screaming baby, Soft hushes screaming baby, Soft hushes to the screaming baby, Beans scattering across the game board. Beans scattering across the game board. Beans scattering across the game board. AllAll All Sneaking outout thethe window Sneaking window Sneaking out the window crawling down thethe railrail spilling crawling down spilling crawling down the rail spilling into mymy ears leaking onto mymy heart into ears leaking onto heart into my ears leaking onto my heart Where I sit, on the doorsteps, of home. Where I sit, on the doorsteps, of home. Where I sit, on the doorsteps, of home.

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An Imitation Story of the Yellow Wallpaper By: Emilia Smith Illustration: Nial Spencer

It is quite unusual for poor people like Jonathan and myself to rent a beach house for the summer. I would say nearly impossible beside the fact that Jonathan’s fat Grandma Claire choked on a Dorito chip and left Jonathan a heaping wad of cash. There is something strange about the beach house that I can’t quite describe to Jonathan. I wonder why our skinny, old landlord with the paint brush mustache shoved the keys so forcibly in Jonathan’s hand and I wonder why it has been empty for so long. I would say that it’s haunted if it didn’t sound so ridiculous. When I confessed to Jonathan the uneasiness that lay coiled in the pit of my stomach, he huffed with his big round nostrils and gestured to the ocean view and asked, “You just can’t be content, can you?” But of course he would say that. Jonathan is very practical. He is a carpenter and doesn’t think

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much about things he can’t touch with his calloused hands. He is determined to fix me and cure me of my depression. He hopes that the ocean air will do me good. He says that I’ve been different since our daughter left for college. He doesn’t understand how a woman can be unhappy when she has a family and a roof over her head. For Jonathan, it’s simple. Just another nail or a glob of glue and a pinch of perseverance and anything can be fixed. Anything but me. I’m the squeaky floorboard that can’t be fixed. Jonathan does what he can. He imagines that the best thing for me is to focus on other things and forget the anxiety all together. He has banished any mention of my feelings or my fears and tells me that I must focus all my energy on positive things. So I keep my thoughts to myself and wait for that burst of happiness that he promises will come. But I must describe the house. It really is quite beautiful. The


bricks are a faint cream color that sparkles with sand in the sunlight. The hot sand reaches all the way up to our gate and I can always hear the raspy voice of the ocean no matter where I am in the house. The house, as I said, has been empty for years. The wealthy family that owned the house before, left after it had to be bombed for cockroaches and never came back. This explanation has put a damper on my haunted house theory, but I tell you there is something strange about the house, I know it. I don’t like our room at all. I wanted one downstairs by the back door, so I could step out onto the porch in my nightgown and sleep in the hammock that swings in our garden. Jonathan laughed and laughed till his small blue eyes watered. “A woman your age running around in her nightgown? Now that’d be a sight. You don’t want them to run us out of town, now do you?” It is a big room. The beige carpet stretches across the floor and heavy maroon drapes block all sunlight. The wallpaper is a faint coral pink and there is a dark stain above our bed from water damage that swells and droops slightly. The worst part is the horrid wardrobe. It is the blackest black it can be and sits hunched in the corner brooding all day long. The top of it curves into sharp spirals and the front doors are splotched with black paint that doesn’t quite hide the red color underneath. The black paint drips in tears down the wood and into the cracks. The feet branch into claws that grip the beige carpet. I can hardly stand to look at it. The colors alone clash horribly with the pink blushing color of the walls. I cannot, for the life of me, think of why it hasn’t been chopped to splinters. I suppose, if I had to stay here for a really long time, I’d take an axe to it myself. . I find that I am alone quite often. Jonathan has found fishing buddies and he is usually up and in his waterproof overalls

and his camouflage hat before the sun comes up and doesn’t come back until dinner. I can’t help feeling depressed in his long absences. I often lie in bed for hours listening to the rattle of the wind or the waves scratching at the sand like a scab that you can’t allow to heal. I know I must be terribly lazy, but I often don’t even change out of my nightgown until an hour before I know Jonathan will be home. It seems ridiculous but I feel I always have weights tied to my arms and legs and every move takes great effort. I feel that if I were to drop into the ocean, I would sink to the very bottom where spineless things crawl and slither. I know Jonathan would have no idea what I’m talking about. Just mentioning the black wardrobe spurs his agitation. I asked him if we could get rid of it or at least move it but he just rolls his eyes and turns up the volume on the TV and tells me that I must deal with the unfashionable clash of colors for only a few months. I suppose he does have a point. We won’t be here for long, so why should I worry about something so small and insignificant. Still, I wish it were not in the room. I find myself looking at it quite often. There are fat circles carved into the wood at the top and the bottom and I feel that they squint and blink like real eyes. It’s like that moment in the dark when you think you see something looking at you from the closet but you turn on the light and it’s just a sweatshirt or an old hat. The wardrobe is just as ridiculous of course, but I feel that even when I switch on the light, the wardrobe still seems to stare. It is strange that I tolerate that ugly water stain above our bed that stretches slightly down the wall but I hate that horrid wardrobe. The scratches and dents in the black paint, shift and change with

the light. Sometimes I can almost make out a figure scratched into the wood. I got to see my daughter Astor this week. She looks so good and happy in her new dorm room with all her friends. It was so good to talk and laugh with her, which made leaving her even more painful. I know that I cry a lot. Never when Jonathan is home but he is not home very often. I spend most of my time in our room. I think I’m getting used to that wardrobe. I spend hours on our bed tracing its outline. I follow the curves and the sharp points. I find that I never really get tired of following the scratches in the wood. I’m always finding new shapes and designs. The lines slither through and around each other and I think I could stare at it for a lifetime and it could still tell me something new every time. I think something’s wrong. I know that it’s really unhealthy how long I stay in our room. I only leave the room twice or three times a day and I seem to run back to the room as if I’ll be locked out if I don’t hurry back. I don’t even get up to make dinner much now since Jonathan has gotten in the habit of bringing home pizza or hamburgers. I tried to tell Jonathan that something isn’t right but he just insisted that it is all

“... I hate that

HORRID

wardrobe.”

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in my head and that this depression is a choice not a disease. He was so convincing that I agreed with him by the end. He smiled at me and tucked a strand of graying blonde hair behind my ear. I know that he loves me and hates to see me unhappy. There are things in the wardrobe that only I can see. There’s a figure in the scratches that gets clearer every day. It seems to be a woman, hunched over with her hands up like she’s trapped in the wood. Oh, I wish we could leave. I hate how the moonlight gets in through the curtains at night and slithers across the room. Jonathan was asleep and I was listening to the soft sputter of his snore and all the while watching the wardrobe. It looked as if the door of the wardrobe was opening slowly, like the woman was trying to get out. I got up and inched toward it. I put my hand out and touched the black wood. Jonathan woke up and asked me what I was doing. I said “Nothing,” and climbed back into bed. I pulled the covers up to my chin and asked Jonathan if we could leave. He sighed angrily and turned over on his side so his back was to me. “Only one more month.” It didn’t take him long to fall asleep again and leave me all alone. I watched the wardrobe all night to make sure that the door didn’t open. I’ve discovered something within the wardrobe. There are scratch marks on the inside. I’m sure it is that woman trying to get out. At least, I think it is a woman. The scratches seem to be like spider threads that keep her trapped. The scratches change with the light and block her path. I don’t sleep much anymore because I’m sure if I fall asleep she’ll somehow escape out of the wardrobe. I think Jonathan has begun to notice a change in me. He asks me about the purple puffiness under my eyes and he says I’m losing weight. I smile nervously at him and hope he

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doesn’t ask any more questions. I don’t want him to know about the wardrobe. I caught him looking at it once. He seemed startled when I asked him what he was doing. He laughed and said, “You’re right, it really is ugly!” I laughed a little too loudly and he looked at me in the strangest way. I can’t let him take me from here. If I don’t have the wardrobe than I truly have nothing. I think there is more than one woman in the wardrobe. They blink and stare with their bulbous eyes and seem to beg to be let free. They keep me company all day long. Their eyes tell me that they know my loneliness. At night they scratch and scratch at the wardrobe. I wonder why Jonathan can’t hear it. It’s so loud sometimes I think my ears will bleed. Jonathan came home last night and he looked angry. He asked me “Why are you always in the room? Don’t you go outside? You look pale and you’ve lost at least fifteen pounds since we’ve been here. What are you doing all day in that room?” I stared at the grease on the pizza that oozed into an orange blob on my plate. He slammed his fist down on the table. “Are you even listening to me?” The veins in his neck popped until his neck was strangled by blue threads. “Yes, Jonathan.” He looked at me real hard like his blue eyes had turned to ice but then his eyes melted and he took my hand real soft. His rough thumb scratched my knuckles. “I think we should leave,” he said. “I’m worried about you.” All the fear and anger spilled into my mouth like vomit. “We can’t leave. Not yet.” His face scrunched into a question mark. “What do you mean, not yet?” “I’m fine, dear, really.” I said and smiled big like I was a cartoon character. “Let’s stay until our lease is up. Please, Jonathan. I’ll go outside. I’ll do whatever you want.”

He raised an eyebrow. “We’re going to leave at the end of the week. Something is off about you. I think it’ll be good to get back to our normal lives.” I wanted to scream at him and throw the pizza at his face, but I sat quietly. “Okay?” I didn’t answer. I left my pizza on the table and walked upstairs to the wardrobe. I think the women found a way to get out of the wardrobe! They hide under the bed and talk in whispers in a language I don’t understand. I see them out the window. Sometimes they drown themselves in the ocean and I see them float with their faces in the water and their hair drifting around them like seaweed. Later I see them clawing their way out of the waves on all fours.

“They hide under the bed...”

Their eyes look milky and dead and roll around in their heads like marbles. Their mouths hang open like they’re afraid if they shut them they won’t be able to open them again. They breathe in raspy breaths. When they’re not scratching, I can hear their breathing, long and heavy. If I could learn their language maybe I could talk to them. I wonder what they’d say. I only have a few days left. Jonathan will be home soon. I’ve dragged the bed across the carpet to block the door. The women helped me. They pushed and I pulled. They clawed and I scratched. He can’t get in. He’ll never make us leave. I can hear him now on the stairs. “What are you doing? Open this door!” “I can’t,” I whisper. “Open the door!” The women are laughing now. They run their claw- like fingers through my hair. Jonathan is ramming his shoulder against the door but I’m safe. I can hear Jonathan


burst into the room. He opens the wardrobe door and lets some of the moonlight in. I stop scratching. There is blood on my hands and on the wood. “What are you doing?” I can hardly hear him. I know their language now and their voices are loud like screams. I keep scratching to drown out the sound.

“There is blood on my hands and on the wood.”

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Brittany Judd I come home from school today to find Grandmother perched on our wood-slat roof. The red sun is beginning to set, haloing our little house and her body with vibrant shafts of golden light, casting her features under a veil of darkness. She is a crouching figure enshrouded by shadow. My chest expands with a quick, deep intake of air. E-li-si is on the roof. Immediately a cascade of emotions and images rattles around in my brain, mainly having to do with terrible falls, broken bodies, funeral wailers and ensuing loneliness. I release the air slowly. Dead or maimed grandmother. Just tack that onto the day I’ve had to round it out. Can’t catch a break. The breeze has tugged her thick bone-white hair from its bun. It flicks about her shoulders; sharp tendrils, like arrows, fly straight into the air behind her head, wreathing her skull like a Sioux feather-bonnet. She twists her head to the light, brings up her palm, like she’s waiting for something. She purses her lips and chirps softly. Like a Mourning Dove. “E-li-si,” I say. Grandmother bends her head out of the sun and glances down at me, alone in the shadow of the house and the dust of our driveway, and begins to slide slowly down to the edge of the roof on the seat of her faded jeans. I hate heights. I swing my head to the left, looking off into the miles of uncultivated earth behind our home. Soft, blue mist, shafted with bright rays of

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sunlight, tangles sweetly upwards from the Smoky Mountains some miles out. The sky is awash with deep hues of pumpkin and purple. The land we care for here is wild. Only a small patch has been tilled for flint corn, which grows true in our loamy Tennessee soil. It is tall and sharp. The scent of corn dust, tart and sour, drifts on the breeze. Gravel whispers to my right as Grandmother jumps from the roof. She straightens and glides silently to my side in her soft leather moccasins, looking up into my face with her cheerful oval one, with her deep-set black eyes. I nod my head in greeting. She nods back absently, using her softlywrinkled right hand to brush dust from her pants. “What,” I say, “on earth were you doing?” She smells like the wind.

My chest expands with a quick, deep intake of air. E-li-si is on the roof. “Caught sight of a couple Broad-Wing Hawks. Circling, way up there.” She points to the sun. “Have you finished typing up those stories for me yet?” I lean back, away from her, and pull down my sleeves from my elbows, covering my palms. “So you just had to get up on the roof.”


“Oyee! When you want to visit with someone, you go to their house, don’t you? ” She says. “They’re endangered, you know.” She scuttles closer to my side and pries my purse, books, and papers from my hands. I’m thankful to get them out of my arms and away from me. I have to memorize seventeen pages of material by next week for my final and I haven’t even started. Her walnut brown face cracks and reveals her smile. “Whelp,” she says. “Day’s about to kick it. Want to catch the sunset?” She spins on her heels toward the front door. It unsettles me, at times, how easily grandmother talks about death, endings. I used to find her—morbid. She waits for me at the screen door. “So, about our stories,” she says. I take my bag from her, duck under her doorsupporting arm and move through the front hall into the kitchen, squinting to allow my eyes to adjust to the dim light. I toss the bag against the far wall and fling myself onto the floor. I stretch my body as far as it will go, pointing my toes, throwing my hands together in the space above my head—streamlining, that’s what they called it in swim class when I was a kid. I think about getting up to plonk down in front of the tube but it’s way too much effort when I can just as easily mentally check-out down here. Grandmother hops over me and leans against the butcher-block kitchen island, reaching for the dawn-gray china sugar-bowl. “Something seems to be troubling you, baby,” she says, spooning a small mound of sugar into the palm of her hand. “Doctor said to watch your sugar, Grandmother.” “Want to tell me about it?” She licks her fingertip, coats it with hundreds of happy little sugar granules, and pops it in her mouth with a wicked grin.

I’m silent as the grave, as Grandmother would say. She sighs and prances over to the sink to brush off her hands. She moves and I don’t notice her presence until the tips of her moccasins gently bump the side of my head. She bends over me, examines my face. “Hmmm,” she says. “Come help me make the cornmeal.” Out by our patch of flint corn there are two green cloth camping chairs and a tree stump. El-li-si’s been pushing me out here for years— since I was a

“You’ve got to remember them, you know, our stories. Won’t be much anyone else besides you fledgling—where she tries to get me to memorize the histories of our people, where walls cannot separate us from living earth. Out here the sky is wide and clean, and the Oldest Wind of the Cherokee, Oonawieh Ungii, may pass us by to relieve our sweat-sticky necks with smooth-silk fingers. Grandmother settles in the green camp chair and sniffs the cornstalks beside us. I kick my legs over the arm of my chair and tilt my head back up into the sun. I think maybe a little Vitamin D will help out my situation, but apparently, there is no escaping gloom today. Through slit eyes I watch Grandmother dip to grab the tree stump. This is her Ka No Na, her corn beater. It is knee high, the top carved away to form a shallow bowl to hold the kernels. It is one hundred years old. Greatgrandmother gave it to E-li-si when she was a child, when she began teaching her to make cornmeal and telling her stories to pass on. It’ll be mine, one day. “Have I told you the story of the two wolves?” She asks. “A million times.”

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She stops her hand above the Ka No Na. “Good, so you remember it then. You can type that one up quick.” I adjust myself in the chair, trying to find the best light, but those cornstalks throw a long shadow. “You’ve got to remember them, you know, our stories. Won’t be much anyone else besides you for that, when I’m dead.” “I know,” I breathe as the sun drops into the trees, thinking of my seventeen pages. Grandmother looks at me, but I keep my eyes on the land. “Hey, you. You’ve been acting a little fresh to me for your age, missy,” says Grandmother. I let the wind tease my dark hair into knots and listen as Oonawieh Ungii whistles through the pines in the mountains. Sounds lonely as a catamount. Grandmother plops the bowl of flint corn into my lap. She lifts the mallet from the Ka No Na and I set an ear of blue corn down in the beaten hollow of the stump. She flicks open the butterfly knife she keeps in her flour-dusted apron, and her small brown hands expertly slice the corn from the ear. Crimson and blue kernels rain down into the tree stump. I hand her ear after ear until she jerks her head

to the left to tell me that’s enough. “I believe this one is only a seven-ear story,” she says. She settles in her chair. Her smooth, full forearms hold the mallet firmly. She rocks forward, plunging the mallet into the corn. She rocks backward. With each downward stroke she gives the mallet a neat twirl, grinding the corn into a fine meal. Grandmother is humming now, creating a rhythm for herself, mimicking the soft chirrup of her cloth chair. “Here’s a new one to add to your repertoire,” she says. “Some time ago,” she begins, “The world was stuck in a deep darkness. The people kept bumping into each other, and falling over things, flapping about with fish-fingers, groping blindly. They said: “This world needs light.” So Fox speaks up, and we all know there’s going to be trouble, because it’s Fox. So Fox speaks up and he says he knows of a people on the other side of the world that has light, but is too greedy to share it with others. Opossum became so excited he nearly fell out of his tree. “I will get the light,” he proclaimed. “I have the bushiest tail of all the animals. Inside all that fur I can hide the light, that I may steal it.” The other animals looked and saw that he was right, and so Opossum set out for the other side of the world. When he got there, he saw the light hanging high in a tree, to light up everything. He sneaked over to it and picked off a piece and stuffed it into his tail. He was on his way home when the light became too hot and burned all of his fur off. So the people discovered his theft and took the light away. Opossum’s tail has from then on always been bald. Back home Buzzard cried out for a chance to steal the light. “If I take the light,” said Buzzard, “I will know better than to put is on my tail. I’ll put the light on my head, so that I may see my way home.” So Buzzard flew to the other side of the world and seized a piece of the light right into his claws. He

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for cooking and showed them the art of pottery.” The kernels clatter and crunch around in the Ka No Na. Grandmother’s eyes are fixed on the bowl. She looks so pleased with herself that I laugh out loud. I think she’s been waiting long years just for this chance to use this one on me, about wise grandmothers and respect for the elders. “Now, what are you thinking about?” she asks, startled. I get up from my chair. I pat her wide cheek. “I was thinking,” I say, “About the huge flint corn crop that we’ll have next year.”

put the light on his head, but it burned his feathers off. The people took back the sun from him, and Buzzard’s head has remained bald since that time. Now, Grandmother Spider had watched all of this quietly from her web, thinking to herself. Grandmother spider was very, very, wise. She was also very good-looking. And was a good cook, too.” Grandmother peeks at me sideways to see if I am listening. “So Grandmother Spider said, “Now I will go get the light.” Everyone laughed at Grandmother Spider and sneered at her. “Ha! You!” they said. “You are too small and insignificant to do this job. You are old. What can you do that the great Opossum and Buzzard could not?” But Grandmother Spider paid no attention. First she made a thick clay pot. Then she spun her web all the way to the other side of the world. She was so small that she made no noise and the people did not hear or see her. Grandmother Spider quickly snatched up the sun and shoved it in her clay pot and scurried home across her web.

Grandmother’s mouth closes, a pleasing arch. She continues to beat away at the kernels in her Ka No Na as I settle back in my chair and bring my leg up to my chest. I look out past our meadows to the golden hills beyond, where the amber-dropping trees are backlit with a flash of autumnal fire as finally the sun plunges fully behind the mountains. Oonawieh Ungii breezes by, bringing with him brisk air with the tang of spiced apples. Grandmother stops twisting her mallet and peers at me, eyes squinted. “Run and fetch the corn-flour bowl, sweet.” I bring her the bowl and we sit quietly in the growing darkness, watching as summer turns to autumn. I shiver and wrap my arms around me, then look out to the fields where I will plant a new crop of flint corn in the spring.

When she returned, everyone praised Grandmother Spider for her spirit, and they celebrated long into the night, because with the light had come fire. Grandmother Spider taught them to keep the fire going by feeding the fire sticks. Grandmother Spider brought not only light to the Ani Yunwiya; the Principal People, the Cherokee, but also fire

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“It’s my secret identity, and it’s awesome.”

MY SECRET IDENTITYity WRITTEN BY: JOHN APGAR DESIGNED BY: PRATIK BANJADE

T

he man was big. Way too big to be a doctor. He looked like a bouncer. I didn’t think old people could be big. I thought it was some predetermined law of physics that body mass disintegrates once you hit 65. This guy had to be 65, at least. Why was this guy a doctor? He never took my temperature, checked my pulse, or made me say “ah.” Instead he just drilled me with questions. The man looked like he was more ready to pile drive me than try and make me feel better. I felt fine.

“So how often does it happen?”

“Just whenever,” I said. He was sitting so close to me. I counted the lines around his eyes. The highest I could get was around thirteen before he would interrupt me again. “Do you notice when it happens?” “Kind of.” What else was I supposed to say to that? No sir, I don’t notice my body’s vomitus upheaval whenever I make my explosive coughing yell go?

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About two months into the sixth grade, I started to make strange noises at school. It never happened at home. No one cared at first. No one mentioned it until the noises started happening back to back. In fact it was D.A.R.E. officer who had really made the biggest deal out of it. I let three of these coughs off during his anti-drug presetation and he stopped talking.Looked straight at me, and laughed. Everyone else laughed too. Thanks mister D.A.R.E cop. Maybe kids are doing drugs because you make them feel like poo. He was the one who titled it: a snough.Too explosive to be a cough, too coarse to be a sneeze. Everyone in the class called it that from then on. Miss Gralow even called it that. Mom spoke to me after my trip to the doctor. “Hey honey, how are you feeling?” she asked. “I’m good.” No one believes you when you say you’re “fine.” Whenever my mother said she was doing “fine” I knew it was time to go to my room and pretend I was asleep. No one questions “good.” “The doctor says he has a diagnosis for you. Tourette’s syndrome.” A diagnosis for me. She acted like it was a present. There’s nothing a kid wants more on Christmas morning than a diagnosis. “He also said you have symptoms of ADHD. Doesn’t it make you feel better to know these things?” Why do people think giving you a title makes you feel good? Maybe if the title were Doctor. Or champion. Yeah, champion would be great. Or intergalactic space adventurer. Being called hyper didn’t make me feel any better. I was teased enough at school when I didn’t have a doctor’s note.

“Well, nothing is normal if you look at it long enough.”

“We’ve arranged for a nurse to visit your class to tell them all about Tourette’s syndrome so the kids will understand better. She won’t say your name and you aren’t going to go to school that day.” She won’t say my name. There’s no way they’ll know it’s me. A lady comes to tell everyone about people that make weird noises the day the kid that makes weird noises doesn’t show up. It would take a mastermind to solve that mystery. Pretty sneaky. Apparently becoming a secret agent was out. It wasn’t in my blood. I imagined my sixth grade class all sitting in an observation room, wearing monocles, tea cups raised, pinkies out, saying “Oh how interesting. Quite so, quite so.” In sixth grade, it doesn’t work like that. I didn’t have to go to school that day, so I walked Ida

around the block. Lauren Paul’s mom saw and stared at me. It was like she was saying “if you’re ditching school why are you taking time to walk your shitzu?” I liked Ida. The next year, I was in a conference room, sitting at a round table. My mom, me, some counselor, and all my 7th grade teachers I hadn’t met yet sat around me. Secretly I’d hoped the meeting was really because somebody had found a trace of superhuman properties in my blood. John, we are sorry to have to inform you of this, but it looks like you have the ability to shoot fire out of your hands. Comics make you believe that super heroes get alienated because of their powers. That would feel better than this though. I remember Mr. Folsom, was going to be my algebra teacher. He looked so irritated during my mother’s and the counselor’s presentation. He interrupted my mom. Looking at me he said “What do you want us to do for you then? Should I not give you homework?” That would have been cool. I didn’t say anything. My mom gave a list of special precautions that were supposed to be taken for me. I hadn’t snoughed since the end of sixth grade. I was taking medicine through a syringe. There is no cure for Tourette’s. But it was supposed to help. For my first test in Mr. Folsom’s class, he took me to his office, gave me the test and told me I had no time limit. Everyone watched me as I walked down the hall. Secretaries were definitely confused to see me in there. “It’s a galactic proficiency exam.” I told Ian Kelly at lunch that day. “They are thinking of having me transfer to a secret government lab to study alien planets.” Ian didn’t believe me. Mr. Folsom’s desk was spotless, and his pencils were all in a mug that said #1 Dad. So normal. Well, nothing is normal if you look at it long enough. No one else in my class was given this chance. Everyone else was told they only had 45 minutes. That night, before I went to bed my mom handed me my syringe. The first time I took it I knew for a fact I would wake up the next morning as the incredible hulk. That didn’t happen. I flipped the syringe between my fingers as I lay in bed. I set it down and went to sleep. Eighth grade began; there was no meeting with my teachers. My mom asked if I wanted her to talk to them. I told her no. People don’t know I have Tourette’s syndrome anymore. It’s my secret identity, and it’s awesome.

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SUNLESS DAYS

n terso t a P L. by C. n e t ma t Wri Shar n u s Pra d by e n g i Des

T

he Moon rises slide and pass on the edge of the listless horizon. I stand, watching as it circles around me. White vastness spreads out before me as if I were dreaming in a world where nothing but the cold hard wind stirs up rounds of ice and snow. A poem comes into my mind by Robert Frost: And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep. It is miles to go before I sleep. Each night is more tormenting than the last. I become restless, weary, past the point of exhaustion where it takes too much energy to sleep. I feel my loose skin, slightly sagging from dramatic

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weight loss. My face is as gray as the ancient snow and gaunt as the creviced and carved glaciers I pull my sled upon. I think back to that morning. I woke, took a breath, stretched. Next to me, she was cold, stiff and empty. I shake her. I breathe into her mouth. “Come back!” I yell, forcing my hands down on her chest. Nothing, it has been too long. The hospital doctor says that this happens sometimes. The autopsy reveals nothing. The final report is death by natural causes. An old Inuit man wearing a red cap sits in a chair across the hallway. “It happens,” he says.


“What do you know of it?” I say despairingly, as if my words say “You know nothing of it.” I sign the needed documents. They cover her and send her to the morgue. I weep as they wheel her out. The doctors give their grievances and numbers. “In case you need anything,” they say. I place them in my wallet, never intending to dig them out again. I see the old Inuit man again, staring back at me. “We have a legend, that you can see the dead among the Northern Lights.” I am silent, unknowing, unwilling to move. I am in that moment, frozen with the Inuit man. “If you travel north enough in the winter, you may be able to see her.” “Have you been there?” I say. “Yes, many times. I will show you the way if you like, but first, you must cleanse yourself. We will speak more of this later. For now I will greave with you.” I know this Inuit man. I have seen him in town, on the streets, in restaurants, on busses, driving busses for tourists. He is as iconic to our culture as the glaciers that surround us. We go down to the hospital café and eat. I talk, he listens. Nodding, keeping a firm, stoic lock on my eyes as I look at the floor, the buffet, the glass of water, the ice cubes, his red hat. I tell him intimate things, secret things that were shared only between my wife and me. I do this not to release feelings, but in hopes that she will live on in someone else, that somehow, my telling of her life, brings her back. After words refuse to surface, I cry. This is common in the hospital. The Inuit man places my hand in his and wraps his other around it. “I have traveled north many times. I have communed with my loved wife there. You will too. I will show you the way. Now I speak of the cleansing. It isn’t to be done by flying, nor driving, but you must trek there dragging your grief behind you. I take her coat, her plates, shoes, spear, jewelry, the heavier the better. It cleanses you and prepares you for that meeting.”

I have been dragging my sled for three days. Her favorite stuffed tiger is lashed next to her jewelry box. Her moccasins and fur slippers decorate the corners of the sled. Vases and pictures rattle against the jagged snow. My legs shake as I pull. My breath is rhythmic, setting me into a type of trance. The moon continues to circle around me. My face is shielded from the elements by a mask and heavy fur coat. The brown and black fur tickles my peripheral vision, but it slowly drifts into blackness as I continue to

stare northward. Occasionally I must look up at the sky and force my eyes to pierce the Northern Lights to find the Northern Star. I pull forward stepping over a small crack in the glacier. The sled is jarred as the skis attempt to cross it. The stuffed tiger falls from its place and out of the covering. I release myself from the harness to grab the animal before it is swept in the wind. I brush the snow off of it and hold it to my chest for a moment. “Soon,” I say as I look up at the lights. “And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.” The moon is dipping again in the horizon, but only sinks slightly. It will be that way for three hours, and that is all of the day and of my physical recuperation. I set up the

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tent and crawl inside, knowing that sleep will not come. It has never come. I think of my first night alone back home. I try to sleep next to the impression in the mattress. The memories seem too real and at times, I think she is there. I reach to curl her hair in my fingers, but grasp at emptiness. I cannot cry. Within me physically, there is nothing left to give up, yet emotionally, there is a pressure that chokes me. The crying does not come. My sadness turns to anger, and the choking is broken by screams. I scream now in the darkness. I do not fear predators. I am miles in the wilderness. Nothing grows and nothing lives here. My dreams, if they can even be called dreams are no more than thoughts, rationalizations, memories, weaving in and out in one steady stream. It is because of these dreams that the weight I drag across the snow and ice is heavier than those of the Inuit who have made the same journey. A dream, a memory, or a fantasy now comes to me, though I am not sure which it is. I am there in the hospital, sitting with by head against the wall. A Bible is next to me. I open it, vainly searching for a passage to give comfort. I open to Philippians chapter three. I skim the verses until I come to verse ten and eleven: “That I may know

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her, and the power of her resurrection, and the fellowship of her sufferings, being made conformable unto her death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” In my mind I replace him, with her, my wife. I think of her, down in the morgue, sleeping that seemingly eternal sleep. I read the last section again. “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” I flip again through the Bible. I come to James chapter two, verse twenty six: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” I close my eyes but I do not sleep. I think of the legend of the Northern Lights. The spirits of the dead reside there. The Inuit man in the red cap has returned and sits in the chair next to me. He gives me a map of the north and I stick it my shirt pocket. The sled I am to pull is outside next to a bike rack. On the sled is a pack with a tent and sleeping bag. Wrapped in a tarp is a large moose skin. It is wide and thick enough to wrap in and to stay warm. That much I know is a memory, real, tangible. It is snowing outside, whiteout conditions. No one is traveling. The hospital is quiet. Doctors sleep in their offices. I am tired, weary. I want my wife back. At this point I know I am acting, but weariness and sleep deprivation begins to weave desires and reality together. I think again of the spirits in the northern lights. I think of my wife being there. I dream, maybe, of uniting her body to her spirit. “By any means might I attain the resurrection of my wife, for as the body without her spirit is dead, so am I,” I think. I look up from my dazed state and my wife is in front of me. She calls me with the wave her hand. I follow. She leads me down to the hall, down the stairs, into the morgue. It is unlocked. The mortician is asleep in a chair. Papers are strewn about him. Everyone seems to be sleeping but me. She points to the locker that I think her body is in. I look at the locker and look back


to her, but she is gone. It is clear to me then. I know what I must do. I run up the stairs and take the moose fur from the sled. It is neatly wrapped in a grey tarp. I take it into the hospital. The receptionist asks me what I have. I tell her it is a blanket. I must sleep. She too is tired, it seems. Packets of creamer and sugar litter her area. Her current coffee mug is half drained. I walk patiently down the

stairs, into the morgue. The mortician still sleeps. Slowly, I open the door and drag out the body. Her pale, stiff skin, golden brown curls, even the crispness of her lips holds a macabre type of beauty. I wrap her in the moose fur and tarp. Her body disappears in the mass of hair and plastic, and it looks as if I only re-rolled my blanket. I make my way back up to the entrance, grab my coat, goggles, boots, hat and gloves and go outside. I set my wife on the ground and dress for the elements. I place her on the sled and lash her to it and put on the harness and backpack. This is now a memory, tangible. I know I dragged the sled home and lashed to it her jewelry, vases, pictures, blankets, her stuffed tiger, moccasins, and slippers. No one is looking for me. I pull the map out of my pocket to gain my bearings. A note

is written on the corner from the Inuit man with the red cap. “Always look to the North Star.” I stir from my reminiscing. It is the middle of winter. The stars are always visible. This I know. As these thoughts go through my head, I look at my watch. It has been six hours since I crawled into the tent. I roll up the bag, tear down the tent and secure them in my pack. I am now curious to see if my dreams were real. Carefully and gently I pull apart the cords. I move past the possessions and flip open the moose fur blanket. She is there, as beautiful as I remember in my dream. I kiss her gently on her forehead. I know now, past point of clarity what my desire is. I wish to take her to her spirit, and reunite them together, so that I can be with her. The wind has stilled and I make good time in the dark. The Lights are becoming more beautiful. The white expanse has now changed to a foggy mirror, reflecting the yellows, greens and blues of the lights above them. I am walking on fire it seems. I feel by body begin to warm. I have not felt this sensation at any time on my journey. I do not sweat but pull onward. The heat is now stifling and I sense that my chest is about to explode. I feel constrained, captive within my coat and sweaters. I stop to disrobe and lash my jacket and sweater to the sleigh


and pull northward. I look into my pocket, staring at the map the Inuit man provided. I have traveled forty miles northward. I look again at the sled. There is one box at the back to weigh down the skis. It was given to me by the Inuit man. I think back for a moment. He was there as I was leaving the town. “You’ll need this,” he says. “It is not part of the cleansing, but you must eat and drink. In it you will find food, cans of heat and water.” “How did you know Inuit man? How did you get out here? You were sleeping,” I say. “Sleep also. This you must try to do. Scream and cry if you can, if it helps you sleep. The way north is barren. No creature would travel it. That too is part of the cleansing,” he says, dodging. The snow whips between us. Every inch of me is covered in winter gear, yet the Inuit man wears a wind breaker and his red hat. “How is it you got here before me?” “Travel well,” he says. He takes a few steps to my right and disappears in the white out. Numbness has consumed my legs. My fingers curl from the tension of pulling on the lead rope. I try to open them, but in the midst of the burning snow, they seem frozen shut. I blow hot air on them, but nothing moves. I continue northward. On the horizon, where the Lights seem to bend from, is a bright light. I quicken my pace. The sky bends and shimmers. It would take too much energy now to sleep. I am almost there. I can feel it. “And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep,” I say. I must press forward. I come closer to the bright light. Within it, I see someone. I pull harder. I take off my gloves, tossing them in the vibrant colored snow. I call to the figure. The figure turns. It is her; I can see her clearly, it is my wife. My heart is racing. I strip off my shirt. I am still too warm. I remove my gloves. The cool wind does not chill me. I see her. I stop in front of her. Her skin burns a golden white. 40

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“I am here,” I say. She does not speak. I reach to touch her, and in that moment, the golden light that swarmed around her consumes me as well. I feel her warm hands tracing the lines of my palms. I look behind me, to see how far I have come. I see myself, lying in the snow, the wind raping my bare skin. My wife kisses my cheek. She is tangible, and together, we travel northward into the sunless day.


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I

don’t know how this happened to me; I’m just a seventeen year old girl. I should be outside enjoying the Arizona sun, instead I am sitting here on my bathroom floor holding my soft, purple towel to my body the way a child holds a blanket. Six months ago I was happy, I had friends, and my life made sense—now I’m alone naked and absolutely terrified looking down at the nearly empty bottle of white pills in my hand. The bottle disgusts me, I hate what it represents. This bottle is proof, evidence of the fact that I can’t win. My fight is over. I’ve heard people talk about a moment or an event that caused their world to come crashing down around them, but my world didn’t crash around me; it crashed on top of me. It shattered into a thousand shards that pierced every inch of my skin leaving nothing untouched. It hurt everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I look down at the white ovals in my hand. They are smooth on the bottom and slightly grainy on top. I take one out of my right hand and hold it between my thumb and index finger. I rub my thumb up and down feeling the number code imprinted on top of the pill as I look at myself in the mirror. The girl I see looking back at me isn’t the one I used to see. This isn’t daddy’s princess, this isn’t his little girl. I know he would be disappointed with me, but that doesn’t really matter anymore because he’s gone—nothing matters anymore. My dad always told me that I was his favorite surprise; the doctor had told my parents that they were going to have a little boy, and dad was thrilled. He couldn’t wait to teach his son how to play ball, catch fish, and fix cars. He looked over to the diaper bag that he had prepared especially for this day which carried a small blue outfit in it and a blanket covered with frogs and snails. As he stood there allowing my mother to crush his hand with hers trying to comfort her through her groans the doctor said something unexpected: “Congratulations! You have a beautiful baby girl.” Dad used to tell me that his whole world changed in that instant and he knew right then that I was everything he wanted. We were so happy, a perfect family of three. Dad and I spent all of our free time together. Our favorite thing to do was playing catch. By the time I was ten I could out-throw any boy at school. That’s probably the reason I became the starting pitcher for my high school varsity softball team as a freshman. Dad was so proud of me; he never missed a game—till now. I thought that playing softball again would help. I was wrong. Today when I stepped onto the pitcher’s mound and looked into the stands I saw my mother sitting there by herself and realized that there was nothing in this world that could bring Dad back to me. He was gone. I pretended to hurt my knee on the third pitch. No one questioned it considering the condition my leg has been in for the last six months, I sat out for the rest of the game. I had never sat out during a game before, but I noticed that it felt comfortable, familiar almost. I realized I had been sitting out of life for a long time. I was done sitting. After the game I made the decision to finally finish off the pain killers that I had saved after my leg surgery.


It had all seemed so simple; the orange bottle begging me to finish what I’d already started. I picked up the bottle and stared intently at the label. “Take one or two tablets by mouth every four to six hours as needed for pain,” it read. I knew that if I stopped at that point I still might be able to get help in time. The bottle seemed to be taunting me, saying, “You weren’t good enough to save him, what makes you think you deserve to be saved?” It still had eight or nine pills in it; I’m not sure how many I had already taken. It was easier than I thought it would be. All I had to do was swallow. An hour or so afterward my mouth began to feel dry. I threw up six times in a twenty-five minute span. Unable to stand any longer I slumped to the floor. My brain feels cloudy and everything is moving fast. I’m lying down and all I can see are the fluorescent lights of my bathroom ceiling gleaming down on my sweaty body. I think back to that night six months ago that changed everything; it was Halloween. I had gone with some friends to my first real party complete with booze and teenagers pairing off into every room. I didn’t actually drink anything, but I was holding a cup of beer when he showed up. I don’t know how he knew I was there. Our eyes met as he entered the room. Everyone went silent. My dad looked at me across the room and I saw something in his eyes that I had never seen in my sixteen years of life, disappointment. The group of students shifted nervous glances between me and my dad, waiting for one of us to say something. It never happened. Dad looked at me with tears welling up in his eyes, then turned walking outside and got in the car. I dropped my red, plastic cup and ran as fast as I could out towards Dad’s car. The car ride home was silent. My dad had tears streaking his face, spotting the collar of his sky-blue shirt with wet dots. “I’ve been trying to protect you for so long,” he said, “but I won’t always be here to protect you. Promise me that you’ll never do something like this again.”

I never promised.

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S

uddenly there was a bright light and a horrifying crunch, an SUV

piloted by an inattentive driver had run through the four-way stop sign and T-boned our car on the driver side. Our car was pushed off the road into a ditch and flipped over. I felt a bolt of electricity run up my leg. Then I heard Dad’s voice. It sounded weak and each word was broken up with coughing. “Sweetie, are…you…okay?” “My leg hurts, but I’m okay. I’m okay Dad.” “Thank God.”

That was the last thing I ever heard him say—he died a few minutes later. Dad had come to save me from myself and in saving me he died. The guilt I felt over killing my father was the only pain that the pills never took away. At his funeral mom tried to hold me close to her the way dad would have, to comfort me. It didn’t work. My mother is the woman who gave me the gift of life. Now I have taken that gift and thrown it all away. Only now do I realize how much I’ve thrown away. I’m seventeen, I still have so much to live for; I am full of unrecognized potential. I could’ve been a mother myself. I could’ve been the woman waiting at the bus stop for my kids then bringing them home to eat cookies before taking the rest over to Grandma’s house and playing on her swing set. I imagine what my life may have been like if I had stopped myself when I still had a chance. My mother would be cheering for me at my college graduation, and then holding my hand as I prepare to walk down the aisle a few years later. I picture my four year old son play in the yard, running up to me, placing his hands on my stomach to feel his baby sister kick. I envision walking through a cemetery hand in hand with my husband as our children place flowers on my father’s grave. Feeling my pride swell as my son win his soccer game, and seeing my daughter dressed for the prom. I think of the comfort of my husband’s hand in mine as we sit on the swinging bench on the porch that he made for us. We’d reminisce about our life together; how we’re still in love sixty years after our wedding day.

That is the life I could’ve had. That is the life that I threw away. I traded that life for a bottle of pills. My dad told me that he wouldn’t always be here to protect me. He was right—here I am completely unprotected, lying in a mixture of my own sweat and vomit. My mouth tastes dry and my throat is slowly closing. Everything is numb now, but I can still think. I regret what I have done already. My stomach feels as if it is preparing to launch out of my body. It squeezes tightly on itself as it expands and deflates at rapid speeds. I don’t want my mother to see me. I wonder if she’ll notice the scars on my arms and legs. I wonder if she’ll know that I gave them to myself. I thought this was the easy way out-- just swallow then the pain will be gone. I was wrong. There is still so much pain. My body, my mind, my soul, everything hurts. This won’t be easy for my mother who will now be completely alone. This won’t be easy for my friends who will feel guilty for not knowing, for not stopping me. There is nothing easy about this.


I can hear the front door open and my mother calling my name. I want to call out to her, but I can’t respondmy voice doesn’t seem to work. I don’t have the strength to keep my eyes open anymore they close against my will. The only thing I can hear now is my own shallow breathing. There are a few seconds of silence in between each of my breaths. I try to breathe in deeper, but my lungs refuse to work. I wish I could call out to my heart, lungs, and liver. I’d tell them to keep fighting. Tell them to keep me alive at least until Mom can find me.

E

ach breath I capture brings me one step closer to the end of my life and the reality of the consequence I will face for what I have done. I am completely helpless now, at the mercy of my Creator. Dear God, I pray silently, Dear God; please let her find me in time…please God. I want to live!

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AND RUST by. Lyndee Gardner photo: Ashley Messenger

A piece of elbow-greased work seems to spout oily curses through two decaying boot tongues: the only mouths visible in this dank testosterone cave. Wood and metal groan. A taut, muscular body creeps from beneath a coppering metal sculpture. The body’s hand tosses sawdust over a black rainbow the mulch drinks up the sludge—now the texture of the man’s neglected chin and cheeks. His thumb nail scrapes oxidized metal from the bumper. Dusting off the flakes, he pats the hood like his trusty pooch. His creased, cracked hands carry oil onto the scratchy seat cover. In the cab, he jams the key into the ignition. The engine clears phlegm from its old man throat. As he turns the nose away, leaving his home, He strokes the wheel. The softest thing he has felt in months. Because she won’t let him touch her anymore.

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ENTROPY Jameson, an eighteen-year-old boy wearing a suit, approaches an older man working in his garden.

by

Mason

JAMESON: But even still, sir, it’s a great deal. I mean, the

JAMESON: Uh, excuse me, hi. Uh, do you have a minute?

discount I can offer you today will save you an awful lot of money.

MARTY: What is it?

MARTY: Did you hear me? I said no! Get out of here!

JAMESON: Oh, it’s nothing. It’s just, my name’s Jameson and I’m here with a company called Summit Security—

Jameson begins walking away. Marty watches.

MARTY: I’m not buying any security system. JAMESON: Oh, no, I’m not a salesman. I’m actually, well, I’m

just, just here with our advertising department. We want to get our name out there and—

MARTY: Look, kid, not today. I came out here to weed my

garden, then I’ve got to get back to the office. I’m two years away from retiring and they’re working me like an intern. I don’t have time for this.

JAMESON: Oh, I won’t take long, if I could just explain what it is we’re doing.

MARTY: (Sighs) Now, hang on! You get back here, son! Jameson walks back. MARTY: That’s it? You’re giving up that easily? JAMESON: Well, you said you weren’t interested. MARTY: Everyone says that! How many security systems have

you sold?

JAMESON: None yet, sir. MARTY: And how long have you been doing this?

MARTY: You think I’m an idiot or something?

JAMESON: Three weeks, sir.

JAMESON: Uh, no. No, sir!

MARTY: Three weeks? And you haven’t made one sale yet?

MARTY: I know what you people do. You show up here and

JAMESON: Well... no, sir.

pretend like you’re not the salesmen, that you’re just here to get the word out about the product. Then you tell me that just this once, just today, if I help you with some advertising, you’ll give me a discount on a security system. You just need my credit card number. Is that it? Is that it?

such a bad salesman!

JAMESON: Alright, yes. That’s true. I’m the salesman but—

Jameson begins walking away again.

MARTY: Yeah, I knew it! Now leave me alone.

MARTY: There you go again, giving up too easy! Now get back

MARTY: Then get out of here! I’m not buying anything from JAMESON: Okay, sir. Sorry.

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Stodda


here, boy!

Jameson returns. MARTY: Oh, lord, I can tell this will take some serious work. Alright, Jacob—it’s Jacob, right? JAMESON: Jameson, sir. MARTY: Jameson, that’s fine. Alright, Jameson, let’s start from

the beginning. Where are you from?

look professional in that suit but it looks like you stole it from your dad’s closet.

JAMESON: I’m a salesman. MARTY: You’re a kid! What, eighteen years old? Nineteen? You should be wearing a T-shirt with skulls on it! JAMESON: But I need to look the part. MARTY: What part? You’re supposed to be a good-for-

JAMESON: Idaho.

nothing punk! Grow your hair out, pierce your ears, get a tattoo! You’re young! You can be white collar next decade.

MARTY: Idaho? How the hell did you end up in Kentucky?

JAMESON: I’m sorry, this isn’t working. I’m not feeling it. I

Never mind that, never mind. Now, Jameson, first thing you’ve gotta learn about sales is how to deal with opposition.

don’t really care if you don’t like how I dress. I mean, look at you! You’re wearing a green sweater to do your yard work.

JAMESON: Opposition?

MARTY: Hey, this is fashionable for my age! But I guess you’re

MARTY: Yes, opposition! People disagreeing with you, people not liking you! That’s going to happen all the time! You’ve gotta learn to stand up for yourself! Because, believe it or not, you’re not a very likable guy. JAMESON: I’m not?

right. We’ll have to dig deeper to really get you going. What about your beliefs?

JAMESON: My beliefs? MARTY: Yes, beliefs! I’ll attack your beliefs and you’ll stand

MARTY: My goodness, there you go again!

up for yourself. It’s as good a place to start as any. Nothing brings out a man’s true nature like having his dearest beliefs torn down. What do you believe?

JAMESON: Well, I’m sorry, sir, but what am I supposed to

JAMESON: I’m not sure I understand what you mean.

say?

MARTY: Anything! Tell me I’m wrong, tell me I’m overweight, tell me to go to hell, say anything, anything except “I’m not.” You gotta feel it! JAMESON: Gotta feel it. Alright, I think I can do that. I’ll try again. Tell me you don’t want to buy a security system from me. MARTY: No, see, then it’s forced. That won’t work. You won’t

MARTY: Well, for example, are people generally good or bad? JAMESON: Good. MARTY: Good? No, no. People are two things: selfish and

stupid.

JAMESON: Now hang on—

learn anything. You’ve got to feel genuinely threatened. Let’s see... your clothes!

MARTY: People always act out of self-interest, all the time.

JAMESON: What about them?

know and she’s not selfish or stupid. She’s an angel!

MARTY: Well, nothing brings out a man’s true nature like the

MARTY: No, she’s not! She’s a selfish old whore who only does nice things because they make her feel better. She goes to church so others will see her there, and she donates to Red Cross out of guilt.

clothes he wears. I mean, what are you wearing? You’re trying to

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JAMESON: That’s not true. My grandma’s the best person I


JAMESON: (Shocked) Guilt?

JAMESON: Is too!

MARTY: Yes, guilt! She’s a sweet old lady because she feels guilty for sleeping around in her younger days, for buying risqué underwear, for flirting with the milkman.

MARTY: Oh yeah? And what exactly is love?

JAMESON: (Angrily) Sleeping around? MARTY: Absolutely! Her generation is the most promiscuous one this good earth’s ever known! The most immoral! And the most (clears throat) talented, I may add. JAMESON: That’s enough! You can’t say that about my grandma! You’ve never even met her! How do you know what she’s like? You don’t know! So just shut up about it! MARTY: That’s it, boy! Now we’re getting somewhere! You feel that anger? Doesn’t that feel good? JAMESON: (Pause) I... That did feel good! Let’s try another!

But, maybe this time, leave my grandma out of it.

MARTY: Alright then, fine. Let’s see...uh... Romance! You got a girl? Nothing brings out a man’s true nature like a girl. JAMESON: Well, uh… no. Not right now... I’ve never had a

JAMESON: It’s... When two people want to be with each other no matter what, when they want to help each other at all costs, sacrifice everything for the other. MARTY: Right, right. Sacrifice. Devotion. Patience. People may feel that at first but it fades. It always fades. JAMESON: Doesn’t have to fade. MARTY: It does too, boy. You ever heard of entropy? JAMESON: No. MARTY: Entropy’s a force in the universe. It means that

everything is breaking down all the time. Everything. You see that suit you’re wearing? In a few hundred thousand years, that won’t exist. Molecules separate and break down. You’re going to die. This planet won’t be around forever. Everything falls apart. Even relationships.

JAMESON: That’s not true!

JAMESON: What do you mean?

MARTY: Oh, it isn’t? What about me? I was in love once. Susan and I loved each other when we were first married and for a few good years after that. But we drifted apart. People always do. Sometimes the transition is smooth, like water on glass. Sometimes it’s rough, like bones breaking. My ex and I just slid away from each other until we couldn’t touch anymore. But my daughter, hers was rougher. Her husband didn’t let go of bad habits. Drove her wild, until she hit him. Well, he hit her back, only much worse. It’s entropy, kid. Everything falls apart eventually.

MARTY: No such thing as the “right” girl.

JAMESON: Can’t people resist it? If you go into marriage with

girlfriend.

MARTY: You’re straight, aren’t ya? JAMESON: Straight? Yeah, yeah I’m straight. It’s just I haven’t found the right girl. MARTY: And you never will.

JAMESON: Well, sure there is. MARTY: No, no. Absolutely not. You believe in love? JAMESON: Of course I do! Love’s the most important— MARTY: Stop right there! Let me tell you something, kid,

something nobody else has the heart to tell you: There’s no such thing as love.

your whole heart, knowing the dangers, can’t you stay together?

MARTY: (Fury) I’d like to see it! You show me one couple who has stayed together. I don’t mean that they stayed married, I mean they’ve really stayed together, stayed connected after years and years. These seventy-fifth anniversary couples, they’re not happy. They’re fooling themselves. It’s like I said, Jameson, people are stupid and selfish. That’s it!

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JAMESON: But I can do it! I can meet someone and stay with her! I can stay connected. MARTY: No you can’t, kid! That’s what I’m telling you! It can’t

be done!

JAMESON: I have to! I can’t be like my parents! MARTY: (Pause) Your parents split up? JAMESON: They’re about to. They were just waiting for me, the last kid, to leave the house. Now it’s over. MARTY: Jameson, I’m sorry. JAMESON: I can’t be like them. I won’t put my kids through

that.

MARTY: Well... I guess maybe it’s possible… I mean if you find the right girl. Not the “right girl,” but, uh… if you find someone who’s willing to work on it as hard as you are. JAMESON: No, you were right. It’s naïve. People are stupid and selfish. There’s no way to avoid it. Even my grandma’s divorced. Twice. Anyway, thanks for trying to help me, mister. I guess I’d better keep knocking doors. Got a lot of people to talk to today. Jameson begins walking away. MARTY: Jameson, wait! Jameson stops and turns around. MARTY: Do… uh… Do you… I mean… Maybe you could tell me more about this security system. I guess I could use one, as long as you cut me a deal. JAMESON: Really? MARTY: Yeah, I mean, I’m away from home a lot. It’d be good to have. But you better give me one hell of a deal. JAMESON: I can do that.

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They sit down to look over paperwork.


“ Entropy’s a force in the universe. It means that everything is breaking down all the time. Everything. You see that suit you’re wearing? In a few hundred thousand years, that won’t exist. Molecules separate and break down. You’re going to die. This planet won’t be around forever. Everything falls apart. Even relationships.”

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T A C B THE BO B M O B E S A C T I SU LIMONT E D ID V A D Y B N E T WRIT REA Y T A K Y B D E N IG S E D

A

the Forest ck I worked for d few summers ba e built bridges an rn Montana. W te es of w e in dl e id ic m rv e Se th dirt roads out in on ls ai tr d ot an fo a ts g culver out buildin day my crew was reservoir. As nowhere. One e Hungry Horse th ar ne l ai tr a wn the bridge on full of gravel do ow rr ba el he w a I was pushing off behind a log. mewling sound rd ei w a d ar he I trail, bered over the ow down, I clam rr ba el he w e th ngry-looking Putting found a small, hu I de si r he ot e ng else. I log. On th didn’t see anythi I , nd ou ar g in kitten. Look mother cougar. le with an angry ng ta to t an w ’t didn ached down and , I cautiously re ng hi yt an ng ei back to the Not se . Carrying him up y gu tle lit e eck it out. scooped th to come and ch ys gu r he ot e th trail, I called g bridges ugh men buildin ro of h nc bu a You’d think that t care much ontana wouldn’ M of ds oo w ck like a bunch in the ba cked around me flo ey th t bu n, , oohing about a kitte engagement ring w ne a t ou ng en took of girls checki ne of the guys ev O . ng hi yt er ev and ahhing and it to the cat. s lunch and gave hi of t ou m ha I put the little a bit of so attached to it, l al e er w e w e r camp that Well, sinc ok it back to ou to d an ox hb nc ove. It guy in my lu towels by the st of st ne a it e ad night, where I m eating scraps of of the summer, st re e th r fo e er lived th ok didn’t use. meat that the co Portland moved back to I d, de en er m When the sum

t the bobcat ée. She though nc fia y m ed ri ar bedroom and m od we had a two go as w it t bu t was grea ppy in the spare cat was quite ha a chair apartment. The e’d even sit it on W s. th on m w fe ng time, bedroom for a of meat. For a lo ts bi it ed fe d at dinner time an d house cat. any well-behave it acted just like

o grow t d e t r a t s t a c b o b e “Then th more wild. “ t e g o t d e t r a t s It . up dresser it its room

tall nce on top of a came It took up reside wl at anyone who yo d an ss hi to ats mark and started learned that bobc so al e W it. of y within ten feet e, and feces. M claw marks, urin ith w ry g ito in rr at te in r thei arn this fasc displeased to le wife was slightly zoological fact. out three ally messy. At ab re t go gs in th t hing. Then one nigh nd I mean screec A . ng hi ec re sc d unearthly am the cat starte g, and making an in ss hi d an g, lin t the neighbors And yow n’t imagine wha ca I d. un so H WAH-WA ght. must have thou dragged myself from my wife, I ng di od pr e m so After . Grabbing a ed to the fridge bl um st d an d awer, I out of be t of the meat dr ou k ea st d te os orknob, partially defr , grabbed the do om ro ’s at bc bo e stumbled to th bobcat leapt off the frenzy. The to in t gh ri d ke al s extended, and w landed, with claw r, se es dr e th on , and was its perch k out of my hand ea st e th e ol st t, on my ches


ng better to do lice had somethi po e th y, el at un Fort t. three seconds fla in r se es that night. dr e th n to of back on top of s od the suitcase bega ri pe can go long ay across town s at lfw bc ha e of its bo ut on at bo th A in r late began was I learned years inous scratching is plentiful (as it m O od l. fo n ca n to iti he ga w cr t be go itcase od, bu sly. time without fo corner of the su e ou ci on ra en vo t Th ea s. na ill er corn in the rrow t) they w w eye appeared llo in our apartmen ye d ne O an . en en op creak op the door us stare. ths of cracking ife had e with a murdero w m y g m in After three mon at fix bc it, bo sl e ed nsive meat to th I hastily consider tossing our expe nervous sweat, a to in ng of s ki ea ea Br gh. shadier ar finally had enou as in one of the a mile. my options. I w n’t a park within t!” as ca w e e th er of th d d ri an et “G ling out Portland the rattling, grow , so I agreed with at ne ce go an as gl w r t he ca e ot th Shooting an e of the I made a fateful My patience with e, I’ll take it to on livid yellow eye, e fin th e, d in an “F . e ht as fig itc su too much .” re or something he nd ou decision. ar s rk pa ecking horrified. g in ok lo , tersection and ch ed in m xt ai cl ne e ex e th sh to ” , at Pulling up g, I reached over “You can’t do th ds…” one was watchin and cats, and ki , no gs re do su e ’s le ak op m pe to fting the hissing “It’ll eat ssenger door. Li splitting shriek, rpa e ea r th he ed ot en an t op d wn along an bcat let ou handle, I set it do ying to chew its tr Just then the bo d by te ly ar er st ng d gi an e , suitcas t ominously of the walls The suitcase wen . et bounced off one re st e th of the curb the door. its way through glare, I us ro de ur m silent. ’s ife heaving a sigh the way of my w .” rk pa a s de ntly, I drove off, si Ducking out of ge be or re do he e ew th m ng so si Clo couldn’t resist I’ll take it rid of the cat. I relented. “Fine, be ly al fin to f atch what of relie and turning to w re!” ay he aw of k t oc ou bl it a t er ge “Just pulling ov no easy task. itcase. at in the wild is bc bo a g in ur g pt in became of my su at captur They say ca th ce en o minutes an ri pe ex personal long. Within tw t om ai r fr w fo to or ow m ve kn ar I ha t y ’t M Bu n. The lt. I didn is just as difficu to the intersectio om up ro d 4 lle x1 , pu es 12 n a ov va gl in y i ed out. one old, rust lmet, sk y and a man lean kl ed a football he ic ud qu l cl ed ee in st en , on rs op si te ca e swea no one, the oc sliding door reet and seeing her jackets, thre st at e le th o n tw w , es do d ov ed welding gl Looking up an and pulled it o scarves wrapp pairs of jeans, tw bed the suitcase, I ab gr n. , io er nt ov te at ed an its toed boots, five er him. The he le to get e door quickly aft and a prime rib th , g ck so in ne t, os y cl or m sp n, nd an va e tr arou for The van into th put the bobcat in out ten seconds. to ab ge ok ca to d. a n ea io ve st at ha in didn’t whole oper ed suitcase brown, hard-sid n the street. e off slowly dow I grabbed an old, ov I dr . or do e th wheel in I opened on the steering ced the instant ed en en ly m ht ar m tig ne co t rs le n’ tt ge as Ba . My fin armor w good to be true quickly that my n. This was too or within io hb at ig ip discovered very ne tic y an er ev s a miracle that ed outwards. thick enough. It’ e screeching, van doors explod e Th th e. ly lic en po dd e Su th direction, fleeing ’t call rst out in every half a mile didn val a pack of bu ri en to m e is ng no hi ec gh Scre t there was not ade enou bcat was four seconds fla bo In e snarling beast m t. Th . gh er ni rg e th bu d aimlessly off into over a cheese ing doned van rolle ek an ri ab sh e hyenas fighting e Th th t. ed gh uff si ing to a a soul in By the time I st , eventually jarr of my et rs re st ye e la r th almost as loud. te n w ou e do re on its ways e suitcase the th monster into th op sign. halt against a st tters. er’s door, armor were in ta bed out the driv or, I im m cl ar ly ed lm dd ca re at sh bc and The bo layers of my , licked its lips, Pulling off a few the suitcase onto nd nonchalantly ed ou ss ar to ed d t. ok an gh r lo ni ca the my owl emanated n the street into stomped out to w, murderous gr untered off dow lo sa A . at se r ge g ain. I’m the passen carrier. Glancin of the bobcat ag d ry ar ra he po or m te w ’s sa at r act one of the I neve from the bobc t wanting to attr the city, or into no of t d ou an e d as re de itc su an ralist it as sure it w nervously at the river. Some natu der the speed lim e un th g ay st on al to s st ea be ar my living ind semi-wild attention, I did d a wild bobcat s I drove, my m fin A to n. d w ye to jo of er ge ov the ed was probably e van full of stopped me: I raced towards As for me and th say if the police s. ld rk ou pa w ’s I t ty ci ha e w ite happy to in th played over atchers, we’re qu hat’s in the sn w e… as se itc ea su pl s n, ou anonym again. and registratio e little monster Officer: License ver encounter th ne suitcase? before you st lock me in jail Ju r. si l, al at Me: Nothing student outlet 2012 53 open it.


MY LIFE IN

250 WORDS

Written by: Aaron Bonney Designed by: Katy Rea

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I was born in Virginia Beach when the Mets won the World Series in 1986. I’ve been a diehard fan since. I have two brothers, but grew up an only child. I love the beach. Went there every summer weekend with mom. I loved it more after I nearly drowned. Watching baseball got boring, so I started playing it with my stepdad. I’m a good shortstop. When I wasn’t playing baseball, I played video games. Video games. Video games. Lara Croft. In middle school, I moved from the Beach to – never mind; you won’t know where that is unless you know where the Civil War ended. I didn’t work well with the rural rubes, so I stopped going to school. Video games. Video games. Spyro the Dragon. My freshman year in home-school, Mom got cancer. Seven months later some 3,000 people in NY and DC gone. Next year, Mom gone. Teenage rage. Video games.

REPEAT.

I met my would-be wife. She said she’s a Mormon. I attacked the church. I joined the church. I defended the church. Got married at eighteen. First job: tax preparer (I hate math). Next job: restaurant host. Nice customers Rude customers. I began college the year I could have graduated college. Freshman major: paramedicine. Sophomore major: creative writing. Junior major: secondary education. Senior major: creative writing. Last year of college, I’m the Sunday School president (what were they thinking?) Eight months ago, I became a father. Less sleep. More laundry. Video games. Diapers. Diapers.

REPEAT.


gallery

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POTOGRAPHY WINNER: Erica rascon; window view

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David epps

kristin smith; empty docks

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David epps

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jenny bullock; flower girl

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robet barber; top hat

katy rea; lion

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PRINTMAKING WINNER: kayla young; untitled

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caitlyn passey; untitled

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gretchen gehibach

scott rivers

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gretchen gehibach

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Travis Mallot

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alex warnick

alex warnick

painting

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amy sowards


PAINTING WINNER: TRAVIS MALOTT

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nathan allred; explosion cave

bryant hodson

nial spencer; the curse of captain cutler

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ILLUSTRATION WINNER: nial spencer; godzilla teaser

david clayton; mother superior

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Nathan Allred; explosion cave

nathan allred; destruction

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scott hulme; profle

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Bios amanda cardon I was born in Provo, but as an Air Force brat, I moved every three years growing up. I am a senior majoring in English with a History minor. I plan to join the military once I graduate. I currently live in Nebraska and spend my free time writing.

stephanie fullmer has always enjoyed reading and writing and hopes to continually improve her skills through writing stories and poetry. She loves literature that provokes the imagination, and she hopes to share that with others through her writing.

graduated from BYU-Idaho in 2012 with a degree in English and lives in Las Vegas with his wife and daughter. He enjoys writing about his life experience and short stories. He plans to write a novel based on a firefighter for his stepdad, a retired captain in the fire department.

cassandra hulse is currently in her fourth year at BYU– Idaho studying English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. She claims Oregon as her home, but currently resides in “The-Middle-of-Nowhere,” Montana. Poetry is something she loves, but she also has roots in Indie music, birds, bicycles, and the ocean.

aaron bonney

graduated with her Bachelors of English degree from BYU-I in April 2012. As an undergraduate, she served as president of the English Academic Society and as Editor-in-Chief for the Faculty Technology Center. She now teaches as an adjunct English faculty member on the BYU-I campus.

katie nielsen

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was born to a family of readers who have greatly influenced her writing and reading habits. She claims New Mexico as her home and credits the landscape and people there with the majority of her inspiration.

emma mason


julia willis graduated from Brigham Young University – Idaho last semester with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature with an emphasis in Creative Writing. She minored in Marriage and Family Relations. She is currently preparing to serve an LDS mission to Salt Lake City, Utah.

christopher patterson

is A sci-fi whiz Of iron will but doubtful skill who studies here —his junior year— who put some thought (but not a lot) into this short biography.

emilia smith

john blackham

graduated from BYU-Idaho with a Business Management Degree, emphasis in Supply Chain, CIT, Creative Writing and Agribusiness in April 2012. He and his wife currently live in Marshall, MN where he works for the Schwan Food Company as an MRO Buyer published her first short story “Dinosaurs” in Brigham Young University’s literary journal, Inscape. In 2011, she married the love of her life and moved to Eastern Idaho. She finished her last semester at BYU Idaho. She will be graduating from BYU with a Bachelors in English this December. Emilia and her husband are expecting their first child.

is a recent graduate from BYU-Idaho with a degree in Communications. He has always had a passion for creativity and has been writing short stories since the fourth grade.

john apgar

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Doug mckay; Sheep



Outlet Mag 2012