It was a couple of weeks ago, when I had a sleepover with my best friend, Julie. It was two in the morning, we were both laying on my aunts’ old bed with the blankets removed because of the summer heat. The window was open, there was small crickets chirping and little sounds from my grandmother’s dog down stairs. We held our heads in our hands and giggled about boys and asked each other questions we already knew the answer to. Out of the blue, I tell her, “There is nobody I would rather share the bed with, than you.”
And she laughed, and snorted. Of course she would, it was a ridiculous thing to say to your best friend. We had been friends for six years, but I never stopped loving her hilarious laugh where she snorts and she surprises herself. Although it was dark, I could still make out the goofy smile spread widely across her face when she finally asked why.
Her eyebrows were raised and she was still wearing the same shirt that she had been wearing all day. I rolled my eyes and responded, with a serious face, “Well, I know that if I wake in the morning and everybody hates me, you would stand by my side,” I paused, and added, “Plus, if you get a letter to Hogwarts tomorrow morning I can rely on you to pack me in your luggage and secretly take me with you. And, let’s just say there’s an apocalypse and everyone is a zombie, you can be my adventure buddy.”
She laughed again, but even harder this time. She covered her face with her hands and snorted extremely loud. I shushed her, reminding her that my grandfather is sleeping, and my grandmother and brother were camping in the yard outside. We both sighed, and reminisced about our first sleepover when we had a fake marriage way back in fifth grade. Since I had short hair, I had pretended that I was her crush that she used to have on this cute boy. She wore a white dress and I wore black pants and wore a scarf to represent a tie. We had wedding music and everything, and I think we smashed a handful of whipped cream in each other’s faces.
After many memories and talks about our past sleepovers, we eventually fell asleep around four or five, and woke up around nine. We headed down stairs and greeted my grandmother, she smiled at us as we giggled about our conversations from the night before. She then made us some coffee and gave us permission to get the captain crunch cereal out of the pantry, a treat for me since I never eat cereal.
The rest of the morning was pretty unproductive, I put on Princess Mononoke and we both sat on the couch in silence, trying to get out of the since-its-morning-I-feel-tired-and-gross feeling. She had to leave around twelve, her mom was going to pick her up so they could go shopping. I knew she couldn’t say no to that, she only saw her mother once in a while and this was important to her.
When she left, I waved to her from the wooden porch as the van left the gravel driveway. I suddenly felt like crying. I had just realized what I had done. I had confessed my love to my best friend, but not in the I-want-to-kiss-you way. Its that feeling when you know that your best friend will be coming soon and that you are going to see her face. Its that feeling when you know your going to have fun and you’re going to laugh all day. Its that feeling when you know that you can fully trust someone with your time and energy because they trust you with theirs. And that is the definition of a best friend.
Smoke is what I breathed in as they tried to hold me back. The yells and the screams sounded liberating.
Ash is what marred my hands, and even with them cuffed behind my back, I still could feel myself smiling.
Irreversible damage is what I aimed to cause, so I grinned when I saw she was suffocating.
Abusive, is what she said I was, so I left her apartment sizzling.
Evil is what even her neighbors said I had become, so I set fire to the entire building.
Handmade Art by Ian Maxwell
By Sophia Woytowitz
I had been without sleep for almost two days, at that point. I found myself scheduled to fly again almost immediately. I didn’t think I was physically able to go another thirty or forty hours without sleep. But there was no time to think about it.
We were going — Period!
The crew and I grabbed about seven hours of sleep while the ground crew prepared the airplane, “City of San Antonio.” It was named this because our captain was from San Antonio, Texas. We took off again that evening for a night strike against what most of us considered our roughest target, Tokyo.
Suddenly, I felt the rumbling of the flak explode. I heard the shrapnel raining off the airplane. I dropped the first sets of bombs on the city of Tokyo.
As the plane turned away from the scene, I could see the city of Tokyo burning to ashes.
After the bomb doors closed, the plane banked to the right and we started our long and treacherous journey home. The pilot said, “Everybody check-in.”
The calls paused. Silence.
“Is Bill ok?” the captain asked firmly.
There was a long wait…
Bill’s position was all the way at the back of the plane, in the tail gunner seat.
My friend from the first day at Fort Dix was now presumed dead.
“Well, I ain’t cleaning that mess out of that chair,” Tim said jokingly.
Everyone in the plane chuckled at the not-so-amusing joke.
However, the danger wasn’t over.
The trip back took more than 7-hours and was over open ocean. If the plane were to have a mechanical failure, there would be no place to land and no one could rescue us. We would surely crash into the ocean and we would all drown.
As we stumbled out of the plane; our legs were shaky from sitting too long. We got out and faced each other, knowing that someone had to clean up after Bill. Until, suddenly, the door form Bill’s compartment swung open. Two feet jumped out from the plane to the ground. It was Bill! We all ran to rejoice with him and asked him what happened.
“Why did you not answer my calls?” the pilot questioned.
“After the flak exploded near our plane, the connection seemed to vanish. I could hear your discussions.” He shoved Tim in a jokingly manner. “But I guess you guys couldn’t hear me.”
“We’re glad you’re ok,” I said.
“Yeah, I was gettin’ worried that we would have to clean yer guts, man.” He laughed as Bill leaned on the mental plane.
By Charlotte Knauth
A left hand loose on the steering wheel,
shiny silver band on the fourth finger.
A deep grey stretch of asphalt ahead,
and an expanse of dark sky above.
The passenger seat was empty,
the backseat home to only
a backpack, keys,
a bright red electric guitar,
and a stack of love letters
addressed to Michigan
His eyes trailed back and forth
across the open shadowed space before him:
as the clock ticked
from pm to am.
The driver wore a smile
plastered wide across his face,
as he looked to the picture
scotch taped to his dashboard:
the brown hair and the
green eyes and the black jeans,
Handmade Art by Natasha Mohmand
She kept ticket stubs and pieces of pottery in a jar under her nightstand, fake forget-me-not flowers in an old chipped glass on top. Bars of soap sat in each drawer so all her shirts smelled of honeysuckle, her socks (she never folded them so it was nearly impossible to find a matching pair) like pumpkin pie, and her jeans like fresh cut lilac. Her furniture was deep brown and decorated with things she couldn’t bear to part with. It was all a part of an old matching set from the sixties, clean cut in a nostalgic way.
Her ceiling took in the curvatures and edges of the roof, as she resided in the attic her parents never used. It had remained empty for quite some time, nothing but a small cardboard box of old blurred photographs and neat brown clay squirrels that she center of the room.
A small window with an old metal frame stared at a walnut tree, tall and looming, outside the house. Its branches brushed against the siding when it rained and she could hear it in her sleep, like a giant running its hands against the walls. Seven small pot plants lined the ledge beneath the window frame, four dead, three alive, and an old Windex bottle filled with water sat on the laminate floor.
A record player rested in the corner of the room, the case a fading pale aqua blue. Brand new records ran across a low shelf extending along the length of the wall. Most of them had never been opened.
There was a bookshelf cut into the wall across from her bed, shelving carved out so novels and poems were nestled inside the foundation of the house, sitting vertically, horizontally, diagonally, and even scattered across the floor, until there was no more empty space to be seen.
The room always smelled like rain, sounded like rain, and left petrichor soaked air on her tongue. The ceiling, a deep fading grayish blue, was doused in hundreds of glow in the dark stars, placed meticulously to accurately map winter’s view of a constellation filled sky.
A mountain of blankets hid her bean bag like a cloak of invisibility. It sat in the corner between her book-filled wall and the closed closet doors that look eerily similar to those from Poltergeist.
But now there are only boxes. Now there’s just her, kicking her feet out from under the blankets in the middle of the night, one last time.
Tomorrow there will be her, taking trips back and forth between the moving van her father rented with boxes stacked up in her hands to fit under her chin. Then there will be empty space in her room in the attic, the attic nobody wanted but her, because it always smelled like rain.
Warm brown eyes
The standstill of time
He’s Picasso’s son
Head held high
Shoulders slumped down
Always seeing him around
Walking with swagger,
But quiet as a mouse
I dream of a future
Where love lasts forever
I’ll wait until its time
–Angelus E. Young
Once there was an ugly barnacle. He was so ugly that everyone died. The end.