Wind off the ocean. The thrum of the engine. All of it goes in an instant, in a shudder, a death rattle. Eerie silence settles on everyone. Suffocating. “It’s a tomb,” I say, but nobody listens. No one understands. “It’s a corpse,” I say, “And we’re inside its belly, waiting to be devoured.”
They ignore me. A machine can be fixed, they say. A machine is not a body. It can be fixed, it can be fixed. A prayer. But I know the truth and I leave them to their church.
Another death rattle. The water turns darker, darker, an inky blackness spreading out as the clouds come in. A biting wind.
The first out of the water is the crab. Or maybe it is a crab made of other crabs, I don’t know. It’s too big to be just one. Click click, it says as it passes by to the tomb. Click click, I say back. There are screams and the sky turns a little bit redder. Didn’t I tell them to leave? We are in a corpse after all and crabs like corpses.
Fish are more vicious. They come after, in all shapes and sizes. Long teeth, sharp teeth, teeth meant to tear. There’s not so much screaming now. The silence must have suffocated them, the people who thought this ship could be fixed. Machines can die too. The Titanic did. And now we are here too, all bones. Well, they are bones, but I am not. I left. Before the crabs, before the fish.
“It’s a tomb,” I say, but there is no one left to listen to me. So I swim away.
The final version of this piece was featured in Chapman University’s Calliope: Art and Literary Magazine alongside several other great pieces. Check out other issues at chapmancalliope.wordpress.com.
petrichor (n.); a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather
We let the rain wash our sins from our hair and bring relief to sun-scorched tongues. Blackened grass bowed at our feet. Our hair whipped around our faces. The cold stung our cheeks.
You turned to me and said, “We are the queens of everything” and I laughed because it was true. Not for me, but for you, my queen of everything. I was just the humble servant girl in our little game. The one with big hopes and dreams who looked up to you and wondered if she would ever be so beautiful or wise. You caught me staring and smiled, just for a moment.
Then with eyes like gray storm clouds barely reined in, you looked up to the sky and you challenged Thor himself to a fight like only you could. He responded with claps of thunder, so loud I screamed and covered my ears. You had a smile on your face.
The rain ended. You held out your hand. I took it, feeling the rough pads of your fingers against my skin. We watched as the wind chased the clouds away and the sun came out, warming our soaked clothes. I remember thinking this was perfect. And I remember realizing how wrong I was months later when the storm clouds came back.
I was always taught Spring was a soft season.
The pastels, the flowers, girls with ribbons in their hair.
But what about the plants that push through hard, frozen ground
And trees that wake up after Hell freezes over?
There is nothing soft about giving birth and raising young
Hoping they’ll see the sun the next day.
So take your pastels, Spring, wear them like war paint.
Take your flowery thorns, and remember ribbons can be used to choke.
Go check out a guest post I made on my school’s literary magazine’s blog!
Over the past few years, there’s a boom in the publishing industry for one specific genre: Young Adult literature (typically stylized as YA). Walk into any Barnes & Noble and you can see the huge displays, rows of shelves dedicated just to this one genre. As a writer, it’s been interesting to see this from […]
I meant to do this in January but time got away from me. Oops!
Last year was a tough year for me. I didn’t get as much writing done, especially the last half, and it really affected my mood. Not to mention, I lost complete and utter motivation for my novel. I tried to work on it only to find more problems than I could handle: plot holes, stereotypes, tropes… The list goes on and on. All of this led to me yelling, “Screw it!” and tossing my novel into the maybe later list. Even after I’d given it a few months, there wasn’t a creative spark. My novel was effectively dead.
But great news! I’ve made a turnaround this year and have started working on it again. It doesn’t have a name yet, but I’m very excited to start sharing more things about it on my blog as I go along. Keep your eyes out for updates!
I’ve also made some changes to my blog. With the new year comes a new theme and new content. I’ll try to update every two weeks or so, whether it’s novel-related, a new short story or poetry. Hope you like what I have in store!
The wispy, white feathers
of a moon long gone
behind silver clouds.
cut through cloth and fur
as beating winds
and the moon
crashes to earth
for her prey.
The smell of rain on dry earth always made her think of her dreams. Not the ones you had where you wanted to be a firefighter or an astronaut. The kind that came for you in the middle of the night, betrayed you, tore you apart. Those were the dreams she feared would come when the rain set in. Dark storm clouds would dot the sky and she knew she had to get inside. Outside was where the dreams could get her.
She had brief glimpses of fields in the cracks between the clouds. Tall grass brushed against her, sending her into giggling fits as she tumbled toward… something. She never quite made it. The flowers would lose their color, the fields would fall away to a steep cliff and she’d find herself on her horse again. What was she running toward? Or was it running from? She shook her head and didn’t think of it, though the scent of wildflowers still filled her nostrils. It mixed with the dirt turned to mud and if she happened to stay outside for too long after that, she always found tears on her face that she didn’t remember crying. The rain disguised them, at least, but always left her confused. Had there been a farm and a field of flowers where she used to live?
That was the terrifying part. No matter how much she tried to convince herself, how much she pushed those thoughts away, they kept coming back. And what scared her the most was that she wasn’t sure if they were dreams at all.
Trees with bulbous flowers in a face of stone, like Chinese paper lanterns. Red, translucent eyes in a blind jungle. Vines over the water, their whispers among each other. The birds in this humid forest, in the eyes and mouth of that great stone head, songs an echo in an empty space.
The march and march and march of boots through sludge, slick mud. And the sun, too bright, on a hundred dollar bill some sucker like me — a flash, glint, BOOM! A man-made earthquake in this jungle temple. A volley of fire. And I, on the ground, just pieces in front of the stone head of Jesus with red lantern flowers for eyes.
Inspired by “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien.
Belladonna is beautiful except when it taints your blood and makes you a monster in your own skin. And I am a monster. Every teardrop and tear in this fragile heart feeds the poison. Builds it. And it pulls everyone apart.
But me, I don’t want to be like this. I used to think I was a pacifist or an activist but this is neither. This is Eris, goddess of discord, throwing the golden apple. This is beautiful belladonna, poisonous to the touch and I, I don’t want this. But my blood burns and I watch the world burn with it because it’s just something to do.