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MIRAGE

Mirage Literary Magazine Seminole Ridge High School Volume VI


Awards Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award Essays Honorable Mention: 2010 Experimental Fiction Honorable Mention: 2010 Portfolio of Photography Honorable Mention: 2009 Comics Second Place: 2009 National Council of Teachers of English Superior Rating (nominated for highest award): 2010 Superior Rating: 2009 Excellent Rating: 2007, 2008 National Scholastic Press Association Magazine Pacemaker Finalist: 2009, 2010 First Class (one mark of distinction): 2010 Design of the Year Award Second Place: 2010 Second Class: 2009

Copyright 2012 by Seminole Ridge High School Printed in the U.S. by InstantPublisher.com


Editor’s Note Sometimes you feel like your world is slowly changing, morphing, falling to pieces— ending right in front of your eyes. Buildings may as well corrode, trees burn, civilizations die. How can one insignificant person save himself from disaster: a bad breakup, a betrayed friendship, a spilled secret, the death of a friend? We’ve all been through it. Even in your darkest moments, art can be your light—a spectrum of color brightening and enlightening your world. A fragile seed risks spreading roots; barren trees sprout encouraging leaves. Life as we know it is Reborn. With blossoming hope, we will fix what was once broken. And then, only after we learn to work together, can we remake our world.

Thanks The Mirage literary magazine staff would like to thank and acknowledge all of the generous contributors who played an important role in our toil to create a sensational magazine. We could not have published this year’s magazine if not for the donations, volunteer work, and encouragement from our family and friends who strongly support us alongside every challenge. Volunteers: Michelle Chung, Lisa Contino, Rhonda Park, Lisa Perrotta, Stacey Posner, Juliet Grant-Smith, Diane Sousa, Beverly Speranza, Michele Rycko, and Melinda Weigt. Sponsors: Karen Berkheimer, Michelle Chung, Eileen Contino, Jamikeel Douglas, Gary Holden, Lauren Klein, Carole Koester, Julie Kowalski, Richard LaFortune, Tracey Lynch, Kathryn & John Park, Linh Pham, Barbara Roth, Barry & Jacqueline Roth, Michele Rycko, Tammy Schavers, Judy & Kathleen Sousa, Keiland Smith, and Tanya Zeo. Teachers: Mr. Grinder, Mr. McKinley, and Ms. Seuling, and all SRHS’ staff


Policy Mirage, Seminole Ridge High School’s literary magazine, is composed of writing and artwork created and submitted by Seminole Ridge students. Each submission is numbered and judged blindly by our staff on the basis of originality, technique, and reader appeal. No student may have more than three pieces published in the magazine except those granted based on collaborations with other students. The class, an English elective, meets to complete all stages of production necessary for publication: publicizing the magazine, raising money, critiquing submissions, and designing the layout. Writing has been edited for grammatical errors and some images have been cropped for design purposes. Our mission is to create a smorgasbord of artistic merits for students to escape through art and literature. Mirage should be viewed as an outlet for the expression of students’ views and opinions; these opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Mirage. We do, however, reserve the right to deny any material seen as too inappropriate for a high school publication. To submit to the magazine or sign up for the class, see Ms. Gates in room 7-118 or send an e-mail to miragelitmag@gmail.com.

Colophon Mirage: Reborn was designed using Adobe Indesign CS5.5 and Adobe Photoshop CS5.5. Body text is Calisto MT 13, titles are Blackadder ITC 34, authors’ names are Century Gothic 24. Folio lines, name, and title are in Perpetua 16, varying in styling. Genre award winner titles are in vtks ink, varying size and styles. Headers are PiousHenryITC TT 32-40 stretched horizontally. The names in the contributors’ notes are in Century Gothic 13 small caps, body in Calisto MT 13. This issue was printed by Instantpublisher.com using 80# paper and sewn perfect binding. 125 copies were made.


Table of Contents Award Winners Art — Sam Blair 44 No. 1 Poetry — Timothy Sumell 26 My God Prose — Jaqueline Campos 48 A Retelling of the Porter and the Ladies of Baghdad

Artwork Anonymous 120 Untitled Courtney Contino– 3D Contest Winner 63 Fabio and Festus 80 Ryushi Johnii Gonzalez 124 A Hannah and Connor Kind of Love Mary Beth Hietapelto 95 Copied Hillary Hutchings 74 Hop into Spring Nini Huynh 126 The Butterfly’s Tree Samet Kurtishi 87 New World


Jasmine Lang 30 Mountains 33 Sharp Landscape 77 Trippy, Drippy Ronit Liberman 47 Untitled 100 Untitled 117 Untitled Alexa Perez 92 Charcoal Flower

Gerson Santiago 23 Two-faced 70 Mummy-worm 108 Sinners Patricia Nicole Serrano 54 Untitled 60 Crowd 84 Hatter Dominika Skosirena 89 Monochrome


Gabrielle Sousa 19 Buried 35 Black Swan Cody Summerlin 112 Pelican Aimee Nicole Weigt 114 Pink and White and Everything Nice

Fiction Erika Graubard — Horror Contest Winner 20 Do You Trust Me? KEL Lutz — Future Contest Winner 105 The Top 10 Tips to Surviving a Zombie Attack at Seminole Ridge Samantha Morgan 37 The Artist and the Thespian Powers Perrotta 65 The Trench Kristin “Kiwi” Rycko 103 There’s No Escape 115 Fabio’s Midnight Cheese Camellia “Skiittlesz” Smith 24 Not Your Ordinary


Monologue Caitlin Buttery 90 Untitled Simeon Lyons 98 What If...? Morgan Musgrove 36 Light in the Valley of Darkness Amanda Westbrook 71 Untitled Paige Wilson 34 The Silence


Nonfiction Michelle Bohl 93 Life Is Like a Puzzle Robyn Exclusa 122 The Walk Courtney McGowan 96 9/11: Never Forget Bri Posner 85 Look Behind the Mask


Poetry Ashley Abella 17 Waltz of the Damned Jaqueline Campos 118 Gardening Jade Chung-Lee 16 Apocalyptic 75 Spectrum Nicholas DiNapoli & Jared Herron 29 War J.A. Gonzalez & Jonathan Little 109 My Porcelain Compadre Ebony James & Kyle McKenzie 81 The Eye of the Storm Madeline Narvaez 67 Wise Old Man Powers Perrotta 72 Promise


Bri Posner 31 The Angel Faded Shawn Russell 94 Tumultuous Louis “Cito” Small, II 82 Change Camellia “Skiittlesz” Smith 46 Unmask Me Timothy Sumell 64 I Forgot 125 An Angel Samantha Weigt 88 Graffiti 101 Childhood 113 Oxygen Jake Winthrop 121 Rose of Time


Poetry in Translation Cassie Barrett 78 Yo No Te Quiero Victoria Colditz 110 La Playa Melanie Bean 79 Yo No Te Quiero translation 111 La Playa translation


Watermarks Daisia Grafton 88 Deep Blue Sea 109 Blue Jasmine Lang 93 Alone Ronit Liberman 118 Untitled Marc Sachs 20 Charlotte and Her Web 24 Hide and Seek 75 Glitter in the Air Alexa Scharf 122 Bee on Flower Gabrielle Sousa 34 Let It Pour 90 Nested 72 Washed Up Christian Wenderoth 16 Fire 67 Milkweed Flower 115 Milkweed Flower


Apocalyptic

Jade Chung-Lee Green. Lush, waist-high, fragrant—a sea of grasses stretching on as far as the eye can see. Sway.

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Underneath it is the earth. Vast, steady, spherical. Its surface is mottled with water (both fresh and salt) towering mountains, and all manner of human-made structures. Cement and tar replace those grasses, buildings looming taller than the tallest trees. The water becomes cloudy and thick with “productivity”—as does the atmosphere. Decay. Eventually, civilization ceases to exist. Whether by fire or ice, radiation or some sort of religious upheaval, the world is torn. Its apocalyptic nature eats through all of the artificial and swallows the buildings to make room for the trees.

Apocalyptic

Crumble. The planet—Earth—continues to spin on its axis; keeps right on its elliptical path. The atmosphere is thick—not with smog, but with humidity. The food chain is once again in perfect balance as there is no longer any weeding out “pests” or creatures that are dubbed “dangerous.” Without Homo sapiens, there is no one to play God. Flourish.

Jade Chung-Lee


Waltz of the Damned Ashley Abella

The ballroom shines with a dark light, Shadows dance along the walls. Do you see them? Can you feel them? They dance and they twirl for you, my young child. All around, the rusty red glistens. Is this what they think beauty should be? See them sing and laugh, The sweet deadly underlings, All for your innocent eyes to take in.

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Waltz of the Damned

Their smiles are twisted, Eyes dull with broken souls, So heartless, no emotion to be found. But they continue their ball, Thirsting and hungering. Your gentle soul, so pure and sweet, You walk in the midst of the dark. Such a mistake, my child. They will come for you now, Faking smiles and concern. Don’t listen! Don’t listen! Be one of us. Come to us. We shall keep you safe. Lies! All lies!

Ashley Abella


Try to run, but you see them chase. Oh, such fun! You can never leave, Here with us you shall be— Forever… Laughter echoes as screams fade: A new addition! A new addition! We hunger for more. Don’t try to run as you see The black request stained red on your door…

Waltz of the Damned

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Ashley Abella


Do You Trust Me? Erika Graubard D

Do You Trust Me?

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“ o you trust me?” Four simple words, but they mean everything. In the past, it would have just meant trusting my brother with my candy bar before he scarfed it down. Now… It meant the difference between life and death. His hand was inches from my face, but I couldn’t find the strength to take it. We had been climbing up the side of the mountain for days, as much as we could before we had to stop. So much has happened in such a short amount of time. I couldn’t process all of the losses I have had—I would have died of a broken heart if I stopped to think about it. But no one has time to stop and think anymore. It is always run…run…run… these days. If we stop for more than twenty-four hours, we run the risk of them catching us. We had finally found a secluded spot up in the mountains. An old, one room log cabin, still in good condition, with an iron chimney on one side and one barred window on the other. There wasn’t much in furniture, just a bed and dresser, but it was easily defendable and stocked with canned food. We lucked out with all of this happening in the middle of summer, so we didn’t need to light the fire and draw attention to ourselves. I thought we could stay here for at least a couple of days to rest and take stock of our situation. We had a good head start, seeing that they didn’t move fast. But where we had to stop, rest, eat, and see to nature’s call, they were untiring. They didn’t stop for anything, driven by a mindless and insatiable need to eat and kill. Even at their slow and ambling pace, they kept on coming. We were only delaying the inevitable. We had a full day of rest, and we were finally full for the first time in a week. Both of us were ready to just say goodbye to the world for the night. I was dead to the universe at that point. The animal instincts which have been passed down through the millennia of evolution that have kept our ancestors alive jolted me from my

Erika Graubard


deathlike state. I shot up from the bed as David stood watch by the window for our pursuers. He was always ready for whatever could come our way, as if he could predict what was going to happen. He didn’t see the future; he could just see patterns in the world and knew how luck seemed to work. Or at least that is what he told me. I could not care less; whatever his ability, he had kept us alive while other more “prepared” people became food. He slowly brought his finger to his lips, telling me to be silent. I could see him straining to hear what was moving outside. I strained too, hoping against the world they hadn’t found us yet. At first, I heard nothing. Then it dawned on me—I heard nothing. The woods were eerily quiet—not a single bird or owl or bat or whatever else should be out; it was completely silent. All I heard was the brush of the wind across the leaves of the

“Do it, run! And if you come back, I will slice you open myself. Understand?”

Erika Graubard

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Do you trust me?

pine trees outside. Then the sound of twigs and other objects breaking caught my attention, and then the sound I dreaded most drifted through the wind. A low, guttural moaning that every undead emitted when they caught the scent of some unfortunate being. And tonight, we were the unfortunates being brought up on the menu. I snapped. I know I did, because I don’t remember getting up out of the bed and hiding next to the chimney, my hands over my ears, rocking back and forth. It was David’s voice that got me back into the nightmare we were in. He looked down at me, then back to the window for a moment. He seemed to come to a decision. He reached his hand down to me, the other reaching for the katana that he wore at his side, loosening the blade in its sheath. “Do you trust me?” We have been through so much, David and me, I would have trusted him with my life at that point, even when all I wanted to do was sit inside the chimney and hide away from the world in its ashes. I looked at his hand, scared out of my mind, but I knew I had to do something. I got up without taking his hand, went to the bed, and reached under the pillow for the machete I kept under it. I didn’t know what David had planned, but I’d be damned if I didn’t go prepared. “Sophia,” David said. “When I say so, you run.” He pointed south. “That way. You keep running; don’t stop for anything. Keep to the road, and sleep in the trees if you have to, but never for more than a few hours. Find other survivors. Whatever you do, and whatever you hear, you do not come back for me, understand?”


Do You Trust Me?

22

I was with him until that last part. I was sure I didn’t hear him right. He knew I was going to protest, because he’s David and knows things like that, and he stopped me before I could. “Do it, run! And if you come back, I will slice you open myself. Understand?” His eyes were deadly serious, his hand dangerously close to the hilt of his weapon. I knew he would do it. I nodded slowly, fighting back the tears that were threatening to spill down my face. David nodded once, clapped me on the shoulder, blows to my body that even on a girl at my five foot height hurt, and looked back at the door. Without warning, just the nod of his head as if greeting an old friend, maybe even greeting death, he kicked open the door and jumped out and headed north. I heard the hissing sound as he drew his katana, then nothing more but the wind and the groans. I stood by the door frame, hoping and praying that he would come back, that we could leave together. But this world doesn’t work that way. The only person who seemed to know what the world wanted was out there, and he was nowhere to be seen. Then I heard it. Over the wind, over the moans, over my own heartbeat in my ears, I heard his voice. “RUN!” I ran, and I didn’t look back.

Erika Graubard


Not Your Ordinary

Camellia “Skiittlesz” Smith O

Not Your Ordinary

24

“ h what a lovely day I had today,” I sang to myself as I scrubbed my face clean of dirt. “I got hired at Forever 21 and managed to—” My thoughts were interrupted by a loud crashing noise coming from outside my bathroom. I paused and turned off the faucet. All you could hear was the DRIP, DRIP, DRIPPING noise of the water running off my body. I called out “Hello?” just to see if I could get a response. And I did. I breathed a sigh of relief. It was just my maid. She’d accidentally rammed the vacuum into one of my shelves and it had collapsed. I turned the water back on and returned to my soothing shower. “How could I be so childish?” I asked myself. “I’m usually not so jumpy. Maybe it’s just my nerves getting the best of me, that’s all.” I chuckled. Once I was done with my shower, I stepped out onto my bathroom rug to dry off. As I was bending down to wipe my feet, I noticed shadows going back and forth from the light that crept under my door. I shrugged it off, thinking my maid was still vacuuming the hallway–but then it hit me. I didn’t hear the vacuum running… My heart began to pound. Then a knocking sound resonated from outside my bathroom door. Each time I didn’t answer, it got louder. KNOCK. KNOCK. KNOCK. Each time it got louder, the more aggressive the knocks became. I held on to my towel as if I was holding my life in my hands. My heart was beating faster; I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t speak; I was petrified. Then it got quiet. The only sound was me breathing, barely. The shadows stopped. The water stopped dripping. My heart began to beat at a normal pace again. Then an explosion of wind swept through my bathroom, knocking me off my feet and into my bathtub. One by one the doors in my house opened and closed over and over again. Windows slammed open and shut repeatedly. Then a loud, blood-curdling screeching noise echoed throughout the house, hitting me like a hammer. I covered my ears but kept my eyes locked on my bathroom door, praying that whoever or whatever it was out there didn’t make an entrance in here. But it was reality, a reality I didn’t choose for myself.

Camellia “Skiittlesz” Smith


Then I heard voices, voices calling my name, “Monday…” Then voices calling my name. “Tuesday…” Then more voices calling my name. “Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday…” “Wake up, Angela; it’s time to take your medicine.” I opened my eyes but wanted so badly for them to close again. I really didn’t want to take those stupid pills. They made me lose sleep and that’s one thing I liked—

I held on to my my towel as if I was holding my life in my hands.

25

Not Your Ordinary

sleeping. It gave me time to rekindle moments of my life that I missed…like the day I murdered my maid and almost murdered some police officers. I would’ve done it if they hadn’t knocked my door down. I would’ve done it… “Time to take your medicine, Angela!” I looked at the nurse who had been coming to my room for the past month or two, making me take these pills. I smirked. “You know what, nurse,” I said aloud to her. She nodded her head. “I could take you.” She laughed. “Just take your pills, Angela, and then you can take me, okay?” I snatched the pill cup from her and downed the pills. I replied, “I’m not Angela.” The lights cut off.

Camelia “Skiittlesz” Smith


Timothy Sumell What is the background story and inspiration for “My God”?

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I went to this concert where they included a play. It started with a woman who was very happy, dancing with a man in white who represented God, and everything was good in life. Then they were ripped apart by someone dressed in red and black to represent evil and the Devil. She went through all these stages trying to get back to the man in white, but she met this person and they both started cutting themselves and they were gambling and drinking. After this, everything she did in her life was beating down on her. Soon, the man in white came and saved her. He was showing how, in the end, if you believe in getting better, it’ll bring you back to the good side.

What message are you trying to convey with this piece? I’m trying to portray that people idolize a lot of different things in their lives, good or bad. But in our day and age it’s mostly bad, so that’s why I say “my god.” It’s saying that is what my god is at that time in life. Most often it’s closer to the dark side.

Did writing “An Angel” help you cope with the loss of Kurt? Do you think writing could help others as an outlet? It did help me cope with the loss, but obviously it is hard without him. It allowed me to express myself in a way I thought would be appreciated by other people who were dealing with it. He was a great friend, and after the pain of losing him, it helped me get out how I felt and I could tell people who he was. I want people to relate to it even if they’re not big readers or writers. They can see they are not alone. I would say for some people writing would help as an outlet. Write, draw, act, or sing… whatever is your medium for expressing yourself is what you should use to help you deal with a loss.


My God

Timothy Sumell 15 My god rests in my peers the need to be liked and known controlling every action I do that is outwardly shown 16 My god rests in my fingers frequent trips down my throat a gag followed by release that way my waist I can gloat

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17 My god rests in a drawer sharp and shiny as can be from small pricks to a straight slash red is all I see

My God

20 My god rests in a bottle burning and sour to drink dulling my senses and pain I crave more so I can’t think

Timothy Sumell


22 My god rests in a deck shuffled, dealt, and turned throwing money away might as well have it burned 25 My god rests in a club loud music and girls galore their clothes for my money I want less, they want more 28 My god rests in my bed a new purchased joy they wait along the streets so their services I can employ

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30 My god rests in a barrel chilly against my head many regrets but no goodbyes then in an instant I lie dead

My God rests in a judge’s chair knowing I have done wrong no way to pass the test in Heaven I do not belong

My God

My God rests up there engulfed with sorrow for me no longer able to choose a god for every need

Timothy Sumell


War

Nicholas DiNapoli & Jared Herron

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War

Once a postman, now a soldier his life constantly in danger, not knowing if he’ll see his wife or daughter again. He takes a moment to think back to when his life was simple, walking down the street, delivering mail, smiling, spending time with his family. His heart beating fast, his hands shaking. His soul unsure of what to do, his mind uncertain of how to move. The more he thinks, the more he sees that the simple life was meant for him. Seeing his neighbors every day, loving his family in every way. As he thinks of who he loves he comes to reality and realizes this is Hell.

Nicholas DiNapoli & Jared Herron


The Angel Faded Bri Posner

You sick angel. Your wings were Sewn. Your halo Blackened with temptation. I danced with the Devil. I held hands With a demon. The Angel hath faded.

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All I ever wanted was You, Darling. Oh, Darling, You’ve done it now. Oh, look At what you’ve done.

The Angel Faded

You’ve let your Angel fall. You weren’t there to catch her. The clouds and moon and stars are Stained with crimson tears. Battered and broken, Shattered and scarred. My wings are crushed, Yours have faded.

Bri Posner


The angel, who could Remove my darkness, has Now also taken Away my light. I look into your eyes, Once glimmering with passion, They have now muted to a Dull shade of hollowness. I am still bleeding For you as you cut The strings and I watch As the Puppet becomes the Master.

The Angel Faded

32

Bri Posner


The Silence Paige Wilson

The silence—not the guns or the bombs or the threats—the silence.

The Silence

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That’s what he says scares him the most. The silence—not the distance or the time or the weapons—the silence of our house. That’s what scares me the most. Sitting on the front steps… looking at the mailbox… Waiting for that item that keeps the little ounce of hope in me alive… The letter that reads he’s doing fine… But what happens when the letters no longer come? What happens when instead they’re replaced with a visit from a stranger in uniform Whose face says what my worst nightmares have been afraid to dream? The letter of condolence moved from the hands of the stranger to my shaking ones. My eyes filled with tears as the words, “We are sorry to inform you...” were read. Dropping the letter, my hand cradled my stomach. What happens to his unborn child? Just then little Scarlet walked outside, all bright-eyed and smiling. How can I look our little girl in her face and tell her that her father won’t be around to see her ballet shows, to be at her graduation, or to walk her down the aisle? The silence—that’s all that’s left. A silence—a new and unfamiliar, yet frightening silence.

PaigeWilson


Light in the Valley of Darkness Morgan Musgrove

I walk through the valley of darkness with no fear. I am not caged like my fellow

Light IN the Valley of Darkness

36

peers. They are chained to conformity. Conformity is the only way they know how to be someone in this world. The chains they wear are too tight, cutting off their own souls’ room to fly free. They lurk in the shadows of their leaders. Blindfolded by corruption, they spread their disease to children and man alike. Slowly killing off any last bit of innocence left to form a monster, a beast, a life form that thrives off the pain of others. Hate is all that pumps through the chest piece of the world I live in. Forgotten are the ways of love and hope. Forgotten are morals and values. Happiness seems to be lost in this dark valley, lost with the souls, like me, who just want to smile in the field of flowers. The bright souls are rare; being different is a crime in the valley of darkness, a crime that often leads to the soul being lost to bloodshed or selfdestruction. Though there is a cure to the madness of darkness—it is hope. There is hope in all of us; little or big, the light of hope fills the chest piece of the dark and bright ones. I dream of the day when hope will ignite and spread like a wild fire. Burning away the overgrown weeds of corruption to let the light in. Smiles will be on everyone’s faces, and children will grow with a sense of who they are in safe places. Souls will have the freedom they have longed for, to never be caged away. I dream of a day when it will be okay to be different. A day with no violent outbreaks. I dream of the day when a soul can fly free.

Morgan Musgrove


The Artist and the Thespian

Samantha Morgan

They say it takes a special person to love someone crazy. In my experience, you

Samantha Morgan

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The Artist and the Thespian

just have to truly love them. Everything was all right for awhile. The sun was out and shining. The light took time to adjust to, but it was working out. Amelia called every day to give me a report. Occasionally she’d send me a picture of one of her pieces of art or something that inspired her. Sadly, as a traveling musician, I never got to see her, but I loved her reports. The last time I saw Amy everything was all right, but something about tonight felt off. “Hey, Teo!” someone called from behind. Looking away from the tour poster, pulling me out of my daze, I found Oli standing in his skinny jeans, black shirt, and white Vans. With the new album in mind, he had drawn black lines down the side of his face like he’d gotten scratched. We all had decorations characterizing the new album either drawn on us or adorning our equipment. He looked at me expectantly, so I faced him. “The guys want to start with ‘The Artist and the Thespian,’” he told me. “I don’t know about you, but I am not letting these guys”—he nodded toward the stage—“get a bigger crowd response than us. ‘The Artist and the Thespian’ will let us open with a bang.” I grinned wistfully. “Let’s do it.” It was the classic last-minute thing that our manager hated, but our fans loved. Oli clapped me on the shoulder and disappeared to tell the guys that we were opening with the new song. They really didn’t know the story behind “The Artist and the Thespian.” We’d been together for three years, and this was the first song I’d really put my heart and soul into. At first they abhorred hearing the Edgar Allan Poe “Annabel Lee” story summarized in four minutes and forty-eight seconds, but it grew on them. They all decided to write more “Annabel Lee” inspired songs until we made a new album. “The Artist and the Thespian” was really about Amy. The guys didn’t know


anything about her though. She was both the Artist—literally, compared to the song—and the Thespian who went crazy and killed his lover. Except, Amy didn’t kill anyone—someone important to her attempted to take her life. Trauma stained her past like a red splotch on a white canvas causing hallucinations, voices in her head, and paranoia. At first she seemed perfectly normal, but as days turned into

I was in my own little world on the stage, bathing in the outpour of sound as the guys came in and the song kicked into full gear.

The Artist and the Thespian

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months and months into years, she began to slip. Senior year, it got so bad that she couldn’t see a single empty space, listen to silence, or be able to walk without one of them following her. That year she broke down, turned Thespian, and nearly killed herself. After that she got medication and started down the long road of recovery. She was my best friend, and I took care of her for as long as I could before she told me to go back and regroup with the band and music. I came back changed, plagued by nightmares of a blood-stained Amy, but the guys respected my silence and tried to help me get back in the swing of touring again. Aiden came up beside me and watched Palace of Corrective Detention finally hit the last song on their set list. He had both of our guitars. For a moment, he just looked at the small mosh pit in front of the stage. Bemused, he said, “We can get them to do better than that.” I laughed and took my bass from him. Right as PCD’s last song ended, one of the techies from the back looked at us and said, “Nice make-up, gents.” Oli grinned darkly. “Thanks, mate.” All of us had slash marks across our visible skin. Ricky even went so far as to decorate his drum set with slashes. We all had on dark jeans and a random assortment of solid black shirts ripped artfully. It was Aiden who got the most creative—under the rips in his long-sleeved shirt, he put red paint like he was hurt. PCD came off the stage and we went on. Our equipment was already set up, all we needed was a mic check. Unlike most bands, we do our own. As soon as the lights hit us, the crowd went crazy. Once we were finished tweaking, Oli opened his arms to the crowd and leaned toward the mic. “Ladies and gentlemen, we are Homeland Insecurity”—the crowd roared —“and we have a special request for you tonight.” He waited, glanced back, looking each one of us in the face. “START MOVING!” Ricky gave me the tempo, and I started the song alone. The crowd screamed, but I wasn’t paying attention to them. I was in my own little world on the stage, bathing in the outpour of sound as the guys came in and the song kicked into full gear. We started out talking about the Artist, then transitioned into the Thespian section, and from there we showed them all our cards. It felt so good to scream the words that I could never say aloud before. I stood

Samantha Morgan


Samantha Morgan

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The Artist and the Thespian

there, declaring my own twisted emotions as I screamed my lyrics with as much anguish as humanly possible. This was the girl who I cared about so much. The one I’d die for. The one I almost lost. Amy was the only one who had my heart in the palm of her shaking hand. Her smile was always the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Her personality was bright and friendly, and her thoughts were pensive. I could see her sea-blue eyes half opened as she looked up at me when I held her broken body, “They’re going to leave us alone now,” she had told me, whispering. “Everything is going to be all right, Teo.” I was angry at myself for letting her get so bad. I’d tried to spend every day in the hospital until she got out, even though there were days I had meetings with the band. To others I couldn’t respond, and despite my physical presence, I was a blank slate, incapable of emotion. The story of Amy never leaked, but the day we get a picture snapped together, they’ll go digging. They’ll see the story, and if they ever did that to her I might just punch someone. They’ll dig up her past. I wasn’t happy about the arrangement of separation, but I left Amy to herself so the wolves wouldn’t descend upon her. By the end of the song I was sweating profusely under the stage lights. I felt tired, but I was emotionally freed. I could sing with the rest of them and do the rest of the set without a single worry for a little while longer. The crowd ate up every lyric. They moshed harder for us than they did for Palace of Corrective Detention or the band on stage before them. With us they connected— they fueled our drive and we fueled their energy. Being on stage was like being on drugs. It was a high. Nothing outside of the moment mattered. Eventually though, I had to come back from wonderland and take a final bow. Sitting in the hotel later with the guys watching Cars, my phone vibrated. I was surprised to open the text and find a picture of me screaming into the microphone during “The Artist and the Thespian” from Amy. It was a really good show, Teo, the message said. Surprised, I sent back: You were there? Yeah. I wanted to see you at some random show. Surprise you, ya know? Well you did that much, I responded. Why didn’t you come backstage? Was I supposed to? You could’ve met the guys. Can I steal you away from them tonight? I miss you. Where do you want to meet? I asked. Starbucks off of 40th? It was really close. I’ll be there in 10. “Hey, guys, I’m going to go meet someone at Starbucks. Want me to bring you back anything?” They looked at me: every single one of us was in basketball shorts, half passed-out from the concert. If it was anyone less important I would’ve stayed with them, and they knew that.


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“Who are you going to meet?” Aiden asked. “Probably a lady friend,” Ricky grinned blithely. I stared at him and asked again, “Do you want me to bring anything back?” “If it’s not cold,” Aiden answered. “Bring her back,” Ricky requested. The guys looked at Ricky, who simply shrugged. “What if she’s hot?” I rolled my eyes and looked at Oli. He shook his head and mumbled, “All I want right now is a Tylenol and a glass of water. I am so dehydrated it’s not even funny.” Nodding, I went and changed into a pair of jeans and an old faded band shirt, smoothed down my messy black hair, and grabbed a jacket. Before leaving, I got Oli his Tylenol and water and set it on the table beside him. “I love you, man,” Oli said. I waved and made my exit to the sound of Ricky calling, “Bring her back!” Halfway out the door, I flicked him off for good measure. It took maybe five minutes to get to Starbucks, and when I got there it was mostly empty. She wasn’t one of the people sipping a drink, so I got two coffees, one black and one dressed up with cream and sugar, and got a muffin for the two of us. Waiting, I watched people pass by the store. Hardly anyone stopped at the coffee shop at eleven at night. No one said anything to me. I was allowed to sip my coffee in peace, waiting for Amy. She got there a little late, but once those sea-blue eyes fell on me, everything else faded into the background. She looked gorgeous. Her strawberry blond hair curled in loose ringlets, cascading down a baggy gray shirt, tangling with a long chain necklace with a cracked heart on the end, and contrasting her simple, dark wash skinny jeans and Converse. “Hey,” she smiled. “Hey,” I returned. I got out of my seat against the wall and wrapped my arms around her shoulders. “I got you a cup of coffee,” I said when I released her. “There’s a muffin in the paper bag.” A shy smile made its way to her face. “Thank you.” We sat down and just looked at each other for a moment. For me, it was like she stepped out of a picture: smiling, full of sunlight, and speeding back into my life. It was so good to finally see her in person. She took a sip of her coffee and grinned. “You remember how I like my coffee.” I nodded. Even if it was seemingly meaningless, I always listened to her. After all the years of knowing each other, I could reiterate all those details that her boyfriends would never care enough to know. Amy’s eyes fell on the paper bag and she said, “If I open it, will you eat half of it with me? I bet you’re hungry.” I shrugged. “Aiden made us all grilled mac’ n’ cheese sandwiches when we got back, but yes, I’ll split it with you.” Wrapping her long fingers around the mouth of the bag, she took her time

Samantha Morgan


retrieving the muffin, giving me more time to look at her. Out of all the people I’ve known, it was her eyes that stuck with me. It was like the sun wrapped around her pupil and merged with the ocean in a way that could never be replicated. I knew her eyes better than I knew my own. We split the muffin, and she told me about the art gallery she worked in and the project she submitted. She became increasingly animated as she described everything. She was so different now. Her effervescent side was contagious, making me happy at the mere sight of her so engaged in her story. She was glowing. “Want to go for a walk?” she asked suddenly. “Sure,” I smiled. We cleaned our table and exited Starbucks with a “goodnight” directed to the employees and handful of people still there. Outside she looked so calm. The expression on her porcelain face said that there was no place she’d rather be than right next to me. For once she actually looked happy. “So how are you doing?” I asked curiously. I didn’t really believe she could be one hundred percent cured. She lived with her issues—a slave to her disorder—but I had a feeling the happiness was only surface

deep. Her eyes met mine, knowing what I meant, and she sighed. “It’s going. They aren’t as bad, but the medication doesn’t take them away, Teo. I see them now, actually.” Embroiled, I watched her scan the crowd. She wasn’t kidding. Now that it was out there, I could see her secretly faltering. Instinctively, I pulled my hand out of my jacket pocket and entwined my fingers with hers. We stopped in the middle of the sidewalk beside the quiet street. The night was so still. There were maybe twenty people visible in my range of sight, but she was seeing more. I just faced her, and with my free hand tilted her head up so she was looking directly at me. She was so scared. Beyond scared. “I’m not going to let them get you,” I assured her. She smiled sadly, tears forming in her eyes. “You can’t stop them anymore.” “What do you mean?” “I don’t see them in the numbers I used to, but they’re still intense,” she told me. “My therapist tried telling me it’s all just in my head, but…they don’t just want me anymore. They’re eyeing you.” Her eyes darted over my shoulder. I cupped her cheek and made her eyes come back to me. Although I’d known her

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She smiled sadly, tears forming in her eyes. “You can’t stop them anymore.”


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since elementary school and stayed with her every waking moment while she was in the hospital, her disorder was still something metempirical to me. I didn’t really know how to react. All the same, I almost lost her once and I was not willing to let it happen again. “They can’t hurt me,” I said firmly. Suddenly, Amy clapped her hands over her ears and pushed herself into my chest. She’s experiencing a relapse, I realized. By the look of it, the discourses taking place in her head were turning out to be aspersions. Worst of all, the barbs were probably about me. I wrapped my arms around her and encased her shaking body. “I’m going to take you somewhere safe, all right?” She didn’t respond. Keeping a firm hold on her, I cajoled her into walking. She clutched my side. She was not doing well at all. The sun-shiny girl who was sitting with me in Starbucks, talking about art over a coffee and half a muffin, was really dealing with an internal perdition. Abruptly, she stopped and stared straight ahead at an invisible person. “Amelia?” I uttered her name softly. “I’ve seen him before,” she breathed. “I’ve seen his face before.” Looking again, there was still no one there. “Perhaps in a dream,” she mused. I didn’t even have to see him to know what was going to happen next. I knew. I could feel the edge of the ravine beneath my toes. I could see the blood from the last time it happened. Either “he” was going to come for me, or “he” was going to come

The Artist and the Thespian

Without hesitation, I tugged on her hand and began running away... for her—just like Mitch did to her years ago when she tried to kill herself. Mitch tried to kill her in real life, and the memory of him still tried to touch her; she was truly terrified of him laying a finger on her. She wouldn’t survive if she remembered. At one point I knew he loved her, and that’s what hurt me the most. Without hesitation, I tugged on her hand and began running away from the direction we’d been going. I didn’t want her to recognize him. Her memory blocked him to alleviate the mental pain. It wouldn’t be in the least bit helpful if she recalled the malefactor. “Where are we going?” she queried. “Somewhere safe,” I repeated. I ran so she could keep up with me, glancing at her to make sure she was still mentally with me. She was slipping. I could see it. I could see her eyes darting to the buildings beside us and her head twitching to the side occasionally. Both implications that we were apparently being followed. Thankfully, the hotel was close. The receptionist gave us a look of pure disdain when we made our entrance, but

Samantha Morgan


Samantha Morgan

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she knew who I was and didn’t try to stop us—I probably wouldn’t have stopped anyway. I punched the elevator button and turned my back to the door, wrapping my arms around Amy again. “Is this the place you’re staying at?” she asked with a shaking voice. Her hands clenched the front of my shirt in a death grip. I nodded. “You’ll be safe here.” I told her. “Nothing can hurt us.” She remained mute, shaking incessantly. The elevator dinged and I tugged on her hand, leading her out of the enclosed space. Surprisingly, the hallway was bright. With the lights on her she seemed to calm down, but it wasn’t much. I knocked on the door and listened. Cars was still on, so all of them were probably still up. I didn’t care what they thought of this. I wasn’t going to let anything happen to Amy. Ricky opened the door and stared at the pair of us holding hands, Amy with a tear-stained face. I pushed past him and led her to the room Ricky and I were sharing. I closed the door behind us, without a word to the rest of the band, and turned on all the lights for Amy. She hugged herself until I came over to her and held her. “You sang about me tonight, didn’t you?” she asked softly. I kissed the top of her head. “You loved me,” she murmured. “No,” I shook my head, “I love you.” Her sun-kissed eyes turned up to me. They were bright, rimmed with tears, and red. As more tears spilled out of her eyes, I wiped them away with my thumb. “No matter where we are, what day it is, what’s happening—I’ll always love you,” I said. “You’re safe with me. I won’t let them hurt you.” “Why do you care so much for the ‘crazy girl’?” she asked mournfully. “You deserve better.” “No one compares to you,” I told her. “I promise I’m not going to leave.” We climbed on the bed together, and I rubbed her tense muscles until it lulled her to sleep. The sight of her face, so innocent and serene, made me think of how she was before Mitch tried to kill her. But the happy days were marred by the sight of her eyes begging for help, her body immobile to what was happening. Too shocked to move or even scream, I was her lifeline who stopped him before he could really get his hands on her. Even if I had gotten there sooner, the heinous act would’ve only been delayed for a different day. Amy was sick and it was still bad, but I wasn’t going to let chance have the opportunity to rob me of my childhood friend; the only girl I ever really loved. I couldn’t imagine life without her. I’d seen both sides to the Artist and the Thespian. In the end, I’d love her even if it killed me. I couldn’t let her go. You don’t have to be special to love someone who’s sick; you just have to love them. I loved Amelia more than anything else. Nothing could ever replace her.


Sam Blair What is your favorite medium to work with? Why is it special? I started working with computers. I have a tablet, and I love drawing digitally. It is so fun to do and time-consuming; I feel so open when I do it. If I had to pick a traditional media my favorite would probably be inks. They are smooth and keep flowing; you can do so much with them and they are beautiful.

Who or what inspired this and is it based on anything specific? We had to do a project in AP studio art and it was draw your self-portrait in costume. We all got together and did a photo shoot in class. Honestly, there was nothing behind it besides to do a self-portrait, but it became something special. The colors that came through in it made me feel like the art is a part of me.

Do you plan on pursuing a career in art? If so, what field? I’m hopefully going into animation; I love digital design. I don’t see myself doing traditional media outside of high school. I have always loved video games, animated short films, and long films. I think if I were to be a part of that, I would love it even more because it is a great career for me.

What sort of message are you trying to portray in your art? My message that I try to put into all my art is to be yourself and don’t let anybody stop you, because I used to care what people thought about me, and in the last couple years I became more of myself, then great things started happening. As long as I put myself into my artwork, people can know that all of me is into it, and it is really an amazing feeling to put yourself into something you love. If everyone could be themselves, the world would be a cooler place.

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Unmask Me

Camellia “Skiittlesz” Smith

Unmask Me

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Do you dare? Do you care What lies beneath my mask? My past, a memory, But still a little part of me. Do you dare? Do you care To see what my future holds? My mold of life— Can’t take a risk with this knife. My mask hides my inner-most secrets, Separates reality from fantasy. Once I slide it on my face I’m not a disgrace, but a little self-conscious. I NEVER was comfortable with my true self. Nonetheless, this mask makes all my insecurities fade away. It captures in its grasp what I call “beautiful.” A mystery to some, but known to a handful. Unmask me in the dark, Never show me to the light. My eyes are the only thing seen once my mask is in its place. On my face it is placed to hide the true me. Do you dare? Do you care To live my reality? Unmask me.

Camellia “Skiittlesz” Smith


Jaqueline Campos What inspired you to create an intense story such as this? I was inspired by the original story of the Porters. I always loved the tale of A Thousand Arabian Nights. That story really spoke to me because it was so creepy and whatnot. It was just simple and it gave me chills.

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Writing a long story can become slow and drawn out, how do you keep the mood alive throughout it? I try to keep the mood alive by questioning what the narrator would be thinking about. I have a lot of questions while reading, so I try to answer them all before they are asked by the readers. For this story I was thinking, How could these people be so stupid? What kind of situation are they getting themselves into?

What author inspires you? I’m really inspired by C.S. Lewis. I like the way he was a big theologian and he had a lot of big Christian views that he put out into the world. He was also a fan of B-novelists. I loved his piece Mere Christianity and all of his fantasy novels. They are all wonderful.

Do you wish to pursue a career in writing? If so, what field? I do plan to pursue a career in writing. I would like to be a creative writing major— not sure where. And hopefully my first book will be out before I graduate college.

Is there something or someone who keeps your passion for writing burning bright? My family does. They are very inspirational with their antics. My family—like any family—is very emotive. I’m from a family of actors and drama queens. They push things over the top which gives me ideas for characters.


A Retelling of the Porter and the Ladies of Baghdad Jaqueline Campos

Jaqueline Campos

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City work is slow. Not in the sense that there is little work to be done, for fares are easy to come by. I mean slow in the sense of each day beginning and ending with the same menial task until days and weeks and months lose their distinction and you are left with one perpetual day, driving the same taxi cab around the ever-changing city, which never really changes at all. With eyes always on the road in front of me, I see more fenders than faces. My view of every backseat tenant is a patchwork quilt of rear-view glimpses, noisy mannerisms, and snippets of voice. Voice was the first thing, the only thing, I noticed about her, the one who interrupted the tedium of my days. One moment I was driving an empty cab looking for a lunch break, the next, the back seat was opened and occupied. “To the grocer on Bluff Road,” a women’s voice said with a definitive air. There was no impatience or distaste in her voice, which was unusual for someone who had made as grand an entrance as you can into a cab. I expected her to say more, but she was quiet as my mind painted her portrait. She was given a square chin, with a solid jaw and full lips. Though my eyes were itching to sneak a glimpse at her in the rearview mirror, I was more willing to deal with the thought consumption of curiosity than I was with the horror of being caught sneaking peaks in the mirror. Patience was all I really needed. The store was only around the corner, and there I would pull over and collect the fare. Then I could look her straight in the eye and compare my imagination to reality’s picture of her face. The sound of my blinker echoed at the stop light louder than I have ever heard it before. I tried to calm my fast-paced thoughts by focusing on whether the sound was a tick or a tock, but then the light was green. The grocery store wasn’t far down the road. I slid the car to the side of the road anxiously, but tried to remain smooth as I pushed against my seat belt to turn back and see her. Unfortunately I didn’t see her face, just the back of a brunette’s head and burgundy coat. “Wait here,” she called back to my dumbstruck stare that didn’t fade until I saw


her exiting the store. I looked at her form’s increasing detail as she walked toward the car and saw that my analysis was correct on her structure and stance, showing just as much strength as I predicted and even more beauty. My only skewed assumption was of her eyes. I imagined them sharp and impassioned, but found them to be attentive yet indifferent. When she did not directly enter the car, I realized that she had company coming up behind her. My preoccupied mind looked over the fact that she had carried out no purchases from the store until I saw the heavily-laden bag boys standing behind her. As scrambled as eggs in a skillet, I climbed up from my seat to pop the trunk and

“Promise not to ask about anything that doesn’t concern you. Our business is our business...”

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help the struggling kids with their full arms. I didn’t intentionally look through her bags as I help load them into the trunk, but it was hard not to notice that their contents consisted entirely of limes and peanuts. Not wanting to analyze the odd combination, I shut the trunk and resumed my place behind the wheel. I was careful to look more suave in entering the car than I did in exiting it. “The pub on Dale, please,” she directed, “and pull it around back.” “Sure thing.” I paused, unsure of myself, unwilling to let the conversation die. “I’m John, by the way.” She said nothing. I now knew her face but not her name. The drive to the pub would give me more time to deliberate on what her name might be. Maybe Shannon or Ashley, she could even be a Karen or a Rebecca. Whoever she was, she certainly had a long shopping list. After the pub we went to the next store on her mental list, then the next, and the next. Each time she would walk in and out with the same unreadable expression, faster than I have ever seen a woman move through a store. She was certainly a woman with purpose. Perhaps that’s what I saw on her face, purpose. Unlike me she had places to go, people to see, a purpose to fulfill. And what did I have? Places to go, certainly, but nobody to see. I finished loading the car trunk and wondered to myself when this trip to fantasy land might be over. Though I was certainly enjoying myself, despite the unanswered questions that I had, both the trunk and back seat were nearly full. “Make a left up at the next light,” she directed. I was not fond of driving without a clear destination, but as vague as my directions were I knew the neighborhood we were headed toward made me wary of the setting sun. “The Rabbit’s Foot,” she answered to my unspoken question. I looked in speculation for a sign advertising such a promiscuous place, and upon finding it I

Jaqueline Campos


Jaqueline Campos

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wondered what sort of place it was. On this street alone you could find two bars, one pawn shop, three vacant stores, and a suspiciously shaded parking lot. The name she requested was hung outside the nicest looking building there. The unlit neon lights and large bouncer outside the door still made me reluctant to leave her here. “Right here is fine,” she said while hanging me a folded bill. “Could you help me unload as well?” I would have been eager to help her unload regardless of the hundred in my hand that well covered her fare and made a tip larger than I’d seen in a year. She waited patiently for me to fill my arms, bag by bag, with her purchases. The bouncer let her through without a second glance and, if I was right, they shared a nod of acknowledgement. She must work here, my brain whispered. Upon entering behind her, I began to survey the room around us. Nightclub, I said to myself with a flash of memories from college nights and early mornings. The music was playing a hypnotic song for which the bass made my teeth rattle. The vibrations of music accompanied with the flashing lights should have equaled a migraine worthy of three Excedrin, but instead they made my heart beat faster, and my mind filled with such excitement that I never wanted to leave. “Portia!” she called with a grin about her face. “Portia, the lights look great!” All of the sudden the atmosphere dissipated into fluorescent lighting and static from the speakers. A lady, whom I assumed to be Portia, stepped out from the sound booth in the back corner of the room. I blinked to readjust my vision but saw the same person before me. Portia shared her coworker’s beauty. Standing in the same room with both of them made me feel especially insignificant. I felt her turn toward my stare and before she could meet my gaze, I hoisted the bags in my arms to cover my face ashamedly. “It took you long enough, Catrina,” Portia said while kissing the air beside both of her cheeks. “I thought you were only going to pick up more peanuts for the bar.” Catrina! My mind rejoiced in knowing her name. “I thought we might throw a little celebration of ourselves tonight. I’d say that we deserve it,” admitted Catrina. “I just picked up a few things,” she gestured to my full arms. Portia gave me a skeptical eye and raised brow. “Bring those over here.” I unloaded the purchases onto an empty space in the kitchen and then returned to the car to bring in the second load. I walked slowly, partially to keep my balance and partially to take in the atmosphere of the club. Booths and curtains lined the walls, creating rooms with walls of fabric. The dance floor was wide and welcoming, spanning the distance of the room. On one side were the restrooms, I assumed the other side was a staircase. Catrina and Portia were chatting by the bar when I emerged from the kitchen a second time. She had taken off her coat, and I saw she was wearing a tight black dress beneath it. Portia wore something similar.


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“What do you think,” Portia addressed me, “are we ready for opening night?” I nervously laughed to myself. “Certainly!” I said with a grin. “Do you run this place by yourselves?” I didn’t understand why they giggled until I felt a long acrylic nail tap on my shoulder. “Not entirely,” related a voice behind me. When I decided Portia and Catrina were pretty my mind had not seen a standard of beauty. This new lady, the one I now saw to be in charge, was beautiful. Everything about her made a statement: her curves, her hair, and her eyes. “Th—the club looks great,” I stumbled over my words. “It must be quite the accomplishment for the three of you.” “Yes,” she smirked. “Yes it is.” “Did you tip the man, Catrina?” the boss-lady chided. “Uh, no,” Catrina blinked and fumbled in her pockets. “I was hoping… Well, I was hoping we could keep him, Misty. What do you say?” I didn’t quite comprehend her words until I felt her hand tugging at my bent elbow. What exactly did she mean by “keep him”? “Don’t be silly, Cat,” Misty said while stroking my other arm. I was torn between feeling extremely frightened and extremely lucky. “Would you like to stay?” Cat addressed me. “We plan on celebrating a successful first night.” “Cat!” Misty said with cringed lips. “I highly doubt your cab driver can afford to stay here for the night,” Portia mumbled under her breath. Cat shot them both pleading looks. “Come now, he’s worth plenty of laughs, I’m sure.” “Money isn’t the problem, Cat,” Misty snapped. “The problem is a certain someone keeping his mouth shut.” My audible gulp came unintentionally and called their eyes back to me. I was not used to being the topic of conversation, especially not the conversation of three wickedly attractive nightclub owners. “I’m sure you’re good at keeping secrets,” Cat said. “He’s a cab driver, I bet people spill their guts to him all the time,” she said to Misty and Portia. “Uh, uh, sure,” I said. “What am I keeping a secret though?” Misty’s eyebrows shot up in silent exclamation. “Nothing, nothing at all, We’d love to have you stay.” Misty’s grip released from my arm as her voice softened to a seductive cream. I was unsure of how to move or breathe or where to look. The tension in the room was thick with quiet agitations; my mind rejoiced in what I chose to consider a victory, but I was quite sure my classification stood to be true. “It’s settled then,” Cat smiled and said to me, “—unless you need to return to work. One night won’t hurt, will it? How often do you get to spend the evening with three lovely ladies, anyway?”

Jaqueline Campos


Her words sounded like the definition of logic; she might as well have been talking about the texture of chocolate pudding. “I propose a toast,” Misty declared while taking one of the glasses Portia was pouring, “to a night of success, celebration, and secrecy.”

When people experience unrealistic scenarios, they often describe their pleasant happenings as dreams because all authorities would say in real life something like that would never happen. I didn’t feel that way. Sure, when I woke up that morning, I would never have imagined ending up where I was, but that doesn’t mean I had to question the sincerity of what I was experiencing then. The remains of my second drink were swirling around the bottom of my glass when people started arriving. First came a dozen women from the corridor with the staircase I had wondered about earlier. They were all dressed scantily and diversely, but they moved as one toward the dance floor where the band had just finished

setting up. The first band, named Cyclops, warmed up their instruments while the ladies warmed up their limbs and the alcohol warmed my body. We sat in one of the private booths in the back of the club, but we still had a clear view of everything that went on in the room. Catrina, who was only now finishing her first drink, amused herself by licking the salt from around the rim of her empty margarita while her coworkers chatted. “Robert says there’s quite a line outside,” Portia mused to Misty. “Well, it’s almost time to open the doors,” Misty replied with a grin. “I’m expecting great things from these bands you know, Catrina.” “Bands?” I mused aloud. “Yes,” Catrina answered, “We’re showing a variety to show the people what we have to offer. The first impression is the only impression that counts, you know.” I thought about my first impression of Catrina. It seemed she was just a mystery that I would never solve then, now I know more than her name and her face. “Cat is even going to sing a couple of songs,” Portia mentioned. “Exactly why she’s going to stay relatively sober, correct?” questioned Misty in her boss-like concern for the quality of the music. “Now, John, I trust my judgment, but a man’s opinion can’t hurt,” she said to me. “What do you think of our ladies of the house?”

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Now they removed them in an effort to dry their slick skin, yet in doing so they exposed their limp eyelids and hollow sockets.


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Portia stepped in by saying, “Yes, please tell her what you think of the brunette in the yellow dress. I said she was a little on the heavy side of the curvy.” My eyes scanned the group for a yellow dress and found it clinging to the hips and bosom of a woman who fit Portia’s description. “Uh, yeah, I suppose she is a little thicker than the others, but—” Misty cut in before I could finish my case for the definitions of fat in today’s day and age. “But that isn’t a bad thing. It’s something that makes her special, different, unique,” she offered. “And you know what I say about the word ‘special.’” Cat cut in this time with eagerness in knowing the answer, “Special means expensive.” The table erupted in laughter; I even felt a chuckle spilling out of my throat as well, though I wasn’t sure their insinuations merited cheer. “Robert, can you fetch us some more to drink?” requested Misty with the swish of her final swallow swinging around the glass. “Not for us,” Portia related over the drummer’s sample of symbols. “Come on, Cat, we can’t miss the first dance of the Rabbit’s Foot. This will be epic!” Portia began to lead Cat out of the private sector, but Cat grabbed my sleeve and pulled me after her. I heard the beginnings of the first real song as we found our way onto the hardwood floor. From what seemed like a distant world, I heard an overjoyed crowd of people pour through the officially opened doors of the club, but for just a moment it was only me amidst a throng of pretty faces and perfume. The fact that just this morning I was stuck driving a foul, congested elderly woman through equally congested traffic was irrelevant now as I danced with two women who belonged on the covers of magazines. We danced then drank and drank then danced through the first band. I tried to keep moderation in mind while drinking, but the peanuts and water did little to dilute the alcohol I was ingesting. I stopped spinning only to find that my brain was saturated as well, and the juices sloshing around inside of it only served to make me dizzier when we slowed down. “Should we take a break?” Portia half-screamed into our ears. I don’t know if either of us answered, but we joined in a collective trek back to the booth to find Misty. We found her without a problem, but she seemed to have lost her tongue in the back of someone’s throat. Portia cleared her throat slightly before unceremoniously sliding into the booth next to the now-frightened guest. It took mere seconds for his departure from our seat, but Misty’s scowl at our interruption remained for a good while longer. Before we could breach the topic, however, the band that had just come off stage ambled their way on over to us. “The crowd loved your set,” Misty complimented. “I hope that we can make an arrangement.” “Actually, we did come to ask about making an arrangement of sorts,” the lead


singer said with more snarl than speech. All three of them were dressed in black with dark-colored hair and too many piercings for me to count while this intoxicated. All of this was expected, though what surprised me about them was that in total the group had three eyes. The drummer and guitarist wore eye patches I assumed were for show. Now they removed them in an effort to dry their slick skin, yet in doing so they exposed their limp eyelids and hollow sockets. The singer, on the other hand, wore a red glass eye I had just assumed to be a colored contact. Even though its crimson gaze saw nothing, in reality it gave me chills. “Oh, TJ, don’t bother me with business now when there is so much pleasure to be had,” maneuvered Misty. “Pleasure is my preferred choice of conversation. You see, my manager just called to say our hotel reservations fell through. They double-booked us with someone.” This was accompanied by a sardonic lift of his eyebrows that exposed more of his glass eye in a frightening display. Misty didn’t seem fazed. “Joey, Rip, and I were wondering if we can crash here tonight. You know, as a favor for the business our band brought you.” “Well, I don’t see a problem with you staying about, seeing as we’ll already have company,” Misty told them.

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I couldn’t help but laugh at his misfortune and wonder how he came to be at a nightclub with a priest. “But you’ll have to promise something first,” Portia said while looping her manicured nails with his thoroughly chewed ones. “Sure,” TJ readily answered with echoes by Joey and Rip who found seats next to Catrina and me. “Promise not to ask about anything that doesn’t concern you. Our business is our business and we’d like to keep it that way,” Portia informed them. “Can we trust you not to peep?” Catrina asked behind batted lashes. Nods were seen around the table and refreshments came in the form of shots. I raised my cup in cheers with the rest but passed off its contents to Joey, who gladly downed it. It didn’t take long for the musicians to loosen up and get the laughter rolling. Misty warmed up to Rip rather quickly, amusing herself by running her hands through his mohawk. The rest of us talked of everything and nothing, but enjoyed ourselves all the same. The rounds kept coming; sometimes I would drink and sometimes I would pass, depending on whether Catrina was watching. I wasn’t afraid of her seeing me hold

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A Retelling of the Porter

back, but I didn’t want to seem like an ungrateful wimp either; especially not when Rip was sipping gin like juice. After all, she did manage to create the best night of my life without any reason to at all. She had to be one of those people, the ones who open doors and walk old ladies across the street. Cat was not as toasted as the rest of us, but I’d say she was still a little rough around the edges. TJ had Catrina and Portia hunched over in laughter when Robert, Misty’s assistant, arrived at the table. “What is it?” Misty grilled him. “You have visitors who would like to speak with you,” he notified her with adverted eyes. “Are they important?” she snapped in clear agitation. “Well, that depends…” he dawdled. “Your incompetence astounds me. What could it possibly depend on? You’re fired, Robert, and if I ever see your slimy face around here, by God, I’ll—” Misty’s raged was quieted by an unexpected voice in the conversation. “By God is right, Miss,” said a man in robes who calmly approached the table followed by two others of similar garb. “God sent us here tonight. I do not know why, but I know that this is where he wants me to be tonight. Perhaps for good luck,” he mused. Everyone around the table sat in a confused silence and waited for Misty act. “Well, Father,” she looked as stunned for words as the rest of us, “Of course you can stay.” “What’s a party without a priest,” supplied Portia. “Yes, we have only one rule,” said Misty with more composure. Her quick wink toward Catrina made me guess at what it might be. “Please, stay and enjoy a few drinks on us, listen to our music, and dance with our ladies. But should you be curious of anything that doesn’t concern you, we ask only that you keep your righteous noses out of it.” I watched their expressions to see how they might react to Misty’s words. “Your secrets are safe with me and God,” he replied in an unsurprised manner. The booth squished tighter and overflowed to a few of the seats around the table. More liquor was brought along with seltzer for the priest. “Sorry, we’re out of holy water,” teased Portia who now sat on Joey’s lap. Laughter ensued. “That’s quite alright,” he assured her. Cat and I began speaking to one of the newcomers who welcomed his share of alcohol like an old friend, but still seemed uneasy. “My name is Jeff,” he offered with little enthusiasm, “and I have no clue why I am here.” I couldn’t help but laugh at his misfortune and wonder how he came to be at a nightclub with a priest. Misty stared pointedly at Catrina during his exchange. I gently nudged her


shoulder and in a small way pointed her toward Misty. She immediately froze up. I couldn’t be sure, but I believe I saw Misty mouth the words do what you must across the table. I think I was the only one who saw their silent conversation and was interested in what it meant. “I believe it’s time for me to go freshen up,” Cat announced as she slid out from the booth. “I’m almost on,” she added.

Then she began striking her. Again and again Cat pulled back the whip and struck it upon the poor women’s bare back.

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I saw that something was wrong, but my mind was fuzzier than the mold growing under the seats in my cab. I decided I should go to Cat, see if I can help, yet I had no clue how to get there inconspicuously. My bladder soon supplied me with the best excuse in the book. “Where’s the john?” I questioned Portia. She pointed me through the same side door Cat just went through, so I knew I shouldn’t be that far off. Once I stumbled into the hallway, I took a moment to lean up against the wall and allow my vision to adjust. It was much lighter back here than out in the dimly lit club. My hearing benefited more than my eyes did as I heard her voice farther down the hall. It became louder as I came closer to the one door with light seeping out of the bottom. I listened at the door, but the sound was still too muffled to make out clear words. Afraid I might chicken out if I waited any longer, I knocked against the door frame. All that ran through my mind in the seconds before the door swung open was that I had only known Cat for a handful of hours. Then the thoughts stopped: she was standing in front of me in a new outfit this time, a short blue gown that scrambled all of the thoughts in my mind. She was not alone though. Two girls were in the room with her, and they looked familiar. The second glance I stole told me I knew them as the dancing girls employed by the club. “I’m so glad you’re here,” she giggled, pulling me into the room. “You can help.” Part of me wanted to ask what she needed help with, but the other half wanted to wait and see what she might offer. “Here,” Cat slurred while grabbing one of the girls and pushing her toward me. I saw the fear in her eyes and felt her frail body tremble beneath my sloppy grip. “Hold her down,” said Cat. “What?” I asked in disbelief. “Hold her down,” Cat’s voice became stern. “You don’t expect me to do this on my own, do you?” she asked with a softer, more sensual voice. I heard Cat pull at the zipper of the girl’s dress, and my heart skipped several beats. The other girl stood

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back and looked at her feet. I couldn’t make eye contact with either of them. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect of the next few moments, but I always seemed to be surprised around Catrina. I didn’t know what to think when she pulled out the whip. Her grin told me she was happy, but her eyes disagreed. Then she began striking her. Again and again Cat pulled back the whip and struck it upon the poor woman’s bare back. I froze in shock with my hands holding the shoulders of Cat’s victim. She didn’t move or struggle at all, but out of her mouth came a small, continuous whimper. It seemed to continue on forever, but just when I was sure my stomach was about to reject its toxic contents Catrina stopped, set down the whip, and took the girl from my arms. With free hands and a busy mind, I searched the room for a waste bin and promptly hurled. The disgust in my mouth barely compared to that in my soul. How did I drag myself into this? I stood and watched Cat and the other girl huddled on the floor of the room. Cat sat with her arms around the girl, quietly murmuring, “I love you, I’m sorry. I love you, I’m sorry,” over and over again. What could this girl have done to deserve this kind of treatment? They seemed to be a few years older than Cat and beared much resemblance to her. Had they displeased a customer? Did they try to steal from the Rabbit’s Foot? My mind swam with possibilities trying to justify what I was just a part of. “Stand up,” Cat said to the other girl. Cat would not meet my gaze, not even while she pushed the other girl into my arms and exposed her back. Just as the last girl would not look into my eyes, this one would not look away from them. Her gaze locked with mine and with each crack of the whip, a vessel in her eyes flashed as well. By the end, both eyes were red and overflowing with tears, though she didn’t blink once. Cat put away the whip and took this girl into her arms as well. “I love you, I’m sorry. I love you so much, I’m sorry,” she sobbed into her neck. My hands felt dirty with tension from gripping her arms so tightly. She hadn’t tried to move, but I was so frightened by what happened I wasn’t paying attention to how tightly I held her. Bruises from my nervous rigor were the last of their worries. Their backs bled down into the fabric of their formerly nice dresses. “Come now,” said Catrina, stepping over the girls. “Go back to the group,” she told me as if nothing had happened. “I’m on soon.” I made my way back to the group as she had said, tripping down the hallway in a fog. I felt strangely sober as I sat down at the end of the table next to Joey. No one asked why I had been gone so long, and I don’t know what I would have told them if they did. My hand didn’t shake when I picked an abandoned shot off the table. I couldn’t even feel it go down. The priest was making conversation with Jeff and his other colleague about


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nonsense I couldn’t comprehend, and I wondered if his purpose here was to condemn me for the awful things to which I just played accomplice. I reached for another half-full glass across the table but stopped mid-reach when I saw a smear of blood near my palm. Misty caught my eye with a wicked stare and said loudly for everyone to hear, “Are you excited to hear Catrina sing, John?” “Oh, is she up soon?” asked Portia. “I think that’s her coming up now,” replied TJ as he squinted his good eye toward the stage. Her blue dress slithered out toward the mic stand. My eyes saw her as the goddess she resembled, but my mind painted a picture of the face I had seen only two minutes beforehand. It was hard and unforgiving, tortured yet torturing. I didn’t know the song she sang, but the lyrics I was able to hold on to here and there were sung about lost love. It was sentimental, to be sure, but nothing that might merit tears, which is why Portia’s heaving sobs confused me at the end of the number. Her tears mingled with the condensation from our glasses on the soiled table top. Perhaps she had one drink too many. I drove girls like that sometimes: one minute they’re a little tipsy but fine, and the next the dam breaks and you have Niagara Falls coming at you hard and fast. Cat only sang three songs, but Portia’s hysterics and the scene I had witnessed prior to it all made those three songs feel like a decade apiece. Misty seemed oblivious to it all while she watched Catrina sing. At the end of the last song, Portia tried to leave the booth, but she tripped on the way out. She was not injured, but her dress caught on one of TJ’s piercings. The flimsy piece of fabric tore, leaving her back exposed. Then I saw it. The effects of what I had seen happen to those two girls, only years later. Portia was scarred all across her back. The criss-crossed pattern looked like bad games of tic-tac-toe piled on top of each other. Misty gasped as the gown tore, and for a moment I thought I saw fear flash through her eyes. The real concern was focused on TJ, who was bleeding from a ripped hole on his chest. Misty took advantage of the distraction to move Portia out of sight. She was still weeping, but not as intensely. They moved quickly, and soon only the men were left. I stayed, staring dumbstruck and silent before someone spoke. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” the father said to me. The others laughed uncomfortably and gathered closer in the booth. “Did—did you see…” Joey’s voice faded away. “The scars?” Jeff finished for him. “She looked like she’d been beaten,” said Rip. I waited to speak because I didn’t know if I was capable of summoning words.


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“Maybe she has.” It came out as a whisper, but it was all they needed to hear. “What did you see?” the father asked. “Catrina, she invited me into her room and had me hold down two girls while she beat them.” I mumbled, but it was loud enough to carry across the table and send shivers with it. “What is going on here?” the father demanded. “Yeah,” a few of us agreed, others nodded in acknowledgment. Only Jeff was opposed. “I think it’s best we leave them be,” he stated. “After all, that was their one rule. They said not to ask about anything we might see that doesn’t concern us. And this doesn’t concern us.” “Don’t be a coward,” argued TJ. “Whips or not, it’s seven of us against the three of them. What’s the worst that can happen? We have to ask them.” “But who will ask?” questioned Joey. “It’s certainly not going to be me,” Jeff said with a negative tone. “I believe it should be John who speaks to them,” suggested the father. “You have known them the longest, and it was you who saw those other two girls beaten.” My mouth was dry as I tried to swallow the protests rising up within me. The father was right. I had known them the longest and was in the best favor with Catrina. For the moment before I answered, I remembered what life was that morning: a continuous day with no meaning, no celebration, and no purpose. I was being given a purpose now; I couldn’t walk away. “I’ll do it,” I told them. “Do what?” Catrina asked with a hint of suspicion. Behind her was Misty, followed by Portia in a new dress. I stood to allow them to slide into the seats in the booth. “We were just wondering,” I began with a shrug, “um, what’s going on here?” “What do you mean?” Cat’s disbelief was evident. Don’t ask me this question, she seemed to be asking. Don’t. “What happened to Portia, and why did you whip those women, and who are all of you?” I questioned in a long stream of words. “Oh dear,” Misty said without a hint of sympathy. “It looks like you just couldn’t keep your mouth shut, could you?” Her fingers snapped in a menacing summon. Then everything went black.

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I Forgot

Timothy Sumell For a split second I was joyful Mesmerized by something Far less painful

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For a moment there I was serene Captivated by something Less torturous to be seen For the blink of an eye I escaped the wrath That your actions caused I momentarily jumped the path

I forgot

For a heartbeat I didn’t think of you What you did to yourself That you can never undo Now I remember The anguish has my insides in a knot But for a moment One pitiful, free, and calm moment I forgot

Timothy Sumell


The Trench

Powers Perrotta Life here is nothing but a Trench.

Powers Perrotta

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The Trench

The Trench is deep and dark. It blocks out most of the sun, so it gets really damp, cold, and miserable. Sometimes the sun shines into it, and we feel its warmth on our cheeks; we get to see each other and smile for once. But that’s only for a few hours of the day. We are born into this Trench, completely hopeless. We never ask for it, but we get it all too well. My father scorns climbing the walls of the Trench. They’re steep and jagged. I ask him, “How else will we see the sun?” but he turns his head away. I never acted the way he wanted me to, and one day I acted out of hope. One day the sun didn’t shine down upon us as it should have. Dark, misty shrouds flew hauntingly overhead, blocking the sun’s forgiving rays. Water fell and started to flood the area around us. While everyone was busy looking for higher ground and trying to manage their possessions, I faced the walls of the Trench. My hands hurt as I dug them into the compacted mud. Rocks here and there scraped against my ragged clothing. I slowly scaled the bluff with water pouring down on my face. Thunderous booms echoed from the heavens. I kept moving, fatigue biting at my fingers, toes, and underside. I knew I could make it, despite all of the odds. I could see my life, and I smiled. But then I saw it, most of my life was the Trench and Dad. My smile faded. I could hear people yelling below. They didn’t want me to climb the Trench. The voices were angry, yet, none of them were Father’s. I didn’t want to look down to check, nothing could make me look down into that miserable Trench. The top was near, it was compelling! The air grew silent and the rain was starting to subside, falling lighter and more scarce. They couldn’t believe I had made it this far, and I was still going. My right hand grabbed the edge. I felt this weird, green cloth between my fingers. It was life-like and warm. I pulled myself up further, I could see far across a beautiful


land of lush green and tranquility. I yelped cheerfully, my eyes started to water. This is it! Then the edge of the cliff crumbled.

“I knew I should’ve taught him better...” The man’s voice was raspy and faint. “You always yelled at him.” The other man’s voice was low. “If I didn’t teach him how hard this life was, he wouldn’t have survived so well!” “You wouldn’t have had to! He could easily discover life’s hardships, like how deep this Trench is. The thing you should’ve taught him was where to look for salvation. He always looked up for the sun to shine, when he should’ve looked around at all the faces who could share a smile with him.” The father started to weep again. The other man left him alone in his pity. The skies cleared and the sun was shining once more into the deep, dark Trench.

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Powers Perrotta


Wise Old Man Madeline Narvaez I dwelled in the graveyard, Transparent and lonely, Until I saw an old man Grasping his flowers tightly. His eyes were fixed on a picture, Focused strongly, But his mind was elsewhere On something more lovely.

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Confusing as it was To see such a bright smile, While in the midst of it all His heart was futile. His eyes were misty, And his stone stature weakened. I stood by him and grabbed his hand, Knowing that was what he needed.

Wise Old Man

He patted my hand And looked back to the grave; He took a deep breath And looked almost afraid. But past all his fears I saw knowledge, Wisdom surpassing my past life That I’d be crazy not to acknowledge.

Madeline Narvaez


His heart was torn, Yet his smile was wide; His roses dull, But shining bright in his eyes. His story was magnificent, Its ending was sad, But still the man held his ground Despite all the bad. “Dearest man, Please tell me how you lived.” I asked him politely, Not sure of the answer he would give. He met my gaze, Steadily and warm, I could tell he understood For he asked not another word.

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“I feel 60 years young, But 70 years over: Most were bliss, And others left me sober. “I lived life for the moment And left memories for what they were, And not a day in my life Have I felt the need to spurn.

Wise Old Man

“I was loved, And I loved equally back, And though my loves were taken, I never thought their absence a lack. “For though they were gone, Their bodies not at my side, Their presence never left, Almost like their death was a lie.

Madeline Narvaez


“And as old as I may grow, I will never forget That my cup was always full And I never had to fret. “My dawns were always bright And my dusks too dark to see, But the stars always shone brighter In the darkest of my feats.” His answers were plain and simple; His meanings more complex. His eyes drifted away peacefully, And I knew his heart was at rest. I gently closed his eyes And took the roses out of his hand. I put them next to the gravestone And stared back at the magnificent man. I bent down slightly And sweetly kissed his forehead, And then I turned away in a mist of starlight, Not another word was said.

Wise Old Man

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Madeline Narvaez


Untitled

Amanda Westbrook ADA:

I need to make you understand that I am a love monster. Don’t you understand,

AmandaWestbrook

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Untitled

Johnny? I mean it varies from time to time. I go all over the spectrum! Sometimes I can be a life-sucking vampire. I seduce the boy and then drain him of whatever life force his previous succubus has left for me. I don’t mean to do it, but it just happens. I smother him with affection until he’s just a blue-faced, crippled corpse left in my pallid hands. I truly believe that Dracula wasn’t all bad; he just got a little carried away is all! Well, I’m the same. I’d blow Lugosi out of the water with the things that happen to me on a daily basis. You just can’t help what happens when you’re around such a devastatingly handsome piece of flesh. It really gets your blood pumping! But then again, I can be a lovable dope. Frankenstein is sweeter than molasses when you really think about it. He’s just this misunderstood, man-made monstrosity looking for love. And what does he get, Johnny? He gets met with torches and pitchforks. We’re kindred spirits, Frankenstein and me. Maybe Shelley had stemmed that whole idea from her own personal romance woes. It’s just not right. Even the bride created for him was terrified. And did Julia Adams ever even consider that maybe the creature from the Black Lagoon just thought she looked really hot in a bathing suit? What about zombies? They can’t all be bad. At least they value brains over looks! And how is it possibly fair that when an adolescent boy is experiencing his first time at Lover’s Lane it’s always under a full moon? The kid is this close to losing his innocence to a Brigitte Bardot wannabe, and suddenly he sprouts tufts of fur and starts salivating a little more than a normal teen guy. Susie—or whatever her name is—runs away screaming and never calls him again. The poor tyke didn’t ever stand a chance, and now his letterman jacket is destroyed, too! I’d even be willing to bet that the awful, spooky inhabitants under your bed are just looking for some companionship and somewhere to sleep. But the sad truth is that no one can love a monster. Especially not you, Johnny. I’m an amorous, love-sick creature, and I’m waiting for someone who can deal with that.


Promise

Powers Perrotta I wanted to tell you how much I loved you, Those words I was too afraid to speak. I wanted to hold you close, whisper in your ear How I don’t want you out of my reach. You asked me to keep us alive, still breathing, A promise I guess I couldn’t keep.

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In those distant nights I would curl up with you Lying in my arms, somber and weak. I wanted to tell you there was nothing to fear, But amidst those lies it’s hard to breathe. You’d hush me, looking into my eyes, whispering A secret I guess I couldn’t keep.

Promise

It’s when you’re silent that I have nothing to say, I feel all alone. There were secrets inscribed in your arms That I should have known, The trail of tears down your cheeks I didn’t wipe away, The shadows and the evils I couldn’t keep away. I wanted to tell you how much I cared for you, That what I did for you was worthy, To lift you up, carry you across the sky, Yet gravity won’t let you break free.

Powers Perrotta


You asked me to keep you alive, still breathing, A promise I guess I couldn’t keep. I saw you lying there, suddenly I knew, It was the last time I had to scream. I wanted to ask you to stay alive for me, A truth I guess I couldn’t speak. It’s when you’re silent that I have nothing to say, I feel all alone. There were secrets inscribed in your arms That I should have known, The trail of tears down your cheeks I didn’t wipe away, The shadows and the evils I couldn’t keep away. You asked me to keep myself alive, breathing, A promise I guess I couldn’t keep.

Promise

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Powers Perrotta


Spectrum

Jade Chung-Lee Black. Inky tendrils of atmosphere leak across the sky, a dark curtain over one half of the hemisphere. Black. The solemn color of the procession as it files past a rectangular box that holds what once lived and breathed.

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Black. Words flowing over paper, staining meaning into an empty White landscape. Neat, concise letters; meaningless scribbles; abstract shapes. Black… Limbo. Stillness, finality. Beneath closed eyelids, Black has three choices: give way to light, weave itself into fantastic images—dreams— or go on forever.

Sickness that seeps into your heart and soul—to the very core of your being. Dark and wretched, Black becomes an abomination. Black.

Jade Chung-Lee

spectrum

Black?


There are shades of Black. A spectrum that softens its harshness and lessens its finality. A light to illuminate the darkness—White. White as a fabled angel’s wings, White as fresh-fallen snow. White is pure, virginal. But what did Black ever do? Corpses are White. Ghosts and various other specters are White. The Devil was an angel, too. There needs to be a balance of both Black and White. Our supposed “Good” and “Evil.” Gray.

Spectrum

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Jade Chung-Lee


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Yo No Te Quiero Cassie Barrett

Si tú eres el sol Yo no quiero broncearme. Si tú eres el mar Yo no quiero bañarme. Si tú eres el colchón neumático Yo no quiero flotar. Si tú eres el anzuelo Yo no quiero pescar.

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yo no te quiero

Si tú eres la playa Yo no quiero ir Si tú eres el vigilante Yo quiero morir.

Cassie Barrett


I Don’t Want You Translation by

Melanie Bean

If you are the sun I don’t want to tan. If you are the sea I don’t want to swim. If you are a raft I don’t want to float. If you are the hook I don’t want to fish.

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YO NO TE QUIERO

If you are the beach I don’t want to go. If you are the lifeguard I want to die.

Cassie Barrett


The Eye of the Storm

Ebony James & Kyle McKenzie When a storm moves in, it claims dominance. Fear spreads, precautions are made; People huddle in their homes, praying to be spared from the malevolent savage.

It’s like the eye of God, showing mercy. Fear leaves you; hope, for the briefest moment, returns. The trees rescind to gentle sway; sound becomes non-existent. “O silence, what a virtue you are!” The salty tang of the ocean mist surrounds you. The sky, once feared, is so beautiful it could break your soul. Time just stops in place; the simplicities of life reveal themselves. It draws you in, calling your name with a heavenly whisper. The siren’s call is too strong to ignore. O how wonderful it would be to live in such paradise. The unspeakable beauty is rarely witnessed in the world, It makes you want to cherish it; remember it forever. The eye of the storm; the very definition of the perfect life.

Ebony James & Kyle McKenzie

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THE EYE OF THE STORM

The sun dies as soon as it starts, Replaced by a frightening gray sky. The air rattles, the night glows; The world exudes an eerie ambiance. Trees violently bash around, screaming with life; Hope seems lost. But the eye of the storm soon comes over you.


Change

Louis “Cito” Small, II

cHANGE

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Change: it’s a blame game. Why can’t things stay the same? We both need someone to clutch when we feel pain, Someone to keep us sane and together. But all we can do is keep praying there won’t be bad weather And hope this strain lights up—feather. But whatever, that’s reality, It’s a shame it works like an either-or fallacy. I won’t be somebody with such majesty. But I don’t want people going around Calling me “your majesty,” Owing me amnesty, but honestly, As far as real is concerned, this is all a fantasy. But now imagine with me: When a beauty meets a handsome beast They sit to feast on each other’s true nature. Enjoy each other’s flavors, savor it. Do yourself a favor, watch each other’s behavior. He came to claim her, while selfishness is this girl’s major. Innocence is this boy’s nature. Nothing will work in their favor. Naturally this will just fail, But now, so I can set you a sail, I shall tell you the moral to this tale:

Louis “Cito” Small, II


All we truly need is someone to treasure, To be there and to make us feel better, To keep us safe in their warm silky grasp. Somebody like that will truly last forever.

CHANGE

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Louis “Cito� Small, II


Look Behind the Mask Bri Posner

L

Bri Posner

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LOOK BEHIND THE MASK

“ ook at her. She’s goth. She’s a freak.” Those are the words I hear most when I go around town. This is something I loathe. I abhor when people stereotype me based on my appearance, the music I listen to, or my hobbies. I walk into a store at the mall sporting a black skirt, red and black tights, a Black Veil Brides band tee, and combat boots. My hair is teased up like a fountain, and wild colors are running through it. I have in ear-buds as I casually browse items. Within a minute there is an employee following my every move. Stalking me like I’m going to eat her young. I pick up a necklace and her eyes narrow on my hand movements. I turn to her and flash a genuine smile; all while she is most likely thinking, “What the heck is she wearing, and what is she doing in my store?” My mother walks in and I bounce over to her, “Hi, Mom! Look at this; it’s beautiful! Can this be my present for winning the science fair?” The mouth of the saleswoman following me is agape and I hear a gasp. As we walk to the register the clerk has a shocked expression. On our way out I hear murmurs. “Oh my gosh, did you see her?! She looks like a freak! I’m glad she’s gone.” These are the types of situations I experience all the time. It irks me that people think they have the right to tell me I’m weird, that I’m unwelcome at the “popular” lunch table because I’m not “normal.” What is “normal,” anyway? People need to realize that I dress differently, but I’m still an outgoing person who just wants society to accept me for who I am. People spend too much time in the mirror trying to make themselves look like everybody else. They try this because society is harsh. If you don’t fit their perfect appearance, you’re shunned. The world needs to just get over this! Accept people for who they are and don’t judge. If you have been close friends with someone for an extremely long period of time and they tell you they have an attraction to the same sex, are you going to discard them? Just because they don’t want to date the opposite sex they suddenly become expendable? This is the same type of situation as calling someone a freak, possibly even worse. These people need to open their minds!


Society has locked this perfect vision so tightly that they are suffering from oxygen starvation. I did an experiment one week over summer. I put on shorts, a pink tee, sandals, and had bleached blond hair. I went to the park and introduced myself to several random people my age. These people were the ones from school who were obsessed with cliques and belonging to the “popular” group. They liked my personality, so we arranged to meet again a few days later. The next time I saw them I was in black jeans, Converse with a skull and crossbones pattern, an Escape the Fate band tee, and my hair was dyed dark with purple flames. I approached them, and they freaked out. Telling me how ugly I was and how much of a freak I looked like. It’s just to prove that they didn’t give me a chance to be myself, they only liked me because of my appearance. This is how most of society is trained; if you don’t please the eye, you will be scorned. I can’t stand that people believe this behavior is acceptable. I can’t stand the fact that the world is corrupt with a twisted sense of acceptance. I can’t change the way society thinks, and I just have to deal with this and keep my head held high. I know I can’t be brought down; the words they spit are born from jealously because they don’t have the mind or strength to stand up and be unique. They are weak when standing alone and have to follow the herd. Words will never knock me down; they only make me stronger. They give me a reason to fight for my expression, and I wave my freak flag proudly!

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Bri Posner


Graffiti

Samantha Weigt It was surreal, beautiful, maybe illegal, But I know angels who have broken laws. Take a look at their halos, they’re brighter than ours. I’m not God and neither are you, So how would we know what He’d have us do? There is beauty in falling from your grace; There’s a thrill in leaving your safe space. Go out now and teach the stars to sing. This is our way—these are life’s finer things. How are you to find them if you always hide; Locked away like you’ve already died?

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gRAFFITI

Go stare at the sun and run through the halls. Life is not worth living if you haven’t seen it all. Set out to find it if you don’t know the truth. There’s right in wrong, though we don’t like to say it. There are forgotten tapes, though we don’t like to play them. There is beauty in falling from your grace; There’s a thrill in leaving this dead place. Go out now and find a new song to sing. This is the way to discovery. How are you to find life if you always hide? You’ve been asleep for years, but now is your time.

Samantha Weigt


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Untitled

Caitlin Buttery There’s one room at my grandmother’s house that I won’t go in. I just…I can’t.

UNTITLED

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Whenever I go into that room I see a hospital bed with cold steel bars around it and hospital equipment all hooked up to a poor, thin, old woman with very short gray hair and a vacant, half-aware look. That woman—she was my great-grandmother. She came to Connecticut from Italy years ago. She lived in Italy for a long time. We visited her home there once when I was really little. I don’t remember much from that visit, just little snippets of things. I remember that we watched Tarzan. And there was a tree in her yard that was great for climbing. However, I didn’t really see her as someone related to us. I knew she was “Nona”, which means “grandma” in Italian. I thought her house was too… I don’t know, stuffy. Not good for children. We rarely saw her. Until my grandma got a call. Nona had Alzheimer’s. She needed to come and live down here because no one could go and take care of her at her home in Connecticut. So she arrived. We came to see her and the first words out of her mouth were, “I want to go back to Italy.” Does it make me a bad person to say that sometimes I wish she had gone back to Italy? But who did she have there? She outlived her friends and her husband. In the end, she was an old woman with only her kids who had their own children and grandchildren to care for as well. I thought she was weird. She shuffled around the house and could only handle simple tasks. One day she tried to walk back to Italy. My grandma found her halfway down the road when she came back from shopping. She began getting worse and worse. Soon the nursing home she had stayed at for a few weeks sent her home, saying they couldn’t care for patients that far along. This was the first time it crossed my mind that she was going to die soon. After a while she couldn’t stand, and a nurse appeared. It always smelled like

Caitlin Buttery


ointments and rubbing alcohol in my grandma’s house. I remembered my mom, dad, and grandma talking in low voices while we watched movies on her TV. My brothers would be watching, but I would listen sometimes. There were always funeral plans. I still remember when we got the news. We were in the parking lot of Albertson’s. My mom put the cart back and got in the car when her phone rang. She pulled it out and said, “Hello?” She was absolutely silent. Her whole face suddenly fell, and she uttered a quiet, “Oh.” I had stopped listening to my music by that point. She hung up her phone and gripped the wheel for a moment. Finally, she choked out, “Nona is dead.” At once, I started crying. We sat in the car for a few minutes, just crying. Then we had to drive home and put away groceries as if everything was normal. After a while, my mom said we only cry because we’re selfish, and it’s true. I was crying because, even though I didn’t talk to her much, I didn’t say goodbye. I cried because I didn’t talk to her. I think her soul was gone though, long before her body. When she couldn’t speak or recognize us anymore, I think that was when she died spiritually. All I can hope is that she went to Heaven, and if I get up there, too, I can finally talk to her properly.

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Caitlin Buttery


Life Is Like a Puzzle

Michelle Bohl

To me, life is like a puzzle. When you open the box of pieces they are all jumbled

Michelle Bohl

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lIFE IS LIKE A PUZZLE

together; nothing seems to fit, and there is no definitive starting point. Over time you grow up, year by year, just like adding another puzzle piece. Over time, your life forms into a picture that you can envision clearly. There are obstacles and challenges to overcome. It takes time and pertinence to put everything together to form a picture, to understand how to get to the next level in life. It doesn’t just fit in your lap perfectly. It takes hard work to sort through puzzle pieces, trying to find the right piece to go in the right spot: life doesn’t always happen correctly on the first try. In a puzzle, there are straight, curved, rounded, and even jagged sides. Nothing is perfect; each piece has certain bends and curves which makes each piece different. These pieces are like our emotions, as we react differently to certain situations. People are never the same, meaning we are not just straight, curved, rounded, or jagged. We are all, and sometimes none, of these depending on how we handle situations on a daily basis. Some people do not learn and continue to act in the same way. These people often break the laws of society and even get in trouble because they decided not to adjust, fit in, or look for the proper fit to be part of a society and live by its norms and rules. I find it’s a window into my world. I choose to be all the different shapes and sizes and spend my time here on Earth in a way that I experience all life has to offer. I would rather experience all the different shapes and angles so I can broaden my experience and be a great member of my society. In the end, I will not always fit, no matter how hard I try to force the puzzle piece in. I will place my actions and myself elsewhere so I can “fit in,” so I can complete the puzzle.


Tumultuous Shawn Russell

How many stories have to be told to believe that one day dandelions will turn gold? A person’s faith must be so bold to turn Hell’s den to a damnation of cold. But why, only when reality turns gray, do we fill our hearts with the idea to pray?

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Shawn Russell


9/11: Never Forget

Courtney McGowan I’ve been generally unhappy for most of last week due to a combination of

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stress and lack of sleep. But as of September 11, I have never felt more hopelessly depressed. September 11, 2011, was the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, killing about three thousand people and affecting their families, America, and the entire world with the weight of the sadness. I know I shouldn’t watch the clips and the footage of the planes striking the towers. Watching the blazing buildings and people leaping to their deaths in a vain attempt of escape. To see them happier to die the instant they hit the ground rather than slowly as the flames engulf their bodies. But I do. I watch them anyway. Fortunately no family or friends of mine were killed in any of the September 11 attacks, but my heart breaks in remembrance of the people affected. Innocents dying nationwide: mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandmothers, grandfathers, human beings, souls lost in an unwarranted attack of heartlessness. I’ve heard people state that the September 11 attacks were ‘publicity stunts’ or ‘government-based attacks,’ but truly, I can’t believe that this event was a government-based conspiracy. That my government would murder innocents and blame it on another country. I believe that an extremist terrorist group is responsible for the attacks, and they were meant as a message to the American people. I’m sorry, but I can’t understand the message that was sent to me. Am I supposed to believe that my government can’t protect me? Am I supposed to believe that since the day of my birth my government has destroyed my faith in it? Am I supposed to believe that my government is weak, and then follow a merciless terrorist government instead? I wish I could turn back the clock and stop those men from boarding the plane. I wish I could resolve the bad blood between our countries and live in harmony,

Courtney McGowan


regardless of government, religion, or race. I wish I could save America the heartache that came with the tragic attacks on September 11. Just like a child not yet ready to comprehend the complexities of adulthood, America was not ready for the lesson it learned that day. I cried all day for the lost loved ones—the loved ones of families who were suddenly one member short. It was an involuntary reaction to the videos of the planes striking the towers, the speeches made by the families of the heroes who went into them that day and never came out. I was five years old the day the twin towers came down. I was innocently sitting in my first grade classroom learning verbs, nouns, and adjectives. I didn’t understand the power of what had happened that day—I was too young, my mind couldn’t understand why “bad people” had hurt my country, or why my mommy was crying when she took me out of school early and told me she was glad I was safe. I understand now. I don’t understand why the “bad people” did what they did, but I know that they have no justification for their actions. I’ll always remember where I was, what I was doing, and how I felt on September 11, 2001. I will always carry on my shoulders the weight of that sadness, knowing I will always remember the day my world changed. I will always remember. I will never forget.

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Courtney McGowan


What If...? Simeon Lyons

I am filled with elation to say that I love my parents and they love me, too. Their

wHAT IF...?

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love can only be measured by the infinite grains of sand there are on this earth, and can only be described as unconditional. They loved me prior to my nativity and have continued that same intensity of love throughout my entire life. However, they are not my biological parents. They adopted me two days after I was born from a nineteen-year-old woman who was still trying to find her way. From what I’ve been told, my biological mom, Kelly, wanted the best for her child, and she knew she was unable to provide the love I so desperately needed. Her parents searched for a couple who would love me the way Kelly wanted to. They couldn’t have found a more loving couple if they tried. I wouldn’t trade my parents for the world, but there are times I wonder, “What if my parents never adopted me?” or “What if Kelly decided to keep me for herself ?” and the one I think about the most; “What if Kelly and I ever meet?” Now I seldom think about these questions, but when I do it almost brings me to tears. It’s hard to imagine a life other than the one you have. A life where the two people who are your biggest fans are replaced by one individual who loves you and wants you to succeed in life, but not to the same extent. When I was around the age of seven, I had this “nightmare” of living in a foster home and having to share a bedroom with three other boys whom I barely knew. Instead of the goodnight hugs and kisses from parents, I received yelled and screamed threats of if I ever disobeyed my foster parents. I woke up from that nightmare petrified, until I realized that it was in fact just a scary dream. Just to make sure, I walked into my parents’ room and released a deep sigh of relief. As I meet new people and they ask about me being adopted, they always want to know if I want to meet Kelly. It’s a pretty straightforward question, but for me it’s very difficult to answer. I’m very skeptical of an encounter because I wouldn’t know what to say. Here is a woman who shares my DNA, but none of the memories

Simeon Lyons


or moments of my life. Lately I’ve given more thought to meeting her but haven’t given any true efforts to making it happen. I usually just imagine us meeting at a restaurant, and I’m perplexed as to whether I should shake her hand or give her a hug, so I just stop thinking about it and move on to something else. But just like a boomerang the thought comes back into my mind, and each time I’m confused by it all. My parents have always told me they are raising me for greatness in all aspects— from being someone who changes the world for the better to adopting a child of my own when I am ready. I want to be a great man and a great parent. Well, as I grow older in age and more open-minded, I’ve come to learn that being great isn’t about buying that new toy for your child or going to all of his or her volleyball games. It’s about making the decisions—no matter how hard—to do what is best for your child. That’s the one true lesson I have learned from Kelly: she didn’t give me up because she didn’t love me, it’s because she did love me. By handing me over she gave me the greatest gift of all, the gift of life and prosperity. I will always love her for that.

WHAT IF...?

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Simeon Lyons


Childhood

Samantha Weigt “I remember when everything was simple.” How cliché, How effortless and vague. I remember Being sprawled out on the grass, The swaying bamboo trees overhead, Creaking and whispering, Telling me life’s greatest stories, And me, soaking it all in.

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I remember running through fields of possibility, Playing in the sands of dreams, Building a future in blocks— But never seeing it that way.

cHILDHOOD

I remember the cold rush of winter— Warm gloves on my hands And warmer visions in my heart. The chill could only touch my fingertips; The rest of me was safe, Bundled in smiles and hope. And love. I remember love. I remember lightning snaking through the sky, The song the rain sang to our roofs. The comfort of a familiar bed,

SamanthaWeigt


And the light of the lamppost outside Making everything possible. The few stars in the sky told me I could write my own story. I remember wanting. I remember wishing and hoping. The ocean calling to me, “What a life you will have.” The tumbling shells and sand would say, “The world is perfect now and will always be that way.” I remember believing. I remember the flowers smiling at me With their hushed, soft voices. They taught me that the beauty in this world Was only a few steps away, Whenever I needed it. And back then, I believed it. I don’t remember Remembering. I guess that then, I didn’t need to.

CHILDHOOD

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SamanthaWeigt


There’s No Escape

Kristin “Kiwi” Rycko

Kristin “Kiwi” Rycko

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THERE’S NO ESCAPE

“Ow. Ow. Ow.” “Oh, shut up,” I mumbled to the carpet. “Well, geez, you don’t have to stomp on me so hard,” the carpet retorted. “Yeah, what the carpet said,” my shoes chimed in. “Ugh!” I growled, and sat down on my desk chair. “Hey! Warn me before you slam your butt on my face!” the chair yelled. I just sighed. I picked up my favorite purple pencil, gently of course. My pencil is the one object that actually likes me, and I never want to change that by being mean to it. Not like I’m ever really mean to anything else, most objects—like the carpet, my shoes, and the chair—are just easily irritated because they’re used so often, and they feel abused. However, I save my favorite purple pencil for special occasions only, so it’s really laid back. In fact, I’ve found a decent friend in it. It’s one of the only things I can find solace in ever since they made everything self-aware. I don’t know what they were trying to do with that. It’s not helpful at all, just really, really annoying. I always suspected that they were evil. Now I have proof. My pencil greeted me as I picked it up. “Hey, ‘sup, baby? Sorry about the other guys. Don’t know why they have to be so mean to you. So, what are we writing about today, honeybun?” Oh, yeah. I forgot to tell you. My pencil is kinda crushing on me. That still creeps me out. Especially because I don’t think it has a particular gender. And, oh yeah, it’s a pencil, for Pete’s sake. I shuddered. But I had gotten used to it for the most part. Better than it hating me like everything else. “I have to write a story to submit to the school’s literary magazine,” I replied. “Coolio. What’s it gonna be about, sweetie?” “Not sure. But there’s gonna be a guy named Fabio in it, and there has to be cheese. Lots and lots of cheese.” My pencil laughed. I have to admit, it has a pretty sexy laugh. Uh… just forget I said that, okay?


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“Nice, baby. Now let’s do this!” I took out a piece of paper from the drawer, carefully so as to not annoy the desk or wake up the paper. Luckily, my desk was shy and never said much, so it didn’t appear bothered. It’s things like that that make me happy nowadays. And yes, the paper was sleeping. In fact, it was snoring. I ignored the paper’s snoring and started writing. “Aaaah! Bloody murder!” the paper screamed. “Help me! Help me, I’m being stabbed to death! Aaaah!” I slammed down my pencil. “Assault! Assault!” the paper shouted. “Careful there, baby,” my pencil chided. “All right, I’ve had enough!” I yelled and stomped out to the kitchen, ignoring the angry outbursts from the carpet and my shoes. I slammed open the silverware drawer. The drawer screamed something about being violated. I ignored it as I grabbed a knife. “I am ending this right now!” I shouted as I held the knife up in front of me, pointing it at my chest. “Oh, hell no!” exclaimed the knife. “There’s no way I’m goin’ in there, man! Dude, all that blood and gore and stuff. Nooo thanks, man!” “Yeah, that would, like, totally put a hole in me. Not cool,” my shirt spoke out. “And it would, like, totally stain me with blood. Gross. Also not cool.” I dropped the knife to the floor, exasperated. There’s no escape, is there?

Kristin “Kiwi” Rycko


The Top 10 Tips to Surviving a Zombie Attack at Seminole Ridge

KEL Lutz

There are many major problems plaguing our society today: rising fuel cost,

global warming, and Justin Bieber, to name a few. Although these maladies should be addressed, the most pressing issue in the world currently is zombies. Yes, the living dead may not seem like a problem now, but they have been for centuries and will most likely continue to be into the future. The following is a list of helpful survival guidelines to follow should this problem, and the dead, arise on the campus of Seminole Ridge High School.

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1. Go to the cafeteria.

2. Wear a hard hat and safety glasses. Studies have shown that the dead will go for the human brain first. A hard hat will provide a significant amount of protection for your head. Also, safety glasses protect your eyes from zombie splatter. No one wants that stuff in their eyes. That’s just gross. 3. Join the good-looking, intelligent, amazing members of the cross country team. As stated in the movie Zombieland (based on a true story), Rule #1 is cardio. For these highly trained specimens, this is the easiest rule to follow. If you stay with these superb athletes, your chances of survival double. Start now—join the team.

KEL Lutz

THE TOP 10 TIPS TO SURVIVING

Everybody knows that zombies may go to the places they enjoyed while alive. This is why the cafeteria would be a perfect shelter. No one with most of their mind left enjoys that place. A person can survive weeks on cafeteria pizza; it can’t get any older.


4. DO NOT hang with the football team. You may think this is a good idea, but a majority of the team probably won’t last long. Football players are always celebrating tackles and touchdowns. The problem is, pulling a Tebow may look good, but leaves your blindside exposed. 5. If any of the sprinters on the track team get bitten, you might be in trouble. If the dead retain any of their abilities from their former life, most people don’t stand a chance against these sprinters. Those of us who do not have super speed might as well turn around to greet the corpse that is running toward us. On the other hand, you don’t have to be faster than the dead, just faster than your friends. 6. “Seminole Ridge, it’s time to Book It!” Listen closely to the morning announcements. If the usual fake enthusiasm is replaced with panic and urgency, stop thinking figuratively and take the phrase literally. Stop reading. Get up and run. Now. Book it! 7. The bees at lunch make great practice.

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If you sit inside at lunch (see tip #1), the bees aren’t a problem for you. For those of us who eat outdoors, the vicious bees are constantly terrorizing us. I have seen people move faster than I thought humanly possible when one of those striped menaces flew by. If you move like that when the dead start to buzz, you should be fine.

THE TOP 10 TIPS TO SURVIVING

8. DO NOT stay calm and orderly as you would with a fire drill. We often joke that with a real fire, no one is going to calmly exit the building; it would turn into complete bedlam. It is the same with zombies. I guarantee you that nobody is going to briskly walk to the nearest exit, but sprint through the halls, pushing people out of the way. I ask that you don’t push people, but definitely don’t wait for your teacher to take attendance. 9. Take advantage of the fact that some idiot parked in your spot. I’m sure this has happened at one point or another to those of you who drive to school. After obeying all posted speed limits and traffic lights, you arrive at school only to find that someone has taken your parking space. Sure you’re annoyed, but when the dead speed into the school you will be one of the first to get out because you had to drive to the back of the parking lot. You’ll thank that inconsiderate jerk later. 10. Life after death. As my last survival tip, after clearing the school of the undead, you might as

KEL Lutz


well have fun while awaiting rescue. Do all the things that you’ve dreamed of doing; hold jousting tournaments with golf carts, play Seminole Idol over the intercom, remake the “Thriller” video. Go nuts. I can only hope that this list can be the difference between your demise and survival. Until the zombies do come, let’s try to solve the world’s other problems: unemployment, the housing crisis, and Rebecca Black.

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KEL Lutz


My Porcelain Compadre

J.A. Gonzalez & Jonathan Little Quiet, silent friend Unrecognized by most A magic bowl of wonders When leaving, it’s best not to boast Cold to the touch Until it’s all over Sitting next to A plastic paper holder

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Used only when needed And sometimes when not Located everywhere Those stout porcelain pots

MY PORCELAIN COMPADRE

So next time you visit Be sure to be grateful To your quiet, silent friend And be sure to shake its hand(le)

J.A. Gonzalez & Jonathan Little


La Playa

Victoria Colditz

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Hay dos tipos de playa. Hay la que está llena cuando empieza el verano, donde gente de todas partes está bronceando con sus toallas, está pescando con sus cañas, está velando con sus botes.

lA pLAYA

Entonces hay la silenciosa cuando empieza el invierno y no hay nadie alrededor. Las olas rompen en la orilla. Las arena se encuentra sin movimiento. No hay botes, ni salvavidas, ni sombrillas. Hay solamente tú y la corriente. El sol se pone en paz.

Victoria Colditz


The Beach Translation by

Melanie Bean

There are two types of beaches: There is the one that is full When summer begins, Where there are people everywhere Tanning with their towels, Fishing with their poles, Sailing on their boats.

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lA pLAYA

Then there are the silent ones. When winter begins And there is no one around. The waves break on the shore, The sand is found without movement, There are no boats or lifeguards or umbrellas. There is only you and the current. The sun sets in peace.

Victoria Colditz


Oxygen

Samantha Weigt Into the shower: Let the water melt away All the painful hours Of a wasted yesterday. Cover up the circles That hang under your eyes; Wait around for miracles That always pass you by.

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OXYGEN

Look outside the window, Can you see the life out there? Or has it been too long Since you got some fresh air?

SamanthaWeigt


Fabio’s Midnight Cheese

Kristin “Kiwi” Rycko

Kristin “Kiwi” Rycko

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fABIO’S MIDNIGHT CHEESE

It was two minutes until midnight, and Fabio, the cheese-loving whale hunter, was sound asleep. Soon, at midnight, Fabio would instinctively wake up, go to his refrigerator, and eat a nice slice of his favorite Gouda cheese. And, oh, would he enjoy it. Savor every moment of the cheesy deliciousness. He needed no romance in his life other than the one he had for his Gouda cheese—the feeling of the curdy goodness sliding down his throat was all he needed to be happy. And if he didn’t have his cheese every night at midnight…Well, let’s just say you wouldn’t want to cross paths with him if that happened. The last thing you’ll see is a blur of mustache and a harpoon. 11:59. Fabio was still snoring like a chainsaw. But suddenly there was a crash, and Fabio was jolted awake. “What-a was that?!” Fabio exclaimed in his sexy Italian accent, rubbing his sexy Italian mustache. To Fabio’s surprise and horror, his bedroom window had been smashed and there was a huge whale on the floor. “What-a the hell?!” “Faaabiooo,” the whale growled, creating a rumble that discomforted Fabio’s cheese-deprived stomach. “What-a do you want-a from me?” Fabio shuddered. “Faaabiooo,” the whale rumbled again, “It’sss midniiight. Time for your cheeeese,” it hissed. “Oh boy! Gimme! Gimme!” Fabio was now excited. “Jussst kiddiiing,” the whale laughed. Fabio’s excitement faded. “Give-a me my cheese!” “Faaabiooo…You jussst don’t get it, do you?” “…No?” “Faaabiooo…you killed my faaamily. Now I will take what is dearest to you—your precious Gouda cheese!” “Nooo! Have-a mercy! Not my Gouda cheese!” “Fiiine. I won’t taaake your Gooouda cheeeese. I will take allll of your cheeeese!”


“No! You will take-a my life before you take-a my cheese!” “All riiight, I see how it isss. Have it yooour way then,” the whale grumbled. Out of nowhere, a harpoon shot through the broken window and impaled Fabio in the heart. On the tip of the harpoon was a slice of Fabio’s favorite Gouda cheese. A little note attached to the harpoon read: Here’s the cheese you wanted, Fabio.

fABIO’S MIDNIGHT CHEESE

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Kristin “Kiwi” Rycko


Gardening

Jaqueline Campos If I were a flower In a plain of plain wheat, Would you pass me by Like trash on the street?

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Or would you pinch off my petals, Pluck up my stem From the mass of gold stocks, Treasure me like a gem? If I were a flower Would you buy me a vase? Set me on the sill With sun on my face?

GARDENING

Would you put me in the shade Or scorch me in light? If I started to wilt Would you put up a fight? If I were a flower Would you give me a drink Of Fiji or Zephyr Or tap from the sink? Would you give me a drop, Maybe two, maybe three,

Jaqueline Campos


Or teach me to swim And completely drench me? If I were a flower Would you give me away? Or maybe worse, Try to make a bouquet? Would you keep me apart For only you to look? Take a picture to last Or press me in a book? Whether I’d become Blossoming or sickly, Green or brown or no thumbs at all, As long as you pick me.

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Jaqueline Campos


Rose of Time Jake Winthrop

Dedicated with love to Annie “Catastrophe” Warden

As far back as it goes, all of the love that history knows is said to be in every rose. But all the love I have for you couldn’t be equaled by any two.

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Jake Winthrop


The Walk

Robyn Exclusa

THE WALK

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For that moment, everything changed As we were walking to his car in the chilly January night, the parking lot was not just a parking lot nor his car just a car. There was no him and me, walking side by side, innocently. We were not we, but us. And at that moment I saw the possibilities of the opportunity available to me. I was given a glimpse of what he offered me. My vision blurred and we were in a near future. We were walking to his car in time and yet outside of our time, present and future, like this walk would happen again and again, and the action was special and normal in itself. My stomach caught up with my head, and the nervousness of first love hung in the air between us; it was us. I wanted to reach out for his hand and hold it the way I had a right to. Confused as I was, I understood that we could be together. His phone was still in my hand, and the object was soothing and familiar; like it belonged to me, and like I had held it multiple times before. I relished the rhythmic movements of our steps, the night, and the world. The air held sparks, and my butterflies felt exciting. The moment lasted for the length of the walk, long enough for me to take all of this in. I wanted it to stay as I wanted us to stay; for the moment revealed the possibility of us being together. It didn’t include the worry of unrequited emotions. In fate’s calling, we were already together, inevitably. Just as fast I was back into the regular rhythm of time. He was he and I was me. My stomach had yet to adjust, and my steps slowed as I took in what I had just experienced. He reached his car as I, still in my thoughts, slowed to a stop. “Are you coming?” he called back as he unlocked the car and moved to open his door. Mastering control over myself, I gripped his phone in my hands. Glancing down into my palms, I contemplated. Was I coming? Getting in the car somehow symbolized more to me than I’d originally thought. The phone was black, and it held the feeling of memories; moments of a life little known to me, yet a breath away. After all that had already

Robyn Exclusa


happened with me, would I really take the chance to try the love he had to offer? The driver-side door opened, the sound bringing me out of my thoughts. My grip tightened around his phone. That easily, I finally jumped off the cliff I had been staring down for the past three years. Taking a deep breath, I got in the car as his laughter at my hesitation confirmed my thoughts. The car ride was blurry in some parts and abnormally clear in others. I don’t remember the car turning on or the way he backed out. But I can see now the way he stopped at the end of the lane, almost hesitating himself, and then we turned right, on our way—together.

THE WALK

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Robyn Exclusa


An Angel

Timothy Sumell An angel walked among us, Full of happiness, joy, and light. An angel who was a master of masks, Who kept his feelings out of sight. An angel walked among us, Who suffered, hurt, but didn’t complain. An angel who we all knew, Who was full of pain.

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An angel walked among us, Who lived, breathed, and cried. An angel who we dearly loved, Who was pushed and shoved until he died. An angel flies above us, Who is safe, secure, and without pain. An angel who we’ll all keep in our hearts Who can never walk among us again.

AN ANGEL

RIP Kurt F. You will be missed.

Timothy Sumell


Survivors Ashley Abella is the most awesome girl in the world, a history nerd, and horribly disturbed. She loves anime, and she is a magical narwhal who can kiss Canada and ride dolphins with lasers. She is also terribly afraid of spiders—like, seriously, man. Those things are terrifying. Cassie Barrett loves writing, music, and theater. You’ll see her name more in the future. ;) Sam Blair says, “Hey mom, Sam’s gay. (:” Michelle Bohl is someone who’s going to live life to the fullest. Caitlin Buttery forgot that she submitted her monologue. In fact, Mrs. Bates submitted her monologue. Jaqueline Campos is confused and grateful, not to mention very blessed.

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Jade Chung-Lee is here and queer. Deal with it. >:3 Victoria Colditz is a master of the Spanish language with word flow like 50 Cent, but more cool and in Spanish. Courtney Contino is a teenage mutant ninja pirate dragon transformer who likes anime, fanfiction, reading, writing, art, and lives in your basement. I dare you to check. Nicholas DiNapoli is a tenth grader. Robyn Exclusa is a lover of literature. J.A. Gonzalez has to go to the bathroom suddenly. Erika Graubard is a senior in high school who has a passion for any kind of art. She is constantly reading, writing, dancing, or even doodling. She will be attending dental school in the fall with plans to continue writing in her spare time. Daisia Grafton is a girl who has blond hair and blue eyes. She made them [her accepted artworks] with spin art on the beach.


Jared Herron is the biggest of the birds. Mary Beth Hietapelto is in her own wonderland. Hillary Hutchings believes one can see a divine sense of dedication in her piece. Through the ups and downs of her work, she is proud to present her tribute. In the process of making her piece, a myriad of inspirations came to her. Her passion to uniquely capture nature drove her inquiring to make such a piece. In addition, she would also like to recognize Cheyenne Klipper and Mr. McKinley for all of their help. To conclude, she hopes that you all have enjoyed her piece as much as she did making it and thanks you. Nini Huynh is a sophomore who wants to be an artist and make it big in the world. Ebony James loves listening to music, doing new and crazy things, and talking in a British accent. She is also an intellectual beast. Samet Kurtishi is that kid who needs no help. Drawing is just capturing your imagination on paper. Dank cheese. Jasmine Lang loves Star Wars. Ronit Liberman solemnly swears she is up to no good. Jonathan Little says, “Stay thirsty, my friends.� KEL Lutz was born in the year 1064. He has regenerated four times. His TARDIS is still broken. Simeon Lyons is an aspiring U.S. Senator. He enjoys laughing, smiling, and anything that makes him smile and laugh. He also loves his mom, dad, and God. Courtney McGowan is taking things a day at a time, stopping to appreciate the beautiful things in life and all the people who love and support her. Kyle McKenzie likes history and reading, but works best with music. Kyle has also taken to writing his own stories. Kat Miller wants to be a voice actor but loves art, and her favorite medium to work in is either pencil or brush and ink. And cows can like totally fly a jumbo jet.

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Samantha Morgan isn’t too sure what she’s doing in life, but she’ll find the answers eventually. Morgan Musgrove is the kid in the tie-dye shirt lost behind a lion’s mane. She just wants to vibe to MGMT, lift weights, and keep smiling. (: Madeline Narvaez is a ninja. Shush! Don’t tell! People are listening… Alexa Perez is a freshman. Powers Perrotta will fulfill his duties as an average high school student and transcend the trans-being stairway of hypothetical heaven, taking his throne among the gods, sitting back and chill-laxing with Bruce Lee, Billy Mays, and Elvis Presley with a goblet of Redbull in his hand. Bri Posner is wandering in a world where dreams become nightmares. Shawn Russell is a gregarious person, but very serious and illustrious when needed. He loves Edgar Allen Poe and is very fascinated with the supernatural world. Shawn believes every day above ground is a good day.

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Kristin “Kiwi” Rycko likes cheese. And mustaches. She does not, however, like it when talking pencils develop crushes on her, no matter how awesome she is. Marc Sachs is a senior and is looking forward to pursuing both musical theater as well as psychology. He is the president of the International Thespian Honor Society. Gerson Santiago (a.k.a. coolest kid in school) has five yachts, two of which can fly through space. He is the founder of “the biggest awesomest company of all big awesome companies company.” Patricia Nicole Serrano (Panic) made new projects this year, all as an experiment in different mediums. Dominika Skosirena likes Nutella and drawing. Louis “Cito” Small, II’s parents saw the artist in him in his youth through the poems he wrote as early as sixth grade. He wanted to be in an orchestra in elementary school. They knew he was meant for greatness. Camellia “Skiittlesz” Smith expresses her inner talents and how she feels through writing and dancing. Money makes her world go ‘round; laughing is her hobby.


Never once do you see her not smiling. She will be attending the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in August. <3 Gabrielle Sousa is a misunderstood mermaid trying to find where she belongs. She has big plans for the future, but her eyes can be bigger than her stomach. She hopes to travel Europe, have a successful career, and live in Manhattan with James Franco. Timothy Sumell is what you would call an individual. Most people who know him think of him as weird or quirky, but basically heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just different. He loves romance and anything romantic, but can still enjoy those action movies all guys love. Cody Summerlin is a photography freak. Aimee Nicole Weigt likes to paint, sketch, write, sing when no one is listening, decorate her bedroom walls, blog stuff, make up nicknames for people, call people by their FULL name, ANDâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;likes to correct grammatical errors. (: Samantha Weigt hopes that someday no one will be afraid to live. Christian Wenderoth likes to take photographs of whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s occurring in nature. He wants to go into psychology and politics as his career. He also likes Chipotle. Amanda Westbrook has several words to say, but cannot form them into a coherent sentence. Paige Wilson is a junior who has a passion for writing. She dreams of majoring in journalism and becoming an editor of a Boston newspaper. Jake Winthrop is enlisted in the Navy as an MASN, an undefeated competitive marksman, and rides motorcycles. His hope is these words written for his love will last as long as the relationship.

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Mirage Staff


2011-2012


Artist Credits

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16 Christian Wenderoth, Fire, digital photography 19 Gabrielle Sousa, Buried, digital photography 20 Marc Sachs, Charlotte and Her Web, digital photography 23 Gerson Santiago, Two-Faced, #2 graphite pencil 24 Marc Sachs, Hide and Seek, digital photography 30 Jasmine Lang, Mountains, paper collage 33 Jasmine Lang, Sharp Landscape, acrylic 34 Gabrielle Sousa, Let It Pour, digital photography 35 Gabrielle Sousa, Black Swan, digital photography 44 Sam Blair, No. 1, watercolor pencil 47 Ronit Libermen, Street Scene, grayscale markers 54 Patricia Nicole Serrano, Untitled, markers and ink 60 Patricia Nicole Serrano, Crowd, colored pencils and acrylics 63 Courtney Contino, Fabio and Festus, clay and glaze 67 Christian Wenderoth, Milkweed Flower, digital photography 70 Gerson Santiago, Mummy-Worm, #2 graphite pencil and paint markers 72 Gabrielle Sousa, Washed-up, digital photography 74 Hillary Hutchings, Hop Into Spring, pottery 75 Marc Sachs, Glitter in the Air, digital photography 77 Jasmine Lang, Trippy, Drippy, watercolor paint 80 Courtney Contino, Ryushi, clay and glaze 84 Patricia Nicole Serrano, Hatter, mixed media 87 Samet Kurtishi, New World, pen and colored pencils 88 Daisia Grafton, Deep Blue Sea, spin art 89 Dominika Skosirena, Monochrome, mechanical pencil 90 Gabrielle Sousa, Nested, digital photography 92 Alexa Perez, Charcoal Flower, pencil and charcoal 93 Jasmine Lang, Alone, tempra 95 Mary Beth Hietapelto, Copied, charcoal and pen 100 Ronit Libermen, Little Girl, black tempera 108 Gerson Santiago, Sinners, #2 graphite pencil 109 Daisia Grafton, Blue, spin art 112 Cody Summerlin, Pelican, digital photography 114 Aimee Nicole Weigt, Pink and White and Everything Nice, mixed media 115 Christian Wenderoth, Milkweed Flower, digital photography 117 Ronit Libermen, Cat, tempera 118 Ronit Liberman, Untitled, watercolor 120 Anonymous, Untitled, pottery 122 Alexa Scharf, Bee on Flower, digital photography 124 Johnii Gonzalez, A Hanna and Connor Kind of Love, scratchboard 126 Nini Huynh, The Butterflyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tree, pencil and charcoal


Mirage Reborn