Tributaries: Fall 2019
Table of Contents
"Tap, Tap, Tap" by Jack Crumbley (First Place)
"Cicadas" by Barry Arrington (Second Place)
"Salem" by Hunter Durrant (Third Place)
"Destructive People" by Luke Shackelford
"Grow" by Mary Cooke
"Untitled" by Paola Jazmine Cantu
"American Catastrophe" by Jamey Huskey
"Sweet Dreams" by Mira Walker
"Flash Fiction" by Sean Crannery
"Numb" by Christian Neal
"Tap, Tap, Tap"
By Jack Crumbley
Winner of the Fall 2019 Scary Story Contest
I closed my book and sat up in my chair. It was dark; I could only see black sky from behind the blinds of my window. I glanced at the wall clock while stretching my back. It was a quarter past eleven.
“It’s probably time I get to bed.” I muttered to myself, “Wouldn’t you say, Percy?” I asked, looking over to my cat, who perked up at the sound of my voice. His green eyes looked towards me excitedly as he hopped up from his cat tree and bounced his way over. I stood up, turned off the lights in my living room, and started walking to the bathroom to do my nightly routine, nearly tripping over Percy. I chuckled at the little grey ball of fluff circling my legs, meowing loudly, trying to get my attention.
After getting to the bathroom, changing into my pajamas, and brushing my teeth, I went up my stairs to my bedroom to finally lay down and sleep. I unfortunately got stopped by the screaming fluff-baby I loved, Percy.
He was pacing my door back and forth, waiting for me to open the door, so he could run in and lay on my bed. This was a battle I had fought many nights, so I had no trouble getting around him.
“Percy…” I chuckled as I picked him up, “you know you can’t sleep in my bed, and you’ve got a perfectly fine bed right there.” I pointed to his pillow next to my chair in the living room, but I couldn’t really see it. The living room was almost pitch black when I turned out the light. I sat percy down on the ground and slid quickly into my bedroom.
I lied on my bed, turned off my bedside lamp, and closed my eyes to try and sleep. Percy, of course started meowing loudly like he always did, but eventually stopped and went somewhere else, and for a brief moment in that sweet silence, I was peaceful and relaxed.
Then I heard a sound.
It was a soft sound, it sounded like a book fell to the ground. At first, I just assumed it was Percy doing what cats do, but I heard it again, louder. My eyes opened.
“Is Percy making a mess?” I thought to myself, groaning at the thought of cleaning all of it up. I heard the noise a third time then a fourth, a fifth, louder each time. My eyes got wide, and my breathing became shallow and shaky as a pit of dread formed in my stomach.
Thud, Thud, Thud...
It sounded almost like footsteps.
It sounded like someone or something walking up the stairs and towards my door. The thuds got louder and louder and louder and then ceased altogether.
I very hesitantly turned over and looked at the door. I could see a faint shadow through the crack at the bottom of the door. My face grew cold. What could be at my door at at this hour?
I heard a new sound.
Scratch, Scratch, Scratch…
Whatever is out there, it’s scratching at my door. And then I heard a faint tapping. Almost like someone was knocking very softly.
Tap, Tap, Tap…
Something was tapping and scratching at my bedroom door very softly.
It was slow at first, but got faster and louder as it went on.
Tap, Tap, Tap-Tap…
I sat up in my bed, shaking from fear.
I got up and slowly made my way towards the door.
The tapping continued, more violently.
I made it to the door.
My hand was hesitant and shaking.
I grabbed the handle.
I felt the whole door shake from the violent pounding.
I flew the door open not knowing what was waiting for me on the other side.
And nothing happened. I looked down at the ground and felt an instant wave of relief and relaxation. There, stood waiting in front of my door, was Percy. He must have been scratching to get in, and my imagination got the better of me. I chuckled and let out a sigh as I bent down to pick him up. His tail was wagging in agitation, his hair stood on end, and his pupils looked like little black needles. He must have been so mad at me. As I held him in my arms, I felt him trembling.
“Probably from excitement!” I thought to myself. Cradling Percy in my arms, I looked out of my room, into the dark hallway. I couldn’t even see the end of it. I looked down at Percy, who’s trembling has lessened.
“Well,” I said, “I suppose you’ve earned it, since you scared me half to death.” I went towards my bed and, for some unknown reason, decided to lock the door behind me. I lied down again, snuggling with my loving cat, Percy. He had since stopped shaking, except for the gentle vibrations of his purring. We both relaxed and prepared for a long night’s rest, but I didn’t get much sleep that night.
Shortly after I had gotten in my bed, my hand petting Percy, my eyes went wide once more, and my stomach sank.
I heard a soft tapping at my bedroom door, and the door handle began to rattle as if something was trying to get inside.
by Barry Arrington
A biology student who likes to tell stories
Second Place Finisher of the Fall 2019 Scary Story Contest
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep…
And miles to go before I sleep…” Robert Frost
There were no footprints heading backwards that night, no sir, there was only Mason and his will to move forward. He would not be stopped. Not yet anyway.
It began, as far as I or anyone ever knew, with a boy walking along a path that was covered in fallen autumn leaves.
The pale serene of the moonlight shone through the trees and cast veiny shadows betwixt the branches, and that light fell upon the patches of dying grass scattered across the earthen floor.
The steady, dually high- and low-pitched hum of cicadas lined the air and naked branches with a fog of sorts. This cloud of sounds seemed to pierce the imaginary barrier between the edge of the outer ear and the inner. It rolled into the crevices formed by the cartilage, prodding the line between feeling and numbness like a sonar blister.
His name was Mason. A boy of shorter and smaller stature, small for even a 12-year-old, with a backpack that was oversized and made him look even smaller than he really was. In truth, he didn’t mind being small, after all tall people had heart problems and hurt a lot more when they rolled their ankles or fell. Of course, people always called him a “midget” or “shin kicker” at school, but those kids were too stupid to know the different between a post in the dirt and their own elbows. No, he practically enjoyed his size. It was certainly easier to crawl through holes or
climb trees (he only weighed about 90 pounds), and he held the record at his school for the most pull-ups in one go, 22.
He was strong, strong willed, and rarely scared of the usual things that most kids his age were scared of, like monsters or demons. Perhaps this, in a way, was the reason he’d chosen to take this particular trail for the last couple of weeks. It was on the way home, sort of a shortcut. It wasn’t exactly a shorter amount of time to get to his house, but the path cut out about a quarter of a mile. The hills made the commute just as long as White Oak Street (his normal route), but he enjoyed the scenery. The cast of the dry light from the moon gave him a pleasant feeling, one that he could only call “friendly” or “inviting.”
He felt the crunch of the dead leaves and decaying branches underneath his shoes as he walked along the path, twigs snapped and crickets jumped from their hiding places, now devoid of cover. The path ahead was straight, he knew that. In fact, he’d walked it just last week before the leaves had begun to fall, and he felt secure in his steps. He’d neglected to bring a flashlight (his mother told him at least once a week that he would forget his head if it wasn’t attached to his body). And besides, the moonlight proved to be just enough light for him to see.
Up ahead, the path veered to the right, or so Mason had come to believe from his previous excursions. Tonight, however, something was rather odd. The usual path came into focus, emerging from the shadow of the gigantic white oak that stood marking the corner of the trail, and this was completely normal. What wasn’t normal was the second path that the boy saw, seemingly forked into the original without as much as a hint of newness, it had not been cut recently. This path blended into the scenery perfectly, as if it had been there all along, but how could he not have noticed? He would’ve seen it (he certainly would’ve explored it by now), and he stood for just a moment, thinking it out in his head.
“Oh duh!” He exclaimed aloud, hearing a rush of wind in the trees that must’ve been them congratulating him on his stupidity.
Of course, The leaves had fallen! The path HAD been there all along, but the trees were full of green the last time he’d been through here, and all the times before. Now they had shed their foliage and the way was perfectly visible.
He thought this and felt proud of himself for the deduction. Maybe he could grow up to be a detective or something like that…but, in the back of his mind, there was a drop of uneasiness…something that made him feel like someone had run a credit card up his spine.
“You know darn well that wasn’t there before…you brought your flashlight last time”
He pushed this thought away, like a broom pushing a pile of collected sawdust, to swat away one of the cicadas that had latched itself to his pants. It flew away angrily, making that moaning humming noise that made mason want to pull his ears off. He absolutely hated those things, that sound was enough to drive you bonkers if you had to listen to it this long.
And as if in retaliation, he found himself headed not around the corner, but straight into the newfound path. The momentary burst of annoyance from the bug had caused him to have a surge of confidence. Whatever was down this road was certainly not going to hurt him. He’d seen a man kill a snake by coming down on its neck with the heel of a shoe, and he was sure that he could do the same. He KNEW that he would be okay, even if it meant he had to run, even if it meant he’d have to fight, but he was GOING down this road, just because that little bug had told him he couldn’t. Of course, the bug couldn’t talk, but that didn’t matter. He knew what they meant!
He went on. He had to shift sideways in order to clear the large branch on the right side, but he’d done it. Walking further along the trail began narrow, and, at one point, he’d thought turning around. Something in his head was saying “please, for the love of god just go home and sit with your mother. She’s probably worried sick about you, and she’s got dinner on the table, with Mac and cheese, your favorite! Just go home, please just go home, Mason…I wanna go home!!” But, at the same time, he heard a deeper, and slightly more sinister baritone speaking to him.
“You have to…you have to keep going…”
“But there’s no reas…”
“you have to!”
The voice was almost childlike…
“you have to, you HAVE to, you HAVE TO!! HAVE TO HAVE TO!!”
Like someone’s child throwing a tantrum…and, this time, the child was getting everything he’d wanted because mason kept going. He had to get on his knees and crawl under a downed tree so large that he couldn’t have moved it himself, stabbing one of his arms into a clutch of briars that sent pain ripping though his tricep. He eventually emerged from underneath, popping his head into the air between bouts of pain from removing the stickers, and saw something he found hard to believe.
It was a clearing. Not a natural receding of trees, mind you, but an actual cleaning. Almost like a campsite, but, instead of a fire pit in the center, there was a circular cobblestone patch about 6 feet in diameter, and, in the center of that, there was a well.
It seemed to be just an ordinary well. It had a roof, made with posts and wooden shingles that had grown moss, and the walls were made of the same cobblestone. If you looked at it just
right, you couldn’t even tell where the upright stones separated from the flat ones, like someone had just come along and pulled up on the center of the patch of stones and made a well.
He hesitated for just a minute and turned to leave. He’d heard of children disappearing in the woods before and falling down a well out here would mean the worst. No one would hear him, and no one would come for him until he was long dead from starvation or dehydration, whichever came first. He threw his huge backpack into his shoulders and started for the big tree, but, in the time he’d spent marveling at the idea of a well in the middle of the woods, he’d forgotten which way he’d come from. There were many downed trees in this section of the forest and at least a dozen of them lined the edges of the clearing. He felt the warmth of panic begin to fill in his abdomen and stretch itself all the way to the top of his shoulders. He looked around desperately for a sign, anything that would get him going back into the right direction, a patch of moss or an unusually shaped rock or...Christ, the briars!
The panic fell from his shoulders and settled in the middle of his chest. The patch of briars he’d stumbled through was still there, in the same fashion that he’d left them.
He sighed in relief and began to walk again. His heart was pounding so hard in his chest that he felt like it would burst out if it were possible, but with this came a relief. He was safe, at least.
He stooped down to crawl underneath the tree again, this time being mindful of the briars, when he heard a familiar sound. It was the whining cry of the cicadas, but this time it seemed to be stronger than before. This time it seemed like he was colliding with a wall of sound that split his eardrums and made them ring afterwards, and it was coming from the well.
They were taunting him…with God as his witness the bugs were taunting him, making fun of him for being chicken, picking at him for being small,
“YOU HAVE TO LOOK!! YOU’LL NEVER KNOW WHAT”S DOWN HERE IF YOU DON’T LOOK!! CHICKEN!! CHICKEN!!”
“NO!!” And turned toward the well once again. He was NOT afraid, and he would NOT be intimidated by a bunch of ill-mannered abominations. He stepped forward with a voracity that could have been compared to that of a lion, throwing his bag down in the process. He got closer and closer to the structure and all at once he grabbed the ledge of the cobblestone and screamed into the blackness,
silence... for what seemed like ages…blood flushed his face as he panted rapidly and heavily, then receded very slowly. It was almost painful, he had given himself a headache from the forcefulness and strain, and he put a hand up to his left temple. His eyes felt like they were bulging but felt normal to the touch.
He could hear his breathing in an echo from the bottom, but, surprisingly, the command that he yelled had not come back to him, as if something had absorbed it. The cicadas began to grow louder with each passing moment, their cries still materializing from the well.
He breathed in and out again and thought to himself “I have without a doubt gone crazy…I’m yelling into a well…and…and…”
His thoughts were interrupted by the tremendous blare of a note that seemed to be octaves below any normal sound, a sound with enough bass to make the earth tremble where the well stood, like cannon fire from some unspeakably large gun. It shook his field vision, knocking his feet from under him. He fell to one knee and only managed to get up after about ten seconds of the madness. The note was resonating in the bottom of the well, bouncing up the cylindrical
structure until the air blasted Mason in the face. His hair blew backward. The skin on his face rippled.
He wanted to scream, but the tremor made it impossible. He clung for dear life onto the well-stones, wondering how in the world they were rattling free from their mortar joints, how in the name of dear sweet God this was happening.
And then it stopped. What was once chaos became naught, the still of night once again returned...and he thought to himself “please dear sweet Jesus in heaven let it be alright, please, I just want to go home, please, I’ll never come down this road again..” he began to cry, and through intermittent sobs he cried “please.. I…I…I just wanna go home…”
but would never know home again.
The roof of the well exploded from the mouth, sending crooked jags of splintering wood flying in every direction, one of them glinting off Mason’s right cheek. Blood began to flow over his mouth, and his teeth had begun to turn red. He looked in horror as the shadows from the bottom of the well began to collect themselves, layering onto one another in twisting shapes, rising from the deep and unfurling into what appeared to be a hand as black as darkness itself. It WAS darkness, literal darkness, the kind that you’d expect to find at the bottom of the ocean, where the light is refracted into nothingness. That darkness now grew claws the size of butcher knives, materializing into some monstrosity from the pit of hell. It hung in place, and then seized him with speed, gripping him like a piece of meat, and pushed its claws into Mason’s back, the sound of cracking bones and ripping flesh overshadowed the boy’s cries, not for help, but for his sanity. Blood began to run through his clothes and down his back, and it dripped off his flailing body with steady viscosity.
Then the hand lifted into the air briefly, and snatched him back down into the well, into the bottom, into the blackness that became the boy’s tomb. His screams were clear at first, high pitched wails that hurt the ears. Then, they became echoes, faint with the sound of discontent, like a child asking his father why he’d spanked him, “what did I do wrong?” ...then they ceased to exist.
If you had been walking along the trail at the very moment Mason began his descent, you would have heard nothing of the sort of screams he’d produced. Strangely, the woods had a way of distorting those cries, and, in a way, you could have compared the newly formed sounds to that of the wailing cries of the cicadas. They blended almost perfectly, fading into the darkness like the light of the moon in clots of fallen autumn leaves.
By Hunter Durrant
Third Place Finisher of the Fall 2019 Scary Story Contest
Screams echo off the walls. Pleas and sobbing could be heard all around. I tried to focus on other thoughts like perhaps a good memory, but it was only filled with the wailing of innocent men and women. I heard several yell out to plead their innocence, but the only response they got was the guards screaming in their faces. I curled up in a corner and started to weep. A witch they called me, a witch! I've been accused just like several others, but unlike most of them, I was to be hung.
The day I was accused had started off great, I was happy since I had not been given any chores so I decided to walk to the garden that wasn't too far from my house. As I walked, I hummed to myself and sang a little tune I learned from the other young girls at church. I did it quietly as to not disturb others. The cobblestone street started to grow moss in between the stones, so I leaned down and started to run my fingers across the moss loving the feeling of it beneath my fingertips before picking at it and rolling it in between my fingers whilst I sang. Looking up, I saw a man that seemed to be in pain. I started to make my way towards him before he let out a horrible shriek of agony. I froze in shock as I watched the man.
He clutched at his heart and fell to the ground. I stood watching, helpless as he cried for God to ease his suffering. I couldn't move, I couldn't even think correctly, I could only stand there while mumbling to myself, trying to find the words to yell out for someone as I continued to mess with the moss in my hand out of nervousness. The man pointed at me accusingly as he let out soft strained words, "You! You did this to me!"
People started to crowd around the man as I started to cry. I wanted to go home and be with my mother and father, to tell them what had happened and to just cry in their arms. Before I could run off crying to my mother, I felt a strong grip on my shoulder. I was spun around so fast
that my head started to throb and I could feel myself growing dizzy. An officer stared at me with angry eyes.
"Such a vile creature, you must be one of those witches," he said through clenched teeth before he spoke again, "Did you not think all the people on this road would see you mumbling spells as you rolled herbs in your fingers? Satan has corroded your young mind. You should die for this."
I cried harder, "No, please! It isn't what you think! I was singing, no spell was being spoken and those "herbs" you speak of are just moss I had found on the cobblestone. It wasn't me, sir. I swear it!" I pleaded. For just a second I thought he'd actually believed me. I got a sense of hope, but lost it immediately as I saw his face screw into cold rage. I then felt a burning sensation on my tear stained cheek and then realized what had happened. He slapped me.
I let out a whimper as he started to speak again, "I knew you witches were tricksters, but I never thought I'd hear one lie to my face, let alone almost making me believe you. You will not make a fool out of me." He turned to the other officers with a sick smile on his face.
"You know what, men? I think we have evidence that there doesn't even need to be a trial. She should be hung tomorrow at sunrise with those other two worthless witches. She murdered a man. I'm sure Mr. Hathorne will agree to this," he had a sinister smirk as he spoke. The men only nodded, but a few of them looked unsure and one or two even had sympathy in their eyes for me. They knew I didn't do it, but they couldn't say that or they'd be accused as well. There was no hope and no help.
Now, hours later, I sit in a jail cell with two other women. They're supposed to be hung with me tomorrow morning. The tears pour down my face as I realize that there really is no hope for me. I'm sure they've told my family about me, I know my mother would not come to save me. I also know she'd come to see me hang with no other expression on her face but hatred. My
mother always had hatred for these so called witches. She believed that they had cursed her sister, gotten her deathly ill. Her sister then only lasted one month before passing. My mother only believed it even further due to the fact that she read Cotton Mather's book "Wonders of the Invisible World" and that book ended up being one of the many reasons to the start of the witch trials. Mother even told me that if she ever thought I was doing witchcraft that she'd take me to Reverend Mather herself and hope he'd get me locked up or even hung.
I personally never believed in this witchcraft. I've always felt that all these poor people were being falsely accused and now that I'm being accused, I know this is all wrong. I also know that no one would ever believe everyone that's pleading and that's why I'm not even going to try. There's no such thing as justice in all of this. They wouldn't even let me go to trial to plead guilty or not guilty. The situation is simply sick. I let out a sigh then laid down on the cold cement floor. I just want one last good rest before my life ends, but of course I know it'll be a sleepless night. With that thought in my mind, I felt myself slip into unconsciousness.
I jolted awake as I heard a crowbar being banged against the metal bars that were holding us captive. The two other girls started to cry and huddled together in a corner as the officers started to yell at us. The door opened and the officers flooded in and began to put chains and cuffs on the girls, a cop made their way to me and put the cuffs on my wrists. I winced from the tightness and then started to feel myself tear up. This felt too real. I was going to die, my death would be in less than an hour. Dread immediately filled me as tears poured down my face.
We were dragged out to a cart where they forced us inside of it. One of the girls started to pray while the other stared blankly into the forest as the cart started to be dragged by the horses. I thought about praying, but then I realized that if I was here about to die while being falsely accused of witchcraft, then God wasn't going to help me and he definitely wasn't here. This world is a very sick place. Death can't be worse than this life. This is hell.
The horses stopped, the officers got in and yanked us all out of the cart. The girls then started to violently sob while I on the other hand was fuming with rage. They said I was a witch so I'll give them a witch. They lead us up onto the scaffold where the nooses hung lifelessly. I was pushed beneath one of the nooses which caused fear to nip at me. Once they put the noose around my neck, I seemed to lose my sanity. A grin made its way onto my face as I saw my mother in the crowd. The smile wasn't that of a happy smile or even a hopeful one, it showed hatred, it was utterly malicious. Then a man began to speak, talking about the "crimes" and “sins” we've committed, but the entire time I couldn't stop laughing hysterically. The crowd gasped as the man kept speaking while my mother glared at me. She was embarrassed by the look on her face, but my laughs continued to echo through the cool air. I was going mad.
The man stopped speaking and one by one he asked for our final words to give us a chance to plead guilty. No use though. Once he got to me, I was giggling a childish laughter before my smile widened. I looked pure sinister. He looked at me and I looked off into the crowd and caught my mother's eyes before yelling out, "I curse the Chester family, my own family. May hatred and death forever fill your lives. This town wanted a witch and now you have one." I saw my mother's face twist in fear. I laughed at this and then looked back at the man. He had a disgusted look written on his face. I spat at his face and he screamed out as he turned red with rage. He walked off the scaffold as I looked up into the trees. I saw the sun starting to rise, I smiled. My last sunrise I'll ever see. The colors had never been so vibrant before, truly is a beautiful sight. I was in a daze as I heard a lever being pulled as the floor fell beneath me. The noose tightened around my neck as it started to cut off my oxygen. My body hung while I thrashed around, the pain in my lungs unreal, but then my body started to feel numb. I felt at peace while I looked into the red, pink, and orange sky as I felt myself fade into darkness.
By Luke Shackelford
Found in slippery places
Cannot help but fall
By Mary Cooke
There is a door called childhood
We went through everyday
Where we stayed up late into the night
And then we slept all day
We played in castles made of gold
We built palaces out of sand
We climbed trees like they were jungles
And let birds feed out of our hands
We told each other stories,
We wore the glass heels
We had tea with talking bears!
It all was more than real.
We had time for dreaming;
Fantasy was every day.
We’d escape reality,
And dive into play.
But fiction was replaced with science,
And dreams were just plain replaced.
School took all my free time.
Fantasy itself was erased.
The golden castles were crumbling.
Much like our childish hearts
Our talking teddy bear remained silent,
And imagination was a dying art.
As we grew older we found
The door to childhood was getting smaller
And we feared the soon to be ending
As we were growing taller
Still we squeezed through the door
But it got harder to play
And only grown up things
Took up most of our day
So after a long while
We went back to play again
But found that we were bigger
And couldn’t quite get in
Childhood is fleeting
But we must live on
Though you may not notice
One day the door will be gone
And It will be just a memory
As through adulthood we are shoved
But it’s better that way
There are more important things to love
Still You’ll hate it at first
You’ll wonder why it’s so
But how can we learn to live
If we do not learn to grow
by Paola Jazmine Cantu
It’s unfortunate what now a days we go through,
The senseless love,
Its as if nothing matters; to me or to anyone.
At first its unconditional love that without warning turns into hate,
At first its communion that with one mistake turns into discrimination,
At first it’s an intimacy that no one in the face of this earth could stop.
Its unfortunate what now a days we go through,
The color of one’s skin was important,
The way one talked mattered,
The way one showed unrestricted love be of importance,
At the end nothing matters without the truth,
The life of one is without importance of there is no love, unity, and certainty.
At the end it’s just a color, a race, a love.
A "Bohemian Rhapsody" Parody
By Jamey Huskey
Why do they come now? Such a catastrophe.
Yes by our own Gods, we will fight for their sanctity.
Opened our eyes, found out what they really seek.
Mayhem and Genocide, we have no tears to cry.
They weren’t easy come, easy go, forced many from their homes.
Anytime these words flow, people see a sad tragedy, but it’s history..
Trauma, just killed our men
Put some steel against their heads, pulled the triggers, now their dead
Welcomed, taught them how to grow.
But know they’ve come and laid us to waste.
Trauma, by Spain, accused of savagery.
Forced us into Christian slavery.
Why do we, why do we, have to fight for our freedom?
Disease, we all wear it now.
From those blankets they adored, left some smallpox in our pores.
Traitors, everybody, we are fading now.
But at least you all know how to build and farm.
Trauma, pain (we were so kind to you).
Going forward now,
Whiteness scattered all across our plains.
There was a time that we never had to fight.
Samoset, Samoset, they all knew he was a great guy.
But their countrymen, had no plans to be our allies.
Kidnapped Squanto, Kidnapped Squanto, Kidnapped Squanto, now he’s a great traitor, to us all.
He planned to overthrow the Chief Massasoit
He soon found out that was a terrible ploy.
The Chief then demanded to cut off his head.
No easy come, easy go, you have Edward Winslow.
William Bradford! He will not let him go.
(let Squanto go) That Bradford! he will not let him go.
(let Squanto go) That Bradford! he will not let him go.
(let him go) Will not give him back
(let him go) Will not give him back
(let him go) give back
Now, now, now, now, now, it’s in our pact.
(Policy of Policy of) Policy of both our tribes.
Things will never be the same between us, for us, for us!
So you think you can live here and threaten our lives?
So you think you can beat us and leave us to die?
Stop this torment! Please stop this torment!
We showed you our way, and this is how you repay us?
Was it really worth it? To drive out our whole kind.
Was it really worth it?
Was it really worth it?
By Mira Walker
Dedicated to the future authors, the dream weavers of the world
Sleep well dear dreamer
Think not of the morning
But dream the sleepless dream
Remember the dreams that you weave and dreams you read
Be they nightmares or beautiful dreams of fields of gold
Remember the sweet dreams and the horrible dreams
Weave new dreams in the sleepless sleep and know it never truly ends
We weave the dream for those who only sleep to travel distant lands
Dreams of perfect romance or horror, dreams of fanatical worlds or distant times
Dream of impossible dreams
Dream of all the possible dreams
Or dream the dreams that can never be
But no matter we the weavers of dreams
When we wake be it for a minute or be it for years
May we always dream again
By Sean Cranney
In an average day, it wouldn’t be unusual for Ben to make or receive an excess of 30 phone calls. Nor is it unusual for Ben to get around 4 hours of sleep. However, today was far from usual. It was 4:30 in the morning, approaching his 29th sleepless hour, and Ben hadn’t made or answered a single call in that time frame. It was the call that awoke him from his last rest, that brought him to the lobby of the most depressing place imaginable. Numb and empty, the presence of Emily’s parents failed to provide any comfort, nor did his presence help them. It was simply a waiting game, desperately hoping that every nurse to walk through the door would be the one to deliver miraculous news. But for nearly 30 hours now, the blur of nurses to pass through the doors had no answers. At 4:48am, this changed when Emily’s nurse walked swiftly through the lobby doors. We locked eyes, the constant shaking of my leg halted, my heart paused… she smiled.
By Christian Neal
Plain, itchy carpets. White, sterile walls. Harsh LED lighting. Washed out grey cubicles with white trim. I sigh. I have a crick in my neck from staring out the window, anywhere but in here. The light outside is the only comfort to this hospital-like office space. It looks like I'm staring at Cassandra when I look out the window, but I'm not. I'm really not. She huffs. The blinds are shut again.
Ugh. Cassandra. I guess I'm supposed to be working the project she assigned me, updating the HR Policy and Procedure Manual at section 5.37 talking about the termination process of staff, faculty, and temporary employees, except not including section C because I'm one of those temporary employees because I'm worthless and have nothing better to do with my life……
My head is in my hands again. I'm staring at my keyboard. It's like my mind shuts down, blocking out any emotions or thoughts. I try shaking it off, but my eyes still feel glazed over.
Oh crap. Cassandra is coming. What did I do wrong now?? Okay. I'll act like I'm working. Yeah. I mean, I am working, basically. I've got my computer here. I'm scrolling through the policy, typing words…
"…Hey." I'm sorry I'm a failure.
"How's it coming on the project?"
I really suck and you probably hate me right now. "Fine, I guess." I gotta act like I know what I'm talking about. "The documentation is a little stale, so I'm just making it sound a bit more engaging." Oh no I shouldn't have said that. I really shouldn't have said that. She's gonna…
"Great. I just wanted to say, thanks so much for working on this project."
"I know you're pretty new, and I just really appreciate you being willing to jump into this hard project. Just let me know if you have any questions, okay?"
Uh. Um. I. Hmmm. My eyes are glazing over. "Yeah, thanks…"
"Oh! I'm sorry about the blinds." Was I staring at the window? "In the morning, the sun hits my eyes just right..." I must have been staring at the window. Oh I'm an idiot, now she'll think I'm not listening to her! "...Just message me, okay?"
"What?" Why weren't you listening??
"If you have questions. You can just message me."
"Got it. Thanks again."
Ugh, why are you so terrible with people?? She was just trying to say "thank you" and you just tuned her out! Why'd she come all the way over here to tell me that? Does she like me? No of course she doesn't like me, she doesn't even know me. And now you're just being an idiot, wasting time worrying about it when no one cares anyway. Rrrgh, I hate you, shut up!
I'm breathing heavily. Steam rising from my face. I'm breathing slower. Calming down. She said thank you. I feel my eyes watering up. Why would she be so nice, to me? Maybe we can be friends. Yeah, right. No one wants to be friends with you! Rrrghh… Oh, I'm so sorry. I'm sorry I got so angry, please forgive me. I just can't seem to stop it. I just…
My head is in my hands again. I'm staring at my keyboard, unblinking. My cursor is blinking though, waiting for me to type, like the constant nagging in my mind. I try to shake it off. But I just can't.
I feel numb.