Procrastination Nation

A beam of afternoon sunlight leaked through the grimy window, casting a golden angelic glow over the crumpled, scuffed-up Sondheim sheet music littering the footprint-covered floor. Melody sat cross-legged in one of the choir room’s ordinary blue plastic chairs, watching the clock as it murdered the time she so desperately needed, a history book spread across her lap. A cold breeze swept over the ground, awakening the dust that coated the furniture, causing it to dance wildly in the spotlight for a fleeting moment before getting the vaudeville hook. In the background, she heard her friends chattering away; but the clock demanded her attention. She wanted to listen to Randi tell his insane stories, wanted to laugh crazily with Javier, wanted to take part in the frivolous felicity that was passing by her, but her enemy robbed her of that joy.

Melody knew she shouldn’t be in the choir room again, but she couldn’t bring herself to miss out on the merriment.  Images of failed tests and bleeding papers floated through her brain, faintly calling for help. Distress bubbled inside of her as she forced herself to look down at a picture of Andrew Jackson giving his inaugural address. The soundwaves from Javier’s booming laugh blurred her vision, shaking her eyes; but she restrained herself from looking across at the joyful scene unfolding in front of her. She smelled the green tea that Quinn drank every afternoon in order to “keep her voice silky smooth.” The smell engulfed her in a green haze, in which she could see her friends lounging in their usual places on the royal blue couch- Javier at one end, tears of joy streaming from his twinkling dark chocolate eyes; Quinn at the other, intense smile accentuating her well-defined cheekbones; and Randi sprawled across the two of them, ludicrous tales spewing from his gigantic pink lips. Beaming, she reached out to the image, wanting to insert herself into it; but just like that, it faded away, and she was left staring into the cold eyes of Jackson once again. She viciously added bite marks to her already shredded pencil, each laceration adding to her stress level. She could hear her purple macerated planner from inside her florid backpack, taunting her with unfinished tasks, as if she were a cat gazing at a ball of yarn dangling just out of reach. The assignments sat in her mind like a cinderblock, restricting her from letting loose, reminding her that she could define freedom, but not experience it.

“OMG, listen!” Randi yelled over the boisterous cackles that filled the air. “Midnight madness, guys. It was a time! Mel, you’re gonna wanna hear this one for sure.” She grimaced as Randi’s voiced drowned out her desperate desire to engage. Gazing helplessly back at the clock, she begged the blood red hand not to move any further, feeling the worry building in her chest each time it ignored her pleas. Another eruption of resounding laughter caused her chest to tighten. The sunlight that had once radiated through the room disappeared, playing hide-and-seek behind the grey clouds that floated past. Going against her own instincts, she glanced over at the babbling group. Instantly, they enveloped her, pulling her into the vortex of distraction.

As Melody sank deeper into the realm of irresponsibility, she begged herself to leave them, to finish her work, to be sensible; but just like the murderous clock, she ignored her own desperate pleas. After all, why do today what you can do tomorrow?


Shoulders: Too Sexy For School?

Shoulders: Too Sexy for School

December 5th, 2016


BRAINTREE, MA- Students of The Sylvanus Academy in Braintree, MA are up in arms about their new dress code, which was introduced to the handbook this past weekend. This new rule prohibits students and faculty alike from wearing any sort of clothing that shows shoulders: from the handbook at the Academy “All tops must have a full back and cover the waistband of a student’s skirt, pants, or shorts. Tops are expected to cover the shoulders.” When we spoke to Headmaster Ted Bear, he said that the inspiration for the new rule came from a recent scientific report released by Dr. Scapula of the Department of Umerology at Yale.

Scapula reports that, “With the help of my colleague Reverend Dr. Shul Ders, we have come to the conclusion that the obstruction of shoulders in school systems has a significant number of benefits to the learning environment.” Reverend Dr. Ders comments “The shoulder provides a catalyst site for protein synthesis; however, there exists no mitosis checkpoints than can occlude the synthesis from producing an excess of chemicals. By covering shoulders, students prevent the release of these chemicals, which has shown to produce amazing results.” Some of the benefits include:

  1. A .0001% increase in overall intelligence of freshman* (based on PSAT scores)
  2. Boys are no longer entranced by the beauty of the upper arm, and can now fully focus on their studies.*
  3. Tensions between teachers/admins and students disappear, making it easier for teachers to educate the students without distraction.


Students have varied responses to their new dress code. One female freshman, wishing to remain anonymous in order to protect her Algebra II grade, remarks, “I don’t think I should have to hide my shoulders when my Math teacher wears dresses shorter than I do!”

“Although the shoulders at school have been tamed, my grade’s have actually gotten significantly worse, as most nights, instead of doing homework I stay up late crafting shoulder memes to send in my group chats and potential submissions to smack high. I find myself wondering what the girls in my class are hiding underneath their sleeves,” says a male junior from Cambridge, MA.

There are claims that school should only be a place of learning, but students are confused, stating “If I’m just supposed to learn here, why are they looking at my body in the first place? Obviously boys aren’t the only ones looking at my shoulders.”

There have even been comments from the faculty at The Academy. The Upper School Director, Smighley Thompson, tells us, that “Until we find a way to remove the shoulder completely, this is the next best thing. As long as the data keeps showing positive results reflected in our students, we will continue to enforce this rule.” Chemistry professor Shmari Fhalili informs us that “Covering girl’s shoulders further prevents the release and dispersion of a hormone called hyperhidrosis through the process of diaphoresis. This chemical is also known to increase testosterone in males”


Although there are many opinions circulating, the general consensus of the Academy is reflected in this male student’s forlorn response: “I miss shoulders…”


*give or take .0001%

*however, reports show an increased number of male students in detention for calling girls “too conservative”

D Flatten My Finger: A Clean Break

Aria stands behind the black velvet curtain, cradling her right hand against her torso. She rubs her bandaged pinky finger between her thumb and forefinger of her left hand. Grimacing, she taps her right foot on the varnished mahogany stage. She gazes at her white stiletto as it keeps a steady beat. Click, two, three, four.

The announcer’s voice blared through the loudspeaker. “And now, please welcome our first contestant, Aria Blanchard!” The curtain drags across the stage, revealing Aria to the audience. She straightens her back. Extending her hand to the crowd, she gives a tight-lipped smile. She tilts her head back slightly as the audience applauds. The lights soften. She turns to face the 1966 Steinway posed center stage and glides towards it.

Her fingers on her left hand scamper across the lid as she strides alongside the piano. Her right arm hangs by her side. Aria heaves the hood up with her left hand. She tries to balance it on her elbow, but the hood slips. She jumps back as it crashes down. The audience gasps. She turns to the crowd, giving a small wave. “It’s okay!” she yells. “I just wanted to see if you guys were awake.” The audience chuckles.

Aria turns back to the piano and sighs. Frowning, she puts both hands on the hood. She whimpers as she pushes the lid upwards. She props it onto the skinny wooden pole, leaving behind her wet fingerprints. Holding her right hand to her chest, she struts towards the pleather-topped piano bench. She lowers herself into the seat, pulling it a fraction of an inch closer to the keyboard. She grounds her left foot on the stage. Flexing her right foot, she balances it above the silver pedal. Her eyes flutter shut as she breathes in and out.

Aria picks up the worn blue book of Rachmaninoff etudes sitting on the corner platform of the piano. She flips it open to Etude 7, Opus 39, and rests it on the music stand. As she scans the fresh fingerings, she balls her left hand into a fist and cracks her knuckles. She balls her right fist, and cracks each knuckle but the pinky.

Relaxing her shoulders, she lets her arms hang loose. She tilts her head to one side, then the other, cracking her neck. She sets her hands on top of the keys, fingers curved and strong. She looks down at her right pinky finger jutting out from the rest. Closing her eyes, she takes a deep breath. As she inhales, she straightens her back. She lifts her hands off of the keys. Slamming the pedal down with her right foot, she plunges her body forward. She channels her weight into her fingers, crashing into the first B flat chord. She hisses as the hammer strikes the string. Picking up her hands, she moves to the next set of keys. Aria slams her hands down into the D flat chord. Crack.


Arthur & Alice

She wanders down the rutted road, feet squelching in the mud. She drags a heavy, ragged sack as the wind whips against her frail figure; but she trudges forward, determination in her eyes. Her shawl, red speckled, protects her as she turns down a sodden dirt path. The pointed black iron gates come into view and she shudders. The sign overhead reads Greensbury Street Cemetery. Water droplets drip like tears from the slick, ivy covered gates. She ventures into the sylvan landscape, the large maple trees guarding her from the pounding rain. Finally she sees the familiar pristine grey stone that reads Arthur Cunningham, 1774-1817.

“Hurry, Alice,” the stone seems to whisper. She drops the sack and pulls out a blood stained knife. She runs her left ring finger over the blade, unfazed by the pain. “Hurry, Alice,” the voice commands. She obeys and carefully traces her finger over her husband’s name, leaving her blood to mix with the words. A deafening screech echoes through the cemetery as the gravestone slides across the earth to reveal a rotten wooden spiral staircase leading into a dark cavern. Alice grunts as she slings the sack over her shoulder and carefully steps down. The stairs creak with every step as she ventures deeper into the darkness.

“Alice, Alice,” the voice calls impatiently. “I’m hungry Alice.” She quickens her pace until her foot finally hits the soft dirt floor. A faint light guides her to a baroque wooden door. She whispers the incantation messily carved into the top: Omnem dimittite spem, o vos intrantes. The door swings open with a bang to reveal a desolate chamber with a flickering chandelier swinging from a rusty chain. Granite walls encase the room; a musk almost too powerful to bear permeates through the air.

“Come in,” the voice rasps urgently. She enters the threshold and turns to see her husband, tightly shackled to the wall with clamps around his wrists and ankles. “Hello, Alice,” he croons, “You’re just in time.” She can’t will herself to look away as his hands start twitching, every vein and muscle becoming more defined. He lets out a choked cackle as his body is suddenly taken over by violent convulsions. His hands jerk back and forth across the stone wall, cracking as his fingers expand and sharp yellow claws form. He rakes his claws across the iron, screaming for release as his skull bubbles and stretches. His skin sheds and is replaced with a transparent blue-grey mucus covering. He arches his back as much as he can as his vertebrae pop and crack to form a spinal ridge. Suddenly, his body goes limp with exhaustion. He is quiet, except for his labored breaths echoing through the room. Slowly, he raises his head to reveal two pus-yellow orbs in place of his glistening blue eyes.

He pants, stares at Alice, and growls, “Well? Where is it?” She kneels to the ground and pulls the sack open. Carefully, she slides a pallid young girl out of the bag and lays her on her right side, facing the creature.

“She’s on the verge of death, very weak, just as you like them,” Alice mutters, regret on the tip of her tongue. For a moment, she sorrowfully looks upon the defenseless child, thinking of setting her free and killing the beast; but instead, she turns her eyes towards Arthur and nods submissively.

“Thank you dearest,” he grumbles insincerely. His breathing becomes even more labored as he gazes intently upon his prey. He runs his black forked tongue across his upper lip as a yellow drool escapes from his mouth. Suddenly, his tongue snaps out toward the girl and enters her navel. Alice turns away and covers her ears as Arthur sucks the life out of the girl. When the slurping stops, Alice looks back to see a shriveled corpse lying in front of her. She cries for the child as she takes her shovel out of the bag and starts to dig a new grave in the dirt.

“Don’t cry darling, that was the best one yet,” Arthur chuckles. “You did so well my pet, so very well.” Alice stays quiet, focusing on her work.
“And Alice,” Arthur asks, “Can we make feeding time happen weekly? I would do it myself but…”

“But, Arthur! The townspeople are getting suspicious. If kids keep disappearing, sooner or later they will-”

“Then go to a different town. Go to the orphanage; I don’t care what you do! You’re a smart girl, figure it out!” Arthur hisses, baring his pointed teeth. “I’m hungry, Alice, and you have to take care of that, remember?” He pauses, letting his tongue slip out of his mouth and point at her. “Or do you even love me anymore?”

“I-I do love you,” Alice lies through her tears.

“Good,” Arthur smirks. “Then I’ll see you next week.”


Alice slams her front door and locks it behind her. She sinks into her ancient, flowered armchair, closing her weary eyes. Her entire body goes limp, exhausted from the events of the night. “How did I get myself into this,” she thinks as she fades off to sleep. “Why me…”


“I promise to always protect you. I will never let you get hurt. I will never hurt you myself. I love you; I will always love you. Forever and always, my darling, forever and always,” Arthur finishes his vows and slips the ring on Alice’s finger. “You may now kiss the bride,” the priest declares. She looks into Arthur’s peaceful, smiling blue eyes, closes her own, and leans in to kiss him.


“Open your eyes, sweetie!” Arthur exclaims. Alice’s eyes shoot open and before her lay a small cottage. “It’s just big enough for the two of us,” he exclaims. “And a baby.” Alice squeals and hugs Arthur tightly. “A baby…” she breathes.


“What do you think the baby’s name should be?” Alice asks hopefully, rubbing her rounded stomach. Arthur replies with a pained grimace.

“Honey, are you okay? Was it the chicken?” Alice asks, putting her hand on his back.

“Get away from me,” he spits. Doubled over, he stumbles out of the room.

“Arthur, where are you going?”

“Out,” he yells. The door slams and Alice is left in stunned silence.


A couple hours later, Alice is startled by the loud bang of the door against the wall. She creeps downstairs to see Arthur stumble through the door and plop down in his flowered armchair.  “Arthur, we have to talk about what happened,” Alice declares sternly. Arthur stares straight ahead, tapping his finger on his knee. His eyes are distant, cold, almost black. Alice bends down and puts her hand gently on his arm. “Arthur, come back to me. Listen. We need to talk, my love.”

“Quiet, you can’t understand. Just let me be, please. I’m begging you. For your own safety,” Arthur whispers, hand rubbing the ridge of his nose in frustration.

“My safety? Arthur, what the h-” Alice is interrupted by a thunderous roar. Arthur began to twitch wildly, his bones cracking. “ARTHUR!” Alice cries, “I-I’ll g-go get the priest!”

“NO,” he roars. “Stay here!” Alice backs into a corner, watching in terror as Arthur’s skin oozes and bubbles. His bones crack as his vertebrae extends. He turns, towering over her, glassy eyes fixed on her stomach. The creature bares it’s pointy teeth, as if it were smiling. She screams as the creature’s black, slimy tongue shoots out of its mouth and penetrates her navel.


Alice wakes up in Arthur’s arms. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I couldn’t control myself. I’m sorry you had to find out like this,” he blubbers. She looks down to see her baby bump had disappeared. In it’s place was a small red mark on her naval. She lets out a piercing shriek and scrambles out of his grasp.

“My baby,” she wails, “my baby! W-what happened to it? What did you do?” She turns towards the door, but Arthur tackles her to the ground.

“Please don’t go. Give me a chance to explain myself. Please, my love, don’t leave me,” he begs desperately. Defeated, she stops struggling against him, and slowly, he releases his tight grip on her torso.

“W-what are you?” she asks as she turns to face him.

“My dearest, I am an Aswang,” he sobs.

“W-what?” she stammers.

“I-I am a monster. I need to feed off life forces to stay alive, and well…” he trailed off sorrowfully. “I lived in the Philippines, until 1804, when the people of my village found out what I truly am. I was not welcome anywhere, until I found you, Alice. You welcomed me into this town, into your life. I love you, Alice. And you love me, I know you do. And if you truly love me, you will not speak a word of this to anyone. I can’t lose you Alice, I can’t give up the life we built because of one moment of weakness,” Arthur pleads, tears welling in his eyes. “Forever and always Alice, remember?”

“Everything alright in there?” a voice calls. “We heard yelling,” calls another. Arthur looks at Alice, eyes begging for mercy that she could not provide.

“HELP!” she shrieks through tears. “MONSTER! A MONSTER ATE MY BABY!”


Alice trudges silently behind her husband down the rutted road, torches from the mob of villagers lighting their way. A village woman tries to comfort Alice’s aching heart as the mob leads Arthur to his doom.

“Eternal damnation,” Arthur chuckles playfully, just loud enough so Alice can hear. “What a fitting punishment.” Alice doesn’t say a word, she just keeps walking through the cemetery gates. The mob chants a prayer as they maneuver through the graveyard. The group comes to a new granite gravestone. A fresh inscription reads Arthur Cunningham, 1774-1817.

“I-I h-hope this is more comfortable than t-the jail cell they kept me in while they were building this t-tomb,” Arthur’s voice wavers. Alice reaches to comfort him, but someone grabs her wrist before she can.

“Only the blood of the spouse can move the stone!” the man calls. He tugs Alice’s left hand and swiftly slices a small incision into her ring finger.

“Go,” a woman whispers, voice trembling. “Open it.” Alice wills herself to step forward and forces her finger roughly over the stone. With a deafening crack, the stone moves to the side to reveal a beautiful wooden staircase.

“Move,” a man growls, pushing Arthur toward the grave. Arthur steps to the top of the stairs and turns to Alice.

“I love you. I will always love you. Please, don’t leave me here to suffer,” Arthur breathes into her ear. He looks at her with his pleading blue eyes, and she knows that she can’t abandon him.

“Somehow… I-I love you, despite all you’ve done. I will be there for you dearest. I-I promise,” Alice stammers, letting a tear fall down her cheek.

“Don’t cry, oh please don’t cry,” Arthur wails. He moves his bound hands toward her cheek, but before he can wipe the pain away, he is torn from her and thrown down the stairs. The men rush after him, wielding their iron chains. Alice sobs as the village women lead her away from the grave. ”Arthur,” she wails, “Arthur, I won’t leave you! Wait for me!”

“Like I have a choice,” a faltering voice faintly echos from below.


Alice shoots up out of her chair, breathing heavily. She brings a hand to her face and wipes away the tears that cloud her vision.

Where did his love go?” she stammers angrily. “What happened to him? He lied; he promised he would never hurt me! He promised me forever and always, but he broke my heart anyways,” she rages, clenching her jaw in disgust. “My love is a monster… and my love is going to pay.”


“Arthur,” Alice calls as she enters his prison. She turns to see Arthur in his human form, a bewildered look plastered on his face.

“Alice,” Arthur exclaims,  “what are you doing here? Feeding time isn’t for another couple days.”

“Oh, Arthur, I’ve missed you,” Alice croons, batting her eyes. She takes off her petticoat to reveal only a white nightgown underneath. She glides forward, eyes locked in on her prey. “I long for your touch, Arthur. I long to hear you scream my name,” she says seductively, caressing his face. “I long for you, Arthur,” she whispers in his ear.

“I don’t believe you,” he whispers back.

“What the hell does that mean?” Alice gasps.

“You’re repulsed by me. I can see it in your eyes,” Arthur hisses back.

“Darling, I do love you. Forever and always right?”

“Then prove it,” he spits. “Kiss me.”


“Kiss me.”  Arthur closes his eyes and leans down, stretching his neck as far as he can. Her tense hands run through his hair and grasp the back of his neck as her soft lips meet his. Suddenly, her thumbs wrap around Arthur’s throat. She slams his head back against the granite wall with strength she never knew she had. She presses against his airway with all of her might.  

“A-Alice,” Arthur chokes as he desperately thrashes, trying to break free of her grasp. His movements become weaker as she presses harder. The blood vessels pop and fill his eyes with red as color drains from his face.

“Goodbye, honey,” she snickers. She watches the light leave his eyes and feels his body go limp. She loosens her grip, lingering on his carotid artery for a moment to check his pulse. Nothing.

Alice smiles up at her husband and takes a deep, freeing breath. She begins to spin around, arms outstretched. She yells, “My soul is free! I am free!” over and over until she collapses in a heap of giddy laughter. Then, she runs out of the room, door slamming behind her. She hurries up the rotten spiral staircase for the last time. She turns to close the grave, but she lingers, remembering all of the trauma and horror that unfurled in the chamber below her. The memories flash until she bundles them together in her mind and breathes out heavily, as if she were releasing them into the grave. The gravestone slides across the earth, locking in her memories. She turns to look at the fresh new world in front of her. She never looks back.


This is the painting I modeled my story after. There is an odd reflection so the man is not actually in the picture, its just a black background. On the book is writing

This is the painting I modeled my story after. There is an odd reflection so the man is not actually in the picture, its just a black background. On the book is writing

The division between reality and fantasy is a thick red line that stretches for an eternity. One lone house sits on the weakest point of the division, the point of no return. Warmth radiates from it, luring the curious inside, and its menacing structure wards off outside evils; or at least it was supposed to. It sits unfinished; it will never be finished. The pull of surrealism is too strong for even the architects to protest. The unfit guardian attempts to protect the weak from gazing upon the incomprehensible, but a reckless few have snuck past and made the jump. Intrigued by the fantasy on the other side, they fall into the black abyss, unable to perceive the wonders beyond the real world. The abyss seems to be unending, but the brave few always hit the hard truth and get crushed by the blackness of fantasy.


From: Rachel

Sent: 9:50 PM

I swear I never wanted your dad to find out this way…

From: Rachel

Sent: 9:57 PM

Why did you intervene like that, throwing yourself in front of the punches? For me? You could have been killed, and I promise you, I’m not worth it.

From: Rachel

Sent: 9:58 PM

Hello? Can you please answer me?! I’m worried!!!

From: Rachel

Sent: 9:58 PM


From: Rachel

Sent: 10:00 PM

I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to yell, I just… I love you… I’m just… scared… confused… i don’t know what to do, what to say. Please let me come see you, please please I need to see you!

From: Lillian

Sent: 10:04 PM

Don’t. I promise you, I’m fine. Please, I beg you please for your own safety, just stay away. I promise you don’t want to see me like this… I’m not myself… I’m disgusting. Plus, my dad is lurking, and you’ve seen what he can do. Please stay away.

From: Rachel

Sent: 10:07 PM

Your dad is there??!! That’s it, I’m coming down there and beating him senseless this time. I don’t care what you look like, I don’t care if he beats me to a pulp too, all I care about is if I’m with you. Matching hospital beds right? Relationship goals tbh! But in all seriousness, I’m driving over now. What room are you in?

From: Lillian

Sent: 10:19 PM

I can’t see you get hurt too…

From: Rachel

Sent: 10:21 PM

I have seen the pain he caused you, and I want to somehow soften the blow. I want to be next to you, holding your hand, whether it’s manicured or bruised. All I want is you, and I won’t let your dad get in the way of us. I love you too much to stay away. Sorry babe but you have to tell me. What. Room. Are. You. In.

From: Lillian

Sent: 10:30

No. I already told you no! You are so stubborn and this is a really dangerous situation. You could get hurt, and obviously I don’t want you getting hurt.

From: Rachel

Sent: 10:32

But you are already hurt. You have to believe that I am willing to suffer through whatever I have to in order to hold you again. I will be careful, but I have to see you somehow. Please…

From: Lillian

Sent: 10:45 PM

…Room 202, second floor. Be careful my love.

From: Rachel

Sent: 10:47 PM

I will my love, stay safe. I will be there in 15 minutes, I promise.

15 minutes later, an ambulance pulls up to the hospital. “Rachel, female, 16, caucasian. Was in a car accident, critical condition. Put her in the ICU and start operating immediately,” the EMT tech yells to the doctor.

Lillian waits for Rachel for hours, longing to see her smile, to feel her soft hands against her bruised face. Lillian waits in vain, not knowing that the last time she saw Rachel, was truly the last time. Later that night, the doctor gives her the news, and all Lillian can do is cry.

Rachel, keeping her promise, walks up to room 202. She peeks into the room and sees Lillian’s back convulsing with her sharp breaths. Rachel runs to Lillian’s side. “It’s okay Lil, I’m here my love,” she whispers, petting the girl on the back. Suddenly, she realizes Lillian hasn’t acknowledged her presence. “Lil? I’m here Lil. LIL ANSWER ME PLEASE!” She takes Lillian’s discolored hand softly, and runs her fingers over the girl’s palm. “I love you, Lil. Please come back to me.”
Lillian feels a hand on her hand, and knows whose it is instantly. She looks up, eyes shining hopefully, but hope is lost when she looks up and sees no one.

Seeing Red

The red paint trickled down the flesh canvas, dripped over his fingertips, and formed a small puddle on the floor. The tip of the paint brush lay in the middle of the puddle, soaking in the rich color. It sat there, waiting for the paint to be released into a beautiful creation; but it waited in vain. Creativity was pouring out of the artist, but it would never be used again.

Before that, the red paint trickled down the white canvas as the artist splattered it with the paintbrush. “No good… no inspiration… no creativity… no purpose,” he muttered angrily under his breath. His violent motions became less controlled and more convulsive as the paint collected at the bottom. He began to sob, and all of his bottled up emotions suddenly took hold and came pouring out. He stopped throwing the paint and collapsed on the floor, possessed with overwhelming sadness. He looked over at the nearly empty can of red paint, glanced at his wrist; and in that moment, he decided to make his own.

Before that, the red paint trickled down the artist’s hand, as he stood stunned, tightly holding the paintbrush by the bristles. Just an hour ago, he had finished the painting, positive that this was the one; but now, clear tears painted his face as he was told once again that his work wasn’t good enough to be displayed.

Before that, the red paint trickled down the orange canvas as the artist carefully recreated a stunning sunset. He replenished the paintbrush with red and caressed his hand over the painting, all the while thinking, “This is going to be the one. I will finally be able to afford to live.”

Before that, the sunlight trickled over the artist’s face as it sank towards the horizon. He lifted his head to embrace the light, letting its warmth fill him completely. He breathed in inspiration, carefully set up his easel, and quickly opened his paint. He mixed the blood red color with a bold white, to get a more soft and vibrant tone. He took another deep breath, pressed a paintbrush onto the blank space, and watched the red paint trickle down the canvas.

Words That Are Not Okay: Faggot

Why is fag a term that is acceptable to use now a days? To some people, it doesn’t mean anything, it’s just is another way to make fun of their friend. But while they are trying to call their friend stupid, another person is overhearing them use this comment, and shaking their head. Every time someone uses fag thinking its okay, we take a step backwards. We have come so far- especially with the legalization of same-sex marriage in the US- and when someone calls someone else a fag, all the progress disappears. See, even if they don’t mean it, they are still calling a sexuality stupid. Do you know how LGBT+ people feel when their sexuality, something that they can’t choose, is criticized? They get enough heat already without ignorant people loosely throwing around a term with so much history of degradation to their community. This can’t go on.

The first definition of fag(got) was on Urban Dictionary and said “an extremely annoying, inconsiderate person.” To get to the real definition, I had to scroll all the way to five. That’s five people who are blind to the fact that this term hurts. It hurt back when it was first used, it hurts now, and it will continue to hurt people. We are not being over sensitive, we are not making a huge request, we just ask that you respect us and stop disparaging us by using a term like fag. You might not see its poignancy, you might not understand it’s gravity, but I can assure you: we do. You might be able to forget the past, but that’s only because you did not have to endure the hardships that came with a term like fag.  Words hurt. Even now, words hurt. Especially this one. It’s not acceptable to use, it will never be acceptable to use, and every time it is used, it will hurt someone somehow. We ask for acceptance, and that will never come if ignorance like this is encouraged.

Lexicon Scars

Some days its hard to get out of bed

Some days its hard to live at all
Some days I don’t feel like living inside my head
Some days I’d rather be dead
Sticks and stones will break my bones, but bones will always heal
Words will always leave a scar
The voice inside my head starts screaming, ripping  me apart
Until I can feel my bleeding heart
I live petrified and broken
In fear of whats to come
And a cigarette won’t fix the situation thats begun
I drink away the sorrow, the bottle is my friend
Where will I end up in the end
Sticks and stones will break my bones, but bones will always heal
Words will always leave a scar
I am now an empty shell
Of the girl that I once was
I have fallen pray to life’s cruel and unfeeling jaws
I know not what lies ahead now
No feelings to be heard
My body’s numb and my vision’s blurred
Sticks and stones will break my bones, but bones will always heal
Words will always leave a scar
Words will always leave a scar
Some days its hard to get out of bed

The Fog

I see her look hopefully at my car, I see her pupils dilate when caught in blinding headlights through the thick fog, and I see her take a deep breath and slowly walk out into the spotlight and open her arms, ready to perform, welcoming the metal beast to her; and when it hits, I see her face turn from a painful grimace to a peaceful smile; I see her eyes lighten and show emotion, something they had not done in years; but as quickly as that light appears, it is taken away, and her eyes cloud over as she stares into the starry void above.

Mary still hasn’t gotten over the actions of her sister, and she still hasn’t forgiven me for not acting. I wake up before her and see the fog that has set in overnight. I desperately run around my house, trying to close all the curtains and shield her from the outside world, but I am too late. She drags herself into the kitchen, makes herself some steaming tea, and just stares out the window. I watch her watch the world, watch her eyes turn to mist, watch her chest rise and fall. “Call into my work and say I’m not coming in,” she whispers monotonically. “What’s the excuse?” I asks her softly. She turns to face me. “It’s foggy today.”