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SheCult SheCult

B i tc hc r a f t


Editor in Chief Olivia Townsend

Contributors Alayna Theunissen Noelle Maldonado Pixie Kolesa Tara McDonough Alexa Schapiro Chandler Puig Alix Alito Kaitlyn Shokes Olivia CAma rebekah czukoski

Photographers Sara Barber Brady McNish Tasha Skotnicki Alejandra Spruill

More SheCult Insta: @shecult_ Facebook: @SheCultaf Email: shecultemerson@gmail.com


By Alejandra Spruill


By Tara Mcdonough We took a trip to Salem, the first in a long line of pilgrimages. We fed off of the energythat clung to the cobbled streets. It was angry and pained, but empowering. We traveled together,a determined pack of women with newfound power. The faces of others blurred around us. We’dknown each other for just two months, but there we felt as if we’d known each other for centuries. Our supplies were gathered from every musky little witch haven in town and our rituals commenced. We burnt herbs, sat in a circle, and formed a bond. Everything was done together; eating,sleeping, drinking, dreaming. Our hopes lived and died together. It felt simple and easy, butturned dark quickly. One of us disappeared one day. She was almost lost to the night; totally gone from this world. Huddled together and scared for our lives, we put our faith in each other. Once we were reunited it was understood that we were sisters. It was a manic, volatile time. Sparks flew, burning through our skin unnoticed. We relied on our cards, the herbs we shared and each other. Looking back it felt like a dream. I’d neveronce questioned the strength of women, but I never truly experienced how blinding their bonds could be. Yet, it burnt out, eliciting a negative cloud of smoke that no amount of sage could fix. Just like that the spell was broken.


By Noelle Maldonado


By Olivia Cama They come at night, Cloaked in a veil of vines, Under the midnight moon, Wondering what they will find. Toes scratching in the grass, Nails etching the wood, Leaving a maze of patterns, Where they once stood. Lurking in the woods, They come up to your home, Breathing in the glass, Bodies just skin and bones. The windows are fogged, Like a snowy Christmas scene. They are the hurricane and storm, And nothing is what it seems.


Locks mean nothing, Boarded doors do not exist, A storm shelter cannot keep them out, Your ignorance is the only bliss. Running up the stairs, Fearfully on the top floor, Anxiously waiting, To hear a knocking on the door. They are not vampires, You do not have to invite them in, They screech and call out your name, And in the windows they just grin. Teeth yellow and stained, Enamel sharpened to a peak, Eyes dull and white, Mouths frozen in a shriek. They always find a way in, Tearing through chairs of leather, Ripping hearts and bodies in half, Until vines sew the house back together.


By Kaitlyn Shokes I chased an ending through an old doorway and it took me a long time to find my way back. When I returned, I became a ghost moving through the museum of my old life. My mind became a cassette tape being recorded over and over with warnings; warnings of what might happen, warnings of not straying too far away again. However, they don’t know what happened. They don’t know what I was running away from. My mother had me at the age of seventeen, and two years after having me, she disappeared. The whole family told me it was because she couldn’t handle being a new mother, that she ran off with my father. Only part of that was the truth. One day before my grandmother passed, she told me the truth. When I was born, my eyes were shiny and black all over, and the duela placed me in my mother’s arms and then fled as fast as she could. My mother looked into my eyes, shiny and dark as beetle shells, despising me on sight. She told me I was a small baby, and never made a sound, not even on the day I was born. Sure I wouldn’t live, my mother never named me. Months passed, and I failed to grow, but I didn’t die either. I lived off of formula my grandmother fed me because my mother refused to feed me herself -- afraid of her own child. A year bloomed and faded, and I was still as small as a newborn. My grandmother pushed my mother to bring me to a doctor, but she refused again and again. She hated the monster she created. See, my grandmother told me that my mother was worshipped before she got pregnant. She had everything: a full ride to college, adoring friends, a wonderful personality, and looks to kill. It


was all taken away when she realized she missed her period, and started to show -- the school expelled her. The only thing she could grip onto was the joy of being a mother, and that too was taken away. That’s why my grandmother didn’t stop her. On my second birthday, on a morning so icy cold the breath froze on your lips if you dared to go outside, my grandmother came in to feed me, and found a girl five years of age cramped in my cradle. My limbs were as frail as a fly, but my eyes were still a defiant black. She brought my mother in to show her that I’d grown. My grandmother looked at it as a miracle. My mother looked at it as a sign. Here is when my grandmother started to tear up. She didn’t go into detail, all she said was that my mother, with a look of determination in her eyes, walked out of the house, went straight to the empty well in the back, and jumped in. She said that she went after her, and looked in the well, but saw nothing. Not even a corpse. Then, when she went back into the house to check up on me, my eyes were no longer black. They were the color they are now, simply brown. After that I began to age normally. My grandmother swore to herself that she would raise me right, enroll me in school, and tell me what happened before she knew she was about to go. After the death of my grandmother, Athlea, time began to move faster and faster. My relatives ran around me planning, sorting, writing, ordering, doing, grieving, hiring, and starving. Starving like vultures, preying on me, grabbing at what I would let them take. My grandmother taught me everything, she was all I had. My other family gave nothing and was nothing. So, I had to get away. I had to find a place of peace. I went to the well. I’d had the most overwhelming week in my entire life, and I needed answers. I needed resolve. I needed quiet. I slipped away from my family unnoticed, and walked straight to the well. I had no doubts. I got on the ledge, then jumped without looking back. The ground no longer existed, it


was all black and stars as I began to pass through. Oddly, when I fell through, it just felt -- pleasant, not like a seismic shift in reality, which is how I understood it to be. I landed on my knees, with the wind knocked out of me. As I stood up, it began to sink in. I was somewhere that was not earth, something else. I was in a place where my By but Tara Mcdonough grandmother wasn’t dead, and where my mother might be. I looked around, tried understand myin surroundings. Yet, We took and a trip to to Salem, the first a long line of I pilgrimages. only had oneWe thought: This I was in fed off it of was the breathtaking. energythat clung toforest the cobbled was alive.ItThe to breathe around me. It a dense streets. was trees angryseemed and pained, but empowering. Wewas traveled dark wood with wise thick oaks could live I sawpower. magical together,a determined pack of Iwomen withinside. newfound golden fireflies swimming through I was entranced. I was The faces of others blurred aroundthe us.air. We’dknown each other panicked. Where was I going to go? What was I going to do? My for just two months, but there we felt as if we’d known each heart told me to go forward, and my gut agreed; however, the other for centuries. Our supplies were gathered from every wind whispered for me to be wary-- to stay where I was. I pushed musky little witch haven in town and our rituals commenced. through. Walking We burnt herbs,and sat hours, in a circle, and formed a bond. I for hours seemingly going nowhere, Everything doneof together; found myself was in front a decayingeating,sleeping, house, suffocateddrinking, by vines. I dreaming. Ourdoor hopes lived andwearing died together. It feltshoes, simple knocked on the and a man Nike tennis and and easy, butturned dark quickly. One of us disappeared one chinos and eating a Hershey’s chocolate bar answered. day.“If She was almost lostthe to the night; Itotally goneI am from this to you heard about chocolate brought, going tell world. you what Huddled I toldtogether everyoneand else. scared No. for I brought our lives, it for weme putand ourno one else. Well other. accept for Clary, but she’s also living with me, so faith in each how I say could Once weno.” were reunited it was understood that we were “Um, I didn’t come here for your chocolate, but can you sisters. help I don’t know where I am,” I begged, still at the me? It Please? was a manic, volatile time. Sparks flew, burning threshold waiting be let in. We through our skin skinto unnoticed. unnoticed. Werelied reliedon onour ourcards, cards,the theherbs h “Are you a refugee? Were you on purpose or an accident? we shared erbs w and eacheother. sharedLooking and each backother. it felt Looking like a dream. back Just to let you know now I don’t help accidents, all that pre-drama I’dfelt it neveronce like a dream. questioned I’d neveronce the strength questioned of women,the butstrength I never is none of my business,” he says with a nonchalance perfectically truly of women, experienced but I never how blinding truly experienced their bonds how could blinding be. Yet, their it unparallel to my panic. burnt bonds out, couldeliciting Yet, a itnegative burntthe out, cloud eliciting of smoke a negative that no amount of Trying tobe. put together perfect response, I cloud answered, of sage that smoke could nofix. amount Just like oftosage that could theIspell fix.landing.” was Justbroken. like that the spell “Purpose with ignorance where was was “Amazing, broken. another refugee runaway,” he says with disgust,


yet moves slightly to let me inside. His home was the complete opposite of the outside. The house looked like it came straight out of the ‘70s, with its orange shag carpeting, and vinyl wood panelling. The walls were overcrowded with posters ranging from Led Zeppelin to David Bowie. He led me to a green plastic covered couch, and offered me brandy to which I greedily gulped. “Ok, so, I’m not really good at this whole ‘welcome community’ thing, but I’m going to give you the basics before I send you off to the old lady or your new life. The world you ‘purposefully’ landed in is called Emberroth, and time here moves a little differently. Every night you spend here, seven years pass on earth. And, yeah, that’s about it. When you leave here today, walk where the wind tells you. It’ll lead you to the old lady, and your fate will be decided from there. Now get out.” He gets back up, grabs my arm, and starts to lead me out. “Wait -- I have more questions!” “That sucks, doesn’t it? Here have a Hershey’s,” he says after throwing me out and pelting me with a Hershey’s bar, which I end up eating but not enjoying. I tried to focus on the wind, to see where it would lead me. Unfortunately, I heard nothing, so I started walking with no direction in mind. The air was crisp, as if it were autumn, but the forest remained a deep lavish green. The light was ambient, suffused gold, but contorted the shadows. The shadows became more like stamps in the ground, like my shadow was choosing to see where I would end up, and if I ended up somewhere boring, it would leave me. After spending an hour of pushing through low hanging trees, I stumbled onto a path. A path that was almost too picturesque. It was lined with berry bushes, fat dewy flowers, and furry petals. They were all honey yellow, smelling like freshly baked bread. I stepped onto the path. I heard birds sing three and four note trills I didn’t recognize. A breeze moved through the bushes before


passing through me, I felt it flow through my ribs, nestle against my lungs, grip at my heart and urge me to go forward. I listened. Immediately after I started moving forward, the noise stopped. Replaced by a focused, annihilating calm, I could feel a bend to the air on the path, an almost invisible heat that made my fingers curl and nose itch. It made me hungry. I was hungry, By my Tara Mcdonough and my hands were aching for something to fill me up. I quickened my pace,We anxious was waiting for me, thenline I found took to a see tripwhat to Salem, the first in and a long of it,pilgrimages. or her. She We wasfed pale crystalline gray hair, on her offwith of the energythat clung to sitting the cobbled front porch eating an and apple. That’sbut when I noticed her Her streets. It was angry pained, empowering. We teeth. traveled elongated needle teeth. But it was worse when made eyepower. contact, together,a determined pack of women withwe newfound and I saw her her shiny-dark beetle shell eyes. I each stoodother there, The faces ofeyes, others blurred around us. We’dknown frozen to my core. for just two months, but there we felt as if we’d known each “Come closer Anya, let us negotiate your fate.” I started other for centuries. Our supplies were gathered from every moving forward, as if on auto-pilot. Why did she have black eyes? musky little witch haven in town and our rituals commenced. Were we connected? Could we have been related? My mind began herbs, number sat in a of circle, and formed a bond. to spiral We withburnt an infinite possibilities, none of them Everything was done together; eating,sleeping, drinking, good. dreaming. Ourguessing hopes lived and died together. feltinsimple “Now, I’m someone already filled Ityou on the and easy, butturned dark quickly. One of us disappeared one fact that this is no regular place, and there are certain rules one day.abide She was almost lostyou to should the night; totally from must by. Also, that come to megone to find outthis your placement world. Huddled here, if together you chose and toscared stay. Ifor have ourbeen lives, here we put sinceour this world created, and was told my purpose, which I have never faithwas in each other. questioned. Asweyou getreunited older, you’ll the more questions Once were it wasrealize understood that we were you have, the more pain you’re going to put yourself through as sisters. you theaanswers. Anya, I amSparks here toflew, grantburning you three find Itoutwas manic, So, volatile time. wishes. Forour each wish comes a painful truth one can never forget. through skin skin unnoticed. unnoticed. We Werelied relied on onour ourcards, cards, the theherbs h The greater the wish, the more painful the truth. Remember this, we shared erbs w and eacheother. sharedLooking and each backother. it felt Looking like a dream. back you only get three wishes total. If you choose to leave and then find I’dfelt it neveronce like a dream. questioned I’d neveronce the strength questioned of women,the butstrength I never your way back, you will still have the same amount you left with.” truly of women, experienced but I never how blinding truly experienced their bonds how could blinding be. Yet, their it She took another bite of her apple, and continued to stare at burnt could eliciting be. eyes. Yet,a itnegative cloud smoke athis negative that nocarefully. cloud amount of I mebonds with out, her black I burnt knew Iout, hadeliciting toofword wish of sage smoke could noover fix. amount Just of sage that could theperfect spell fix.was Just broken. liketothat began to that think and like over of the thing say.the spell was“Ibroken. will use two wishes: I wish to go home safely, with no time


having been passed. For my second, I wish my grandmother to still be alive, and only to die a second after I pass.” When I finished my requests, the old lady sighed, as if annoyed with the boringness of my request. Her eyes turned from shiny black to an earth shattering white, with everything else turning to silence as she told me my truths. “Anya, truth number one: you are a monster. Your mother was right. You were meant to be imprisoned here, but your mother sacrificed herself so you could become something. Truth number two: your grandmother never loved you. She just took care of you because she thought it was right. Even years after you started growing normally, she still feared one day you might turn back into the monster newborn you were meant to be.” As she finished, a blast of white, blinding light tore through me. Three months ago, I woke up in my bed, my wishes come true. I was home. My grandmother was alive and well. I just couldn’t forget. I tried. I tried so hard. I tried with all my might, but my eyes were forever opened. I began to see my grandmother’s side eyed looks, her resistance to hug me, her not so subtle suggestions for me to constantly get out of the house. I even realized she locked her door at night. So there I stood, once again on the ledge of the well, having realized that hell was caring about other people. Being an emotionless monster must be heaven. I jumped with full understanding of where I would land. When I landed, I did not take in the scenery. I did not listen to my heart nor my gut. I followed the wind directly. I found the path, and I ran to the old lady with the black eyes and needle teeth. I found her within minutes. This time she wasn’t eating an apple surprised to see me, she was sitting on her porch, smirking. She knew I’d come back. “One wish, one truth left, so what will it be?” she asked with glee. “I wish my mother never sacrificed herself, I want to grow


into the monster I was meant to be.” The old lady began to smile widely, perfectly showcasing all of the terror she was capable of. Again her eyes turned from black to white. “This was you’re destiny all along, and I can’t wait to see it play out.” By Tara Mcdonough So it was done. Even though Anya’s mom knew she’d given birth a monster with toblack holestheforfirst eyes, couldn’t give to We took a trip Salem, in she a long line of up. After AnyaWe grew a five-year-old shecobbled spoke in pilgrimages. fedinto off of the energythatovernight, clung to the full sentences, fragments. Always eerily in full, elongated streets. It wasno angry and pained, butand empowering. We traveled sentences. once again, stopped bigger. Years together,aAnd, determined pack Anya of women withgetting newfound power. went andofshe began to believe herus. daughter would always stay Theby, faces others blurred around We’dknown each other this size. Until, on the first day of winter, she went in to wake up for just two months, but there we felt as if we’d known each her daughter for breakfast, and found a girl of twelve sleeping in other for centuries. Our supplies were gathered from every her bed. She was a creature of points and angles, a colt who could musky little witch haven in town and our rituals commenced. barely walk on her new legs, eyes still black as ever. Anya stopped burntit was herbs, a circle, and formed a bond. talking asWe much, as ifsatsheinwere calculating something in the Everything was done together; eating,sleeping, drinking, back of her mind. Her mother tried to homeschool her, but it was Ourknew hopes lived andEvery died together. It she felt gave simple as dreaming. if she already everything. quiz or test her, and easy, butturned dark quickly. One of us disappeared one she aced. day.One She morning, was almostshe lost discovered to the night;the totally gone from black-eyed girlthis had transform world. Huddled into a seventeen-year-old together and scaredovernight. for our lives, Technically, we put ourshe was young in years, but had become very beautiful. Ever since that faith in each other. morning, her we mother and grandmother began having Once were reunited it was understood that weterrible were dreams, sisters.dreams about a fox with holes for eyes, and a child who laughed while an ice-cold pond. flew, One burning night her It was drowning a manic, in volatile time. Sparks mother, who sleep dueWe to relied the nightmares, walked over through ourcouldn’t skin skin unnoticed. unnoticed. We relied on onour ourcards, cards, the theherbs h to her mother’s room for comfort. That’s when she saw her mother, we shared erbs w and eacheother. sharedLooking and each backother. it felt Looking like a dream. back and her daughter standing right over her. Her mother’s skin was I’dfelt it neveronce like a dream. questioned I’d neveronce the strength questioned of women,the butstrength I never bristled with frost, mouth and eyes wide with horror. The air tasted truly of women, experienced but I never how blinding truly experienced their bonds how could blinding be. Yet, their it frozen in her throat, and there was a chill in her eyes, so intense burnt bonds out, couldeliciting be. Yet, itnegative burnt out, cloud of smoke a negative that frozen. no cloud amount it was causing them to aache. Even hereliciting thoughts were Itof was of smoke sage that could no fix. amount Just like of sage that could the spell fix. was Just broken. like that the spell already too late when she noticed her and her daughter were nose to was nosebroken. and eye to eye. Her daughter grabbed her wrist causing the


blood in her veins to freeze. The last thing she ever saw was her daughter’s eyes go from the blackest black to the whitest white. After she was done with her mother, she knew she had to fulfill the rest of her purpose. Thoughtlessly, Anya was pulled to the well. She walked through the wood as if she had been born there, knowing every turn that led her onto the path to the old lady and her home. When she arrived, she was surprised to find the house was abandoned. She walked into the rundown wooden house and discovered a normal home. There were no cauldrons filled with cobwebs, no potions lined the walls, it was just a plain home filled with books and forgotten memories. Anya walked up the stairs, and felt the icy fire within her grow with every step. She entered the first bedroom on the right, she saw a beautifully warm and golden orb in the middle of the room, taking up most of the space. The orb itself was surrounded with a glittery golden viscosity. When she looked inside, she saw all of the refugees, all those entrapped and who inhabited Emberroth. It was astonishing. Anya could even saw the man with chocolate who helped her in a past life. Curiously, she touched the orb where he was standing, and her hand went through. She could control anyone or anything in Emberroth. She could make her own utopia. This is it. This is what she was meant to do. Anya’s eyes again went from the blackest black to the whitest white as she grabbed the orb with both hands. A terrible frost began to spread, and painted over the warm golden glow with a bitter blue-white. All the beauty, the magical qualities that the refugees sought out, was now gone and so were they. When the deed was done, Anya removed her hands, satisfied with the hell she created, and lived happily ever after.


By Noelle Maldonado


Sexy spider!

By Alix Alto

Sexy pool of blood in a dimly lit alley - who was here before me? Who’s here now? Sexy, slow death from a preventable disease without access to affordable treatment and people around me moralize about how I should have taken better care of myself so really it’s my own fault and I die alone and in pain and hating myself. Sexy ghost! Sexy, my best friend’s open casket and the curve of my spine grating on the pew and I failed to help before it was too late. Sexy exposure as a narcissist who interprets human tragedy through the paradigm of her own inaction. Sexy guy on the bus staring at me and licking his lips so I get off at an unfamiliar stop, but then he gets off too and I’m not sure how to get home. Sexy adherence to gendered scripts about a woman’s responsibility to spoon-feed men the ability and inclination to do basic conflict resolution and interpersonally communicate, but also feeling guilty for reproducing those dynamics because are you really a feminist if you acquiesce and let a man breastfeed from you because it’s in your nature to nurture and it’s virtuous to feed the hungry?


Sexy dismembered lady corpse! Sexy lifetime consequences of constantly evaluating how attractive I am and putting stock in even my pubescent sex appeal because being conventionally fuckable is rewarded with attention if not humanization Sexy I’m not hot anymore Sexy depressive relapse! Sexy men think I’m a whimsical curiosity because of my psychiatric illness but instead of falling asleep with a slim volume of poetry in hand and drowning myself in a river at the end of the third act because I’ll never feel true love’s kiss, I’m just hard to get along with. Sexy I only have the language to talk about my fears when I’m writing pithy bite-sized jokes for other people’s consumption. Sexy during the last time she threw me out of her house my mother made fun of the way I fumbled the word “pithy”, because my face was flushed red hot and my vision had begun to tunnel and my eyes were trained on the spot above her head, because speaking felt like vomiting, the way your body becomes a vessel in service to a greater force and you’re sustained by the expulsion even though it depletes you. Sexy things will never get better. Sexy if they do, I have to try harder.


OC


(C U LT )


“Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.� -Pat Robertson


By Olivia Townsend


By alexa Schapiro On the eve of Halloween, just as the sky turned an amalgam of red and gold and pink, a boy sat under the solitary tree atop a hill that overlooked his town. It is no different to any other small town in America, except that a tragedy of epic proportions had recently struck. The week prior to the beginning of this story, another boy— one who had a bright future in his path and was always generally cheerful to his neighbors and friends— skillfully made a gash into his arm, cutting directly through the artery connected to his heart. Marcus Black’s mother found him sprawled across the floor in his room, his body damp with blood. Her ears were ringing. Everything was muddled and blurry and desaturated. She lost control of her breath. The mother did not remember screaming, but her painstreaked shriek was heard through the neighborhood, piercing through every home and heart. The boy under the tree was Marcus’ best friend. His name was Elijah Aston and he could never have anticipated this. It had seemed like any other school day. The boys both arrived at school quite early as their parents had to go to work and, being 15, neither of them could drive themselves. They met about 40 minutes before school began each day at Marcus’s locker. It was out of the way of the main hallway so they more or less had a sense of privacy. All that he remembered of that early


morning conversation was Marcus trying to explain why Communism wasn’t really that bad but Elijah was either too tired or too preoccupied in his own thoughts to appreciate a good, red debate. However, he always liked that they had so much time together before school because it gave him something to look forward to in the morning. Later in the school day, he always had to share him with Marcus’s girlfriend, Cindy. A very pretty girl with light brown hair, green eyes, and a better body than any other sophomore girl at their school. Elijah would have to have been blind not to notice that. He did feel bad for Cindy though, as she was always desperate for Marcus’s attention and he seemed indifferent towards her; he liked her well enough, Elijah thought, but she was nothing more than temporary to Marcus. He wondered if Marcus had been trying to explain himself to his friend but it came out as a whisper, too quiet for Elijah to discern. Presently, he looked down at the town as a thick layer of fog covered it, leaving him blind to the world. It should have been me. He thought about all the good things Marcus had brought out in him, gone now. This past week, he had been living day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute, not focusing on the future— what future?— just functioning on autopilot. He watched as the sun sunk deeper into the horizon until the world was enveloped by darkness and walked down to the cemetery to spend Halloween with his dead best friend. “Hey Mark, sorry about not coming to your funeral but I didn’t think I could stand looking at your mother


cry and listening to some priest talk about how it’s just a new beginning to the afterlife when you didn’t believe in that, and I sure as hell don’t. I don’t know where you are. I thought I’d always discover the mystery behind death before you did. I guess you always felt immortal to me, or something. But you died at 15, and me? Well you left me here,” Elijah sighed. “I just don’t get it.” He knew what he was doing--talking a dead person in the ground--was borderline crazy, but mourners often feel so even if they don’t seem it on the outside. “You really are depressing.” Elijah darted his eyes in his surroundings, looking for the speaker. A young man jumped down from a nearby tree. He looked about 26 years old with a clean-shaven face, reddish-brown hair, and dark eyes. He took a bite into an apple. “Name’s Peter by the way,” he said between bites. “I own this place.” “Huh? The cemetery?” Peter walked right over Marcus and sat on his tombstone. “Hey! Get off of that,” Elijah moved toward him, his adrenaline running. He walked right up to the redhead and threw a punch aimed at his eye, but his hand went right through Peter’s head, like it was air. He had been leaning forward for the punch and fell down. Elijah tried kicking the man but ended with a terrible pain in his foot from kicking the grave. He furrowed his brows and grunted in frustration.


“That won’t work on me, Elijah,” Peter said. “I didn’t tell you my name,” Elijah said through his teeth. “How do you know my name?” “I heard it at the funeral,” he said. “I’m sorry about your loss.” Elijah nodded. “I didn’t mean any offense sitting here, but as you know now, I don’t have any effect on it.” “What do you mean?” Peter raised his hand against Elijah, who flinched, when it just…went through. Elijah felt nothing, but he saw the man’s hand pass through. “I’ve owned this place for a very, very long time,” Peter said. Elijah’s eyes widened. “Peter Painter… you started the cemetery after the old one burned down in the 30s. I’ve read about you in school.” “It was torched by a bunch of kids in 1933. I set out to rebuild it in ’34.” “Why?” “Everyone needs a place of mourning. You know, I see people coming here every week and place flowers by the grave of a loved one. I’ve seen people grow old and have a place themselves here. I’ve seen my own loved ones come by my grave, and only one kept coming until she died a few years ago.” “Did you see her— when she died?” “I don’t see anyone, no. I just stay here, watching the living go by.”


“So why are you still here?” He shrugged. Elijah hoped he would be able to tell him where Marcus was now, but he knew he should not have hoped. “I miss him,” Elijah said. “He was my best friend.” “Everyone experiences loss,” he said, “but that doesn’t make it any less painful when it happens to you.” “It should have been me.” “Why do you think that?” “Because Marcus wasn’t sad. I am. I’ve always been the depressing one. I don’t get it.” “Maybe he didn’t feel like there was any alternative.” “He could’ve talked to me! I was supposed to be his best friend and I didn’t know anything going on with him.” “Did you ever ask if he had any problems?” “What? No but I always told him about mine without him needing to ask.” “Maybe that’s the problem,” he said. “Maybe he didn’t want to burden you with his problems when you already had enough of your own. Or maybe he could never get a word in when you two talked.” There was a pause. Finally, the figure resumed: “What was your friend’s life like?” “I don’t know. He had good grades, hot girlfriend, everyone liked him. I don’t know how he could ever have been sad.” “Well let’s look a little deeper, shall we? I want to show you something.” Elijah shrugged at the ghost.


Peter stood very close to him and put his hands over the boy’s eyes. Suddenly, Elijah’s vision changed. He was in Marcus’ living room. It was dark and hot as the TV played Friends and Cindy was kissing Marcus. He brushed her off and explained that it was only because this was his favorite episode. Cindy paused the TV and tried kissing him again. “I’m just not in the mood today,” he said. “Why do you only kiss me when we’re in school?” “What do you mean? That’s not true.” “It is. You only kiss me when other people are around, lately. Do you want to break up with me?” The didn’t linger for long but to Cindy it was long enough. “No, of course I don’t,” he finally said. She tried kissing him a third time, but it didn’t pan out. “I can’t with you right now, Mark. I’ll walk home and you can text me when you feel like being my boyfriend again.” As she stormed out from the front door, Marcus sat a few moments in the dark before crying. In his room, he opened a dirty magazine and looked at the women. In the background, Elijah looked a Peter with a concerned face. Marcus’ eyes kept darting from the magazine to the zip in his pants, waiting for a reaction. But none came. He grunted as he punched the wall. His fist was bloodied but he punched again before sliding to the floor, head in his knees. He continually whispered I can’t be I can’t be I


can’t be until he could no longer speak. Marcus covered the hole in the wall with a photo of Jesus in a frame. Thankfully, his house had many of those. Peter lifted his hands from Elijah’s eyes and they were back in the cemetery. “What was that?” “The day before Marcus killed himself,” Peter said. “But that can’t be,” the boy said. “I saw him that day and there was nothing wrong!” “Was there a new “decorative piece” in his room?” Elijah thought back and, unfortunately, what Peter said was true. The picture had been right there and Marcus’ hand was wrapped in gauze. “He told me he hurt his hand playing football.” “Now you know why.” “But what does that matter? It still hurts.” “It always will hurt.” Elijah sat back down, across from his friend’s grave, as he was before he saw the ghost. “So what do I do now?” “Simple. You focus on all the things you do have rather than what you’ve lost. Marcus would want you to be happy. You’re only 15, there’s so much time to heal this wound so that it won’t hurt so much, and some days it won’t hurt at all. “You stop isolating yourself from everyone because you are all hurting. You start doing your homework again. You don’t spend Halloween alone. You let yourself be happy even though your friend is dead. But you can’t do any of that until you acknowledge that he is.”


Elijah felt tears streaming down his cheeks and his throat felt heavy. “I can do that,� the boy said. However, no person, neither living nor dead, stood around him. Just a bunch of people in the ground. But that was okay, as this was their place to be in, their home, not his. Elijah Aston collected his things and left the cemetery that October night, fixed on returning to the land of the living.

By Pixie Kolesa


By Tara Mcdonough I was one of those kids that had a creepy obsession with The Nightmare Before Christmas. I read every edition of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and all of the Goosebumps books that my school library had. I loved anything that would keep me up at night. If other kids didn’t think I was weird enough then the fact that I lived above a funeral home was what really did it. When I got older I became attracted to darkness in a different way. I covered every inch of my bedroom walls with Edward Cullen’s pale sparkly face and often fantasized about my own undead love story. At the time I hadn’t realized that even though I wanted desperately to be Bella Swan, I wouldn’t mind getting the chance to makeout with her either. It wasn’t until I was in an all girls catholic high school that I learned it wasn’t just tall, dark, and intimidating guys that I was interested in. Tall, dark and intimidating girls were even hotter, especially if they were mean too. Toni didn’t always give me attention, but when she did it was the greatest moments of my hormonal teenage life.


She wore a lot of black, listened to screamo music and talked about how much she hated her mom. So, I started to wear black, listen to screamo music, and talk about how much I hated my mom. Sometimes she ignored me for days and other times I could feel her eyes following me. I couldn’t tell which turned me on more. I don’t romanticize my heartbreak or fixate on my teenage angst anymore, or at least I try not to. These days I do a good enough job of scaring myself on my own without any edgy catholic school girls, vampires or ghosts. Becoming an adult is actually the scariest thing I’ve encountered so far. The adrenaline rush I’d felt in high school doesn’t feel as good as it used to. On one handthis is a good thing my desire for darkness was often self destructive. On the other hand, I now panic at the first sign of discomfort. I no longer feel invincible. A good scare is nice every once in a while, but I try to remind myself that everything doesn’t need to be so dark. I tell myself that I deserve some light.


First creepy song I ever wrote. By Chandler Puig I know you from a far off place Read your name engraved But erased it, oh, I erased it... You know me, yes, you know me and I know you. So I’ll pretend all I damn want you want me too. But when the weekend comes, and I’m all alone I’ll kiss your image... Copy, Paste, oh, Copy, Paste onto my screen Photoshop your face until you’re on my team. Please know I’m kidding, ‘cause I’m not that good at Adobe But I do want you to be with me... 1,2,3 oh, 1,2,3 now please kiss me The score is waiting, and I want to add Plus 3. I know you from a far off place Read your engraved name but by know, you probably think I’m just insane


Bitchcraft  

Fall 2018 Halloween Zine

Bitchcraft  

Fall 2018 Halloween Zine

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