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Conestoga High School Berywn, Pennsylvania 2014-Volume II Issue III


Letter from the Editors Dear Reader,

Thank you for picking up a copy of our literary magazine. This year’s theme is a field guide, a tribute to both the arts and sciences, subjects that we believe are heavily intertwined. In developing our field guide, we opted to use bionomial nomenclature, making each piece in our publication a species. With the aid of our staff Latin scholars, we developed our titles for classification. In binomial nomenclature, the first word is the genus while the second is the specific species name. For our purposes, we chose the shared genus of Ars, meaning art. We categorized the specific species as poetica, fabula, or pictura—poem, story, and picture, respectively.     This year, 10 seniors--a third of our staff--will be leaving the Folio. Over the last four years each of these seniors has progressed as artists and as people. In that manner, we hope our magazine sucessfully records the observations on their work over time. We are not just a publication promoting student work; we are a longitudinal study on each contributer. We found our philospophy in the words of another artist: Charles Baudelaire. From the mouth of one young poet to the ears of a few others, we found a shared perspective in his belief that “Beauty is the infinite in the finite.” In our field guide, we hope to celebrate what this year has meant to us. Yet that sentiment is not quantifiable; it cannot fill any number of pages. So we must be satifised to fill our magazine with the best snippets and sparks of the year past. We cannot describe the ecosystem in its entirety, so we must be satisfied with cataloguing its individual components. Beauty doesn’t always have to be larger-than-life. Often, art is merely life-sized, but offers the most insight and understanding. As you read on, we hope you can find the infinity in this finite collection. Thank you,    The 2014 Editorial Staff of The Folio    {Annie Xu. April Huang, Carly Milito, & Katherine Dautrich}


Table

of

Contents

1 2 3 4 4 5 10 11 12 13 14 14 16 17 21 22 24

Avarice's Desire

26 27 28 30 32 33 34

Drowning

Katherine Dautrich

Car Drop

Dylan Pearce

A Distant Utopia

April Huang

34 36 37 38 40

Two Women

veins Jorgamundur Buried Procrastinator's Dilemma

Jason Vassiliou Sophie Carpenter Delphine Mossman Annie Xu Jodie Fong

My Little World

Wendy Tan

Sis

Carly Milito

Jym

Carly Milito

Path of Life

Jason Vassiliou

Letter #22

Rachel Klein

Airborne

April Huang

On Physical Therapy

Kara Schwartz

Legs

Dylan Pearce

A Game of Clue

Kate Edwards

Rocket Man Jane Doe On Getting My Shit Together

Ocean Eyes A Story about you

Rhian Lowndes Julia Bevan Peter Brown

Elizabeth Shilling Tracey Pugliese

Grid

Delphine Mossman

A Conversation Observed

Katherine Dautrich

Pollination Dark Chocolate, White Gardenias Angel Soldier

Rachel Klein Julia Bevan Fiona Copeland Nicole Delgado Wendy Tan


43 44 46 47 47 48 49 52 53

Eg er Til

54 55 56 56 59 60 61 62 63 65 66 67 68 69

paris burning

Anna Triangle Shirtwaist

Tracey Pugliese Elizabeth Shilling Annie Xu

Benny's Dispatch

Tracey Pugliese

Colors of the Soul

April Huang

Butterflies in My Stomach Paintings hier steh ich allein Falling

Jodie Fong Kate Edwards Tracey Pugliese Wendy Tan Tracey Pugliese

Rocket Aspirations

Wendy Tan

Serenity

Melissa Cui

The Mountain or the Sea

Eric Margolis

As Plain As Day

Dylan Pearce

life support White I've Been

Tracey Pugliese Katherine Dautrich Tracey Pugliese

The Darling Misadventures of Mr. Penumbrum

Jack D'Emilio

Hat

Dylan Pearce

Insomnia

Jason Vassiliou

Waking Up

Rhian Lowndes

Unchanged

Elizabeth Shilling

Fingerprint

Delphine Mossman

70 72 72 76 77 79 80 82

The Median

Kate Edwards

Galatic Spiral

April Huang

82

Mr. Morior

The Room The Eye Soul Searching in an Amusement Park You and me (but mostly me) Body of Nature The Botanist

Kate Edwards Elizabeth Shilling Caroline Mak Tracey Pugliese Elizabeth Shilling Dylan Pearce Annie Xu



Jason Vassiliou

{Avarice’s Desire} Ars poetica Wandering by a steaming pond, Staring through the water, I spied a small beauteous orb, Surely an emerald’s daughter. Magnificently it sparkled, upon its bed, Far below the Sun. Goading me to dive deep down To be forever gone and done. Incessantly—longingly—it called to me, Staring into my eyes. As I stood there, my gaze unwavering, Regardless of my desperate tries. Soon I lost my long-held wit, Jumping, diving deep down. Deeper I swam, towards the gleaming beauty, To most certainly drown.

1


Sophie Carpenter

{veins}

Ars pictura


Delphine Mossman

{Jormungandr} Ars fabula    The only thing remarkable about the field is how unremarkable it is.    It should be illegal, really, to have this much nothing in one place at the same time. And yet here it is, stretching out in all directions until the border between the earth and the sky morphs into a nearly indistinguishable line, lazily separating brown-green from brown-blue. Left unattended, waist-high grass waves in a breeze that curls around into itself, forming an endless ring until the wind tires out.    In the field, a mouse makes its home. This particular specimen is no different from any other mouse; it lives with its mate in a small nest of woven grass; it has a litter of five half-blind offspring; it is eaten by a rattlesnake. The snake snags it on one of the mouse’s rare excursions outside to try and find food. Its death is quick and humane, and its mate does not mourn.    The snake, after its meal of rodent, slithers off to try and track down another collation, or perhaps a place to sleep, away from the chilly night. It is getting dark earlier and earlier, and the snake’s instinct tells it to hurry and find a nice unoccupied burrow or log to curl up in until the warmth returns. A hawk catches sight of it and seizes it in its talons just before it could disappear into a hole in the earth, and the earth does not mourn.

The hawk carries the dead snake back to its keening, starving children, and they eat well after their mother has had her fill. They quiet down for the night, as does the mother. In the morning, it flies off to find more food. One of the chicks falls out of the nest, flapping naively until it lands on the ground with a soft plop. The baby cries out, drawing the attention of a coyote, who chomps it in its jaws to silence its whining, and the mother does not mourn.    The coyote carries the hawk chick back to its den, where it turns the meat and protein into milk for its newly born pups. They are blind and deaf and dumb to the world, and cry out softly as they scootch their way around the den. The mother settles down, and ignores one pup that has strayed too far from their home. Its cries grow weaker and weaker until they stop all together, and the coyote does not mourn.    The runt rots, even as the coyote moves on to a different den with her pups. Its bones are picked clean of flesh by scavengers and insects, and it slowly sinks into the ground as seasons pass. The patch of earth sprouts new grass, fresh grass rooted in the carcass of the young coyote. A mouse, no different from any other mouse, finds the new patch of grass, and decides to build its woven nest in it.    The phoenix is reborn; the snake swallows its tail; life goes on.

3


Annie Xu

{Buried} Ars pictura

{Procrastinator’s Dilemma} Ars poetica I glance at the clock I think, “It’s only midnight”. It’s late—it’s early.

Jodie Fong


Wendy Tan

{My Little World} Ars fabula    In my little world there are Mama, Papa, Ellen, Theodore, and Dan.    Mama, responsible and strong, and the energetic Papa who loves her.       Ellen, the oldest of us children, lovely and kind and smiling whenever she can.    Theodore, top of his class, always buried in books and homework, hardly ever coming out of his room.    Baby Dan, a typical baby, crying and drooling and sleeping all day, all night.    And there used to be Alice.    Alice, who trailed right behind Theodore, just a few years younger and heading into middle school – bright, precious Alice. Brilliant, beautiful, tragic Alice.    I love Mama and Papa, and all of my brothers and sisters, no matter how loud and annoying our home can get. The arguments, the laughs, the teasing and joking and occasional fistfights, I love them all.    I love them, so why did they have to disappear? If everything was still the same, it wouldn’t matter that Alice was dead. But for weeks, that was all that mattered, and nothing was the same.    Mama fell ill and refused to leave her bed. Papa, forever cheerful and upbeat, dragged his feet from room to room and seemed to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. Ellen lost her will to smile.    And me? If I didn’t think about it, I didn’t feel

anything. Everything was only just a tiny bit off. The little things. One less person on the morning car rides to school. One less plate at the dinner table. Life went on.    But still, there were constant reminders in Mama’s closed door, Papa’s sluggish movements, Ellen’s red eyes, swollen from crying. Even if my little world was unchanged for the most part, nothing would really be the same in our family again.    Nothing would be normal as long as Alice was gone.    So maybe that was why they brought her back. …    “Good morning!” a light and lively voice exclaims, as two arms wrap around my back.    Ellen?    “Your brothers are still asleep, you know how boys are.”    She crinkles her nose a bit, lips quirking upwards, and then breaks into full laughter.    For this past month, I’ve been treated as if I were invisible. Even at school, I sat alone and kept to myself. And here, at home, I only walked in the shadow of a sister that wasn’t there. Now Ellen is standing before me, hugging me, laughing. Alice’s name is on my lips.    But if I say anything, will this fragile moment shatter?

5


Ellen, my sweet, big sister, takes my hand and leads me downstairs to our kitchen. Papa is already sitting at the table, hidden behind an open newspaper. I haven’t seen him up this early in forever, and I don’t want him to put the paper down; I don’t want to see if his face is young and sunny or the same hanging, wrinkled mess it has been.

Play pretend. This is the only way.    The world spins. I hold my head in my hands as a wave of dizziness pounds through my skull.    “Ready to go, kiddo?” Ellen asks, jingling her keys.

Ellen sets a glass of milk on the counter and turns to Papa, “I’m going to take Alice to school today.”

“Actually, I’m not feeling well.”

She looks up and flashes me a smile. Alice. She said Alice, I’m sure of it.

I can feel their gazes – Ellen’s, and Papa’s – on my retreating figure, and it only urges me to run faster back up to my room.

Ellen’s smiles are so warm, so contagious, but this one freezes me in place, shoots ice up my spine.    “Okay,” I say. I don’t know what else to do.    Ellen used to give Alice and me rides to school, didn’t she? We’d always have those mornings together. But why, why would she bring that up now?    Ellen is still smiling, humming a little as she takes her cup to the sink. Papa peers out from above his newspaper. His eyes are alive.    “Ellen, don’t forget to schedule a meeting with Alice’s teacher! She apparently hasn’t been turning in homework lately.”    “Got it, dad!”    I turn back and forth between their smiles. They wear easygoing, natural grins, carefree for the first time in weeks. Oh. I understand now. This is some sort of game, a game to keep Alice alive, like playing pretend.    When I glance up, Ellen is watching me with a strange expression.

It isn’t a lie.

…    I am lying in bed, flat on my back, staring into the ceiling lamp above me until my eyes water.    Papa and Ellen are back. And if we have to pretend Alice is too, then I will, I will do it to keep Ellen’s smile, and Papa’s eyes, peering up from above his newspaper, alive at last.    As long as I am sure Alice is dead. She died a month ago in a car accident, just a few weeks short of her 13th birthday; she was with her friend at the time, going to see a movie with their family, when they were hit by a drunk driver. Her friend was named Jessica. The movie was – what was the movie? I can’t remember. But the car that hit her was blue, and Alice was discovered with shrapnel in her abdomen, bleeding on the road with the rest of her friend’s family, and Alice was dead.    Alice is dead.    Something soft brushes my arm. I see a little furry ball crawling on my bed, placing its paws on my chest. A kitty peers down at me with eyes too big for its little face. The one Alice rescued from


the streets, the one that only ever liked her. He was always terrified of the rest of us, but I suppose I am Alice’s replacement. I haven’t seen him since Alice left us.    “Hello, kitty. Where have you been?”    He mews a little, turns in a few circles, then settles down beside me. For today, I can hide away in my room, but soon I will have to face my family. …    I can’t believe it when I walk downstairs for dinner and everyone is sitting at the table together.

“No, Alice, tell Ellen she’s being a stuck up know-it-all!”    I can feel my throat tightening. I should do it too. I should talk to Alice. I imagine Alice sitting right there, right next to me, giggling and bantering with Ellen and Theodore. This is ridiculous.    Ellen and Theodore don’t wait for a reply and are back to their argument, now both yelling and trying to suppress their grins. Papa engages Baby Dan in their own absurd argument, one that involves a lot of arm flailing and banging on the table.

Papa, Ellen, Theodore, and Baby Dan in his special baby chair.

I can only watch this scene unfold, both magical and ludicrous, enchanting and twisted. Ellen, Theo, and Papa address Alice regularly, unfazed when they are only met with silence. It is too good to be true. I don’t know if I want it to be true.

Only Mama is missing, and Ellen apologizes for this as I take my seat, “She still isn’t feeling well, but look, we have a magnificent feast tonight!”

But everything is right now, and so I force myself to beam, and nod, and play along to their sick, innocent game.

I notice that the table has already been set and our plates have been piled high with lush green vegetables and golden-brown chicken.    So Papa is cooking now.    And then the bickering begins, after some snide comment from Theodore. He and Ellen are at it again, just like they used to, long ago, and their shouts and laughter accent the clinking of silverware, Papa’s chuckles, Baby Dan’s incoherent babbling.

…    I spend the rest of the week in bed, “ill,” only emerging from my room once I know Ellen and Theo are at school, and Papa has gone to work.    Somewhere in the depths of her own room, Mama is still brooding, crying herself to sleep, or maybe just staring blankly at the walls as dust piles on her body and heaps in her hair.

I almost join in, almost let myself laugh too, when it happens. For the second time.

My days are filled with a foggy blend of sleeping and waking, and conversations with Alice’s kitty – because why can’t I talk to a cat, if Papa and Ellen and Theo are allowed to talk to a dead girl?

“Alice, tell Theodore he’s being a dumb kid again,” Ellen whines good-naturedly.

Every day, it’s “Good morning, Alice! You look well today!”

7


“What do you want for breakfast, Alice? Cereal? Toast?”    “Alice, time for school!”    “Alice? Are you okay?”    “Alice! Dinner!”    Even Baby Dan is playing along; I once walked in on him chanting, “Alice, Alice, Alice!” in that baby voice of his as he rammed his toy trucks together.    Alice, Alice, Alice.    Congratulations, Alice, bright, precious Alice. You are gone, but you are everywhere, and now, when I see their smiles – Papa, Ellen, Theo, Dan – I can’t tell if it’s joy, or madness. …       “Rock-a-bye baby, on the treetop. When the wind blows, the cradle will rock…”    My eyes shoot open. All I can see is black, so black that fuzzy shapes seem to float around me as my mind tries to compensate for the impossible darkness.       I want to reach over and flip the switch to the ceiling lamp, but I cannot move. Panic crawls down my throat, down my spine. The last few notes of a woman’s soft, high singing voice echo in my ears.    I can hear breathing that isn’t mine.

There is something standing over my bed, hovering inches from my face; I can feel the tips of its flowing hair tickle my cheeks, and it isn’t moving. Very, very carefully, I slide a bit closer to the edge of my bed, just enough so that I can twist around and flick the switch on the wall.    Light floods the room.    At the foot of my bed, straightening slowly, is a woman with wide grey eyes and long, tangled curls.    She begins to sing again, in her hollow voice, “When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall…”    In another startling second, I realize that this is my mother.    “And down will come baby, cradle and all.” …    When I wake again, I am too afraid to open my eyes at first. But when I do, Mama isn’t there, it’s just me, and Alice’s kitty, and emptiness. Sunlight streams in from the window.    “Kitty,” I whisper, hugging him to my chest, “Today doesn’t feel right, not at all.”    I decide that I’m not going to leave this room. I can’t. If I do, something terrible will happen.    For the rest of the morning, I play with the kitty; he tries to catch my finger, over and over, until he rolls onto his belly and falls asleep.

The longer I keep my eyes open, the more they adjust to the darkness of the night, until I can just barely make out the shadows around my room.

I have to pee.

I choke.

Just for a little while. It’ll be quick.

But I can’t leave. Dread pools in my stomach.


I slip out the door, trembling, and race to the bathroom on the balls of my feet. No one is there. No one sees me. But when I am racing back, I hear a thud downstairs – and then whispers, five hushed voices all in one place.    I am back in my room in less than two minutes, panting. Sweating. Dreading.    It has been dark for hours before I cannot stand my gnawing hunger anymore; I need to eat. Something terrible is happening today. No, what could possibly happen?    In a moment of bravery, or stupidity, I open the door and step into the hall, and descend the staircase, one step at a time, mind blank and mechanical.    And the house is dark, but there is nothing else. No one else is home. I am safe. I let myself breathe normally as I make my way around the first floor.    Then I walk into the kitchen to the chorus of five discordant voices, singing, “Happy birthday to you...”    Before I can stop myself, it is too late, and I am standing in the middle of the room, bathed in a hazy orange glow. On the kitchen table is a huge round cake, thirteen candles ablaze with light that dances on animated faces: Mama, Papa, Ellen, Theodore, and Baby Dan in Theo’s arms. Together they sway slowly, to the beat of the song,    “Happy birthday to you.”    Their separate pitches intertwine, Mama’s high, eerie soprano, Theo’s low, throaty rumble, everybody off-key, like a piano out of tune:    “Happy birthday, dear Alice…”

It is my shriek that freezes their voices in their throats, “STOP!”     Five heads turn. Wide eyes, tilted chins, grins lingering on their lips.    “You’re crazy, all of you!” I press my palms to my ears, “You’re all insane!”     It is Mama who tries to speak first, “Alice-”     “Alice is dead!” I scream, and my screams echo down the hall and follow me as I sprint out of the kitchen, up the stairs, into my bedroom. I shut them out with the slam of my door.        Alice is dead. Alice is dead. I curl into a bunch on my bed. My kitty hops up with me and nestles into my side, where my shirt has bunched up and my skin is now bare against the soft blankets. Rhythmically, he begins to lap at my belly.    And down below, all is silent. The smell of cake lingers, sickly sweet, but I laugh a little bit to myself and roll onto my back and hold my hand up in front of my face. The light from above filters through my white fingers, reaching my eyes in muted ripples.    “Alice is dead, kitty,” I whisper to him as I stroke his head, “Alice is dead, don’t they know? Alice is dead, Alice is dead, Alice is dead…”    My kitty’s licks become rougher, quicker. It almost hurts, his rasping tongue rubbing on my skin. I use my hand to push him away. When I lift my fingers back up to my face, they are dripping with blood, thick and red, and I look down to see my kitty lapping at a gaping hole in my abdomen.

9


carly Milito

{Sis} Ars pictura


carly Milito

{Jym} Ars pictura

11


Jason Vassiliou

{The Path of Life} Ars poetica Traversing the world’s great fervent halls Grandiose in their style, I walked along my life’s marked path; My own, solitary isle. Pebbles, stones, nails and picks Adorned the long, small walk, And any man beholding such Would surely look and gawk. But not “me, myself, nor I”; The nouns for which I am, For I am beyond the regular man and Thus one I am not to damn. I am reality, “fate”; your hateful friend, The one who’s yet by your side. Invisible I am though never gone, I Keep pace with your every stride. So I follow you my dear, little friend; One who also I despise—But I’ll be with you yet; forever and ever, Even if it leads to demise… …And thus we walked, side-by-side, Across your path of life. I guided you surely, carefully, and slowly So as to protect you from strife. Then, as your path came to end, I laid you upon your bed. Never to ‘feel’ Pandora’s Box: Sickness, despair, nor dread. There I stayed dawn by night, Hour after hour, Until a new, bright path was lit As one is every hour.


Rachel Klein

{Letter #22} Ars fabula Whenever I think back on the times we've hung out, I remember you talking about Of Montreal in your car, which was crowded with too many people. You'd just acquired your driver's license, and we were on a quest for t-shirts to tie dye with bleach. You were a fashion icon to me, especially since the height of our friendship was your senior year, and my junior. You've taught me to hold on to tangible things like film photographs of friends and mixtapes to fit every mood. On one of the last nights you were in town, we drove around with a friend listening to Tame Impala. The sun was setting and the sky was that musky gray that happens after the blue evaporates and people's homes become alive with lights. In the back seat while you two were talking in the front, I cried a little because I thought that this was going to be something I'd remember forever-driving around town with no destination in particular. You probably don't know it, but you taught me to just let go.

“but you taught me to just let go.�

13


April Huang

{Airborne} Ars pictura

{On Physical Therapy} Ars fabula    “You need to go twice a week for the next two months,” Dr. Lewellis instructed, “then come back for a follow up. And no running.” Great. I quickly calculated the time in my head. Two hours per session, two sessions per week, and four weeks in a month, two months in total: thirty-two hours. Thirty-two hours of my junior year. I was planning on using those hours for the notes, the essays, the


Kara Schwartz worksheets, the textbooks, the Keystones, the SATs, and all the notorious junior year essentials that were planning to assault me as soon as I walked through the doors on the first day. I was planning on using those hours to run and run and practice and run, getting in shape for the fall lacrosse tournaments that I knew would impact one of the biggest decisions of my adolescent existence, college.    Well, this should be fun.    I got lost on my way to PT (that’s physical therapy, for all you non-injury-prone people out there). It was a Monday and it felt like one. I quickly changed lanes and implemented my favorite gesture, letting the Range Rover I was passing know that I didn’t have time for his moronic insistence on traveling below the speed limit. I got off the exit near King of Prussia and turned left into a parking lot. “You have arrived at your destination,” Siri informed me; as if her robotic directions weren’t the reason I was already 10 minutes late.    After an embarrassing and accidental entrance into The Prostate Center (courtesy of my good friend, Siri), I finally made my way to Integrated Physical Therapy. I met Heather, who I would be working with for the next 4 months, longer than Dr. Lewellis had anticipated. She looked like I imagined any physical therapist would. But, she was kinder and more patient than I ever expected. She had the type of face you want to tell your secrets to. The type of smile that reassures you, tells you you’re doing the best you can. Slowly, week after week, as I progressed in my ability to walk, run, jump, pivot, turn, I began to feel a sense of ease every time I would walk though the door, sign in, pay my $25 co-pay, talk with the receptionist about the usual, boys, friends, and what I was doing this weekend, drop my phone and keys into my cubby, and begin my session.    It was in the second month that I began to get frustrated. I was feeling better – much better,

actually. But, I was nowhere near where I’d been in the summer. I had worked so hard to be able to sprint the way I did and run the way I did and perform in games the way I did. I was aggravated. Not at Heather, but at myself. I was still in pain. It was my body that was halting my progress. It was my body that was halting my progress in getting recruited. It was my own body that was holding me back. I could feel my nose getting hot – my breathing irregular. Tears were coming whether I liked it or not.    After that day of holding back tears and eventually leaving early, I returned on Tuesday. There was a new patient. He used a walker, but he was young. He smiled just as I did when he dropped his keys and jacket into the cubby and waved hello to the receptionist. You aren’t supposed to ask why someone is at Integrated PT. You shouldn’t. So, naturally, apologetically, I eavesdrop.    The man’s name is Mark. He’s 45. He’s been married for 15 years. He smiles when Heather asks about his day, but in the way a 13 year old smiles when he gets an unwanted present from a distant, never before seen, lipstick-smeared great-aunt. No mention of why he uses a walker. New Mark’s aura intrigued me, but not enough to cause me to lose focus on my own session. I was finishing my session with a calf stretch, when I heard him fall.    I looked over. His elbow resting on the commercial-grade carpet, his face resting in his hand, New Mark stayed down. When his face resurfaced, I recognized the pained look on his face. His face was the way I felt, the frustration, the pain, the anger. But while there was recognition, there was really no comparison. In his face was sadness, hopelessness. I knew I was getting better. I don’t think New Mark did.    A few minutes later, I was lying on the table adjacent to New Mark. He and Heather were talking about his progress. It was then that I truly caught 15


Kara Schwartz

a glimpse of why New Mark was here, and why I should be thankful.    “I’m getting used to the walker. It’s starting to feel natural, which I guess is good, considering it’ll be me and her ‘til death due us part.”    “How was the support group?”    “It was good, helpful to finally find a group that doesn’t migrate towards utter hopelessness. I already know I’m not getting better. And I bought that new software for emails and stuff. Typing isn’t really happening anymore.”    Mark has multiple sclerosis. MS is a chronic condition that affects the central nervous system. Lesions on the brain create a breakdown of signal transmissions. Even hearing those two letters stand side by side gave me a knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat, having seen my friend lose her mom to the devastating disease.    I hear the door open. Mark’s wife walks in. His face lights up when he sees her, as if it’s been months, not hours, since they’ve seen each other last.

The next few weeks, Mark and I make small talk: the weather, what colleges I’m looking at, what sport I play. I never sense an ounce of self-pity on Mark’s face, only perseverance. Mark isn’t at physical therapy to regain abilities, but to learn how to live without them.    I was upset about tendonitis. I’m going to get better. Mark is going to get worse. I can’t find the words to explain the anger I have towards myself for crying over a small knee problem.      Winter track started again. My precursor to lacrosse. I ran the warm up mile, my knee brace in tow. I finished, caught my breath, and then lost it once again, to tears. I cried not for myself; I was fine, no pain in either knee. I cried for Mark. Not out of pity, but out of respect. I have respect and admiration that he will work and fight with hopefulness and optimism for the rest of his life. I ran without pain, after 4 months. In the eyes of a 17 year old, that’s eternity. But for someone like Mark, it would be a blessing. I am luckier and more fortunate than I will ever know. For as many things that I yearn to complain about, there are millions more I will never know the pain of.

For that, I am thankful. For Mark, I am hopeful.


Dylan Pearce

{Legs} Ars pictura

17


{A Game of Clue} Ars fabula

“There was a bimbo and a fashionista, a hipster, a shrew, a wise man and a crone. One by one they passed the wispy-haired women behind the wheel, beside the tip jar which no one seemed to see. All of them had enjoyed the metamorphosis into ‘regulars.’ They took the same seats as the day before. They were ready to play the game again.”


Kate Edwards    At a quarter past seven the tokens filed onto the bus.    There was a bimbo and a fashionista, a hipster, a shrew, a wise man and a crone. One by one they passed the wispy-haired women behind the wheel, beside the tip jar which no one seemed to see. All of them had enjoyed the metamorphosis into “regulars.” They took the same seats as the day before. They were ready to play the game again.    The bimbo was tallish and wore polyester shorts which revealed a gratuitous amount of leg. Her thighs, relaxed, jounced to the bus’s rhythm. She chewed gum and stared vacantly ahead.    Beside her sat the fashionista, doe-eyed and snub-nosed, cheeks powdered with freckles— guileless and delicate—clutching a patchwork tapestry bag of many colors. When chatting aimlessly with tourists her voice emerged a lily amongst the reeds. Her long skirts danced to windchimes and lutes and pan-pipes long laid down. She might have sprung from a mosaic, might have borne the name Egeria.    Two rows away, pale and malnourished, the hipster peered out at the world under steel-cut square glasses. He looked the kind who read and reread and understood it all.    Age had improved the wise man who sat beside him. He was graced by age. A beard nested on his chin, gently quilted—perhaps not a beard but a convention of contented moths ready to flee at a whisper.    The shrew was small, sour-faced, and unimportant, but her looks left a bitter taste in one’s mouth.    And then the crone, snarled by life. So aged as

to be called ageless. All about her either clenched or sprawling, and the folds of her downcast face concealing innumerable pouched secrets.    The bus pulled out. Nobody looked at another at first, then false quiet stole through the aisles and their faces began to twitch.    Officially, the crone broke first. Her beady eyes stuck fast to the bimbo’s knee, crept far too far up the thigh, and radiated disdain. She glowered and began speaking fast to none and all.    “The summer’s sure fine, sure fine,” she said, flashing scathing glances. “And every year there’s a little more flesh goes showing.”    The hipster glanced in her direction. And she had caught the attention of the old man. Feeding upon their attention, catching their eyes, warming to her place in their thoughts, she continued. “And in my day would never be allowed. To go out like that I mean. And every young man frothing fit to burst.” She clucked. “Shameful.”    Now heads were turning toward the bimbo. She sat very still and upright and chomped on her gum. The artisan turned her head between the bimbo and the crone, caught the former’s sideways glance, and looked away. Up close her freckles looked like the dregs of a cereal bowl. Like a game of clue, the bimbo knew where the artisan was headed. She worked in a little store peddling nicknacks and curios.    Somebody else clucked. The bimbo didn’t move but her jaw seized up. The crone watched her with ostentatious satisfaction, and turned in her seat to better face her bus-mates. “You, sir,” she said to the wise man, “you never saw such dress in our day, did you? Remember how it was when we were young?”

19


Kate Edwards

The wise man chuckled and smiled weakly. “Yes, yes.”    Another cluck. This time the bimbo reacted. She looked at them all. With every shudder of the bus the wise man’s beard grew whiter, the hipster’s glasses thicker, the crone’s brow more furrowed. The shrew clucked a third time and unabashedly the bimbo glared. She glared long and hard at the shrew and swiveled round in her seat and ripped at her gum. Because they all stared at her. Her naked skin jounced in her tight shorts. Her right hand itched for a black ring. She wanted to turn to the crone and tell her this, in a tone half desperate, half triumphant—what do you know? You know nothing, nothing at all!    The bus stopped and the artisan sidled off. The bimbo knew what those artistic types got up to, reputedly—sweet poisons and experimentations and moral laxity. Egeria swayed in her beautiful skirts. Who had the last laugh now?

them. All, including the bimbo, looked back as they drove off. Except the crone. Her jaw looked odd—her face had gone slack. No one noticed.    “Well,” said the crone, “in my day.” She leaned over her seat to the wise man. “In my day times were tough. We were none of these overprivileged folk—we struggled to for what we had, we struggled to get it. In my day.”    The wise man looked through her.    In the front the bimbo struggled with some terrible catharsis. She chewed her gum, guilt gnawed at her. When she had glared at that woman the woman was flat and judgmental. She was a shrew. But then she had smiled. She looked at her bus-mates, her fellows—was the wise man so wise, or the hipster apathetic? From this angle his glasses looked as flimsy as her rationale. Perhaps on this bus. On this bus she was a hypocrite, tacky Miss Double-Standard.

The driver drove on. They reached a smattering of nondescript houses and the bus came to an abrupt halt. Almost on instinct the shrew leapt to her feet.

And the crone.

“This is my stop,” she said aloud, astonished. “And it isn’t even on the route. You remembered,” she said to the driver. Her face came alive. She was radiant. “Thank you. And it isn’t even on the route.”

bus stopped and the bimbo got off without looking back. And the bus left and I was alone.

“No problem,” said the driver, smiling.    The woman beamed at all in turn and left

The crone was panicking. “I had to work for what I had. I didn’t get handouts...”


Rhian Lowndes

{Rocket Man} Ars fabula

The view of the earth from atop his little hill was nothing short of amazing. Even the dazzling stars above his head didn’t distract Andy from the view of home. Home. It was so far away, but if he squinted he could pretend he was holding earth in between his fingers. The surface of the moon looked like a desert made of cement, and he could just imagine sticking his hand in a puddle of it before it dried, leaving his hand print on the moon. Of course then he’d have to remove his glove which would be excruciating without the pressure to keep him from expanding like a balloon. In space no one can hear you scream he thought to himself with a gruesome chuckle. He laughed now, but he remembered those days before he left the Flight Research Center in Los Angeles. He had sat through hours of lectures given by people who seemed determined on making him run back to Georgia and give up on the whole idea of being an astronaut. But, he had always thought to himself with a smile, I can’t wait to hear my little girl tell her friends that her Daddy’s an astronaut. It was a long way away though. She’d be five when he got back. A song started playing in his head then, and Elton John hummed a doleful tune in his ear. He bounded back to the shuttle lightly, as if he were bouncing on a trampoline in slow motion, singing to himself: “And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time”.

21


Julia Bevan

{Jane Doe} Ars pictura


23


Peter Brown

{On Getting My Shit Together} Ars fabula    From shirts to shoes to old folders from middle school, my shit is all over the place. I litter every last nook and cranny, or at least just enough to make me trip over a book I haven’t looked at for ten years. I have a habit of putting things on my bed, too. It happens to be a queen sized, so naturally my shit gets one side and I get the other. Most nights, though, my shit decides to take up most of the bed, leaving my with little room to spare. Sometimes in fits of anger, I shove my shit off of my bed and force it to sleep on the floor. Needless to say, it gets right back up the next day as if nothing happened. Studies show that victims in abusive relationships tend not to do anything out of fear of the abuser—I have nothing to say on the subject. Eventually I reached the point where enough was enough. The summer after my freshman year, I took a day off from my busy schedule of doing nothing to clean up my shit once and for all. It took me the entire day, but I fought the beast and tasted victory. Sadly, it didn’t last too long. I would boast my victory lasted for two whole weeks, but my shit would argue that it was more around ten days. As of right now, my room is still a mess, scattered with opportunities never taken and knowledge never absorbed. “You just don’t have that kind of time,” my shit always tells me, “You’ll get to it later.” Well, it’s later and I’m pretty sure my shit lied to me.    My shit has a special way of taunting me, telling me that I always need to do more. Even at my greatest moments, whether it be getting a great grade on a test or nailing a scene at play practice, my shit still reminds me that I haven’t studied for my SATs and don’t yet have a driver’s license.

And now since I just reminded myself of these two things I haven’t done, I’m probably going do what I normally do and pretend it doesn’t exist by watching Netflix and eating chocolate. I’ve learned that even after watching a whole season of “Orange is the New Black” and clearing my family’s supply of Hershey products, my shit is still there. Crap.    When I cleaned my room, it meant a lot to me. Sure, I could see the floor again, which I guess was nice, but it meant more than that. It meant that if I could tackle my shit in my room, I could surely tackle my shit everywhere else. Maybe now I could finally start using lotion regularly, so people top asking all the time why my skin is peeling and my doctor can stop berating me for having lizard skin. Maybe now I could finally make the permanent switch to contacts so I can both look suave and not have to deal with people asking me how many fingers they’re holding up when I take off my glasses. Maybe now I could take advantage of my newfound confidence in the form of smooth skin and contacts to achieve everything else I want in life. Like my room, my hopes were soon again cluttered with my shit. But this time, it took all the covers.    Lately I’ve been thinking to myself: what is the greater role of my shit in my life? I used to think it was about having a necessary evil to help me get better, but now I see that it’s about becoming strong enough to get rid of it. While I do think it is healthy to coexist with some stressors, it’s no longer okay to excuse it as a necessary part of my life. So now, for the first time ever, I feel like my shit is actually starting to fade away. Sure my room is still a mess and I still haven’t fully made


Peter Brown

the switch to contacts, but I feel it. Maybe nothing has actually changed, maybe I’m just in denial, but I think my shit is a matter of viewpoint before it’s a matter of action. I need to believe that I can overcome the beast and once again taste victory before it’s actually slain for good. It only took that one day for me to wake up and tell myself, “I’m tired of all my shit in my room, so I’m going to take my time and energy to clean it up.” I remember about halfway through the cleaning process, it seemed as if my shit had doubled in size, leaving me with little hope of the cleanup ever finishing. But for some reason, the worse it got, the more motivated I was to see it all gone.    So here I am right now as a junior in high school, which is boasted to be the hardest and most stressful year for every student. We’re all beginning to look at colleges, which mainly means that we’re all in a constant state of panic. Are my grades good enough? Do I need to do an SAT course? Am I doing enough extracurriculars? I just need to do more! The unnecessary stress is all too real. I see this year the same way I saw my room halfway through cleaning it. Although my shit has doubled in size, I am knee-deep in the process and I can just see the finish line. And once I gain some momentum and really get focused on what’s important, I can finally get my shit together. Now would probably be the right time to say something inspiring about allowing yourself to dream in a harshly antagonistic world, but my shit has officially taken over the entire bed so I can’t do that anymore.

25


Katherine Dautrich

{Drowning} Ars poetica I fall backwards, arms splayed and my hair is too short to look particularly ethereal. I hit the water with a harsh slap of skin on surface and I imagine anatomical depictions of lungs so I know what they look like when they’re filling. I sink under the weight of sins, mine and others that have tangled like seaweed around my ankles, my bony broken ankles. I sleep as the sea evaporates and I awake on a mountain of salt. I am a snail, burning.


Dylan Pearce

{Car Drop} Ars pictura

27


April Huang

{A Distant Utopia} Ars pictura


29


Elizabeth Shilling

{Ocean Eyes} Ars poetica

The first time I saw you, I knew that your eyes had stolen the sea. Your eyes had tie-dyed irises, irises that gave the illusion of paint being mixed together, with swirls and patterns and billows and spirals all in different colors of paint only the color of the finest blues and greens. The explosion of hues and shades that came outward from the pupils was always noticeable, for everyone knew that your eyes had stolen the sea, and poured the ocean of blue and green into your irises. But as I looked closer into the eyes that stole the sea, I noticed that they not only reflected a calm jade, but all at the same time a dark blue, black, and grey. Some may call me a perjurer, for how could the eyes of the ocean ever be both light and dark, but I am not speaking literally. I am speaking this way to describe the stormy ocean that constantly invades your eyes. At the same time that the mint ocean lay resting, outlined by plume eyelashes, the same ocean sees a constant darkness. A storm perhaps, but not one in the sky. This storm is in the mind. Now the cerebral clouds hold in the rain for


Elizabeth Shilling

what seems like forever, and many people can only see the shining ocean in your eyes, but I see the ocean eyes that release the rain every night alone. I think of the shame of it all, to have the sea resting peacefully during the day while the sun is out, and your shore line water line keeping the rain away, only to have your shore line water line kissed by the rain of the cerebral clouds, holding in far too much pain for any ocean, let alone the one in your eyes, to handle. But the real sadness is not in you, but instead in me, because it kills me everyday to watch someone as beautiful as you on the outside, constantly broken on the inside. You are far too wondrous, and remarkable, to have storms in the ocean eyes. So if I could ask for one thing, right now, in the very moment, it would be for the eyes that stole the sea to never see the gales of despair, or the acid rain poisoned by hate or an ocean storm ever again.

31


Tracey Pugliese

{A Story about you} Ars pictura


Delphine Mossman

{Grid} Ars poetica

Across: 1.   The smell of freshly cut grass 2.   Common noise heard in early summer 3.   Delicate scarlet flowers 5.   Where one would look for sea turtles 6.   A metaphor for rebirth 7.   What may happen during a full moon? 8.   Bones concealed under a layer of tissue 10.   Brilliant book you’ve read recently 11.   Wolves do this for a variety of reasons 12.   Fresh-brewed coffee reminds you of… 13.   When is the best time to watch cheesy movies? 16.   A metaphor for rebirth 17.   Origami cranes on a string hang here 18.   This gives hope for a better future 19.   Something soft and warming 20.   What is the greatest achievement in human history? 22.   Source of all creativity 23.    The best candy in the bag 25.   How you are feeling today 29.   The thing that seems to go on forever 30.   A beautiful lie Down: 1.   The smell of burning paper 2.   Rare sight seen in late winter 4.   In a word, the monster under the bed 8.   Bones jutting out from skin 9.   There is nothing worse than waking up to… 11.   Wolves do this for one reason only 14.   The first thing one thinks of at the words “wooden box” 15.   The most recent member of your family to pass away 16.   A metaphor for working too hard for too long 20.   What is the greatest flaw in human character? 21.   The last time 22.   Source of all strife 24.   The middle of the night is _____________. 25.   How you are really feeling today 26.   A symptom of a broken heart 27.   Where is the best escape found? 28.   Coal-colored skies are usually found over ________. 29.   The thing that seems to be so very short 30.   A painful truth

33


Katherine Dautrich

{A Conversation Observed} Ars pictura

{Two Women} Ars fabula    Yesterday, a woman asked to share my table at a cafe. She spoke in a thick British accent, and her eyes were made up in liner. Despite the initial heaviness of both voice and appearance, I left our conversation feeling as if my insides had been scooped out; my limbs could barely support my books. Her name was Carol, and her friend was Judy. Carol and Judy. My notebook was opened to Hamlet’s most famous

soliloquy, “To Be Or Not To Be” because my teacher assigned an analytical paper on the meaning of it. I had already spilled coffee on four lines-beige stains marring Shakespeare’s words about impermanence. Anyway, Carol leans over and whispers, “I see you’re reading Hamlet. I’ve always loved Shakespeare. I think it was...I think, what was it? Twenty years ago? I saw Macbeth at The Globe. Truly amazing”. Judy places


Rachel Klein

her coffee mug down. “It was thirty years ago. She’s not as young as she looks”. I try and hide my smile, but Carol notices and laughs, almost exasperated. “Okay, it was thirty. But dear, you should really see one of his plays at The Globe.”    I talked to them for a few minutes about wanting to travel, and that seeing Hamlet or A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Globe would fully satisfy me for about fifty years. After a bit, I turned back to my reading, instead choosing John Irving’s “The Cider House Rules”. Three hours go by before Carol nudges my shoulder and shoves an iPad in my face. There, she presents me with her personal photos of The Globe, and she leaves it there, in front of my face, for a long time. Without speaking, she slowly moves it back to her lap where she silently gets up to use the restroom.    Judy’s wearing this beautiful olive green and orange sweater. There are knitted leaves and dark branches decorating its surface, so I lean over the table and compliment it. Immediately she lights up and says, “I love this sweater too! I’m going to tell you the story behind it, so listen up. This woman in Peru... I went to Peru with some organization. Anyway, she was selling hand-knit sweaters to support her family. Hand-knit, can you believe that? This looks factory made if you ask me. But she comes to dinner one night with my group, and she’s sitting there holding it. I just had to buy it, so I did! I love it. It’s alpaca wool.” I smile, and she leans over so I can feel it. It was soft, sort of like how you’d expect any sweater to be.    Carol returns and Judy notices my John Irving book. With a painful gasp, she begins to say how much she adores Irving, and rattles off authors

similar to him that I might enjoy. “Have you ever read any of Isabel Allende’s stuff?” I immediately tell her about how much I love her book, “The House of the Spirits”, and she quizzes me on Allende’s family history. “Do you know about her father? Yes! He was the Chilean president! How did you know? Well, during that time...this was in 1973, right after the Vietnam War. So, you can imagine that our government wouldn’t want to get involved in the Chilean dictatorship. Not Allende’s father, but the guy who killed Allende’s father.”. In all honesty, I was surprised Judy had the ability to talk so long on such a narrow subject.    “The thing with people these days”, Judy sighs, “is that when they read books, they don’t really transcend into the deeper meaning. They read what’s on the surface, and that’s all fine and good, but what it comes down to is ignorace. Plain and simple. When you read a book, you should feel tired and worn down. You have to really work at a novel to truly understand it. That’s why I love reading. That’s why you love reading. I can tell.” Carol nods in agreement, takes a sip from her coffee, and slowly puts on her coat.    The two women left after four hours of sharing a table. By sunset, I had finished three cups of coffee, read seventy pages of the John Irving book, dissected Hamlet’s soliloquy, and had one of the most interesting conversations in a long time. No matter who it is that sits next to you, just lean over and say something nice. Anything. If they’re a decent human being, they’ll lean right back over. It’s worth it.

35


Julia Bevan

{Pollination} Ars pictura


Fiona Copeland

{Dark Chocolate, White Gardenias} Ars fabula    Her hair constantly changed, a new marvel each morning. Sometimes, it was straight without a hair out of place. Sometimes, it had the occasional curl. And sometimes, it seemed to pop out from all directions. But no matter how it looked, it was still the same, luscious locks that I looked forward to seeing every day.    It was extremely tempting to play with her hair, and I often struggled to find an excuse not to. Who couldn’t resist the urge to watch the soft, silky strands run through their fingertips? Fortunately, it always enjoyed falling in front of her face, and I was always the lucky one who got to brush the tresses behind her ear, so they framed her face.    Brown is typically the most common hair color, but there’s something about her dark chocolate locks that compares to no other. Everything was perfect, absolutely perfect; the thickness, the softness, the shininess.    Perfection at its finest.    My favorite thing about her hair was when I’d lean forward to kiss the crown of her head and catch the faint aroma of her shampoo. Fresh, white gardenias, like those that grew in the summertime and filled the air with their sweet, sweet scent. Just as the snow-white flower shows shows off its radiant beauty, a rare find in a garden of bright color, as does, and is she. And when she leaves, the smell of the precious flowers would cling to the air, a reminder of her presence and a reason to look forward to tomorrow.

37


{Angel} Ars pictura


Nicole Delgado

39


Wendy Tan

{Soldier} Ars poetica There’s no use asking why, Just Embrace the lonely dreams we walk, No use asking why, Only Terror in the face of death, Pushing forward. Bombs. Running back to – War. Your hands tremble but still hold your gun steady, You were born ready. You’ll never be ready. Walk, eat, sleep walk murder eat sleep Just keep to the orders, Just keep, Just keep, Just listen, listen, move, don’t think, don’t feel, Don’t feel (when you pull the trigger), Don’t feel, don’t feel when you pull Don’t feel when you Don’t feel when Please Don’t feel don’t feel don’t feel don’t listen to the blasting as you Shoot. Emptiness.


Wendy tan

The moment you see it. That flash, when you see Somewhere in the fear in his wide-open eyes his Humanity Before you take it away, (But really, You take your own), You take your own and he will die a human and you will live a Monster? Why? You can’t sleep at night because a little girl lost her head today. And She wore the same braids as the little girl you left behind, Braids like your daughter, And like your daughter carries her backpack - stumbling a little from the weight (2 kg) but Smiling proudly (because she was learning, She would grow up, Grow up and do something for the world, Her smile proud – why? – because 2 kilograms was the weight of Honor) – like your little girl carries her backpack, stumbling a little from the weight – This little girl carried a 12 kg belt of explosives around her waist (12 kilograms, the weight of Honor) and then her brown braids swung and – why? – she didn’t have braids at all or her Bright, proud smile no backpack no bombs just


Wendy Tan

Red, sticky red, black-red and oozing, Flying shards and clenched jaws and seeing red through your eyes squeezed shut, Hands over your ears but that doesn’t block out the screams, (Nothing blocks out the screams.) (Your little girl’s turning seven next month.) (Nothing blocks out the screams.) And no one walks with you in your dreams. No one walks with you in your dreams only pain. Noise. Darkness. Pain, Noise, Light, No use asking why, soldier, Turn around and Fight.


Tracey Pugliese

{Eg er Til} Ars pictura

43


Elizabeth Shilling

{Anna} Ars fabula

I was told from a young age that my imagination would take me places. I think that’s why I became a writer. The ideas flowed easily like syrup with very low viscosity, running running running, seemingly never stopping. Sometimes I wished I could turn it off. Sometimes too much can come at once and then you don’t know what to do with it all. That’s always what Anna tells me at least. She says, “Mason, one day your’e going to explode.” I always look at her puzzled, but I’m so used to the answer now that I shouldn’t give her any sort of non apprehensive stare. She will answer, “All these ideas? You’re going to become overloaded one day. Cram up. You’re gonna’ crash!” Oh Anna. Darling girl, how could you have predicted that? How did you know?    I woke up this morning to the sun. It was shining through my apartment window burning through my eyes the minute I opened them. I looked over, and there lay Anna, blonde hair unfurled, covered in lilac sheets. She looked so peaceful lying there. I got up. I went to the bathroom. I looked in the mirror. Staring back at me was Mason. He was six foot three, he had brown hair, (even though Anna always tells me it is, “actually blonde but you’re just colorblind”, and then laughs and crinkles her nose and smiles at me) and he was doing everything but smiling. Yes. Same old Mason. I went to the drawer to pick out my ensemble of

fabric for today. Was I thinking t shirt and khakis for some coffee house writing? Pajamas for some stay at home writing? Or maybe a thermal and jeans for a little brisk autumn central park writing? I went with option number three. I thought maybe the cold could do me some good. After I was dressed and ready for the day ahead, I went to my kitchen. I put on the silver kettle that Anna’s mother had given to us and let the water boil. I reached up into the cabinets and pulled out two boxes of tea. A spiced citrus for me and a green for Anna. I heard the kettle scream so I took it off the stove, and poured a cup for me and a cup for Anna. I heard footsteps, and turned around. There she stood in an oversized t shirt, smiling at me. I felt a drop of water run down my face. I looked up. No leak from the ceiling, and I wasn’t sweating. I put a hand to my eye and..oh. I then proceeded to grab my mug, and head out of the door.    The sun was out, sure, but there’s only so much you can do when half the sun is blocked by buildings that nobody likes anyways. It took me about twenty minutes to walk to central park. I passed at least fifty stores, Anna’s favorite food market, a dog that wouldn’t stop barking, three homeless men who asked me for money, and a man selling goldfish in bags on the corner. As I proceeded into the park, I maneuvered my way around to find the rock I would always sit at with Anna. I


Elizabeth Shilling remember it was here that I asked her to marry me, and it was here that I went to write. I started to get comfortable as I sat down, put my mug down, and looked up to the sun. I looked up through the leaves of a tree at a plane that was flying right over me. I thought about the people on that pane, and where they could be going, or where they were coming from. I thought about how each person on that plane had a story. A story that I could write about right now. But, just like every other day, nothing came to me. I couldn’t think of a single person. A single name. A single destination, or a single starting point. I was overloaded. Crammed up. I had crashed, just like every other damn day. And how you predicted this, I do not understand. I looked at my watch. One thirty. I had to leave. I gathered my belongings and headed to the next place in a long line of places that weren’t going to help me.    The building was brick. Red brick. It had a small awning but it wasn’t large. The plaque on the door said, “Dr. Stuppeadion, PhD in Psychology”. I opened the door and stepped inside. “Mason! How nice to see you! And right on time too, very impressive.” He said it with a smile, but all I wanted to do was cry like I had this morning. Very quietly, but nonetheless. Doc raised his head. “So Mae, how was this morning?”. I thought about it. I thought very hard about that question, and all I could manage out was, “I poured two cups of tea. I got out her tea and I poured it.” By now the tears were already flowing, and I knew I shouldn’t stop now. “She was just sleeping this morning so quietly, and flawlessly in the bed. I ignored it and went to pour the tea, but I got out two mugs without thinking and then she was there in the doorway,

and I just couldn’t. I couldn’t I left. Then I went to the park, same as every other day, and I couldn’t do anything! Nothing Doc nothing! How did she know? Tell me how she knew? You can’t foresee something like this, how did she know?” Doc looked at me for a while, me, the blubbering babbling idiot writer. He took a lot of deep breaths and sighs. Finally he said, “I think she knew...I think she knew she was your inspiration. And the day she left this world, the day she told you you were going to explode, or whatever she used to say, for the last time? She knew that from then on you weren’t going to be able to function. I think that’s why she visits you. She’s hoping one day you’ll write a story about a sleeping girl, or a charming wife, or a lover. She just wants you back.” And it clicked. It made sense. I knew.    I walked home and sat down at the computer. Anna was sitting on the couch in the living room, and I could see her smiling at a book she was reading. She looked up, and smiled at me. I typed a title. “Anna”. I looked back at her. She looked faded slightly. I typed another. “I awoke that morning to my beauty beside me, her hair twisted and tangled in the sheets...”. I looked at her again. Even more gone. I typed another sentence, and another. And another. And another. And another and another and another until I had a full page. I looked over to stare at Anna one last time, to look at her blue eyes, blonde hair, tan skin. To tell her one last time that I loved her, and to tell her how much I missed her. But when I looked back she was gone, and to be honest, I wasn’t upset. I knew in my mind she already knew all of those things anyway.

45


Annie Xu

{Triangle Shirtwaist} Ars fabula    The air was too thick, the room too warm. I was just getting ready to leave. Someone screamed. Fire, fire. Finding our only exit locked, we clawed and banged at the doors until our knuckles bled. I could feel the panic burst in my veins. My eyes were too dry for tears. The flames seeped in, consuming the floors and climbing the walls. One girl burnt at her sewing machine. I turned to the windows.    Nine floors. The drop was nine floors. I was blinded by red. Lakes of fire licked at my legs. The smoke became poison. I saw a monster. I heard its gnashing teeth. It locked us here. It stuffed hundreds of us into one room. I had no power. Nobody ever had the power to do anything.    I had to escape. I looked up at the cool skies. The skies were always changing. I could see light. Save me, I prayed. I dove towards heaven. I was flying. I was free. I was morphing into something greater.    The last thing I heard was the crack of bones as they met the pavement.


Tracey Pugliese

{Be

nny

’s D

Ars pictura

ispa tch }

47


April Huang

{Colors of the Soul} Ars pictura

{Butterflies in my Stomach} Coughing up my heart, my voice is but a whisper; I might be love sick.

Jodie Fong


Kate Edwards

{Paintings} Ars fabula    The wind blew the chimes in the window, and they brushed together with a noise like clinking decanters. It swept through the room and tugged the voluminous skirts of Elena, making tea.    She bustled with the kettle, pouring foaming milk into cups, then swept up the tray and bore it into the parlor.    Halting there, in the doorway, a tender smile split her lips.    “My clever darling,” she said.    She moved with little mincing steps. The room spun wildly around her, many-layered and ever-changing. One felt that they slogged through thick layers of paint; for what was not of glass was invariably patterned with vibrant floral motif so that what appeared to be the leg of a chair was actually a brocade pillow on the opposite sofa and the glass vases lost the clarity of their edge and looked like plasma stains on the upholstery and everything melted and shifted and forever vibrated in a sea of riotous tone. And in the center of the room: a white wicker couch, adrift, spread with cushions that bled red roses. And heaped upon the flowerbed: a young man, a pallid Adonis.    Elena stilled her buoyant skirts before the sleeping man.    “Oh my clever darling.”    Sinking into the arm of the couch was a glass end table, upon which hung a tray laden with a wineglass and all its extended family, down to the smallest tumbler. An open capsule of chalky white pills leaned against a half-eaten sandwich, and balanced upon the rim of a bottle was a paintbrush, dripping psychedelic ripples into a decanter. Nestled below, bright against the table, was an assortment of paints.    And now Elena turned to gaze at the easel flowing out of the sofa.

“My clever, clever darling.”    The man stirred. Eyes closed, he said, “Do you like it?”    Laughingly, she told him “Do I like it? Do I like it? Darling! It’s fantastic.” She looked again at the single red spot on the canvas. “Is it finished?”    “No,” he said. “Don’t like the red.”    “Well I might not know much about art,” she said, “but I know what I love. This is divine.”    “Need better red,” he said. “So pale, so bland.”    “Oh, darling!” cried Elena. “Let me know the color you need and I’ll find you the best kind in the shops.”    “All of these colors—so pale, so bland,” cried the man. Cautiously, he opened his eyes to the painting—cloudy blue irises bleeding into the whites—then wrenched his gaze away. “I’ll never create my masterpiece. I’m a failure like Boccaccio and Borachio before me” But he smothered his muttering against the pillows, and sunk again into indolence.    Vehement Elena tugged at a tapestry. “Now darling don’t worry so. Of course you will complete your work. And the plaza will have another of your masterpieces to hang in the gallery. You know the city still raves about your last work? All of the cream of this society would hang it in their galas! Genius, they call it! Darling, inspired! Oh my clever—!” She blew him a kiss and wheeled out of the room.    He lay there for some time, on the bleeding raft, staring at the creamy ceiling. Then he yelped and scrambled frantically for the bottle. He poured out a bead of amber, diluted the color with creme de menthe, downed it, and sucumbed to the viscosity of sleep.    The sun crept out from the clouds and spread generous dollops of radiance over the parlor.

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Kate Edwards Swathed in brilliant light, the warm colors boiled the air. Flowers on pillows stirred and opened, and the gilt edges of tassels melted into the ruby carpet. Drifting like molasses, the air spun the dust motes in sunbathed spotlights. The glass fishbowl with its golden fish stood in the corner (and when the fish swam it swam in an easychair, poor thing!) Faint tremors lapped at the water.    The man drowsing on the sofa opened his eyes. He shifted his head and gazed contemplatively at the canvas. Stretching, he leaned down and selected a paint bottle, and snatched up his brush. It stained his hand green. Well, why not?    The brush scratched briefly, leaving thin verdant streaks beside the red.    He frowned, and closing his eyes, drowsed.    The clock elapsed a quarter of an hour before the man resurfaced from his lethargy. Now he dabbed with his brush coated in deep, deep blue, and stopped, and frowned.    Clawing at his cheek, the man threw the brush down.    The dust motes wheeled in the air, the sun ducked. The clock chimed. He stirred in his sleep. Then he leapt frantically into the air, and feverishly snatched the tube of red. He bellowed aloud and lashed at the canvas, dashing at it and splashing a spurt of red against the white wall. With a manic grin he plunged his fist into a cup of paint and beat it deep into the marrow of the fabric. Then his despairing hands, born of genius, rent his face. His eyes clattered and he collapsed on the couch.    “Ah I must sleep!” he cried. “Ah, I must sleep.”    The empty capsule rolled across the floor.    The clocked chimed.    The young man seemed to have fallen into the painting.    He must have gotten up, then tripped. The painting must have grasped him, then pulled.    He was standing on pale cool sand. A pale cool sky stretched overhead. Behind him towered a dark, dark, mountain range whose edges melted away. There was a purple splotch at his feet; he picked it

up—it was a rock. He tossed it. Chik, chikchik. It skipped thrice upon the sand. Chunk. It stopped. The sand was frosted with white. He looked up. Swimming in the blue sky were red and orange flecks like fish.    “Red.”    There was a door in front of him; he had misgivings. Something about the door seemed fake. It looked like a sponge with hinges. It looked dry and made of dust.    “The shading is all wrong,” he muttered to himself.    He stretch out his hand and then yelped in his throat; the knob froze his hand to the touch. He opened the door. Dust gently carpeted his shoes and helped him into the room.    For a minute he was surprised. He felt sure he’d seen it before. A woman’s parlor—the scene depicted it. Except it all made sense now. What a discovery! Ah, he saw now! Never one—for the flat canvas actually formed a hallway of layers and every layer was a room and in the rooms he saw furniture from dreams and people from nightmares. They pulled the latch, for it hadn’t ever been just one room, he saw now, but now he was trapped between thick layers of oil paint. The scene was of the woman’s parlor. The layers were miles wide. They crushed his lungs. He gasped for air.    Which side of the room was he standing in? The hallway was flat. Everything was intricate and patterned. Blundering, he fell. He flailed his arms desperately and felt a knob between his fingers. At its turn he was saved, and crawled through the doorway.    In the little room the furniture stood still, watching the man on the couch rise and, wildly redeyed, stagger to the door. As the door slammed the water in the fish’s bowl trembled.    In the dark corridor the senses awoke. The man’s nostrils dilated like a beast’s and his eyes grew wide, then thinned to slits. His body grew flat against the black wall. He slipped into the second dimension.    The shadow on the wall spat a dry hacking


Kate Edwards chuckle. He was a genius and this was his masterpiece. He surveyed the landscape critically.    “All black,” it muttered. “Not enough red.”    He crept along the foreground. Now, as his senses blossomed and spread they had a love affair with the visual. He found he could see the grey rippling echoes of his footsteps. The scraping of his fingernails, chalky white. And as he ran his teeth along his tongue he saw electric purple.    “Red, red.”    He hacked through the jungle of shadows, the intrepid genius.    Suddenly he scented wild game.    With a clatter like a locomotive something sped past in the corner of his eye. His head revolved. On the opposite balcony a white figure darted by, leaving translucent streaks in the background. Hshuhh. Shihhuh.    He chewed a tooth and grinned, vaulting the balcony in his nightmare world. The figure ran forward and stopped before him. Ah, he knew her now. Lotte who lived—upstairs? Flushed Lotte, who lived upstairs. It was very quiet.    Then, in the air between them, a focal point was found.    Haloed in soft white, a gleaming silver slit split the black.    Far away, a clock chimed.    The pearly luminescence of the silver radiated gradations through the shadows. They were perfection.    He gripped the handle of the knife. It was his brush. It was his key to the kingdom.    Delicately, like old times, he dabbed at the canvas to find red.    And she gave him red—from her, his red!    The subdued sun cast long shadows in the parlor room and made it momentarily possible to distinguish object from object. Quietly, the door opened and Elena looked in.    Creeping across the room, she laid her hands upon the white wicker couch and smiled down at the sleeping Adonis. The little bottle lay under the couch, she could not see it. The youth’s fingers lay

inches from his parted lips. He stirred and smiled and sat up. He rubbed his eyes with stained hands.    “Hello.”    “Darling!” said Elena. “I brought you your paints.”    “Oh,” said the man. “Do you like it?”    Vibrant color coated the canvas.    “Do I like it,” said Elena. “I love it.” She bent and kissed the top of his head. “Darling it’s your new masterpiece. I’ll call the gallery tomorrow.” She gave the canvas another glance. “I see you found your red.”    “Yes, I found it,” he said. “I found it!”

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Tracey Pugliese

{hier steh ich allein} Ars pictura


Wendy Tan

{Falling} Ars poetica

The world above me is orange and gold and crimson, but I am cloaked in black and grounded when the wind blows. The

world,

however,

flies

away.

*

A single leaf floats into my palm, fire-red and wrinkled. Black dots speckle its waxy surface, places charred by vibrant color. I raise it to my lips and kiss the lovely, color-burnt, imperfect leaf. Hello. The air is full of smoke and rotting things. The grey sky sags, the branches bow. I curl my fingers into a fist. My victim falls to the ground in dusty bits, carried away with the next gust of wind as I dance around the dying Earth. Goodbye.    We are just living, and falling.

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Tracey Pugliese

{paris burning} Ars pictura


Wendy Tan

{Rocket Aspirations} Ars poetica

I shot for the moon from down on the ground, Grown tired of circling the Earth round and round, Grown restless of hiding in shadow and shade, Of cowering in corners to watch myself fade, They called me a fool, Their words fueled my flame, I’d push until all the Earth chanted my name, I flew over chimneys, I shot past the clouds, From perches on planets I bowed to the crowds, Their scoffs turned to praises, They worshipped my wings, But no time could be spared for such trivial things, My friends were the stars who alone could compare, I danced with the Dipper, I basked with the Bear, The sun loomed above me, The moon hung below, Still higher I flew towards the beckoning glow, But no likely altitude could be enough, My wings curled as sunlight scorched feathers to dust, Plummeting headlong, an asteroid I fell, I shot for the moon and landed in hell.

55


Melissa Cui

{Serenity} Ars pictura

{The Mountains or the Sea} Ars fabula It wasn’t the kind of town you’d like to come back to.    Orphans run down the beat-down, foot-stormed streets, hoping to meet the bourgeoisie gent that’ll take the kid down the mountains to the sea. Up there the peaks knife the curves of clouds, a sunset world that fades, a topaz dream-town with coral cliffs and tortoise hills. But that doesn’t make it a nice place to live.    How could I miss it?    I miss my home-town, town of

wanderers, dead men who never knew anything but life itself; town of ragged old ladies, believers in fate, believers; town of gray cloth, snow shine sun glare, and me. Up there you get bread, you get fed, and you get a dazzling ring of sloping Earth to pass your time staring at. Everyone moves, but they move slowly, with the breeze and the collapse of summer in a breaking tide over the mountaintops. But the shacks that line the streets fall apart with indifferent, musty creaks; crooks and robber barons blaze by in a line of


Eric Margolis heated evil and take what they will. It was poverty, but it also was where the wise priests of the south came to be enlightened.    One day, I got lucky. I got my chance! I was in a fairy-tale, you see—my only skill is drawing. I can copy a tree leaf by leaf, lump by bump my indentation in the twigs. And of course the noble soldiers in clean, patterned uniforms came up, as always, and as usual we all ran out to greet them, begging to get out of that godforsaken place, and I thought that, as usual, they’d be looking for the biggest kids, ones with bold eyes and thick skin to fight in the war to the east.    But no! I’ll never forget it.    “All those skilled in the fine arts: present yourself to the grand Commander in the town square at dusk! All those skilled in the fine…” the voices faded. A wave of joy rippled across my skin. I was giddy with excitement; my mind was jumping out of my skull into heaven where angels encouraged it to keep rising.    And so I brought my finest pieces of artwork to the grand Commander at sundown, and he knew right away I had talent. “Rough but remarkable,” his gruff voice had murmured. So just like that I was in a grand limousine hopping haphazardly down the dirt paths to the valley, to the city, to the sea. …    Down here, nobody stops talking. We’re in a boomtown that hasn’t stopped booming, and probably never will. Locomotives fly across proud, gritty tracks, and no one stops to let the smoke pass. Rows of homes, organized in rows and columns and grids multiplied outwards, stretched for the clouds. The homes were adorned with shiny red mailboxes, and the bright blue carriages and automobiles jerked around paved streets in a maze of energy—it spilled out in rays, like starlight when the thinnest of clouds pass over a full moon in a haunting dusk. It was here that I enrolled in the greatest Academy of Arts in the whole kingdom. The carpet was purple,

the window shades were lined with gold. Naked statues sat next to jeweled water fountains.    In the gold-framed but gray-hearted city, we like progress. How can the Kingdom become greater? How can we develop more technology? It’s surprising to me that they even sponsor artists—it’s a pragmatic place, bursting with entrepreneurs, functionalism, and speed. It was always a rush, or a swoop, dart, dash, fly, or swish.    At first, I loved it. I loved the pace, the abundant food and soft pillows, the yellow lights of night and the servants who were everywhere, offering to take your coat or your shoes. I was absorbed in my art, but somehow I frequently found myself lacking inspiration. How could I, though, in such a vibrant city? After the initial depictions of valiant soldiers and iron-arching gates, the sights and sounds became white-noise to me: looping and proudly columned palaces reeked of artificiality, the people’s enthusiasm and excitement reeked of it too. One question always sat in my mind: Where are we going?    Everyone knew we were going somewhere. But where? …    One day I was picking up fruit at an overcrowded market for one of my teachers at the Academy when a resounding boom rolled over the Earth. Screams. Everybody rushed to the source. Apples rolled in the concrete, rich folks were falling heads-over-heels into their motorcars, children were crying, running anywhere. A large crowd was gathering by the harbor, not far away. I joined them, pushing through the mass until I got a glimpse of what had happened.    A big wooden ship was pulling in, but it was burning down. Passengers praying for their lives, for their souls to live on, were jumping into the pure blue harbor, reflective of a peaceful sky. Tugboats tittered nearby; more bodies leapt out of windows. Voices shouted for a plan, more help, not

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Eric Margolis to worry… Clearly the ship had fought in war, and lost. But this ship couldn’t have been the source of the boom?    Flash.    White-flash-black-flash—flames erupted in a swirling column of hell, scorching the air to a crisp. My knees shuddered, bringing me to the unforgiving ground. A body tripped over mine. I leapt to my feet and looked up amidst shouts and cries and a roar—an airship overhead passed by, serene amongst white mustachioed clouds and an azure sky.    They bombed us.    A constant army of bugs began to crawl up and down my flesh, squirming goose bumps of terror. I didn’t sleep that night: nightmares of demons and cities with gruff and terrifying generals ordering their soldiers to march, hut-hut!, one two three four!, wormed through rivers of bombs and tears.    I couldn’t draw a straight line the next day.    They bombed us!    What was all the innovation for? All the progress? Who would want to bomb the pinnacle of civilization? I didn’t feel safe any longer. Newspaper reports insisted that a treaty was being negotiated, and that soon peace would envelop the Kingdom. That wasn’t enough to make me feel safe, though.    That’s when I started thinking about home a lot. Where I spent hours sitting on a ledge overlooking the vertical forest, home to brown, brainless monkeys, ravens shrieking to gods above. The trees sway in a humming breeze—the entire mountain hums with the lyrics of the Earth. I was a little bit aimless, but somehow my complete lack of purpose back then seemed more real than the aims here in the city.    I started to wonder if the mountains reached higher than my hometown.    If the blue-ridged mountains amongst a flurry of hail and that orange sky wanted to keep grinding themselves into each other, into the ground with a shiver of falling stones; or keep rocking upwards, instead. We are dirt-poor up there, but dirt-poor in a rain of beads of light, falling rain in pretty

patterns before settling to a silent sitting stillness. You can hear the wolves howl, with melancholy, or is it passion?, from a far off winter cemetery. I was faced with a choice: peace was on the way—a dazzling day! Maybe I could finally see the true sea—not just the harbor and its indigo stripes and bouncing little boats, but the real sea, the green sea with mighty waves that smack the rocky ridges of civilization with an epic roar, and seagulls swarm around the rising level of the mind and the sea; an ocean of feeling and little turquoise specks begging to be seen, seen by me. But the city muddled my thoughts, tampered with my soul, and nearly broke my young-man’s heart.    It wasn’t a question of the small town or the big city any more.    And so I went back to that town, my town.


Dylan Pearce

{As Plain as Day} Ars pictura

59


{life support} Ars pictura

Tracey Pugliese


Katherine Dautrich

{White} Ars fabula    I love the feel of wedding dresses, soft satin and rough tulle scraping my skin, the flower arrangements on thick table clothes, the vases refracting onto one another, the salty taste of tears down a father’s face when his daughter loses his name. I love way the bride looks behind her veil, mysterious and murky. It just takes one touch, one graze of vermillion zones, to resonate deep into her core    The idea of matrimony, a permanent partner, someone to share the bed with on particularly cold nights, seems nice. But I hog the sheets, I dance the sleepwalker’s waltz, twirl after twirl and I wake with the fabric leaving red lashes on my skin.    There’s something terrifying about being bound to another person. Suddenly, you are no longer Susie or Molly but Susie&John or Molly&Jimmy; life defined by an ampersand. Suddenly, your tiny bathroom becomes tinier as you share it with another person and you can’t brush your teeth without bumping his elbow when he’s shaving and suddenly there’s a bloody nick on his face and a harsh curse under his breath. Suddenly that bathroom becomes a prison cell with a self-imposed sentence. Your chains are monogrammed and your confinement is made worse by his damp towel left on the tiles. Perhaps it’s more than a coincidence that the Spanish word esposa means spouse in its singular form and handcuffs when pluralized.

but you are bound to slice the flesh of your dignity, cook it rare, and serve it to your husband.    But then again, maybe I’d enjoy attending PTO meetings without feeling the whispers about unwed mother poking at my shoulders. It could be nice to share the burden of a household and a home. I can see our porch swing now and the amicable bickering the years spent together fosters. There might be some charm in knowing the rhythm of someone’s breath as if it were my own.    But people don’t become commitment phobic by accident. People who fear intimacy and entanglement don’t love less, they love more, and they know how it eats you away like a leaf in acid. They’ve loved and they know that ‘I’m sorry’ just darns a hole that will only become unraveled again. They know that mankind is selfish and even if you could love someone more than yourself then that someone could never fully give their heart to you.    I used to dream of butterfly kisses and a man whose heart I could surpass the electric fences of. Now I cloak myself in wedding gowns and let my nails streak down the glossy pages of bridal magazines and I have no regrets. I love the white dresses more than I love the wedding. I love my bitter but simple freedom far more than I could ever love someone else.

I don’t like the forgiveness of marriage. How when he cheats or I cheat or we just screw up beyond belief, we have to accept apologies or risk being hell-bound by some mythical magistrate writing the equivalent of Santa Claus’ naughty list. You don’t have to forgive friends or lovers or family

61


Tracey Pugliese

{I’ve Been} Ars pictura


Jack D’emilio

{The Darling Misadventures of Mr. Penumbrum} Ars fabula

Not very long ago, there lived a man.

However, before we recount the tale of this ‘man’, I feel the need to point out how utterly vague that statement is. Honestly, we could literally be talking about almost anyone at this point. Anyway, the point is, there was a man who was living not very long ago.    The man’s name was Mr. Penumbrum, and he really was just a horrid man, completely unpleasant to be around, and just no redeeming qualities at all. None. Mr. Penumbrum lived in a small town, with many polite people. He hated it.    When he wasn’t spending his time alone in his tiny house, he was out and about the town, lodging complaints to every small business he could find. Finding a small business was never an issue, the town was filled to the brim with them! That is, if a town can be ‘filled’ with something. I suppose if you were to take an empty mug and fill it with some type of liquid, and then drop sugar cubes or something along those lines until the cup was filled to the brim with sugar cubes, then you would have a mug filled with sugar cubes. Why would you pointlessly fill a mug with liquids and cubes? If you were to pretend the mug was the town and the cubes were small businesses, then you’d have a nice visual representation of the sub-par metaphor, but there’d also be a fine mess to clean up. But I digress.    Soon, one of the small businesses had had enough of Mr. Penumbrum’s petty complaints about pointless things, and lodged a complaint of their own to the town’s mayor. The town’s mayor agreed with the business’ owners, and ordered Mr. Penumrbum to be arrested for such harsh vibes. The police reportedly had to drag him out of the town laundromat, where he was complaining about the speed of the dryer’s spin cycle. The woman in charge

of the counter at the time was traumatized, there was literally nothing she could do to help poor, enraged Mr. Penumbrum. Police reportedly gave the woman one of those shock blankets you always see on the victims in the movies when they’re sitting on the back door of the ambulance. Actually they probably didn’t do that, I’m just trying to spice up this story a bit, if adding a blanket to the mix can even do that. Probably not.    Mr. Penumbrum was swiftly put on trial, where the whole town came out for the occasion. He was judged by a jury of his peers, which was made up of eleven reluctant town locals and rock that somebody had found outside the courthouse and then used in place of themselves. The evidence presented was nearly endless, ranging from angry letters he had written about the people and businesses of the town, to video taken directly from security cameras. At first, the jurors had unanimously voted not guilty, simply because someone can’t be incarcerated just for being unpleasant. All had voted not guilty that is, except for the rock.    The rock sat on its stool, looking decidedly indifferent, when one of the other jurors had mistaken that look of indifference for a look of doubt, which caused him to question the decision himself. Suddenly, in a strange 12 Angry Men-esque turn of events, the jurors decided Mr. Penumbrum was guilty. Truthfully, this should not have happened. All because someone just didn’t want to show up for jury duty, they thought it would be funny to send in a rock, and then just because some juror was dimwitted enough to think that a rock was capable of displaying a look of anything other than indifference, Mr. Penumbrum was sentenced to death. Because

63


Jack D’Emilio of a rock. The rejoiced townspeople later named the rock Davis, and hailed him as next in line to be town mayor. One small business even commissioned a statue to be carved in Davis’ honor, which just ended up being a boulder on a pedestal sitting in the middle of the town.    At Mr. Penumbrum’s execution, the whole town showed up again to hear his last words as he was being locked into the guillotine. Mr. Penumbrum looked at the townspeople with a look of disgust as he said, “I really don’t think this calls for the death penalty.” He continued over the jeers, “I suppose I have been a bit unpleasant in my time, but all I wanted was to improve the town’s businesses. I thought some honest feedback would help, but instead you people just get really hurt by it. Criticism should inspire you to improve your craft, you shouldn’t curl up into a ball and cry about it, you should-” suddenly the guillotine sliced down through the air like a sharp blade. Which is what it was, just a really large sharp blade. Mr. Penumbrum’s freshly severed head dropped to the ground, where it was picked up and passed around the crowd like an inflated beachball at an over-populated concert.    The townspeople ended their celebrations, and went on living their lives. Things around the town were much quieter without Mr. Penumbrum, but no one would dare say they missed him. Mayor Davis was very harsh on any mention of Mr. Penumbrum, threatening any offenders with the promise of death by stoning. I don’t see how this worked in favor for Mayor Davis, as he was a rock himself, and therefore must personally know at least a few other rocks that live in the area. So if rocks can be familiar with each other, display at least one emotion, and even become mayor, then it’s probably safe to assume that they can feel pain, so stoning someone to death would most likely also hurt the rocks a good deal; probably not as much as the poor man being stoned though. This also shows that Davis is not above hurting his fellow man, which really shows some of his true colors. But that’s all beside the point.    The point is, Mr. Penumbrum is dead, the townspeople are happy, and the town is now ruled by a sadistic rock named Davis. And so ends our story.

The moral of the story is nothing. There is no discernible moral in this strange tale, which leads me to believe this was all just a waste of everyone’s time and effort. I would say at least we learned something, but we didn’t, so I suppose it’s best to just leave it at

‘and so ends our story.’


Dylan Pearce

{Hat}

Ars pictura

65


Jason Vassiliou

{Insomnia} Ars poetica Sleeplessly lying in the dark, I saw a blinking light. Electric green, its beams spread forth, Piercing through the night. While staring at it, it seemed to morph, Changing shape and form; A moth, a bird, a green lantern: A hypnagogic swarm. In stupid amazement I looked at it, This pleomorphic light; Blinking, blinking, on-and-off, Through the hours of the night.


Rhian Lowndes

{Waking Up} Ars fabula Strolling down the purple-shadowed path, Melody saw the stars for the first time in fifteen years. She’d been lost in the dark for so long, and the moment she woke up between those crisp, cold sheets, she knew the one thing she wanted, the one thing she craved. The need was so strong; a thirst for the bright sparks against an infinite black pool. As she craned her neck to see the sky now, a stiff pull ran down her spine, and it brought her out of her reverie. She hadn’t stretched or ran since she went under, and without the opportunity to embrace the slow accumulation of years, it felt as if her sudden old age was repeatedly slapping her, and then laughing in her face whenever she tried to recover. Melody shook her new gray curls, and massaged her new wrinkled neck with her new withered hands. She kept walking down the path, and every now and then, snuck a look up at the stars; the one thing that, it seemed, hadn’t changed.

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Elizabeth Shilling

{Unchanged} Ars poetica

I watch you from afar everyday, wanting to grasp and touch the beauty that I have seen all too many times and seemingly know all too well. But alas, to touch your beauty would be to overtake you, for my heart is fire, while yours is gasoline. I do not wish to harm the beauty, nor engulf your gasoline perfection in flames, because to do so would change you. And I want you just the way you are. So I sit burning. Blazing and flaming while I watch you from afar, because I know that as time passes, my fire will die down, and if I seek to touch your gasoline beauty, only a spark would touch you. That way, you would have just enough of me, but you would remain unchanged.


Delphine Mossman

{Fingerprint} Ars pictura

69


Kate Edwards

{The Median} Ars fabula    Mother and child drove along the barren highway, deserted but for their little blue car. Across the grassy median the cars streaked by, chrome blurs, in the opposite direction. Far away a lone siren howled.    “Look at the cars go by,” said the little boy, “and listen.” He shivered and in his mind’s eye saw the cars as a mighty herd, pounding along the open country, pursued by a white wolf, wailing. The mother turned a quick eye to the road and saw the long lines, the traffic, inexplicably fast; she heard the sirens.    “They certainly look to be in a hurry,” she said. “Maybe there was an accident.”    Across the median the cars blazed along the highway, so fast that the road beneath them blurred and became a black inky river, rushing with them, flying forward like pen strokes, made in succession, quick, quick, quick. The tires shrieked against the tar in desperation, and then, because they could got no faster, began to tumble over themselves.    “Listen,” said the little boy. “Do you hear those drumbeats?”    Far in the heavens the crashes resounded. The sky gods struck their cymbals. Down below, on the highway, the noise was more deafening. The cars smashed themselves against one another, and when they collided the enormous noise sounded like hail on sheet metal, or the beating of a mighty aluminum drum.

The wrecks grew more numerous. They rearended one another and their cars crumpled like wrapping paper. Drivers steered like maniacs sideswiping one another with grated sound of nails-on-chalkboard. They fought each other like cats. Everyone’s nostrils were clogged with smoke.    The highway ran straight for many miles, thousands and thousands, and if there were children in the back, they whimpered, “what are we running from?” And the parents would turn round, momentarily—or maybe not even that. “Fire, fire,” they shouted, wildeyed. Beating their fists on the dashboard in a frenzy, rending their clothes. “Fire, fire.” Their shrieks flooded the car and the childrens eyes. They too panicked. “Fire? Fire?”    The cars stampeded down the highway.    “Jeez,” said the mother, slowing to watch them. “Where’s the fire?”    At the river’s source all was quiet, calm. No smoke stirred the heavy brambles, no spirits hastened the car’s pace. Yet all driving smelled smoke. It hung sickeningly in the nose, crept along the sinuses and exploded in the mind. “Fire, fire,” they cried. And they yearned for the glare of a fire engine, for salvation. “Fire, fire!” Fie, fie. The grit kicked up rained down upon the windshields.    At last the cars approached the final bend, those whose wheels would still turn. As they maneuvered into the gentle turn, their faces lit up, in serene anticipation of rest. “We


Kate Edwards

made it,” they murmured. Yet the cars did not slow. “We’re going to be all right,” said the drivers, clench-mouthed. “All right, all right.”    And their children said, “what’s that crackling sound?”    And round the corner the flames leapt up to meet them. And the fire blazed so hot, so hot it crushed the steel structures beneath its fist. They incinerated on impact. The metal melted and puddled on the highway and mixed with the sticky hot flesh, a new tar, a glue. And more cars came shrieking round the bend into the blaze. Shrieking, shrieking.    And above, perched in a mighty evergreen, death laughed long shuddering laughs, clapped his mouldering hands. His ragged habit danced in the wind, motheaten. He tossed back his head and closed his fevered sockets and laughed.    One driver, with panicked presence of mind, leapt from his car before as it entered the flames. He became ashes before his foot met the pavement.    Death laughed.    Fie, fie.    The little boy shivered. “I’m glad we’re over here.”    His mother bit her lip and watched the passing cars. “Perhaps,” she said, “we should join them.”

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April Huang

{Galactic Spiral} Ars pictura

{The Room} Ars fabula   The bug was black. It had legs like combs. Slowly, it moved up the wall. Now it stopped. Briefly, opening its wings, it flew. Its body hit the ceiling with a thwack. Now it crawled along on the ceiling. Hunched over, busily rotating its joints, stretching forth its antennae, ever twitching—it crawled.    The ground of the cafe opened up over it. Iron table legs spiraled up like stalagmites. Murky coffee drips spat up, then splattered on the dingy floor.    Two men sat at the corner table. There was a pot of coffee between them, and a

woven nest holding loaves. One of them was playing with a loaf, flecking the doughy flesh with his fingernails. The other man was nervous, hunched forward. He kept shooting the other patrons glances; then he would speak to his companion in a drone of anxious man-language.    “He isn’t coming, I tell you. This was a crock. A lark, I tell you. Wasn’t it a lark. Admit it, you. And what a dive. Do you patronize this place—often? Huh! What a foul place. I don’t like this place. Michael. I’m leaving.”


Kate Edwards    “Please, have patience, sir.” said Michael, ceasing to rip at his bread. “Have I ever let you down? I’m very sorry this place isn’t to your taste, Mr. McKenzie, but I assure you, sir—this man is a professional. He will be able to help you. I made absolutely certain he could help you. I wouldn’t let him near you if he could not help you. Sit down. Sir. Would you like some coffee? I’ll get you some coffee. And then I want you to tell me about your works some more, Mr. McKenzie. You know I love your works.”    “Don’t I, though,” said McKenzie drily. He continued to shift his eyes. His hands crept across the table, then hesitated and crept back.    Michael, in the act of pouring McKenzie’s cup of coffee, sputtered and jounced the spitting pot. “There he is, sir! Here he comes!”    McKenzie started and sat straighter. He locked his twitching hands and pinned them between his legs.    They both looked in the direction of the entrance. There stood a tall man, stooped in conversation with a waiter. At a gesture the tall man turned his gaze to McKenzie’s table. He advanced across the dry floor. He towered over the little table. He took his seat.    “Hullo,” said the tall man.    And then, a pause.   “Kevin McKenzie?” said the tall man. Questioningly, he looked at Michael.    McKenzie coughed.    “Ah,” said the tall man, shifting his gaze. “Mr. McKenzie.” He shook the outstretched trembling hand. “Clodius Rahm at your service. And—you must be Michael Tellington.”    “Delighted,” said Michael. He too extended his hand, which dangled briefly, limp and unshaken, over the tabletop. He withdrew.    The tall man eyed McKenzie. “So. Mr. McKenzie. Your friend—”    “—Acquaintance”    “—Most devoted admirer,” said Michael.    “Yes,” said Rahm. “Michael here. I got his letter about a week ago. It says that you have a little problem, and need a little fixer.”

“Yes,” said McKenzie, casting about a black look. He edged closer to Rahm. “Can you help me?”    Rahm grinned. “But can you name the drug?”    McKenzie moved closer still. He “Michael said... creativity.”    “Correct.”    “What, really?” Solemnly, Rahm nodded. “But that’s incredible!” McKenzie cried. “What, through pills?” Rahm shook his head. “Liquid?”   Impatiently, Rahm shook his head. “Mr. McKenzie—you can’t eat inspiration. Michael did you explain anything. Mr. McKenzie. This is no ordinary fixer. And If I’m to give you anything you must understand that. This ailment that you face cannot cannot be cured through draught nor pill. For you we require a stimulant of the mind. This is not a medicine. This is an experience.”    “Can I...have this experience?” asked McKenzie.    “Why do you want it?”    “Can I have this experience?”    Rahm grinned.    “But why do you want it?”    “I’ll tell you why I want it!” screamed McKenzie, leaping to his feet. “When I was young I held a pen so hot I thought it’d scorch my hand! Every day I walked in beauty. Ideas condensed into words and poured onto the page like steaming rain. They just poured out, I tell you! I worked aflame, in beautiful fire! I did, once!”    “Imbecile!” cried Michael to Rahm. “You’ve upset Mr. McKenzie!” “But the wells have dried up,” said McKenzie, “dried up! Where did my words lodge themselves? Something’s dammed the flow. And when I write I cannot find beauty in my language. And when I have ideas, they’re gone before they reach the page.”    Mr. Rahm leant his chin on his fist and watched McKenzie from under black brows.    “Mr. Rahm, please. I need to write like birds need to fly. Cut off my flow and clip my wings. Please, Mr. Rahm. I must have this experience. I am a writer. I must write. Mr. Rahm! As God is my witness, I— must—write!”

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Kate Edwards And as McKenzie said these final words he slammed opportunity, “what a histrionic moment for you this his fist, once, twice, thrice, on the table. And the final is!” blow shuddered the cafe foundations so, the ceiling    “What?” said McKenzie. “Ah, you—yes, yes. dislodged from under the bug and it fell up onto the Quite, em, histrionic. Mr. Rahm. Shall we—well, tabletop. It landed on its pearly back, and beat the that is—my fixer—if you please.” His eyes scanned air with its barbed limbs. It was the portrait of abject the pillars of cement. helplessness.    Rahm grinned. “Yes, Mr. McKenzie.”    McKenzie saw the bug, yelped, and jumped back.    He led his charges down a hallway. The ceiling    Rahm stood up. was slick and featureless and the only windows    “I’ll do it,” he said. “The experience—it’s yours.” rather small and barred. A faint humming emanated    McKenzie flattened himself against the wall. from the walls. “Kill it.” “So dark...” said Mr. McKenzie, trailing his fingers    “Mr. McKenzie!” said Michael. “This is along the wall. “Is it necessary?” wonderful. Congratulations.” “Oh yes,” said Rahm. “Your fixer    “Kill it,” said McKenzie. He flourishes in the dark.” said closed his eyes. “And where are we going?” From the    “You’ll want to make McKenzie. He closed dark, Michael’s voice echoed over arrangements—a time and place oceans of space and time. “What for it” said Rahm. his eyes. awaits us? Mr. McKenzie?”    “Kill it.” “We’re going to a seminar,” called    Michael smashed the bug Mr. Rahm. “Of sorts.” beneath his fist. They turned a final corner.    “There, sir.”    A single window illuminated a small door in the    Tentatively, McKenzie opened his eyes. Then he side of the corridor. said to Rahm, “Thank you. I’m happy you see this in The humming was distinctly louder. my way. I’ll ring to make arrangements with you...    Rahm stopped by the door and laid his hand on tomorrow?” the knob. He beckoned McKenzie forward.

“Kill it,”

Rahm let a little time pass before acting. As Michael explained, he was the best. So he took his time—which didn’t hurt. If anything, when he finally welcomed McKenzie to his office, the latter man was only eager to begin.    But it didn’t stop him from saying “A warehouse?” and raising his eyes. “This is where you work?” McKenzie said. “A warehouse?”    “Yes,” said Rahm. “And it’s the only place for my line of work, Mr. McKenzie. Do you want your fix or not?”    “Oh, certainly, certainly. Of course. Mr Rahm.” said McKenzie.    Michael had invited himself along as well. He clasped one of McKenzie’s books to his chest. “Oh Sir,” he said to the author, given the

Cautiously, McKenzie came.    Rahm grinned and said “Your seminar, sir.” And he opened the door. The humming peaked.    The room had no furniture—just six smooth surfaces. And every square inch of space was coated with black, comb-legged insects. There was no floor, no ceiling, no stationary objects, no distinction at all. The bugs glittered like chain mail boiling in the sun. They scaled the walls, clinking against each other, marching on. Bulging them, distorting them grotesquely, making them ripple. Like the turning of intricate cogs in a music box they crawled up and over another, and their music was a low discordant drone of a thousand tiny metal rivets rising and falling, over and over, belching thin smoke, settling, over and over. The black locusts with their polished


Kate Edwards anatomy gleamed like chain mail boiling in the sun, the way they climbed over and under each other, like machinery. They glinted in the narrow sunlight. Over and over and over. They rose and fell through the air like clouds of dust. They flew, they landed. They crawled on top of each other with their legs, swarming up the wall, down the wall, glinting in the sunlight. Over. Like cascading chain mail. They would stop, layers upon layers of dry rasping black locusts, with their dry rasping murmur. And over. On top, off, overtop. Clinging to each other’s backs, twisting their delicate probing antennae in the air. The climbed up the wall, little cogs. Over, and over. At the movement of the door they had halted in their eternal crawl. Theirs was an uneven distribution— sentinels, scattered on a battlefield. A few hung from the ceiling, leaf-creatures from nightmares. Like seminanimate stalactites. Their antennae continued to pump the air.   Rahm turned to McKenzie, who stood beside him. And Rahm saw then the palpitating nostrils, the dilated eyes, the sagging mouth, the frozen limbs.    And with all his strength, he shoved McKenzie through the doorway.   At the slam of the door the bugs returned to life. They flew. All took wing, swarming around McKenzie. Flying from all directions, wings slitting his face, cutting his arms, crawling down his throat. It was a veritable maelstrom of insects, a black hole which spun and spun and spun, and pulled in, and never let go.    The door was made of steel. Through it Rahm and Michael heard the screams.    An hour later the swarm had quieted. Rahm and Michael entered. Michael had cried, his eyes were flushed.    They took the man by the elbows and lifted him off the floor, dislodging a few settled bugs. They carried McKenzie out of the room. Rahm and Michael drove McKenzie home. They lay him in the chair before his desk. A fresh notebook sat before him, as did an uncapped pen. The man stared blankly at the table.

With a sigh of exasperation Rahm bent McKenzie over the desk. Michael tucked the pen into McKenzie’s hand and held it over the paper. And then McKenzie began to write.    The words swarmed from his pen.    And that evening Rahm and Michael stood before McKenzie’s desk and wept over the beauty of the words.    And McKenzie’s hand had continued to crawl across the table, even after the notebook was filled. And when they held him upright in the shower, growing heavy, buckling under his sodden clothes, his hands still twitched. And his hands continued to move as they drew back the covers and tucked him into bed.

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Elizabeth Shilling

{The Eye} Ars pictura


Caroline Mak

{Soul Searching in an Amusement Park} Ars poetica I looked over the winding rails to see the hills behind As the cart tugged me forward, up and away The multicolored countryside expanse filled me with awe But I didn’t find it out there Nothing as my voice whistled past me and physics was defied Down the rushing slopes of the deafening track I wandered into the sweet-smelling cotton candy stand Hoping to find it hiding in the soft, pink cotton strand fluff Traversing some kind of path that led to nowhere in between But I didn’t find it in there Simply sugar crystals and pink stickiness atop a white-white cone Melting on my dry tongue I sat for the 4 o’clock dolphin show Trying to spot it above a jumping ring, surfing on a tail-fluke Riding the dolphins on a joyswim like they were friends But I didn’t find it then Just clicks and concealed sadness behind the eyes Of the splashing, circling dolphins I slipped into the teacups ice rink Dancing psychedelically along its carved paths Trying to lose sight in the dizziness, and to see it in the stars But I didn’t find it in them Stepped out to fall flat, shattering the above-head circling stars My eyes swimming in more circles than they could spin Over and yonder, through the fake jungles and prairies Under tails of bunny rabbits and peekaboo holes in beaver dams Through the little zoo I walked, among the anacondas Whistling to summon, as I would have my long-gone cat Somewhere amongst the screeches, chirps, and honks, But it didn’t come to me No, only the unruly flies and the mosquitoes Sticking to my perspiring stress

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Caroline Mak

I said, maybe I can find it, on The Plunge I climbed in, strapped up, but my heart nearly flew away From my empty chest because it beat so hard With no soul to keep it buckled in Yet I still didn’t find it Even at the very top, among the amorphous angels’ clouds To drop back down to earth with only my hands clasped between my breasts I sat down, exhausted on a weathered side-bench With windswept hair, a used white cone, an un-dried shirt A chipped teacup, hairs of a bushy tail, and a dangling heart. I listened to the cries of music and the joys of others Souls in hand, souls atop heads, souls side by side I looked up and saw that I wasn’t alone To see some kind of shape sitting beside me I asked, What is your name? She said her name. I asked, What are you doing here? She said she was looking for someone. I asked, Who are you looking for? She turned to me and said, “You.”


Tracey Pugliese

{You and me (but mostly me)} Ars pictura

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Elizabeth Shilling

{Body of Nature} Ars poetica

The sadness that plagues me daily is seldom aware that it has never taken a leave of absence in over a year, and I’m sure that it is oddly unaware that although it occupies my life and changes me, my inside, my control center, it does not really change the way I act around people, or acquaintances of myself. See, I cloak this sadness with my perspective of good vibrations, and staying calm. My laugh is disguised as sincerity, when all it ever really is, is a desperate cry for help that no one ever sees. They judge the book by its cover. But all the while, the disparity is still inside me, eating at my heart, chamber by chamber, ripping out the pieces to leave nothing left but a hole where the heart used to be. And the liquid sadness of memories and days gone by fill up my lungs until I am suffocated. Drowned with happier memories of my dismal life, I lay breathless, unable to move or live.


Elizabeth Shilling

It eats away at my skin, line by line, scar by scar, until my body is nothing but a cerulean black bruise of hatred. After the serpent of despair makes its way out of my skin it will puncture my eyes, overpowering and taking control of them too. Soon it is raining everyday from blue iris clouds, and soon my cheeks have become a blushed ocean, filling with the same salt as the sea. And the stars have left the cornea sky. The sky is dark and cold. The sky that has not seen the sun in over four and a half seasons of changing trees and temperature. And I long for the sun. I long for the day when the stars are back in the cornea sky, and the iris clouds are happy again, never releasing the ever flooding ocean onto the blushed sea of pink. The day will come soon enough when I can wake up and look outside

and the sun will be shining, welcoming me to a world that I have long forgotten. A world where I am happy, and calm and feel nothing but the soft grass and swaying daisies. A world where nothing can hurt me any longer, where words are not glass shards in the lobes of my brain, and where I don’t worry about the thoughts of others around me or how people see me. A day where I can wake up, and the bruises will be faded, and I will no longer be black. My lungs will be drained, and be allowed to breathe in once again the air of seven billion people on this glorious planet, that can see slowly but surely, that my heart, chamber by chamber, is growing stronger. And will once again be one piece. One day, I promise you, that day will come.

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Dylan Pearce

{The Botanist} Ars pictura

{Mr. Morior} Ars fabula    Fauxville had an abnormal arrangement of buildings. It started off as a just a row of houses, one after the other, curved in the formation of an arc. The contractors never thought through their plan. The area of Fauxville was rich in its land and fresh in its air. Its trees danced to the breezes of day and every acre basked in sunlight. All were drawn to its life, but only a few were quick enough to grab onto such a luxury. Homes were limited and constantly occupied. The second a house

went for sale was the second the house was bought.    Due to the complaints of other interested buyers, the contractors decided to expand the neighborhood. They attached another arc of houses to the previous arc to create a full ring. All those houses were bought within minutes upon their creation. More complaints came in. The contractors grew weary of explaining the fact that there was simply no more room to expand. The complaints didn’t


Annie Xu cease. Eventually, the contractors found a solution. In the center of the ring lied a patch of land, which was faced by every house in the ring and which could face every house. They stuck one last house in the eye of Fauxville.    Just as the contractors expected, no one chose to buy the last house. Hours, followed by days, followed by weeks, passed. It was the longest period of time in which a house in Fauxville wasn’t bought. At last, in the fourth week, there was a purchase.    It came under the name of Mr. Morior. The neighbors of the ring were shocked at his arrival, curious as to who had the audacity to be situated in such a location. They suspected him to be a pompous man who clearly relished under the spotlight and couldn’t wait to make his name known to the rest of the neighborhood. Contrary to their beliefs, he never left the house. Other than the day he moved in, the neighbors never caught another glimpse of him outside his home.    That didn’t mean they never saw him. Every night, they could somewhat make out a face through the window of a room on the second floor. It was a strange sight. He had a pair of dark brows and a pasty composure. The rest of his body was obscured by the darkness. What perhaps was the strangest was the smile he wore. It was always the same smile, and every house in the ring seemed to see it from each of his room’s four windows. In the morning, the neighbors couldn’t see his face due to the constant sunlight that streamed into all their eyes. Once night arrived, the smile reappeared.    At first, it was quite unnerving. Many claimed that he never went to sleep because his face was smiling and visible continuously throughout the night. Some were worried about his current state and wondered why he never left his house. A few even contemplated going to ask how he was doing, but others suggested to stay out of his personal business. In the end, they all concluded that Mr. Morior was simply a happy man.    Years passed and Mr. Morior’s face kept its

smiling, distant nature. There was but one time when he was seen with a face attached to a body. That was the night of the neighborhood’s first masquerade ball. The scene was extravagant, with alcohol flowing and masks designed in the most intricate patterns and costumes glittering with streaks of red and gold. Every resident in Fauxville was invited and every resident came. This included Mr. Morior, but he wasn’t dressed like the others. No inch of skin was exposed under the black fabric he hid himself in — no skin except that of his face, which carried that one, unchanging smile. As he slowly entered the ball, he looked around at all the masks and costumes. The neighbors found their eyes turning towards the odd man, who was the only one present with no covering on his face. No one dared to bring it up, until one woman, clearly whiskey-sodden, stumbled upon the stranger. She looked up at his face and laughed.    “Don’t you have a mask?”   With the smile still intact, Mr. Morior nodded. He then left the ball and went back to smiling from the second floor of his house. The neighbors found his behavior strange, but still chose to remain uninvolved. They were accustomed to his smiling anyway.    A few days later, a strange smell hit Fauxville. The neighbors found it growing stronger and even more repulsive with each passing hour. Every house in the ring could detect the smell, so they decided it must have spread from the center, the house of Mr. Morior. The smell got to the point where it became unbearable, so they began to call his house during the daytime. No response. They figured he must be occupied during the day. They began to call his house at night. No response. They wondered if he was out on vacation, but they never recalled seeing him leave, and, more convincingly, they still saw his face smiling at them in the night.    The neighbors grew frustrated with Mr. Morior and were determined to speak with him

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Annie Xu

about the smell. One night, when they knew he was home and smiling, they marched up to the front of his house with flashlights and banged on his door. No one answered. They started screaming for Mr. Morior to come downstairs and unlock his door. Only a silence was returned. Furious, they began to make schemes to break open his front door before one finally found it unlocked. They all stepped inside.    The first floor of his house was completely dark. They began shouting again for Mr. Morior, knowing he was somewhere in there. After searching all the rooms on his first floor, they realized he must have been on the second floor, like he always was. They ascended the stairs, taking each step by itself. The stench grew denser and more nauseating as they neared the sole room of his second floor. They all paused, holding their noses, in front of his door. Then they twisted the knob and entered.    This time, they felt no need to shout any longer. Darkness enveloped them again before lights were cast into his room. No furniture was present, only the black outline of an eye on the wooden floor. The eye was drowned in a lake of dried blood, and there, right in the center lied the cut-up, rotting corpse of Mr. Morior. Plastered on each of the four windows was a copy of his face, a smile they could all recognize.


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Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 5 Figure 6

Vikas Chelur Sophie Carpenter Morgan Alexander Samantha Morrow Kate Edwards Breanne Canedo

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Julia Bevan Wendy Tan Fiona Copeland Melissa Cui Rhian Lowndes Nicole Delgado


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Chelsea Tang Jason Vassiliou Rachel Klein Elizabeth Shilling Caroline Davis Tracey Pugliese

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Erin Beatty Katherine Dautrich April Huang Jack D’Emilio Annie Xu Carly Milito Delphine Mossman

Special Thanks to Ben Smith, Tricia Ebarvia and Manasvi Ramanujam Illustrations by Carly Milito



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