Contents Editorâ€™s Note Late Night Shopping - Hannah Adam Notes from Grieving Us - Holly Jian The Dreams of Aeons - RudolphWentzel The Pylon - Jessica Spring Untitled - Holly Jian On Dreams & How to Live Them - Scott-Patrick Michael
Editors note We are so pleased to bring the Spring Edition of Tenderfoot to fruition! While this issue is smaller than our previous issue, we’re excited to present a beautiful selection of creative writing to our readers. Releasing a finished issue is close to our favourite part of the process, but we can’t overlook the joy of opening our mailbox to discover submissions that we have the pleasure of reading and discussing. We would like to thank everyone that has ever sent us a submission, and those that allow us to publish and celebrate their writing. This will be the last edition for the current editorial committee of Tenderfoot. We’ve been very fortunate in working with wonderful creators during the past year and we would like to extend a warm thank-you to everyone that has submitted, read or been a part of Tenderfoot in any small way. We look forward to watching on eagerly to see what Tenderfoot will become in the future. - Lara Smith
Image: Cynthia Voon
LATE NIGHT SHOPPING
The door slamme ering the floor. Glass crun Good, thought C The room was d electricity was scarce th the gloom, ghosts, long chips long ago stolen or sour stench that lingered jars and cans were piled
Clarke stepped in to take. She could take h and finding the only doo beside her, sniffing at a q was blood.
Clarke smiled, giv after all. And how could s The tills were em good fuel to a fire. Only zines had been torn or ta the biggest talking point talking about. But sheâ€™d b
In the end, Clarke object next. She followe safer with Lupo by her s of this whole shit storm. prowled in front of her n one look at Lupoâ€™s sharp
Image: Cynthia Voon
ed inwards, the last fragments of glass that had clung to the window panes shownched underfoot as Clarke entered, the sound loud in the abandoned building. Clarke, grounding her boot further in the glass, let him know I’m here. dark, silver light washing in from the cloud covered moon. This wasn’t uncommon, hese days, but it gave a certain … eeriness to the place. The shelves ran back into emptied of their produce. Papers littered the floor, ‘2 for 1’ signs for packets of ‘$4.99 a kilo’ for apples that were gone; some of them had rotted here, by the d. Freezer doors hung open, lightbulbs blown and shattered. Smashed and emptied in corners. He’d chosen a shit show of a place to hide.
nto the store, wandering over towards to tills to see if there was anything useful her time, there was nowhere for him to go, having already done a perimeter search or not barricaded to be the one she had just come through. Lupo trotted dutifully questionable dark patch on the ground. When he came away growling she knew it
ving the shotgun in her hand an appreciative rub. So she hadn’t missed completely she? Her shotgun wouldn’t betray her any more than her dog would. mptied, as expected, not that money was a currency anymore, but it did make for wrappers were left where the chocolate bars would have stood, and all the magaaken. What she wouldn’t give to go back to a time when celebrities’ marriages was t of the day. Not that she had been old enough to really know who anyone was been old enough to remember when her mum got sick. She wished she didn’t.
e pocketed the keys to the tills, not knowing when she might need a sharp, metal ed Lupo down the first aisle, the blood leaving dark smears along the floor. She felt side than she did the shotgun, the two having been together since the beginning . He’d grown up with her, from a puppy she could carry to the sixty kilo beast that now. Grown men whom she should have been afraid of ran from her after taking p teeth. It was a tough world they lived in, and she planned on being the toughest.
They walked do her mother, who was no who was also now prob than tough meat or drie
The blood led to “Well I guess the She pushed the
Half of the stora the impending storm wa leaving not much more the desk that the moans
“Come out,” said ferently. Clarke cocked
Another tin saile the dog stalking toward come out, and this will b
The whimpering dragged himself out, his in sweat, and where his
Blood oozed ou his thigh but by the amo tutted. “Joe, Joe, Joe. Did “Look, Clarke,” sa
“Nothing persona I was going to trade, my
Joe wiped a slee about my brother. He’s scavenger, you know th
own the frozen produce aisle, Clarke remembering times when she had come with ow dead, and how she’d pleaded for this ice-cream or that ice-cream. Her brother, bably dead, preferred icy poles. Now, Clarke would just prefer something other ed berries to eat.
o a door down the back, marked ‘Employees Only’. ere’s no one around to tell me off, hey Lupo?” said Clarke. door open with the nose of her gun.
age room roof had caved in, the moonlight struggling to filter through the clouds; as getting closer. Most of the boxes had been taken along with their contents, than a chair with three legs and a desk that was caked with graffiti. It was under s of pain and whimpers were coming from.
d Clarke. A tin sailed towards her from under the desk. She swatted it aside indifher gun. “Come out and this will all be over sooner.”
ed towards her. Clarke gave a short, sharp whistle. A low growl started up in Lupo, ds the desk. “I’m sorry,” said Clarke. “Did that sound like a question? Let’s try again; be less painful for you.”
g increased, but slowly, slowly a man began to emerge from under the desk. He s face twisted in pain. His hands were caked in dirt, his hair pasted to his forehead right calf should have been there was a gaping hole.
ut slowly over the mass of mangled meat. He’d tried to apply a tourniquet around ount of blood pooling around him it didn’t seem to be doing much good. Clarke d you really think you could steal from me and get away with it?” aid Joe, his voice strained. “It’s nothing personal. I-”
al?” She took a step forward. He flinched. “You took my food, my water, the prizes y-” she caught herself. “You took all that, but it’s nothing personal, right?”
eve against his forehead, leaning on the wall for support. “My brother. I told you sick, can barely sit up, let alone scavenge for food. He’s always been the better hat. I just needed something to get me by until-”
“Do I look like I give a shi and now you’re going to
“Of course, yes o He reached unde found her food, the trink she’d been collecting for
“Where is it?” Cla Joe, who’d been “Don’t play game “Look Clarke, I do
Clarke stomped pressure he was panting just wanted it to survive
Clarke pressed a “I don’t care abou She couldn’t sho strong.
“How about this, one she used for slicing
“Fingers?” Joe lea coming to? I used to be Boring, some might say,
it about your brother? I don’t care why you did what you did. You stole from me, o give it back.”
of course.” A look of relief crossed Joe’s face. Idiot. “Here, here. Take it.” er the desk, pulling forth Clarke’s duffel bag. He slid it towards Clarke. Inside she kets she’d collected that were actually valuable enough to trade, and the rain water r months. But the one thing she wanted most was not there.
arke asked, deadly calm. looking hopefully towards the door, went still. “Where’s what?” es with me.” Clarke threw down the duffel bag. “Where is it?” on’t know wh-”
down on the hole in his calf. Joe screamed, long and hard. When she released the g. “Let’s try again. Where is it?” “I just wanted the food for my brother. That’s it. I e.”
again on his calf, longer this time. ut whys,” gritted out Clarke. “I care about wheres.” ow her fear. She couldn’t show how much this was getting to her. She had to stay
,” said Clarke. She put the gun down and slid her good knife out of her pocket, the meat. “You tell me where you put it … or you start losing fingers.”
aned heavily on the wall now, his hopeful looks gone. “God, what is this world an accountant you know? I used to spend my days at a desk, looking at numbers. , but what I wouldn’t give to be back there. Back before the virus that-”
“I also don’t need a histo It was so long ag She was young and didn people. And no one seem Her brother used stars, zombies. And a lot pened when the human r happened to the people Because this, this hell she
“You were there? “Eighteen,” correc She lent down, th “Eighteen,” Joe le
“Now a threat im “Oh, I know you from the rain in that old “Since you robbe “Since you shot m “You’re a child of this ne going to survive. But at
Clarke raised her Knife ready, Clar thought. With another ti knife sent spiralling away
Clarke lay on the above as the sounds of falling down on her, delic
When Clarke man her, Joe’s body at his fee “He wasn’t the sm
ory lesson. I was there too.” And here, Clarke faltered. go but … crying. She remembered a lot of crying, from her mother. Her father too. n’t understand but what she did know was that people were getting sick. A lot of med to have a cure for it. d to love sci-fi novels, she remembered that much. Time travel, wars up among the t of end of the world stories. Well, those stories never really covered what haprace got close to extinction but then somehow managed to cling to survival. What that were left behind? How did they survive? She could really use some help. e was living in, couldn’t be all that was left for her.
?” Said Joe. “Barely. You can’t be more than twenty.” cted Clarke. he knife shining dangerously in her hand. et out a weak laugh. “I’m being threatened by a eighteen year old.”
mplies I won’t follow through.” will. I’ve known you for all of what? Twenty four hours? Since we took shelter bus stop.” ed me.” me.” Clarke looked at the wound he spoke of, pleased by the amount of blood. ew world. You’ve grown up in it, been hardened by it. It’s the ones like you that are what cost Clarke? At what cost to your humanity?”
r knife, tired of this conversation. “Humanity is for the weak and the dead. Like you.” rke made a grab for Joe’s hand. But the desperate man was stronger than she in she hadn’t seen, he hit her across the head. Clarke was knocked backwards, her y. Lupo leapt for Joe.
e floor, her head pounding and heavy. She looked through the roof at the sky Lupo growling were broken up with Joe’s shrieks of pain. Something soft began cately landing on her face; snow. The first of the season. It was beautiful.
naged to finally sit up she was met with the sight of Lupo sitting dutifully beside et; his throat was torn out, red tarnishing the newly fallen snow. martest man, was he?” asked Clarke.
Clarke went through his creating space so she co The idiot must have bee realised this was what sh
Clarke retrieved not that she could do an time, ‘Galactic Guardians
Galactic Guardian her. It was the last thing words her brother had w remember I’ll be here for
Clarke fought th realised he’d been writing
Clarke gently pla picked her gun up and g
Whistling tuneles around her.
pockets, taking anything she found to be useful. She then shoved him aside, ould look under the desk. A weight lifted off her shoulders when she saw it there. en reading it, had dropped it when he’d heard her enter. He probably hadn’t even he had been looking for. For who in this world would care so much for a book?
the book. She dusted it off by the moonlight. Lucky for him he hadn’t ruined it, ny more to him at this point. She ran a hand over the cover, the stars faded over s’ in bold metallic letters.
ns. It was such a stupid title, a stupid book really. But her brother had given it to she owned from her past, apart from Lupo. Opening the front cover she read the written for her years ago; ‘Lark, even when the world seems to have gone crazy, r you. You’ve always got me.’
he emotions that rose up every time she read the words, the lies her brother hadn’t g.
aced the book in her duffel bag, zipped it up and slung it over her shoulder. She gave a whistle for Lupo, who trotted to her side. She didn’t give Joe a second look.
ssly to herself, she exited the supermarket, the snow tumbling peacefully all
I Remember when we laid ourselves upon the grass warm From the roiling clouds above Remember how the night yawned in silent white flickers Remember the clouds rolling heavy in the sky As our storm hearts rolled Beating at each other, deaf I| I think of your throat The skin, warm and soft against my brow Your jaw cradles my skull, a cove to shelter in But no storm comes. Instead We languish silently under a wordless sun under A doldrum blue sky I|| I give you my water. We drift.
Not es from grievin g us Ho l l y Jian
Image: Sara Ann Lin
The years flake away like the rust on the tender parts of your exposed body. I am part of the rocks and roots. I am part of the trees and the leaves. I am the process of returning to the ground. I am the.. There is a thought, the only thing that can still be considered a thought in the Dream of Aeons, that cuts perpendicular to the gentle visions. A strange thought, a haunting thought. You are not a thing that grows in the ground. You are a thing that is made. Listen. Listen! Strange smells waft over you. A guttural roar fills the forest. Some ungainly monster is heading towards your general direction. Dont pick me. I am happily sleeping. Donâ€™t pick me, I am part of the rocks and plants. Pick me. The roar gets louder. There is a light shining on you, but it is not from the sun and you do not understand it. The ice coating smashes, the Dream of Aeons is broken. A feeling of untold anger swells up within your being. Why did you pick me! I hate you. I was satisfied! You try to flee but that capacity has rotted away from you long ago, and surely you are pulled screeching and grinding onto the back of the machine. There is a sickening feeling of your insides being scraped out onto the floor.
Th e Drea m of A eon s Rudo l f Wen tzel
“Careful.” Says the man driving the machine that is pulling you in. “It has no structural integrity of its own.”
The arrow that cut into your dream, the arrow has become you. And now you are moving out of the forest and onto the highway, onto the corridor of light that goes on forever. You exit the freeway and then.. darkness. The machine dumps you onto a concrete floor. “Cut it out,” says a voice.The searing pain of a thousand suns burns into you and part of you falls on the floor.
“Cut out all the rot.” And as the arcs of the cutters swath across you, you fall into another dream, a dream of suffering and dismemberment. But when there is almost nothing left to gut, the man calls: “Enough. Infuse him with steel.” Cold hard beautiful steel chassis-lengths are pressed against you and the arc sears again, welding them onto your body.
“You were made, and now I remake you.” “Jack him up. He needs running gear.” That splinter that was in the back of your mind, that thing you were trying to remember in the forest but couldn’t, that was it. Wheels. Motion. “He looks good!” Says a new man. “New coating, and he would be fit for the showroom!”
“This one is not going to the showroom. This one is going to be a work vehicle.”The man equips you with a new exhaust to replace your rotten one, new mirrors and glass. And new lights. “You’ll need those, to see where you’re going.” He throws a strap and tow-hook into the back of your tray. “Its dark in the forest.”
Image: Cynthia Voon
The waves roar and crash, smashing against the red and white pylon, decades of storms have eroded the concrete and chipped paintwork. The last of three, the only one not destroyed by the harsh nature of the ocean. On clear days we would swim out, when the sun pierced through the water and we could be sure of what was below us. A symbol of safety. Built to anchor a shark net now used by divers to venture down and meet the creatures that we wanted protection from. After an attack was the fear, the realisation that within a few seconds you could be gone.
The Pylon J essica Sprin g
Untitled Holly Jian I stay up Keeping sleep at bay so errant thoughts (so small so scared so slick with blood) May slowly pool dull And pearly out of the darkness Errant thoughts like the flash of dragonflies arrested (ah! my body, betrayed) Frantic upon flyscreens And the flies too with their oil-slick-purple thoraxes Limbs long stilled and bound by (by mine own hands) A wish to taste something sweet
Image: Cynthia Voon
on dreams & how to live them Sc o tt- Patr i c k Mi c h ae l for Jakob I dreamt last night we walked the streets of new york, loped thru boroughs & subway platforms pepperoni pizza slices & broadway shows & the air was electric as hectic eclectic masses humbled
around us in the drone of just letting it go & being flow & i ordered cake & you exclaimed bro ? chocolate ?! no, u should have got the apple pieâ€™ & i felt the fake tooth in me cry but if i take a bite of an apple the doc said i might break & if a tooth falls out in a dream ...u dieâ€™ & you told me not to be afraid, that death was momentary , but new york was an eternal & dying is just a memory
Image: Cynthia Voon