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Musings of the Mind Walter Enzmann

 

 


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Table of contents

• An Introduction- pg. 3 • That Jeez Guy (Creative NonFiction)- pg. 5 • It smiles (Fiction)- pg. 10 • A Collection (Six Poems)– pg. 35 • Revision Response Essays- pg. 39 • Rough Drafts- pg. 47 • Biography- pg. 62  

 


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An Introduction

This portfolio represents just a semester’s worth of writing. However, I feel like it is much more than that. This is more of a doorway into my head than it is pieces of paper (or a Word doc). I really think introductions and reflections are odd; like talking to an ex girlfriend after a year or so of being apart. Reflections especially, when you have to sit down and reexamine the relationship you had with a particular piece of work. That happened with me with It Smiles. I spent a good two or three weeks away from the story before I finished. The entire last part of the story has a different flow than the beginning. I wasn’t able to fully sink back down into the dark abyss where I found the story coming from. Having to look back on that story was tough. Explaining anything that you feel comfortable with is difficult, it just is. When I am at the point at writing reflections, the emotions while in mid story mode aren’t there; just cold examination. Weird. Trying to explain my writing process would be a travesty. I don’t know how the hell I do it. I guess being able to know the in’s and out’s of your trade is a good thing, but in my case, I like a little mystery. I’m at the


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point in my writing career where I’m still trying to figure out why the writing I like works, and why it’s sometimes doesn’t work. With It Smiles, sounding like Stephen King is just part of the package. You can’t write a horror story without sounding like King, because there isn’t an area of that genre that he hasn’t touched. Which is both scary and exciting. Scary because that means I have to attempt to go to places where even King hasn’t been, and exciting because I can go to places where King has never been. Can you tell I read a lot of Stephen King? What I did successfully was pull off a story in King’s fashion. The next step will be finding my own macabre to write about. I only talk about my fiction piece so much, because I’ve spent a lot of time with it. It’s the first long-term story I’ve written. I’ve never really committed to anything that long before. Anyways, this is just the tip of the iceberg; a beginning to a long journey into a writing career. I hope we can all look back at this portfolio years down the road and laugh. Either about how bad my writing is, or about how young and naive I still am. The Midwest served as a jumping off point for the Oregon Trail, and I hope this portfolio serves the same purpose for my career.


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That Jeez Guy “GRRRRR!” Eyes darted across the church classroom, searching for the source of the low growl. It happened again, more eyes joined in, followed by a few whispers. Then, the source revealed itself. “There’s a bear in the room.” I said, “And I’m hunting it.” Screams filled the classroom; freighted preschoolers remained glued to their seats. I was across the room, slowly scanning around for bears. A hunter in his prime. My teacher reassured the class that there were indeed no bears, while ushering me back to my seat to finish prayer time.

The hunter was not satisfied, however, and a

few days later, my parents would be notified. To this day, my family and I laugh about what happened that year in pre-school. In new company (and old), the story of Walter, the bear hunter, is never far away.

The

memory fades as time goes by, but it never fails to bring laughter to the dinner table. Yes, I did pretend to hunt bears at preschool, and yes, I was kicked out for it. Four years of age, and already a rebel without a cause. The inevitable phone call home went something like this.


6   “Hello, Mrs. Enzmann, this is Walter’s teacher, how

are you today?” “Oh, I’m fine, is everything ok with Walter?” “Oh yes! He’s quite alright, I am just calling because we might have accidentally put one of our staffs’ folders in his backpack, would you be able to check?” “Not a problem at all.” “Thank you so much Mrs. Enzmann, and while we have you here, I would like to share something with you.” “Go ahead.” “Walter has been having a little trouble during prayer time.” “What kind of trouble?” “He’s been hunting bears.” The rest of the conversation doesn’t really matter. My mother had to hold back bursts of laughter listening to my teacher lecture her on my bear hunting habits. By the way, there was never a folder in my backpack. It was just a method that preschool used to be less confrontational when addressing students’ issues. During the entire conversation, I was in another corner of the house; my conscious was clear, as most children’s were at that age. My mother soon explained to me why hunting bears wasn’t very appropriate during prayer time. My question to her was


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simple: “Who’s that jeez guy anyways?” That was all that needed to be said. Eventually, the preschool had asked my parents to remove me from the class. Apparently, there was a strict no bear hunting policy. Hilariously enough, the next preschool that I was enrolled in…put me in the bear’s class. Back to this Jeez Guy. Or Jesus, if you didn’t catch that already. Religion is a huge part of society, and plays significant roles in the lives of most people. Just not the four year old me; I was more interested in taking care of the pesky bear problem in my class room. Now before we take up arms and rush to our respected sides on the religion issues, let me remind you that this story is only meant to reflect my personal view. This story happens to deal with religion, but I also illustrate how my brain works. I’m never one to blindly follow, or to faithfully understand. I conduct myself, rather, as a sponge; soaking up all possible sides of an issue. I yearn to learn more. I feel the need to build and pontificate on ideas. Simply believing is not enough for me. I know that now, as I did subconsciously as a four year old. I will never just fall in line. Emphasis should not lay on which Jeez guy the person next to you believes in, but what you could learn from them. Knowledge is power, never stop


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questioning. Books, even the holy ones, should never dictate, but enrich your life; because if we cast that aside, what is there to look forward to? It’s been something like sixteen years since I’ve been in preschool, and I would still rather hunt bears than fall in line. This story was initially written for my high school creative writing class. Calling it a creative writing class, however, is being nice. That class was a bullshit excuse, taught by a batty old teacher, who would rather talk about her stuffed dog than teach writing. Yes, I said stuffed dog. She acted like it was still alive, but that fucking pooch was dead, and my whole class knew it. Anyways, we were asked to write a creative non fiction piece and it was to be about a childhood memory of mine. So I wrote about the bear hunter. Digging up that original text told me one thing: I wrote like shit in high school. Rehashing this paper was not an option; I had to re write it. While typing, it felt like I was in conversation with my younger self.

The paper

was brief, I didn’t expand on much, but it still made a point. But, it was so young. So Juvenile. I had the ego of a high school senior, but all the inexperience of a young adult. I never watched the news, I paid no attention to politics or current events, but here I was writing a paper


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about religion. So it was written, a solid two pages (yes two) recounting the events that lead to me being kicked out of preschool. I had met the requirements, and upon turning it on; that old bat had only one comment: God had not been capitalized. C. I could have torn that bitch’s head off right there, but being a teacher’s kid, I had to hold my cool. An entire grade rode of the back of an under case g. She also dropped this bomb: not capitalizing God is sacrilegious, and therefore not deserving of an A. Separation of church and state huh? No prayer in the classroom, really? Oh, but I can get a C on a paper for not making God a proper noun. Wanting the better grade, I changed the mistake, and that was that. The department head had no backbone, plus she couldn’t really do much sine my teacher had tenure. From that moment on, I hated that writing class. Thankfully, I got that chance to revisit this story and give it a proper presentation, far from the judgment of the old bitch with a stuffed dog.


10   It Smiles Walter Enzmann

Part 1 Once you leave the city, you reach a certain point. A point where everything either looks stuck or dead, like that old man who’s been sitting in that same rocking chair, chewing the same tobacco since he lost his job in ’86. Or that factory just off of state road 6; hell its been abandoned since god knows when. Its places like these where you notice nature starting to reclaim a bit of its territory, weeds run this part of town. Most of the time, you wont see any of this. Just another old hick, another vacant factory, another plot of tall grass; however, if you look real close, you’ll notice something else. Springsteen wrote an album about it, the darkness on the edge of town. Now that was just a bunch of songs. The darkness here is very real, and it extends a lot further than the edge of town. Shadows tend to cling to the decrepit buildings a little too long; empty entryways seem a little too dark. Nature isn’t the only thing taking up residence here. It has a roommate. Any of the country roads will take you into the forest, like rivers eventually take you to the ocean. Telephone poles separate you from disappearing into the emerald void. It’s all brown and green out here. And black.


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If you keep your whits about you, you’ll notice those shadows have followed you out of town. Out here, the sun hits in every direction, but you’ll be damned if that tree line isn’t darker than a moonless night. They shouldn’t be that long, its midday.

Light works funny in these parts.

Its ironic how animals tend to sense when something goes wrong, yet we play it off like we’re the all knowing being on this planet. You’ll notice dogs are scarce back in town (they’ve been gone for weeks) and the occasional small farm has less bovine than the next town over. If you pay attention, you won’t even see a damn bird. But hell, you’re just passin’ through right? The unfortunate deer that passes through these woods are few and far between. Today, a certain headstrong buck has taken it upon himself to claim these woods as his. Wrong choice brer deer. After an hour or so of munching around and pissing on everything in sight, this particular buck found himself lost. Now, you ask, how can a deer get lost? Well, in this neck of the woods, things tend to not sit still. Yes, the trees move. But not really, it’s more like space moves around the trees. If you listen, unlike the buck, you can here the trees screeching in agony, as reality gets ripped apart around them. The buck’s ears perk up. Wolf, no not in these parts. Coyote, not today. His


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heart begins to race, his legs jump into action. Sprinting is the only option in this situation. Fight or flight baby. The trees close in on the deer. Keep running, his brain tells him, his heart says stop. Go, stop, Go, stop, Go, STOP! An immense swamp now stands in his way. The danger is closing in; the buck has no choice but to delve into the murky water. Midway through the swamp, the buck’s heart gives out and it drops below the surface. Space shifts again, more screeching from the trees are joined by an unbearable highpitched noise, cutting through the summer haze like a buzz saw. The noise crescendos to a point of madness, a passing flock of geese suddenly drop dead from the sky and into the pond. As the ripples settle, it becomes apparent that they have joined a group of dead carcasses lying just below the water’s surface. Then, silence. More ripples, horns (much like the aforementioned young buck’s) raise from the water, but again that’s not right, the water moves away from the horns. The horns connect to an awful sight. Collages of rotting parts take the shape of a stag’s head. Black voids where the eyes should be. The creature has risen, and the forest belongs to it now.


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Part 2 Excerpt from Paul Stapleton’s diary. April 23rd 2008. The woods here are deep, and everlasting. Everyday, in this tiny watchtower, I am surrounded by a sea of thick, dark green. On a windy day, the trees are alive with chatter. On summer nights they sit still. In a thick silence. Winter reveals much more of its character than I desire. I prefer green to bare wood. However, a new side has arisen. One, to be honest, scares me deep in the bones. Darkness has crept into the deeper part of the woods. Birds don’t fly there; they do their damn best to avoid it. Nothing dares enter that part of the woods. Not even sunlight. I can feel it caress my back when I’m not facing it. It wrings happiness out of me, it cackles at my humanity. Evil has taken roots in the forest, hiding behind the green blanket. Waiting.

Part 3

Billy could still hear the shouts of big Jim and his buddies; “gimpy” and “fuckleg” shot through the trees like arrows. Still harsh, but not quite as loud. Billy was losing them. They didn’t know the woods like Billy did. The


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three drunks would get tired and eventually turn back; he just had to wait it out. Three left turns, two right, through this crick, three more left turns… just for safety. “We’ll get you later you little fag!” big Jim soon called out. The trees shielded Billy from this last vocal assault. Exhausted, and wet, Billy’s legs gave out. The ground was softer in this part of the forest, bed-like. Anger coursed through Billy’s veins. He hated big Jim. “One day” he eeked out between dry heaves, “That mother fucker will get his”. His sounded more isss in Billy’s proud Southern accent. “They all will”. Hours seemed to pass, time had no control this deep in the woods. Taking in huge gulps of the heavy forest air, Billy began to settle. He had never been this far before. The trees thinned out and sunk into green ether in front of him. Sunlight, this late in the day, set a burnt golden tone to everything. It comforted Billy, and soon, Billy found himself dreaming. A caw from a distant crow pulled Billy from his slumber. The forest had engulfed him even more. That couldn’t be, thought Billy. In haste of escaping big Jim, he must have lost track of his bearings. He shook his head, but the woods grabbed Billy, bringing him closer to the swamp. Everything was still now. The air seemed to cling to


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him, passively trying to keep him away. Time stopped. Massive antlers arose from the water, but that wasn’t right. The swamp was coming away, almost peeling, from the antlers. Mosquitos started to buzz, millions of screams, sorry for what they were releasing. The buzz crept from the swamp and into Billy’s skull. It was piercing, he found himself again back on his knees. His eyes refused to blink. The antlers had now crested the swamp water. Below them, was a head. Not quite like a buck, not quite like a horse. Holes, where the eyes should be, focused on Billy. “Child… you are afraid?” Billy heard the voice in his head, but knew it was from the creature sitting in the swamp. “n n n not of you”. Billy whimpered. He was unaware of the tears streaming down his cheeks. “Come, Billy Brown.” The creature beckoned. With each step Billy took, the buzzing subsided. The creature’s stare was unrelenting. Things bumped into his legs. Billy looked down to see dozens of animals in different states of decomposition floating just under the surface, their faces; feeble attempts to turn him around. Billy, waist deep in the water, stood facing the creature. A sick smell hung around it like a halo.


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“Tell me everything.” said the creature. Billy began to talk.

Part 4 Summer in this part of the country was especially magical. You could lose your self for hours driving on the various county roads the criss crossed through the state. If you had the right type of car, that is (and the right amount of credence tapes). Steve had the car, or truck in this case, and you could here John Fogerty’s voice miles down the road. Bright skies, cold beer, open road, CCR. Twenty minutes out of town put you smack in the middle of the woods. That emerald sea went on well past the horizon, and provided all the fresh air a summer dweller could ask for. Half an hour, and the only colors were green, blue, and brown. Steve loved being able to navigate this ocean of trees, on days like this, he would drive that old Ford till the tank was dry. He would take the county roads deep into the green, far away from his shitty job. Far away from reality. THUMP. The tape deck skipped. “Shit” came out of his mouth. More reflex than curse word. He must’ve hit something. A lump of something laid in the middle of the dirt road about a hundred yards back.


17   “What the fuck?” Steve gazed at the (carcass?). Was it

breathing? No. Trick of the light. That haze can really play with your eyes out here. His foot moved (pulled) towards and rolled the thing over, maggots desperately held onto the torso. It was breathing; no just a trick (but…) Then Steve saw the eyes. His blood froze, sweat dripped out of every pore. Black, something seemed to hide behind the void of the sockets. It was there and it was looking back. No, it was looking in. Steve could feel it, in his head. Why were those damn flies so loud. The buzzing was all he heard. Buzzing and those eyes. He became aware of the things standing in the trees on either side of the road; they were all there, looking at Steve, looking in Steve. Just behind the tree line, he couldn’t see them very well. Tears streamed down his face. He knelt down next to the carcass. The buzzing was so intense now, his skull was numb, his brain liquid. The things lurched out from the woods; a black mass of rotting flesh and stench encircled Steve. Eyes, everywhere. A silent audience. Steve knew what he had to do. It was simple really, the buzzing would be over soon, they promised. He was now standing, behind his truck, the rifle from the gun rack was now in his hands. He was smiling, soon now, no more buzzing.


18   The shot was a dry crack; no one was around to hear

it. What was left of Steve’s head slumped down on the ground with the rest of his body. The dead things; dogs, cats, deer, various waterfowl, rabbits, and a few bears silently made their way over. They gathered around what was once Steve Pratt and fed.

Part 5 Ralph knew there was something wrong the moment he woke up. Was it the queer grey blanket of fog in the early September morning? Or was it the fact that none of his farm animals were making any kind of sounds? It was way too quiet; and it wasn’t because it was 5am. The evening rain left everything damp and muddy, moisture clung onto all surfaces, with a nice foggy ribbon wrapped around it. Old Ralph was wary, this wasn’t the kind of peaceful quiet. The last time this situation occurred was when a pack of Timberwolves passed through a couple winters back. This was the sound of fear. Both of the dogs were cowering under the porch, growling and whining towards the fence. It was in shambles; all of his elk were absent. From the state of the ground, he could tell a stampede happened at some point in the night. “Christ.” Ralph shot under his


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breath, and he followed the trails outside his property and into the woods. Ralph Gunderson’s property took up roots in a part of the woods most townies refer to as The Drop. About ten miles west of Main Street, elevation takes a cruel twist upwards, rising and rising until you hit the ocean, shaping a good chunk of the Northwest American coastline. Mostly, The Drop is the premier place for teens to smack lips together on long summer nights, but for Ralph, it’s been home. The Drop overlooks a vast majority of the forest, and looms over the swamplands beneath. At the cliff, The Drop is the highest place in the county, besides the park ranger’s tower (of course). Now Ralph wasn’t at the peek, but found himself looking off one of the smaller cliffs (still, this cliff had a deadly fall accompanying it) and into the swamp. He hated this place, nothing alive bothered with this area, it was a place of decay. The wind shifted, kicking the mosquitoes into high gear. No, Ralph thought, those are flies. For the longest time, a particular patch of swamp caught his eye. Either the storm had knocked off massive chunks of bog, or (his heart dropped into his stomach) “Oh God.” Ralph gazed in horror as he finally realized what he had been so fixated on. “Please, God, No.”


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Ralph had made a living on raising and training elk. Wither for movies, or the local Christmas parade, Ralph was known around town as “The Elk Dude”. After his wife left with the kids, these elk were his family; and he was looking at them. Dead. Floating in the swamp ten feet below were he stood. Park Ranger Paul Stapleton arrived on the scene late. The sun was sitting low in the west, giving the entire woodland a golden hew. The call came out around noon, but last night’s storm bloated the area with water, causing minor mud slides around The Drop and plugging up the small country roads that meander this far into the backwoods. He approached a broken Ralph Gunderson, perched on the front stoop. The shock blanket clung to his think frame, coffee spilled from the Styrofoam cup with every shake of his hands. “They’re all gone, oh God, they’re all gone.” He kept repeating, looking up at Ranger Stapleton. Paul continued down the path until he found the group of other rangers, solemnly surveying the scene around the swamp. “Goddamn shame” One of them finally said, “Those were some fine lookin’ elk.” Something caught Paul’s eye. Towards the center of the swamp, one of the elk had drifted out, its head protruded just above the water line. Then it turned around, no it was just a trick of the light; light


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works funny this deep in the forest. Paul, knew though, the damn head was looking at him. Buzzing began to drown out the other rangers, jokes about elk meat and salvaging the antlers turned fuzzy. The head wasn’t looking at Paul, it was looking in Paul. He became aware that most of the dead elk were now staring at him, laughing. “We have you Paulie.” They all chimed in unison. “We have you, and we aren’t letting go.” “STAPLETON.” The ranger yelled. Paul snapped out of it. Just dead elk, empty swamp.

‘Let’s go wrap this up, I

need a brewski.” The other rangers joined in with a joyous hell yeah and proceeded back towards Gunderson’s house. As Paul turned around, he could still here the laughter coming from the swamp. Part 6 Excerpt from Paul Stapleton’s diary. May 19th, 2008 The call from old man Gunderson’s farm was odd. Elks don’t just get spooked and run off like that. Especially off a cliff. I can’t get that damn thing out of my mind either. I woke up to the elk head staring at me from outside my window. I’ve been losing sleep, Diana is getting worried, might go see a doctor

Part 7


22   Mary Williams loved her garden. The garden loved her.

Having always been a green thumb, Mary’s collection of various flowers, vines, and vegetables was now in its fifteenth year. The result: an ever-expansive back yard that more resembled a painter’s color pallet; decorating the William’s property from back porch to the forest a football field away. “I’ve always loved when your violets finally bloom.” A timid Billy Brown finally muttered. It was the summer after Mary’s first year at Oregon State, and she had blossomed as well, effectively halting any courage young Billy had mustered up during her time away. “You know, you don’t have to keep coming up here B.” Mary laughed. “I can sling my own mulch now.” Lost in the sunshine of Mary William’s beauty, Billy didn’t hear a word. You should know a thing or two about Mary Williams; besides the strawberry blonde hair reaching just past her shoulders, and a smile that could bring warmth to the bitterest of the laid off factory workers. Mary had a unique ability. The ability to love, even if the top layer is ugly. That’s why Billy Brown found himself in her garden every June since the Williams moved here. It was more than


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just helping sling mulch; it was being in the presences of a goddess. It was feeling alive. “So did you have the nightmares again?” “You worry too much B.’ and no, I haven’t had any for two weeks.” She couldn’t help but remember the dead things staring at her, laughing. Shaking her head, knees popping, Mary finally stood up. “I think that’s all I can do for today B, want some lemonade?” “That would be mighty tasty.” Wiping the sweat from his brow, Billy followed the intoxicatingly sweet smell of Mary Williams to the back porch. The sun was low in the horizon, the magical haze of a long summer day was settling among the constraints of the garden. Billy had left and hour ago, after a long discussion about college life, boyfriends, and expectations of the flowers. Mary could finally relax. That boy had a lot of issues, but being the only other person his age to ever offer any kind of positive gesture, Mary had wedged her way into a friendship. Just before she let the warm blanket of summer heat take her, she spotted something. Something black among the colors of the garden. Mary sat frozen in her seat, space was beginning to bend and warp around her, just like the dreams. Just like the damn dreams. The buzzing crept back into her skull, the thing


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was moving closer. With every step another plant would die. Mary could feel it. She heard the flowers screaming in pain and horror. Black now stood just outside her screened-in porch. “Look at you, little Mary Williams all grown up.” It smiled at her. “Did you whore around at college enough?” The buzzing brought tears to her face, any attempt to move failed. “You can’t hold us back any more honey, not this time.” Horrific laughs erupted from the garden, everything was dead. Everything was Black. Searing pain crescendoed and Mary lost consciousness. Screaming, Mary leapt out of the old wicker rocking chair. “Christ Mary!” Mike Williams stood over his daughter, laughing. That wasn’t his laugh though. Mary knew that laugh; it was coming from the forest. From the black thing. “Just a bad dream, how long was I out?” “Couldn’t have been for long, you just ate with us.” Billy waited until the voices faded back into the house. Hiding just behind the tree line, he had almost been caught that time. He loved to watch Mary sleep. Venturing that close was a mistake, if Mary would to discover his voyeuristic habit, well bye bye Billy. The town just needed a reason to send him off to a home. He quietly slinked back


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into the woods. It hadn’t been five minutes and he already felt the buzzing again. Numb. A year of feeling the same pain in his head. The forest bent and wrapped around him as usual, bringing him quickly to the swamp. Not even starlight found its way into this part anymore, the creature was getting stronger. Billy waded past all types of rotting wildlife, and faced the stag head hovering just above the water line. “I brought some more.” “Dead animals will not suffice, boy.” A sharper pain than usual hit Billy just behind the eyes. His nose began to bleed. Staggering he shook his head. “Of course, master.” Billy smiled. “A drunk followed me home tonight.” Big Jim zipped up his oil stained overalls. “I’m over here, cockmuncher.” Billy yelled. “I’m gonna kick your gimp ass and then fuck your mother six ways to Sunday!” Big Jim made his way into the swamp. “What the fuck? What is this shit?” His head was facing downwards. “Is this what you’re into, you fuck animals?” Big Jim then screamed out in pain, slowly sinking into the swamp. Red swirled into the black void of what used to be swamp water. The dead things were feasting on Big Jim. “May I finish him, master?” Billy turned to the creature. He suddenly felt the familiar sensation. Water


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crawled up his skin. Billy began to turn. He took the shape of a giant wolf. Billy knew Big Jim hated werewolf flicks. Big Jim moaned, “Please.” Billy could smell a mixture of blood and shit coming off of him. The smell of fear. Billy snarled. His luminous yellow eyes looked into Jim; and Jim began to scream. “I’m going to kick your gimp ass and then fuck your mother six ways to Sunday.” Billy laughed. One of Jim’s eyeballs popped out. “You mustn’t play with your food, child.” The creature chimed in. Big Jim vocal chords began to tear, he was losing his voice. Billy rose what was now just half of Big Jim out of the water. He clamped his jaw around Jim’s fat jowls and bit down. A sickening crack followed, and Billy let out a bone-chilling howl. Thick silence fell over the entire scene; water rushed off of Billy’s skin and took its place just above the carcasses, without making one ripple. “More like the fat man.” Billy heard in his head. “And I will regain my strength.” “Then I can have her right?” Billy beckoned. “Yes Billy Brown.” Part 8 Mary hadn’t slept since her nightmare on the porch. In fact, every time she closed her eyes, the black thing was


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there. Waiting. She could hear laughter every time she stepped into her beloved garden. Every morning, a possum carcass would greet her on the back porch. She was slowly losing her mind, and now Billy was making a fuss. He had texted her thirty three times since 8am. Something about how he wanted her to see his home. If he meant the run down trailer, there was no way in hell. For the first time, Mary Williams was beginning to hate Billy Brown. “Over here M!” Billy was waving ecstatically. Mary charged towards him. “B, what is so damn important, you nearly broke my phone.” Then she heard it in her head. “Behind you.” Mary turned around to face Billy, beaming from ear to ear. “I can feel you Mary.” A low buzzing filled Mary’s head. “B, are you doing this?” “Yea, isn’t it cool?” She heard in her head again. Billy’s mouth did not move. Blood began to drip down Mary’s nose. “B! Stoppit, stop whatever you are doing! It hurts.” She cried out. Her legs shook, and she dropped to the ground. Hours had passed. Mary woke to Billy carrying her. She didn’t recognize what part of the forest they were in.


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Then, trees began to twist into a spiral shape forming a tunnel. Billy continued walking. Buzzing squeezed her head like a clamp. Mary could barely make out what was in front of her through her tears, but she did see the swamp. Everything faded to black. She came to again. Still in Billy’s arms. They were both standing in the middle of the swamp. “Where are we B?” “Be quiet, everything is going to be ok.” Billy’s gentle voice made her even uneasier. Then, she screamed. “Don’t be afraid, master doesn’t like it when you’re afraid.” Mary ignored Billy. She was fixated on the dead stag head protruding from the swamp’s surface. “Come Billy Brown, bring her to me.” Mary heard the creature’s voice in her head. Billy lurched forward. Park Ranger Paul Stapleton had finally found them. A statewide man haunt was now finally going to be over. He was staring at the boy and the girl standing in the middle of the swamp. The girls screams shot throughout the forest. Paul was about to speak when he heard the laughing. “Not quite, Paulie. We’re not finished yet. Put your little toy away.” It was the same voices from Gunderson’s place. The dead things crept out of the water. “No, fuck you.” Paul began to squeeze off rounds.


29   “We said put your toy away Paulie, enjoy the show.”

Dead things swarmed Paul Stapleton. He now saw the stag’s head in the middle of the swamp. “Yes master, I’ll take care of him.” Paul heard it in his head. It must’ve come from the boy. Billy walked. No, glided, over to Paul Stapleton pinned down by the black carcasses. The buzz saw noise ripped into his head. “Don’t struggle you feeble thing, you will come to serve the master as well.” Black spots filled Paul’s eyes; he his head was about to pop. Reaching for his gun, he heard Billy laughing. “You think that’ll kill save you? You think that’ll stop the master?” “No.” Paul managed to eek out. “But it’ll sure as hell shut you the fuck up.” Paul squeezed for his dear life. A dry crack shot through the swamp. Billy Brown slunk backwards. The buzzing had stopped; the dead things began to gather around him, freeing Paul Stapleton. Paul could still see the creature as his eyes dimmed out. The creature was still staring at Mary. The buzzing was so intense, should could barley manage to stay above the water on all fours. “That little brat was a waste.” She heard the creature in her head. “But you needed him didn’t you?” she whispered.


30   “Foolish little slut!” Pain seared through Mary’s

skull, but she didn’t scream. Not this time. “ You think I need some crippled bastard?” The pain in Mary’s skull was white hot now; her eyes were bulging out of her socket. She was fading, fast. Then Mary heard something. Something very subtle. Something only a very special person like Mary would pay attention to her. She heard a bird. Chirping. She suddenly became aware of a vast amount of wildlife standing around the swamp’s edge. Mary began to laugh. Pain shot through her head again, blood flowed from eyeballs, nostrils, and ears. “You dare mock me?” “I think your time is up.” Mary chuckled. The forest suddenly filled with the sounds of life. The sun broke through the overcast sky and shone down on the creature. Deer, wolves, bears, squirrels, dogs, cats, birds, and whatever else lived in this area charged into the water and began to tear the dead things apart. Space began to shift all around Mary. “YOU BITCH!!!!” The creature screamed. The stag head began to fall apart. “I AM DEATH FUCKING INCARNATE! YOU WILL NOT BANISH ME!” Mary continued to laugh. A giant, golden brown stag leapt over Mary and thrust its massive antlers into what was left of the creature. The entire


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swamp let out one last sickening grown and fell silent. Space snapped back into place. The pressure finally lifted off of Mary; the buzzing subsided. She managed to crawl back to the shoreline. The forest animals were now encircling her. A bear was dragging Billy’s body out of the water a few feet away. “I’m so sorry B” Mary began to weep. The last thing she heard was a siren coming from the forests edge before everything faded away. Into white this time, not black. Part 9 It was late August now; Mary had finished packing the car. “You coming Mare? Her dad shouted from the driver’s seat. “Yea pop, once sec.” She was kneeling down in her garden. She took out a framed photograph and kissed it before placing it among her patch of Violets. “Take it easy B, the violets came in spectacular this summer.” The small picture of Billy Brown and Mary Williams watched the long legged strawberry blonde walk off. Away from the garden. Away from the forest.

Coda Thank you for sticking through this tale of a town and a forest; and the evil that took up residence there. If you


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stop here, you will pleasantly go on with your life knowing the creature to be defeated, and the forest reclaimed by its rightful owners. However, I have one more tale to tell. If you follow me to finish Paul Stapleton’s story, I will (with regret) say that you will not find pleasantries in your heart. You will only find the knowledge, in your gut, that the evil is still alive, and very very real. July 3rd, 2008 I shot a kid today. I shot a fucking kid. In the swamp, I had received a call that someone had taken a local girl from her house and were last seen heading east towards the swamp. I followed tire tracks until, eventually; I was facing the kid, knee deep in swamp water. The girl was screaming her ass off. Before I knew it, black things were all over me, clawing and scratching. That unbearable buzzing sound returned too. Unable to shake the creatures off, I watched the elk had surface from the water. I heard the kid say to it that yea he’ll kill me and then they’ll take care of the girl. Then, BAM, the kid fell back into the water. I was able to put one round through his eyeballs. Last thing I heard was the girl screaming and sirens from behind me. Then I ended up here, in the emergency room. Diana has been crying for some time now, god I need a drink.


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October 24th, 2008 Men in Black showed up today. Saw them the first time I visited to swamp after getting out of the hospital. They brought me in for questioning, said I had nothing to worry about. Told me some bullshit about how the kid went crazy and the girl was his ex girlfriend. They also said the amount of methane in the swamp led me to hallucinate. Said that’s what caused me seeing the creature so much. Sent me home.

February 12th, 2009 Oh God I’ve dug too deep. They’re coming for me. The same black sedan has been following me for the last three months. Diana left me, said she couldn’t handle all the creepy pictures up on the wall. I’ve discovered what the creature is. They don’t want the public to know, they have these creatures planted in swamps all over the country. I need to get back on the road before they can find out where I am. I’ll be mailing this diary with all of its contents to the Dunlap Public Library. If you are ready to know the truth look for it there. Beware the dweller of the swamps; for it is not of this earth, once you see it, it will always see you


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Somewhere deep in the forest, a young buck found itself lost. Whatever was chasing it was not very far behind. The buck faced a massive swamp ahead of it. It jumped in. Halfway across the buck’s heart gave out and sunk into the water. Other carcasses bumped into it, sending ripples across the swamp’s surface. The ripples formed a shape. A shape of a stag’s head. And it was smiling.


35   A Collection Poems by Walter Enzmann

An Ode to Cheap Beer Oh Keystone! Oh Milwaukee! Oh good ol’ Pabst And Red White and Blue What I wouldn’t do, to relax and throw back a couple of you Your taste is harsh, your smell reminiscent of piss stained walls Along a back ally Sip or chug, there is no friendly way to handle you You bring enjoyment, with little harm to the wallet One must respect your powers, however rarely do For the hangover is unforgiving And unrelenting The “advice” poem The advisor gives me a list, life on 8x11 paper My mother tells me to stick with my studies, it’ll look good on paper stuck up in a frame over a desk somewhere like it’ll mean something ten years down the road.

The old men give me a fifteen-minute lecture on how journalism is bullshit, and the only thing higher education is good for,


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is giving me a stick up my ass.

You should get married, have kids, get a job, lose some weight, don’t smoke so much weed, find an internship, study abroad, You should do this, if I were you, Do that Remember this Oh and yeah, there’s no work, so good luck with that English degree

The Eagle The eagle soars through the air Observing his land For it goes on from sea to shining sea He sees many things, which sadden, and fill his heart with pain fruited plains withering away, purple mountains without majesty, no more amber waves of grain, spacious skies now filled with waste The crown of brotherhood cast away God’s grace has seen better days Just like the eagle.


 

37   Lake

Lying on the warm wooden boards, as I taste the cold spray from the breakwater. Watching the sky, filled with fluffs of white. While the trees whisper sweet nothings, into my ear.

Sunset The sun sinks below the lake, as dragonflies chase mosquitoes. Like some kind of ancient ritual. Sam barks at shadows while I sit on the porch, letting heat from the sauna peel off my skin. I am a thousand worlds away.

Midnight We play endless rounds of cribbage, while daring the night to last longer. Maxx counts to fifteen as I pop open another can of perspiring liquid. The radio blurts out Bee Gees, as the light across the lake blinks red in tempo.


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Revision Response Essay (CNF) This was an interesting experience for me. I have never really been in a writing class where actual constructive criticism and revision takes place. Most of the time the students don’t really care wither or not anything can be changed in their paper, they just want to turn it in. So, to be surrounded by writers who actually care about their work was refreshing. Also, all of the advice and constrictive criticism I received was very beneficial to my paper. Creative non-fiction hasn’t really been a strong suit of mine. I think it’s mostly because I get bored writing papers about myself. I would rather write about some universe I make up in my head. Nonetheless, I found it helpful to be able to write about myself. It was very easy to be able to hone in on my own voice when writing about an experience of mine. Sometimes when trying to establish a certain character’s voice, things can get a little rocky. So forcing myself to work on one of my weaknesses helped my writing grow. Most of my peer revision groups didn’t do much for me. Until the last group. I felt like that last group I was in


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really connected, and I got a lot out of what they were saying to me. They seemed to really enjoy my paper, and they were serious about helping me fix some of the parts that didn’t quite flow the way I wanted them too. I made most of the changes that they recommended, but I left a few of them out because I personally liked how those parts of the paper worked. Now on to the actual story. This was originally written during my senior year of high school. It was a fun story to write back then, and its really my favorite memory to share. I was actually really surprised when I took a look at it. The difference in my writing abilities between now and then was astounding. I was originally just going to kind of rehash the paper, thinking it would be good enough. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I would have felt embarrassed turning that paper in. So I spent the time to rewrite, and it is a completely different story now. I feel really proud of the final product, and it really feels more complete than the original draft. I was fun to relive past memories while writing this paper. Looking the original and final drafts have really shown how much I have grown as a writer. The drafting process was pretty easy. My first draft was a little short, just because I didn’t really know where


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else to take it. Then it came to me, the story wasn’t complete. I had to share what happened with this paper when I turned it in senior year. So this story became less about the actually memory, and the journey of the paper itself. When I finished the final draft, I felt complete. After writing a creative non-fiction for this class, I know longer really dread the thought of writing about myself. Of course it isn’t going to be my favorite medium to work with, but I definitely fell like I am better and writing creative non-fiction than I was before this class started.


41   Revision Response (Fiction) All right so this story was a real milestone for me.

It marks the first time I’ve really worked on a story for basically an entire semester and written anything longer than two or three stories. It isn’t my first short story, but I feel like this one means more to me because of all the time it spent with me; in my head. What first started off as one journal entry, transformed into a ten part short story. It was a really cool experience. I guess what I should first dive into is where the creature came from. I have a weird love with vacant towns, swamps, and Lovecraft-ian beings. Not wanting to go all the way into H.P. Lovecraft mythos, I shed the tentacles weird body forms and went straight for another one of his themes: Unexplainable evil that just exists for no rhyme or reason. I was still having trouble shaping what the creature would look like. I didn’t want the damn thing to look like Swamp Thing or Creature from the Black Lagoon. Then it all came to me. There is a really cool album cover that depicts a forest demon with the head of a stag; one of the creepiest images I know. So thus the creature was born. Another influence, especially with Billy, was from Dracula (or any vampire story minus Twilight). Dracula initially needs a human host to do the dirty work until he has enough


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strength. I find that element very intriguing; that something so evil and so powerful still needs human contact. Of course, you can’t really read this story without thinking of Stephen King. He is a major influence of mine, and I suppose he will always find away to be apart of my stories. I’ve been working very hard to find my own voice when writing, because I am not Stephen King. I don’t want to be. It is hard though, to write any kind of horror fiction and not sound like King; because King’s done every kind of horror story imaginable. I find it easier to think that I am working with his medium, rather than trying to write a King story. I definitely think as I continue to write more, I will become more myself, and less Stephen King. In my peer edit groups; this story was mostly well received. They thought it was dark and scary, which I was going for. They definitely helped me figure out some minor issues with continuity. For example I added more of Paul Stapleton’s diary entries because not only did it give the audience another view of the story, it also helped break up the scenes where it gets real heavy on the macabre. It was really neat to look back and see how this story evolved. I think four versions of this story exist on my


 

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hard drive, all of them contributing different parts to the final draft. Like I said earlier, this is the first long term story I’ve ever worked on, and now I can totally see my writing process. I have dozens of little snippets that I can turn into stories , and that is what is most exciting.


44   Revision Response (Poetry) Poems were really fun to write. I haven’t really tried

writing poetry since high school, and after spending so much time writing fiction, it was really nice to be able to try something different. I feel really bad because I missed one of the workshops, so I didn’t get much time to hear any feedback from my classmates, but what I did get was solid. My group seemed to enjoy what I had written so I wasn’t too worried about it. Like I said, poetry isn’t something that I have spent much time with. So instead of trying to conform to rhyme schemes or write sonnets, I just went with the flow. The first two poems are two from the prompts we did in class. I think looking for prompts really helped me, and it allowed me not to stress too much over coming up with a concept. I hope to maybe write some more poetry over the summer, so I can get more comfortable with it. I also appreciate how free you can be when it comes to structure. With prose, if you don’t follow certain patterns, your story falls apart. With poetry, however, the structure of the poem can say just as much as the words in the poem. I find that it leaves plenty of room for creativity. All of the poems I submitted have stories behind them. The first one is pretty much my fascination with how much


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cheep beer college kids drink. I myself really enjoy the cheep stuff, so I thought it would be a lot of fun to write an ode to the stuff. It went over really well with the group, and I’m glad they could share a comedic experience with me. Not all poetry has to be deep and serious. The second poem was kind of about my relationship with college. Most of it was sparked at my cousin’s wedding last summer. I was stuck at a table with a bunch of old businessmen who decided that it was their mission to plot out a life course for me. They kept berating me about getting married, and they were shocked to find out that I was going to school for an English degree. Which is really ironic because one of the old men (my uncle) carves wood sculptures for a living. When I told them that I as also interested in journalism, they pretty much just laughed and then lectured me on how journalism is a dead medium. Fun wedding right? The third poem was an old one I dug up from high school. It was the only poem that I liked from my senior year creative writing class. Then the last three poems all have to do with different details about my lake cabin that I visit each summer. These were really fun to write because I know every little detail of that place, so I could pick out small details that really meant the most to me, and use them for the poems. I really liked writing those poems


 

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because I really love my lake cabin, so being able to imagine it for a while took my mind off of my school work. All in all, writing poetry was a really fun time for me. I think being able to use my past experiences for poetry felt a lot more natural to me than it did when I was writing creative non fiction.


47   Rough Drafts They probably won’t make much sense, but here are the

rough drafts for my work. When I write, it’s not from point A to point B. It’s more like making a quilt. I write random parts until I reach appoint where I can piece them together into a continuum that makes sense.

I always like to see

scripts and sketchbooks of my favorite comic book creators, so I can get some glimpse of their process. I hope this serves the same for you.

That Jeez Guy (Rough Draft) “GRRRRR!” Eyes darted across the room, searching for the source of the low growl. It happened again, more eyes joined in, followed by a few whispers. Then, the source revealed itself. “There’s a bear in the room.” I said, “And I’m hunting it.” Screams filled the classroom; freighted preschoolers remained glued to their seats. I was across the room, slowly scanning around for bears. A hunter in his prime. My teacher reassured the class that there were indeed no bears, while ushering me back to my seat to finish prayer time. The hunter was not satisfied, however, and a few days later, my parents would be notified.


48   To this day, my family and I laugh about what happened

that year in pre-school. In new company (and old), the story of Walter, the bear hunter, is never far away.

The

memory fades as time goes by, but it never fails to bring laughter to the dinner table. Yes, I did pretend to hunt bears at preschool, and yes, I was kicked out for it. Four years of age, and already a rebel without a cause. The inevitable phone call home went something like this. “Hello, Mrs. Enzmann, this is Walter’s teacher, how are you today?” “Oh, I’m fine, is everything ok with Walter?” “Oh yes! He’s quite alright,

I am just calling

because we might have accidentally put one of our staffs’ folders in his backpack, would you be able to check?” “Not a problem at all.” “Thank you so much Mrs. Enzmann, and while we have you here, I would like to share something with you.” “Go ahead.” “Walter has been having a little trouble during prayer time.” “What kind of trouble?” “He’s been hunting bears.”


49   The rest of the conversation doesn’t really matter. My

mother had to hold back bursts of laughter listening to my teacher lecture her on my bear hunting habits. By the way, there was never a red folder in my backpack. It was just a method that preschool used to be less confrontational when addressing students’ issues. During the entire conversation, I was in another corner of the house; my conscious was clear, as most children’s were at that age. My mother soon explained to me why hunting bears wasn’t very appropriate during prayer time. My question to her was simple: “Who’s that jeez guy anyways?” Eventually, the preschool had asked my parents to remove me from the class. Apparently, there was a strict no bear hunting policy. Hilariously enough, the next preschool that I was enrolled in…put me in the bear’s class. Back to this Jeez Guy. Or Jesus, if you didn’t catch that already. Religion is a huge part of society, and plays significant roles in the lives of most people. Just not the four year old me; I was more interested in taking care of the pesky bear problem in my class room. Now before we take up arms and rush to our respected sides on the religion issues, let me remind you that this story is only meant to reflect my personal view. This story happens to deal with religion, but I also illustrate how my


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brain works. I’m never one to blindly follow, or to faithfully understand. I conduct myself, rather, as a sponge; soaking up all possible sides of an issue. I yearn to learn more. I feel the need to build and pontificate. Simply believing is not enough for me. I know that now, as I did subconsciously as a four year old. I will never just fall in line. Emphasis should not lay on which Jeez guy the person next to you, but what you could learn from them. Knowledge is power, never stop questioning. Books, even the holy ones, should never dictate, but enrich your life; because if we cast that aside, what is there to look forward to? It’s been something like sixteen years since I’ve been in preschool, and I would still rather hunt bears than fall in line.

It Smiles (Rough Version)

Billy had always loved the woods. The haze of green and gold was his shrine, his shelter.

The worse the day

was for Billy, the deeper he let the wilderness draw him in. The townies disliked little Billy Brown, the laughed at his gimp leg, called him names like igor and “tard”. Billy didn’t mind though. Because he had found a friend, a very


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large friend. It talked to him in his mind, danced in his dreams, and it didn’t particularly like the town’s folk either.

So little Billy Brown smiled as he ventured

through the forest’s green either, because today Billy was bringing a friend into town. Scene: Deep woods. Park Ranger Paul Stapleton surveys the land atop a watchtower. The watchtower isn’t anything special, just an observation point. Paul likes to think up here. This is when we learn about the woods. Paul-“ The woods here are deep, and everlasting. Everyday, in this tiny watchtower, I am surrounded by a sea of thick, dark green. On a windy day, the trees are alive with chatter, on summer nights, the sit still. In a thick silence. Winter reveals much more of its character than I desire. I prefer green to bare wood. However, a new side has arisen. One, to be honest, scares me deep in the bones. A darkness has crept into the deeper part of the woods. Birds don’t fly there, they do their damn best to avoid it. Nothing dares enter that part of the woods. Not even sunlight. I can feel it caress my back when I’m not facing it. It wrings happiness out of me, it cackles at my humanity. Evil has taken roots in the forest, hiding behind the green blanket. Waiting.”


52   Billy could still hear the shouts of big Jim and his

buddies; “gimpy” and “fuckleg” shot through the trees like arrows. Still harsh, but not quite as loud. Billy was losing them. They didn’t know the woods like Billy did. The three drunks would get tired and eventually turn back; he just had to wait it out. Three left turns, two right, through this crick, three more left turns… just for safety. “We’ll get you later you little fag!” big Jim soon called out. The trees shielded Billy from this last vocal assault. Exhausted, and wet, Billy’s legs gave out. The ground was softer in this part of the forest, bed-like. Anger coursed through Billy’s veins. He hated big Jim. “One day” he eeked out between dry heaves. “That mother fucker will get his”. His sounded more isss in Billy’s proud Southern accent. “They all will”. Hours seemed to pass, time had no control this deep in the woods. Taking in huge gulps of the heavy forest air, Billy began to settle. He had never been this far before. The trees thinned out and sunk into a green ether in front of him. Sunlight, this late in the day, set a burnt golden tone to everything. It comforted Billy, and soon, Billy found himself dreaming. A caw from a distant crow pulled Billy from his slumber. The forest had engulfed him even more. That couldn’t be,


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thought Billy. In haste of escaping big Jim, he must have lost track of his bearings. He shook his head, but the woods grabbed Billy, bringing him closer to the swamp. Everything was still now. The air seemed to cling to him, passively trying to keep him away. Time stopped. Massive antlers arose from the water, but that wasn’t right. The swamp was coming away, almost peeling, from the antlers. Mosquitos started to buzz, millions of screams, sorry for what they were releasing. The buzz crept from the swamp and into Billy’s skull. It was piercing, he found himself again back on his knees. His eyes refused to blink. The antlers had now crested the swamp water. Below them, was a head. Not quite like a buck, not quite like a horse. Holes, where the eyes should be, focused on Billy. “Child… you are afraid?” Billy heard the voice in his head, but knew it was from the creature sitting in the swamp. “n n n not of you”. Billy whimpered. He was unaware of the tears streaming down his cheeks. “Come, Billy Brown.” The creature beckoned. With each step Billy took, the buzzing subsided. The creature’s stare was unrelenting. Things bumped into his legs. Billy looked down to see dozens of animals in different states of decomposition floating just under the surface, their faces; feeble attempts to turn him around.


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Billy, waist deep in the water, stood facing the creature. A sick smell hung around it like a halo. “Tell me everything.” said the creature. Billy began to talk.

Summer in this part of the country was especially magical. You could lose your self for hours driving on the various county roads the criss crossed through the state. If you had the right type of car, that is (and the right amount of credence tapes). Steve had the car, or truck in this case, and you could here John Fogerty’s voice miles down the road. Bright skies, cold beer, open road, CCR. Twenty minutes out of town put you smack in the middle of the woods. That emerald sea went on well past the horizon, and provided all the fresh air a summer dweller could ask for. Half an hour, and the only colors were green, blue, and brown. Steve loved being able to navigate this ocean of trees, on days like this, he would drive that old Ford till the tank was dry. He would take the county roads deep into the green, far away from his shitty job. Far away from reality. THUMP. The tape deck skipped. “shit” came out of his mouth. More reflex than curse word. He must’ve hit something. A


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lump of something laid in the middle of the dirt road about a hundred yards back. “What the fuck?” Steve gazed at the (carcass?). Was it breathing? No. Trick of the light. That haze can really play with your eyes out here. His foot moved (pulled) towards and rolled the thing over, maggots desperately held onto the torso. It was breathing, no just a trick (but…) Then Steve saw the eyes. His blood froze, sweat dripped out of every pore. Black, something seemed to hide behind the void of the sockets. It was there and it was looking back. No, it was looking in. Steve could feel it, in his head. Why were those damn flies so loud. The buzzing was all he heard. Buzzing and those eyes. He became aware of the things standing in the trees on either side of the road, they were all there, looking at Steve, looking in Steve. Just behind the tree line, he couldn’t see them very well. Tears streamed down his face. He knelt down next to the carcass. The buzzing was so intense now, his skull was numb, his brain liquid. The things lurched out from the woods, a black mass of rotting flesh and stench encircled Steve. Eyes, everywhere. A silent audience. Steve knew what he had to do. It was simple really, the buzzing would be over soon, they promised. He was now standing, behind his truck, the rifle


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from the gun rack was now in his hands. He was smiling, soon now, no more buzzing. The shot was a dry crack, no one was around to hear it. What was left of Steve’s head slumped down on the ground with the rest of his body. The dead things; dogs, cats, deer, various water fowl, rabbits, and a few bears silently made there way over. They gathered around what was once Steve Pratt and fed.

Once you leave the city, you reach a certain point. A point where everything either looks stuck or dead, like that old man who’s been sitting in that same rocking chair, chewing he same tobacco since he lost his job in ’86. Or that factory just off of state road 6; hell its been out of abandoned since god knows when. Its places like these where you nature starting to reclaim a bit of its territory, weeds run this part of town. Most of the time, you wont see any of this. Just another old hick, another vacant factory, another plot of tall grass; however, if you look real close, you’ll notice something else. Springsteen wrote an album about it, the darkness on the edge of town. Now that was just a bunch of songs. The darkness here is very real, and it extends a lot further than the edge of town. Shadows tend to cling to the decrepit buildings a little too long;


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empty entryways seem a little too dark. Nature isn’t the only thing taking up residence here. It has a roommate. Any of the country roads will take you into the forest, like rivers eventually take you to the ocean. Telephone poles separate you from disappearing into the emerald void. It’s all brown and green out here. And black. If you keep your whits about you, you’ll notice those shadows have followed out of town. Out here, the sun hits in every direction, but you’ll be damned if that tree line isn’t darker than a moonless night. They shouldn’t be that long, its midday.

Light works funny in these parts.

Its ironic how animals tend to sense when something goes wrong, yet we play it off like we’re the all knowing being on this planet. You’ll notice dogs are scarce back in town (they’ve been gone for weeks) and the occasional small farm has less bovine than the next town over. If you pay attention, you won’t even see a damn bird. But hell, you’re just passin’ through right? The unfortunate deer that passes through these woods are few and far between. Today, a certain headstrong buck has taken it upon himself to claim these woods as his. Wrong choice brer deer. After an hour or so of munching around and pissing on everything in sight, this particular buck found himself lost. Now, you ask, how can a deer get lost?


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Well, in this neck of the woods, things tend to not sit still. Yes, the trees move. But not really, its more like space moves around the trees. If you listen, unlike the buck, you can here the trees screeching in agony as reality gets ripped apart around them. The buck’s ears perk up. Wolf, no not in these parts. Coyote, not today. His heart begins to race, his legs jump into action. Sprinting is the only option in this situation. Fight or flight baby. The trees close in on the deer. Keep running, his brain tells him, his heart says stop. Go, stop, Go, stop, Go, STOP! An immense swamp now stands in his way. The danger is closing in, the buck has no choice but to delve into the murky water. Midway through the swamp, the bucks heart gives out and it drops below the surface. Space shifts again, more screeching from the trees are joined by an unbearable high pitched buzz, cutting through the summer haze like a buzz saw. Hey, if a tree falls in the woods but noone’s around to hear it, does it make a sound? Catch me drift. The noise crescendos to a point of madness, a passing flock of geese suddenly drop dead from the sky and into the pond. As the ripples settle, it becomes apparent that they have joined the group of dead carcasses lying just below the water’s surface. Then, silence.


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More ripples, horns (much like the aforementioned young buck’s) raise from the water, but again that’s not right, the water moves away from the horns. The horns connect to an awful sight. A collage of rotting parts take the shape of a stag’s head. Black voids where the eyes should be. The creature has risen, and the forest belongs to it now. Poems (Rough Draft) Walter Enzman An Ode to Cheap Beer Oh Keystone! Oh Milwaukee! Oh good ol’ Pabst And Red White and Blue What I wouldn’t do, to relax and throw back a couple of you Your taste is harsh, your smell reminiscent of piss stained walls Along a back ally Sip or chug, there is no friendly way to handle you You bring enjoyment, with little arm to the wallet One must respect your powers, however rarely do For the hangover is unforgiving And unrelenting The “advice” poem The advisor gives me a list, life on 8x11 paper


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My mother tells me to stick with my studies, it’ll look good on paper stuck up in a frame over a desk somewhere like it’ll mean something ten years down the road.

The old men give me a fifteen-minute lecture on how journalism is bullshit, and the only thing higher education is good for, is giving me a stick up my ass.

You should get married, have kids, get a job, lose some weight, don’t smoke so much weed, find an internship, study abroad, You should do this, if I were you, Do that Remember this Oh and yeah, there’s no work, so good luck with that English degree

The Eagle The eagle soars through the air Observing his land For it goes on from sea to shining sea He sees many things,


61   which sadden, and fill his heart with pain fruited plains withering away, purple mountains without majesty, no more amber waves of grain, spacious skies now filled with waste The crown of brotherhood cast away God’s grace has seen better days Just like the eagle.

 

 


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Bio Walter Enzmann is a sophomore at Ball State University. He is tirelessly pursuing a degree in creative writing with a minor is screenwriting and film studies. His webcomic Pod 1 is due to be released this summer. He aims to have his name on a Marvel or DC comic by the time he reaches 30. He also believes that Bigfoot is very real, and sometimes is mistaken for one.

           


Musings of the Mind