Paradise SAMMI COX
My Love Flows Through Your Veins JESSI DEVENYNS
Daylight Tempest ASHLEY NEWTON
The Paradise Question SAMMI COX
Destructive Paradise AIKO M.
Paradise KYLE CLIMANS
FREE LIT MAGAZINE Editor-in-Chief Ashley Newton email@example.com
Kyle Climans, Ashley Newton
Sammi Cox, Jessi Devenyns, Aiko M.
Colophon Free Lit Magazine is a non-profit literary magazine committed to the accessibility of digital literature for all readers. Our mission is to form an online creative community by encouraging writers, artists, and photographers to practice their passion in a medium that anyone can access and appreciate.
What exactly constitutes “paradise”? Is it a mindset or place that exists in perfection? Two people can never share the ideas surrounding it. One person’s utopia might be another’s hell. You hear it in stories of people who take destination vacations: some return rejuvenated; others despise the experience. So which is it? Paradise in itself is an imaginative construct. It’s a set of ideals built on individual needs and desires. If no one shares the same sentiment of what paradise actually is or entails, how can its expectations be brought to fruition when they are so varied? In many instances, paradise itself is not all it’s made out to be. You may think reaching such a place might rid you of your stress. But the opposite side of the coin—dystopia—fundamentally shapes utopia. Neither can exist without the other, and perhaps dystopias are more honest in their similarity to life. Utopias carry a sense of falsehood and ignorance for the things that make life the way it is. Are you prepared for the consequences of perfection? Ashley Newton Editor-in-Chief
Next Issue The Milestone Issue September 2016 3
SAMMI COX Paradise What is that? My heaven Your hell Isolation in a Natural wilderness Cut off from The modern world Quiet, peaceful The essence of Tranquillity No deadlines No running around Just breathing Enjoying the moment No anxiety for Tomorrow, I say As your brow creases And you whisper No help, either
My Love Flows Through Your Veins JESSI DEVENYNS
Distinct imprints were left in the flesh from the barely dammed pleasure that flowed through the pressure of his fingers. He couldn’t focus. The hunger was gnawing its way to the surface, insisting he press on. Ignoring the mess. Ignoring the shame. That morning Adam stood in the kitchen twitching a towel at his husband while he finished checking emails. Bad weather had been threatening the last several days, but today the sun shone through the window warming his skin and melted the feelings that had consumed him since he had awoken. “Be good today,” Adam’s husband reminded him, his encouragement falling flat at his eyes while he grinned. “Of course. Aren’t I always?” He hated being generically reprimanded to be good. What the hell did that even mean. Good is a subjective matter anyways. “I may be home late from work today, I have to deal with Carol. She fucked up again.”
“Jesus,” his husband exhaled the word.
Adam sucked in his exhalation hoping that the Good Lord would give him the strength to indeed be good.
“Well, I’ll see you when you get home then if you can pencil me in.”
It had been weeks since Adam come home with any desire. What had used to flow freely had, at some point, dried up. He didn’t miss it though. He simply ignored it. As far as he was concerned, one door had been locked, and he knew where to find refuge elsewhere. Life provides infinite distractions if you just look. Adam thought about where he now sought pleasure. It was a place he couldn’t resist. He would pick and pick, clawing deeper into memories of dark places. Always searching for an explanation to the “why.” Why was he so drawn to these desires? Why had the innocent pleasure he had enjoyed with his husband been replaced? Why was this new fixation unquenchable? His eyes snapped out of the ecstasy of his daydream to once again focus on his reality. His husband’s face was full of questions. None of which were asked. He knew they never would be.
“I love you,” Adam heard his husband offer.
“I love you too,” he looked away. 5
This part of him was a mystery to them both. Even being intimately involved in his own emotions, he could never vocalize the magnetism of this drive that pulled him away and towards other desires. As the questions in his husband’s eyes faded into acquiescence he knew that he had been gifted another day. One more day of avoidance. One more day to hate the satisfaction and love the sensation that such indulgences offered. As he was left alone he wondered when he had become who he was. Why did he meander so helplessly, one foot already on the path to where he wanted to go, the other holding him back where he should be? When had this confusion slithered into his soul?
Adam threw these thoughts away and called a friend.
“Hey, aren’t you at work yet?” his friend answered the phone.
“I’m not going.”
Silence followed this.
“You did it again,” accused his friend.
“No, but I have to sit on my fucking hands not to. Maybe I should just call in sick,” he mused.
“Maybe,” agreed his friend.
Adam clicked his phone off and turned his back to the infiltrating sun. “Shit,” he said and dialed again. Adam knew, once you’d touched it, the chemistry is always there. He had always known that. Men, food, sex, pain. It all lured you in. The delicate interplay of flavors composed a melody to accompany the harmonies that the other joys of his life played. It was, for him, a sin of the flesh. He touched it, he loved it, he consumed it. But he fostered this flame in secret. An unrequited love, doomed from the start, but that had nevertheless leeched into his soul offering pleasure with the pain. And once again it had taken hold. As quickly as they assaulted him, Adam pushed these thoughts away, but they left their impression. He savored the sin of their traces. The passion and the hatred intermingling 6
as the words be good sliced through his mind. With a last nod to his battered defenses, he buckled to his indulgence. He lost to the ecstasy of uninhibited abandon. Out of focus, his fingers dug deeper into the flesh. Scratching and tearing he fought his way into the heart in search of the core. He pressed on. The shame, the guilt, and the filth floating away with his breath as if each exhalation could cleanse his body and increase its capacity to absorb more. Always more. The clock chimed, passively reminding him that he had missed his lunch meeting. At the same time, Adam heard the door bolt snap back, jerking him out of his fantasy. He heard hands fumbling and he looked at his own. He was red handed. Beautiful white hands stained red: guilty. How would he erase the evidence? The clean towels he had this morning testified to his betrayal. After all, he had promised to be good, and he couldn’t risk it all for one moment of pleasure. There was a pause in his thoughts during which he heard urgent whispers.
“Hi, honey,” he called at the entryway.
“You’re home?” responded a surprised voice.
Adam stood there, the ecstasy draining as fast as it had built up, the empty expanses that has stretched before him this morning once again emerging.
More whispers and the soft click of the door followed by silence.
Slowly he stood and made his way to the entryway. His fingers still feeling the echoes of their contact with soft flesh. His husband stood, shoulders stooped sheepishly as if the weight of knowledge had rested itself on his shoulders. As Adam watched him, his posture crumpled under the unspoken accusations that he had subjected Adam to that very morning. Adam approached. To his keen nose, unfamiliar smells embraced his husband. Undertones of fiction mingled with the rich scents of pleasure. It was much the same odor that lingered around Adam himself. They stood, eye to eye. Each one searching into the other’s soul. Searching for the key to Pandora’s box; the key to the other’s paradise. To fill it. To quash it. To live it. As they stood together their spheres of sublimity collided as they slowly subsided and they were faced with their reality. The life as a couple, average, stable, occasionally unfulfilling was theirs: a good life. But what was good when compared with the full life that they both knew existed on the other side of the fence? A life where bodies and emotions were full to bursting, where excess slithered out unstopped because there was always more. A life where the pursuit of happiness was truly a right, and a pleasure that flowed uncorked like wine. 7
What was on the other side where good ceased to be a mandate and rhapsody was at their fingertips? All they had to do was take the first bite. Adam looked at the four walls surrounding him. They were all that stood between him and their garden. He strained to be released, but to release was to let go, and to let go was to give up, and he couldn’t. Adam’s hands gripped the flesh of his reality too tightly. He knew that no matter how divine it was, it wasn’t tangible, and he couldn’t let go of what he had in his hands. Letting go wasn’t in his nature.
Daylight Tempest ASHLEY NEWTON
My tepid frame rises in comity to shed last nightâ€™s trepidation. Ambition floats at its highest consistency while I am low In preparation of the fresh gusts that open breaths Beneath lungs that awake; slow and once inert. The periwinkle freckles align to lift me and rise Up through cornflower hues until I partner sky blue. Companions of sheer bliss keep me company, Their quixotic cotton candy fuzz a pleasant reward For choosing to ascend through the obscurity. Now I rest and move; slow and once inert. Electric indigo takes over the currents of light, And with it comes despondency amidst sour candy. An onset of corpulent condensation takes me away From my elevated precipice as it threatens demise Along the edges of humidified paradise. The tempest breaks in; slow and once inert. It gathers an adversary meant to shake me into submission. So I comply, and pour out relentless energies made of destruction. All remains still in the aftermath of mania. Those faithful companions wane in search of purity Since realizing I am as transparent as they are. Time eases on and I sink again; slow and once inert. I prepare to reset all inhibitions as I rest until My tepid frame rises anew in comity to shed more trepidation.
The Paradise Question SAMMI COX
It had been the topic of choice for millions of people around the world for weeks now. Since the day when a group of international politicians and scientists had given their monumental press conference to the global media. A way had been discovered to bring the whole world as we knew it in line with more utopian ideals. What this experiment was that could bring about such a change was not expanded upon. Not that anyone was bothered by that part; it was science and so would contain a vast amount of chemistry and equations no one could understand. However, the statement had naturally sent shockwaves through communities and across continents. After all, what were these utopian ideals? When pressed, those giving the press conference had said, “Peace; justice, fairness and security for all...amongst other things, of course. However, these are our primary targets.” It quickly transpired that it was these “other things” that people couldn’t agree on and everyone had an opinion. The world, it seemed, was split down the middle. On one side were those who wanted to look to the past for their quaint idealised existence whilst on the other were those who believed that it was in the superiority of futuristic technology where their utopia was to be found. It was a discussion held in every workplace and school, in the parks and the shopping centres, in the streets, on the TV. Wherever you found people, you found people talking about this... Jason walked into the canteen, grateful that lunchtime had finally arrived. He was starving. Grabbing a tray, he loaded it up with food and a coffee, paid and then made his way through the bustling cafeteria. As he crossed the room, there was no surprise at what he heard everyone talking about. He put his tray on the table and fell into his chair opposite his friend and work colleague, Paul. The conversation from the next group over erupted and Paul scowled. “I can’t believe people still hold on to that outdated rubbish. Me, I’m all for moving forward. Evolving. You’ll never next catch me getting back to basics. There’s a reason why we call it development. It’s because things get better, not worse. Wouldn’t you agree?” Jason swallowed a bite of his burger. “Not sure I would, Paul.” His friend groaned. “No, wait. Hear me out. Paradise is always portrayed as this green world unspoilt by modern development. A place where technology doesn’t dictate when you can switch off, forcing you to be on the go all the time, with no break and no respite. In fact, it’s the opposite. “And, if we look back at the past, to a time when everywhere was greener, and life was simpler, you found that people were closer and the idea of community meant something. Back in those days we were connected to the land, to a little bit of earth that had seen your family come and go for generations. That’s powerful stuff.” 10
Paul was laughing in disbelief. “I did not take you for a Greenie.” Greenie was the name given to those who thought like Jason. The name for those on the opposing side was “Tech-head.” “So you don’t long for clean air?” Jason asked, exasperated. “Clean...everything. No chemicals leeching into rivers and streams and contaminating soil. No manufactured poison that would give to the earth with one hand whilst wreaking havoc and harm with the other. Do you even know what’s in your food? I bet more than half of that meal you’re eating was made in a science lab. We used to have respect for the land, but not any more. You call that progress?” Jason shook his head sadly. “You would miss electricity though, wouldn’t you? And modern medicine. It’s all very well talking about the greenness of the earth and the cleanness of the air, but you only had to be caught out in the rain at the wrong time of year to be dead a few days later. That doesn’t sound like paradise to me and to wish it back seems very short-sighted. “Can you honestly tell me that you would be happy without a decent water network you could rely on? And what about central heating in the winter? Then, what are you going to do for fun? Plant cabbages? Darn socks? After all, you won’t have TV; there’d be no radio, no decent music, no movies, or phones or computers. That is my idea of hell! “And the world was a much smaller place then. God! You would have been lucky if you made to the county border. I wouldn’t wish to be stuck in some dead-end place that had nothing but a dirt track running through it for a weekend! The world is there for me to see; that’s my motto. I’m always jetting off here and there. Sod the pollution! Let some mad-looking crazy scientist fix the environment. That’s what he’s there for. I want to see the world, not become swamped by it.” Jason sighed. “Technology can’t fix everything, you know. Science doesn’t have all the answers.” “And you’re telling me that tree-huggers do?” Paul snapped back, his voice thick with contempt. “It’s ridiculous hearing you of all people speak like this. I thought you were smarter than that, Jason.” “And I thought you had more sense,” Jason said as a bell echoed around the room indicating that their lunch break was over, ending their heated discussion before it went too far. It wouldn’t be the first time that violence had accompanied such debates. As the men both picked up their trays and returned them to the racks at the side of the room, Jason said, “We might not have been able to answer the paradise question today, but we did achieve something.”
“Yeah, what’s that?”
“We convincingly proved that one man’s heaven is another man’s hell.”
The two broke out laughing as they pushed through the swinging doors of the canteen and went back to work, leaving the paradise question to those who believed they were better placed to answer it.
Destructive Paradise AIKO M.
A ray of light shines on a girl standing on a field of corpses. She breathes in, and sighs happily with the view in front of her. She dances, swirls, and hops as if she is the only girl in the world. She looks down, and the world starts shaking underneath her. She tries to escape, but the ground splits apart, and she slips into the cracks. “Sis, wake up! Mom is angry at you for coming home late last night,” exclaims Nancy, as she continues to shake Hailey’s shoulders. Hailey wakes up from her dream, and screams at her sister, “I am up, stop shaking me! Why do you need to be so bossy all the time? Just let me sleep or something, and it’s MY life. I don’t have a curfew so mom should just chill, and not be angry at me for everything all the time.” Hailey pushes Nancy away from her, causing Nancy to fall onto the floor with a huge thump. Nancy stares at Hailey angrily, but gets up and storms off without a word. Hailey rolls her eyes, but is feeling triumph that her older sister has finally got what she deserved. Later on in the day, her mom and Nancy berates her on how irresponsible she is, but Hailey doesn’t heed the instructions because she feels her family is trying to control her all the time. “If they only see what I see, that the world needs to be rid of the stupid, and irrelevant pests, that the world needs to clean, and that we are the chosen ones who will stand upon the anew world. If they can’t see that, and they choose to stand in my way, they will no longer be needed, and I shall be the one that saves the world,” thinks Hailey, as she stares at her family with an emotionless face. Hailey continues to stare at her family, as all she can think of is how to keep the world clean of the pests who stand in her way. The very same night, she dreams the same dream again, but more in detail. This time, Hailey is standing on a pile of corpses, her white dress splattered with blood, and holding a chainsaw in her right hand. One of the bodies beneath her feet starts crawling towards her, and spins around furiously, using her chainsaw to hack the bodies in more pieces.Noticing that she didn’t cause any harm to the corpse that was using its last strength to attack her, she walks menacingly towards it. She begins to rev up her chainsaw, and cuts off each limb, until only a head and a body remained. She jumps onto the head with all her might, causing the head to explode everywhere. She looks away in disgust, and again the ground splits up, swallowing her up to awake from her paradise. The next morning, Hailey hears Nancy complain to her mom about how Hailey does nothing, and should be sent to a detention camp to wake up, and learn to be a decent being. All her mom does is agree with Nancy as she feels that Hailey will not follow what society demands of her, and will break the law as she sees fit. Hailey goes up to her room, and hastens to make a plan on how to get rid of her family for they made it clear that they don’t want to be a part of the chosen ones. When it become night outside, Hailey crawls out of bed, and goes down into the basement to find the supplies she needs to carry out her plan. She finds the rat poison, and the chainsaw that she will be using to wipe out the pest of the 13
family: Nancy. She knows now how to get rid of her family in the nicest way for not allowing her to be who she really is. She will be super nice to them first, and then silently kill them for disobeying the rules of the chosen ones. Hailey waits until the sun is shining brightly. She makes coffee for her mom, and delivers it up, but makes sure to add a good amount of rat poison into the coffee. She mixes it well, gives it to her mom with a sweet smile, and watches her mom drinks it. She leaves, and jams her mom’s door so that it be impossible for her mom to call for help or escape. Next, she goes to Nancy’s room, and puts on the theme song from Jaws. Just as Nancy wakes up, Hailey stuffs tissue into Nancy’s mouth, and revs the chainsaw, while slashing off Nancy’s limbs. Nancy writhes, and dies from blood loss, and Hailey dumps her sister’s body in separate bags. She also stuffs her mom’s body in the same fashion as Nancy’s. After cleaning up the mess, Hailey drops the bags into the back of her mom’s car, and drives toward Paradise Valley where she has been hiding other bodies. Her first kill was when she was in elementary school, and a certain bully kept hurting her until she finally snapped and he got what was coming for him. She opens the bags, and drops her family remains in the hole that she dug for every body she has killed to fulfill her path. She grabs a lighter, and lights up all the bodies in triumph. She looks towards the horizon, and giggles in delight. The horizon is blood red, as if to agree with the choices she made.
Finally her mission is fulfilled… HER PARADISE.
KYLE CLIMANS Two days ago, we discovered paradise. After years and years of searching, found at last. No lesser world than nirvana would suffice, And so we found a chance to escape our past. Centuries of bloodshed, violence and hate, Petty bickering leading to open war, “We must keep fighting to reach that sacred date, Where peaceful bliss rules,” so they always swore. The grim fathers cursed them for the lies they told, The weeping mothers wailed as their children died, Our dreams were plundered, broken, and then re-sold, And we saw no real end to this hateful tide. A few scholars and leaders spoke of a way, A new planet with water, air, joy, and hope. We would leave our polluted world, someday, So we must keep on crawling up that steep slope! And so, when our tools caught up with our desire, We built ships to take us away from our home; To take us in the sky, beyond our Sun’s fire, And for paradise, was our reason to roam. Years passed in the cosmos, crossing countless stars. We desperately sought for that state of grace, Where we could sit at peace and write our memoirs, To remember why we fled in the first place. Finally, we found a planet that held life. Some cheered aloud, and others wept without shame. No more violence, bigotry, or strife. Our exile over; paradise ours to claim. The ships blazed into the planet’s atmosphere, And that was when we knew that something was wrong. The sky turned grey, and our eyes widened with fear. Yet we kept going; we had travelled too long. The land was barren, sick and devoid of life, 15
We called out to anything that might talk back. In the rubble, we detected signs of strife, But nothing else; no sign, poster, or plaque. The wasted landscape which had few plants growing, Could easily grow remains of steel and brick. For some reason which was as yet unknowing, The buildings were unfinished yet clustered thick. Broken cement was littered on the dark ground, And no sign of its builders, alive or dead. Who were they, these creators of this mound? Why had they done all this? Had they died or fled? We finally found intelligence today, A small group huddled away in quiet fear. When they heard our calls, they almost ran away, And then we spoke to them, and all became clear. What was this cursed and barren place, we asked. This place was supposed to be our new haven! It was our home first,” they replied, eyes downcast. “But we were too blind, greedy, cruel, and craven. “Our people spoke of reform, and real change, But on what that change was, we all disagreed. The petty conflicts we had now seem so strange, But they consumed us as we let the planet bleed.” The story went on, and each sentence revealed, The sickening tale whose ending that we knew. And as these strangers’ mysteries were unpeeled, We wished that this reality wasn’t true. By the end, we were all silent with dismay, Our dreams for this planet had lost all worth. We asked these aliens, “What do you call this home, pray?” They paused, wept, and said, “This planet’s name is Earth”.
OUR CONTRIBUTORS... Without the submissions from writers, artists, and photographers, Free Lit Magazine would not be possible! Please take the time to visit other websites linked to projects our contributors have been involved in, as well as the websites/social media platforms run by some of this issueâ€™s contributors: KYLE CLIMANS - Twitter SAMMI COX - Sammi Cox on WordPress JESSI DEVENYNS - Website, Blog, Twitter, and Instagram ASHLEY NEWTON - Website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook
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