Taproot: where student creativity takes root Produced by the students and alumni of The Ohio State University at Newark Volume 8, 2012
We are Taproot Welcome to the eighth edition of Taproot, the interdisciplinary creative journal of The Ohio State University at Newark. This year‘s board of student editors is proud to present a new and exciting edition. The journal provides a forum recognizing and highlighting the creative energies of Ohio State Newark‘s talented students. We are pleased to offer in this latest print volume of Taproot, student- and alumni-crafted essays ranging from fiction and creative non-fiction to class essays, poetry, art, photography and painting. The online version of the journal provides even more content not available in print, and it includes the best of our multimedia submissions. Go to newark.osu.edu/taproot. Student editors for this 2012 edition included Laura Atchison, Tabatha Baughman, Steven Foley, Chris Hearty, Breana Jossey, Shane Lanning, Kory McGaughey, Mary Parker, Abby Spear, and Jennifer Struckman. The evolution of the Taproot journal will begin anew when the next board of editors brings their unique vision of Taproot volume 9 to The Ohio State University at Newark in Winter 2014. Would you like to know more? Contact Dr. Elizabeth Weiser at email@example.com. Make Taproot YOUR journal! Any student or alumnus of Ohio State Newark can submit original creative work—any genre—to Taproot at any time by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions are reviewed by the editorial board once a year for possible inclusion in the future edition. Submission guidelines are online at newark.osu.edu/taproot.
Taproot, c/o Dr. Elizabeth Weiser The Ohio State University at Newark 1179 University Drive Newark, OH 43055 Printed in Mt. Vernon, OH by Printing Arts Press 1|
Table of Contents Art
Amelia Nightmare Sunset over Salton Sea Victoria Chanfrau King of the World Where the Grass Grows Down the Line Amber Dingess Views of OSUN Rally America Dew Drops Elizabeth Byers Willa Cather‘s Cows Gaubert Red Cloud, Nebraska Duane Gray Righty in Spirit Miguel Johnson Marilyn Final Geisha Assassin Kayla Liston Charles Darwin Dexter Morgan Political Map Retha Carolyn Murray Mayport Sunset McKenzie L. Shaw House of the Happy Haunts Un Reve du Passe
48 54 3 19 38 10 15 31 10 20 48 15 59 29 23 41 43 23
Beth Goodwin Kory McGaughey
Alex Carroll Jared Frick Darcy Heller Breana Jossey
Will Moran Michael Reimer Abby Spear
Jen Struckman Jenneca Vaughn
Sonnet 1.42 For Allison on her 16th Birthday Tempest Prophesy and Apathy A Wasted Life The Voice of Nature The Package Niagara Mercy Seat Running Head Dark and Light in Venice A Nation Ripped Apart Tsunami Entombed by Man I, misplaced A Broken Mind
9 9 60 46 53 4 8 47 14 32 21 39 52 30 40 42
Fiction/Creative Nonfiction J. Kelley Anderson William G. Brown Steven Foley
Love Notes for the Sun Her Last Nickel The Ritual of Object Hunting An Unsuccessful Death Prologue In the Shadows of the Moon
55 45 22 44 11 24
Daphne HicksBlankenship William G. Brown Elizabeth Byers Gaubert Heidi Smith Norita Yoder
Would Keats Ode to the Earthworks Moon? The Disenchanted Debutante Take Back the Streets… For Real For the Sake of Peace
5 49 16 33
COVER PHOTO: McKenzie L. Shaw, ―The Last Check-in‖
Acknowledgements The Taproot journal would like to acknowledge the professionals who took time from their day to meet with or otherwise assist us, including Chuck Gherman and the staff of Printing Arts Press, OSU Newark‘s Assistant Director of Student Life Holly Mason, and its Webmaster Kris Read. We also thank the Ohio State Newark‘s Department of English and its Cultural Arts Committee for providing the funding to print this journal.
King of the World Victoria Chanfrau
Victoria is a sophomore majoring in English. She writes: â€•I aspire to work within the coinciding fields of Marketing and Communications. I thoroughly enjoy "King of the World" because of its natural impact upon the viewer. It demonstrates a few of nature's elements: power, brightness, and simplicity.â€–
The Voice of Nature
s the tempo changes, the leaves alter their sway The branches conduct the saxophone solo
As the limbs beckon the drums to join in
Fade out with gentle chiming And the breeze dies down Doesn‘t it?
ou, flute, speak for the leaves A momentary crescendo, and the wind follows
Cooling my ankles and fingers
Two layers become three Then five
You, flute, speak for the leaves
Then seven Jazz . . . the voice of nature
Breana Jossey is a junior at Ohio State Newark, with emphases in anthropology and writing. “Understanding myself is to see my life on paper; in this way, I see humanity in its brightest and darkest forms. Here, I can be anything I choose to be, but I often find reality to be the most delicious….and surely the most ridiculous!”
William G. Brown
Would Keats Ode to the Earthworks Moon?
here is a myth that the great poet, John Keats, sat in a museum, pondering over the Greek pottery which would inspire his immortal classic ―Ode to a Grecian Urn.‖ Although I do not know if this story is true, I imagine him in that museum wearing the modest clothes of an early nineteenth century poet. His shoulder length hair is feathered and still. He is sitting in a wooden chair with his elbow perched on his knee and his chin resting in his palm. His other hand stretches out. Would the museum allow him to touch the urn's smooth outer surface? Would he have felt the ribbed areas of excess clay, if any, that still clung to its inside or the crevice of its handles? Would he have been able to hold it in his palms and run his thumbs over the static images? Probably not. The urn must have been so close, and yet a world away from his reach. And there he sits for hours, staring at one frozen image in time that ―cannot fade‖ (line 19). For me, that is the secret the urn hides and the poem reveals. Somehow, against reason, against rationale, there is this moment in time that's frozen. Keats found it. He saw more than what was there on the surface of that urn. He played the unheard melody. Keats gave us the secrets that the Ancient Greeks left for people of later times, for us, to discover. Maybe he really did look at one urn to see all of this, or maybe he looked at several, or maybe he crafted a poem that captured the essence without actually having a physical model. But Keats was able to look beyond the moment and see something powerful that the naked eye forgot to record. He saw what lay in front of all of us who take for granted the truth. It is no mistake that I mention Keats and these moments he found frozen in time, for I had a similar moment in my own life. Like Keats, my moment involved an amazing testament to the brilliance of ancient people. My moment involves the 2000-year-old Native American built Octagon Mound of Newark, Ohio. This place, like Keats‘s time in the museum, revealed a marvel to me that I had always seen but never recorded with my eyes. The townsfolk of Newark, Ohio speculated that these mounds held a deeper function than, say, that of an ornamental structure. Of course, all Native American structures held great significance to their people; most
mounds, specifically, were sacred burial places. I had heard the rumors that this mound measured lunar cycles. A study in the 1980s had pointed to this fact, but few had had the privilege to gain a firsthand account. It always seemed so farfetched, spiritual mumbo jumbo. I mean, this was the same significance that scientists or spiritualists always try to place on ancient structures in order to elevate their importance. So I probably drove past the Octagon Mound daily, never attributing any grandeur to it beyond the rumors. Truth was I never gave much significance to the mounds because they are located on a private golf course run by The Mound Builders Country Club. As hard as it is to comprehend, this marvel of Native American invention has men in polo shirts chasing little white balls between its earthen walls. Beyond the knowledge that suggests the piece of land is reserved for the enjoyment of Newark‘s elite, then, it held little significance for me. y first chance to become more intimately aware of the mounds came in a class I took during my undergraduate studies at Ohio State University, a rhetoric-themed class centered on community identity. The course was designed by a passionate professor, Dr. Elizabeth Weiser. Late within the quarter Dr. Weiser introduced our final project. As my classmates and I sat in our seats waiting for class to begin, she entered the room, stood at the front of the class, and announced that she had just had a conversation with Dr. Richard Shiels about the controversy surrounding the mounds. I was not aware there was such a controversy. Dr. Weiser explained that for years Dr. Shiels and other prominent researchers at Ohio State and other institutions had been negotiating with the golf course in order to study the mounds further. Although the golf course does not in fact own the land because the mounds are actually owned by the Ohio Historical Society (OHS), it had an exclusive lease. This meant that The Mound Builders Country Club could restrict people‘s access to the mounds. Because this was an exclusive club reserved for only the elite members of Newark‘s society, OSU‘s scholars faced an uphill battle in obtaining rights to conduct research and to observe the lunar cycles that this mound recorded. So
here was our final project of the course: as a class, we set out to contextualize the argument set forth by the three parties, Ohio State, The Mound Builders Country Club, and OHS, in order to gain perspective as to why an agreement could not be reached on access to the Octagon Mound. For constructing this massive essay, Dr. Weiser assigned each of us duties to perform, such as interviews and research. I was given the role of head editor. s the weeks progressed, my classmates conducted interviews and research, writing a section capturing the essence of the material, and emailing their written sections to me for inclusion in the grander project. I was always privy to new information. As I constructed the fragments of this argument, I saw the different arguments of the invested parties come into view, revealing the importance of the mound. The brilliance of the mounds lay in their ability to measure the movements of the moon over an eighteen year period. The mound itself is a giant octagon, bigger than four Roman coliseums, attached to a smaller circular mound. It is the open space in the walls running between the two mounds that line up with the moon during each of these thirteen shifts, and it is likely that the circle mound represents the moon‘s position in the sky. It was through my time working on this class project that I also had the opportunity to become more acquainted with Dr. Shiels. The Octagon Mound intrigued me. It was no longer this golf course I passed by in town; now it was a living, breathing testament to human past. It had a story it told. And so, I would make my face known to Dr. Shiels, occasionally providing him an update on the class project. Eventually, the class finished the project, and I e-mailed a copy of the polished fifty-six page essay to Dr. Shiels. I hoped that if he was finally granted access to study the moonrise at the mound, he would extend an invitation for me to join. Class ended, a few weeks passed, and there it was: an email invitation to attend an exclusive viewing of the moonrise. The Mound Builders Country Club had finally agreed to allow Dr. Shiels to take a small party out on the golf course for the next lunar shift. The night of the event finally arrived. I hopped into my little Ford Aspire. The streetlights washed over as I made my way down West Main Street to the mound. I gripped the steering wheel. I smiled. I cranked up some music. Wolfshiem‘s ―Once in a Lifetime,‖ if I remember. I felt a static charge in the air. The trees, the brick buildings, the lampposts seemed brighter. Everything I
looked at seemed to emanate light. The discussions, the research, and the hard work employed to understand the mound‘s place in the city culminated in this one event. Here was my chance to experience the mystery that the Octagon Mound held. As I reached the parking lot and parked my car, I saw the small group of people gathered by some leafy trees that lined the edge of the golf course. I got out of my vehicle and walked over to the group. There was Dr. Shiels and his wife, some other researchers and scientists, a local representative of the county, and a few other individuals. Dr. Shiels was talking with the local representative. He saw me walk up to the group. He nodded his head to me and continued his conversation. I stood, waiting with the group, until it was time. Dr. Shiels waved his hand and led us out to the mound. We walked over the six-foot, grassy, sloping wall and into the structure. We walked to the darkened center of the octagon, positioning ourselves to view the alignment. I stood alone, about ten feet away from the group. There we waited. overheard Dr. Shiels mention to the local representative that the moonrise was to occur at 9:20. I read 9:12 on my cell phone. My palms were sweaty. Here it was. The moment had arrived. I was going to view this amazing achievement of ancient man, which had probably not been seen in over a thousand years. I took a breath. I stared at my cell phone as the minutes ticked by. 9:16. 9:17. 18. 19. And I looked up to the purplish sky. Here was the moment. All the hype had led to here. I heard someone whisper, ―It‘s 9:20. It‘s time.‖ I crossed my arms and stared. Then someone whispered it was 9:21, then they said it was 9:22. A few more minutes passed. Well, it was nature. It didn‘t run on a Rolex. I looked at the group and noticed that people had stopped looking up. Dr. Shiels once again returned to his conversation with the local representative. Occasionally his head would look back at the sky, and then turn back to the representative. My neck grew tired, but I continued to stare up into the void. ―9:46‖ I heard, and everyone resumed looking up at the sky. ―9:47.‖ Was it ever going to come? ―9:48.‖ Then it happened. The few remaining clouds parted. The purple haze from the light pollution cracked open. A little white ball formed in the sky. It was blurry. An out-of-focus screen. It jittered. Then it bounced around as though caught between two paddles in a game of Pong. It stopped moving. It bled to a bright orange. Then it unraveled like
a circular flame. The moon blossomed like a flower, and filled the sky. I had never seen the moon rise before, for it was always just there. That is how I saw it. It was just a presence that existed in the sky, once the night took control from the day. But in this moment I saw more. I felt more. I could sense the Hopewell watching with me, feeling the same sense of wonderment. Not in a mystical sense, but in a real sense of physical space. When Keats stared at the urn, did he sense the ancient Greek artists with him? I bet he did. He was in that moment with them. That was what he meant when he said, ―Beauty is truth, truth beauty,/ that is all/ Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know‖ (Keats 49-50). All is true and beautiful within the experience of this moment. Just as Keats found those moments in ancient pottery, I experienced something special that people over two thousand years ago had waited to reveal. I looked to the center of the mound. The local representative spoke, ―Would you look at that. It lines up perfectly.‖ I looked back up at the sky. I smiled. I stood there for . . . I don‘t know how long, and I stared. People returned to their conversations. They turned restless. How long could they stare at the sky? The moon did as expected. It appeared. It must have been a great payoff for these researchers and scholars to have validation for their research. It seemed to be a small payoff as well for the other voices involved; perhaps showing they weren‘t as elitist as I had thought. And for Dr. Weiser‘s class? They had to feel proud as well. For me, however, it was a moment in time where I experienced the moon for the first time. Just as I am sure
All is true and beautiful within the experience of this moment. Just as Keats found those moments in ancient pottery, I experienced something special that people over two thousand years ago had waited to reveal.
Keats wouldn‘t care if anyone believed there was a real urn or not, I didn‘t care anymore about the arguments, the research, the discussions on who was right or wrong. I just treasured this amazing gift given by ancient scientists and artists from beyond the span of my time. It truly was beautiful. Will Brown is an alumnus (2008) who currently teaches English at Columbus State Community College.
hree photographs A winter hat A message of congratulations
To: Melissa I do not know Melissa, and I opened it nonetheless If she is in these photographs, I cannot tell For Melissa I have never met The woman‘s hair is blowing in the wind It may or may not be Melissa‘s golden hair (My hair also shines in the sun) One photograph shows mountains, trees Where this is, I do not know Perhaps Melissa would know But I do not know Melissa Today she receives joy from afar At the news of her new home (I cannot seem to find a home of my own) How Melissa feels about this, I cannot say For I will never speak with her The hat fits me well
I do not know Melissa, and I opened it nonetheless
For Allison on Her 16th Birthday
e pack them in egg cartons Wrapped in foam And duct tape. We put them in boxes And offset the flaps So they won‘t fly open. We hold them with two hands, We take cautious steps In double-knotted skid-free shoes. We take precautions. And we drop them over the edge.
ould that a year had only seasons three! That Spring should follow Fall, the burnt umber Of Autumn making way for verdancy — Life, with cold and ice, ne‘er torn asunder. Oh, to skip the fits and the blue passions Of Winter! The grey slush like a defect That bleeds away hope and leaves us ashen With pale memories of mistakes, regret. Yet would the grass of May, warmed by the sun Be as loved beneath bare feet, as pleasing Did we not recall Winter, scarcely gone Where no life dared bloom for fear of freezing? And so the woes of life make all more sweet Those little joys that make our souls complete. 9|
Views of OSUN Amber Dingess
Amber is a senior majoring in Business Administration.
Willa Cather‘s Cows Elizabeth Byers Gaubert ―Thanks to Dr. Ruderman canceling class one day because he had to present at a conference, I was able to jump on a plane to Nebraska for an ‗adventure.‘ I am forever grateful for the experience--the spirit of Willa Cather lives on in the sublime beauty of the land and generosity of the people.‖
igh King Connor stood at the window and stared out towards Trodin Forest, its green treetops swaying in the breeze. It had been ten years since he had started his search. Ten years since the one from the prophecy had been born. Ten years, and he had found nothing. He shook his head and rubbed his hands across his face, the two-day old stubble scratching them. He had to come up with a new game plan. He must find this person and protect him or her. He must! The only good thing about him not being able to find the one was that no one else could, either. At least the person had been able to stay quiet; or the parents had been able to keep their child hidden for the past ten years. But how much longer would that last? Brennan was his country. He had played in her forests, fished in her waters. The castle in Trodin, where he now stood, was the castle he had grown up in. As a boy, he had traipsed from one of her borders to the next, learning how to take care of her. Now, as a grown man, he had treaties with her neighboring rulers to ensure her peace. This was his home. His father had ruled before him, and his father before him, and so on as far back as his family could be traced. Connor could not let someone exploit any of her people. Not while he was alive and could do something about it. The high king pushed away from the window and began to pace. So entranced was he in his thoughts that he did not hear the door open, and was startled when a hand gently landed on his shoulder. Connor whirled, raising his hand to strike the intruder. ―Setina,‖ he breathed shakily when he recognized his wife. His hand shook as he ran it through his thick, black hair. ―Connor,‖ Setina laid a soothing hand on his cheek. ―You need to get away from all these plans,‖ she gestured to all of the maps and scraps of parchment on her husband's desk. ―Come down to the dining hall and eat something. I had the cooks prepare a meal for you.‖ Connor sighed and turned away. ―I can't leave now, Setina. I have to go through
everything again. I must have missed something. There has to be something else.‖ Setina put her hands on her hips and frowned, glaring at him. She was a very petite and sweet woman, but the effect was frightening for High King Connor. ―Not until you eat something. You're not going to get anywhere on an empty stomach. Now, march downstairs and eat!‖ Connor glared back for a moment, then conceded and headed towards the door.
ord Teiran pulled his mouth from the silky, white skin of his latest whore and sat back against the luxurious silks draped over the bed. Normally he would be enjoying himself immensely, but today he was distracted. Too distracted to do anything else. His mind whirled with thoughts of his current assignment. Lord Teiran was a general in High King Connor's army. He had joined when he was sixteen years old and worked his way up to the top. Now, twenty years later, he and his men had spent most of the past ten of those years combing the country, searching for some kid who was supposed to be all-powerful. Ever since the day he had become a soldier, he had blindly followed his high king into whatever had been asked. But this time, he was starting to have some doubts. Deep in thought, he barely noticed the girl sliding his hand down her stomach. The only people who knew about this so-called prophecy were the royal family and the high king's generals. And his majesty wanted to protect the kid. Lord Teiran almost laughed out loud. Why would anyone want to protect something that they could use instead? This child could bring him absolute power, and his men would follow him anywhere. Especially if he told them what was really going on. Teiran grinned as a plan began to form in his head, and slid his hand lower.
ear, come back to bed.‖ Setina rolled over and held out a hand to her husband. This wasn't the first time she had woken up to find his side of the bed empty; but it seemed to be happening much more lately. She could tell that he was 11 |
worried, which made her worry, too. Setina had known her husband all her life. Her father was a king in the neighboring Tamare, and she and Connor had been betrothed since they were small children as an act of peace between the countries. She had hated the idea at first, but had grown to love Connor throughout the years. He was a kind, gentle man who always put his country and people before himself. And he treated her with respect, unlike the way most men treated their wives nowadays. He valued her opinion, even asked for her advice in stately matters. In their years together, they had created a family. They had four wonderful children, three boys and a little girl. Connor had been thrilled to have boys to teach and who would one day take over the kingdom, but little Sophie was his pride and joy. She had the high king wrapped around her finger. Setina smiled at the thought, then called to her husband once more. At the sound of her voice, Connor glanced up quickly, and then turned his attention back to the letter in his hand. ―In a minute, darling,‖ he answered absentmindedly. Setina swung her feet over the edge of the bed and tiptoed across the cold stone floor to peer over Connor's shoulder. ―Who is that from?‖ ―My cousin, High Lord Cent. He thinks he found the one.‖ The high king pointed excitedly to the letter in his hand. He rushed over to his desk and grabbed a map. Dipping a quill in a bottle of ink, he circled a small town on the edge of the map. Then he turned and picked up his wife, swinging her around in a circle. Her surprised shriek was cut short by his mouth pressing on hers.
eiran stood at the head of the table and looked around at his most trusted lieutenants. He held up a black gloved hand and the room fell silent. ―Gentlemen, thank you for coming. You are all here because you are most loyal to me. What I am about to tell you, our high king has only told a select few generals. I am telling you because I think you should know why he
has us traipsing all over the country on a wild goose chase.‖ He paused for a moment to draw out the suspense. ―Many centuries ago, a prophecy was made that a child will be born who will be the most powerful person in the world. That child was born ten years ago. Our high king wants to find this child to protect him or her.‖ His lip curled. ―Protect? Why would you protect something like that when you can simply take its power? I have called you here because I have a plan. A plan that will make us all very rich men, and, hopefully, very powerful men.‖ He stopped there, and there was a sudden uproar as everyone in the room tried to join him at the same time. Teiran smiled gleefully and held up both hands. Silence fell. ―First, I need you all to weed out your most loyal men to recruit to our cause.‖
igh King Connor paced back and forth in front of the fire, then sat down at his desk. He picked up his quill, dipped it in a bottle of ink, then dropped it and stood up again. He had been trying to write a letter to his cousin, High Lord Cent, but was unsure of what to say next. He wanted Cent to bring the child into his keep for protection, but he did not want to alarm the family or send them on the run. He ran his
“The castle has been breached; they’re slaughtering everyone in sight.”
hands through his unkempt hair and continued pacing. The wind whistled faintly behind the shutters of the window. The walls of the room were covered in tapestries, keeping in the warmth and keeping out any noise. The only sounds in the room were the crackling of the fire in the hearth and the clacking of his boots against the stone floor. He sat down and picked up his quill once more, but was interrupted by a loud yell.
―Father!‖ High King Connor looked up as his eldest son, William, came crashing into the study. The 14-year old boy was holding a sword and breathing heavily, his hands shaking wildly. ―What's wrong, boy?‖ Connor bellowed as his son scrambled over to him. ―The castle has been breached; they're slaughtering everyone in sight!‖ Connor studied the panic-stricken look on the boy's face, with his wife's cheekbones and his eyes. Terror shone from those eyes. ―Who?‖ Connor asked. William shook his head, his mouth opening and closing but no sound coming out. ―Who?‖ Connor shook the boy. ―Lord Teiran and his men,‖ he whispered. The high king's face turned white. ―Go,‖ he ordered, ―find your brothers and sister. Get them out of here!‖ He shoved his son towards the door. William turned and ran back the way he had come. Connor looked down at all of his maps and the letters on his desk. All of his plans, his secrets; he couldn't risk them getting into the wrong hands. He scooped up all of the papers and threw them into the roaring fire behind him. Then he stood and watched the dancing flames until they had consumed and destroyed each one. Then he turned and followed his son. He ran through the castle, searching for Setina. He could hear the screams of his people echoing through the stone walls. Rushing down a flight of stairs and down a corridor, Connor slipped in something and, while trying to steady himself, he tripped over something large and solid in the middle of the floor and landed in a puddle of wetness. Sitting up, he looked down and began to swipe at the mess that was now all over his clothes, but stopped and stared in horror. He was covered in blood, sticky and crimson. Realizing that the thing he had tripped over must be the source of all the blood, he turned around, and screamed. His wife, Setina, lay sprawled across the corridor, eyes open and staring in terror and pain. A deep gash spread from one side of her throat to the other, stained red from the blood that had gushed out and pooled around her. Connor scrambled away from the body as fast as he
could and pulled he knife from his boot. Teiran was going to pay for this, one way or another. As he stood up, dark laughter rumbled from the end of the hallway. A group of soldiers—his soldiers—ran towards him, followed by Teiran. Connor raised his knife to slash at the first soldier,
.All of his plans, his secrets; he couldn't risk them getting into the wrong hands.
but stopped short when he saw the little girl Teiran was dragging behind him, her dark curls bouncing with each step she took. No! That evil monster had his Sophie. His youngest child, his only daughter. Connor dropped the knife. It clattered loudly when it hit the hard, stone floor. Strong hands grabbed him and forced him to his knees. ―Why?‖ he gasped at Teiran. The man laughed harder as he dragged poor, terrified Sophie around to face her father. Her bright, blue eyes were wide and shining from the tears now running down her cheeks. ―Because I could,‖ he answered coldly. ―Why protect power when you can use it? Use it to crush those weaker than you, those who defy you. Use it to raise yourself above everyone else. You are a fool, Connor. You have always been a fool, and now you will die a fool.‖ He emphasized his words by spitting in his high king's face, the thick liquid hitting and running down Connor's chin. Connor stared at his little girl, trying to will her comfort. She would be scarred forever, if Teiran let her live, which Connor doubted. Tears welled and spilled down his face. Teiran smiled a greasy, greedy grin. He ran a finger down Sophie's cheek, and she flinched from the sudden contact, shuddering. ―Such a pretty face. You know, her brothers fought bravely to save her. But in the end, they fell to my men.‖ He paused thoughtfully. ―I wonder what's left of your daughter now, after watching her entire family killed 13 |
before her eyes. Maybe I'll spare her life and save her from that pain.‖ Teiran chortled at his own joke, then grabbed Sophie's chin and forced her to stare into her father's eyes. The high king flinched as he felt cold steel bite into the flesh of his neck. Warmth pooled out of his neck and flowed down him as he began to slip into black. The last thing he heard before it consumed him was a little girl screaming.
ord Teiran—no, High King Teiran stood at the top of the tallest tower in Castle Trodin and looked out at the kingdom that was now his. It was pitiful, but he would soon change that. Grinning, he turned his gaze towards the courtyard below, where his men were slaughtering the last of Connor's loyal guards. Dark, thick blood ran across the cobblestones and pooled around
them. Tonight, he would bathe in that blood. Tomorrow, he would begin his search for power. Then, he would rule the world. And those pitiful fools down there thought he was going to share his power with them. A wonderful way to assure their loyalty. His grin widened. They should know better. Like he was ever going to share his power. High King Teiran threw his head back and cackled gleefully to the black night sky.
Beth Goodwin is a junior at OSU Newark. About this piece she says: “I love writing, and in my spare time I am writing a novel. My short story is based off of that novel, and serves as a sort of prologue to it. It is set several years before the novel’s opening scene.”
ercy is a lie.
All Earth's empires return to the sand. All men return to the dust And water washes away the earth And mercy is a lie.
God casts His final judgment. The horseman comes And the name it says upon him is Death And Hell follows with him And mercy is a lie.
The sun boils the oceans. The whales scream a funeral dirge And mercy is a lie. Will Moran is a senior majoring in English. “While I may attempt poetry on a quiet night, I could not approach philosophy in a simple paragraph.”
Monroe Final Miguel Johnson
Miguel is majoring in software engineering, with plans to attend CCAD in the fall. He writes: ―I eventually want to start my own movie production company. My favorite band is Paramore, my favorite artist is Caravaggio. I‘m addicted to Chipotle and Mountain Dew.‖
Rally America Amber Dingess
Take Back the Streets…For Real
un! As an eighteen year old girl, when men come from the shadows shooting at your friends, that is the first thought that crosses your mind. Right? Mine too. And my mom‘s. It is the late 1980‘s, back in the days of 3.2% beer that eighteen year olds can legally drink. Nancy Snyder, not yet my mother, is barhopping downtown with her friends in an area of Columbus, Ohio called the Short North. Tonight is a rare break from the chaos of the AIDS epidemic; Nancy‘s nickname is Lady Death because of her natural immunity to the mystery virus. She carries bleeding, dying men from bed to deathbed day in and day out because hospitals are too afraid to take them in. The stench of death clings to her clothes, but the smell of sweat and weak alcohol cover up some of it for the evening. Her parents do not know where she is . . . she knows they are better off ignorant. They will probably never fully accept that their only daughter is a lesbian. But for now, it is how it is, and this night is an escape. Being in the dingiest part of town, where graffiti covers every surface and gangs run amok in the darkness, Nancy fits in with other leather-clad rebels. Everything is better until she leaves the bar, only to watch some acquaintances shot down steps ahead of her. The blood stench she barely escaped is back now, filling the air in no less sickly a manner than it ever does around the ill. The police do not even bother showing up. That night Nancy and the rest of the growing LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) community decided to meet more often; time to take back the streets! ll too often, once-beautiful cities fall into ruin as industry leaves and workers flock to suburbia. The Short North, like other central cities in the United States, experienced a boom and bust before falling into forgotten piles of rubble. Many of these inner city neighborhoods, including those of Chicago, Illinois, where my mother was born, are taken under the wing of the LGBT community and rebuilt into glorious meccas of art and high society. The galleries, refurbished homes, and rainbow flag-sailing street corners of the Short North today scream GAY!, but the city, and even WOSU, the
local public media station broadcasting from the OSU campus, purposefully leave out the LGBT people entirely from the rich history of the city. In a personal email to me, my mom reveals details of the transformation that usually are swept under the rug. She urges me to look back at the history of the city and read between the lines.
After Mom and her friends joined the “Take Back the Streets” movement, she started cleaning up graffiti while the burly-looking queens stood around as guards.
Several gay bars dotted the downtown and Short North area. In 1978, what would become the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) of Columbus started meeting in the Twilight Lounge, a gay show bar on High Street in the Short North when the area was still rough. Later MCC moved to a storefront on High Street just north of 5th Avenue, and eventually to St. Paul‘s on Broad, where I went to church when I was little. But this was before St. Paul‘s allowed an LGBT church to move in. In 1980, the year my mom graduated from high school, MCC was still on High Street. After Mom and her friends joined the ―Take Back the Streets‖ movement, she started cleaning up graffiti while the burly-looking queens stood around as guards. The Blue Berets patrolled the streets at night in groups of three or four. Everyone carried a walkie-talkie to notify police at a moment‘s notice of gang activity encroaching upon the clean-up effort. The numerous boarded-up houses were scrubbed clean and they picked up bag upon bag of trash. Gay men started moving into the area and fixing up houses, their new immaculate flowerbeds flowing
down to the sidewalks in rainbow bursts of color. Cleanliness and a sense of community pushed the gangs aside and drug activity fizzled out. Businesses started moving in; the tide had turned. his changing point in the city‘s history is painfully easy to explain, yet so many people remain oblivious because no one bothers to explain it. Some, like gun enthusiast Jeff Garvas, only touch on this time period in their writing because of groups like the allbut-forgotten Pink Pistons. Like the Blue Berets, this gaystraight alliance gun club helped gays defend themselves against gay bashers and street gangs. The Pink Pistons motto is ―Armed gays don‘t get bashed!‖ and they still exist today as an advocacy group. Garvas
As the documentary wrapped up with beautiful shots of the city today, my poor mom stomped off in outrage yelling, “Where were we?” and Ann trailed behind her whispering something about them including gays once somewhere in there. Yes, I noticed, gays were mentioned once--as being scary.
points out that the rate of assault against homosexuals here in Columbus soars above the national rate year after year. Maybe this is a result of the ignorance that has been allowed to continue for decades. A day after I read her email, I sat down with my mom and her partner to watch a DVD documentary called Columbus Neighborhoods: Short North. They were both excited because mom‘s partner, Ann, is a professor at The Ohio State University and WOSU has won awards for its making of this new documentary. My parents were sure that the huge part of the Short North‘s transformation that they both lived through would be on the DVD and they hoped I could learn more about it than what their combined memories could teach me. Before pressing play, I skimmed the back of the case. It claimed that I would see a ―vibrant, exciting‖ neighborhood . . .
including ―the tale of the arches, the rise – and abrupt fall – of the Columbus Union Station, an incredible reunion of Civil War soldiers, the circus magnate who mesmerized a town, and the emergence of local festivals and traditions . . . ‖ and then FINALLY I saw ― . . . a story of how a grass roots movement transforms a run-down, forgotten neighborhood into Columbus‘ center for arts and culture.‖ Now that is what I want to see! Snuggled on the couch with our cat, the three of us watched with anticipation through slides of Victorian Village, Italian Village, Harrison West, and Fly Town. They interviewed gallery owners, including my friend Hayley‘s mom Sherrie, but the interviews looked a little off. How did they manage to interview only straight gallery owners? There are – what? – maybe two straight gallery owners in the entire arts district. As the documentary wrapped up with beautiful shots of the city today, my poor mom stomped off in outrage yelling, ―Where were we?‖ and Ann trailed behind her whispering something about them including gays once somewhere in there. Yes, I noticed, gays were mentioned once--as being scary. Later, watching the film for a second and third time at my apartment, I never was able to put my finger on the grassroots movement mentioned on the case. I popped up onto the Short North website to see if things have been corrected by now. After all, the film is from 2010. Maybe historians showed up to right the wrongs sometime in the past year. Whoa! Surprise, surprise. The history page of www.shortnorth.org includes Union Station, Arch City, Goodale Park, and the Sells Brothers Circus. And that‘s all folks! The grand Union Station was built in 1850 when the city had its industrial boom. The arches of the station inspired the architecture of what is known today as The Cap, a strip of expensive restaurants and bars. Arch City became the Short North‘s national nickname in 1888 when Columbus was chosen to host a centennial celebration for the creation of the Northwest Territory. Columbus put up arches to light the streets, but they disappeared by 1916. Today the arches are back, and at night they light up the sky like a mile long rainbow. Goodale Park, a gift from Dr. Lincoln Goodale in 1851, is now the home of Comfest. Finally, the Sells Brothers Circus sold shares to Barnum and Bailey and eventually became part of the Ringling Brothers Greatest Show on Earth in 1911. These are the highlights of Short North history. These apparently tell the story Columbus wants the public to hear. These events are the important ones. 17 |
he Ohio State University as a public school needs to worry about what the ―public‖ thinks about them. Maybe Columbus and WOSU leave out gays from the history of the city because they think they are taking a necessary precaution. What if OSU were suddenly openly advocating for gay rights on a large scale? Sure, they have clubs and support groups. They do AIDS testing and hand out condoms on the campus. But outside of the ―diversity‖ bubble necessary for any large school, OSU and WOSU do not want to take a stand. The best way to avoid controversy is to ignore whatever is the issue. OSU does not want to be an advocate any more than they want to be anti-gay. They want to be accepting in the most politically safe sense. Obviously none of these people have taken a stroll up High Street before. None of these smart documentary folks have really visited the Short North. Everyone acknowledges the time in between the ―good‖ parts, but no one can quite place their finger on how the city grew back into itself. No one knows why the Short North is even more glorious now. I think it was that grassroots movement so briefly mentioned. I think they should have interviewed the survivors. Do they even know how few survivors there are? Most of them are female because so many men fell victim to AIDS, but those females remember what happened. To them, the AIDS epidemic was as disastrous as the Holocaust was for us Jews. To them, leaving the rebuilding of the city and the symbolic rebuilding of the gay community out of our communal history is as tragic as forgetting about the Holocaust. Or even forgetting World War II entirely! Just ask my mom, the lesbian Jew of Polish descent.
A social group is unpopular with the government. They have no rights, they are discriminated against, and they face prejudices and persecution. One has recognition decades later after nearly being extinct; the other still cheers for every small win after they too were nearly wiped out. Will the government recognize the freedom to love? Will we college students, the future leaders, even learn about the injustices going on under our noses? If no one bothers to interview Nancy Snyder or any of the other survivors, will there be anything to recognize once they are all gone? Anything to learn from? No, there will only be what we are taught right now and what we teach in the future. Take Back the Streets and ―Armed gays don‘t get bashed!‖ will disappear with the deep symbolism of the rainbow flag that flies all over the Short North. My mother‘s memories will die with her some day and our public records will never care. The gay community in Columbus will seem to have popped up out of nowhere because their rich, colorful, dangerous history is not to be found. Not even at OSU, the largest college campus in the country.
Heidi Smith is a first-year honors student at Ohio State Newark, majoring in social work. She writes: “Growing up, I was never sure why other kids thought I was different. Having two moms didn't make me underprivileged, nor did it make me particularly lucky. It wasn't until I was really discriminated against in high school that it hit me; I am different. My same-sex parents give me a different perspective. The piece I wrote is my way of speaking out on their behalf. My parents are not worse than any other parents! In fact, they might be better because their "marriage" is strong. I will never be able to thank them enough for loving me, motivating me, and always being proud of me. I am proud of them too and I will not stop fighting for their basic rights.”
ordsworth reflected on the beauty of nature, as he spent time upon the banks of the Wye, finding light to illuminate his soul in his darkest hours. I reflect upon a room in my grandmother‘s house on a Saturday in spring with the curtains dancing in the breeze. The sunlight beckons me to awaken, to hear the robin‘s song. There is the hum of lawnmowers, of single engine planes flying over the green suburbia of my childhood. And always the hum of my grandmother. Always in the kitchen. Always the smell of coffee as it drip, drip, dripped into the carafe. I would lie in her bed, thin, pale legs tangled in a nightgown. I would listen to the sounds of my grandmother‘s house and the world, small and safe, outside her window. As if I knew even then that the world had teeth, that one day this memory would replace a woman whom I can barely stand to refer to in the past tense. Recording every mote of dust caught in a
sunbeam, the squeak of the dressing table drawer where my grandmother kept her handbags and driving gloves. The smell of wood polish and leather. The dead are like a fever dream, real and unreal. They are vividly remembered but impossible to speak of; what we know to be true in our heads and hearts can never be shared. The words turn to dust and blow away before they reach another‘s ear. I fortify my heart with small details. Daphne is a junior at OSU Newark majoring in English. She writes: “I have been writing since I was in the fourth grade when my teacher, Mrs. Ritter, introduced me to Shel Silverstein and Judy Blume. I often finds myself writing about my grandmother. Some of my simplest but most vivid memories are of her, and writing them down keeps her memory close.”
Where the Grass Grows Victoria Chanfrau 19 |
Red Cloud, Nebraska Elizabeth Byers Gaubert
Elizabeth, a senior English major, writes: â€•I am a stay-at-home mother of 4 completely charming and totally crazy children, a part time college student and fledging business owner.â€–
Dark and Light in Venice I saw a girl In the streets of Venice Her mouth, her chin set firm But her eyes always down A black cloak A white dress And a red blouse
As she walks by the crowds A thin veil over their eyes Blinding them from this being Who carries in her The essence of supernatural The fight of the Dark and the Light From the painting Street in Venice by John Singer Sargent
The wispy fabric flowed, fought The black and the white Swirling together Like the shadows of the Dark Fighting the beams of Light Trying to smother it The red of her shirt Blood flow of her heart Weak and weeping
“strength is found in her firm lip”
Under the hard of fight Of the Dark and the Light Nearly suffocating her Is this not evidence For her down-cast countenance? But strength is found in her firm lip Does no one see the pain? Does no one see the fight? No, for she hides it well Oh that I could help her Help her fight the fight But I can‘t I would not know how Nor would she let me, I see So I must simply catch my breath
Abby Spear is a sophomore majoring in Linguistics. She writes: “I want to travel all over the world, and learn as many languages as I can. I enjoy writing poetry, swing dancing, losing myself in books, and learning who people really are. I strive to be relentlessly kind--kindness is the most powerful force on earth.” 21 |
The Ritual of Object Hunting
he ritual of object hunting starts with the compilation of various objects into a list. The list is typically unorganized and scattered about jumping from one category to the next. After the list is complete members of the ritual, ordinarily, gather other members to participate in either a couple or group ritual. After the collection of the other members, they will then decide on a mode of traveling to the location that the ritual will take place. However, there are times, depending on the person in charge of holding the ritual, that they will travel directly to the location, or even aimlessly wander until the location is decided upon. Upon arriving at the location site, the form of traveling will then affect the next step. If the member(s) travel by foot they can immediately go to the next step. Likewise if they are traveling in a hierarchical owned form of transportation they too can proceed to the next step. But if the member(s) travel in a personally owned metallic box with disc objects at four corners they will have an added step. This step involves finding a site in a vast hard and flat field with a large amount of boxes owned by other members of this location‘s ritual. Also they can‘t just choose anywhere, since the elderly and wounded have storage closest to the ritual site. A much smaller and less stable box is then located and pushed about by one member. Again, depending on the location site a circular object is to be donated into a tiny hole to allow the release of the smaller box thus allowing its use. Sometimes even the children may assume the role of pushing about the smaller contraption. Mostly though, the children experience a placebo effect in this manner since the older, adult members do the majority of the work. It is still unknown why all members of this ritual wander aimlessly throughout a large portion of mazes in between this step and the next. At points they even stop to urinate, defecate and even consume food and liquids. The next step is collecting of the listed ritualistic objects that are the premise for the entire ritual. Again, the participating members will weave up and down, back and forth and even returning to previously visited spots to collect these items. Once all of the listed items have been collected, those members will then head back to
the entrance of the maze. In the front of the maze, there will be various members formed in lines. In these lines, animosity may happen between the various groups of participating members. Sometimes it is ambiguous whether some members are ready to be in this step or not. When the members proceed further down the lines they are eventually greeted by an important figure in the ritual. This person will observe and approve the listed collection of items. Following in that order, the participating member will then give the lead figure a variety of small paper squares, rectangles, metallic circles and even plastic. If the people came as a coven of members they may contribute various amounts of paper and metal to one person, or they may even break down the listed objects into smaller lists and submit their own sacrificial offering of squares, rectangles and circles. At this point some items on the list may or may not be removed from the list. The approved items are then all placed in sacks made of paper, plastic or cloth. The packaged items will then be replaced and loaded back into the smaller box. The lead figure will then bless the members day for them as they make their departure out of the gigantic maze. Once outside of the maze the members will then relocate their mode of traveling. After locating their mode of travel, the members all head to their dwellings to unload the listed objects. Usually after the items are unloaded, there is a unanimous sigh that items were somehow forgotten even though there was an itemized list. A new list is then begun and hanged or placed in a designated area. Steven Foley is a junior at Ohio State Newark double majoring in Middle-Grade Education and Language Arts. He writes: “I am a mentor for youth in the Reading Rocks program of Licking County. A former Taproot author and artist, I’ve returned this year as an author and editor on the Taproot staff. In 2011, I became a nationwide published poet. Since 2009, I have been reviewing and interviewing a slew of well-known authors both nationwide and global. I am currently writing my first novel (a series, eventually) among a variety of other literary endeavors.”
Un Reve du Passe McKenzie L. Shaw
McKenzie is a sophomore at OSU Newark majoring in Hospitality Management.
Political Map Dexter Morgan Dexter is a freshman in Music Education and Recording Arts. He writes: â€•I wanted to draw a picture that was both political and funny at the same time.â€–
In the Shadows of the Moon
t was actually happening. I would be going out on the moon‘s surface again after all this time. Being in my late fifties, I knew that this would be my last trip. In a few years, I would be too old; at least my superiors would think that. Damn them! Sitting at my desk, I grumbled and looked over next to me. Doug, my young, enthusiastic assistant, spoke with the crew downstairs and finally stood up from his chair. ―We‘ve been given the green light, John. We're going outside!‖ ―That‘s good to hear. Let's head down.‖ Leaving the top, we looked out at the lunar colony. The dome towered over the entire colony built underneath it. I had been working here since the beginning. It was back when going to the moon was a myth to some people. It actually still felt like a myth to me. Yet, we had begun building it back in 2023 with collaboration of China, Russia, Japan, and of course, the United States, my country. In a span of thirty years, we had a fully functioning moon colony. Arriving at the bottom, we began our walk through the underground tunnel. This area was the coldest of the entire research center. The freezing air hovered in the atmosphere like clouds in the sky. The tunnel itself was made out of metallic matter that was naturally found on the moon. Almost everything else was built with the same material. Shuttling resources from the Earth was possible but was very tedious and time-consuming. Our crew‘s purpose was to collect metals for future expansion of the colony. From the tunnel, we entered the supply hanger for our equipment. This giant place was scattered with space suits, lunar vehicles, scanning devices, and drills for mining. Most of the surface crew could be found in the front of the room on our left. We moved to the back to begin putting on our spacesuits to the right. Working on our spacesuits, the front of the room quickly became crowded with the whole surface crew working on fueling and powering up our vehicle. I had always been clunky with driving. I would let my assistant drive this time as I thought about the past and smiled. With our spacesuits almost on, I heard someone call me over. ―John! Hey John! Get over here!‖
―Oh great. I didn't think he would be here.‖ It was my supervisor, Phillip. He was a bit younger than me. His hair wasn't quite as gray as mine. He had less wrinkles too. Yet, I was more fit than him. It looked like he was starting to get a little heavy. I tried not to say anything since he was my boss, but he was always pushing my buttons. I couldn't wait to hear what he had to say to me now. I walked over to him with a disgruntled look on my face. ―So, I bet you're excited to go back on the surface.
I had been working here since the beginning. It was back when going to the moon was a myth. It actually still felt like a myth to me.
How long has it been?‖ ―10 years or so.‖ ―Gosh, that's a long time. Shouldn't you be retiring now?‖ ―You calling me old?‖ ―You are old. Now, we have some last minute changes.‖ ―Last minute changes? What do you mean?‖ ―We are adding a third crew member to your team.‖ ―A third? Why?‖ ―He's from the Russian space team. He's been doing this just as long as you.‖ ―A Russian? Alright, whatever. Where is he? Has he been briefed?‖ ―He's right over there. Why don't you introduce yourself to him? You can do that, right?‖ ―Yeah, sure.‖
Shuffled in the crowd was an old, determinedlooking man with a gray Russian spacesuit on. He looked to be in his mid to late 40s, younger than me. I walked over to him. ―So you‘re our third.‖ ―Yes sir. I am Boris. I just flew in from Moscow. Have you been on Earth recently?‖ ―Earth? No, not since my wife died. So why are you coming along with us? It‘s always been a two man job.‖ ―I‘m sorry. My country‘s prime minister is interested in seeing how things are going up here. I am just here to observe.‖ ―An observer, huh? Well, just let us do our jobs, okay?‖ ―It will be like I am not even here.‖ ―Good. Now where is that crazy assistant of mine? Damn kids. Always getting into trouble.‖ Walking away from the Russian, I went over to my assistant who was talking to one of the female technicians. Doug was in his mid to late 20s. He had short, brown hair and wore glasses. He was always talking to the ladies. I had to pull him away since we had work to do. ―Alright alright, come on. We have a job to do, young one.‖ ―Sorry sir, we just started talking, and well, you know how things go.‖ ―Yeah, I know. So did you hear about our new member?‖ ―Oh no. What‘s he going to be doing?‖ ―He says he‘s an observer, but just keep an eye on him, okay?‖ ―You got it.‖ ―Alright, let‘s go. I think they are waiting on us now.‖ All three of us got in, and the group of technicians cleared the floor. I was sitting in the navigation chair, and Doug was next to me in front of the driving controls. Our Russian friend was in a seat at the back. A few seconds later, a wall came down around us to seal off the area. The floor lifted us up on the surface away from the lunar colony. ―What was the direction again?‖ my assistant asked me. ―Northeast.‖ ―Looks like I‘ll have to turn it over a few degrees.‖ We began to move through the lunar environment, progressing to the zone. Looking over the map, it appeared we were getting closer sooner than I estimated.
―What speed are we traveling at?‖ ―Only about half.‖ ―Speed it up just a little more, but be careful. It won‘t be too long till we get there from what the map is showing us.‖ ―Sure thing. Pushing forward on the lever now.‖ I pulled out the navigation device given to me by one of the technicians and began transmitting the signal towards the source of energy. We were getting closer and closer to our destination as we rode through the craters, valleys, and hills on the lunar surface. Looking out the window, the surface was lifeless and gray. I was always fascinated with it, though. Some would think it was boring, but I felt it was mysterious and adventurous. Going to the scanner, the device began picking up something. ―Stop right here, Doug.‖ Our vehicle slowed down and halted on the top of a small hill near the energy. ―Is it close?‖ ―The device is mapping out the terrain now. Only at 20%. Come on. Damn it‘s slow. I don‘t have patience for this.‖ ―You‘d think it would be faster, right? I mean it‘s only 2053.‖ ―Yeah yeah. Gotta love technology. Alright, there it goes. Finally! Okay, the highest energy is over to the east. Head over that way.‖ The vehicle turned its direction towards the location and slowly moved off the hill. We moved closer to it as the towering mountains became visible in the distance. ―Get about 10 meters from the bottom of those mountains. We can get our gear ready there.‖ The vehicle got closer and stopped. ―Is this good?‖ ―Yeah, let‘s set up here.‖ I got up from my navigation seat and moved over to the door. Doug got up with me, and I made sure to grab the matter reader. It was a device that could tell us the composition of what was in these mountains. ―Are you ready?‖ ―Yes sir.‖ Getting ready to leave the vehicle, I noticed that Boris wasn‘t moving. ―Are you coming with us?‖ ―No sir. I will simply watch from the monitor here.‖ ―Alrighty, whatever you need to do. We‘ll be checking out the composition in the area and may begin
drilling. If you need anything, just call us on the radio here.‖ ―Thank you, sir.‖ Finishing up in the vehicle, I pressed the button near the door, opening it for us to exit out to the lonely wastelands of the moon. We walked towards the mountains as I studied the levels of matter in the area. We then stopped at the bottom. ―Not too bad. I‘m seeing plenty for us to use. Well, I got a complete scan done of the region. Did you grab the drill? We can start now.‖ ―Oh, man. I forgot it. I‘m sorry.‖ ―It‘s alright. I can try to get some quick samples while you go back and get the drill.‖ ―Okay, I‘ll hurry back.‖ I grabbed one of my tools and began to chip away the rock. It was quiet and barren but peaceful here. I wished it could always be like this. Doug suddenly called me on the radio. ―John! John! Do you hear me?‖ ―Yeah, what‘s up? You couldn‘t find it?‖ ―No, it‘s not that. That Russian dude is gone! He‘s not here anymore!‖ ―What! Damn, where the hell is he?‖ ―I don‘t know. What do we do John?‖ ―Just sit tight. I‘m on my way back.‖ Getting back to the vehicle, it was empty just like Doug had described. ―Well, what the hell? Did you try to patch through to the colony?‖ ―I tried, but there seems to be some kind of interference. I couldn‘t get through.‖ ―Hmm, well, he‘s gotta be close. I don‘t know what he could be up to. Anyways, let‘s look around. I should be able to pick up his body heat with my scanner.‖ We moved away from the vehicle and began searching. Looking on the screen, I began to find greater energy than where we were to mine. What could this be? ―Hmm, this metal matter seems to be centralized in that dark region there. It almost looks like a cave entrance. Let‘s move closer.‖ We made our way towards the darkness. The device continued to update the area‘s terrain. As we got closer to the opening in the mountain, something was hidden in the shadows. It was hard to see, but something was there nonetheless. ―What is that?‖ Doug asked me. ―I can‘t see anything. Turn on your flashlight.‖
Detaching our flashlight units from our spacesuits, we turned them on, shining the light at something that could not be explained at first. ―I cannot believe this. It‘s some sort of structure!‖ ―It looks like an entry door to a structure. There‘s no way this is a natural formation. Who could have built this?‖ ―It‘s aliens, John! It has to be!‖ ―Wait a second. What‘s that over there?‖ I saw something on the left side of the wall. ―It‘s not aliens. You see that flag there?‖ ―A flag? What‘s on it?‖ ―It‘s a Soviet flag. This place was built by the Russians. It must have been some secret base.‖
As we got closer to the opening in the mountain, something was hidden in the shadows. It was hard to see, but something was there nonetheless.
―Secret base? How could they have done this?‖ ―By doing what we are doing now. They used the moon‘s resources to build their structures here.‖ ―Could they still be here?‖ ―I don‘t think so, but this has to be what that damn Russian was here for. Let‘s look inside this place and then we will report back to the colony.‖ I walked closer to the door and found that it had already been opened. We walked forward and came to another open door that appeared to be the one for stabilizing the oxygen levels. Unfortunately, it looked like this place ran out of oxygen a long time ago. What could that Boris be looking for in here? We cautiously moved through the rest of the base. It was small. There were four main rooms, each with different instruments and tools. Stairs were built between each of the rooms, and each had pressure doors. One of the rooms was a central hub for equipment and communication for the base. The rest had some beds and areas where food was stored. From the last
room, there was another door that led to a main set of stairs. These stairs led to another part of the base that I myself could not believe I was seeing. From the stairs, a room with many rows of chairs and a podium could be found. The back wall had maps of the United States and other areas around the U.S. There were marks written on all of the maps. Some things were written on them that looked like words in Russian. Why would they be looking at the United States? Why would they be marking circles on different areas of these maps? Why would they be doing it here? The scanner in my hand began making a beeping noise. I looked down, and it showed high levels of energy. It started to form the terrain around us and something strange was presented to me. I held up the scanner as an area full of objects displayed radiation in the next room behind the room we were in. Everything started to make sense to me now. This secret base was built to house nuclear weapons on the Moon. ―What‘s in that other room, John?‖ Doug asked me. ―Nuclear warheads. I can see them on the scanner. This was a nuclear weapons facility that was going to be used by the Russians.‖ ―They were developing nuclear weapons here? What happened to the people? There had to be people here, right?‖
I suddenly felt something touching my foot. I looked down and pointed my flash light to the floor to see what it was. I jumped back.
―Yeah, I‘m not sure. Activate your radiation protection in your spacesuit. Let‘s investigate the next room.‖ We walked to the back of the conference room. An accessway led around to the other side, and a closed door. I pulled down on the lever next to the door, and at first it seemed to be jammed, then it slowly opened, just enough for me to go through.
―I want you to stay here, Doug. I‘m thinking our friend might be in here, and let‘s hope his suit is strong enough to shield the radiation in this room.‖ ―Wait, I can‘t let you go alone, John. What if something happens in there? I have to go with you.‖ ―I‘m sorry, this is too dangerous for you. You‘re young, and I‘m old, according to Phillip. Anyway, don‘t worry, I‘ll be back in no time.‖ ―You promise, John?‖ ―You can count on it.‖ Moving through the small opening of the door, I entered the large nuclear weapons chamber. The area itself was extremely dark with nothing visible in the atmosphere. It was quiet, but I could hear a voice in the distance. Was it Boris? I moved through cautiously with my flashlight in hand. The scanner in my other hand picked up extremely high levels of radiation. Without the proper shielding in a spacesuit, you would be dead in minutes. Moving along, I found rows of nuclear missiles, almost all of them unfinished. I suddenly felt something touching my foot. I looked down and pointed my flashlight to the floor to see what it was. I then jumped back. It was a corpse. Radiation had gone right through his suit. Not long after that, I began to see more dead bodies scattered across the chamber. None of them appeared to be Boris. I began to become sick and disgusted with what I was seeing. I had to find him and get out of here. Looking around a bit more, I suddenly saw a light behind one of the warheads. I could see a figure in the dark that soon became a person. It was Boris. It looked like he was communicating into some kind of radio. There was a lot of moisture on the glass of his helmet. It appeared his suit was not strong enough. I moved in. I had to save him. ―Boris?‖ ―Dr. Brody! What are you doing in here?!‖ ―What am I doing in here? What about you? You were supposed to stay put, but now I see why you came along. It‘s not safe in here, you know. You better come with me back to the surface or you are going to end up like the rest of these men.‖ ―I can‘t. I am here to make a report, and I‘m not leaving till I am finished.‖ ―You realize how much radiation you are being exposed to right now? That suit of yours isn‘t going to keep you alive much longer.‖
―I don‘t care. This is for my country! I have to do this! Now get out of here! I know what I‘m doing!‖ ―Boris, please listen. Let us go back to the surface and drive back to the colony. You need medical attention. You are in danger being in this room.‖ I urged him as I began to walk towards him. ―What do you think you are doing? Stay away! I said stay…a…way…I…can‘t…he..lp…‖ He began to cough and appear to lose breath. He struggled, and I worked my way over to him to rush him out of the room. I pulled and pulled, but it was too late. He moved once more and then stopped. There was no longer any movement. His eyes were wide open now with pain visible on his face. He was dead. In disarray, I was breathing hard now, and I quickly moved back to the opening and exited the chamber of the dead, closing the door behind me. ―John! Are you okay? What happened?‖ ―I found our friend. He…he‘s dead. The radiation got through his suit. It was too much for him and the other Russians there. I found about ten other corpses with radiation burns,― I explained, and tried to get the image out of my head. ―He died?! Why would he go in there?! Didn‘t he know the risk? And there are others?‖ ―It appears that he was here to find out what happened. It was never about our mining operation. He was sent to make a report on the status of this base.‖ ―That‘s just crazy! I can‘t believe it. ―Yeah, I can‘t either. Well, we need to get back to the surface. We need to report this to the colony.‖ ―Sounds good. Let‘s get out of here!‖ We began moving back up the stairs and through the rooms of the base to the entrance. Exiting out towards the lunar vehicle, something seemed different on the surface. My vision seemed to blur as the picture transformed the surroundings to a solid black with no stars or anything in sight. What was this? I began wondering quickly what was happening as the picture transformed again. Everything faded away and was then clear. I saw my wife in front of me, and I felt as if I had fallen down. I was falling and falling. I was lost. Yet, I then opened my eyes with my head leaning back on my chair. I was back at my desk. I sat up and looked around. No one was in the room with me. I looked over to Doug‘s computer and saw a note attached to it. I reached over and tore it off the computer screen. He would be downstairs, helping with some new equipment they were working on. He would be
gone for a few hours. I put the note down as I leaned back again in my chair. Was everything just a dream? It seemed so real. As I started to drift back to sleep, I felt a pain on my right foot. I looked at it, and a burn was present that almost hurt when I moved my leg. Where did that come from? Ignoring it for the time being, I put my head back once again and became lost in the flow of my dreams.
Kory McGaughey is a junior at OSU Newark majoring in English. He writes: “To put it simply, I am a writer. In my senior year of high school, I was in a creative writing class and was really into writing short stories. I also have a fascination with alternate history and what could have happened or something that possibly happened that we don't know about. It could be something kept in the dark, and it's hidden to everyone outside the group that was keeping it secret. I think with this piece that it really showed my imagination and how when I go on my own to write something, I really go out there. Most of my stories are over the top and pretty crazy. I try to keep things interesting and something that makes you go, "Whoa! That's crazy! I wasn't expecting that!"
Charles Darwin Kayla Liston
Kayla is a first-year pre-nursing major. She writes: ―I love drawing! Especially with pencil. My plans for school are to get a Bachelor‘s in Science and Nursing. In my free time I watch The Big Bang Theory, The Office and Lost.‖
Entombed by Man
I once longed to live and love, and forgot to find freedom in the vireo’s song or a sunlit room.
ature offers me her sorrows and I gather them into my arms like a field full of flowers. I once longed to live and love, and forgot to find freedom in the vireo‘s song or a sunlit room. I was falling into myself with nowhere to go but lowery; the Hell of the Persians is wasted not on the dead, but the living. I did not deserve the sapid air of spring, nor the sound of rain against the windowpane; I became a moth, hurling myself towards death in the shape of light. I wept for the sky like a hungry Sumerian looking for signs in the shapes of clouds or in how the wheat answers capriciously to the wind. I pushed away; I took the path of the departed and watched humanity crumble a waste. I was a causeway to the pyramid at Giza. A hundred-thousand men choked on my dust and bones for years; I‘ll not live one minutia longer, nor suffer any less. I‘ve wandered into places so dark that even Osiris took pity.
I am the descendent of infinite air. I was made from surging tide: where Aphrodite‘s form transcended earth. Stand on the ledge, where sea meets sand, now turn around and gaze back into caustic abyss: the cavity of man. Feel the anguish in the crashing of waves. This is where life begins; this is where the world ends. Civilization strikes and unarms nature with bitter cold shellac I lie in the folds of her silken hair: chest heaving, torn apart, and bleeding. Inside, I am a breath caught in systemic air; Outside, I hear the universe screaming at the mortality of which they are formed, when even the stars are made more beautiful in their dying.
Jen Struckman is a senior majoring in English.
Dew Drops Amber Dingess
Amber is a senior majoring in business administration. She writes: â€•This illustrates mainly how much nature and the outdoors inspires me. Personally, I am inspired by the small details and textures in objects as well as bold bright colors.â€–
Running Head May I just say I despise APA? The name and the date and the page with a p. No, you can‘t just write the number you see, Lest someone forget that the thing at the end Is a page that you turn to and not some append Age is of vital importance as well, So make sure with each citation you tell When it was written, Again and Again Get it stuck in their head – It was 2010! And don‘t get me started about capitalization, It always seems to end in utter frustration Those rules that we‘ve learned since nearly grade two Are over. Kaput! They‘re finished; they‘re through! Instead we’re stuck with an italicized line, The first word is capitalized and nothing behind These rules are complicated, complex and confused It‘s almost impossible to have nothing misused But still I must use them, use one and use all So thanks very much Mr. G. Stanley Hall
Michael Reimer, an alumnus of Ohio State Newark, is now enrolled in the campus’s M.Ed. program.
BEST HISTORY PAPER, 2011
For the Sake of Peace
hotos of Berlin, Germany tell a story of a nation that went from expansion to destruction in the space of six years. In 1942 elaborate military parades were staged with a vast and disciplined army at the Brandenburg gate. By May of 1945 the Russian ―Red‖ Army was raising their sickle and hammer flag over the Reichstag with smoke rising from the rubble of what was once a proud Berlin. Truly the war had ―come home in all the frightfulness with which the German leaders started and waged it‖1 Berlin was a window to a Europe in ruins. Into this rubble, came organizations for relief efforts. Their first concern was the millions of refugees displaced as the Red Army advanced from the east and the Allied powers from the west. The American Mennonites were significant components in the rebuilding and relief efforts. This aid was focused in three ways: First were the Mennonite men and women volunteers who worked to help European Mennonite refugees escape from the Russian zone, then immigrate into the Americas. Secondly, volunteers worked to rebuild infrastructure, homes and villages destroyed by the war. Lastly, large amounts of material aid was sent from the Mennonites in the United States and distributed by the volunteers through the Mennonite agencies positioned in Europe. Both men and women were involved in these relief efforts, that made a significant impact on the recovery of Germany in particular and Europe in general, and raised world awareness among American Mennonites. The Mennonites originated in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands during the Reformation. They were initially named Anabaptists because of their belief in adult baptism.2 The church was to be one of individual 1
Harry S. Truman, ―Radio Report to the American people on the Potsdam Conference,‖ 9 August 1945, Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, Independence, MO: Available online at www.truman-library.org/publicpapers. 2 The term Anabaptist means re-baptizer. It is based on the Latin ―Ana‖ again and baptized. In Germany they were often called the Widertaufers. For more see George Huntston Williams, The Radical Reformation ( Kirksville, MO: Truman University Press, 2000), 294.
choice, not mandated by civil government but chosen by a free individual out of their personal belief and faith in Christ, which initiated them into the Kingdom of Christ. This kingdom was distinct from the Kingdom of the world and therefore had a different ethic and morality. This led to their view of peace and ―loving one‘s enemy‖ and their non-involvement in any case of bearing the sword or military service. Their stance on war and opposition to the military later led them to ally with other groups such as the Quakers and the Brethren, and together they are known as the Historic Peace Churches (HPC).3 For the HPC the practical means to overcome evil is the Biblical teaching that ―good overcomes evil.‖ It is interpreted, as saying there is something of a good God within every individual who can be appealed to through good. Material aid has historically been a means of good for the HPC to overcome evil.
he post-World War II Mennonite relief efforts came out of this long history and theology of mutual aid. From the beginnings of Anabaptism there had been a focus on giving freely to both those within the church and outside of the church. Menno Simmons, from whom the Mennonites derive their name, said that if those in the army of a nation are willing to give their lives and livelihood for the sake of the cause, then so should those of the Kingdom of Christ. They interpreted this as both committing their lives for a cause, but also giving of their money and material goods to help other people. 4 There are many examples of this in Mennonite history. 5 3 For more on this alliance see Marcus Yoder, ―An Experiment in Democracy: Civilian Public Serivce and Conscientious Objectors in World War II.‖ (Senior Honors Thesis, The Ohio State University, 2010), 6. 4 Walter Klaassen, ed. Anabaptism in Outline: Selected Primary Sources (Scottsdale, PA Herald Press, 1981), 240. 5 Needless to say mutual aid was and remains the backbone of Mennonite relief efforts. There are literally hundreds of mutual aid organizations ranging from MCC which works world wide, to very small organizations which focus on small regions. For more see Henry Smith and Harold Bender, eds., The Mennonite
In 1919 the Mennonites had developed an aid organization, The Mennonite Central Committee, who would take the lead in providing aid and material assistance to the world from the Mennonites. Their initial charge was to help bring relief and aid to Mennonites suffering in Russia as the Bolsheviks took control immediately after World War I.6 As early as 1786, the Russian monarch Catherine the Great had appealed to German farmers to settle her unpopulated land. They are often called ―Russian Mennonites‖ and play an important role in this story. It is the descendants of these who would later become refugees in Germany in the 1900s. Because of the persecution and lack of land for farming in Europe, the center of Mennonitism had shifted to North America by the early 1900s. There were large settlements of these people in Pennsylvania, Ohio and most of the Mid-western states. There had also been large-scale immigration from those Mennonites who had moved to Russia and than immigrated into the Plains states and also the Prairie Provinces of Canada. There had also been some migration of these Russian Mennonites to the ―Green hell‖ or the Chaco of Paraguay.7 It is largely the North American Mennonites who would be so instrumental in helping their European brothers and sisters after the war.
he problem of refugees was astronomical after the war. A postwar (24 March 1950) report to Congress prepared by the House Special Subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary, ―Expellees and Refugees of German Ethnic Origins‖ places the number of refugees at 12 million. It says that about 8.5 million of these were in West Germany with the balance in East Germany under Soviet rule. 8 This number does not reflect the displaced West Germans who had lost their homes in the war. It also estimates that the number of refugees who had died in the chaotic period following the war was about 3 million.9 Within this Encyclopedia (Scottsdale, PA: Mennonite Publishing House, 1955), 3: 797. 6 Yoder, 19. 7 Henry Smith and Harold Bender, eds., The Mennonite Encylcopedia (Scottsdale, PA: Mennonite Publishing House, 1955), 4:384. 8 Special Subcommittee of the Committee of the Judiciary, Expellees and Refugees of German Ethnic Origin 81st Cong., 2d sess., March 1950, Report No.1841, 3. 9 Special Subcommitte Report, 5.
large amount of people were Mennonites from Russia, but some who had remained in Prussia, and still others from parts of Eastern Europe. The Mennonites of North America had generally not fought as soldiers in the war, but had served in a program designed for those opposed to going to war called Civilian Public Service. 10 Because of this, they were not as aware of the refugee issue until after the war; consequently it took them some time to mobilize their efforts to support and help.
t the outset of World War II, MCC had sent representatives to England to help distribute aid and provide for the children of England. Peter Dyck, born in Russia and immigrated to Canada, was one of the most influential MCC aid workers during this time. He met another aid worker in England, Elfrieda Klassan, whom he married. Dyck had been asked to go and felt that he could not refuse MCC because he had himself been fed by MCC aid while a child in Russia.11 The Dycks entered Europe through the Netherlands in June 1945; one month after Germany had surrendered. They initially made contact with the Dutch Mennonite Church, which promised their help as well. Dyck was almost immediately faced with the enormity of the situation. At first their plans had been to distribute aid, but they soon became enmeshed in the refugee problem. 12 By this time the MCC had geared up its aid efforts, and Mennonites in North America donated almost half the aid goods coming through the Dutch Red Cross.13 It is extremely difficult to find the exact number of refugees who were Mennonite. MCC eventually assisted about 9,500 Mennonites to emigrate. There were many more that decided to stay in West Germany, and unfortunately there were many who died or were repatriated to Soviet territories and disappeared. 14 One poignant story is that of 614 Russian Mennonites who started their journey from the Chortitza Colony North of 10 See Marcus Yoder. 11 Peter and Elfrieda Dyck, Up from the Rubble (Scottsdale PA: Herald Press, 1991), 19. 12 Dyck, 61. 13 Ibid., 60. There is an amusing anecdote in Dyck‘s book where the Dutch Red Cross director asks whether half the North Americans are indeed Mennonite! This is because nearly half the goods were from them. This is reflective of the high level of mutual aid and support that the North American Mennonites showed in the post-war relief efforts. 14 John A Lapp and C. Arnold Snyder, Testing Faith and Tradition: Global Mennonite History Series (Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 2006), 132.
the Black Sea in the Ukraine. Twenty-two months later they had found their way to the Dutch Border at Maastricht where they engaged Peter Dyck to help them. By this time their numbers had been reduced to 33 people.15 The Dutch authorities were reluctant to allow this group to enter the Netherlands without a promise that MCC and the Dutch Mennonite Church would care for them, and that they would help them resettle in another country. MCC committed to this and found lodging until a ship could be chartered. MCC was eventually able to charter a ship and move these people to Paraguay.
CC‘s effort in Europe also allowed for women to transcend traditional borders and restrictions on their roles in the Mennonite church, which was still largely patriarchical in its leadership. Lois Gunden Clemens, Eva Blosser and the above-mentioned Elfrieda Klassen Dyck are perhaps the best known of any of the women who served. Lois Gunden Clemens, who later in life became and influential leader in the feminist movement within the Mennonite church, served through MCC as the director of a refugee children‘s home in Canet-Plage in southern France. As a twenty-six year old woman, she was in charge of the ―Villa,‖ as the children‘s home was named, which was filled with refugee children whose parents had died in the fighting in northern France.16 Clemens was very resourceful in protecting the children in spite of numerous attempts of the authorities to take the children and return them to northern France and Germany. Following the German occupation of France she was taken into Germany as a civilian prisoner of war and held at Baden-Baden. She was interned for thirteen month before being released. While in Baden-Baden she was instrumental in setting up language classes for other prisoners and keeping hope alive until her release in 1944. 17 Eva Blosser was another woman instrumental in the efforts at relief in Europe. She and her husband Howard, who had been in the Civilian Public Service Program, served in Europe under MCC following the war. In a 1986 15 Dyck, 81-129. 16 ―Lois Gunden Clemens‖ archive article at MC-Archives, Goshen IN. Available online at www.mcsusa-archives.org, accessed 28 February, 2011. 17 Elaine Sommers Rich, Mennonite Women: A Story of God’s Faithfulness 1683-1983 (Scottsdale, PA, Herald Press, 1983). 220.
interview they both say Mennonite women voluntarily stepped out of their historic isolation and broke down some of the leadership barriers that had prevented them from serving in the past. While men had been forced out of their communal isolation by the draft and the CPS program, women voluntarily took this step. The Blossers point to this as a transformational time in the role of Mennonite women. Eva says that the experience with MCC gave them a global perspective both geographically and culturally.18 Eva, who was responsible for clothing distribution in Germany after the war ended, was essentially in charge. She would spend weeks traveling and distributing clothing throughout war-ravaged Germany. She says that she would sometimes consult with her husband, who was the titular head of the distribution network, but she ran it. Her husband agreed, saying, ―They (The women) were the decision makers, who got (clothing) and who didn‘t.‖19 She also said that, ―We were given a job to do and expected to do it. We weren‘t asked whether we were a man or woman. This is the job that needed to be done, and you do it.‖20 When asked if she had to fight for her rights she indicated that attitudes among the MCC European staff were much more free in regards to women in leadership roles than among the supporting churches in North America.
erhaps the best-known example of women in leadership in the relief effort is Elfrieda Klassen Dyck. She is an integral part of what became known as ―Operation Mennonite.‖ In the autumn of 1946, Elfrieda‘s husband, Peter Dyck, received word of a number of Mennonites stranded in the Western sector of Berlin. Because the Soviet Union viewed them as citizens to repatriate under the Potsdam Agreement, they were afraid to attempt to travel through the checkpoints associated with the travel corridors to the west. Initially the US Army officer in charge gave Dyck a house to house these people until the legal issue could be resolved. As other Mennonite refugees found out about the arrangement, their numbers swelled from the initial 212 to over 1,000.21 Because they were technically 18 Eva Blosser interview, by Leonard Gross, 26 March, 1986, CPS-MCC Europe Collection, Goshen College, Goshen IN. Transcripts in Author‘s personal collection. 19 Blosser interview. 20 Ibid. 21 Edger Stoesz, Like A Mustard Seed: Mennonites in Paraguay (Scottsdale, PA: Herald Press, 2008), 73.
Soviet citizens, the US and United Nations official relief organizations could not count them as refugees and therefore not feed them. MCC took responsibility to care for these people. As the numbers grew, Dyck faced increasing pressure from Colonel Stinson, the US Army head of the Displaced Persons Department in Berlin, to move these people out of Berlin. After many attempts to coordinate passage through the Soviet Zone, Stinson and Dyck decided to give a list of names and nationalities to the Soviets in an attempt to cause them to live up to the Yalta Agreement, which specified that refugees other than war criminals, deserters, or collaborators could choose where they wanted to go. They presented their list to the Soviets, and nothing happened. The refugees themselves were fearful of this move, for they had seen many of their own people gathered by the Soviets to disappear into the East.22 After this attempt did not work, the Army decided on a classified operation called ―Operation Mennonite‖ where the Army would provide rail transportation through the Soviet Zone to any port in Europe, and MCC would provide a ship and a guarantee to resettle these people outside of Europe. MCC had several hundred refugees in Holland by this time, over 1,000 in Berlin and about another 1,000 in a refugee camp near Munich.23 As the time drew nearer for departure, the Army and Dyck worked together to prepare the refugees in Berlin for ―Operation Mennonite.‖ At the last minute, General Lucius Clay, a four star general and the military governor of the US zone in Germany, found out about ―Operation Mennonite‖ and cancelled the operation as too much risk for an incident with the Soviets.24 Dyck immediately requested an audience with Gen. Clay, which Col. Stinson said would never happen. Dyck then wrote a letter and hand delivered it to Clay‘s headquarters; to his surprise Clay gave him an audience and he suggested that they bump the decision up to Washington. To their surprise, Washington said that ―Operation Mennonite‖ could go forward if the Soviets agreed, in essence bouncing it all back to Clay and Dyck. With this MCC faced a quandary because of their binding contract with Holland-American Lines: they faced a $15,000 per day penalty for every day they did not sail past their assigned date. Dyck left for Bremerhaven 22 Dyck, 162. 23 Dyck. 167. 24 Ibid., 169.
where the Volendam was docked to take the bad news and load the balance of the refugees, leaving his wife in charge in Berlin.25
hortly after Dyck‘s departure from Berlin on 31 January 1947, Elfrieda Dyck was summoned to Col. Stinson‘s office where she received the good news that ―Operation Mennonite‖ was on after all. She was told at 6:00 PM to have the refugees in the streets at 8:00 that evening and have them wait in silence. After that Stinson issued orders to block the entire area with American Military Police and requisitioned US Army trucks to take the refugees to the train. After a brief delay they were able to successfully make their way to the British Zone and on to Bremerhaven, where they boarded the Volendam for their new homes in Paraguay.26 What is fascinating is that in the absence of her husband, Elfrieda met with the Army leaders and organized the impossible task of having 1,115 people ready to go in two hours time. This included sick, children and even a lady in labor!27 She was in charge and everyone involved understood this well. This again shows the amount of authority that these Mennonite women carried in this work. It is also a fascinating picture to think of a pacifistic Mennonite woman and the US Army planning a secret operation to remove Russian citizens from under the nose of the Soviet occupiers!
he contribution of these women to MCC and to the relief efforts is immeasurable. All told, from the spring of 1945 until the end of 1948 MCC distributed about 8,000 tons of food and 110 tons of textiles (mainly clothing) in Europe. MCC spent about ten million dollars in aid and help for refugees in the same period. They had established permanent offices in Germany, France, and the Netherlands. In many cases women like Eva, Lois and Elfrieda were leaders in this effort. It was also from these locations that the Mennonites developed plans for not only the relief efforts, but also the rebuilding of Europe following the war. MCC soon saw the need for developing a more systematic way of helping rebuild the war ravaged nations of Europe. Espelkamp-Mittwald, a former munitions and poison gas factory slated for destruction 25 Dyck, 173. 26 Ibid., 185. 27 Elfrieda records that the lady was so shocked that her labor stopped and the baby was not born until a week later.
by the British forces, was chosen as the site for their first overseas Voluntary Service Project. The project itself was the result of the German Evangelical Hilfwerk,28 who had rescued the camp and intended to use it to provide housing for Displaced Persons.29 Generally the refugees at Espelkamp were not Mennonite and more often were displaced Reichsdeutsche. MCC discovered the work and almost immediately sent an investigation. Late in 1948 they established a service camp to allow both long term and short term workers (Including women) to help build this model city. When the European Recovery Plan (ERP), or Marshall Plan, was put into operation by the United States, it forced the amalgamation of church and state at Espelkamp. In it Hilfwerk used ERP money to help build institutions for the model city. Espelkamp was not a handout for these refugees, rather it was a social experiment that asked those benefitting to also invest time into the project. For instance, in 1949 it was agreed that anyone wanting to build would have to break loose and clean 2,000 bricks from the bombed and dynamited bunkers, which would then be used in the foundations and walls of their homes.30 It is here that the workers who came to Germany through MCC would step in and help these refugees build their homes. In 1951 MCC established PAX, 31 a foreign service program for I-W32 draftees. At Espelkamp they not only helped families build their homes, they also built churches and many other buildings. It is here that many young North American Mennonite men and women saw firsthand the devastation that war had wrought in Europe.33 Espelkamp was an extremely positive picture for MCC and PAX; when they decided to withdraw and move their efforts elsewhere, Hilfwerk asked them to find displaced Mennonites to move there. About thirty Prussian Mennonites who had been displaced by the loss of East Prussia to Poland settled there. MCC stayed 28 The literal translation of this is ―help work‖ which was the goal of the group, to assist in rebuilding. 29 Smith and Bender, vol. 2, 248. 30 Emily Brunk, Espelkamp (Frankfurt Germany: MCC, 1951), 16. 31 Because of their stance on peace they used the Latin Term PAX or peace for this program. 32 I-W is the designation for Conscientious Objectors to military service in the post World War II draft. This is the designation that Selective Service gave these men. 33 Luke Rhodes papers, available from archives at the Center for Anabaptist History, Martinsburg, OH.
on and helped these people build homes and also built a Mennonite church in Espelkamp-Mittwald.34 The Mennonites, then, discovered in the rebuilding of Europe that in working out the mandate of Christ to overcome evil with good, a metamorphosis occurred within themselves which pushed them into world awareness and changed their own structures.
Norita Yoder is an alumna (2011). She writes: “I am a Mennonite woman who entered University for own benefit and for the purpose of advocating for higher education and women's issues within my subculture. I graduated in December 2011 summa cum laude with Research Distinction in History. I plan to continue my research of women within my culture and the factors that influenced the changes in their roles from their beginnings in the Reformation. I just received acceptance into Yale Divinity School for fall of 2012.”
34 Brunk, 29.
Down The Line Victoria Chanfrau
â€•I have many interests in many things. Some of them include photography, theatre, music, and nature.â€–
A Nation Ripped Apart
rother against Brother Is how the story goes War ripped apart a nation Stained it red as a rose Where is the Unified Republic? So glorious, and so young Could not hold itself together ‗Fore it‘d seen many suns Where are the Sons of Liberty? Whose fathers fought as one? They‘re scattered, killing one another At Cold Harbor and Bull Run So many thousand men were killed Perhaps they had to pay For each life that had been taken Because of slavery each day Why does the bloody war rage on? Each side refusing stubbornly To back off, let there be peace anon Reining through the country blessedly It‘s so because each side believes So deeply that their cause is just They‘ll fight for their cause till the end Till they turn back to dust How did such differences Between the North and South arise? The legislature could not make decisions And none would give a compromise
“How did so many dying souls Not shake the earth beneath them?”
So the battles just kept on increasing Till the C.S.A. was decimated So many soldiers brave and true Their death hour was so early fated All the families, sweethearts, friends Left at home to mourn and weep Their loved ones had no burial ground Fallen in battle; piled in a heap How did so many dying souls Not shake the earth beneath them? We hope to see those men again Where agony can‘t reach them
ight falls as softly as a broken promise. With arms thrown around a turbulent horizon, I'm swept away like a seafarer into the dark, oceanic clouds that encroach one's vision. I reach out, and sense the melancholy of footsteps retreating— a melody misplaced in a ballad trying to find meaning. Your unknown song is woven through dreams like an exquisite dark tapestry, impossible to shake off; the coverlet of all and forms within its fibers words so celestial that within a single breath it can summon the rains or it can align the stars.
“I want to love you, but my heart says, misplaced— My heart says, Wayfarer”
I have etched every detail of who you are into my mind, yet I know you not, except how you are shadowing the world standing next to you. The deceptive cadence plays again, as the sunlight streams through my bedroom window; a place you are near, never. I want to love you, but my heart says, misplaced— My heart says, Wayfarer.
Mayport Sunset Retha Carolyn Murray
Retha, an alumna (1995), writes: I'm 71 years old and the mother of 9 (5 sons and 4 daughters). I also have 16 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. I love life in general. I do family genealogy. Love taking photos so wherever I go I have my camera with me. I make 'trip books' when I go on a trip. I took this just after my sonâ€˜s graduation from law school in Florida.
A Broken Mind
he words dance with laughter as I try to catch them. They fly away cutting me as they go. Like Rumpelstiltskin they can be caught when you name them, then they‘re no longer your foe. Millions and millions of little enemies dancing in my head, this secret I do dread. Others minds are the worst. They call you stupid and lazy, how can they understand? Their minds are closed and cannot see the difference you can bring. They think in a linear motion, A + B = C. While you‘re dancing circles around them, we‘re already on Z. They say you‘re wrong or that you cheat because they can‘t stand defeat. So you sit in the shadows watching the world float by, word after word, trying to hide. Oh to be normal, then I could win the race. No one teasing, always pleasing. I‘d like to see me without the look of disgrace smeared across my face. The ―Normal‖ mind is healthy, but my mind is broken so where does that leave me. Dyslectic! Lost and broken. Day after day this secret I do keep. Weeping in frustration, wanting admiration, trying to find my way. Left foot, right foot, or was it right foot, left foot. Who cares? I will make a way! Dyslexia! I see you, you‘re blocking my path. Dyslectic! I have named you, you are in my grasp. You are only a word a concept at last. Dyslexia, the nemesis of my nothingness is defeated and in the past. My mind is at peace, no longer in pieces. I understand I was never broken, just out of alignment. .
Jenneca Vaughn is a senior majoring in Criminology and Psychology. She writes: “I work in the OSU Newark Archive. I’m a mother of a beautiful 8 year old girl and my husband is active duty Army. I one day hope to be a police officer or a writer.”
House of Happy Haunts McKenzie L. Shaw
―This picture is of the Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The ride, one of my favorites, has a scary appeal, but a not so terrifying story. The house is said to hold 999 ‗Happy Haunts‘ but there is ‗room for 1,000!‘ Now that I am interning here at Walt Disney World, I get to visit this wonderful mansion every day!‖
An Unsuccessful Death
he looming evil felt so good. The translucent monsters and spirits, my co-conspirators,
surrounding me only encouraged the pain that I wanted to disperse on others. The white light was beginning to fade. I could taste the poison of hatred inside my mouth. I began salivating on it, feeding my wicked appetite for the dark arts. The cold air that surrounded me felt like fire coursing throughout my veins. The small child on her tricycle bewilderingly looked up at me in curiosity, unaware of my intentions. A dense black and red mist presented itself just above her head. This was the sign that I had found the right soul. This innocent one had been marked by the powers below for termination. I began to walk forward, in what felt like slow motion. She stared at me in some trance-like state. Some humans say that children can see things adults cannot. Some even say they can see death before it happens. From her fixation in my direction, I was beginning to believe this was true. I discreetly pulled my onyx encrusted sickle out from behind me, lengthening it in a long wide arc. Disbelievingly the young girl appeared to come out of her immobile state of being with a most angelic smile upon her face. Just as I swung my blessed death-giver, a ripple in the air caused a queasy feeling in my stomach. The most incandescent and blinding white light enveloped all that was. A foreign tongue spoke words I couldn‘t decipher, but somehow, those words had quashed the dark visions from my mind. My vision began to come back. At first, all I could see was assorted balls of rainbow colored dots. Seconds passed to minutes until I could see clearly once again. I was standing in the same spot as before, but the child was mysteriously gone. Death had failed its mission.
I could taste the poison of hatred inside my mouth. I began salivating on it, feeding my wicked appetite for the dark arts.
William G. Brown
Her Last Nickel
f you could just give me three hundred, I could probably get squared away.‖ She holds the phone, nodding her head. ―No, I understand.‖
She hangs up the receiver. She sits at the round oak table in the dark dining room. Half folded pieces of paper are displayed in front of her. They are neatly ordered in columns from the Park National Bank, another from Master Card, others from the electric and cable companies. Some papers are marked ―Urgent‖ or ―Final Notice.‖ Her hand slides over
the table, grips a white and blue sheet. It folds over her hand. She stares at it. Her eyes are wet. I step back and bam, I bump into the door that
Her hand slides over the table, grips a
leads upstairs to my bedroom.
white and blue sheet. It folds over her
me standing there. She places the back of her hand
hand. She stares at it. Her eyes are wet.
My mother‘s eyes look up from the paper and see against her cheek and wipes at an angle towards her left eye. She asks, ―What are you doing up so early?‖ I step from the landing into the dining room. I walk toward her and put my arm around her shoulder. She puts her arm around my back and hooks her hand under my arm. I feel the paper crinkle against my ribs. She says, ―It‘s Saturday.‖ I nod my head, ―I know.‖ I tug at my shirt. ―I was going down to the flea market to Dave‘s stand. He said he was going to have some new cards today.‖ She asks, ―Do you have enough money?‖ ―A few dollars and some change.‖ She reaches down and pulls up her purse. She sets it down on top of the papers, unzips it, and removes her billfold. She sifts through, finds three dollar bills and a few quarters and dimes. She hands the money to me and says, ―See if he got any new Johnny Benches to add your collection.‖ As I turn away she looks into her billfold again and says, ―Wait, here‘s another nickel.‖ | 45
Prophecy and Apathy I built the ark all to see what would happen. I built the ark.
I gathered the animals one by one and filled them with nectar and ambrosia as I sold the sun. I've witnessed the prophecy between the shepherds lie and the silence peak and tested the waters for the unholy and the weak. You can see the storm forming on the horizon as the blue sky is given a blanket to reside in. I built the ark as a means of self-survival. I built the ark to fuel the oncoming revival. The line between prophecy and apathy is growing each day. I must say you were right, ‗Cause perched in the sky I see a pair of wandering eyes. They've followed me once before. I built the ark all to see what would happen. I built the ark and sighed in relief. (Step aside Noah, the limelight is mine.)
Jared is a sophomore majoring in English. | 46
hat shall I pray for today? What shall I pray for? To live more slowly, or to die more quickly For endless sun, or driving rain For seconds of pleasure, or hours of pain For days that last, or nights that pass So slowly by With a sigh
nd so the barrel shall split Blown to hell by force As if from inside out And though she may survive On the lost chance of a splinter through the heart There are rocks still looming
Entrenched, devoured, ridden, and bearing The weight of too many souls The souls of my heart, my brain, my fingertips Of my present, my here, my now Layer upon layer of ugly marks Stretched across layer upon layer of self Beneath more camouflaged layers
Once she has bypassed it all All the obstacles with deadly promises The souls‘ furies There she floats Not unharmed, and not whole The fear of the unknown washed away Commanded by the present
Why should I pray today? Why should I pray?
hat do I pray for today? What can I pray for? What team do I play for And what are we playing? Who chose me, and was I last? This joke hasn‘t worked for a good long while So if you wanted me to laugh You should have said something funny
She took a dramatic misstep at some point long ago And though she barrels She knows not of its strength When faced with falls of unforeseen power
To thank you, and thank you again
For endless sun, or driving rain For seconds of pleasure, or hours of pain
Amelia Nightmare Tabatha S. Baughman
Righty in Spirit Duane Gray
Duane is a first-year Art Education major. He writes: ―I did ‗Righty in Spirit‘ just to show my sister what she is at heart, she really loves Zebras. We have pet names: she calls me Lefty and I call her Righty. I tried to create a zebra picture that captured the spirit of my sister.‖
SEATON AWARD ESSAY, 2011
Elizabeth Byers Gaubert
The Disenchanted Debutante
he charming yet complex Lily Bart of Edith Wharton‘s The House of Mirth illustrates the destructive effects of a society that isolates the individual and places value in the power of money and social position. This alienation paired with Lily Bart‘s selfdefeating choices lead to Lily‘s failure to survive. Lily is a woman, but she is also child whose mother has left a legacy where Lily believes all of her self-worth is tied to her beauty and her ability to manipulate a financially and socially successful marriage. While Lily might find acceptance and compassion in the company of women, instead she finds herself exposed to the loneliness inherent in a society that lacks feeling or understanding of an individual‘s situation. Lily‘s isolation extends to the only man whom she might trust and love. Lawrence Selden‘s hesitance to risk an emotional connection with Lily drives her further into the solitude she detests and increases the confusion of her own mind and thoughts. Left alone and unable to control her willful impulses, Lily Bart becomes the master of her own demise when her internal conflict succeeds in dividing and separating her from being able to feel any sense of self-worth. As a creation of a self-serving social system and its inconsistent values, Lily feels powerless when she finds herself alone and trapped by its boundaries. Lily Bart‘s childhood established a pattern of luxury and privilege that was considered to be a right of old moneyed New York society. Mrs. Bart taught Lily that her greatest strength, her beauty, could be used in securing an advantageous marriage. Now alone, Lily often succumbs to frivolous and indulgent ways that distract her from her goal: Ah, lucky girls who grow up in the shelter of a mother‘s love, a mother who knows how to contrive opportunities without conceding favours, how to take advantage of propinquity without allowing appetite to be dulled by habit...it takes a mother‘s unerring vigilance and foresight to land her
daughter safely in the arms of wealth and suitability. (Wharton 95) Lily‘s mother was also an important figure in her life because of her lack of compassion or ability to form primary emotional bonds. The irony of this training is illustrated when Lily most needs comfort and human compassion to help guide her. Lily is unable to let go of the prejudices that would allow her to be saved. Of her dying father our narrator illustrates this lack of connection: The filial instinct might have stirred in her: but her pity, finding no active expression, remained in a state of spectatorship, overshadowed by her mother‘s grim, unflagging resentment. Every look and act of Mrs. Bart‘s seemed to say: ―You are sorry for him now-but you will feel differently when you see what he has done to us‖. (Wharton 33) While Mrs. Bart felt only bitterness, because Mr. Bart could not provide financially and therefore is of no use to her, Lily feels the beginning of a tug of war within herself. Her sympathy for her father‘s suffering is in direct conflict with her mother‘s ideals of preserving one‘s social status at all costs. While Mrs. Bart‘s wish was that Lily would use her beauty and charms to secure a position of status and comfort in the upper echelon of society, she neglected to help build the foundation of Lily‘s self-worth to see her through the challenges of a material existence. ―She [Lily] had grown up without any one spot of earth being dearer to her than another: there was no centre of early pieties, of grave endearing traditions, to which her heart could revert and from which it could draw strength for itself and tenderness for others‖ ( Wharton 339). Lily believes that she has no choice but to try to rise in and attain a place in the society she covets, but her alienation from this world and her conflicted inner-self have guaranteed that she cannot be a part of it.
lthough Lily is surrounded by women of power and opinion, the friendship they extend to her | 49
comes with the condition of her appropriate behavior. Her Aunt Peniston, who has takes Lily in and helps financially support her, has no interest in emotionally supporting Lily: ―Lily had no heart to lean on. Her relation to her aunt was as superficial as that of chance lodgers who pass on the stairs. . . . What Lily craved was the darkness made by enfolding arms, the silence which is not solitude but compassion holding its breath‖ (156). Aunt Peniston, unable to comprehend Lily‘s extravagant, seemingly immoral existence, abandons Lily to her own fate when, upon her death, Aunt Peniston secures the payment of Lily‘s current debts but otherwise writes her out of her will. Judy Trenor, who appears to have genuine concern for Lily‘s future, only understands the superficial dilemmas of Lily‘s life. The nature of Lily‘s desperation at facing poverty and Lily‘s questioning of sacrificing her self-respect and happiness to marry are outside the realm of Judy‘s understanding. Lily understands the duality of friendship in this society when she tells Selden, ―My best friends-well, they use me or abuse me; but they don‘t care a straw what happens to me‖ (7). Ironically, Lily does not see the contradiction of the one genuine friend who offers her counsel and a deeper understanding, Gerty Farish is, in Lily‘s view, unworthy of consideration. Lily‘s prejudice to valuing only the power set means that she can‘t commit to sharing something of herself with Gerty. Gerty must ascertain for herself what Lily is struggling against and plead with Selden, ―[b]ut now all the things she cared for have been taken from her, and the people who taught her to care for them have abandoned her too; and it seems to me that if some one could reach out a hand and show her the other side, show her how much is left in life and in herself‖(286).
n the last days of her life, Lily experiences with Nettie Struther a profound ―sense of human fellowship [that] took the mortal chill from her heart‖ (336). Lily‘s moments with Nettie and her baby temporarily leave Lily feeling satisfied and happy at having seen a family of modest means who shares love and contentment. Nettie‘s sincerity and gratitude to Lily and her courage to start her life over after devastating circumstances have given Lily a sense of satisfaction and momentary possibility that Lily is capable of compassion and making a difference in someone‘s life. Unfortunately, the reality of the encounter is jaded by the fact that Nettie views Lily as a celebrity, thus precluding | 50
her from Nettie‘s world as well. Nettie does not understand the false illusion of Lily‘s life and the mental and physical cost of such a lifestyle. When Lawrence Selden first glimpses Lily at the train station in the beginning of the novel, he seems to contemplate as well as unconsciously understand the nature of Lily Bart. He speculates: She must have cost a great deal to make, that a great many dull and ugly people must, in some mysterious way, have been sacrificed to produce her. He was aware that the qualities distinguishing her from the herd of her sex were chiefly external, as though a fine glaze of beauty and fastidiousness has been applied to vulgar clay. Yet the analogy left him unsatisfied for a coarse texture will not take a high finish; and was it not possible that the material was fine but that circumstances had fashioned it into a futile shape? (Wharton 4).
Lily Bart’s childhood established a pattern of luxury and privilege that was considered to be a right of old moneyed New York society.
Selden appears to be the one man in Lily‘s life who can grasp the cost of the game Lily is forced to play and offer her another alternative. His ideas of individualism are destructive, though, in the world in which Lily and Selden reside because they must be subservient to the values of the society they live in to fit in. Lily has seen firsthand the ugliness of her world and has been reticent to marry and construct a life as empty as her parents‘ relationship. Selden‘s ―republic of the spirit‖ (70) is an answer for Lily of how she might make her own choices and obtain her own freedom. Though Lily asks for Selden‘s friendship and even protects and risks her own downfall to save his reputation, Selden is never able to return a connection in a meaningful way. He is filled with doubt and judgment about her actions and is not willing to put any trust in her in which she might prove her true self.
The irony of their relationship is that while their unspoken romance provides some glimmer of hope that things could be different, this too is an illusion. Neither Lily nor Selden are willing to put themselves outside the security of their social existence. For Lily this means until the very end manipulating an opportunity for marriage and for Selden living off a social system that allows him to enjoy the privileges of membership but the aloofness of spectatorship. They are both doomed to suffer the consequences of a self-serving society that creates selfserving individuals.
ily‘s isolation is never more deeply felt than when she is alone with her own thoughts. She is a woman who cannot exist alone, because her sole purpose is to provide others a mirror for beauty and amusement. Lily feels trapped and confused when she is forced into moments of solitary reflection. ―She hardly knew what she had been seeking, or why the failure to find it had so blotted the light from her sky; she was only aware of a vague sense of failure, of an inner isolation deeper than the loneliness about her‖ (63). Lily has been so conditioned to this existence that even she ―could not figure herself as anywhere but in a drawing-room, diffusing elegance as a flower sheds perfume‖ (104). Lily is a conflicted character, she longs to acquire and
compete and readily ―sells‖ herself as the decoration for a world that she will never be a part of, yet she is often divided and frustrated by the temptations that she faces and feels disgusted and overwhelmed by her own decisions. Although Lily effectively wipes clean the slate of her life by settling her debts and freeing herself from any further obligations to the society that has damaged her, Lily‘s death means that it will never be revealed whether she was capable of saving herself. Lily has come to understand, though, what it means to be a survivor, especially when she thinks of Nettie Struther: The poor little working girl who had found the strength to gather up the fragments of her life and build herself a shelter with them seemed to Lily to have reached the central truth of existence . . . but it had the frail audacious permanence of a bird‘s nest built on the edge of a cliff--a mere wisp of leaves and straw, yet so put together that the lives entrusted to it may hang safely over the abyss. (Wharton 339) Ultimately, Lily meets her death alone. She held out hope for a false illusion of a life of ease and material comfort and has had to suffer the consequences inevitable when a classed society places more value in material possessions than in human beings.
Tsunami When I’m alone The Tsunami Unleashes . . . I’m alone The sea rages
Every day I smile That contagious, easy smile Most days, I want to Most days, I mean it But sometimes, When I‘m alone The Tsunami Unleashes I‘m lying on the ground My head‘s in my hands I‘m screaming, crying, But no one hears me
I claw at the ground, But the trembling, rocking earth Tries to envelop me The rain hits like bullets On my shaking body The wind whips my hair, The waves roll And crash Closer . . . And closer… I close my eyes . . . Suddenly the noise stops. I open my eyes I‘m in an empty room And a light is shining.
I‘m alone The sea rages Fear and pain grip my heart, Grip my heart so cruelly it bleeds
Peace washes over He smiles at me And I smile back
A Life Wasted I often sit in quiet thought and dwell on things unseen; A strange new lump, an unwatched pot, what peril could they bring? Uncertainty she is my bride, while danger is my groom; Torment and woe are by my side the offspring of my womb. Trepidity encircles me, fear crushes like a boulder; Iâ€˜m always looking back to see What lurks over my shoulder. Someday I will look back and sayâ€” I worried my whole life away.
Sunset over Salton Sea Tabatha S. Baughman
Tabatha Baughman is a junior majoring in mathematics and physical science. She writes: â€•It's easier to embrace change than it is to fight it.â€–
J. Kelley Anderson
Love Notes for the Sun
hen I was a little girl, my parents thought that having a scraped-up tomboy was kinda cute. I‘d spend all day outside the fences, on the salt flats, escaping the farm compound to carve oversized messages to the sun in the parched earth–love notes mostly, written in huge looping script. It was easy to stomp sneaker-sized lines into the cracked soil out beyond the irrigated fields. I decided that we‘d get married someday, the sun and I, which was just as well since there was hardly anybody else around. When I applied for the security force, at eighteen, my parents decided that my tomboyish nature wasn‘t so cute anymore. Even less so when I was accepted. It was hard not to reminisce about those days as I sped back into the badlands of my childhood. I shuddered to think what my parents would have said about missions like this one, but what they didn‘t know couldn‘t hurt them. I rode alone along a narrow stretch of battered road, toward the small outpost that had been the center of the recent attacks. The wind in my face was hot, but it was a wholesome kind of hot. It‘s what I knew. The sun hadn‘t forgotten me, even after all my time spent shut away in the halls of the military academies and all the months I spent scouting in the North, where the sunlight doesn‘t seem to be welcome. The sun had waited. The sun was ever faithful. I knew I was getting close. When the cobblestones ended in a ragged line and the road turned into a set of deep ruts and pockmarked earth, a bunker wasn‘t going to be far off. The stones were the only building material for miles, and only the rebels would think of pulling them up. Legitimate citizens could simply requisition construction supplies. Not that there were any citizens left in this region. All of the outland farmers had been recalled closer to the capital city at the first signs of an uprising. That was protocol–even when it was just a handful of disorganized outcasts. My captain advised the government that the land would do the job for us in the space of a month or two. After the rebels had raided what they could from homesteads and found the water mains had gone dry, they‘d surrender or die. But our supervisors didn‘t want to appear weak on ―treason.‖ So they sent me. It didn‘t
make much sense, but I wasn‘t going to turn my nose up at job security. The last thing I wanted was for my bosses to decide that my skill set was unnecessary. I certainly didn‘t want to go back to farming. I killed the engine of my bike and rolled to a stop at the edge of the torn up road. I hated that bike. It was a ridiculous thing, all shining chrome and soft blue lights. If I had thought that arguing against taking a vehicle that shone like a beacon on a stealth mission would have worked, I would have done it. But I‘ve learned better. My equipment is my equipment whether I like it or not. So I make due. I tried to rub dirt on it as I entered the heat of the badlands, just so it wouldn‘t be so damn reflective. Unfortunately, no water means no mud, and I wasn‘t going to spare any of mine for the purpose. So, the bike just kept on shining like a second sun. I shook my head at the glimmering metal eyesore. ―If you‘re trying to steal my heart, forget it. You‘re just an imposter . . .‖ I shot a glance upward and gave a quick twofingered salute to the noon sun. ―You know I only have eyes for you.‖ I smiled a crooked smile and went back to surveying the landscape. There wasn‘t much to see. The ground was a flat, arid crust, with just the hint of a sparkle. It was typical of the badlands salt flats –the places that just weren‘t fit for anything no matter how much water you pumped into the place. What wasn‘t typical about this area was that there was more than just an unbroken line of horizon in all directions. Here, jagged outcroppings of dark stone erupted from the pale landscape like broken teeth. It looked like a huge hunk of volcanic glass had been hauled into this featureless place and then was blown to smithereens. I had no idea why, but I was thankful for them. They meant cover, concealment. The remains of the stripped road bent around the largest mass of dark rock and disappeared a couple hundred feet beyond where the cobblestones ended. That‘s where I‘d find them. I couldn‘t imagine them carting the paving stones very far, once they had dislodged them. The plan was simple enough. As far as I know, I had | 55
invented the plan–not that anyone at the base ever seemed to remember that fact. It played to all of my strengths. Specifically, it relied on my ability to look harmless followed rapidly by being anything but. The look was key: I wore a ragged gray dress that seemed to have been some brighter color in a past life. My hair was a few weeks worth longer than the close-cropped style worn by most outland farmers, and I had a nasty looking scar on the back of my left forearm. The scar was meant to counterfeit the appearance of a sloppily removed identification chip. Beyond that, it wasn‘t all that hard to give my already lean, angular face the hollow expression of a starving outcast. A little strategically placed dirt can really make your cheekbones pop.
The plan was simple enough. It played to all of my strengths. Specifically, it relied on my ability to look harmless followed rapidly by being anything but.
As soon as I‘d stashed my gaudy state-of-the-art bike somewhere out of the way, it wouldn‘t be hard to believe that I had been an abused farmhand pushed into choosing a life of desperate wandering over the harsh injustices of civilian life. Hell, I wouldn‘t have been surprised if most of these rebels had perfectly rational reasons for turning their backs on the republic. I could sympathize. But, I couldn‘t sympathize with turning those reasons into petty violence against honest farmers and caravan runners. Where was the logic there? One thing you can rely on these small-time rebels for is their predictability. They all seem to have the same fear. They expect to see a group of government heavyhitters in shining black body armor like man-shaped insects disgorging from some monolithic battle-tank or personnel carrier. Moreover, they always seem to think that the full might of the republic war machine should have reached their doorsteps five minutes ago. So, what do they do? They pull up stones and hack bunkers into hillsides and rock faces. They burrow into the ground and peep out waiting for the sky to fall. Now, these hasty | 56
fortifications might be semi-effective against small arms fire, but they are pretty worthless against one miserablelooking girl in a torn gray dress limping across the wastes. Beyond that, tanks and aerial strikes don‘t learn anything about the motives of an uprising. I do. I saw the bunker just where I thought it would be. Honestly, I‘m being overly generous in calling the thing a ―bunker.‖ It was far more like a pile of dirt and rocks closing the space between a sharp overhang of obsidian and a broad ditch cut into the dusty ground. I kept as far away from the shining stone hill as I could when I rounded the bend in the road. The last thing I wanted was to surprise some half-starved lunatic with his finger on a trigger. Instead, I walked just off the road, crunching barefoot prints into the salty crust of the soil. I‘d abandoned my shoes with the bike. I pretended that I hadn‘t noticed it. I kept walking and staring vacantly at the ground just ahead of my feet. I walked like a marionette–like my slender legs had very little to do with the rest of me as they jerked my slumping form over the ground. After I was sure that they had had time to notice me, I snagged my foot on an imaginary rock and stumbled. I fell to my hands and knees. The ground felt warm and gritty and welcoming. The sun was hot on my neck and shoulders, and I thought briefly about blowing a kiss to the cloudless sky. After a few slow moments, as if I were pondering just staying put, I rose and began to trudge onward. As expected, a hoarse voice called from the bunker. ―Hey! You alright?‖ I looked around wide-eyed, like I couldn‘t imagine where that voice might have originated in the midst of all this emptiness. Then, I turned toward the bunker. I shielded my eyes from the sun, not because I needed to, but I thought I looked even more pathetic with my thin, calloused hand held above my brow. he structure was even more makeshift than I had thought. It was maybe twenty feet long, built of a heterogeneous mix of pale stones and irregular shards of obsidian. It was dotted with holes. I imagined that these were meant to serve as openings through which one could shoot, but I didn‘t see any firearms. The only entrance was a narrow opening on the left side as I faced it, so that the strange wall made an odd little tunnel tucked against the sixty-foot rise of glassy rock. Standing just outside the entrance was a tall man in a long reddish coat. His hair was as black as the shining stone. I stared at him, as if I hadn‘t heard his question. He waved me over.
I strung together tiny, furtive steps as I moved toward the rebel, clutching my left shoulder with my right hand. My ―desperate and unsure‖ look is pretty bulletproof. At least I thought it was. When I was within ten feet of the man in red, he gave me a lesson in what desperate really looked like. His clothes were hanging unnaturally on a skeletal frame; even his chest looked concave. His eyes were sunken in dark sockets, like two bruises, and his lips were brownish scabs on skin that looked like weather-cracked leather. Thankfully, surprise and discomfort weren‘t out of character. ―Who are you?‖ I asked, fixated on the man‘s empty eyes. He tried to swallow before he answered; all the sinews of his neck stood out. ―I‘m Roderick.‖ His voice was like stone grinding on stone. ―Who are you?‖ ―Isabella. I had to leave my home. There was trouble and I was sent away. Why are you out here?‖ Roderick shook his head. He seemed to dislike talking. He motioned for me to follow and then turned and headed back into the shadows of the bunker. I joined him. The interior of the structure smelled like rocks, dirt, and decay. It was nothing more than a shadowy little tube of a building. The holes in the outer wall let in brilliant beams of light that found the floor at acute angles. The sunbeams almost seemed to be buttressing the stacked cobblestones of the wall. Besides Roderick, another wisp of a man sat on the earth resting his back against the obsidian. He looked up for a minute as we entered and then looked back down at his feet. Just beyond him, dozens of firearms of various makes and models were leaning against the stone next to a few crates. At the far end of the bunker, three bodies lay with their feet toward the entrance. Even though their faces were lost in shadow, there was no doubting that they were dead. Nobody slept like that and the smell was unmistakable. ―We don‘t have any water,‖ croaked Roderick after a moment. ―So, don‘t ask.‖ I stared at him. ―What are you going to do?‖ Roderick stared at me with his blank eyes. He might have been considering how to answer, but the flesh of his face seemed to have lost the ability to show much expression, so it was difficult to say. ―Our friends went to get water . . . to the East. They should have been back.‖ His voice got progressively quieter as he spoke, as though he was slowly running out of breath. ―We are going to try to go find them.‖
I nodded. There was no great resolve in Roderick‘s voice. No sense of either urgency or fear, just distance– like the life within him was so far from the surface that his voice had to rattle around his body before the ghost of it would finally drift out of his battered mouth. ―But why are you out here in the first place?‖ Roderick shook his head slightly. ―I‘m not sure.‖ This was exactly the sort of vital information that I had been sent to retrieve. Ugh. ―Can I come with you to find your friend? I have nowhere to go.‖
It was hard to think of these phantoms of human beings as my targets. They looked worse than many corpses I had seen.
He nodded. ―Free country.‖ There may have been some irony in his thin voice. It was hard to say. Roderick paced over to a long-range rifle that was leaning up against the wall by the entrance. He picked it up and slung it over his shoulder with visible effort. The man sitting on the floor seemed to take this as a signal and he stood up stiffly and shambled over to Roderick. The man might have been Roderick‘s brother; they looked nearly identical, right down to their reddish coats. Roderick saw me eyeing the other man and gestured towards him. ―Mitchel.‖ Mitchel give me a slight nod and then turned back to Roderick. The two men stared at each other for several moments. They didn‘t speak, but somehow I got the impression that they were saying something, or maybe reliving an old conversation or debate. Then, without warning, they both turned and filed out of the bunker. I was close behind. It was hard to think of these phantoms of human beings as my targets. They looked worse than many corpses I had seen. At least when somebody dies in the fullness of life, they still resemble their former state–not | 57
piecemeal scarecrow representations of their old lives. I think if the republic could parade these two out as the faces of the rebellion, peace and security would be established for a long, long time. From what I could tell, only Roderick was armed, and in his current state the rifle seemed to be more of an unnecessary burden than a weapon. Mitchel just walked with his arms hanging limply at his sides. If possible, he seemed even less alive than his comrade. I doubted that he could lift a gun, even if he had had one. Both men seemed to get smaller after we left the bunker, as if they were both made of shadow and the direct sunlight was withering them. It occurred to me that the sun was being overprotective of me, and I had to stifle a giggle. As we walked, I quickly felt forgotten. The two rebels walked as if in a trance, and I followed several steps behind. They never looked back. They never spoke to one another. They just followed the road as it bent east toward the nearest farm compound. If I remembered the map I had studied for this mission correctly, the compound wasn‘t far off. No more than five miles, I guessed. If their brothers and sisters in arms had gone that way and not returned, then it wasn‘t because of the distance. Nor would there have been any resistance from the farmers; they would have been evacuated. Even the livestock would have been taken. The irrigation and potable water pumps would have been reversed and the place would be on lockdown. Part of the lockdown protocol was, obviously, a practical measure. But, other parts of the procedure were meant to have a psychological impact–to illustrate that in the absence of republic law, life itself abandons the land. The crops that couldn‘t be saved would have been burned. Mattresses, clothing, blankets–anything soft–would be taken or destroyed. No human comforts would remain. I would have liked to see the full effects of such a grim scene, but we never made it that far. Roderick made a sound like a death rattle and went rigid for a moment. Mitchel stopped a few steps later. In the distance, there were a number of darkish heaps littering the roadside. Without a word, Roderick moved forward as fast as his failing legs would carry him. We followed. I glanced over at Mitchel‘s face as we walked. His eyes were wide and his jaw hung open. The expression looked like a silent scream, but there was something that seemed entirely impassive in the way he carried himself. When we reached the bodies, I expect I was no less surprised than the two men. I never would have guessed people could die like that. There were seven of them–five | 58
men and two women. They were all within a twenty-foot radius, their limbs splayed out like discarded dolls. It was as if a strong wind had met them while they plodded along the roadside and simply blew the souls from their bodies, or maybe the sun just reached down and plucked the life from them. I glanced up at the cloudless sky. ―Show off,‖ I whispered. Roderick and Mitchel stood shoulder to shoulder and took no notice of me. Mitchel was shivering. I shook my head. There was nothing to learn here. The dark bodies on the pale, shimmering flats looked like the strange stark letters of an unknown language. But I didn‘t need to know the language to know what they said. It was a message from the sun–a message of requited love. A vow. Yet it was unfinished. Letters shouldn‘t walk about on the page. I moved close behind the two men. My nerve strike once rendered a brawny young man unconscious for seven hours. Neither of these men was brawny and neither of them had seven hours left. With one, precise movement I crumpled Roderick. Mitchel followed him down before he could even turn to see what had happened. Letters. Oaths. I stepped back and looked around at the scene. Pale earth. Black stones. Dark letters. I knew what happened to bodies out on the salt flats. There were no scavengers and the salinity of the soil and constant attention of the sun would prevent most decomposition. The letters would remain, tattooed on the land, unless someone disturbed them. And I doubted that anyone would rush to give the rebels a proper burial. A few steps away from the bodies, I lay down on the warm ground, my face toward the sun. Even through closed eyelids the world was blinding white and the heat was a gentle pressure. I sighed. ―I love you too.‖
J. Kelley Anderson is an alumnus (2008) of Ohio State Newark. He lives in Ohio and works at Franklin Park Conservatory. Anderson’s work has appeared in numerous online and print publications. His novel, Casting Shadows, was released this year by World Castle Publishing. Find him online at www.jkelleyanderson.com. He writes about this piece: “I do love dystopian wastelands, and nothing jazzes up a story like people dying from exposure. Who doesn't like those things?”
Geisha Assassin Miguel Johnson
cross the broad and barren sky, The clouds revolve and writhe; Lurid tempest blossoms nigh, The shepherd takes his scythe. Through lust and mediocrity, The flock fell ill to feeling; There sullen-sought monstrosity Left sheep and kindred reeling. Then storm on darkened gables drew, As turbid gales persist In districts blood and bleating knew, Where swords rest cold in fists. So silence veiled the field's remains, And nature ceased to stir; The slain deluged the streets and lanes, Where frigid drafts abjure.
So silence veiled the field’s remains, And nature ceased to stir
And somewhere in a city square, A squire wrote in blood Upon a pristine wall left there, Whose sermon looms above: ―In every square of land and plain, The story read the same; Tempest high and lowly maimed, Till only grace remained.‖
Alex Carroll will be majoring in Sociology, History, or English. “This piece to me is an attempt to tell a story, play with ideas, and present it in a comfortable lyrical fashion. The message of the story is very indefinite, so the reader might as well think about the words themselves, rather than the piece as a whole.‖
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Published on Jun 6, 2012