Flash Fiction, Poetry

(untitled) – Karlee Saunders

I never knew just how much I would miss the glances we would give each other every now and then as we walked

nor did I expect my hands to feel empty with every move I made

I didn’t realize the things I was taking for granted before he left

but now his eyes are filled with infatuation for another

and I’m still here

ks

Standard
Prosetry

Heat Wave – Iman Messado

the heavy days of summer are over
the pregnant rain
and the ripening leaves
and the lazy breeze
embrace your still sleeping form
lying in the emerald grass
the heavy days of summer are over
sticky globs of strawberry jam
on thick cut meaty bread
gallons and gallons of too sweet iced tea
bumps and mounds on children’s legs
young blood running freely from cuts and scrapes
the heavy days of summer are over
sleepy eyes – inky, deepest black, almost celestial
i wonder
if i stare long enough
can i reach in
and pull the universe out?
i want this heavy, heavy summer to last for an eternity
and i see it in your eyes
Standard
Poetry

Hey – Brooke Safferman

Hey, you say,

I just called to tell you that I love you.

Or do I? Do you? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that.

So I laugh, and hang up, and leave you hanging,

Like you always do to me.

This power dynamic,

It’s sick and it’s twisted and deliciously unbelievable

Like the kind of chemistry that they try to show in those old shitty movies

That you love so much,

You know, the ones that you always go on about

with all of your obscure references

that we all roll our Young and Fresh and Free eyes at

But your own freedom is something you crave

You’ve shown me how lost you’d be without it

Oh, but how you would find yourself if you gave it all away!

To someone you can trust,

To someone you could try to believe would never hurt you

But promises are dangerous things, I know.

Oh trust me, I know!

But I will never give up on showing you

What an amazing person I think you could be

If you would only let yourself become the guy you’ve always wanted

You were always too afraid to even try, you say,

Well, I’m here now.

So don’t you dare take my hand because that’s not the way we do romance.

What we have is dipped in arsenic, in benzene,

Like a shortbread cookie with the chocolate, oh,

The coating melts on my fingers, and my tongue melts in your mouth

It’s so damn easy to ignore the way anyone else has ever tasted inside of me

And I smile when I forget that you liked my friend

And you smile when I forget that I liked yours

And we come together, wrapped up in the salty smell of angst and adoration,

And we know that what we have is real, but that the movies tell us lies.

Hey, you say.

Hey.

Standard
Poetry

Regalities of Plainness, pt. 3 – Bryn Bluth

His face is sandpaper, his hands a safe-house. he passes by and I fight the urge to put pen to paper then and there. Even if I did, his face shifts this way or the other, avoiding me, my gaze, unable to be captured by something so worldly as a ballpoint. He is a poem, his hands the second stanza- not the kind you’d hold so much as the kind you want on your shoulder, holding you back from harm and pushing you toward opportunity. He is a poem.

Standard
Poetry

Graffiti on the Berlin Wall – Alexandra Mayer

Another day passes outside the window of a plane
I cross dusk with 170 strangers who hold each other’s hands or thighs when the clouds quiver.

And I can’t stop thinking about your fingers running through my hair

or the way your eyes knocked into me that July.

You made me feel like feeling itself was cracking from my chest

and hurtling across the universe,

becoming every iron, nitrogen, oxygen, n’ sulfur soul that lost the sunset to the sunrise

in thoughts of “I want you”

Because your lips burn cosmic explosions into my skin:

a creation story.

Now, heads drape over the mountains

like the twinkle lights you hung out on the patio for Christmas–

You tried to play Claire de Lune on your harmonica

and remember that you loved me.

But you left 8 months later

on a Tuesday.

7:53 p.m.

The pool lights stained your words teal

and smeared my eyeliner into a glimmering sort of heavy.

You said “late summer’s nostalgic,”

noticed the fireflies had all gone,

and I could hear crickets whimper to the sun,

“don’t go.”

And I never wanted another falling moon or set of sandpaper hands to hang onto.

You said I felt frail

like a dandelion you were keeping

from the wind.

And then you just let go.

That night, I woke up laughing,

as 1,000 tiny suns sprouted from my lips,

already dreaming of drifting.

Crossing through purple skies

like telephone wires

rushing to the seaside.

Paris stole my lipstick.

smeared it across cheeks

and hostel sheets and wine glasses, Merlot,

turned my teeth violet and my heart

a violent sort

of love you,

maddened by the beauty of it all.

Like I could chase train tracks

into the self I wanted

into Budapest, or Berlin.

A decrepit sort of art,

like you could tear

my heart into dusty fallen parts

and I’d just become more,

and faces and feet would flood through me, paint

bucket lists on my thighs and think of freedom.
I was never meant to be kept from the wind.

Standard
Essay, Flash Fiction, Prose

A Simple Thought – Aksel Taylan

We spend a lot of time in our short lives thinking about the long term. What’s going to happen to me in ten years? Fifteen? Thirty, even? In severe cases, we let this presumptuous worries diversely affect our everyday actions and choices. This principle has a number of glaring flaws, but the main one to focus on is that the future hasn’t happened yet. You are writing your own novel; you are the only one with a pen. In other words, it is fully within your capabilities to control most of what happens in your life. However, we fail to understand that not all of it can be controlled. People get in car accidents. People get deathly ill. People are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Why, then, should you let these worries take hold of how you express yourself if we don’t have absolute control? Sometimes, doing something wrong allows a person to grow, to become stronger, possibly even teach others the right way. The right way, which everyone hungrily seeks, cannot be found without failure. Take a left when you think you’re supposed to take a right, eat raw cookie dough, or even, if you’re feeling really adventurous, stay out an hour later! Fight the norm with all you’ve got, because succumbing to the proper choice makes for a dull, uninspired life. Need I remind you, you only get one of those. I think it’s in your best interest to make it count.

Standard
Poetry

Her – Iman Messado

She didn’t move mountains–

she couldn’t swim rivers–
she didn’t know how to fly figure eights around the redwoods of California—
Her eyes weren’t romantic–
And the curve of her lips was rather sinister–
She wasn’t the least bit interesting–
the left pinky toe held more mystique than her entire head of thin brittle hair—
She walked like an old dog that knew no tricks–
Her voice was a high whine–
her hands were large, knotted and manly—
yet she was enough to drown me in the lakes of Venus—-
she was enough to singe my eyelashes in the heat of her gaze—–
she was enough to make me drink from all the moon’s glory——
her name was indistinguishable yet it is all I can mumble in my sleep——-
Standard
Poetry

Regalities of Plainness, pt. II – Bryn Bluth

I gasped,

Over and over again I gasped.

Maybe he was in my lungs

And that’s why I had such a hard time breathing,

But he wasn’t there-

I know because I’ve always had bad lungs.

 

Perhaps that’s the reason I haven’t caught him,

My lungs gave out

When he took his leave.

Which I’m okay with- 

You can’t run very far without a spine.

Standard
Flash Fiction, Short Story

Existential Angst (Act III) – Esteban Mayorga

6 months later…

Act 3: Why me? (again)

I can’t sleep.

Every night, i’m kept awake by the screams from that day, from that night.

God i’m an idiot. How did I not realize what I was about to do? How did I not feel it happening? How could I let it happen?

The day started with the sound of war. Jets of flame arcing from entrenchments full of pyromancers, setting everything ablaze and creating a dense haze that you couldn’t breath in without choking. We fought tooth and limb, but there was something out there destroying us, picking us apart limb from limb.

It was another speedster, even faster than me, but this guy had no problems with killing. He pulled bullets out of the air and shoved them down the throats of those closest to me. He tore their vocal cords out and then used them to strangle my friends, my family. It was horrific, going into that world where everything but me seemed to sluggishly drag through the air, and then watching someone run through like a psychotic little kid. He was grinning the whole time, the bastard was in a state of ecstasy.

I charged, and I guess he didn’t know about me either, because the look on his face said that he needed a new pair of pants right then and there. I tackled him to the ground and started beating him, just ramming my fist into his face over and over and over. He clearly had no idea how to fight, but he did know enough to use his speed against me. He started vibrating like a bomb about to go off, and I had to let go to stop my arms from getting burned off.

A second later, and he was already halfway across the battlefield, and what I saw terrified me more than anything else in my miserable little life. He had a 9 inch combat knife in his hand, and it was drawn back, ready to thrust it right into Valentina’s eye.

I ran after him, and it was like the whole world stopped. A real stop this time, no drifting through the air like molasses. Except for him, standing there, the knife dripping closer and closer to Valentina. I didn’t stop running though, not for a second, not even when the world stopped.

I launched myself off my feet into his midriff, and we both went cartwheeling through the sky. I hadn’t really noticed how fast I was really going. We landed and all his ribs broke, at the least. My left arm was about as beat up as it could possibly be, and I have no doubt it broke in too many places to count just then. I ignored it. I just wanted him dead. I really, truly, wanted nothing more than to end his life.

I hoisted him by the collar and ignored the pain jolting through my left arm, drawing my right arm back like a piston, preparing to murder him.

I hesitated for a split second, and he opened a solitary eye, the lashes lazily whipping through the air like fishing rods. I looked into that eye, and I saw him as a human being for the first time. I saw that he had desires and hopes and dreams and urges.

And it made me hate him all the more. It made me hate the fact that a human being could  do the things he had done. An ache to end his life blossomed inside of me, and I obliged.

I put every ounce of fury, of hope, of desperation and cynicism and disdain into that strike. I felt the air burn against my skin as my arm twisted out of it’s chambered position, any and all body hair ignited; and soon after my skin followed suit.

My fist made contact directly between his eyebrows, and I felt his skull fold in on my hand at the same time every bone in my forearm shattered and punctured the muscle. Thousands of tiny bone fragments speared through his brain tissue before what jagged crushed remnants of my arm went straight through his head.

That punch actually created a shockwave. A shockwave. And not just enough to break some windows, but enough to put a dent in the whole city. One of the thrusters that kept the city afloat was wrecked, and the city started falling from the sky.

To this day, I have no idea how I survived that blast, but if I can break the sound barrier with my fist, I guess I shouldn’t be trying to apply logic to my body. I lost consciousness right as we started falling, and I didn’t wake up until last month. Valentina and the rest of my family found me, and some of the cryomancers kept me alive by just straight up freezing me.

Apparently the world at large had no idea super humans even existed, so when a flying city crashed into rural kansas, the news exploded all over the world. Every survivor of the crash, including myself, was put into an intensive care facility for at least a month. When the first of us came to, our story was told, and we became international celebrities. Funny how people love an underdog story, even if the underdogs did a few messy things, like murder en masse and raze buildings.

Valentina and the others pieced together what I did, and they built me up as the hero of the revolution. When I came to, I was heralded as a war hero, and the U.S. government offered us shelter and whatever else we needed until we could set up a real life here.

I decided to make a rather unorthodox request when they told us this.

The repair and restitution of the flying city as a school for superhuman individuals. When this inevitably raised some eyebrows, Valentina and I prepared a speech to try and persuade the government and the public to my way of thinking. I gave it yesterday, and it went something like this…

“I realize that my adoptive family and I have fought long and hard to bring down that city and those who stood behind it. But now it has been destroyed, and there is nowhere for a superhuman to learn control. We have no safe haven as a new species, but we desperately need one. What will happen now, when a superhuman is born to an ordinary family? When will their power manifest? During school? What will their power be? Spontaneous combustion? There must be a safer way to handle superhumans, and I propose we use the city and the systems it already had in place. But to avoid the rather obvious problems brought about by it’s previous leadership, I propose that this city be controlled with total transparency to the outside world. Whoever made it in the first place is not gone, make no mistake. There is a force somewhere in the world that made a substantial profit off of my people. I intend to stop that force by shining the light on it for all the world to see; to stop it from taking advantage of us ever again, and I need that city to do it. Please consider my request.”

Now, either that sounded like the ramblings of a madman, or it was very persuasive indeed. Fortunately, it seems like the politicians at least found it persuasive. People are saying the vote is expected to pass by next week.

I still can’t sleep at night. Half my family is dead, and I probably could have stopped it somehow. I still hear their screams at night. But i’m hoping that what i’m doing now might atone for it. I’m trying to make the world a better place, because no one should ever have to feel their arm going through another human being’s skull. Especially not if that’s the last thing they ever get to feel with that arm.

Now, I could just settle down on a farm in kansas, milk dogs, sheer sheep, that kinda thing. But I would be out of place. It’s not home. Home is on that city, training with what’s left of my family. Home is going to be helping those like me, helping my people survive.
Maybe here, of all places on all planes of existence, isn’t such a bad place after all.

Standard
Short Story

Existential Angst (Act II) – Esteban Mayorga

3 months later…

Act 2: A Whole New World

Well, hello there. It’s been awhile hasn’t it? A great deal of shenanigans has been going down, and I haven’t really had time to tell stories.

But, the final push is planned for tomorrow, and there’s a break in the fighting as both sides prepare; so I guess i’ll just have to take this time to tell you what’s happened so far.

I went back to Valentina and told her about my change of heart, and she lit up like a christmas tree. She actually hugged me. I’m not saying it wasn’t nice, but it was just such a sudden shift from her usual stony demeanor, it caught me off guard.

She really believed what she was doing was right. With all her heart, you could see it in her eyes. She gained my respect right then. She started talking about her plans to free the rest of us, and what she would do after we won, and she said it all with a smile on her face. Admittedly, the smile was a little disconcerting when she went into details about how to best massacre government forces, but the sentiment was still there.

So I asked her, “what now”? Her response? “You have no idea what you’re in for”. And she was right.

Every day, instead of going to our lonely apartments after school, we met somewhere on the city. It was usually either an abandoned building, set to be torn down soon, or at some of the larger apartments owned by members of our little army. We trained, and we planned, and we gathered equipment in secret, preparing for war. There were only about 20 of us in all, and most of us were college aged or seniors in highschool , but there were only about 200 government officials all in all, and the majority of them weren’t powered.

Training was hard at first, and I wasn’t exactly trusted by the rest of the group. After all, would you listen if some supposedly crazy powerful kid showed up and you had to treat him as a leader? Of course not, people have to be shown their leader’s capabilities. Well, after our first raid, they never questioned my ability again.

We had been preparing for our first operation for about 2 weeks; a small raid on a supplies warehouse. If all went well, it would look like some Private Military Company or Research Corporation had ransacked the place, and the government would have no idea they had a revolution on their hands yet.

Unfortunately, things did not go well.

A security guard went for a bathroom break at exactly the wrong time; he found davey and I climbing in through the ceiling vent. I knocked him unconscious in less than half a second, but the government are clever bastards, as it turns out. They had these implants put into all the guards, and if any of them experienced excessive physical trauma or unconsciousness, an alarm would be set off.

So the alarm went off, and the stealth operation turned into a war zone. Everything was on fire, then it was all frozen, then electricity flowed through the ice and metal support beams like a raging river. We used our powers without control, causing maximum damage to everything around us. I didn’t kill anyone, but i’m one of the few that can say that. The whole world was chaos after we got rid of all the guards, and we knew there were more coming, but half of us couldn’t even walk. My legs were fine, so I had to carry each person individually back to one of our hideouts, and then run back for another. In the end I carried all 19 other members a mile back to base, and then I threw up and fell over.

When I came to, Valentina gave me a rundown of what happened after I passed out.  We won, but all of us were injured in some way, and our excessive display of force caught the eye of the government. They didn’t know exactly who we were, but they knew someone was planning to take them down.

“But hey,” she said, “at least no one is going to give you crap about being a kid anymore”. And she was right. Finally, they accepted me as one of them. It was pretty wonderful. The only short jokes I heard were affectionate, and I felt like I finally had a family.

So we carried on. We refused to give up, instead, we declared full scale war on the government that oppressed us. We got sympathisers to set put up posters advertising the movement when no one was watching, we took territory on the edge of the city for ourselves and stopped going to school altogether. The government tried to label us as terrorists, but it wasn’t working. We were winning the hearts of the people over, and our numbers were growing. The total student population was only about 2000, and the members of our little club swelled from 20 to 30 to 60 to 100 quickly. That doesn’t mean we weren’t without our losses. Davey got killed early on, and Valentina only has her left arm still attached now. There have been others, but I don’t want to go through their names. It still hurts.

We’ve taken more than half the city now, and the only thing left of any importance is the high school. About a quarter of the student body sided with the government. A couple people who hold their convictions high and believe they’re doing right. A whole lot of psychos that just love killing and see the government as their best possible employer. And a few that just don’t know anything else in their life or how they could get on without big brother watching over them. Those are the ones I really feel for. But nothing is going to stop us now. We’ve come too far, and I still haven’t taken a single life.

I’ve never wanted to kill, or even hurt others. I hold it as one of my highest moral achievements that I haven’t killed anyone in this bloody war.

But tomorrow, if anyone gets in my way, if anyone gets in the way of the freedom my family has died for, that my family has sacrificed life and limb for, I will put them in the ground.

And I won’t lose any sleep over it.

Standard