e lake, looking like black, deformed fingers stretching over the surface. With every gust of air, a whirlwind of red and orang aves would fly up into the air. Instinctively I held the black coat closer to my chest, but I didnâ€™t feel the cool breeze and the clung to my tearstained cheeks. In fact, I felt nothing at all. I kicked off my black shoes and stripped myself of the black coa hivered, but it didnâ€™t register in my mind as cold. I continued to feel empty and I was desperate. Slowly I began stepping in
Inscape Central Methodist University’s Magazine of the Arts A Project of CMU’s Mu Lambda chapter of Sigma Tau Delta
Issue 38 / 2013 Editors Jane Gonzalez-Meyer Kate Kellner
Dr. Kavita Hatwalkar
Inscape was founded in 1975 by Central’s Tau Tau Tau honorary fraternity,
Mu Lambda chapter of Sigma Tau Delta (the International English Honor Society), and the legendary Scribblers and Scrawlers.
Inscape is funded by CMU’s Student Government Association.
Inscape © 2013 by Inscape, Central Methodist University’s Magazine of the Arts Inscape is one of the creative endeavors of the students, faculty, and staff at CMU. This unique publishing opportunity is one of many educational experiences that CMU’s Department of English faculty provides. The Department has a distinguished record of placing students in graduate and professional study as well as in Education and other professional fields. If you would like further information about CMU’s Department of English, contact Dr. Kavita Hatwalkar Department of English Central Methodist University 411 Central Methodist Square Fayette, Missouri 65248-1192 firstname.lastname@example.org (660) 248-6273 Or visit www.centralmethodist.edu/academics/english/index.php for more information. The Inscape staff and Sigma Tau Delta wish to thank the staff at General Printing, Columbia, Missouri, for their assistance in producing and printing this issue.
Table of Contents Editors’ Note.................................................................................................5 Manifest Destiny - Joe Jefferies (Gordon-Hadfield Award for Poetry)............................................7 Coming Home - Jimmy Craighead...........................................................8 Dreamwalkers - Kate Kellner....................................................................9 Rachel’s Song - Shawna Crisler.............................................................. 10 Red Headed Stepchild - Joslyn West................................................... 11 Shadow Surfer - Justin Brewer............................................................... 13 The Man Trapped Under the Debris - Paul Davis............................... 14 TicK. listen. TalK - Jessica Travlos........................................................... 16 To Live and To Love - Hershel Williams III............................................ 17 Waiting For You - Mariah Furman......................................................... 18 Numb - Jane Gonzalez-Meyer (Kilgore Trout Award for Fiction).................................................. 19 Cab #178 - Jared Green...................................................................... 22 The Ghosts - Christina Burke................................................................... 24 Jondaryan - Jessica Travlos (Elizabeth Stapleton Award in Art Education)...........................29 Country Life - Kelsey Forqueran............................................................ 30 Nosy Zoey - Meredith Brink.................................................................... 31 Up on a Hill - Lara Bendall..................................................................... 32 Web Covered in Dew - Elise Schreiber................................................ 33 A View Back in Time - Alexia Maschmeier.......................................... 34 Water Color - Jessica Travlos................................................................ 35 February Ride - Alexia Maschmeier..................................................... 36 The Bright Side - Savannah Schaefer................................................... 37 Going the Distance - Christina Burke.................................................... 38 Life on the Small Side - Caryn Jackson................................................ 39 All Roads Lead Home - Kelsey Forqueran........................................... 40 Energy - Caryn Jackson........................................................................... 41 The Baseball - Savannah Shaefer......................................................... 42 Spectacles - Elise Schreiber.................................................................... 43 Who Knew - Jordan Brennan................................................................. 44 The Weary Kind - Jamie Ward (Thomas F. Dillingham Award for Non-Fiction Prose)................ 45 4
Make-Believe, Matrimony, Melancholy, and Mirth - Brenna Oâ€™Neill ..... 50 Racing Cars - Ciera Kluck....................................................................... 53 Mercutio - Jordan Brennan..................................................................... 56
Front Cover Watch Your Step - Eileen Stacy (Byrd Cooper Kirby Award) Numb - Jane Gonzalez-Meyer (Kilgore Trout Award for Fiction)
Editorsâ€™ Note Central Methodist University is unique because it is a small campus that supplies different outlets for all the students. In this literary magazine, you get an idea of how diverse our student population is and the variety of ways we all choose to express ourselves. All of us have come from different walks of life. However, we have all been blessed with the ability to record our experiences for others, whether it be through pen and paper or a camera lense. Enclosed within this volume of Inscape, you will find pieces that truly showcase the talents of our student body in both writing and photography. As editors, we have been fortunate to have this opportunity to work on Inscape. Throughout this entire process, we feel as if we have been able to get to know our student population that much better. We now have a better understand as to how extraordinary our campus truly is. We hope you enjoy these pieces as much as we have. We challenge you to dive headfirst into Inscape with an open mind and open heart and experience our wonderful student body first-hand. Kate Kellner Jane Gonzalez-Meyer
in路scape /in-skeip/ n. word coined by British poet Gerard Manley Hopkins for the individual or essential quality of a thing; the uniqueness of an observed object, scene, event, etc.
Gordon Hadfield Award for Poetry Manifest Destiny Your beauty is poetry Formed of elegant lines; Jaw, cheeks, eyes, mouth. A comprehensive luxury Designed for desire. Strong, chiseledâ€” An enigmatic perfection Draped in distance. I am longing for, Begging for the taste of Lips. The swing of Hips. The heat of Breath. The glory of Death 8
Today’s the day my brother’s coming back. It’s been awhile since I gazed upon him. His long departure left my spirit cracked, And left my family’s mood all sorts of dim. All plans were made, the time is really here. And truthfully I don’t know how to feel. The plane unloads, I shed a tiny tear. My brother’s back, this almost isn’t real. The flag, it drapes the box in which he’s in. My mother cries, my father shakes a hand. The colonel says he’s had no better men, Who’ve served and died protecting this land. The expense of freedom does not come free. My brother’s home, he’s just not here with me.
I am walking in your dreams Using clouds as stepping stones to reach your heart Which lies among the stars My black and white face stands out among the colored crowds Who stroll along the paths of your winding nerves We fly with golden wings and lie in each others hills and valleys all Elbows and knobby knees stretching out to eternity My eyes project colors of the sunset and I dance with the snowcapped Mountains and lounge among the trees and Many other fantastical things One hundred and sixty two miles and One thousand universes away The real me lies wide awake Dreamwalkers cannot sleep while they Roam in the land of another I lay here waiting for you to rise So that I many finally sink And you can walk with me
I sing for the fire within me tho’ mournful the cries sometimes be I play for the light of the daytime to rejoice in the fact that we’re free I desire because I am human and my flaws compel me to need I love because I want love and all the things that love brings I have passion because I am driven and so must I accept it or be thus consumed I have a soul because I feel and to feel is to be true I have a life because I live and thus must choose to be I have a heart because I have experience the joys and pains of my fellows are ever with me I have pain because I’m flawed I alone bring my pain upon me As a mortal it is my lot. I have a point because I must prove a fact Pivotal, but often overlooked and lostThe fact that everything experienced is worth its cost.
Red Headed Stepchild
I’m sorry That you entered my world And tried to take it over. But it was like trying to fit a Square piece into a round hole. Our personalities can’t coexist. Love doesn’t work well with Anger. I didn’t stand up for myself at first. I wasn’t strong enough, and now when I do? You only scream Louder. I’m sorry I didn’t go to the college You wanted. I’m sorry that I’m not Perfect. I never could be anything but STUPID In your eyes. And you’ve never let me Forget. Do you EVEN know what Love Is? Love isn’t being afraid of you, cut and torn and having Friends put. me. back. Together. Love isn’t being afraid to be myself. Love isn’t being afraid to be IN THE HOUSE. All of the insults... 12
My heart never lets me forget. Constant reminders of the vulgar profanities about a womanâ€™s pride that you screamed in my face. I was forced to apologize. And I was forced to believe that You were right. How can you be so ANGRY?! I feel sorry for you sometimes. But then I feel sorry for myself, because I still let you hurt me. Over and over.
The sun crosses the western horizon, and I gaze upon the sea. I spot the shadow of a surfer, riding along the endless waves. It is the same every night, over the whole of a decade. Why he is there, I may never know, but I trust he can never harm me. My neighbors think me insane, they do not understand How I am unable to fear the shadow of the surfer. They take one look at him and then retreat in terror, But I have found no reason to fear him, over the whole of a decade. Even though we have never met, I see him as a friend; A familiar face in the chaotic tempest of life. Together we welcome the coming of the night. It is the same every night, over the whole of a decade.
The Man Trapped Under the Debris
Hell! That’s where they’ve sent me. Sent to a foreign land, shipped across the sea, A desolate world, with foreign faces, Glaring, staring, this new world hates me. I’m scared, but more scared to show it. My heart is pounding, it’s impossible to slow it. Walking through the jungle, carefully, I watch my steps Hiding from Charlie, trying to avoid his death traps. Months and months at a time, it takes all I have to survive. Pain and brutality around me, words can’t describe the horrors I see. Rumor spreading of an upcoming retreat; Meanwhile, a family is slaughtered in the street. More weeks pass, the tension is rising, Increased death rates, escalated fighting. A violent roar, the earth starts to shake, A moan under rubble, “Help me, for God’s sake.” I start towards him, the bullets are flying. I look around at soldiers, my friends, they’re dying. I step forward, I’m hit, time seems to freeze, Falling forward, in agony, defeated by my enemy. My chest hits the ground, I struggle to breathe. My eyes meet the man’s, caught under the debris Trying to move, frozen with fear. Light starts to fade as I focus on his cold, blank stare I say that I’m sorry, I no longer can move. I lay there bleeding, his eyes glaze, they became smooth. I finally black out, life is slipping away And I wonder, “Is this my last day?” I fall out, beginning to dream, I dream of the man caught under the debris. I begin to weep, he tells me to stop. He tells me, “Don’t worry; it’s not your fault.” I fall to my knees, he tries to comfort me. He said, “Stop crying, I died for my people, my country.” I awake in a bed, my chest is on fire, My spoils of war, a constant reminder. 15
Iâ€™m released after a few weeks are passed. I get the Purple Heart, my first medal, my last. I depart for home, itâ€™s a time for rest. I need to pray and forgive myself for the past. A group of people stand at the bus stop, They must be there to welcome back the soldier who was shot! I feel honored as I walk down the aisle, Happy to see familiar people, I begin to smile. I look majestic, dressed in my military fatigues. But honor turns to anger as I approach my colleagues. They shout, they yell, they spit at me, Ungrateful for what Iâ€™ve sacrificed to keep them free. This is what he died for, that man trapped under the debris?
TicK. listen. TalK
Those ticks. They talk. Slamming stop then snapping free. Turning ‘round to the beat, tap out what you dread to know. Tracking steps left behind, one at a time. Those ticks, they talk. Try to fight. Many do. Going faster. Racing who? Knowing that you’ll always lose. For those ticks have been talking much longer than you. Those ticks they talk, speaking words in your thoughts, “It’s coming, that time you’ll take.” Grin streaked across its face, hands stretched taunting what’s already known. Those ticks that tocked: some have tried to escape that vintage sound in our digital age. But as lights flash from every face your eyes ignore what offends. Those ticks that tocked you’ve silenced now, forcing them to tick their tocks internally. Cut their hands and squeezed their faces. Assigned space for four. Allowed the lesser beat. Those ticks that tocked watch instead and can’t be tricked. United by many, talking or not, take their ticks to keep your beat. Together, you will be out tocked. 17
To Live and To Love
Hershel W. Williams III
To Love How many ask what is it to love? Is it to care? Is it to protect? Should it be so complex that itâ€™s simple? Or so simple that itâ€™s complex? Everybody has the capacity, But does anybody have the understanding? Blatant use is ruin, No use is sorrowful. To Love? Everybody loves, how many think first? To Live How many know how to live? A mere existence, or a search for fulfillment? Shall we all exist to live? Or shall we live to exist? The desire is written in the consciousness, But how many will read it? To just be is abandonment, No desire is useless To Live? Everybody tries, how many think first? To Live and to Love To love is to live, but how many can live and love? And how many think first?
Waiting For You
I’ve been waiting for you My entire life. I waited for you to notice me In your own time: 19 years. I waited pacing, heart racing For you to say it back. It was the longest thirty seconds Of my life: I love you too. Even though I knew that night, I waited two years to ask for your hand. You didn’t make me wait long Before you jumped in my arms: Yes. I waited as you walked down the aisle Wearing a beautiful smile and a white dress. Every second drawing near those two words Everyone’s been waiting for: I do. Fifty-eight years later, I sit beside you. Your breath weakens as I ask: “What are you gonna do till I get there?” You whisper: “Wait for You.”
Kilgore Trout Award for Fiction Numb
The trees casted dark shadows onto the lake, looking like black, deformed fingers stretching over the surface. With every gust of air, a whirlwind of red and orange leaves would fly up into the air. Instinctively I held the black coat closer to my chest, but I didn’t feel the cool breeze and the way it clung to my tearstained cheeks. In fact, I felt nothing at all. I kicked off my black shoes and stripped myself of the black coat. I shivered, but it didn’t register in my mind as cold. I continued to feel empty and I was desperate. Slowly I began stepping into the water, and became fascinated with the way the liquid wrapped around my ankles. I continued to make my way farther and was mesmerized by the way my calves and thighs cringed in the water. They too began to grow numb. My black dress skimmed the surface, gliding along as I made my trek. When the water reached my chest, I convulsed. Breathing evenly was difficult, and soon enough I was numb from the neck down. What did it matter? I was numb before. “Jenny!” A man’s voice reached my ears, but I didn’t turn to acknowledge it. “Jenny! What are you doing?!” He sounded panicked. I heard splashing, and I submerged my head. It felt like tiny knives piercing my entire being. Finally, I was able to feel something. Pain was better than nothing. I was yanked from the water and the next thing I knew I was surrounded by all my relatives, all donning the same dead color. People were scolding me, and the drenched man was trying to wrap me in a blanket. I felt sorry for him. He lost his wife and now his daughter had gone crazy. Instead of apologizing, I just glanced back out at the lake. The sun was setting behind the trees, and the lake was an ominous shade of black. How fitting. Once home, I didn’t bother to explain that it wasn’t a suicide attempt. Deep down I knew he understood and would have done the same thing. Ever since my mom collapsed in the living room that 20
day, he was going around in a flutter. He would spend all his time in the hospital running around the room making sure she was as comfortable as possible, but he had no way of knowing. She just laid there; the only indication of life was the sound of the heart monitor. He would growl at the nurses who came to check her tubes, and he pushed the doctors for answers. She didn’t open her eyes, and deep down we knew she never would. After a few weeks of no improvement, the doctors told us she was not coming back. With heavy tears, we said our last goodbyes and she was taken off life support; finally free from her pain. Every night after the funeral, I laid in my bed and stared at the blackness of my room. A sliver of light would appear, and I knew it was Dad checking up on me. He stopped trying to come in to talk after the initial failed attempts. The first night he tried to get me to open up about the whole ordeal, I didn’t respond. Instead I just stared at him, too afraid and empty to contribute anything. I knew he was hurting, but I couldn’t console him. Nothing I could say would change anything. She was gone. Each morning I would wake up and look in the mirror, and see the black circles becoming more prominent under my eyes. Sleep wouldn’t come to me at night, so instead I just looked at the black shadows creep across the ceiling. I ate because I had to, and bathed because I always did before. None of it mattered to me. Dad didn’t look much better, but he would force a smile and chatter. He didn’t know it, but I could hear him cry at nights when he thought I was asleep. For hours I would lay there with eyes wide open, listening to him hurt, and I couldn’t do anything to help. I went through the motions of going to school, but I wasn’t ever there. Instead I would look out the window at the black clouds prepared to pour their misery upon the town. Friends didn’t make me talk, but instead kept close. I would catch them staring at me during lunch, but would look back out amongst the masses of students trying to get their food. Not a care in the world for these people, and all their mothers at home waiting to embrace them. One morning, about a month after her death, things felt different. I opened my curtains and a puff of dust floated into the air. The sunlight burst into the room, and the beams warmed my skin. 21
I went to the mirror and saw I had a little color back in my face. Finally, I could feel something again. I made my way into the kitchen and saw Dad there like usual, trying to make us breakfast. He turned around with the same forced smile he wore every morning, but it faded when he saw my pained face. “Why did it have to be her, Dad? Did I do something wrong and that’s why she was taken away from us? Were we just too happy as a family that we deserved to be punished like this?” I sobbed and stumbled over my words. “She didn’t deserve this. You didn’t deserve this. I’m so sorry.” He didn’t respond, nor did he let me finish. Instead he just pulled me to his chest and we sobbed for what felt like hours. I felt relieved and for a moment, at peace. Months later, Dad and I were back at the lake together, sitting along the edge. Bright green leaves and blossoms of pink and white were beginning to appear. The lake shimmered like a million diamonds under the sun’s bright light. A warm breeze made its way over and I inhaled deeply, relishing in the feeling of being alive. It felt like lifetimes ago, but Mom and I once came across this lake when we were taking our daily walks together. We had to stop because she was mesmerized by all the colors. While sitting, she smiled warmly at me, and said that life always seemed to show its beauty when she least expected it. Then with a tone of seriousness, she stated that when life got hard, to remember that there’s always good. I smiled to myself at the memory, never fully grasping what she meant until this moment. Dad quietly looked out at the water, a look of contentment on his face. I reached out for his hand, and as the sun slowly sank into the horizon, I knew we were going to be alright.
It was pouring down rain and the yellow taxis buzzed up and down the busy streets of New York City. I sat at work staring out my window at the variety of people trying to flag down the nearest cab in the rain like it was a whole other world. I worked at the Jefferson Law Firm downtown. I’d finished all my case work for the day and was sitting at my desk checking the clock as it ticked down the last thirty minutes of the work day. My boss came in and told me to go ahead and go home early and try and get in before the storm got even worse. I went outside covered my head with today’s newspaper and tried to flag down the nearest taxi. One stopped across the street so I ran to it and jumped in right as a young woman jumped in from the other side. She was beautiful, probably around twenty-seven, blonde, wavy hair, gorgeous, blue eyes and a killer smile. She was dressed in nice business attire tailored to fit, so I figured she was a successful business woman of some kind. I told her I was sorry and I’d catch the next one. I started to get out of the cab. “Well, where you headed?” she asked. “Upper East side,” I replied. “Well I’m actually headed up to Central Park. I don’t mind if we share, if that’s ok with you of course?” she asked. “If you’re sure that’s alright,” I said. “I don’t mind,” she replied with a small smile. We sat in silence for a while and when we hit our first slow down because of the rain, I introduced myself and she did the same. “Will,” I said, “Nice to meet you.” “Kelli,” she said matter-of-factly. We started with the normal small talk of “how are you, where you from, what do you do, etc.” This continued for a while until we passed a Gatorade billboard of Derek Jeter and Yankee stadium on it and she asked if I caught the game the night before. “You like baseball?” I asked surprised. 23
“Die hard Yankees fan since I was six years old,” she replied. For the next twenty minutes straight we talked about baseball and the Yankees. Anything from past times to stories of the ball park, such as when she was six years old and her dad took her to her first ever game. It happened to be game six of the 1978 World Series when the Yankees won the title against the LA Dodgers. We even told stories about our favorite players, past and present. This girl knew her stuff. Her father used to take her to games all through her childhood. Next we just discussed anything that came up here and there. Because of the rain, multiple crashes and slowdowns occurred throughout the city. We rode for a total of an hour in the taxi together going through town. As we approached her destination, our conversation was still in full swing. I hadn’t even realized how long we had been in the car together. The taxi driver informed us that we were a block away from Central Park. “It was really nice meeting you,” she said. “Maybe I’ll see you around sometime.” “I’d like that,” I replied, as I sadly realized that I’d probably never see this woman again in my life. We reached Central Park and she handed me some bills to pay for her tab and we said our goodbyes. As I continued my taxi ride, now alone, I realized that was the best conversation I have had with someone in a very long time. I really wish I could see her again. Oh well, I thought to myself, nothing could be done now. As we reached my apartment on the Upper East Side, I unfolded the money she gave me to find a business card in the middle of the bills. “Kelli Boyd, Accountant” it read along with a phone number. I flipped it over to read “I really would like to see you around again sometime. Call me.” I might just have to do that I thought to myself, not too soon though, don’t want to seem crazy. So I paid my tab and headed up to my apartment. If I only would have known this would be the first of many conversations between me and Kelli, my wife of 22 years and counting. 24
A new town, a new house, once again. I’m Christina Burke. My family and have moved… a lot. This new town seems to be promising though. Kind of small and boring but still somewhat ok it seemed. The house we moved into this time was great. Two stories, a huge backyard for my dog Max, and lots of closet space. Perfect for my clothes and all my other random junk I can’t make myself let go of. Too many memories from our beloved home in Florida. I walk into our new home, which was obviously old, located right in the middle of town, and worst of all directly across the street from the city cemetery. My first spook was when I was nearly tripped by a solid black cat as I walked through the door. She had been carrying a small bird in her mouth when I nearly killed her with my falling body. She dropped the defenseless creature and darted toward the back of the house. I picked up the frantic baby bird and sat it back outside, and started my search for the cat. When I finally found her, she seemed friendly as could be. A beautiful cat, her only flaw was her hunger. I picked her up and started my slow tour through the rest of the house. I talked briefly to my mother about the cat I was carrying, and then walked upstairs. A room in the middle, a bedroom on each end, and a small full bathroom off to the side. I looked through all of the rooms except one, which I was saving for the last. As I walked through the door, the cat hissed and jumped from my arms. She looked back at me for a split second, and then ran down the stairs. I jumped, once again frightened by the abandoned cat. I shook off the shivers and walked into the room. My eyes widened with surprise. Purple, every wall and ceiling was a bright vibrant purple. My favorite color! I skipped further into the room and noticed the odd shape. The room protruded on one side in the middle, and on the edge of the room on the other side. There was a door on each side of the room so I walked first to the one on the right. I opened it up and found a small angled closet. Excitedly, I ran to the other side of the room and opened that door. 25
A huge closet this time! It seemed colder in here but it was just from the large empty space. This room was mine, it had to be. It was so amazing, and best of all I didn’t have to fight my little brother for it because of the color. I mean, what fourteen year old boy would want a bright purple bedroom? The first few nights in that house were great. It was a new place for my new friends to come over and hang out. I decorated my room with pictures and posters of all kinds. I loved it because there was so much room for my friends to goof off and wrestle around. The only furniture I had was my bed, which was stuck over in one of the protruding spaces. It fit perfectly with the size of my bed. I’m a creepy person, I can admit, and the coolest thing in my room was the double ended noose that was hanging from my ceiling fan. Everyone loved it, I think mainly because we had teamed up to learn how to tie it. I never used the fan, so it wasn’t a bad place to hang the knotted rope. This was because this room was a good fifteen degrees colder than the rest of the house. This was really inconvenient during the dead of winter as we had no heat and a few new ouchies in the house. My friends were rough and I had accrued a wonderfully large hole in the ceiling and wall, from my new friend Matt, whom I had grown to care for a lot. Also new, was a large hole in the closet from an unknown source. Now knowing all of this, I would like to introduce you to my closest enemy. A large black figure that hovers over me wherever I go. I don’t know who or what he is, but he is there. He perches himself in the corner of the room, whichever I may be in, and he watches me. Every move I make. He is dark and I know he is pure evil. I jump every time he moves other than the sharp turn of his head. He has been with me for a few years. Only a few people even know of his existence with me. I think what scares me the most about him is that I don’t know why he is here. What had I done to deserve this curse? I was constantly cold, chilled to the bone, and became sick often. This I blame on him, mainly because I was rarely sick before his presence. I have never spoken of him to anyone other than my mother, and I only reveal it now because I feel as if it was his fault my stay in my new 26
home quickly became so unpleasant. Now don’t think I’m crazy yet; please at least wait until the end of my tale. One morning I woke up with my noose around my neck. I started to freak out because not only was it tied around the blades the night before but it was now tightened around my neck. This happened about four more times after that first night, but still I told no one. Like most of the things that happened in that house, no one knows. I would later sit up in bed, and feel the noose being placed around my neck in the darkness. I started to sleep downstairs needless to say. For a short while that is. I started feeling this deep pull towards my bedroom. It was as if I had to be there. I decided that my place in the room after only a few nights being away. As terrified as I was, I also loved being in that room. I would lock myself in there for hours on end, even days. I felt a deep emptiness when I had to leave for things like school. I stopped eating, talking, everything. I grew apart from my new friends, which killed me inside, yet it still felt so right. When I had been in there for a couple days without a break, the new entities decided to show themselves. As I opened up my drafty closet door one day, I looked up to a woman hanging from a noose- my noose! I screamed and fell back, but when I looked up she was gone. The nooses were back in their normal place on my fan. I turned around shocked, and came face to face with a tall man with a blank, blackened face. He was staring at me without the presence of sight, as if to look through me to my soul. I fell down onto my bed, only to hear a little girl cry out, “Get off, you’re hurting my dolly!” A rocking noise redirected my confused attention back towards my closet, only in time to see the body of the woman swaying back and forth. She looked down at me with hate and a small hint of terror in her eyes. A knock at the door and the ghostly figures were gone. They had vanished right before my eyes. My brother asked through the door if I was ok because he had heard my scream. I stayed silent, unable to speak a word. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t rip myself from this room. I was meant to be here, to die here. After that night, things got worse. My room grew colder and I did too. I would wake with 27
scratches on my arms, legs, chest, and back. One night there was a clawing at my face followed by a large gash down my side. This sent blood trickling down my side onto my sheets. Most days I would sit and cry. I withdrew from my friends and family. Every night they talked to me, words that I didn’t understand. Experts say to try and help spirits, talk to them and see what is wrong so their spirits may pass on. Every word was met with a slap from nowhere or a blast of icy cold air that seemed to burn my skin. This led me to give up. What do the experts know anyway? At night I could feel them touching me. Taunting me with the death I knew I would soon face and had grown to desire. I desired the fate with a deeper want then I had wished for with Matt, in what had seemed like a different life. My “demon” stalker was growing braver as well I guess, because he was starting to get closer, and if I would try to leave my room, he would lunge at me. I couldn’t leave the room now at all. One day I got courageous and fled from my room. I stopped at the top of the stairs to calm myself. I felt strong, unnatural hands on my back. I then heard the all too familiar laugh of the little girl and down the stairs I fell. Pushed by my demon. I awoke a few minutes later at the bottom of the stairs, and a little shaken, I went on my way as if nothing had happened. I had hand prints on my back for two weeks. In the end, other people started hearing them too. Talking, laughing, and scratching. The little girl had become the most observed. Her favorite phrase was: “Help me.” My dad thought we were all crazy at first, meaning my mom and brother because I never spoke of my encounters. He was the last one to see them. His encounter was at night when he was in bed. I remember him telling us about how we needed to respond to him when he talked to us. This was because that night he saw his bedroom door open, heard a giggle and asked who was there. When there was no answer he asked again, but the door only creaked shut. He then heard the little girl laughing, too young to be me, and definitely not my brother. I now had claw marks on my closet walls. The marks were because I managed to get a hold of a witchcraft book. I used the 28
magik, not magic which is the word for real practicers of witchcraft, of the book to entrap them in the closet from which they came. This didn’t last long. Somehow they were let out, or they had been toying with me for the few days they were locked away. One night while I was sleeping, I felt the strong grips on my legs, cold as death itself. A swift pulling motion and I was yanked towards the closet. I kicked and tugged at my bed. This stopped the process, whatever it may have been. The next night though, was to be my last. Once again I had lost the battle to stay awake. The door creaked open, and they pulled me in. They clawed at my face and ripped away my skin. Blackness. My life slips away. Darkness. The end nears. I awoke in the closet floor. I look up to see my tormentors and smile. The replaying of my crossing over is a common hobby to my new friends. So naive I was to think that I could have fought them off. I should have given in much sooner. This state being really isn’t that bad. We leave the closet to start our torture on this new young girl. She loves the room with it bright colored walls. She scares easily and will be very fun to play with. She even fell in love with our black cat. Everything clicked the night of my departure from life. Everything I needed and had felt. My parents moved away so soon after my disappearance. I guess they didn’t want to join me. My brother would have made a very nice addition to my new little family. I ran away they said. Influenced by the friends I had. Oh how I miss the way they had made me feel. But now my “death” is perfect, so exciting and fulfilling. I have nothing to worry about except whom to play with next.
Jondaryan Jessica Travlos Elizabeth Stapelton Award in Art Education
Country Life Kelsey Forqueran
Nosy Zoey Meredith Brick
Up on a Hill Laura Bendall
Web Covered in Dew Elise Schreiber
A View Back in Time Alexia Maschmeier
Water Color Jessica Travlos
February Ride Alexia Maschmeier
The Bright Side Savannah Schaefer
Going the Distance Christina Burke
Life on the Small Side Caryn Jackson
All Roads Lead Home Kelsey Forqueran
Energy Caryn Jackson
The Baseball Savannah Schaefer
Spetacles Elise Schreiber
Today is the day I am to die. Convicted of murder, I await the completion of my sentence. I lay in a rude cell, my starved body beaten by the wind. Footsteps tromp down the stairs, approaching the door. My face is full of dirt, my unwashed hair matted and clumped. Keys clank on the metal door as it scrapes open. The guard comes in, delivering a solid kick to my stomach. With a groan, I roll over to look up into his cruel face. “It’s the holiday,” he snarls, dropping shackles on me. “Put these on and come with me. There is another, and the people demand the customary exchange.” Naturally, I’m elated. The people want another man dead? Instead of me? No longer drained of hope, I leap to my feet and begin placing the shackles on my wrists and ankles. “Don’t get too excited, murderer. People still remember your crimes.” “But the people demand an exchange,” I protested. “That means I can still hope.” The guard snorted derisively and drags me from the cell. The darkness recedes as I stumble up the stairs. Even before I’m led out of the building, I hear the angry shouts. Almost the entire city is gathered in the yard, staring up at the dais. I’m rushed through the crowd, but the people pay me no mind. As I step onto the dais, I’m met by three people- the man in charge, several more guards, and the man I assume is the other. He is young, much younger than me, perhaps in his thirtieth year. It looks as though he hasn’t eaten in days, his bones sharply poking out under his skin. He’s already been beaten severely, too. Bruises cover his body. He looks almost dead already. The large eyes that almost bulge out of his head are filled with a sadness that almost defies description, yet he exudes a strength I’ve never felt before, more even than the man in charge. I began to feel he was in command of the situation. When I hear my name, I’m snapped out of my reverie. The crowd has taken up a chant, bellowing it at the man in charge. My heart drops until I realize the meaning of their outcry. They want me. They want me alive. “Release him!” They roar, gesturing at me. “Release him!” I almost cry at the vehemence of their demands. “And what of him?” The man in charge asks, pointing at the other man. Their answer shocks me and, before I know it, I’m free. The shackles are gone and so is the crowd, the throng pushing toward The Skull. Very 45
soon, I’m alone on the dais. A small breeze whispers by and a centurion approaches me. “What’ll you do now?” he asked, as if he really cared about my future. “Go home,” I muttered. “Take up carpentry. Who was that man?” The centurion looked off in the direction of The Skull. “He came to the city in peace, then claimed to be greater than Caesar. He threatened the temple with destruction and said he was the son of God. The leaders of the church claimed he was a danger to the wellbeing of the church and the city.” The centurion turned, heading towards The Skull. I saw dice in his hand. “I like his robe, but it’s in one piece.” I couldn’t leave the city. As soon as the man was lead to The Skull, the gates locked in fear of his followers’ rioting. I couldn’t see how that was a problem. They had either betrayed him or fled. When the crowd had dispersed, I made my way to The Skull. Of the three criminals hanged there, he was the only one who was actually dead. The criminals moaned softly, still struggling uselessly to survive. I knew the cruelty of the guards. If the man in the middle hadn’t been there, I would be. Above his head was nailed a note- King of the Jews. I couldn’t decide whether it was supposed to be serious or sarcastic. To my right, a man and three women sobbed in a huddle. Two guards appeared, making their way to the scene. The two survivors made muffled cries, choked sobs and other noises of futile protest. Without mercy, the guard with a stone hammer brutally shattered their knees, the criminals collapsing in on themselves. The other guard investigated the dead with distaste. He then took his spear and drove it into his side. The group near me wailed louder, as though they didn’t expect this man to be mutilated after death. Blood oozed from the wound, and something else trickled out that I did not expect- water. The dead man was dirty, bloody and broken. A crown of thorns was jammed on the man’s head. Clumps of dirt and blood hung in his sweaty hair. His face was swollen and deformed. Even in life, I believe he was ugly. As my cast my eyes on him, my soul abruptly felt clean, the whitest it had ever been. My mouth dropped as the man’s head rose. His eyes locked onto mine, and his body began to glow. He effortlessly pulled himself from the cross and, before I knew it, I was looking at the most beautiful human being anyone could imagine. When he spoke, I was caressed by the words of God. “Today, my child, you are free. Your sins are forgiven.” When the light faded, I was completely alone. The bodies had been removed and the sobbing group had fled. People told me stories 46
about the death of this man. They say there was an earthquake when he breathed his last. Thunder roared across the clear sky. The recently dead rose from their graves and roamed the city for hours. The curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the profane had been torn in two. I hadn’t seen any of these things. My mind was absolutely occupied by what had happened in my eyes and heart. The man had taken up residence there, and I don’t think I’m going to try to change that.
Thomas F. Dillingham Award for Non-Fiction Prose The Weary Kind
I had just gotten home; I wasn’t in much of a hurry as I parked my little white pickup in the driveway. I grabbed my school work and headed into the open garage, thinking about the long, boring day I’d had at school. I was pondering what homework I would start on first as I walked through the garage, passing our Tahoe on the left and my daddy’s fishing poles on the right. My plans for the night were to do homework and eat dinner with my family. I had gotten to the garage door. My hand wrapped around the knob ready to open it when I heard a song playing softly from inside the house. I paused for a moment trying to figure out what the song was and why it would be playing. I broke from the hesitation and quickly opened the door to find my dad in the living room; he was bent over my old CD player. I noticed the PA system was set up; He had bought it as a gift to me for Christmas one year and it had gotten a lot of use out of it. Many cords were strung across the floor in different directions. I then recognized that a microphone was set up on its stand in front of a brown stool that he had clearly brought in from the kitchen. Standing there, I thought about how far our relationship had come. My dad and I never had a whole lot in common before I was in sixth grade. He works in construction and I couldn’t relate much to that. Although I have always been his little girl, we never had much to talk about. In sixth grade, I learned how to play guitar. Our relationship grew even stronger when I started singing country music. As time went on, we began writing songs together. We would sitin the basement of our house for hours and just listen to music, wondering which songs I would be able to learn and perform. Dad and I always connected this way. He wrote, I sang. So standing there in my living room, I immediately thought he’d have a song to show me or that he’d even ask me to sing; maybe he had written some lyrics while he was building houses that day, but he surprised me. 48
My dad turned his head. He saw me and immediately made his way in my direction and asked me to sit down on our long floral printed couch. He wore an eager smile and I couldn’t help but smile too; he seemed so happy and I didn’t know why. I hadn’t quite put the pieces together until Dad looked at me with his anxious expression and said he wanted me to hear something. Dad hit play on the CD player and hurriedly sat on the brown kitchen stool. He looked as though he had rehearsed this and wanted to put on the best performance possible. Just for me. As he sat there, he kept his kind eyes looking straight ahead, not at me, but at the wall. The music started; a guitar was picking a soft, beautiful tune that instantly warmed my heart. I recognized the song. It was Dad’s latest favorite: “The Weary Kind” by Ryan Bingham. Jeff Bridges sang this song from the “Crazy Heart” soundtrack. He had recently watched this movie and couldn’t stop talking about how great it was. He even made me watch it, although I didn’t mind. Jeff Bridges started to sing and that was Dad’s cue. His voice was gentle and he sang each note carefully and precisely. “And this ain’t no place for the weary kind. This ain’t no place to lose your mind. This ain’t no place to fall behind. Pick up your crazy heart and give it one more try,” Dad sang with compassion. I was astounded. The music had filled my heart with joy; small tears gathered and fell from my eyes. I was amazed to think that Dad was actually singing… for me. This was not only something he had ever done before; I never actually knew he could sing. Despite our musical connection, I always sang and he wrote. “Your lover’s warm kisses too damn far from your fingertips. You are the man that ruined her world” Jeff Bridges and Dad sang in unison. I noticed the song was coming to a close; I didn’t want it to end. The instrumental break was over and my dad prepared for the last line. He gave it his all, “Your heart’s on the loose. You rolled them seven’s with nothing to lose and this ain’t no place for the weary kind.” The guitar picking faded and Dad got up to stop the player. He then turned his head, looking at me for feedback, “What do you think?” I smiled with tears still making their way along my cheeks. Of course I let him know it was perfect. 49
You’d think that after that him and I would hang out, maybe listen to some more music or sing together, but we did none of that. I understood; he’s not the type to discuss why he sang, especially when he knows the conversation might become emotional. I had homework to do anyway and he had work to get done, so we simply went on with the rest of our day. We didn’t say much to each other the rest of the night, but that was okay. There wasn’t much else to say. Never once did Dad look at me while he was singing that day. I’m still not sure why but I often think it could’ve been stage fright or the simple fact that our roles had been reversed and it wasn’t something he was used to; usually I was the one singing and he listened. Thinking about it now, I’m glad he kept his eyes away for that moment; heavier tears would have fallen and Dad doesn’t like it when I cry. Nowadays, I still listen to “The Weary Kind” every now and again and I think of the first time Dad sang for me; the song brings back all of the emotions from that moment. That was the best gift Dad has ever given me.
Make-Believe, Matrimony, Melancholy, and Mirth Brenna O’Neill We’ve been “sister-cousins” as long as I can remember, the two youngest Mace girls and me. Bethany and I, as the middle child each, share certain personality quirks; neither of us taking anything seriously enough. Laura and I, the closest two in age, share a face, looking so much alike when we were younger. I can remember once being asked by my uncle, her father, “Laura, where are your glasses?” It wasn’t so many years ago we built blanket forts together and camped in the backyard as Bethany, the oldest and so the designated reader, read us anything she had on hand, usually her Bible, and Laura would remind us we should all be sleeping. I have treasured those times. My cousins, my sister, and myself, carefree. Bethany and Laura were the older sisters I didn’t have and their visits from Michigan will forever be among my most beloved memories - beloved to me as well are our weddings. Laura and I were each engaged near the same time, her wedding coming a year and six months before mine; almost the same space of time apart that we were born. She met her husband in Bible college, an MK from Papua New Guinea with a heart for missions, and I met mine in high school, a musician and a godly man. It was everything we wanted and we were happy. I road tripped seven plus hours with Bethany and our grandmother to help with Laura and Jordan’s wedding. If you ever get the chance to take a road trip with your grandmother, do it, we had far too much fun. Half of the fun was knowing that at the end of our journey, my beautiful, sweet cousin would unite forever with God’s perfect provision for her. I would be there for whatever she might need. I was beyond thrilled. The night before her wedding, I lay in bed next to Bethany, Laura-less, and wondered. I wondered how many of these giggly, up-talking-too-late nights I had left with Bethany, and if I would ever get used to being minus Laura. I wondered what would happen between us, with both Laura and me married off and her still 51
unattached. We had become women while I wasn’t looking, and I felt an unexpected sense of loss for our childhood. I feared losing these women as well, whom I have so much love for (odd wording?). Laura was the most beautiful bride. We both cried and we were happy, but when the festivities ended and everyone went home, I left for Missouri. Bethany drove through to Kansas, and Jordan Bracy took his new bride, my precious cousin, home to Vermont. Vermont felt to me like the moon. Laura was in Vermont, she was married, and she was so far from me. In a little over a year I would leave too. My heart was both burdened and excited. I was happy, so happy with my fiancé Michael, but I was also nervous for the coming changes. I was ready to embrace my new life, but I didn’t want to let go of Bethany and Laura in the process. No one could have known the things that would happen to us between July 11th, 2011 and December 28th, 2012. Laura and Jordan got on board with Africa Inland Missions (AIM) as missionaries to be sent to Madagascar in November of 2012, preventing her from being one of my bridesmaids. Bethany was engaged to her Kansas farm boy, Ben Busenitz, and married less than three weeks later, in a non-traditional ceremony in traditional Bethany style. And we were happy. Really happy. Laura and Jordan were there at Bethany’s wedding, and she was still Laura. Bethany and I embraced grade school style – ran toward each other, tackle-hugged, and spun – before I put my hand to peeling potatoes for the reception. The (incredibly short) ceremony was beautiful, the (incredibly long) reception was beautiful, and Bethany was stunning. And we were happy. It wasn’t until the ride home, back to Missouri, in a dark car with my fiancé, my mother, and my sisters, that the loss set back in. It felt like our mutual adventures had come to an end. Then, at long last, it was my turn. In our grandmother’s dress and my new tennis shoes, on a brisk day in December, I declared my constant faith and abiding love for the man with whom I’d spend my life, in front of God and my beautiful cousins. Bethany, who had been sick that week, stood by my side as one of my bridesmaids and Laura sat in the family pew. Earlier in October, Laura and Jordan’s send-off was delayed by AIM to March of 2013. She was with me after all, and that made me so happy. Michael and I were 52
married by my Uncle Tim, whom is Laura and Bethany’s father. He had also been the man who married them to their husbands. The memory from that day that I will forever hold close to my heart is of Bethany, Laura, and me in the handicap stall of the women’s restroom on the fourth floor of the Student and Community Center of Central Methodist University. They were there helping me out of my wedding dress and in to my “get-away” dress, a Catwoman costume to Michael’s Batman. Bethany and Laura were there, helping me still. They were there. It was then, in the women’s restroom, even as they pulled the dress over my head and the automatic toilet flushed, that I realized they love me as much I love them. We had all married now. We have kitchens to keep clean and husbands to keep fed. We have, gasp, responsibilities. We have grown into women and though I feared it wouldn’t, our love grew with us. The physical distance between us will most assuredly swell and diminish with our individual families’ needs and goals, but the distance in our hearts is only beats, and always will be. And we are so happy.
Talking about birthdays in class one day, the girl that sits behind me says, “December 19th is my birthday.” The day I dread every year, is her favorite. December 19th isn’t just a date. It’s been engraved in my memory as the name on his tombstone. At that moment, I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything at all. Being from a small town, everyone knew when a new kid arrived. Going into my seventh grade year, we had a new kid named Jordan. He had short brown hair and deep chocolate brown eyes. He was obnoxious, loud, and I couldn’t stand him. Little did I know he would shortly tie into my closest friend circle. Before I knew it, he was coming very close to my friends, sitting at our lunch table, and we had quite a few classes together. My best friend, Mikki, lived down the street from Jordan, so I started seeing him outside of school too. The more we talked, the more I grew to like him. He was hilarious and he would always do stupid things to make someone laugh. He loved his family more than anything, and wasn’t ashamed to share his love for his little sister, who he always called “KK”. He was passionate about cars and skateboarding, and spent a lot of time on his computer trying to figure out what his first car would look like. He was the oldest in our group of friends, so he told us that when he got his license, he would drive us around. Most importantly, he was a daredevil; there wasn’t a thing he was scared of. I never would have thought that being such a daredevil would cost him his life. As most people know, high school is where a lot of people grow apart and none of us were an exception to that. Fast-forward to my sophomore year. Some of us talked, most of us didn’t. Separation had taken its toll and no one cared to go out of their way to change it. I hadn’t talked to Jordan in a while, mainly because he worked all the time and we never had any classes together. One day, I had to go to after school tutoring, something I usually put off for another day. I glanced up to see who was in the room and there he was, smiling bigger and brighter than usual. He 54
flagged me over to sit by him, reminiscing on old times. Thank God for this day, because I guarantee if it wasn’t for this day we probably wouldn’t have talked. I know this was the work of God. I wish I would have known then what I know now: how limited his time was here with us. About a week later, on Friday night, I was out with my girlfriends. We were road tripping and we got a phone call, sure enough it was Jordan. He wanted to hang out, but we were already halfway out of town and we figured we would just hang out with him when we got back. We told him we’d give him a call later. If only I could go back to this exact moment and tell him yes, I’ll be there in a minute and turn around. Maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t blame myself so much. Later that night, we were heading back towards town. We got another phone call; it was our friend Gary, who was with Jordan earlier that night. He sounded panicked, “We were just playing around and Jordan got into a wreck and…” We didn’t even let him finish, we rushed to town all hoping and praying this was a sick joke. If you knew either one of them, they usually played sick jokes a lot of the time. We arrived at the scene as bright blue and red lights blurred my vision and glass gleamed across the highway. This wasn’t a joke, it was real. The one time we actually wished they were playing a joke, they weren’t. I couldn’t help but feel responsible. Would this have played out differently if we would have turned around? Could we have changed anything? Days had passed with no progress made. The story was Jordan, Gary, and Tyler were all hanging out. I guess they got bored and decided they would race each other. Jordan and Tyler were in the same car and Gary was in his car. They were on a long straight away that ended in a sharp turn. Coming around the corner, Jordan must have lost control and then flew into a hill. He was launched into the windshield, which caused his head trauma. You would think that this would change the way most of my friends acted, but they are still reckless. Maybe not as much, but you would have thought it would have had a traumatic change. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. I woke up to my phone screaming at me. It was five in the morning, who could this possibly be? I walked into 55
the other room, trying to wake myself up. It was my friend, Paige, crying hysterically on the other end. I tried to ask what was wrong, but before I could finish my sentence she blurted out, “Jordan died this morning.” My heart stopped, I dropped to my knees. I couldn’t believe it. Tears came out, but reality hadn’t really sunk in yet. You would think that after so many years it would get easier. But every time I hear his name, my heart aches. Someone so young, driven, and loved by so many; it just didn’t seem fair. I try to visit his grave when I can. I’ve visited his parents a few times too. His little brother always texts me, and I enjoy it because it’s like a little part of him is still in contact with me. His mom even adopted the highway he wrecked on, with a cross remembering him. Every time I pass his site I honk. It’s become kind of a ritual because no matter who I’m with, whose car I’m in, I always honk. This makes his legacy live on. It’s kind of like I can still drive by, and wave at him, just like he never left.
Place: Verona, Italy Year: Unknown A Courtyard. At Center, a pedestal. Upon the pedestal, a stature depicting a very young couple in a loving embrace. MAN enters SL. HE is wrapped in a large trench coat, a long, thin sword on his left hip, HIS face concealed by a large hat. It is raining steadily.
(MAN crosses to pedestal and reads plaque aloud) MAN: “In Memoriam- Romeo and Juliet There shall no figure at such rate be set As that of True and Faithful Juliet. As rich shall Romeo’s by his lady’s lie, Poor sacrifices of our enmity.” (Removes hat and crosses DSL.) Six years… I’m so sorry, brother. (HE paces L and R in front of the statue) I wish there was more I could have done. This isn’t how this was supposed to happen..
( WOMAN enters UR and sees MAN. SHE is wary at first, but HE shifts and SHE recognizes HIM) WOMAN: Mercutio!
(MAN starts and looks around. Upon seeing HER, both cross C in front of the statue and embrace) MER: Rosaline! ROS: It’s wonderful to see you back! (Kiss) MER: You too, Roz. ROS: You need to be careful. The city guard is out. If they catch you… 57
MER: No one recognizes me. (Turns away, mock-dramatic) You didn’t at first. ROS: It’s been about a year since you were here last. MER: Verona is still my birthplace. Sometimes I have to risk coming back to keep from blowing away forever. ROS: Where were you this time? MER: England. Visiting some theatres. ROS: Did any of them do… (Pause, SHE glances at statue) MER: Well, one of them did a variation of it. Closed the week before I got there. Some guy named Marlowe wrote it. (X UR,
ROS: What brings you back? (MERCUTIO pauses, a small smile on
MER: English women are missing something. ROS: Teeth? (Knowing snort) MER: Their sense of hygiene, among other things. Like the Italian motions… (Rude gesture and grunt. Disgusted, ROSALINE turns upstage. MERCUTIO stares openly at HER backside.) This was always my favorite view of you. (SHE reacts. Pause. HE sobers) It was about this time that I met him. ROS: (Softening ) Where? MER: The street outside the pavilion. (Vague wave off R) Tybalt and his band found poor lovesick Romeo pining about some girl or another. (Another open stare at ROSALINE. SHE nods in understand-
ROS: Juliet should count herself lucky. He finally settled down, even if it was for a little while. MER: Not before getting people killed, of course. Tybalt, Paris, Juliet, himself… ROS: And his mother. MER: (Pause) I hope they’ve found peace. ROS: Even Tybalt? MER: (Chuckle) Ah, the Prince of Cats… Yes, him too.
(Despite the rain, they X DC and sit on the edge of the stage) MER: What do you remember about them? 58
ROS: Well, he chased after me much like you did. (Both grin) Not as successfully, of course. MER: And less vocal. ROS: Juliet, I didn’t know. I was her age when she was born. She spent too much time with that loud nurse. MER: I rather liked that woman. ROS: She liked you too. She mourned the “saucy knave” as much as she did Tybalt and Juliet.
(Another MAN enters. HE is in uniform and glowering.) MAN 2: You people get away from this memorial. We’re closed. MER: (Recognizing voice) And what are you going to do about it, Benvolio, you villain? BEN: (Stops, dawning comprehension) You bastard! Why aren’t you dead? MER: (Rising) Technically, I am. As I recall, it was your idea. BEN: It stopped being that when Tybalt died. (MEN embrace) What in God’s name are you doing back here? MER: Can’t a dead man visit his murderer? BEN: (Smirk) Doesn’t happen often. MER: This time of year was calling to me. And unlike most dead people, I can go where and when things call. (Slight pause) BEN: Escalus misses you. MER: Yeah, I miss him too. Where is he? BEN: Even when his “deceased” cousin comes back for a visit, the Prince of Verona has duties. MER: Just as well. He’s a big cry-baby anyway. (Another pause. Both men sit on either side of ROSALINE) He hated the plan most of all. I think only he foresaw the dangers. BEN: And why not? We were only kids. Not even adults grown can predict where the heartsick will go. ROS: I didn’t appreciate being used that way. We had just met! Danced may be once or twice, kissed— MER: More than twice. ROS: And for you and him (Points at BENVOLIO) to tell me that I’m in the middle of this dumb plot? As bait? We barely knew one an59
other, Mercutio. In fact, sometimes I still think so. You’ve been back and forth between here and God knows where for six years, and never once have you wanted me to come! MER: I didn’t… ROS: No, you didn’t. I know how you feel about everything. You haven’t ever been able to forgive yourself for what happened here. I at least know that look in your eye. Every time you come home to sulk, you have that same look. One of these times, I wish it was me you were coming home for. Like you actually loved me. MER: (Pleading) I did love you! I still do. Unfortunately, the timing was dreadful. I didn’t mean for you to be involved in any way. BEN: (Trying to calm both sides) It made sense, though. You loved one another and that was what Romeo needed to see. His dreams would be crushed and he’d pine, as usual, but it would be a lesson learned. ROS: Instead, he saw Juliet. MER: And for the tiniest moment, we had succeeded. They married and, when it became public, the feud would end. BEN: I don’t understand why the friar didn’t say anything. He could have let the newlyweds know what to do. Or at least urged them to become public as soon as possible. MER: He could have done a lot of things. Posting a guard outside of Juliet’s tomb in case Friar John failed. Telling Romeo and Juliet what the plan was. Laurence could have said anything in any regard to the plan that would prevent Romeo from buying that poison. BEN: Or he could have stopped Tybalt. What was Laurence thinking, letting Romeo roam the streets immediately following his wedding? He should have followed Romeo and taken him straight to Escalus. ROS: Even in hindsight, you boys are completely uncertain of how this plan could have gone. Of course, then raged Tybalt. Perhaps his anger was an accident, or he was heaven-sent to ensure that we fail. We had to think on our feet. MER: It wasn’t pretty. Young and old died. (Gestures at statue) ROS: But the feud’s over. The plan worked. MER: Like hell “the plan worked!” Five people weren’t supposed 60
to die! Instead of laughing and talking with my friends, I hide and mourn their deaths! I’m not Mercutio, cousin of Prince Escalus, I’m a fake who can never come home again! (Rises) But just as long as the Montagues and Capulets love one another, it’s all forgotten! The statue? (XU to stature: the boy’s side) What is that but a jungle gym for kids who don’t even know love and loss, an eyesore for the old who refuse to acknowledge their lovelorn pasts? And it’s all my fault! Me, the damn teenager, trying to undo a century-long feud. It made so much sense. If Romeo thinks I’m dead, he’ll realize fighting and subterfuge are the wrong methods to stop the flow of blood. His marriage to Juliet would be announced. I would make a “miraculous” recovery and all would be well. BEN: (Rise) But he didn’t. MER: No! (XD to L of BENVOLIO) He picks up a sword and gets himself banished. And, of course, (Sarcastic) “Death is better than banishment”. BEN: They were kids. MER: Kids with swords and passions, yet no knowledge of how to wield either. ROS: You can’t keep blaming yourself. We all took the same chances you did. BEN: Despite Rosaline’s discomfort with the plan, she helped as much as she could. ROS: And even though Benvolio argued with you for days and days, he did everything he could to make sure it succeeded. BEN: I trusted this was the right decision. Remember, I’m the one who told them you were dead. That was my moment to make or break this plan. I hoped and prayed it was what was right. Neither of us knew what Romeo was going to do! No one did! Escalus is even prepared to publicly forgive you and welcome you back home. MER: What difference does that make? It won’t bring anyone back. ROS: Mercutio please, just come back. You’ve never been told to stay away. Benvolio and I even admitted our part in what happened and they let us stay here. MER: But at least you can be “Rosaline” and “Benvolio” here. I am 61
a stranger, and even if I came back, I’d be hated for what I caused. ROS: You were a kid, Mercutio. You need to stop beating yourself up about this. Verona will forgive you. MER: But the dead can’t! (Gestures to statue) THEY won’t! ROS: Mercutio, you can’t keep thinking about it that way! Regret and self-loathing won’t bring them back! BEN: Mate, you have to move on. Verona has. Montague and Capulet have. Escalus has. MER: Moving on and forgiving aren’t the same thing. ROS: You don’t mean that. MER: Of course I do. They can accept what happened without forgiving. BEN: (Rising) I’m tired of you and your self-pity. (Draws sword) You need to get over this. I’m sick of hearing you come back to lament. We’ve had our fill of it. Don’t make me do anything I’ll wallow in self-pity over.
(MERCUTIO reluctantly draws sword; THEY duel) BEN: (As they duel) You had more passion fighting Tybalt. MER: YOU had more passion trying to stay uninvolved! Fighting me! If you had just helped me more, we could have completely succeeded! BEN: You said so yourself, no one expected what Romeo was going to do. No matter what I did, this could never turn out the way we hoped. MER: (Lowers blade) What would you have me do? BEN: (Attacks again) You could have actually fought Tybalt. You held back, just as you are now. I’ve known you for years, Mercutio. You’ve always been a skilled swordsman. Despite all your prattle about how Tybalt is the bane of “fantasicoes,” slaying the silly fools who challenge him, you weren’t that. Anyone who know you know you could have beaten Tybalt. And just maybe, if you had beaten Tybalt down, we could have succeeded. What did you want? You wanted Romeo to take the credit? MER: YES! It had to be him! He had to be the one to beat Tybalt! Otherwise, everything would be challenged. Romeo is a weak 62
swordsmen, but a brawler. He managed to beat Tybalt down. BEN: Your mistake was pretending to be dead already! If you had been standing there, Romeo would have been merciful. I knew Romeo longer than you and he had a good heart. His marriage to Juliet softened him even more. This was his wedding day! The fight would have been taken out of them both and perhaps peace could have reigned. But your “sacrifice” unhinged him. Just as I want to unhinge you. RELEASE YOUR FEELINGS! Let your anger and sadness out! Let there be room for forgiveness! Let them forgive you!
(HE and ROSALINE freeze) (ROMEO and JULIET step down from the pedestal. TYBALT, PARIS and LADY MONTAGUE enter, shrouded. MERCUTIO sees them. In pain and rage, HE duels TYBALT and slays him; HE turns and slays PARIS, then kills LADY MONTAGUE. ROMEO and JULIET XD to MERCUTIO, facing him.) ROM/JUL: We forgive you, Mercutio. TYB: (Rising) You started this. You killed me. MER: No—no, I didn’t mean… LADY: (Rising) You did what you could for my son. PAR: (Rising) You played where you shouldn’t have. You allowed people to die. MER: This… This wasn’t… ROM/JUL: (Louder) We forgive you. TYB: You disrupted the peace. PAR: You stole my love from me. LADY: Without you, there would be no peace. ROM/JUL: (Quietly) We forgive you.
(TYBALT and PARIS exit UR. LADY MONTAGUE places hand on MERCUTIO’S shoulder, then exits UL. ROMEO and JULIET X UC to pedestal and resume pose. MERCUTIO collapses, ROSALINE and BENVOLIO X to him, BENVOLIO dropping his sword) BEN: Are you ok? ROS: Love? 63
BEN: What happened? MER: You… You didn’t see that? ROS: See what? BEN: You started talking to yourself. Mumbling. You looked sick, then collapsed. ROS: (Moves closer to MERCUTIO, grabs hand) Are you ok? MER: (Pause) I am. (Slow rise) I saw something. It was painful and real. I saw… I was forgiven. By them. BEN: I told you they did. You’ve carried the guilt of this with you for so long. You need to let it go. MER: I can’t stay. BEN: Of course. MER: I can’t come back. BEN: Then don’t. Go as far as you need. But leave the baggage behind. Forget this, but remember them. And don’t forget those who mean the most to you. (Glance at ROSALINE. MERCUTIO turns
and looks at HER. SHE squeezes HIS hand. HE looks at the statue) MER: (To statue) Thank you. (Turns to BENVOLIO) Good-bye, brother. (MERCUTIO X to BENVOLIO and embraces him.) BEN: Good luck. Travel safe, my brother and I hope we meet again. (MERCUTIO X to ROSALINE, grabs her hand and exits L.
BENVOLIO turns and XU to pedestal. As he does, ROMEO and JULIET XDC)
ROM: “Some shall be pardoned, and some punish’d.” JUL: “For never was there a story of more woe, or forgiveness than that of Mercutio.” END
Lara Bendall- Lara is a senior at CMU majoring in Music Education She enjoys photography. Jordan Brennan- Jordan hopes to go on to grad school pursuing theater or teaching. He’ll be spending his third summer at the Brownville Repertory Theatre Justin Brewer- Raised in Omaha, NE until he was ten, Justin is majoring in Computer Science. He enjoys movies and video games and is preparing for a career in video game design. Meredith Brick- Meredith is the Managing Editor of The Collegian here at CMU and is also involved in her sorority, Sigma Pi Alpha. Christina Burke- Graduating in May, Christina loves to take pictures and write. She plans to be married on May 25th. She couldn’t have gotten this far without the love and support of her family and fiancé, Matt. Shawna Crisler- Hailing from St. Clair, MO, Shawna enjoys writing poetry, short stories, singing, photography and playing the French horn. She is a sophomore majoring n Vocal Performance. Paul Davis- Paul is a freshman who is double majoring in English and Theater. He wants to teach in a rough school district in hopes of helping students, but his dream is to become an professional improv actor. Kelsey Forqueran- In her sophomore year, Kelsey is majoring in Communications and Political Science. She is a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan and enjoys playing guitar. Mariah Furman- Mariah is an English and Education major. She plays softball here at CMU. 65
Jared Green- Jared is sophomore baseball player. He is originally from Fair Grove, MO and is currently an undeclared major. Jane Gonzalez-Meyer- Jane is a junior English Education major. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and plans to travel after graduation. Caryn Jackson- Caryn is a senior this year, majoring in Spanish and Biology. She has been to eleven countries and thanks her sorority, Delta Pi Omega, for all of their support. Joseph Jefferies- A sophomore at CMU studying Music and Marketing and Sales, Joe enjoys writing and hanging out with his friends. Kate Kellner- A double major in English and Theater, Kate plans on being a Book Editor when she grows up. She absolutely loves acting, reading and writing and wants to do all three for the rest of her life. Ciera Kluck- Ciera is a sophomore from Boonville. She is majoring in Elementary Education. Her main hobby is writing and she loves her puppies. Brenna Oâ€™Neill- After her graduation in May, Brenna plans to head off to D.C. on her honeymoon. She wants simple things in life: a job, children, a few dairy goats, and all the books she could wish for. Savannah Schaefer- Hailing from Glasgow, MO, Savannah is a freshman at CMU. She is a cheerleader who hopes to one day be a photographer or a graphic designer. Elise Schrieber- Elise is currently in her junior year here at CMU majoring in Communications. She enjoys to run and take photos and wishes she could do both at the same time safely! 66
Eileen Stacy- Eileen is a double major in Psychology and Sociology. She is a Scorpio who likes to sing in the shower. Jessica Travlos- Although she has changed her major seven times due to her heightened interest in, well, everything, Jessica is currently an English major with a science and communications minor. She loves to write because it helps her stay in touch will all of the areas she is interested in. Jamie Ward- A freshman here at CMU, Jamie is involved in choir and the psychology club. She loves to read, play guitar, sing and write poetry. She plans to major in psychology and minor in religion. Hershel Williams III- Currently in his sophomore year here at CMU as a Vocal Music Education major, Hershel plans to work in the public school system as a Choir Director.
Congratulations, 2013 Inscape Arts Winners Gordon Hadfield Award for Poetry Joe Jefferies, Manifest Destiny Kilgore Trout Award for Fiction Jane Gonzalez-Meyer, Numb Thomas F. Dillingham Award for Non-Fiction Prose Jamie Ward, The Weary Kind Byrd Cooper Kirby Award Eileen Stacy, Watch Your Step (Front Cover) Elizabeth Stapleton Award in Art Education Jessica Travlos, Jondaryan Thanks to the English faculty and members of Sigma Tau Delta for their help with the judging of Inscape awards.