Written by Erin Nust

The house was a mess. Empty glass bottles rolled on the wooden floor at her passage to the front door.

“It was great. Thanks for everything, Christine”

She didn’t have the articulation to express her thoughts clearly. Alcohol made her mind stutter.

“I know. I’m gonna miss you a-a-all of you, and this”

She made a feeble gesture to show the house behind her.

“You’re gonna have the best parties from now on. Only don’t forget about us here. Holidays are for coming back home, ok?”

Christine broke a smile and she nodded. “Yes. Holidays. I’ll be back.”

She saw the bodies of her friends turn around and dance in the yellow light of her porch. They got into their cars. She closed the door. The house looked menacingly silent, although her ears still rang from the loud bass of the speakers.

There was no way she could bear the weight of her body. With the broken smile still sewed on her pale face, she supported herself on the right wall, right next to the staircase and slid down until her bottom touched the floor.

She let out a burst of a laugh. She didn’t know why. Alcohol made her mind stutter and she hated it. In two days from now, she’d move to another city and be miles away from her home-town–a thought that felt surprisingly relieving.

On the two corners of her smile, she felt the chemical taste of the liquefied mascara that was running all the way through her face. She laughed out again and the sound of her lonely laugh against the dead silence of the house scared her to death. She sounded crazy, chuckling alone, with her makeup wearing off from her face and running out of her pores, melting away, leaving her


naked and alone.

She stretched her hands and investigated her nails. They wore a fading blue colour and they were long enough to cut human flesh. Another chuckle and another sip of mascara in her mouth and she clawed her hands against her naked skin. Like small razors, they hooked to her arm. Christine welcomed the pain. This was relieving: the instant, cruel sense of something other than mere fear; a fear which boiled in a pot in her for years, fear for anything she hasn’t experienced yet, like the first time she kissed someone or the first time she tried a new ice cream flavour because strawberry ran out.

Yes, she was laughing with pleasure (alone, how you re gonna make it, no one can help you now, alone, alone) when she hurt her own self, down on the cold floor after the best party she ever had, after all of her friends hugged her and wished her the best of luck. And still, neither the love nor the hugs filled the empty vase, none of these put her soul on fire more than that exact moment when she impaled herself with her own nails.

And when she had no more power, she unclenched the claw and her mouth was dead dry from the stuck smile on her face. She pushed herself from the floor, stood for a minute and wiped the tears with her right palm. Christine picked up the first bottle of beer she found in front of her, dropped it in a black trash bag and then picked up the next until the whole house was spick and span. Her parents would come back in the morning and everything should have been perfect, herself included.   

Alive in the Night

Written by Parker Gray

My best work has always come alive in the nighttime. I was a night owl as a kid, hiding under the covers with a flashlight, trying not to get caught reading a book after my mother had already told me to put it away and go to bed. Pulling all-nighters in the upstairs playroom with my brother, just trying to beat the last level of Donkey Kong — fighting to stay awake long enough to ensure that we would one day see the final episode of Gilligan’s Island — desperately wanting to know if they’d ever be rescued — If I’d ever be rescued? 

We’d sit on bean bag chairs for hours with our childhood best friends, brainstorming ideas of how we could trick the tooth fairy into leaving us money for popcorn kernels doused in red food coloring… so elegantly disguised as real teeth. But we were just kids. We woke up one day ready to join the world of sleepovers, a night out when parents retired to bed before us, and expectedly so. These nights produced incessant laughter, new friendships, and stories that were only to be shared amongst the primary attendees. These moments in time inevitably molded us into full-blown teenagers. Staying up late as teens, watching pointless pop  shows with the closed captions on and the volume down low — trying to avoid getting caught at an ungodly hour on a school night. 

While breaking the rules in order to somehow sustain relevance in a world none of us fully understood, we, as a group of youths, became more important than the amount of sleep one may have warranted during a crucial developmental time in our lives. Before you knew it, you were an adult and the guidelines had changed. Expectations became firm and ultimately ubiquitous. I have found however, that the pattern has since remained the same for me. Everyone is asleep and according to the commonality of our culture and the status quo of expected behavior throughout adulthood, I probably should be too. 

The designated hours of sleep are dictated by society and the mainstream stance of what is the “norm” as opposed to individuality and spontaneous eruptions of creativity. I beg to differ though, as some of my best work has oftentimes been created in the nighttime. Some of my fondest memories and ideas have formulated during the late hours of the moon’s reign — bred and exhumed effortlessly during the hours of suggested sleep…. each one precisely outlined with specific intentions, illuminated only by the darkness and the silence they carry.

Just because the social order of a proposed culture shares a common, unwritten understanding that we as a community shall operate on a congruous clock in order to be successful — does not mean it is the only way to advance. We are born individually, and, therefore, cannot be held to a generalized standard of success or proposed attainment of any predisposition, which includes universal accomplishment or proficiency. We are all designed to seek and understand life on our own terms, at our own pace. Productivity has no bedtime. Success has no timeline.

Thoughts of a Dying Man

Written by Erin Nust

The crackling wood in the fireplace and the violent gusts of wind, which slammed their way to the window, lullabies the old man. 

He sank in his red velvet armchair with his legs outstretched on a matching footstool. It was his favourite spot in the whole house. On the walls, hundreds of books with the knowledge of thousands of years watched old Peter Bennet, the Spike as he was known in the military, fading away from this world.

Above the fireplace, a younger version of himself hung in a painted portrait. He still carried the same nimbleness in his brown eyes and, although his age, he maintained the witty smile with the perfect teeth. 

Poor old Peter Bennet had met a lot of women before, during, and after the wall, but none of them managed to break the facade of the charming man other than his Gen. She was the daughter of a baker, but she had the heart of a soldier. They met at a bar where she worked as a singer after her father died. Peter was first attracted by her full red lips and the big green eyes, but when he talked to her he found out Genevieve wasn’t all about looks. 

They spent two happy years together until Peter was called to fight for the War. After six months of his service, he received a letter which announced Gev dead from pneumonia. Peter was crushed and even though his fellow soldiers tried to console him with promises of new loves in his life, he knew well there wouldn’t be another person in his life like Gev; he was right.

He got married of course. He married a nice girl named Grace and they had a son. He never gave his heart completely to her and he was feeling guilty for it. Grace was kind and loving and the mother of his child, but she didn’t have Gen’s lion heart, nor the bravery to win him over the way Gen had done all these years ago.

When Grace died, Larry was already twenty years old and in search of his own destiny. Peter had taken his pension and enjoyed his free time mostly in the library, where he studied history and the achievements of great men. He was unnecessary to his son, now.

He could recall the memory of Grace’s death clearly. It was still fresh in his memory, which played sneaky tricks on him, lying about where he left his reading glasses or if he had taken his pills that day. It was late December and Peter hoped Grace would manage to live another year, but her health was deteriorating since September when the blood tests had bad news for her. She was lying on the bed wearing her favourite satin nightie and Peter was standing by the door. Larry, blessed with the optimism and the vibrance of youth, was holding her hand as she heaved for one more breath. Peter knew the relationship with his son was lost the moment Grace left this world. Peter saw him wiping his tears on his face with discretion as if he was in the presence of a stranger. That night they sat on the kitchen table together and smoked silently in the darkness. 

“After mom’s funeral, I’ll have to go back. Lots of college-work,” Larry said and climbed the stairs to his old, childhood bedroom. Peter was fighting with himself to find the words, any words, to talk to his son, but an invisible wall made the effort worthless. It was too late for them.   

Peter liked to think he had a good life, if not a good, then surely a full one and he rarely regretted things he had done. Now that he was sensing his life coming to an end, Peter realized he had some regrets, always regarding the way he treated his family. He was a good husband,  but not the best father; he always put his duty first and, most of the time, that meant for Larry he would have to grow up fatherless.

 They had years to have a proper conversation with each other, Peter thought swallowed by his armchair. The realisation disappointed him.

I am dying and there is no man alive who will shed a real tear for me, he speculated and it made him sad. All of the generals and sergeants loved him. When you share your life with someone and you even are in danger of losing it as well, your base becomes your family and your real home family are just music in the background. 

An owl hooted outside the window and the fire weakened as the time passed. Old Peter Bennet, the Spike, was happy to know he would leave his last breath in his favorite room, on his favorite armchair with joyful memories and others not so pleasant. Most importantly, he was happy to know he served his country the best and he was loved by most people he met in his life; as for the mistakes he had made during his life, in a time like that, he was proud of them too.     


Written by Mei Spring – Instagram: @meispringing

The sea is quiet today because she is thinking. I know how it goes—a day of storms and wild tantrums so huge you’d forget the sun even exists—then the next day, nothing. A silence so calm that it fools even the seagulls comfortably perched on the edge of the cliffs.

I know better than to ask her what’s on her mind. The sea’s temper is fickle—even more so than I am—and another roar of fury from her would mean no rest for me. Instead, I just hop over her waves and peer around for myself. I notice her waters are calm and empty today: no men in their boats, and barely a flicker of a fish. I sigh, looking up at the brilliant sun amongst the cloud-dotted sky, wondering how long it’ll last.

“Go away, wind,” the sea grumbles, and I jump back in alarm. I’d barely heard her intake of breath beneath me, and was hardly expecting her to speak.

“Sea!” I say cheerfully, despite my shock. “Isn’t it wonderful out today?”

“No.” The sea churns, like a storm waiting to be unleashed. “My waters are tainted with the blood of men, and their bodies lie cold in my depths. They have the audacity to bring their horrible machines into my realm, and yet—try as I might—I cannot spit them out.”

I blink. So that’s where they went? I suppose I had wondered where the countless men from yesterday had gone, but quite frankly, it had slipped my mind until now.

“Well, that’s not too bad,” I say. “You taught those bastards a lesson! Now they’ll know not to come back, lest they want to face your wrath.”

The sea is quiet before replying, almost like she’s simmering. Her next words are bitter, spat out in disgust. “And I’m sure you’d know all about that, wouldn’t you, wind?”

“I—” I think I want to say something, but no words come out. My face takes on a shade of perplexion. “What do you mean?”

The sea scoffs. “You’ve forgotten again, haven’t you?” she says glumly. “Of course you have. You’re too fast. Too light. Things pass through you like they’re nothing. Each breath you take is new.” She pauses.“And me, well … things pass through me like I’m everything.”

I frown. “Well, can’t you just do what I do? Leave all your colors behind! Shed this tattered skin for a better one. Forget it all and start anew.”

“It’s not as easy as that,” the sea grumbles, her waves rising ever so slightly. “Just go. If you cannot turn these men away, if you cannot cleanse me, then I’d rather you not speak to me at all.”

The words hurt me momentarily. But I turn tail and run, as she says. I try to replay in my mind what the sea had said, how sorrowful her words seemed, how everything about her radiated hopelessness. There had to be something I could do. Something I could say. And yet, by the time I join the seagulls on their cliffs, I’ve forgotten all about it.

The men come again the next day, bearing tall, colorful flags and strange wooden structures that glide across the sea’s waters. They fascinate me—and with my mind blank, my body beaming with energy—I join them in their quests to destroy. I fuel their sails with my breaths. I playfully run my fingers through their hair. I find entertainment in this greed, this wreckage. It’s unlike anything I have ever seen before.

I don’t even realize when the sea goes silent beneath me.

The Realization

Written by Parker Gray

There’s a moment each day that is unlike any moment you will ever experience again. It’s the moment just before you open your eyes. You begin to understand in your conscious mind that you are awake and no longer dreaming. You are still under the spell of your dreaming mind, though you begin to slowly accept waking up. In this moment, every single morning, you are reborn into whatever it is you choose.

Every morning when I travel between my subconscious and the state of consciousness, I am unaware of any bodily function. I am not in complete control of my movements – I am unaware of my breathing. I can’t even say for sure whether am in control of my feelings. I’m simply at the mercy of the universe channeling me towards whatever the day holds for me. Whatever the future holds for me.

At any given moment during this time, I make the choices that perpetuate my life. Thinking about it now, writing about it, telling you about it through these words, all feels very surreal and overwhelming, as I know this time period is only a matter of seconds…for after that, I am fully awake and on my way to existing in reality again.

Every morning when I take this journey through seconds, I see your face, I whisper your name internally, and I force myself into motion. I find myself no longer pondering the realms of possibility or deciding against even the slightest of movements. I simply travel to you, wherever it is that you are in your dreams, your reality, your heaven or hell, and I find you. I find you and then I move. And even if you cannot feel it when it happens – every morning during this time, I move closer to you. I pull you to me through behaviors and words, through actions and senses, and I continuously act.

Really, without wasting anymore of these blank pages, I thought you should know that during the moments when I lack all control, I choose you. So when I write to you, please know  the distance between us will never stop me from telling you how lovely you are to me —  how I’m so intently set upon making you the happiest person alive for the rest of your life. Loving you has become second nature and I simply cannot wait to choose you again and again,  until there are no more mornings left in my journey.


Written by Trini Rogando – Instagram: @trini.writes

we are waking at dusk to
                   be filled with the

cheshire light of stars. we are 
                   pretending we can see the sun

until morning, waiting and waiting,
                   waxing and waxing—

none of us can really grasp a difference,
                   but still we squint. truly, 

we are never honest. the only
                   candid person we know lives

in the future—and we are empty and yearning
                   for her always—but really 

she has been dead for years. we are 
                   scrambling through the dirt,

ground like rodents, and we are scrabbling
                   for blooms of breath in the phosphorus.

time is like this: a garden of gravesoil, shrouded by
                   ghosts whose tongues are dipped in sunlit gold.

we are trying to ignore our throats burning with
                   wrong words unsaid, our wrong lives living in the

wrong time; we keep rising and rising to 
                   meet this feigning dawn

that has never really chosen us back.

A Bedtime Story

Written by Gacie Nordgren

I shall tell you this, for it is important that you know it. 

There was a time when giants roamed the earth. They were so tall that birds nested in their hair. Why, the heads of the tallest would brush clouds from time to time. They were a peaceful people, with only love printed upon their hearts. They loved the stream that gave them drinks. They loved the forest and all of her creatures. And when humans came to be, the giants loved them too. 

Alas my child, humanity is a fickle creation, and it wasn’t long before problems arose. The humans, so small and fragile, lived in fear of the giants. Too often an accidental misstep resulted in human death; sometimes only one, sometimes an entire village. For the giants were as clumsy as the humans were small. After a while, there was talk among the humans of eliminating the giants for good. All of the great rulers of humankind gathered and conspired to fashion arrows of iron. These arrows were to be shot through the heart of every living giant. 

The owls, who were friends of the giants, informed them of this plot and begged the giants to crush the humans forever, for surely they must be wicked creatures, to concoct a plan such as this! Despite their wickedness, the giants’ love for humanity never faltered. They summoned a great lady of the wood, a woman of ancient knowledge, and asked her to put them under a spell of eternal sleep. Then together, they lay down for the last time, one by one, and slept. 

Nature embraced them, and soon enough they became the earth itself. Their skin hardened into rock. Grass, trees, and bushes sprouted from their backs. Today, they are known by another name, one that we have given to them: Mountains.

 That is why, if one is appreciating the majesty of a mountain, the gods have decreed that they press their forehead to it in thanks. Granting the mountains sweet dreams is the least we humans can do. 

Sleep well, my child, and may you be lucky enough to dream on your own terms. 

Ambivalence, and a Farewell

Written by J.M. Chadwick – Instagram: @jchadw1ck

Same slanted room, new (still familiar) histrionics.
Dark circles like cracked tar,
inhabit the empty barrel of reflected, brown, pebble eyes.
Is it strange to say—to think, even—
that I don’t mind their appearance anymore?

What is contentment 
without intolerability?
And what is the light that must burnout, or burst,
in order for discomfort 
to not be a consequence of growing up?

I’ll ask the wind, once again,
At what time is inconsistency in psyche
not brushed off as young melodramatics?
And is mending my own imbalance
a case charitable enough for my time?

I have never been able to shelve a theory
until every facet is arranged.
At this juncture, I’ve got my whole life in my head.
Filing away my next movements
and predicting the heartbreaks.

Suddenly, the cell-tower fields
hold my heart in a little box.
I’m hugging the broken blinds 
and watering the run-down roads.
I stare at the moon alone now.

I suppose, the green street signs
must fade from my memory one day.
And the vast blueness of the parking lot sky,
and myself, will teleport to a frame.
This really is the end of it.

Be Gentle With Daydreamers

Written by Gracie Nordgren

Be gentle with daydreamers.
They have a rosy poison;
It drips from their lips like nectar,
Thrums through their veins,
Drips into their eyes,
Marring their view of the world 

Be gentle with daydreamers.
Those devoted lovers of potential;
They’ve told you all about 
The oceans of stars that
Their mind is made of,
Yet you know none of this
(It is confined to the realm of dreams)

Be gentle with daydreamers.
Their feet have brushed clouds;
They’ve lived so many lives,
Their hearts stained with longing.
They have tried in vain to grasp eternity
With souls that are restless as wind.

Be gentle with daydreamers.
They are homesick for illusions
And have tasted how things can never be.
They live half-lives.
But maybe someday,
They will wake
And come back to you. 

To Expect Eyes Behind Eyes

Written by Tabalith – Instagram: @taba_lith

With salty lips I stare:
A beautiful man, 
Crouching behind walls of
Human bones — not singing,
None of them — 
But rattling like rats
For this one man
With mute eyes
With deaf lips
With blind ears –

He does not know
He does not know me
One dot of many more
A couple of eyes
Lips moving
Ears, they have to hear
And I hear
Heavens, I hear
The colorless bones, 
Still shining of sweaty 
Human life, 
And they rattle, rattle, 
Rats that hiss, 
And he does not know
He does not know they 
Rattle for him —

I do know
I do know him
One dot of nothing anymore
A beautiful stranger
But – I do know him