• Kyrridwen's picture

    We're Writing Words Now

    I know that you

    would really hate

    the way I'm writing

    this song for you.


    You say compose

    always compose

    before the words

    are written down.

    You need the song

    to write the words

    I guess that's why

    we were friends first.


    I realize that

    that you will likely

    hate that this is

    3/4 time.

    And that you might

    dislike my tune.

    Mostly because

    I don't have one,

    just a rhythm.

    You might've been right.


    You say compose

    always compose

    before the words

    are written down.

    You need the song

    to write the words

    I guess that's why

    we were friends first.


    I think it would be

    pretty cool if

    you decided

    to humor me

    and write a melody

    and maybe harmony

    to be sung with

    these words I have.

    Mostly because 

    this song is for you

    even though I

    did it wrong.


    You say compose

    always compose

    before the words

    are written down.

    You need the song

    to write the words

    I guess that's why

    we were friends first.


    The moral

    of my story

    is just one thing

    I have yet to say.

    Three little words

    bursting from my chest

    inspiring a song

    you may detest.


    And that is because...

    You say compose

    always compose

    before the words

    are written down.

    You need the song

    to write the words

    I guess that's why

    we were friends first.


    I guess it's my chance

    to say that one thing

    so here goes nothing...


    I love you

    from the bottom of my heart

    oh I love you

    so glad we had that song first

    oh I love you,

    so glad we're writing words now

    oh I love you...


    I just thought

    you might want to know.

  • jacketbundock's picture

    Sheets Digital Story

    Sprouted from: 

    My experiment on newhive.com



  • Day Lily's picture

    Graveside love note

    I had a dream that you were next to me

    Digging through my bones

    And it felt so good


    So i died a thousand deaths

    For your touch

    They weren't enough

    To keep your fingers loving my arterie


    Your skin is my atmosphere

    Holding me together

    But don't worry

    I hate myself enough for the both of us


    I had a dream that you were next to me

    I could feel it in my bones

    And it felt so good



  • MayaWM's picture

    Chapters 0.125-0.5

    Chapter 0.125

      I don’t know who I am.

    I would say I don’t remember anything. But there’s nothing to remember.


    It’s been like this my whole life.

    I don’t wonder what’s happening, or what happened to me to make me like this. I just know that there’s




    I don’t feel anything.


    There is nothing to feel.


    No pain

           No fear

                   No hope.



    I wander.


    With no purpose, no motivation




    Through the woods, they call it.

    Through the big, dark trees,

    that tower above me,

    and shuffling about the small crumply objects they call leaves.


    There were people like me, back there.


    Back there at the Center.


    People who didn’t know who they were before, who they are now, or who they plan on becoming. Who don’t care, don’t want to care, and don’t need to because they’re just





    I left them.


    I left them because why should I stay anyway?


    Why should I?


    Are you going to answer me?


    I am wandering. Wandering in the woods. Not lost, not knowing where I am, not wanting to be found.


    Just wandering.


    And then I feel something.

    I feel pain. Physical pain.


    I have been shot.


    I scream. I scream because it hurts. It hurts and I fall to the ground and I can’t move and then it hurts some more.




    Stop. Make it stop.


    I am lying in a puddle of red.


    It is coming from me.


    I am bleeding.


    I am in pain.





    make the pain




    And then the pain goes away.


    Chapter 0.25: Sofia



    Welcome to the future. It’s like the present, but a bit more effed up.

      I mean, what am I supposed to say? The sky is practically bloated with heat. Taking a stroll outside is like taking a stroll through a furious, raging fire, so close to your body you can feel the pain licking your skin, eating away every last spark of hope like a vulture picking at an old corpse. We use protective masks when we do have to go out to hunt.

      Welcome to the future.

    No flying cars, no cell phone holograms, no transportation devices. Instead, the crumbled remains of buildings and landmarks and iconic wonders that once shined in the outline of a luminous, glistening sun. Nowadays, the sun is bloated; bloated in size and bloated in heat, no longer a happy yellow ball, but a giant, orange substance that  The economy has crumbled. We are living in a world of hopeless chaos, where order, peace, and democracy have perished along with the world as we know it.

      But, on shiner topics, I’m not alone.

    I’ve got Ansel, a flickering, lively spark in this pathetic world. Julie, a small, fierce being that is, in her own words, not a force to be reckoned with; there are people who’d disagree, but, well, that’s their problem. Yolanda, a quiet girl with almond shaped eyes and pale skin that I’d come to call my best friend.

      We thought we were the last humans to survive on Earth; we’d spent our lives fending for food and scouring for the last bits of drinkable water. We thought all hope was lost. That there really was nothing left except a life of misery in this world…

      Welcome to the future.

      It’s like the present. Except it’s nothing like the present at all.


    Chapter 0.5: Ignacio


      So, yeah, life’s a bitch.

    Sorry to disappoint you. I mean, if you haven’t noticed already, someone must have let you know. The world’s kind of a mess.

       I’m Ignacio Patroven, since you clearly asked. I guess you could say I’m a bit different than the rest of them.

       There is no order, no peace or democracy remaining in this world, but there is the Center. We call it the Center because we’re pathetic and we couldn’t think of a better name because, well, what do you name a place of attempted safety that stands in the middle of a crumbling world? The members of the Center, about 4,000 unlucky humans that have survived the wrath of a dying earth, have made their home in an old building just along the suburbs of what used to be Yew Nork City. Wait, no; that’s not it. What’s city called again? Ah, forget it. It’ll come to me later.

       There’s something very different about the humans now than the humans in your present world. These humans have no feelings. Like I said: no hope, no fear, no sadness or remorse that the place they once called home is now a disintegrated junkyard. You’ve heard of evolution, I’m sure; humanoids who once appeared to be apes and, generation after generation, eventually became what you are now. It was kind of like that, but less in the physical sense.

      Here’s what happened: you might consider the world you live in now to have many people, richer and happier than others, who don’t believe in Global Warming and care only about the present. Some, back then, were even greedy about it. Because they had so much money, they could convince politicians to do whatever they pleased with all their wealth and power. Power drove these people to greed. They used their power for purposes that suited only themselves, and over the years, more and more people like this came into the world. As time went on, their greed grew stronger and their feelings weaker. Eventually, all emotions and feelings had disappeared from the essence of a human. We became robots. Nah, that’s a bit generous; zombies, you might say, that aren’t pale and don’t walk around with their arms stretched out, repeatedly moaning brains.

       But, little do these sad, purposeless people know, there are a few of us left that still possess the ability to feel. 56 humans at the Center, young and old, still fighting for their survival because there’s nothing else left to fight for.

       I’m Ignacio Patroven, and I am proud to present you a world in which hope and happiness and all good things have become a fairy tale.

  • I Guess I Should Tell You...

    February 26, 2003

    I ended it. I didn’t feel how I thought I felt. It breaks my heart that I broke his... but it is his fault.

        I almost did not know what to say but I knew that she would be fine. She is still young.

    It got to the point where I felt, not like he didn’t care, but like he didn’t want me to care about him anymore which doesn’t make sense to me. It felt like he didn’t appreciate it when I really tried.

         How would this make sense to a young girl? These things never do, but somehow we’re supposed to tell them that it will all make sense when they’re older.
    Does anyone ever really understand it?

    Is it even worth it?

         Some tend to forget about the things that are so little now but were so huge at one point in their life. No one knows for sure what will happen, so, all we can do is hope and help others to hope.

    I found something yesterday. I guess I should tell you... I didn’t really know what it would do. I’d seen stuff like it on TV and in movies but I never thought I’d do it. I did. Is that bad? It was just a little orange bottle. I thought it was supposed to make me feel better and it did for a little, but then it went away.

    So, I had some more. And it worked. It worked too well I guess.
    That’s the real reason Mom sent me here so, I guess I should tell you. Mom thinks I’m not just sad anymore. She thinks I’ll get hurt.
    I said “How?”.
    She thinks I’ll hurt myself. “Why would I do that?” I said.
    She thinks I’m crazy. I’m not crazy.
    Well I guess you’re the one that’s supposed to figure that out right?

    born January 14, 1988.
    15 years old
    Already taking inappropriate prescriptions.
    Already so fragile.

         To tell the truth I didn’t expect this. I assumed it was just another paranoid mother, but this hasn’t gone too far. She’ll be alright. She seems very strong.

    April 2, 2003

    Mom took me to the doctor. I’m fine I guess but it can’t happen again they say. They took all the pills away and out of the house. I can’t have any at all. They don’t care that I have headaches. Maybe they just don’t believe me.
    All of this confuses me. I feel worse than when I first took the pills. They will make me feel better. I don’t get why no one will let me have them. Is it really that bad?

         I tried explaining the effects of the drugs she had taken but Emily was still confused. She didn’t really know what she had done. Sometimes I feel that being naïve can be both good and bad... I’m not always sure. One impulse decision could be causing her so much more harm than she deserves. She will learn. I believe in her. I really do believe that she will be able to figure it out.

    May 14, 2003

    I guess I should tell you I met another boy. Mom thinks he makes me really happy. He does. Mom thinks a lot.
    Sometimes it’s too much and she wants me to always tell her stuff but then I say that’s what you sent me to the woman for. Oh and does that make her think more.

    You’re the woman by the way. I guess I should tell you that I don’t like using your name and calling you doctor. It makes me feel like I’m not right, as a person, and I need some other person to tell me what I’m doing wrong.
    I know I do and it’s okay. I know that when I’m here. I don’t want to know that when I’m somewhere else though.
    I want to be okay everywhere else. Is that okay?

         No one wants to be told how to live their life. No one wants someone to tell them what they need to change or fix or anything about their life. Everyone wants to be able to figure it out for themselves. I haven’t talked with many teenagers recently so I thought this could be fairly challenging. It will certainly be challenging but I can tell that Emily is hardly a teenager at heart. At least she doesn’t want to be.

    Oh and I guess I should tell you I decided I don’t need the pills. I just need to be happier. That’s easy right?

         I wish I could have just told her “Yes. Yes it is very easy.” But it might not be. Often, when it seems the easiest, it will soon become the most difficult. Maybe, could it be easy for her? Sometimes all you have to do is believe what you tell yourself and you’re set to go.

    June 21, 2003

    Well, he left. Mom thinks it’s silly. I do too. For once we might agree. I think it will be okay.

         The fact that Emily can get so worked up about one thing on a certain day and then the next day it’s like it hasn’t even fazed her amazes me. I don’t know what it is about this girl but I really want to be able to understand and be able to really know that I am getting through to her. I’ve never experienced a girl quite like Emily.

    Sometimes I think I figured it out and then the next minute someone tells me it’s not right and that I have much more learning to do before I can even think I know what I’m doing. But that’s just it, I think I know. I might not know but I think that I could.
    I don’t really know because two people can say yes and one can say no and then I don’t know who to believe.

    It should be two against one, right? No. Wrong.
    You can try to
    please everyone in the room but if the one person that really matters isn’t pleased like the others than it doesn’t matter how many are for you if that one is against you. All or nothing.

         This didn’t go with any other subject that had been brought up that day. She sort of just had a moment where she needed to speak up and I must listen, of course, but I wanted to as well. I could have asked her what it was that came to her mind but I think that could have ruined the beauty of what she said.
    It makes me think.
    Does it always have to be all or nothing?
    Do you need approval for everything from everyone all the time?
    Is it better to go with the majority if you think it could be right?
    Very intriguing.

    July 28, 2003

    Well, he came back. I guess I should tell you that I don’t think I want him to come back. I think that the same thing will happen again. That he will leave again. Mom still thinks it’s silly. She doesn’t think it’s a good idea. I do. I know it could end up how she thinks but it could also be wonderful. Do you think it will be okay? Do you think Mom is right?

    I guess I should tell you that I do want him to come back... but I’m scared. That’s why I said I didn’t. I’m scared that he will leave again.
    I’m going to let him come back.

         I couldn’t tell her I didn’t think it was a good idea because how would that help her? I had to let her learn. Who knows, her mom and I could be wrong. Who could predict a 15 year old boy’s thoughts or plans? Who could try and figure out the love life of two kids? Only themselves. I had to let her.

    September 14, 2003

    I left this time. I didn’t know what to do. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I was too afraid. I guess I should tell you that I love him. I love him and I’m afraid of what that means.

         What I told her today was that it’s okay to be scared but that it’s not always going to be okay if we act out of that fright and make decisions we might regret later on. I told her that she is young. I told her we all go through this. I tried to explain to her that it happens to every teenager.

    I thought it had already happened to me.
    Then it happened this time and it is worse.
    Will I feel like this next time too? Will it feel worse next time too?

         I told her yes. I told her it was going to be like this as long as she was still learning the way of the world and of love. I told her it was a good thing that she loves him, (that she thinks she does any how), and it will only help her to grow and find truer love as she goes along.

         And then she asked me...

    Did this happen to you?

         And I couldn’t answer.

         I could have told her my story. I could have told her that almost everything she talks about reminds me of myself years ago. I couldn’t tell her. Our dynamic was good and I didn’t want to change that.


    February 26, 2005

    I haven’t been able to write much about Emily in the past year. For a few months everything seemed fine. She talked more about her family. Her mother, her father and/or her brother were almost always the main topic. Good and bad but it all seemed to make a difference. Boys became less of an issue for the now 17 year old. She felt more secure and I really began to connect more with her.

    However, every once in a while there would be some things I could not understand. Her explanations sometimes trailed off and she had a hard time finishing entire moments. I felt like I wasn’t able to help with things happening at home when she could hardly tell me what was going on. I asked her to tell me more about her mother.

    Mom... well... she can be hard to handle. I get upset with her sometimes and I wish I didn’t have to be related to her. Sometimes I wish I could just go away for a while to get away from it all. Maybe it’s bad to say but I guess I should tell you that when someone tells me how much I am like Mom, I don’t like it. It makes me mad that I’m like someone I don’t want to be. It’s really hard because I know that I’m supposed to love her and care about her more than I do but I feel like she doesn’t love me how she’s supposed to either. It hurts the most when she pretends to be something she’s not around other people but once everyone leaves she takes everything out on me.

         I didn’t expect this from a 17 year old. Sometimes mothers and daughters have their differences and a teenage daughter tends to think the worst about her mother but usually they grow out of that. By 17, the relationship is not going to change easily. It might progress a little after the child moves out or leaves for college but that will only cause both sides to be hiding from what is wrong. I could tell we were getting into something serious again.

    April 2, 2005

    I’ve always been the closest with him. He gets it. I guess I should tell you that he might not always care about everything I have to say, but I know he tries and he listens.
    He makes me feel like I can be whoever I dream of, even if
    everyone else is telling me I can’t.

         This is what Emily told me when I asked her to tell me about her father. The complete opposite of what she said about her mother, I now understood a little bit more. Something going on in the home will translate to everything else and make it all seem much worse than it actually may be.

         When I was growing up I always turned to my father when things got hard with Mom. I was so afraid at first because I thought that he would punish me or something if he found out how I felt about her. I wish there had been someone there to guide me to him sooner because after the first time I really opened up to him he really helped and made me feel so much better. I have a feeling that Emily may need a little push towards her father. With these things going on at home, if Emily is having a hard time explaining everything to me or recalling certain things, it may help to have her father, with more knowledge of life at home, to help guide her and take the extra step that I may not always be able to take.

    May 14, 2005

    I guess I should tell you that today is Mom’s birthday. I didn’t tell you before because you might say I should not be here and I should be with her. It’s hard to be with her on her birthday because her birthday is a special day and I have to be very nice and give her something but I don’t really know how.

    I like to get away. Getting away from Mom, at least for a few hours, sometimes really helps and makes it a little easier to be nice for a while.

         I told her running from a problem will never fix it. I told her that it might feel easier for a while but it will never go away if you just hide from it.

    I guess I should tell you...

         She always says that.

    I guess I should tell you...

         It’s like she had thought of everything she was going to say before she was even on the same subject. It’s almost like I am supposed to know, like I am supposed to find out some other way and then she decides she might as well just say it.
         It was almost, “I guess I should tell you so that you don’t get the wrong idea.” Or “I guess I should tell you so no one else can.” Or even, “I guess I should tell you so I won’t be guilty.”
    It is so casual, the way she talks to me, and it catches me off guard sometimes. It’s certainly not
    the way most teenagers would speak in this setting.

    June 21, 2005

    I couldn’t sleep last night because all of the sad things are sinking in. They sink in deeper and deeper every minute and sometimes it’s just such a heavy weight. I still love that boy and I know that it was good while it lasted so I can’t be bitter. It taught me a lot and if I see him again I will just smile and send him the joy that he has sent me forever. I hope that I have given him what he has given me. I guess I should tell you that I am leaving soon. I am going far away to get away from all of these sad things. I am forced to always think about it because everything reminds me of a moment that was sad and it makes me sad now. I am going away to a place where nothing will ever make me sad because it will be entirely new and I won’t ever have to think about anything being sad.

         I know that trying to run away from your problems is never the answer and I have told this to Emily on multiple occasions. She seems very sure that it will work. She will pick a good school and she will study hard. Her focus will be drawn to bigger and better things and this could work for her at least for a while.

         I told her that I will always be here for her if she ever wants to or needs to come back. If she needs anything, I told her, she knows where to find me.

    You won’t be seeing me again. I won’t need to come home. You have helped me realize what I have to do.

    I am proud of Emily today. She is growing up and she is very strong. I feel that there is not much more that I can do after these two years.

    July 28, 2005

    Nothing matters anymore. I’ve lost all I could ever want, there is nothing left here. Just get me out. Please.
         Today was the hardest day. These words continue to play through my mind as I think about the day with Emily.

    Just get me out. Please.

         She sobbed today. Emily cried in my office for the first time in two years. What girl could begin to imagine a life without her father? Coping with everything that has happened, she has never been able to fully believe in anyone, even herself.

    Why does this have to happen to me? Is there anything left worth living for?

          Who does she want the answers from? Certainly she could not expect them from me. It breaks my heart to hear these questions come from her lips and have nothing to help her. In the past two years I’ve spent with Emily, I have never seen her fall quite this hard. Her father was the one person she never expected to leave.

    He gets it. ...he tries and he listens. He makes me feel like I can be whoever I dream of...

          The day she first told me about her father was the day I knew she was going to get through it all. Even if I couldn’t do everything to make it better, I knew she would always have someone else to look up to and someone else to guide her. If I ever didn’t know how to guide her where I thought she needed to go, I would simply guide her to her father and he was always able to take the next step.
    Now what?

    September 15, 2005

    It doesn’t make sense. I still see him everywhere I go. It’s like he’s living through others to try and get back home. He talks to me every day. He tells me everything is okay. I know that he is happy. I just wish that we could be happy together.

          Those were her last words to me yesterday. Those were her last words to me. Those were her last words.

    I just wish that we could be happy together.

         Emily has gone far away to get away from all of these sad things. She has gone away to a place where nothing will ever make her sad because it will be entirely new.

    I didn’t know. No one knew. I was the one that was supposed to make sure this didn’t happen. I didn’t know how to help because I missed the signs from a girl I’ve known for two years. Isn’t it supposed to be easier when you know them better?

    I think it got harder. I always thought I knew just what she meant when really, she was telling me something all together different.

    Mom thinks I’m not just sad anymore. She thinks I’ll get hurt.

    You can try to please everyone in the room but if the one person that really matters isn’t pleased like the others than it doesn’t matter how many are for you if that one is against you. All or nothing.

    I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid.

    I like to get away.

    I guess I should tell you that I am leaving soon.

    She knew the whole time. She’s known for a long time. She just didn’t know her father would be the one to take her with him.

    October 12, 2005

    Mom thinks it’s all her fault. She’s not the one that stopped Dad’s heart; she’s not the one who bought the pills. I know it’s not her fault. It’s no one person’s fault really. I know this is going to get harder before it gets easier so I know that I need help. I want to be with Dad and Em just as much as Mom but I know they are okay. Mom and I will be okay eventually. We are together here. Dad and Em are together there. We will all get through this together, I know it.

    I just wish I had known. I wish there was something I could have done.

         Me too. I wish I had known too. I wish I caught it.

    Also, I know that you didn’t know and I really think that you are the one that should have known.

         So, why are you coming to me after all this? I asked him. I don’t know why he’s here after I hardly helped his sister.

    Em would have been gone sooner if she wasn’t here all the time. You saved her for 3 years. She would have been gone sooner if it wasn’t for you.

          This will be good for both of us.

    born August 7, 1990.
    15 years old.
    Coming from the loss of a sister and a father.
    To tell the truth I think he will help me just as much as I will be able to help him. 


  • 83 Stockholm Lane (proper first chapter)



    To be fair, Quentinbury was rather a common place for crime and fatalities. It was not unheard of for anyone to die, or be killed, under mysterious circumstances. Once, even, several years back, a woman enacting a melodramatic death at the local theater had fallen carelessly, bashed her head on a convenient spike protruding from the wall of the villain’s castle, which she was standing beside, and really and truly died, directly up on the stage. Nobody realized this until it was too late; in fact, a few exceptionally obtuse people applauded, thinking they had just witnessed a brilliant piece of acting, and it was nearly ten minutes before the doctor was called. It was another three months before the play’s director was arrested, after it was discovered that the convenient spike had been placed there to serve exactly the purpose it dutifully had. 

        When one took this into consideration, it seemed a miracle that anybody still lived in Quentinbury, but in fact, many people did. Many young couples moved in, lured by the green rolling fields, which stretched in every direction as far as they could stretch themselves, and the perfectly painted houses, then discovered that they had been taken in under false first impressions. Nobody in the town could understand why they did not leave, but perhaps there was some allure in proudly telling one’s friends, that one lived in a dangerous neighborhood, where at least one large-scale crime was committed a month, but yet had not yet noticed anybody making an attempt on their life. 
        Ava Middleton had been living in Quentinbury for two weeks when the woman at the theater died, and at the time of the vanishing of  Maxwell Burdock and 83 Stockholm Lane, was almost beginning to consider herself a local. Not that she was at all proud of the fact (she considered it rather terrifying, and was constantly lobbying her parents to move), but she would have liked to be able to brag of the fact to her friends in Connecticut nonetheless. One of them had actually once lamented that there hadn’t been a premature death in their town for years, and it was boring. 
        But the vanishing of the man and the house was rather taking the criminal activity to a new level. Exactly how, the townspeople wondered, did an entire house vanish overnight without leaving a trace? It simply made no sense. Even if somebody had managed to tear down the house overnight without anybody noticing, surely they would have left some evidence that there had once been a house present ...
        Ava, who tried not to be in touch with the criminal activity in Quentinbury and lived nowhere near Stockholm Lane, would have known nothing of the crime if it weren’t for her mother, who was sitting at the table reading the newspaper as Ava ate breakfast. 
        “So, what’s today?” said her mother conversationally, putting down her coffee mug. “Wednesday?” 
        “Yep,” Ava muttered, drooping down over her cereal and trying to keep her hair out of the milk and stay awake at the same time. “Wednesday. Not quite halfway through the week. Band day.” Ava hated band days; they were the days that she tiptoed into an auditorium crammed with middle schoolers who had yet to learn how to keep their instruments quiet, and sat quietly in the trumpet section with her French horn, waiting for somebody to look at her through all of the clamor and realize she needed sheet music. 
        “Oh, come on,” said Ava’s mother. “You’ll live.” She looked back at her paper and picked up her coffee mug. Ava went back to her cereal, just in time to discover that few strands of her hair had drooped to dangle in the milk. 
        Just as Ava was wringing milk out of her hair, her mother gasped, “Oh my God!” and dropped her coffee mug. It did not shatter, but hot coffee splattered all over Ava’s legs and the newspaper. 
        “What?” said Ava, jumping up. With milk in her hair and coffee on her clothes, she was beginning to feel sodden, but her mother rarely panicked, except on momentous occasions, and this must have been one of them. “Did someone die?” This was rather the predictable scenario: it had been almost a month since anybody had been killed, so somebody would have to be before long. Ava, like everyone else in Quentinbury, had learned to think this way. 
        “No,” said her mother breathlessly. “At least, not really.” 
        Ava tiptoed around the coffee puddle on the floor to look over her mother’s shoulder. Some of the coffee had spilled onto the newspaper, so it was difficult to read, but Ava could just make out the words Mr. Maxwell Burdock. 
        “Oh, no!” she exclaimed. “Did something happen to Max?”
        Her mother put the newspaper down on the table and said, too forcefully, “No. I’m sure he’s fine. Now go change or you’ll be late for school.”
        Ava looked distractedly down at her coffee-stained skirt and knees, then looked back up. “Really! What happened to Max?” 
        “Nothing,” said her mother, briskly avoiding her daughter’s gaze. “The newspaper says he disappeared. That’s all.” 
        Ava froze. There was a roaring in her ears. “The newspaper says he what?” she repeated, barely able to hear her own voice. 
        “It’s probably just a scare,” her mother said quickly. “You know how he’s always coming and going.” 
        Ava nodded, dissatisfied. It was true; Max had nearly been declared missing several times before, when he had left the town suddenly on one of his unexplained forays into somewhere-or-other without having been seen by anybody, but he had never truly been declared missing—because he always came back within the day (driving much too fast in his little car), and screeched to a stop in front of the Middletons’ house to announce that he was back. 
        “Now go change,” said her mother. “You can’t go to school covered in coffee.” 
        “I know,” said Ava, and plodded up the stairs to her bedroom, but she couldn’t stop thinking about Max being declared missing. She would pass by his house on the way to school. She would have to see then—if his car was gone, then he would be gone. If not, it would simply be another scare. 
        At least, this is what she told herself. Over and over and over again, as she hugged her mother and picked up her French horn and backpack and boarded the bus on the way to school. As she inevitably began to hold her breath and wait for the glimpse of Max’s house,  waiting to see his car, to let out the breath, to reassure herself that the newspaper printers were fools and it didn’t matter. 
        She leaned over the boy who was sitting next to her (who exclaimed, “Hey! What’s your problem!” so loudly that her ears rang for a minute), and peered through the glass as they neared Max’s house. 
        His driveway was empty. His tiny Prius with the dented fender, which Ava had grown accustomed to seeing as she passed the house, was not there. His front door was wide open, but the house was dark. The windows looked like empty, silent, staring eyes as the bus passed by. 
        “What’s the matter with you?” said the boy she was leaning over. “Get off me!” 
        “Sorry,” Ava gasped, without really knowing who she was apologizing to or why. This couldn’t be. Max couldn’t have really disappeared. This disturbed her comfortable, safe reality. Of course, Ava’s reality was hardly comfortable or safe; there was always a lingering fear that she would be the next murder victim, or one of her parents would. But Max being gone disrupted everything. 
        Because of this, Ava did not feel disrupted when the boy next to her screamed, “OH MY FREAKING GOD!” and pointed out the window. And there was no real mirth in her voice when, repeating the boy’s words, she said, “Hey, what’s your problem?”—and it hardly mattered, because the boy did not seem to hear her. 
        Everyone else (naturally) was quite disrupted by the outburst. Everyone on the opposite side of the bus leapt up and ran over, and the bus driver braked and bellowed, “Back to your seats! No standing in the aisles!” 
        No one noticed. They were all clamoring, leaning over her, shoving each other, trying to get a good view of whatever had impelled the boy to scream what he did. 
        Ava, however, could see out the window without much of a struggle, and took advantage of this privilege. Nothing could surprise her, she thought. Max had really disappeared.     
        The empty house which had always been on this street, number eighty-three or eighty-four, something like that, was no longer there. It didn’t look as if it had burned down or been torn apart to make way for a new house—there was simply a blank square of earth where the house had been. The garden was still perfectly undisturbed. 
        Ava stood absolutely still, hands braced on the thin metal strip of the windowsill, trying to wrap her mind around everything. This wasn’t right. It couldn’t be right. Everything was falling apart. 
        “Move,” said the boy crossly. “I want to see.” 
        Ava moved back. She was too shocked to protest, or to shriek when the crowd of students swarmed over her to peer out. 
        “EVERYBODY BACK TO THEIR SEATS!” the bus driver shouted. Some people covered their ears. Most of them returned to their seats. 
        Ava’s ears were ringing, but not because of the noise. A man and a house had both vanished. The man was in the habit of disappearing without notice, but the house certainly was not! Houses didn’t do this sort of thing. Maybe people did, occasionally, but one could hardly kidnap a house. At least, not without leaving evidence that there had been a house before, and if it hadn't been for the absence of grass growing in the spot where the house had been, Ava would never have known that a house had once been there. 
        "Hey ... you knew that Burdock guy who went missing, didn't you?" said the boy, squinting suspiciously at Ava. 
        "You mean Max?" Ava said, her voice absurdly calm and even. "Yeah. He's some college friend of my mom." 
        "He was in trouble with the law or something, right?" 
        Ava couldn't help but puff up her chest a bit. "He was wrongfully accused," she said with dignity. "He has a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time." 
        "Jeez, relax," said the boy. "It was just a question." 
        "Yes," said Ava. "And I gave you just an answer." She turned back to the aisle and bit her tongue, in hopes of distracting her brain from her ears, which were ringing from the noise of everyone's shouting. Hopefully, this conveyed the message to the boy that she was finished talking. 
        "But you've heard the rumors, right?" said the boy from behind her. 
        Ava, despite herself, turned. "What rumors?" 
        "They say that the Burdock guy's been committing crimes right and left. Then he speeds out of town so no one'll know it was him. A regular murder mystery psychopath, they say he is." 
  • CrossBearer7's picture

    This Is Not a Poem About My Father

    This is not a poem about my father.

    A poem like that would spit

    cobra juice.

    A poem like that would dance,

    hateful hood fanned,

    sleek serpentine swaying.

    Beware the tooth!

    Dripping poisoned truth,

    its venom is verse.


    This is not a poem about my father.

    A poem like that would scream

    irate epithets.

    A poem like that would demand


    hysterically clawing at the coat

    of indifferent authority,

    like a desperate,

    wild-eyed woman,

    oft scorned.

    A poem like that would be

    dismissed, shrugged off or shoved aside

    and left quietly

    crying and cursing.


    This is not a poem about my father.

    A poem like that would dream

    of something different.

    A poem like that would secretly ache

    for love from a broken statue,

    dependency on the undependable.

    Squared, shaky shoulders—a grown-up child

    pretending not to need—



  • angela weasley's picture

    Pre-School Sweetheart + Audio

    Oh how I loved the way his hair sparkled in the low light during nap time.

    And the way he played with me, it was really sublime. 

    Sometimes he would whisper for me to meet him behind the play-structure,

    and he would tell me tales about dragons and Pokemon.

    His dirt brown eyes reminded me of the worms we would collect,

    and the soil castles that we wrecked.

    He was a little bit smaller than me,

    but size doesn't matter, on that we agree.

    I had many play date's with him that ended with us screaming.

    But my mom told me that it was just a trait that was not very redeeming.

    I think I love him, really I do.

    So I got down on one knee and proposed that we "get murryd" just us two.

    (At least that's what I think you were supposed to say.)

    He hugged me real tight and I didn't like that because he was covered in paint,

    but we were getting "murryd" so I made no complaint.

    The next day during recess we exchanged our vows.

    We made play-dough rings, 

    and our best man was my favorite worm.

    (Until the teachers took him away because he had germs)

    After we were husband and wife,

    he took me to his little shed and told me this was our new life.

    I didn't like it very much so I stomped on his foot,

    Me and Even aren't "murryd" anymore,

    he takes my things  and makes me cry.

    My parents told me that sometimes things go awry.

    I told them we tried being in love but it didn't work out,

    they just laughed and said it was a start. 

    I guess he's just my Pre-School sweetheart.


  • DiscusThrower's picture

    It is so Ordered

    The title of this piece comes from Supreme Court Justice Kennedy's last paragraph of the courts opinion, confirming gay marriage as protected under the constitution and a right for everyone across the nation.

    When a young child has their first love,
    and writes their first love note
    "Check Yes or No".
    Everyone finds it cute

    But for a young child whos first crush is the same identity
    They are openly condemned for it.
    What must this child to for love?
    When people and organizations spew venom
    Do we teach that this country is "equal?"

    For centuries, the repression was fierce
    But love could not be stopped
    For centuries people were killed by hate
    But love could not be stopped
    Nations persecuted millions for their emotion

    But no matter what, love could not be stopped.

    While the fight for equality is yet to be over
    And the bigots won't stop their tyrrany and hateful ways

    On this day, June 26th, 2015

    Love beat Hate

  • greta.hm's picture

    No Regrets

    Kind of sprouted from Kyrridwen's "Peace, of a Sort"


    “Okay… NOW!”

    She pressed the button. My only thoughts: it was as bright as the moon.

    “Hurry up, hurry up!”

    I was floating… floating…

    “Dez, you okay?”



    I woke up to a very different world. Aftereffects were visible. Everywhere. No, more like total destruction. Why did we do this?

    “I know. It’s sad. But it was necessary.”

    Since when could she read my mind?

    “We had to fix things.”

    Everyone I knew, everyone I loved. Dead or dying.

    “Dez, we can’t change this back. No regrets.”

    But there were regrets. And we could change this back. We had to. I dashed to the machine.


    “Okay… NOW!”

    This time I was ready. I dove, crashing into her.

    “What? Dez, how could you?”

    How could I? More like, how could she?

    “If you’re going to interfere, I have no choice.”

    I heard the gun, gasped in pain, fell over. I registered it all as if it were a dream.

    “What have I done? Oh, no. Oh, no.”

    She looked at the hole in my chest with blood now welling out, then straight in the eye, hers more horrified and forlorn than I had ever seen them.

    “What was I thinking? I can’t do this. The plan… it won’t change anything.”

    My pain was gone, replaced with a sense of fulfillment.

    “Dez, I’m sorry.”

    But I only smiled. I had succeeded. Only I would die today.


    My last thoughts: maybe now she could change the world. Instead of destroying it.