by Arianna Bledsoe

Description: This is Ollie, the Axolotl, or the Mexican walking fish. She is a salamander all the way from Mexico. She loves her owner, Arianna, loves to eat worms and pellets and loves to swim around her little tank. If you look closely, you’ll see a piano, (Arianna plays it) and funky patterns.


by Hannah Pickering

Who commands your unending journey, adventurer?

What are we more than scattered immortal supernovas, compressed into mortal bodies?

When we pass my dying stars that shatter into billions of ions, spreading light through the galaxy.

Where your brilliance shines just as bright as mine.

Why do we sit in idle wonder when we can sail the galaxies and discover?

How can I convince you that there is more to this universe than what you see with your narrowed eyes?


by Hannah Pickering

There’s blood in these waters son.

Blood that runs so deep in the sediment, that no amount of draining and cleansing would ever strip it.

There have been many men who have stopped at these waters.

Good men.

Bad men.

All men.

Every man has passed through these waters.

Every man has stopped at the edge and stared at his reflection.

Every man has seen the blood swirl in the water to reveal his soul.

And sometimes, the hidden image that’s cast back to him is more terrifying than the one seen by all.

That is the devil that runs in the waters.

There’s blood in these waters son.

And you’d best be careful when you look at your reflection.

For the blood lining your hands will surely reveal your unholy nature.


By Kristina Stanfill

Luminous lights scatter in geometric patterns. My surroundings come alive through a dance of vibrations. It seems as if everything is breathing. Euphoria embraces me. Gravity feels nonexistent yet still bounds me to this ground. My spirit elevates as it resonates with rhythmic vibrations which pulsate through dimensions beyond human comprehension. 


by Tatum Hogan


Working day in and day out,

Tending the garden,

Preparing meals,

Caring for my sick children —

Ernest, Jan, Silas, Virginia —

But never, never letting them see my struggles.

I was all they knew.

As I’m watching them mourn, I wonder.

Who will take care of them?

Maybe they’ll soon have families of their own.

They will struggle;

Good days will outweigh the bad;

They’ll think of me often.

But for once, I have something I’ve never had before:




by James Frazier


Heroes are made immortal.

For heroes, they make bronze statues

And put on parades on beautiful Spring days,

When the White Ash and Willow flowers bloom overhead.

All to commemorate the valiant acts

That heroes commit in the name of peace.

Upon my steed I sat, wearing medals I had not earned,

And waving at people who believed

My tall tales of valor that I had borrowed.

Then a garter snake spooked my horse into hysteria.

He bucked and kicked until I fell, striking my head.

Now I lie alone in this foxhole

That I had heard so many stories about —

Ashamed, for my tales did not follow me,

And my purchased heroism was stripped from me.


By Amy Prince


I, of slender build and dark complexion,

A son, brother, and uncle,

Took for granted what God gave me,

Never taking the time to appreciate the true blessings in life.

I, a once-successful soul full of life and glee,

Have forever lost the dearest love a man could have;

All for the love of a foreign woman.

I had everything I could have ever dreamed:

A family, a house, and little ones to love.

But I threw it away when I met

The foreign woman.

My mind focused only on male-driven desires

And my mouth on hurtful, unthinkable words.

I could not stand the thought of anything

Except the foreign woman.

My hate-filled rumors and words of lies

Spread like a wildfire in a severe drought.

Through the town, more people believed

The untrue stories that I told.

Seemingly, they cared not for the ones truly hurting,

But instead focused on my well-being.

I had placed the wool over everyone’s eyes

Except for the ones who cared the most,

The ones who knew me for who I truly was.

Henceforth, the love of my life –

The one I believed my bride-to-be –

Was using her own scheme

For her own personal desires.

She used me and played me

To become a legal resident.

She left as fast as she arrived

And I found I was chained like a dog to a tree

Until the day of my death.

She, like a snake in the grass, full of evil spirits,

Captured my soul and sold it to the devil.

My soul still alive but my body dust,

I must dwell now in agony and turmoil,

Knowing my decisions focused on devilish desires.




By Sam Muñoz


My parents came from Italy to New York when I was just an infant.

I grew up on the lower East Side of Manhattan.

What a beautiful city mine was.

The hustle and bustle never got to me.

My friends would always come by the house: “Come, let’s play ball!”, they would tell me.

I remember the worry-free days when all I did was walk to Canal Street and buy an ice cream cone from Ms. Wong.

The best ice cream in the city, I tell ya.

There in New York everything went well.

My girlfriend, Rosaria, what a beautiful young girl she was.

I had big dreams: marry Rosaria, open up my own auto parts shop, and maybe even move to Detroit; I hear the car scene there is very good.

But then this war came outta nowhere and stopped everything.

I remember the last words I said to Rosaria before I left: “Don’t forget me.”

I was sent off to France and stationed there for two years.

What devastating things I saw.

A buddy of mine and I were stationed there.

We had to keep a lookout on the camp.

Then we notice the bone-thrilling vibration of the German aeroplanes.

“Take Cover!” was the last thing I said before we were barraged by the German bombs.

So many casualties really do leave a man scarred for life.

Bodies lying left and right.

Blood smeared all over my face.

A man running around searching for his arm.

What terrible things I saw.

But then the war was over.

Oh, how happy I was to go back to my homeland.

I could not wait to see the look on Rosaria’s face when I got to see her for the first time in what felt like a lifetime.

I went back to her house, knocked on the door, and was greeted with the most excruciating news ever.

Lost her to the Spanish flu.

I cried like a baby.

After all, what purpose was there to my life now?

I did not know what to do.

I had an aunt who lived in a small town called Spoon River.

She told me I should go live with her, and help her with her business.

Molte belle donne qui,” she would say to me – not knowing that the hole in my heart could never patched.

I would never be able to look at someone else the way I did Rosaria.

I moved in with my aunt, only to die of this godforbidden flu too.

Oh, how I wish I could go buy a cone from Ms. Wong again!



By Sarah Joyner


I didn’t want to be you anymore.

You were scared, petrified, to be alone.

To be alone was worse than death.

You were dependent, not on material things but on emotional things.

You sought approval above all else;

You changed yourself for that approval.

To not be alone,

You changed.

You became a different person.

You became trapped inside that jail you called your brain,

Imprisoned by your own thoughts.

You saw the world passing you by,

But all you could do was watch everyone else live their lives.

You wondered why you couldn’t live yours,

And then you remembered, you were trapped by your thoughts:

They consumed you, lied to you.

They told you that you would never be enough,

They told you that you would never succeed.

They told you that you would never be happy again.

You stopped trying, trying to be happy, trying to succeed.

You accepted your life sentence.

And you went back to watching from a distance,

As everyone lived their “happy” lives.

I didn’t want to be you anymore.

Only in death could I find happiness.

Death was the only escape.

In death I am at peace, you are at peace, we are at peace.




By Charlie Lor



The following was inspired by this article: In short, scientists discovered an ant colony built directly on top of an old nuclear bunker’s ventilation shaft. Any unlucky ant that loses its grip finds itself trapped inside the bunker, with no way out. The inside of the bunker is cold, dark, and seemingly without food. The bunker is also populated with bats.



I should have listened to you, Sister. Now I have fallen. There are others down here as well. Others who made the same mistake I did.

It is so cold down here. I can barely see anything, but from what I have seen, this land is desolate and barren, Bats swoop in to prey on us at times, and the bodies… So many bodies… Dead, sick, and dying. I want to come home.

It has been five days since I’ve fallen into the Abyss. The others tell me to give up my endeavors to escape, but I won’t give up that easily. Today, I and a group of others who fell with me will begin our journey to leave this bleak land.

Most of them are dead, eaten by the bats. Sister Chirik is gone. I was one of the few fortunate enough to only get knocked back down. I am slightly injured, and it will take me a while to recover. It is disheartening to have lost all my progress, but I will persevere.

Ten days. Ten days in the cold and darkness. Food is scarce, as usual. The others don’t tell me what they’ve been feeding me, but it gives me enough energy to get around. Enough to plan another escape attempt. To whomever that is reading this journal, do not worry, you will escape from this place as well.

I made it, Sister! I have made it to the mouth of the Abyss! Oh how glorious it is! After a night’s rest, I will begin the Ascent.

I hear their screams as they fall past me. It haunts me.

Sister, they won’t stop screaming.

Is this purgatory? Is this hell?

Climbing up an endless chasm while hearing the lamentations of the damned?”

This section that I am climbing seems to be quite unstable, but I think it will hold lon


I have fallen yet again.

The Darkness has claimed me, Sister.