Cut Like Me by Amanda Hart Miller

Baby feet kick her ribs but she still has all of them not like Adam. Her organs busy knitting baby limbs, rows of stitches can’t drop a stitch they must be perfect. Back when she was a little girl her mother folded her wings bought her hoodies sewed into them extraordinary inner wing-shaped pockets tucked them neatly. As a woman-girl in a dirty bathroom she begged him to make her like everyone else, cut off my wings cut them off cut them off. She took a picture to jail them in a frame: bloody wings on grimy tile. Babygirl’s wings flutter-swim inside and grow lacy.

(Originally published in PANK)

The Town of Terror (Chapter 1) by Mickayla Taulton

She was seventeen when she moved to the new town. She wasn’t like other girls, she didn’t wear jewelry, or had her face plastered with makeup. The only makeup she wore was eyeliner, and the clothes she wore were dark-blue skinny jeans with ripped holes in them, black combat boots, a white tank top, and a red and black plaid belly shirt. She had beautiful green eyes, and thick, brunette, wavy hair which fell mid-way down her back. The cab left her out on the side of the highway.

“Why are we stopping?” she asked.

“This is as far as we go ma’am. Go down that road there, and you’ll reach the town” the cab driver said.

She thought it was very strange for the cab to just stop at the end of the road, but she got out, grabbed her luggage, and headed down the deserted road. As she walked down the lonely, dirt road for a mile, she finally reached the town. Two, huge, black, steel gates blocked her way. She stood outside of the gates looking in at what she could see of the town.

“Hello? Is anyone here?” she called.

She saw a huge lock on the gate too, which she couldn’t get open. The wind began to blow, and she caught a chill.

“Hello?” she called again, and jerked on the gates to hopefully get them open. But they wouldn’t budge.

“Oh forget it,” she said and began to walk away, when the gates slowly creaked open. She turned around to see them open.

“Well, that’s better.” She said, and walked in.

“Let’s see now, the address is 22917” she said looking at the paper.

She finally reached a house with the number 22917 on it, the house was huge and looked very old. The stairs had cracks in the boards, and the paint was peeling off. She walked up the stairs, and onto the porch of the old house. She rang the doorbell, and waited. As she waited for someone to answer, she looked around the porch and saw that everything was dead. The whole atmosphere was very cold, and unnerving. Suddenly, the door opened, and an old woman peeked around the door.

“Hello, are you my grandmother? My name’s Amber” she said to the woman.

“Amber?” the woman said.

“Yes, you see my parents died in a car accident a month ago, and the child protective services told me that you were the only family I had left. And that I was to come and stay with you.” Amber explained.

“Amber McMillen?” the woman asked.

“Yes!” Amber said.

“Oh sweetheart, yes come on inside” her grandmother said, welcoming Amber inside.

Amber walked inside the house, and couldn’t believe the size of it.

“Your house is beautiful,” she told her grandmother.

“Thank you sweetheart, so come tell me all about yourself. I’m sorry to hear about your mother and father, what a tragedy.” The grandmother said.

“Thank you, well I just turned seventeen on September 30. I love to listen to music, especially Rock n’ Roll, and I love to draw.” Amber said.

“Drawing, so you want to be an artist?” the grandmother asked.

“Well, I don’t know about that. I like to draw and paint the most.” Amber said.

“What do you like to paint and draw about?” the grandmother asked.

“Oh, you know fairytale things. Like dragons, fairies, mermaids, things like that.” She said.

“Interesting, so you like things that aren’t real huh?” the grandmother asked.

“Yeah, pretty much.” Amber said.

“Tell me, do you believe in werewolves’, zombies, vampires, all of those things?” the grandmother asked.

“Um…well I’ve never really given them a thought. Probably not, I mean c’mon there not real either, there just fairytales as well.” Amber said.

“Interesting” the grandmother said, looking at her.

After they talked about each other, the grandmother showed Amber to her room, and helped her unpack.

“Dinner is at seven.” The grandmother said, and left Amber alone in her room.

Amber decorated her room, and decided to look around the house. Seeing as how old it was, it probably had lots of history.

“Brr,” Amber said, as she shivered.

“Why is it so cold in here?” she asked herself, as she continued walking through the house. She opened doors, and then walked inside to have a look around at the rooms. When she approached the last door, which she assumed led to the attic it was locked.

“Hmm, that’s odd.” She said to herself, as she turned the doorknob.

“What are you doing?” a voice said.

Amber jumped at the sound of the voice.

“Oh, grandma it’s only you. You scared me.” Amber said.

“Did I now? Oh, well I’m sorry. But why are you searching my house?” the grandmother asked.

“I’m not, I just wanted to have a look around. Why’s the attic locked?” Amber asked.

“That’s none of your concern. Stop nosing around, and just tend to your own self.” Her grandmother said, then left.

Amber was surprised at the sudden outburst her grandmother had, so she did as she was told, and stopped searching the house. She went outside, and decided to meet the other townspeople. As she walked through the quiet town, she saw no one. No one was outside, and it looked like everything was dead. Amber continued to walk and look around the town, until she came upon a church. It was also locked, she looked at the lock and it had some kind of symbol, or engraving on it.

“Wow,” she said looking at it.

Suddenly, she felt as though someone was standing behind her, watching her, and she quickly turned around to see a guy standing behind her. He was probably 6’2, slim, pale white, and had brunette hair.

“Um…Hello” Amber said.

“What are you doing here? You shouldn’t be here” he told her.

“Why not?” she asked.

“Look, you just moved here right?” he asked.

“Uh, yeah. How did you know?” she asked.

“Word gets around in a small town,” he said.

“How? There’s no one here.” She said.

“Oh, there here. They just don’t come out in the daytime.” He said.

“Huh?” she said confused.

“Never mind, I’m Zayne” he said.


“So, you want me to show you around?” he asked.

“Um, yeah sure. That would be great!” she said, as she followed him.

“Um, Zayne. If you don’t mind me asking, why is every building and gate in this town locked?” she asked.

“Don’t know,” he lied.

“Hmm” Amber said, looking at him curiously.

As the days passed, Amber and Zayne got to know each other. The two discovered that they had a lot in common. They hated the town, and wanted to leave, but couldn’t because of financial issues. They loved to draw, paint, sculpt, and listen to Rock n’ Roll music. They soon began to fall for each other too, but as Amber fell for the mysterious Zayne, and he fell for her, she had no idea that he had a deep, dark, secret hidden inside of him.

One day, while they were walking together, Zayne asked Amber a very mysterious and shocking question.

“Hey, you live with your grandmother in house 22917 right?” he asked.

“Yeah, why?” Amber asked.

“Well, rumor has it, that your grandmother is actually a deranged, mental, witch doctor,” he told her.

“Ha-ha, yeah right.” Amber laughed.

Zayne gave her a serious look.

“Well, if you don’t believe that. What would you say if I told you that I was a vampire?” he asked.

“I’d still laugh, and say that you’re insane. C’mon Zayne, things like that just don’t exist. It’s all make believe, it’s all fairytales.” She told him.

“You really believe that?” he asked.

“Of course, I do. I won’t believe it until I see it, or actually experience it. Crap, it’s almost seven. I gotta go.” She said as she looked at her watch, and began to leave.

“Amber!” he called.

She stopped, and turned around to look at him.

“Meet me tonight at the church,” he told her.

“Why?” she asked.

“Trust me, just meet me tonight at nine.” He said, and left.

That night Amber snuck out of the house, and went to the church. She saw that it was still locked, then turned around to see Zayne standing behind her.

“Ready to believe?” he asked.

“Huh?” she said.

The clouds moved across the moon, and Zayne covered his face up with his hood.

“Don’t be afraid,” he told her, and then looked up at her.

Amber was in a state of shock, and could not believe what she was seeing.

Zayne was still pale white, but now had blood red glowing eyes, and fangs. He was an actual vampire.

“Oh, my, god” she said, backing away from him.

“Amber, it’s me” he said, moving toward her.

“No! No, get away from me!” she said, and began to run, but he grabbed her arm, and pulled her close to him.

“No!” she screamed.

“Quiet” he told her, as he covered her mouth with his hand.

“You said you didn’t believe in fairytales, well do you believe in them now?” he asked.

Amber was shaking like a leaf in his arms, and just kept quiet, even when he released his hand from her mouth.

“Amber talk to me, you can’t stay mad at me forever,” he said.

“Fine Zayne, yes I believe you okay! You’re a vampire, and vampires exist okay?” Amber said, aggravated and scared.

“Look, I’m sorry I had to show you what I really am, but I had too” he told her.

“Why?” she asked.

“Because, on October 31, you’re going to become one of us as well.” He told her.

“One of us? Us who? There’s no one else in this stupid town!” Amber said.

“Oh yeah, look!” Zayne said, as he turned Amber around and showed her what happened at night.

What Amber saw she couldn’t believe as well, people everywhere in the town were coming out of their houses, and they were all some kind of mythical creature. Vampires, werewolves, witches, mummies, etc. She couldn’t believe that this was all real.

“Is this real?” she asked.

“Yes, now you know why no one is outside in the daytime. We all come out at night.” Zayne said.

“But, you were out in the daylight, and you’re a vampire?” Amber said.

“Yeah, but I’m not like the other vampires. I can come out in the daylight, and at night. See my mother’s a witch, so she gave me the power to walk outside.”

“And your father’s a vampire, right?” Amber asked.

“Yeah,” Zayne agreed.

“I still don’t understand how all of this is real. And what do you mean by I’m going to turn into something?” she asked.

“Because, your grandmother is the cause for all of us being these creatures. We’ve tried to destroy her, but we have all failed. And every human being that arrives here, soon becomes some kind of creature. And I know that you will turn into something as well, seeing as how you’re her granddaughter. And it may be sooner than you think.” He said, as his fangs got closer to her neck.

“No! You’re wrong,” she said as she shrugged him off of her.

“I will never become one of you. Ever!” she told him.

“Oh yeah?” Zayne said, and sank his fangs into her neck.

“Ah!” Amber screamed, as she woke up. She looked around to see that she was back in her grandmother’s house, and safely in her bed. She was covered in sweat from the nightmare she thought she had, and was shivering from it being so cold in the house. She touched her neck, and felt nothing. No bite marks, or pain. Was it all a dream? Was it all in her head? Or did it all really happen?


The Creeper by Mickayla Taulton

Where, where does it come from?

Where does it stay?

Where does it hide?

When it goes away.

Every twenty-three years,

On the twenty third day,

It gets to come out, it gets to eat,

It gets to hunt, it gets to feast.

It walks, it runs, it hops,

It even eats tongues from the mouths of cops.

It sniffs out the people,

That it wants something from.

It is very particular leaving not a crumb.

It fly’s, it drives, it lives in the skies.

It wears a wide brimmed hat,

Clothes and cape all in black.

It is all a perfect disguise,

For such a creature so wise.

No matter how many times,

People have tried,

It will lay on the road, and it will never die

Is it from some other world?

With two faces that fold in on each other,

Each just as terrifying,

With teeth to make one shudder.

It’s a cross between an upright walking reptile,

Absolutely hideous when it tries to smile.

With a hulk like size,

And fur with a tail.

With feet and hands sharp as nails,

So powerful they are able,

To dismember and disable.

Everything on this creature,

So terrifying, it’s surely from Hell.

How could this thing be anything?

But from where demons dwell.

From Birth by Amanda McPherson

We are the sinners who are born with sin
And our very first sin is the act of being born itself.
We come from the womb
Already cloaked in the smell of dingy bars,
Our flesh already bearing a sinners mark.
Psalms 58:3 says
“The wicked are estranged from the womb;
These who speak lies go astray from birth.”
We never had a path to stray from.
We are born knowing that no one has paved the way for us,
And we must tear through this world making our own sidewalks.
Sidewalks that lead us cloudy rooms,
A haze covering forgetful touches
Because the people touching forget we’re people too.
And we forget we’re people.
We’d rather be that lamp,
A couch,
Anything is easier than being human.
But out sinning tongues are never quite silent,
We never quite accept our defeat.
We gather as a family
So we can read bad poetry,
And listen to sad stories,
And drink way too much coffee
Because out circadian cycles have never been quite right.
Together we share the same bruises that the earth has given us,
It has always been our birthright to bear them.
We are an honorable group of misfits,
Toasting our victories with coffee cups full of liquor
And mourning our losses in exactly the same way.
We take society’s silver spoons
And heat them for an escape,
Then morph them into swords to use
When fighting the war against war
Because we have tasted the bitterness of injustice,
Taken a bite of the forbidden fruit.
And we see that there’s more to living than a heartbeat,
And so we spend the rest of our lives chasing life.
Chasing a life that a sinner was never supposed to have
But what these sinners are choosing to want.
And we as a group with nothing to lose,
Can take the world in our shaking hands.

Facts about the Animal Kingdom by Amanda McPherson

When holding a small snake,
Experts say,
You should let it lace through your fingers
To prevent injury.
Maybe that’s why
Your fingers were intertwined with mine like a constrictor
To prevent one of us from being hurt-
Though I have never been sure who.

Experts also say
Prolonged eye contact is a sign of aggression
To most animals,
Despite this fact
You still held my eyes trapped with yours.
Ocean blue breaking down the deep, dark earth-
It was inescapable.
It was the most beautiful kind of fighting.
Did you know that penguins mate for life?
A male penguin can spend weeks
Looking for the perfect proposal stone.
I spent weeks searching,
But it didn’t matter,
Neither of us have flippers.




Having No One by Sabrina Smith

I awoke screaming. Slowly, I calmed down as well I could before starting to cry into my pillow. I had no one. After glancing down at my wrists and the scars and scabs there I closed my eyes and tried to go back to sleep.

I awoke the next morning and changed out of my pajamas and into my usual black outfit, shoving an equally black jacket on over it. Then I went downstairs.

My father, a banker, glanced at me and pursed his lips, but chose not to say anything. My mother took one look at me and did the opposite.

“It’s been two months, Rosie,” she said, sitting across from me at the table. “You can come out of mourning.” I fiddled with my cereal and didn’t say anything. “I know you miss him,” she muttered. “We all do. But we need to move on.”

“I’m going to school,” I said abruptly, grabbing my bag and walking out the door. I didn’t look back at the massive house I’d exited, knowing mom would be watching. Instead I chose to look to the manicured lawn and the end of the driveway. Just as I arrived, the bus pulled up and the doors opened, allowing me to board.

Everyone greeted me with “Goth Girl!” I ignored it and kept walking to the back of the bus to sit, alone.

We stopped in front of the school a few taunting jeers later and I made my way to the locker I’d previously shared with my twin.

As I opened it I was hit with the realization I would have millions of times over every day: he was dead. I’d left it just the same for that reason. His things sat at the upper half of the locker, as if he was waiting impatiently for me to finish.

I filled my bag with everything I’d need for the day and closed the door.

My classes went by at a snail’s pace, frequented by the voices of those whom I used to consider my friends making jabs at me.

My life was changed at lunch.

I sat in the back corner of the cafeteria, at my own table, under the flickering florescent lighting. Just like every other day, I imagined Alex sitting across from me, laughing. I unpacked my lunch. As I took a bite of my apple someone sat down across from me.

“Hello,” said a cheerful voice. “I’m Janet. Who are you?” For a moment I was stunned.

“Rosie,” I stammered. She smiled and began to eat her lunch as if there was nothing wrong. As I looked at her my eyes hurt. Even in the dim light her outfit practically glowed bright pink and green.

“It’s nice to meet you,” I said suddenly. She grinned.

“It’s nice to meet you. I’m new here,” she said, answering the question I never asked. “I only just moved from Windor.” I nodded and felt that it was my turn to make some polite conversation.

“What class do you have next?” I asked carefully.

“English with Mr. Hawthorne, I think.” I nodded, neglecting to mention I was in her class.


A week later she had grown on me. She had no idea that I like to take a razorblade to my wrists yet, and I hoped to keep it that way. Despite myself, I didn’t want to lose her.

“Why do they call you Goth Girl?” she asked one day. “Is it because you wear so many dark colors?”

I nodded. She moved on, talking at fifty miles an hour.


That night I made my way to the cemetery at the end of our street. I found Alex’s grave and sat down beside it.

“Hey,” I said. “I brought you something.” I laid a bluebird’s feather on the grave. “I know you couldn’t find one for your collection.

“I have a friend at school,” I continued, making myself more comfortable. “Janet. I told you about her yesterday, remember? I want to tell her about- you know. I don’t know how, though. What do you think?”

“Rosie?” I started and turned. Janet stood behind me.

“What are you doing here?” we asked at the same time.

“This is where my mother’s buried,” she said, pointing to a plot a few rows down. “Cancer. Just before I moved here. Now it’s your turn, Rosie. Who’s this?” She pointed at my brother’s headstone.

“This is Alex,” I said. “He was my twin.”

“Hey, Alex,” she said softly. “I’m Rosie. It’s wonderful to meet you.”

I swallowed.

“How’d he die?”

“There was an accident. A-A drunk driver came down the road as I was crossing…. Alex was waiting on the other side and saw him. He pushed me out of the way.”

“Oh….. Oh, no. Rosie, I’m so sorry.”

“I’m sorry, too, about your mom.”

She shrugged. “We knew it was going to happen. It still hurt, but we got to say goodbye, at least.” We were both quiet for a moment.

“Jan, I need to tell you something.”

“What is it?”

“They- They don’t call me Goth Girl because I wear dark clothes. I-I’m suicidal.”

“I know.”

“You do?” I gasped and she nodded.

“I have since the first day I was here.”

“And you- you still came to sit with me?” She nodded again.

I grabbed her in a tight hug. She grinned and hugged me back.

“Thank you.”

I couldn’t help but think that, somewhere, Alex was smiling down on me.

From then on I left the jacket in my closet.



Something More By Savannah Shifflett

You can barely contain your excitement; you’re finally seeing your best friend in person, face to face, close enough to touch, for the first time in a year. You guys talk every day, but it’s different when you can actually hug her, draw her in close, and breathe in the scent of her shampoo, hoping she hasn’t changed it in the 393 days that you two have been apart.

She’s supposed to be at your house by ten in the morning, and you know she won’t be late. Taking a cold shower, you sigh in relief when you’ve finally got a break from the summer heat.

You pretend like you don’t take too long picking out your outfit before settling on athletic shorts and a crop top. There’s a minute after you put your hair in a ponytail when you look at all of the perfumes on your vanity, with careful consideration as to which one you should wear, if any, but then the doorbell rings.

That’s the first thing that alerts you to the change in your relationship.

She tackles you in a hug as soon as you open the door, something you’re grateful for, and her hair smells just like it did when you hugged her goodbye last summer.

“You smell just like you did the last time I saw you!” she exclaims, and there is no way for you to express how happy it makes you that she remembered the shampoo she once called weird. “You’re right, that damn smell has grown on me, or maybe I just miss you so much I can’t even complain.” She punches your arm, only a mere couple of inches from your breast, and your heart stops.

She pulls her hand away quickly, rather than running it down your arm like she used to, and that’s the second thing that alerts you to the change in your relationship.

The first thing you grab before you head upstairs is food, an essential to a reunion sleepover. You two practically raid the pantry, carrying armfuls of junk up the stairs and into your room, plopping the chips, dip, cookies, and many other snacks onto your bed.

As soon as all of the snacks are laid down, she tackles you into the bed in a much warmer hug than the one you got by the door. She’s breathing in your ear, and you can hear the little hitches in her breath, a tell-tale sign of her giggle that you so adore.

You push her off, pretending to huff and puff as you feign anger, but she only gives you that smirk, the one that knows all of your tells when you’re acting, and you just know that there’s no way you’ll ever get away with the secret that you’re coming to terms with.

“Just for that, you don’t get to pick the first movie!”

“Whatever, you weren’t gonna let me pick anyway.”

You move your hand over your heart, acting flattered, “you know me so well; how did I ever survive without you for over a year?” The batted eyelashes are only added for dramatic flair.

“I don’t know dude, I am pretty damn awesome,” she responds without missing a beat, batting her eyelashes back at you, and you have to wonder if she’s also doing it to get the tears out of her eyes.

There’s a moment of silence when you’re remembering all the times you wished she was there, and a small, selfish part hopes that she’s doing the same.

“Enough of all this sappy shit!” she proclaims, rolling off of you, careful of the snacks, and getting into her relaxing position on her self-designated side of the bed. “So are we knocking out five movies or two seasons?” She asks, tapping her unpainted nails against the bed in excitement.

“I’m offended that you doubt our binge-watching skills! We could definitely get in more than two seasons! The question is: do we want nitty gritty plot or a light comedic show?” You ask, going over the shows you’ve seen that fit either of those categories, but none of them stand out.

“Hmmm, I’m in the mood for one of those shitty romantic dramas,” she says, stroking her chin and looking off into the distance as though she’s saying something philosophical.

For as long as you can remember she has been this way: hot and then cold, always changing her mind but sounding as though she had always thought that way.

You suppose it fits perfectly that you’re pretty set in your morals but not confident in them at all.

The choice of the night ends up being an ongoing TV drama, from one of those channels that are only geared towards teenagers, about this boy and girl that have been best friends ever since elementary school and once they get to high school they have to face the fact that they date other people while avoiding rumors of them sleeping together. It’s basically like every other show of its kind, but the obvious romantic tension between the friends hits a little too close to home for you.

Things would be a hell of a lot easier if your best friend were a boy though.

By the time dinner is ready, you guys are halfway through the second season, and after that, there’s only one more season you have to watch until you’re forced to suffer through a month or two of waiting for the new one.

Dinner is spent with your parents getting caught up with her, and you notice how integrated she is into the life of everyone in the house. You don’t think your parents would mind going to a house you share with her, your kids running around in circles, for a birthday party, or Christmas, or just to come over for a visit. They wouldn’t mind at all.

The both of you head to your room, racing up the stairs, and ultimately, she wins, just like always. You’re both panting, honest to god hands-on-knees panting.

“We’re fat,” she laughs, still short of breath.

“I vote we blame it on the adrenaline.”


You’re knocked out by midnight, curled into the fetal position, facing her, with a light blanket covering your ankles. When you wake up, it’s only two, and you don’t want to have to deal with the loud volume of the TV. You settle for watching her, trying not to feel like too much of a creep, as she breathes, in and out, in and out. In a matter of five seconds, she’s inhaling part of the pillow case. It covers her open mouth, stopping her from breathing, and just before you can pull it away, her eyes open, looking into yours.

“Weirdo,” she yawns.

“Hypocrite,” you yawn back.

“You look cute when you yawn.” She’s said this before but not like this, not five inches from your face, not looking deep into your eyes, not sounding 100% serious.

“You look cute always.”

She smiles, and it’s two in the morning, you’re both half asleep, so you take a chance.

As soon as you press your lips to hers, she yawns, and you pull away, forcing out a laugh. She frowns at you and your heart stops. “That sure as hell wasn’t an invitation to pull away.” Your mind has yet to fully grasp her words and your heart has yet to start to beat again.

She moves so that there’s only one inch between you two, but before long, she closes it.


You hold her hand as you walk down the stairs the next morning. Your heart is racing, but the pulse in her thumb is steady. It’s a comforting thought that she’s not nervous at all, that she’s 100% sure in the choices that you both made.

Your parents see your hands, and for a second they look confused, their minds running over everything they’ve seen from you in the past years.

“Do we have to sleep in different rooms when I come over now?” She asks, making light of the situation and taking the attention off of you like she always does. You love it.

“So long as you promise not to get her pregnant,” your parents say at the same time, and all of you laugh; that’s exactly how the two of you are together, best friends with the possibility of something more.

You’ve spent the whole last year without her thinking of the way her smile got your heart racing, how something that even remotely reminded you of her brought a smile to your face, and how at night, after you two had hung up, you’d cry and cross off one more day on your calendar, sad that she was so far away but happy that you were one day closer to seeing her.

As you sit down, laughing at the next joke that she cracks, you notice how her smile is contagious, and you know that she’ll never let yours leave.

Grime & Gloom by Rachael Newby

The dripping of ice
is enough to drive me mad–
a wet cave floor slick

with memories is
nothing to swear by. He does
laugh sometimes, but can

not grin. I dream of
the world outside our stone walls,
built right underneath

purple mountains with
misty air or perhaps a
gangling forest

filled to the brim with
busy insects. My growing
mind is filled with things

I am not sure are
real. All I know are reaching
water streams and the

way his eyes perceive
my figure. I am sure more
coves hold other bits

of me, but he will
never let go of my sun-
lust hands. Some days I

do not know which of
us is guilty of capture.
I always try to

hold him an arm’s length
away, to pretend to find
meaning without him.

Rachael Newby is a tenth grader at Barbara Ingram School For the Arts. She is a passionate member of the Creative Writing Department and wishes to excel during her next three years of learning in her art. She has become enthusiastic about creative nonfiction and poetry this year, pulling her out of her fiction-only mindset. Rachael has read pieces at events such as the school-wide Gala, the Earth Week opening ceremony, and Poetry Speaks. She hopes to become more involved in spoken word poetry over the next few years and refine her skills.


Our Hands by Katelyn Hogue

I groan as I walk home and look down at my nails. The black paint is already chipping off even though I just painted them the other day. I angrily adjust the pack on my back as I continue walking down the sidewalk, my boots crunching the fallen leaves that litter the path. I look up from my nails and notice a crowd of about twenty people gathered outside a house in my neighborhood. I hear them talking before I see what they’re discussing.

“What’s going on?” says some man in the crowd.

“Why’s he up there?” asks a young girl.

I walk up the path and to my horror, I see a boy standing on the rooftop of one of the homes. I know that house, it’s one of the few brick houses I pass on my way to and from school. I can’t tell who the boy is, but he’s standing on the ledge of the roof. My stomach drops, fearing the worst. I join the crowd hoping to get some information about what’s going on.

“Just some guy on the roof. Maybe suicidal,” explains a big bald guy. Thirty seconds later, at least ten more people join to watch. A few call 9-1-1, but most are just talking about the boy and asking question. Glancing at the crowd, I make my way to the back of the house. No one pays attention to me as I leave the group and enter the home. I climb up to the attic and find an open window. Assuming this is how the boy got to the roof, I squeeze through the small square space.

“Luke!” I exclaim, recognizing the boy. “What are you doing up here?” We’re both seniors in high school, and we’re in the same civics class. I would never have guessed he would be doing this. He’s on the football team, girls seem to like him, and our civic teacher can’t stand him because he talks all class period. I mean, I’m the weird girl who wears dark clothes that sits in the back of the class. I’m the one who doesn’t seem to pay attention. If you looked at us both, you would guess I would be the one on the ledge of a roof.

“Tiffany?” He looks a bit puzzled. When I try to walk to him, he warns, “Don’t come any closer,” The crisp autumn air turns heavy as my fears become reality.

“Okay, Luke. I won’t, but talk to me. What’s wrong?”

He’s not facing me, but he must have been crying because his voice comes out scratchy. “Everything,” he mutters.

“Like what?” I asked, edging my way closer to him.

“Everything! My mom passed away from cancer, dad’s depressed, I don’t have any real friends. I barely feel anything anymore…except the pain.”

“I know how that feels, Luke. The pain. When life’s too real. I get that,” I say to him. I work my way closer until I’m a few feet away from him.

“Stop Tiffany! I’ll jump!” He shouts at me and glares back angrily, but in his eyes I see nothing but depression and desperation. I freeze.

“Luke, I get it, but I know that it gets better. It really does. You just have to push through this. I could help you!”

From down below, I hear the same man from earlier yell, “Jump already!”

Sickened, I beg, “No, Luke, please don’t!” I cry, “This doesn’t have to be the end!”

“No, he’s right,” Luke whispers. My eyes widen as I realize what he’s about to do. My heart aches as he chokes out, “It’s too late,” He leans forward, accepting his fate. Tears stream down my face and before I can even think, I run up, reach out, and rip him back from the ledge by his shirt. With a loud thump we both crash back on the rooftop. I look at his face; He’s not angry… he’s scared. He opens his eyes, looks at me, and sobs deeply. I move to my knees and hug him. He wraps his arms around me and continues to cry on my shoulder.

“It’s going to be okay. I’ll help you,”

That’s all we say, and we just sit there.

Eventually, he looks to me, signaling he’s ready to go. I stand up and reach out for his hand. The person in front of me is a young man preparing for adulthood, but all I see is a scared little boy. He reaches out and grabs hold of my hand. Our hands lock together, his rough and shaking, with mine small and soft. For that moment, I think, Luke isn’t the type of guy you think would end up on the roof contemplating ending it all, and I’m not the type of girl you think might end up doing anything important with her life, but I realized people aren’t who they seem to be. I’m not just some girl, I’m… a hero?

I pull him to his feet. Hand in hand, we walk from the roof to the attic door. As we make our way out of the building, the crowd applauds us. The police try to take Luke away, but I don’t let him leave my side. It’s not until I give Luke my number and tell him to call me whenever he needs help, and the police assure me they’re going to get him help that I let go of his hand. As I turn to leave, he grasps my hand again.

“Why?” he asks.

“Why what?” I respond, confused.

“Why did you run up there? Why did you save me?”

“Because…” My eyebrows furrow together. Why did I? I didn’t have to, but I never second guessed myself. It was natural. “Because it’s who I am,” I answer softly.

He nods, and with one final glance, I walk away.

Katelyn Hogue lives in a small town in Pennsylvania. She spends her times as a junior in high school and tries to make time to read and write.

Dido’s Will by Karen Mason

To Anna

Wind pours into me,

And I pour out,

Threading first through the people

But eventually floating above us—

They with their warm pulsations and I…

Folded and cold

Around a blade yet to rust.

“What have you done to me?”

Anna, please.

What have I done to you?

What have you done to me?

I wasn’t to love.

I wasn’t to trust.

I knew.

Why didn’t you?

You dignified my missteps but only

Too late.

Let Elissa’s city watch her burn

As she watches her fare melt

And as she ever tangles the stars

For the one whose duty faulted hers.

Don’t burn alongside.

You’re little to Carthage

And little to me.

To Sychaeus

By my blood, you were destroyed,

And, by your ethereal word,

I fled before blood could destroy me, too.

Years like Penelope’s were spent with my

Near unfaltering patience

But all in purposeful futility.

Is her Greek there with you?

Can she call me a sister?

My own is dim;

Odysseus’ tapestry seamstress would doubtless prove

Better company.

My memory of you was

My tapestry,

But I don’t anymore merit

The city I built around it.

A Trojan came,

And I loved him the way

I wouldn’t love the throne-yearning others.

He loved me, too.

He loved me.

He loved me.

But he means to leave before light,

And so do I.

Carthage can have my seat.

I don’t imagine Anna will fit it;

She’s hearted like a child.

I’ll soon be next to you if you’ll have me.

To Aeneas

Go, January prince.

Go if you feel more obligation

To leave than to stay,

And pray that your duality

Won’t destroy another as it’s destroyed me.

You were the

Lone, gleaming confidence

That arose in me in the years since Sychaeus

Bleated, in a dream,

His truth to me;

I hadn’t even sisterly faith.

How am I to trust

When the only man of late I’ve trusted

Has meant to deceive me in the night?


I loved Sychaeus.

What have you done to my love for Sychaeus?

I should have daggered myself then

When he had gone.

Anna will help me into his world.

She’s a stupid, piteous girl,

But she knows how to lay coins and strike matches.

If I’ve guessed that wrong of her,

Just as well.

I’ll will my spirit to lurk in the waves

‘Neath your ships

And topple you over.

Death bears no bounds

To a woman who’s built her own city.