Daydream with me for a moment…
Mid-morning sunlight shines on the trees, casting shadows in the grass beside you.
You’re sitting by a brick wall.
Dry grass clippings from last week’s mowing tickle your legs.
A solitary star leaf rests on the grass tips,
Its crumpled and crunched neighbors buried beneath it.
Sea urchin tree seeds poke up from the ground.
A maple with wide leaves and porcupine seeds.
One dry, empty branch
Surrounded by green life.
A weeping birch.
Leaves cascade down in waterfalls from upcurving branches.
“La paz es una necesidad.”
Peace is a necessity,
Says a tall wooden pole beaten into the ground.
The bottom is worn from years of rain and weed whacking.
Circular designs wrap around the cube cylinder top.
The looping characters of Arabic and other languages
Carve down the other sides.
Wind rustles leaves.
Grass crunches under classmates’ feet.
Birds twitter from between feathered tree leaves along the brick wall.
Sun warms your arms
As the wall cools your back…
Take a photo of this moment
‘Cause tomorrow’s not promised, and here…
In the town of Hodder, Maryland the most popular local show is a cooking show staring celebrity chef Kane Hart. But he holds a dark secret, he is a cannibal. He has captured and eaten almost a dozen people but has not been caught yet. Two of the biggest fans of his show are two friends Tom and Quinn. One day Kane announces that he is doing a meet and greet at a local restaurant. Quinn goes to meet him but Tom stays home due to an overprotective mother fearing something will happen to him since there’s an unidentified serial killer on the loose. Quinn gets abducted by Kane, taken to his house and eaten. When Tom learns about her disappearance he gets his friend Maya and they conceive a plan find evidence that Kane killed Quinn. They go to is next meet and greet and they both get abducted. Once they are tied up in Kane’s house they manage to escape and grab as much unused meat they can find to prove that Kane is a murderer. Kane chases after them to prevent them from escaping and is greatly wounded by Maya sticking a meat cleaver in his shoulder. They both manage to escape and run to the police to prove the heinous acts that Kane committed are true.
The sweet scent of strawberries and oranges envelops me like a warm hug. A light ache forms in my head as my body is lifted off the hard-concrete floor. I feel whimsical and almost childlike but am frightened by the magnified sound of a door slamming shut. I jump slightly and the arms keeping me airborne tighten their grip. I tremble and whimper until I am finally released from the devil’s clutch.
My body is gently situated onto something that feels like a bed and I try to calm myself down a little. I focus my attention on the pressure of someone’s hand resting gently on my shoulder and slowly but surely, my breathing and the rate of my heart slow down to a steady, constant beat. Minutes pass and somehow, I have managed to curl myself into a small ball. The hand removes itself from my shoulder and the individual has a seat next to my still sensitive body. The door to the room opens with a creak and closes with a loud bang. Each step taken by the person entering the room is magnified tenfold. I whimper and cover my ears with my hands, and the loud, clomping footsteps turn into quiet, distant tip-toes.
The headache worsens, and it is evident that without some sort of medicine things are only going to continue to decline from here. Cold hands remove my hands from my head and hold them steady by my side. My mind flashes back to a time when someone held me in such a way. It felt like torture then, and it feels like torture now. I wriggle and lash out at the person holding me down to try and free myself but to no avail. The hands never release, and I tire quickly. Cautiously, I give in and the grip on my wrists loosen slightly. I feel as if I can finally breathe again.
A needle is stuck into the skin of my neck, and the liquid inside injected into my body. It’s discomforting but helps to relieve my headache and delirious state. Finally, my wrists are released, and my vision clears.
In front of me sit two people. One is Kathleen Turner, my best friend, and royal nurse. Her ginger hair is swept up neatly into a white cap. Only her side swiped bangs that rest beautifully along the edge of her face, framing it perfectly, escape. Green eyes the shade that of which is best represented by emeralds focus on her bag of medical tools. The light-blue, sleeveless shift dress that fits her body quite well flows around her gracefully. Her legs are bent into a mermaid pose when she sits on the bed and her petite, white, one-inch heels are gingerly taken off so as not to ruin the comforter. One of her hands checks my pulse through my wrist, while the other scribbles down her observations on a clipboard in a doctor’s messy handwriting.
Next to her is the Crown Prince of Carance, Thomas Brande. His blond hair falls lightly in his face and makes him look as elegant as he sounds. Blue eyes the color of the Caribbean Sea watch me with concern. Like most days, he wears a white, button-down dress shirt and black khaki pants. A navy-blue blazer rests on an armchair near the center of the room with a pair of black dress shoes sitting underneath. He lowers his hands warily into his lap, afraid that I will faint or start to fight again.
I am disoriented, but a quick scan of my surroundings gives me a better idea of my location. A large closet is open wide and filled to the brim with all types of clothing and shoes. The hand-carved, wooden dresser matches the state of the closet with clothes about to spill out of its drawers and sits right next to it. Next to the bed is a nightstand with only a lamp, small flashlight, and The Lost Years by T.A. Barron resting neatly on top. The center of the room has two chairs with ornate backings and red velvet cushions for seats. They surround a small coffee table that has a potted Anemone flower, two glass cups, and a pitcher of water on top.
Prince Thomas and Kathleen stay quiet and let me come to my own conclusions.
Having been in his room only once, I do not recognize it immediately. The door is always locked for reasons unbeknownst to everyone except its owner and the best friend. The only way to be allowed in is if someone with a key unlocks the door and opens it for you. Of course, you could always enter the unconventional way; through the windows.
Stories about the prince escaping his punishment of chamber confinement by climbing out the windows had spread rapidly throughout the kingdom over the past years, but it has yet to be proven true. Now, when confined to his room, the prince has guards standing outside both the windows and door to watch him constantly. No escape for the young and reckless prince.
Personally, I have never thought of breaking into his bedroom. Only the shallowest of women ever do; my own sister and mother included. They all find the prince to be extremely handsome and have unrealistic dreams of marrying him and becoming queen. However, I have never seen him as anything more than my boss and a prat. Pampered the entirety of his existence and never having to work for anything a day in his life. Everything comes free to him and he has no right to complain about how much his life sucks when he has everyone else doing all the work for him.
I feel exhausted and about to burst into tears. Nothing like this has ever happened during work hours. Only afterward when I am about to fall asleep. And even then, Kathleen is there to aid me before it gets this bad.
When I try to sit up and explain myself to the prince, he pushes me back down as gently as you would place a glass statue. I cannot even imagine what he must think of me now. This sickly girl that is weak and fragile. Unable to do anything without breaking into tears or fainting. How on Earth did she get a job as a maid in my castle?
“I-I,” I stutter. How do you explain something to someone who probably won’t even understand a single word you say?
“It’s all right, Lilah,” says Kathleen. “I already explained everything to His Royal Highness. You need not say anything. In fact, I would rather you get some sleep instead of speaking. Okay?”
I nod. “Can you help me to my room, Kathleen? My legs are too weak to walk without some sort of assistance.” I reach my arm out to have Kathleen help me up. She places it delicately on my stomach and a confused look washes over my face.
“If it is all right with you, Ms. Darling,” the prince starts. “Tonight, you will be resting in my bed. Ms. Turner has already approved of the situation and I will have Elliot cancel all my plans for this evening so that I may stay with you. Now, is there anything that I can get you?”
“Wha—? I, uh, I would prefer to sleep in my room. All my stuff is there, and… And where would you sleep, my Lord?”
“I will be sleeping on the floor. But, I can see how flustered you are about this and I assure you everything is well in order. You need not worry about a thing. Just let me know if there is anything you need, and I would be more than happy to retrieve it for you.”
“Thank you, my Lord. But I do not require anything except rest,” I say. I mutter a barely audible ‘apparently’ while glaring at Kathleen. A flush creeps up her neck and I see right through her striking façade. This is about more than getting rest after an episode. She is trying to make me see the good in the prince. One thing I will not allow is myself to be taken advantage of while in my ill state.
by Zayne Ali
You could tell your friends,
but you don’t.
Instead you turn to the adults you’re so used to.
How would your friends act if they knew?
Would they scorn you?
Think you’re too vulnerable?
You don’t know.
You don’t want to know.
Why are you afraid of judgement?
These are your friends for gosh sakes!
They’ve been through the same stresses and challenges you have!
But you still don’t say.
Fear weighs on your heart.
Avoiding the topic is like a slow, careful dance.
But one day, the clouds were too much.
You just needed someone to talk to.
Someone who understood.
Someone who cared.
A peer that been through this dark storm like you.
This person appeared,
just like an angel.
The two of you had a heart-to-heart talk.
“It was like talking to a mirror,”
you think to yourself.
“Someone who’s an introvert with depression too.”
You hugged together,
You built a friendship that could never be broken.
Though depression might seem like a challenge,
don’t think it makes you any weaker!
It makes you stronger,
as a matter of fact.
Don’t let anything or anybody tell you otherwise.
By Michelle Gorner
They touch the streets of every city
their owner travels to.
They collect a single piece of every journey,
and hold on to it; a memory.
The sandals allow their owner to remember
the past but change little details.
Not letting the owner remember everything.
For the sandals want memories of their own.
The large flower in the center is the brain,
the mind of the sandals.
Keeping the memories so the shoes can learn,
to become their own being.
So one day,
the sandals can walk on their own.
Someday, We’ll Fly Away
And we will live with the distant scribble of stars.
And we won’t need telescopes because the glorious galaxies are now our radiant sky.
Because Someday, We’ll Fly Away.
Lonely nights and midnight frights and all sorts of scares are no longer.
Swimming in starlight seas and sipping meteor teas
are now activities I ponder.
Because Someday, We’ll Fly Away.
Swaying trees and bumblebees are now distant memories
And as I sit and wait each day
Why Now Can’t We Fly Away?
Unanswered questions and poignant predicaments are supposed to
disappear in this galactic sea,
But know I know it’s not where you are,
It’s Who You Want To Be.
Happiness is a blessing, but addiction to it is a curse
In order to experience true joy,
You Must Have Sadness First!
Although I know this, true to be,
I’d still love to float freely
In a Place of Peaceful Serenity
Some say it’s not the destination,
It’s the journey
But the Journey Never Ends
We’re always experiencing
new and confusing universes
Wherever We’re Sent
I know that it won’t
We Will Fly Away
~ Brenna Connell ~
I ride under the guise of a simple traveler,
Wandering far and wide in search of the distant unknown;
I keep myself hidden with every strange encounter
But by the fire, by my dear companions, away the cloak is thrown.
I paint word-pictures in the air, hold one-sided conversations,
Speak my truth and pierce the air with unapologetic honesty;
I see potential in the sparks of fire, the star-speckled sky
For grand epics and long-woven yarns, the making of a story.
all those bad memories
the ones you dwell upon everyday
cannot come with you
there’s nothing you can do about them now
leave them behind in a burlap sack
tie it up
and toss it into the river
with wild dogs inside
pray the water chills them to the bone
all those you hold dear
they are your raft,
and the sum of all your love
don’t lose your head
don’t lose your breath
but lose your fear
you are not obligated to care
about what others think of you