“Celebrating Book Fair” by Ziggy Farrow Walker

Even the kids who don’t like reading are excited while waiting outside this morning. It’s the book fair, which always feels a little like a holiday. So many colors and sounds and smells, so many new things, and not having to go to class. And even without class, the day is so full! Definitely some type of holiday. The bell rings. That means it’s time to go in!

The gym is sparkly clean. This is the cleanest it will be all year. It’s never even this clean to welcome the kids to the first day of school after summer break, but it always gets this clean for the book fair people at book fair time. Must be a holiday. Now to walk around and explore!

Jeremiah and Zophiel are one group of explorers. They met in the waiting room outside the Principal’s office when they were going to get consequences. They each get in trouble a lot. Now they are good friends, and sometimes when they get bored in class, they make trouble together to have a good story. 

Now, they are running around the gym playing tag because they don’t have money for books. Run playing is what gyms are for, right? They are laughing and having so much fun, making sure not to run into people. All those extra twists and turns make it extra fun. Jeremiah swings his arms  in narrow shapes. Zophiel does a cartwheel between two tables.

They hear a whistle and start giggling and running faster! They are in trouble! This is exciting! Now, even though they can’t get any books, they will get a good story. 

Both of them get taken outside. Trouble! It’s happening! The teacher talks about right and wrong, but they don’t pay any mind until she says she will call their parents if it happens again. Oh. They don’t like that. 

Both Zophiel’s parents and Jeremiah’s parents take trouble too far, so much so that it hurts to remember. They don’t talk about it, but maybe it’s part of how and why they’re friends.

They go back inside, thinking about right and wrong, and focusing on not getting in trouble. Jeremiah doesn’t like reading but Zophiel loves it, so he lets them read him the titles of the books as the two of them walk around. It’s so sparkly and clean everywhere. Ideas of right and wrong go round and round in their heads.

Zophiel reads the title of a little book, and Jeremiah smiles. He likes that one. Zophiel looks around to be careful, picks it up, and puts it in their backpack for later.

“Zophiel!” Jeremiah says. “Stealing is wrong!” Both of them start to get a weird heavy feeling in their hearts and in the backs of their eyes, which start to get wet. But neither of them know why. Jeremiah wipes his eyes. Stealing is wrong.

Stealing is wrong. They think about the watery apples and expired pastries they always bite out of the plastic packaging at free breakfast. 

Stealing is wrong. They think about the sixty night limits at the family shelters and the distracted case workers who smile funny.

Stealing is wrong. They think about everyone fighting at lunch recess over who gets the ball because the school only has one.

Stealing is wrong. They think about the time Zophiel got taken away by child services for two whole days.

Stealing is wrong. They think about how old man KT who lives across from school in the tent on the corner got arrested for robbery after he picked an orange from the tree in the mayor’s front yard and has not been seen since.

Stealing is wrong. They think about the families who moved into the empty buildings and then got beat up by the police.

They are crying now. Stealing is wrong.

Stealing is wrong. They think about their parents hitting them after they got in a fight to show them fighting is wrong, and how the two of them never got in a fight after that.

Stealing is wrong. They wipe their eyes. They need a break. Stealing is wrong. Zophiel zips up their backpack. “Zophiel?” Jeremiah says.

“Yeah?” says Zophiel.

“Can I give you a piggyback out of here? And then you can read us the book outside?”

Zophiel nods and jumps on his back. The book fair is always a full day.

“Monkey Woman” by Zipporah Pruitt

Image result for 45 rpm records

Just another ordinary day of opening up my laptop and typing http://www.youtube.com to listen to
music that feels so familiar of a time I never lived through.
I’ve been told I am an old soul. Consuming the music of 60s and 70s, over the years. I wish I
could experience that time where music was so rhythmically beautiful and so conscious
distorted at times.
“Monkey Man” is the song I search on the site, by the Rolling Stones. I watch the lyrics shuffle at
me on my screen, and am enamored by the casual message. A married man looking for a married
woman, who is just like him to fool or ‘’monkey’’ around with.
Though, I cannot not relate or condone the message of the lyrics at all. However, I can’t help that
I find this song so fucking awesome, and myself drawn to it for some supernatural-like reason.
Underplayed and underrated I find this song in the catalog of the Stones music. When I close my
eyes, I imagine myself wearing a striped dress with a nice blouse underneath and cowboy boots.
I am dancing on the grounds of a festival up north, perhaps in San Francisco, feeling out my my
mind, but free and happy.
It is the summer of love by the time the song came out in 1969, much more enjoyable to think
about living then instead of living the summer of 2020.
Despite my life not being too differently now than before, this virus could make one go crazy
being trapped inside. Rather than getting high with drugs, I let myself get high with music.
Wishing it would transport me to that era. Oh what a stunner I would be, maybe I would be more
fashionable, maybe I would be outgoing. Maybe I would even be a star!!!!!
Oh golly gee, oh my…. Damn would that be something else! But I can’t change things, I’ll
make use of this time to feed my soul as my brain absorb these lyrics and encourage me to put
some words on the paper to figure out a story.
A story of a girl like me, wanting to achieve her dreams and be a musical ‘’sensation.’’ A tale of
Cadence and Decadence.. She might like to monkey around too.

“An Overprotective Father” by Yoonbin Ha

“Seriously Dad, you need to calm down. Amy’s eighteen now, she isn’t a naive little girl anymore.”
“Yes, she still is if she’s off with some hotshot pretty boy from school. Those kinds of bastards care more
about getting laid and throwing away their partners after a one-night stand, never mind if he has AIDS or
“Actually, he’s this wimpy nerd she met in computer art class and-What the hell?! I thought Mom got rid
of all your guns!”
“She did. I got this rifle off from a friend back in my old army days and owed me a favor. It was hard
enough finding good quality tranquilizers.”
“No, no, no, no, no, we are not doing this again! Did you not learn after the Taco Tuesday Incident?”
“Hey! I had to protect your older sister from that girly ass Ken creep!”
“Oh my god, you’re still hung up on that? We went over this again and again. His name was Ben and he
was gay. Sarah was helping him set up a surprise birthday party for his boyfriend. The same party you
ruined by barging in with a gun and shot the poor guy.”
“He was perfectly fine.”
“No, he wasn’t and neither was his boyfriend. You scared the shit out of everyone, especially those kids
who still have nightmares about you and set off his pet Satan.”
“His what?”
“You know, that little demon chihuahua that bit me in the nuts. Please, stop while you still have a
chance before she hates you for it for the rest of her life.”
“Now where did I put my keys?”
“Did you seriously not hear what I just said?!”
“Danny, help your old man out before your sister does something she will regret for the rest of her life.”
“Oh my fucking god, I am done with you.”
“I told you your father was too stupid to listen to reason.”
“Wha-Martha?! When did you get here?”
“I was here the whole time dear. Danny texted me that you are trying to ruin Amy’s first date with that
sweet young man I met yesterday. He even asked me for permission to take her to see that new movie she waited for weeks to come out.”
“B-but I-“
“But nothing. Now if you know what’s good for you, you will listen to me. You will leave our daughter be
and let her enjoy her date while you get rid of that damn thing before you get arrested again.”
“Y-yes m’am.”

“At the L.A. County Jail” by Rachel Walters

Image result for L.A. County Jail

I’m at the Los Angeles County Jail, also known as the Twin Towers. The right hand of my wristwatch clicks, as I wait for the loudspeaker to spit out my family name. Just a few hours ago I woke up naked on my living room floor, panicking at the buzzing sound of my phone. I knew whatever it was was going to make me relive something regrettable I said or did. I only remember Christmas lights spinning, the smell of holiday spiced rum, and my fists pounding cement. My head now felt like Christmas lights barely flickering like they were left on until June. Maybe there’s a lesson here I wonder as I look around me. This correctional facility waiting room is crammed with bloodlines begging to become corrected. There are so many children here accompanied by their mothers all visiting their fathers and sons. Generations lost to an unforgiving system. My head aches as the children run around like a stampede as they impatiently wait to see their parents. Their mothers tugging at them and giving them slight reprimands to calm down. Nobody wants to do anything to call attention to themselves in the presence of so many police officers and sheriffs. To the left of me sits a man in a sweater, he looks like the kind of father I saw on television. My dad was one of those parents that only come around on the holidays or birthdays, if you’re lucky. This man wears glasses that have read bedtime stories. He leans over to me, looking away from his book. He begins to tell me a story that I don’t ask for but I listen anyway. He tells me how his son shattered the mirror of his girlfriend’s young face and left behind only beautiful shards of stained glass and a broken bedside clock that no longer ticks. They were in some cheap motel in the desert. He was a rehab runaway and schizophrenic. It wasn’t until someone complained about the smell of overripe flesh that the housekeepers found him next to her body. He was still pressed against her like pages of an unopened motel bible—I can’t help but wonder if they could smell his regret over the rot. Some stories are better saved for the news I think and hope my face isn’t showing too much horror. The man says his son shouldn’t be here and my head decides to take a break from pounding. I overhear other people sharing their stories of what brought them here. What brought them to this room a few days before Christmas. I imagine what it must be like to sit in a cold concrete box, no family, no real food, just alone with your thoughts. The Father’s voice tightens like a clergy collar when he asks why I am here. I tell him that my dad snubbed out the butt of his cigarette on my sister’s ashtray eyelid. He calls him a bad man. I think to myself, at least he didn’t snuff out a life. My last name echoes overhead so loud, even I am embarrassed by it. I wish the man well. I don’t yet know the impact that that story will have on me. All of the hours I will dedicate to searching for him and for her, only to find the same sad story over and over. All of the tears these families must have shed at the same sad story of the man who kills the woman over and over. I enter the phonebooth where I see my father behind scratched plexiglass, with nothing but time in the world. Yes bad. Yes a man. Who played Candyland cross-legged on the living room floor and they don’t know that you always let me win. I feel a sense of gratitude pass though my body and for a split second I am not morning the father I wished I had. I may have never had a bedtime story read to me but I still turned out somewhat functioning. The headache is back to remind me why I am here. That we are all capable of so many bad choices. We are all only ever one bad decision away from being locked behind cold concrete on Christmas Day.

“The Impermanence of $500 When It’s Freezing” by Maggie Quinlan

It was cold out, even for the northeast. It was a certain cold that could reach beyond your
jackets and gloves. It broke the barrier of your skin and made fists around your bones, slowly
constricting its grasp until your skeleton flash froze. Its harrowing presence unrelenting and
The interior of her car was not much warmer. If not for the proximity of our own bodies,
the cramped cabin of the vehicle, the lukewarm air that blasted from the vents, I would have
ventured to call us freezing. Lights blurred past the passenger window, and I pressed my face
closer. I exhaled a hot gust of air onto the glass, and with a gloved finger carefully traced a
“hello” in the condensation. I settled back into my seat and waited for a response.
“Mother fucking piece of shit!” she yelled, and then banged three times on the dashboard
directly above the radio. “He said the heat worked in this damn thing!” and now she firmly
grasped the lip between dash and radio, seemingly trying to shake the heater into existence.
“Mom,” I said, but she wouldn’t hear me.
“I told him I got a kid. Kids need to stay warm. They are small little growing bodies, I
said. They need to stay warm,” she put a cigarette in her mouth, and spoke around it. “What kind
of animal sells a single mother a car with no heat?” She tried once, twice, three times to light it
with gloved fingers.
“Sweetheart, could you?” I relented. Grabbed the small zippo from her, and removed my
own glove. Once, twice, and the glow of the small flame illuminated her face. She looked tired,
and much older than she was.
“I swear you can’t find an honest person anywhere. Everyone is so self serving.” Drag.
“Nobody wants to help. Even for a struggling single mother. I mean, can you believe that horse
shit?” Drag. “He saw you when we bought the car. He heard me say how cold you get! Didn’t
he??” Deep Drag. Window crack. I watch as sparks bounce on the pavement behind us.
It always awed me how she could use me for her own best interest. I was an asset. Social
“Yeah, mom. I heard it.” She continued on, but I was unfocused. My back further
clenched itself against the cold. I retraced my “hello.” I could hear her thoughts spilling out of
her with an ever increasing urgency. She kept taking one hand off the wheel, in harmony with a
repeated sniffling, to run the back of it across her nose. I shrank away from her. I shut my eyes
tight, and breathed deeply for a moment. Then it came to me.
“Why don’t we turn on the radio?” I asked, halting her rant. She looked at me while a
smile played around the edges of her lips.
“Excellent idea,” she said slowly, as if she were sounding out the words. My mother
clicked a button and christmas music crackled through the speakers.
“Don’t you just love Christmas time?” She turned to me, baring her teeth. In my head I
thought about chimpanzees, and their canine filled grins.
“I do,” I whisper, but it was still November. I pray quietly to myself. The cold was
wrapping its arms around me like an untrustworthy friend.“That was Donny Hathaway with “This Christmas” folks,” the overly enthused radio host
clarifies, “Now it’s time for a holiday treat. We know the holiday season can be a stressful time
for all, and we would like to take a little bit of your stress away. How would you like to be $500
richer? Caller 95 will be! 1-800-WPLJ. Caller 95 at 1-800-WPLJ.”
My mother squeals in delight. I sigh in relief, and my back starts to unclench itself.
“Sweetheart, get my cell! Did you hear that number?” I knew that number by heart. “Ok,
you got it? Hand me the phone.”
I watched as she called, hung up, redialed. Called, hung up, redialed. There was a level of
focus that did not often see in her eyes, and I sat transfixed, slowly feeling the cold seep away
from my back and belly, down my arms and legs, to be held in my fingers and toes. I lived
eternally in this ritual. In my mothers uncanny ability and affinity for winning contests, I found
devotion. For me, it was like watching God.
It was only a few more busy signals before she gushed.
“I WON?! I WON!! Baby, did you hear that?! We won!!!” I couldn’t help but beam at
her now, and soon gush right alongside her. “Ahhhhhhh! Okay okay, yes. Got it. Ahhhh thank
She snapped her phone shut, and looked over at me with her own beam, giving her
shoulders a little shrug. She was a movie star. She turned her attention back to the road, and I
watched as the lights of passing cars flashed through her eyes. She flipped her blinker on, the car
slowed, and I was thrown from my reverie.
“Wait. Where are we going?” My mother smiled.
“We just won $500! How about a treat to celebrate… Hot chocolate??”
“Mom, noo. I’m so cold. Can’t we just go home? Please
“You can stay in the car if you’d like. I’ll just be a moment.” She turned into a desolate
gas station, threw the car in park, cut the engine.
“I’ll be right back,” she said, and swiftly kissed me on the head.
I watched her run toward the glowing building, arms straight and fists clenched, fighting
the cold that I could feel settling back around me. There was a man smoking outside the shop.
She must have said something to him, because he turned his head and nodded. I turned my own
head to see my hello had nearly vanished. I traced it again and again, the letters bloating under
my glove.
A bell chimed, and my mother stepped back out into the cold. The smoking man was no
longer there. She turned her head this way and that, as if she were checking for cars before
crossing the street. She went left instead of walking straight towards me. I watched her round the
building until she was no longer in view.
“Hello? HELLO!” I forced my eyes open. A police officer rapped on my window, and
past him I could see the gas station clerk looking on with concern. Outside the sky had changed, showing off a twilight color that always preceded dawn. I looked about the body of our car. I was
alone. I looked back out at the officer, who motioned for me to get out of the car. I did, and the
muscles of my back constricted around my spine, a foreign pain coming to settle in my body.
Snow was falling as he led me towards his car. As I settled into the back seat, streetlight caught
the frost that encased the entirety of my mothers car. From the passenger window, frozen in
perpetuity, a glacial hello.

“Seattle” by Leroy Simpkins

Image result for seattle downtown homeless

It’s been three days on this miserable Greyhound bus, the only relief comes when
we stop in some unknown town, the type that youthful residents dream of one day
escaping. But they did offer a chance to inhale fresh air, and head to the nearest
alcohol refueling station. Stop by stop our group of lost souls would frantically seek to
calm the lonely chaos brewing within. When will this end, I thought, hopelessly trying to convince myself there was actual purpose to my journey. Finally, in the far distance I
could see the space needle, almost there. Another town, another nightmare. I’d
managed to save a couple hundred dollars, a rarity for me. First stop, the nearest liquor
store. There she was, sitting on the cold concrete. “Do you have a cigarette”? She
inquired. “No, but if you show me around, I’ll buy you some” The useless chatter went
on, and the more I drank the less patience I had Finally I asked “why in the hell are
you out here like this” She looked at me and said “I’m a junkie, a heroin addict.” I’d
never seen anyone shoot up before, so I challenged her to prove it. Give me twenty
bucks and wait right here. Here we go I thought, but I was in deep, so I took the
chance. A few moments later she returned. We rented a room and the hell I was in got
even hotter. She became my infatuation, the combination of the drugs and her flesh
consumed my every moment. Eventually I moved on, I couldn’t die that way. I haven’t
seen her in twenty years, but I still can’t forget that day we met.

“Regina’s Epiphany” by Grace Hunter

Regina was always known as successful, tough and confident. She was also
considered one of the beautiful people. A jet-setter in the stock market, Regina had an uncanny
talent for making money, and lots of it. She wore designer clothing, was in love with her
Maserati, had numerous men and women wanting to bed her, or worse have a relationship with
her! She saw her sexual encounters as pleasant biological releases, and nothing more. She
had her heart broken long ago, and kept it that way. She was as vulnerable as anyone, but she
had an impenetrable internal safe, and all the bothersome emotions were locked in there that
she determined were of no use to her. “That shit made you soft!” She was in a highly
competitive, stressful business. “Soft,” wasn’t given permission to be in her life, be it
professionally, or personally, which would explain her hot temper. She wasn’t known for her
compassion, or one to give comfort. And forget about crying. She wouldn’t allow anything or
anyone to provoke a tear out of her. But an event had just taken place, which created one of
those moments where she felt something swell inside of her, and she most certainly didn’t like it!
She gripped the steering wheel as her tires spun in place with heat and smoke, until her
car leaped forward. A high pitched screech rose up, breaking the silence in the late evening air,
as she accelerated down her best friend’s driveway. Her face felt hot with frustration, anger and
something else she couldn’t describe, and she wasn’t the least bit interested in investigating
whatever that feeling was! That feeling kept trying to creep in between the edges of her psyche
now and again, but she had a willful armed guard that took up residence inside of her, and kept
it at bay.
Regina was most generous with her friends, as she had more assets than any of them.
It was easy for her to have numerous acquaintances, and a few very fortunate friends that she
loved, and would do anything for, especially if they needed money, however, emotional support
was not her forte, with that she kept everyone, including herself, at arm’s length. Whenever a
bout of “blue anxiety” would stake a claim on her mood, she would tell everyone that was of any
import, that she was going “dark,” and wouldn’t be checking her phone, and putting it on “do not
disturb,” until further notice. But on this particular evening she knew that Claire had somehow
gotten past the guard, sauntered into the forbidden zone of whatever was “soft,” and woke it up.
Regina came to a screeching halt and the end of the driveway, and turned off the
headlights. A streetlight glared down like a cone of white fog. The porch lights from the
neighboring houses were lit, and shined a harsh, white, fluorescent light that spilled onto the
bushes, and sidewalk. Regina took a deep breath, one after the other, as her mind raced to
places she didn’t want to go. She felt like crying, but cursed out loud instead,
She repeated it, until she screamed it, while her fists pounded the steering wheel. She turned up
the volume of the music playing on the radio, in a further attempt to drown out the thoughts that
were fast approaching. She couldn’t believe it! Claire had nothing of the trappings that she had, nothing close to her wealth, her luxurious lifestyle, her title, nor had access to the high powered
people she associated with, never visited all the exotic places she had, and she was happier!
“HOW COULD THAT BE?!” Regina gasped in a loud whisper. When Claire talked about the sick
ones that had died, she became solemn, but when she spoke about the ones that healed, she
glowed. “SHE GLOWED!” Regina recited loudly to the closed sun roof above her. She played
back what had taken place just a few minutes before. She was such a bad friend to Claire!
Something happened when she talked about the patients she helped nurse back to health. She
exuded a peaceful and tranquil essence, a feeling that was calmly intoxicating without feeling
impaired. In fact, things never seemed as clear. Regina watched as Claire transitioned into
something other worldly, and it felt sacred. Claire looked angelic, and she seemed to be lifted
higher somehow. Regina knew she never had that, or never allowed that feeling to become
manifest. It filled Claire up with light. Regina almost wished she was crazy, hallucinating, but
she made a promise to never lie to herself. She remembered shouting,
At that moment, she saw the shock and hurt on her friend’s face, and it struck her with a hard
pang of sorrow, shame and regret. But it did nothing to quash the anger and confusion she felt.
Regina left soon after, her last words she shouted at Claire was,
Regina bowed her face to her hands and wept for sometime. She didn’t really want to, but she
surrendered to whatever it was. She was too tired to fight anymore. All she could think about
was how Claire looked when she talked about people healing. And how angry it made her that
Claire possessed a type of wealth that she had never known. A stark reality filled her with both
dread and awe. She felt a fevered chill charge through her veins, when she came to realize she
only had it half correct, maybe even less than half. She begrudgingly accepted that whatever
that light was, was all that mattered. Regina didn’t attempt to analyze it, as she had a surety
she never had before, that it was a truth that would not, and could not be denied. She wiped
away her tears, blew her nose, turned the music down, turned the headlights back on, and
backed up the driveway to go apologize to Claire.

“The Adventure of the Ballet Slippers” by La Joy Mc Curtis

Image result for  ballet slippers on couch

Today is the first day we get to travel with Darcy to her first solo dance recital. She is so excited, and we are excited
too. She has been practicing day and night for her big day. We are so proud that we get to experience this moment
with her. Darcy and her parents are running around the house trying to make sure that things go according to plan.
We are sitting and waiting patiently for someone to grab us so that we can attend the dance recital with her.
We heard the front door slammed, keys jangle and the front door lock turned quickly. Oh no, how could they forget
us? Darcy will not be able to perform unless we are there with her. We are her support, and she needs us. She will be
so upset that we are not by her side. Someone has to realize that we are not with Darcy.
I grabbed and held my twin sister, who was sitting next to me on the living room sofa, with my satin arms. “What shall
we do?” My sister yelled out. My dear sister started crying, and I said: “please do not cry, sister.” You will get us both
wet, and we will be stained and ruined. It will be ok, and I will never leave you. There was nothing we could do but sit
here and wait.
The living room started to get dark and creepy. Streetlights beamed through the sheer living room drapes. We saw
huge and scary shadows outside passing by the front living room window. We heard all types of sounds throughout
the house. “Ring, ring,” went the sound of some strange device that was sitting on the side table next to us. We heard
someone talking on the strange device but there was no one there. A cool wind flew above us like someone blew out a
candle. We shook with fear because we thought the end was near. The cool air that blew above us filled the living
room and we started to calm down. We could not escape so I suggested that we close our eyes and meditate. Then we
heard the sound of keys jingling at the front door again. My sister and I started to shake. The front door opened
quickly. The warm air from outside blew the living room curtains above us and we almost fainted. The dark and
creepy living room became bright and busy.
They are back and everyone was looking for us. Darcy’s eyes were filled with tears of joy when she saw us jumping up
and down on the living room sofa. She grabbed and gave us a great big warm hug. We gently wrapped our soft satin
arms around her. We knew she could not forget us. We are special like her. Darcy’s dad had us specially made to fit
her precious little feet. She looked down at us and said thank you for the great support after she finished her
performance. Darcy laughed while the audience cheered her because we tickled her little toes to show our
appreciation. Darcy’s mom placed us on the top of our satin pink box inside Darcy’s room so that we could air out
when we arrived home. We love Darcy but her sour and moist toes we can do without.
Until the next solo dance recital.

“Full Bloom” by Ivan Enriquez

Image result for cherry blossom

Haru prepares as he begins to put on his samurai armor. He puts on his helmet. He grabs his
katana. He goes outside and gets on his horse and rides for the high mountains in the distance.
The wind was strong, a cool breeze sways through Haru’s face
As he approaches the mountains he begins breathing heavily. As he reaches the top of the
mountain, he dismounts from his horse and begins walking towards the halls of fully bloomed
cherry blossom trees. He walks slowly down the halls of trees until eventually he finds his
brother Kenji sitting down under a tree.
He slowly approaches him and once he reaches him, Kenji looks up at Haru. Kenji’s armor is
stained with blood. “You took your time”, Kenji tells Haru.
“The mountain’s pathway is tight and dangerous. It would’ve been a shame if I died on the way
here.” Haru responds.
“You always were cautious”.
There’s a long pause of silence. The only thing they could hear is the wind blowing. After a
while, Haru says “I will admit, you have good taste in scenery.”
“Haromi and Yui loved to come here. Especially during this time of year. You know, as I lay
here, I feel like their voice and spirit roams this place. As if they’re still here. Waiting for me.
That’s why I came here. As my resting place.”
“You know they won’t take you in as a prisoner.” says Haru. “Just about the whole island is
looking for you.”
Kenji responds “That’s why I chose you as my executioner. I can’t think of a better person than
the one I grew up with.”
“And what makes you think I won’t actually kill you?” asks haru
Kenji stands up and grabs his katana leaning by the tree.
“I doubt you will, but nevertheless, you will kill me or else I’ll have somebody else to do it. All I
want is to see them again.”
“Yui and Haromi were innocent though. They never committed any crimes. You however,
you’ve committed multiple dishonorable crimes. Those that violate the code of the samurai.”
“I stopped following codes and orders when they were taken away from me.” responds Kenji.
“By dying here, I am sure that I will be able to see them again in the next life.”
“And what if you defeat me? What will you do? Kill me?” asks Haru.
“Haru, you were always there for me when no else would. I’d never want to kill my own brother.
Don’t worry, I’ll let you win, I always have

“Haunted” by Gabriela Orduna

Image result for ghost

My life was never this miserable. I was raised mainly by my mother. A strong woman,
able to handle everything and anything that was hurled her way. Whether I hurled it, or the world
wanted to see how resilient she really was. My dad left when I was 3. My mother never resented
him, especially when he came back when I was 14. He always wanted to make up for the lost
We never knew why he left in the first place. It was just spontaneous, according to my
mother. He left again when I turned 26. My mother cried, holding me close as if I was also about
to go as well. We held a quiet funeral, just My mom, a couple of close friends and I. A couple of
years later, my mom left too. She was too heartbroken to keep going, I think.
I was in pain, so much that I might have considered moving away from the state, or
country. Just far away enough to forget it all. I stayed, thanks to a couple of friends and my
endless talks in the mirror, telling myself to keep going. It’s what my mother would have
Between my dad leaving and the ceaseless grief, I didn’t have a horrible life. I was
always an average kid. I didn’t cause trouble in school either. I don’t think I have done
something terrible so far in my life so I can’t seem to understand why I am currently suffering?
It’s not grief anymore, it’s been more than a few years since I last felt something like
that, it’s something different now. This…is something more cruel. I can go around telling people
this, but I can’t! People will think I went crazy out of grief. But I can assure everyone that I’m
not, no way I would ever want to make this up like some sort of sick joke. I know what I go
through every single day, every hour, every second.
I fear this constantly because I don’t know when He will say anything.
It’s haunting me. That voice shaking within my head, a constant ringing in my ears worse
than wailing ghosts that linger at first light. Shrill laughter that plagues my existence, taunting
me and filling me with this…this feeling I just can’t explain!
This endless torment that I constantly expect but never fails to catch me off guard. And
I’m constantly dragging my hand over my face. Constantly repressing the urge to just tear
everything up or punch the table or wall.
There are days when it’s quiet. The walls of the house my dad left me are calm, almost as
if resting. It almost tricks me into thinking that the bad days are just nightmares, frequent
nightmares. But on the bad days, constant whispers and shrieks of laughter ring through the vents
and hallways of the house.
I tried everything to get Him out. I visited priests, asked them to rid the house of this
being. When I told them what was going on, even they thought I was joking. I didn’t know what
else to do, so I decided to look through the house for some sort of cursed object or something.
I didn’t find anything, except for a desk. But all that was inside was a book and my dad’s
old notebook. I threw those out just in case they did hold something ungodly.
And I regretted it.
Soon after, He started speaking more frequently. Everything started getting worse to the
point where I just couldn’t stay home for so long. I took more hours at work, took longer walks at
Now, the days are getting colder and holidays are coming, I have no excuse to be away
from home. I can’t afford leaving, no doubt that He will follow me wherever anyways.
I walked down the hall that leads to my kitchen, maybe a glass of wine will help me
sleep. The walls are quiet, and I am hoping that it will stay that way.
But it doesn’t.
It started, a strangely familiar mumble and huffs that sound like choked laughter. I clench
the glass in my hand harder. The walls almost start shaking after I hear a wheezing echoing
through the hallway. I hold my hand over my mouth and close my eyes.
The house goes still.
And I hear the voice of my dad again.
What did the poor little grape do when it was stepped on?
I held my breath
It let out just a little wine.

The peppermint DILDO was spicy.