The theme this month was crime and cults.
“Jonestown, 1978” by Katie Elmer
At least we dance among the emerald trees
Instead of floating aimlessly down city streets
For us is a mission and path to follow
While you eat and drink but continue to feel hollow
While we find gallons of jungle-clear water
You send your life to an office cubicle for slaughter
We’ll stir pounds of white sugar into the mix
And you’ll continue to seek a pointless, after-hours fix
What is most fulfilling is the sparkle of red powder
A sinister flavor making it taste a little louder
We know the only taste in your mouth is bile
Knowing you are just another robot marching in single file
Coming home you’ll remove belt and tie
And slump on the sofa believing a corporate lie
On TV you saw us laying on the jungle ground
And wondered secretly what purpose we might have found
In pictures our red-stained lips seemed odd
But understand there are many kinds of fraud
We fell to sweet Kool-aid and a trip abroad
But your aimless life is nothing to applaud
At least we had a jungle god
“A Last Cry” by Maddie Gross
“Mr.Dilgan, do you have anything to say before you are sentenced?”
“ I just want to say something that shatters me to think about. Everytime I went to do it,
something else came up. Momma called wanting to see how I was doing, or Jaine called seeing
if I could help out with her kids. I love her kids. They are my pride and joy since I’ll never have
any of my own. Jaine is my sister. She’s more successful than I’ll ever be. She’s a nurse with a
handsome husband. I love that for her. I love her more than life itself. She tried to help me, but
my addiction took over and I was too ignorant to accept my faults. Momma always told me to
work for things and good will come. She always tried to teach me the truth, I just could never
listen. Why am I so damn stubborn. When I couldn’t find who I was, I turned into to someone I
never meant to be. I never wanted to be. It’s funny when you’re lost how far you can go
wandering. But also funny how hidden this all can be. When momma and Jaine both found out
what was going on, they thought they had helped. Of course this was years ago. And it took
years for me to be able to make them think I was better. But I only tried to look better so they’d
stop worrying. And I guess it’s worked because this is the first time in years they have found out
that I am not. But like I said before: everytime I went to do it, they unintentionally stopped me.
Except this time of course.
And it is heartache having to stand up here and admit all of my lies, knowing you two are
listening in the crowd. I am so sorry. No car. No nice house. No good job. Just a trailer park, a
bike, and a lot of trouble. I am so sorry Jaine. I didn’t put my life back together. I didn’t use the
money you lent for good. And momma: I am so sorry. I have disappointed you more than dad
has, and that man’s the devil himself Please have mercy on me momma. I love you both.
“That’s enough Mr. Dilgan. You have been sentenced life in prison.”
The sniper took aim, calmed his breathing, and flexed his finger ever so delicately. The gun in
his arms shuddered as the gunpowder was ignited and the metal was ejected. The mission
completed, he headed back to the army base.
“Great job, that was the last one. You’ve got a month’s leave to go back home. Don’t waste it.”
He boarded the plane back and arrived to the waiting arms of his wife and children, who
slammed into him with the force of his gunpowder. On the road back home he glanced at the
graveyard that rested beside the church. His finger flexed and the bell of the church rang, one
long clear sound. At his house the sound of his children running through the house made his
feet itch. During movie night, the sound of popping popcorn occupied his mind. His wife asked
what was wrong and he said it was nothing, and she asked if it was the killing. That was the
first time they fought. The cool night air made him think of nights spent camping outside but the
weight by his side was missing. He said goodbye to his children and left a week early back to
the plane. As he passed by the graveyard, his finger flexed on the steering wheel while the bell
of the church chimed.
“It Was a Thought.” by Grace Walker
She had a thought
And the thought was small
But it budded and seeded
And ballooned in a ball
It bit in her belly with yellowing teeth
It pronged and it poked from a paretic sheathe
And with ravenous taste it tore and it tugged
It snubbed and it slugged till it choked and out dug
And out the thought ripped to the pit of her chest
Up climbing her ribs in a frantic limbed fest
Snapping the rings of its pale bony ladder
Leaving behind a dark reddened clatter
It wrangled the rope of her neck
Boiled the trek up her throat
It shelled over her eyes in a slimy dark coat
It cut and it burned all the writs she had wrote
The thought made its home
Up there in her head
Where it sang dark to her soul
and wet her tongue red
And spilled out her ears and her eyes and her mouth
Wet the world in streaks, a guise north to south
Breathing her lungs
Eating her lungs
Being her lungs and her breath and her strife.
Because she showed the thought her heart.
And handed it her knife.
She was the thought.
And the thought took her life.
“Death Comes Home” by Sophia Rozzi
I set my foot on the threshold of the large, dungeon-like house before me. Like a wave, a
sense of melancholy and doom washed over my figure. Gargoyles that were all too familiar were
mocking me. They regarded me with their menacing glare as if I was a criminal in their territory.
To their surprise, and to mine even, I used to reside in this confinement of a home. The large
castle of a manor sat atop a large hill in the middle of almost nowhere, surrounded by dark
forests. When my love died, I moved out immediately. I couldn’t bare to stay one more minute in
this house. I’ve come back today, after one month, to collect some things I had left behind. I
exhaled a breath that I was unaware I had been holding, and held the thick rusted key in my
hand. I found myself unlocking the door and entering the house without my own consciousness.
A gust of wind entered with me, and dust flew everywhere. The grand chandelier above the
sitting quarters shook. Beams of moonlight came in through the windows, and illuminated our
grand couch, covered in dust, dirt and grime. The once white carpets had been stained with a
multitude of different colors like browns, greens, reds, and the like. Presumably from other
animals that had been living here. The many coffee tables in the sitting quarters had been
covered with dirt. I took a moment of silence to let the memories flood through me. The front
door closed on it’s own with a thud. It shook me from my thoughts, and I realized that I did not
have time to revel in the past. I got back on track. I passed through our sitting quarters and the
grand staircase was upon me. I took the first step. The atmosphere was unwelcoming, but I
thought to myself that I must tread on. I kept on up the staircase. With every step I took, the
unwelcoming feeling only intensified.
I reached the top, gazing around me at a multitude of different hallways. The halls were
dimly lit by the moonlight that sifted through the windows and worn out, ripped up curtains. I
assumed all the rats and bats now living here had done this. I sauntered down the hallway
directly ahead of my person, and somehow it was the darkest of hallways. At the beginning of
the corridor, there was a small table with a candle sitting atop. I took the lighter from my pocket,
and lit the candle. I could see only about a foot in front of me with the candle, but some light is
better than none. With the candle in my hand I walked on down the hallway. The walls were
lined with painted portraits of my old family members. Grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles,
aunts, and cousins from generations upon generations in the past. Their eyes seemed to watch me
as I tread down the hallway further. I reached some doors, and due to the darkness, I could not
pinpoint which rooms they led to. I opened one door to find our parlor. Many a days my husband
and I spent in here in the late evenings after our dinner parties. We would drink until dawn.
Occasionally, my husband and his many a confidant would lounge in here with their cigars and
sip brandy until one o’clock in the morning. With a heavy sigh, I pulled the door closed for the
last time. I moved on, my footsteps echoing throughout.
The next door I came upon was the entrance to our second level sunroom. I heard small
squeaks from bats above, though I couldn’t see them. I observed what used to be our white
leather chairs, which were now a brown-green color. The feeling of a small animal across my
feet startled me, and I jumped with a loud shout. Once I composed myself, I quickly shut the
door. A plethora of warm Summer afternoons were spent in there, my husband reading the
newspaper and I completing the crossword puzzles. During the morning, we would sip our coffee
and talk about what the following day held for us, together. Once more, I looked away from the
door and moved on. I saw that I had reached the end of the hallway, and the door to the grand
bedroom, our bedroom. I removed the key to the grand bedroom from my pocket. I was simply
going to enter the room, take my things, and leave.
I turned the lock open, and I swung the door wide open. Nothing was too different about this
room, other than the dirt. Everything was as I had left it. The ridiculously cold temperature
lingered. The curtains were all closed. I stepped into the room and quickly shut the door behind
me. I set the key back in my pocket and set the candle down on the dresser next to me. I retrieved
my lighter once more and lit the many candles around the room, carefully maneuvering around in
the dark. I could see the moon aching to burst through the curtains, so I drew them back. The
room was immediately well illuminated by the moonlight. I turned my back to the window, and
in front of me lay everything exactly as I left it. A heavy sigh escaped me and I felt my lips tug
into a grin.
I approached him. The axe, surprisingly, still stood upright. I took a firm grip and pulled it
from his skull, and dropped it to the ground. The body created a hideous odor that near made my
eyes water. I approached my bed and got on my hands and knees. From under my bed, I pulled a
large black duffel bag. From my back pocket, I pulled white latex gloves. After I had slid them
on, I picked up my axe. I got to work, making sure to work with caution and ease. Once I was
finished, I dropped the axe and wiped sweat from my forehead. I lifted the pieces, and tossed
them into the bag. Just as I had zipped up the bag, the candles were blown out. I figured it had
just been a small draft, but then the curtains drew themselves closed. I knew, that in that
moment, I was not alone.