Category Archives: Arts & Entertainment

[promoslider category=”Arts and Entertainment”]

The Arcade – Part 2

When Saturday morning came, Darren had his mom drop him off at the library at 8:30, with the promise that he’d be ready to leave by four. Hopefully that would give him and Jake enough time to really explore, and maybe if the plan went well, they could do it again.

“Bye sweetheart! I love you!” his mother said, waving at him as he got out of the car.

“Bye, mom. I love you, too.”

Darren made his way into the library, greeting the librarian with a nod before moving to one of the back tables, far from her sight. Now he just had to wait for Jake to see what his friend had brought to serve as a disguise. Hopefully it would be an effective one.

Jake arrived at 9:02 and handed Darren a Walmart bag filled with clothes.

“Alright, go put this stuff on and tell me what you think.”

Darren took the bag and made his way to the bathroom to change, being careful to stay out of sight, just in case someone was in the mood to gossip. Jake’s disguise bag had several different options, and Darren took his time looking through it once he was alone. Continue reading The Arcade – Part 2

Child of Starlight: Issue 3 – Part 4: Necessities – Part 2

The mundane noises of the morning grated on Aliene as she caved in, asking, “Do you have a large family?”

Jacobus flinched slightly. “Yes,” he paused, gathering the words, “as far as I know, my parents still live and I have a few brothers and sisters as well.”

“A few?” Aliene took a moment; most parents only had two or three children within the tribes. “That normal for most families in Schillia?”

“Generally, though mine is still bigger than most. I was the ninth child of ten.” Jacobus was staring at his fish as if it would disappear. “Most of us had joined the armies, I don’t know where they all are now.”

Continue reading Child of Starlight: Issue 3 – Part 4: Necessities – Part 2

Why So Paranoid?

I carry a black four-inch pocket knife
covered in roses in my boot,
And pink mini mace next to a white alarm
hung around my neck.

A year ago, I got scared of a dog
when it ran up on me and my friends.
And I screamed, being heard by all
four buildings around us.
And PD got called because
someone thought I was hurt.
I was told, “You’d never get hurt
with a pair of lungs like that.”

I am taught men are wild creatures
that can’t control themselves.
I never wore short skirts and low-cut tops,
I always wore comfy t shirts with jeans.
I never went to parties with my friends
Or took drinks from others
Because I was paranoid.

But it still happened.
It’s my fault I trusted you.
I went alone into your room unarmed.
It’s my fault I believed a pathological liar.
That I couldn’t stop you.
That I couldn’t scream.
That I froze.
All I could do was beg you to stop and cry.
It is your fault it happened.

I carry a four-inch fixed blade knife on my hip
And a pink bedazzled taser in my purse.
One day I’ll replace them with a neck knife
hanging under my shirt
And a .380 baby rock pistol
concealed on my side.

I keep guys at yard length.
Never go in rooms alone.
Never let my guard down even with friends
Because what if he has bad intentions too?

Castle of Crows – Part 10

After all the noise of the night before, I’d expected there to be a little damage to the staircase outside the door, but given how firmly shut the door had stayed I had figured the rest of the hall would be similarly resilient. I was very wrong.

The walls were covered in large scratches and scorch marks, and what was left of the staircase was mostly just rubble.

“Careful going down, Dillon,” Nixie said, leading the way down. I didn’t know how she felt comfortable walking down the stairs barefoot, but I very thankful for my sneakers as I picked my way around the rubble. As soon as we had all made it through the door Macey shut it behind us, and the hallway was plunged into darkness. It was quiet except for the sound of the locks clicking into place, and I wondered if the others were taking a moment to let their eyes adjust too. Could crows see in the dark? Or did that not matter, because they were technically magical creatures?

I could see the faintest light from up ahead, but the stairs curved so much that it didn’t really help me. I could barely even see my own hand in front of my face, let alone a safe path down the stairs. It made me wish I’d thought to take the candle with me, at least then I’d have something to see by. Although… Nixie never said that I had to have a candle to make fire. Continue reading Castle of Crows – Part 10

Child of Starlight: Issue 3 – Part 4: Necessities – Part 1

Dreams of gnashing teeth and yellow eyes plagued Aliene as she slept; the vague sense of danger scratched at her mind until it broke through, snapping her awake. Under the pale light of a waxing moon and shimmering stars, numerous eyes peered at her from the edge of the campsite. Aliene grabbed hold of the instinctual fear within her and strangled it angrily, sharing the feelings through her reach as she let it expand. The watching eyes blinked, dissolving back into the forest, leaving only the slight rustle of grasses and leaves.

Aliene woke up again to the more pleasant greetings of the sun reaching over her and Jacobus. Blinking away sleep, Aliene sat up looking around the camp listening intently. Beneath the calls of birds and other small animals the steady slushing sounds of the river beckoned to her. Aliene rummaged through her pack, retrieving the replacement shirt in a similar style to Jacobus’, and the pair of loose pants both were dark blue. As she took her clothes out and stood to leave Jacobus sat up yawning, “Be back in a few.” She ventured away from their camp as he signed a thumbs up.

The small river Jacobus found a few days ago had been working well as a guide for the past couple of days. They had shared each other’s skills to determine what work would be best, she had come to accept the monk was going to be better in direct combat, the man was tough above all else. He had been interested to learn of her stealthy approach but wasn’t surprised given her hunter label. Aliene let her mind wander to the many questions still lingering within her mind as she became accustomed to the rivers chilled waters. She scrubbed herself as best she could finding a few scratches and bruises that had yet to heal fully. After rinsing her old clothes she stepped from the water, placing her palms together. Aliene focused her reach to the surface of her skin gently raising the temperature and drying away the water. Continue reading Child of Starlight: Issue 3 – Part 4: Necessities – Part 1

The Arcade – Part 1

Darren had never been to an arcade, but they’d always seemed like fun when he saw them on TV. So, when his best friend proposed that they check out the new one that had just opened across town, Darren had initially been excited by the idea.

“So you’ll come with me this Saturday?” Jake asked, grinning over the homework that only Darren was bothering to do.

Darren slumped, feeling defeated. “I can’t, you know how my mom is. I never get to do anything fun. She’s only letting me hang out with you because she thinks I’m tutoring you.”

“You could tutor me just as effectively at the arcade,” Jake argued, leaning back in his chair and twirling his pen between his fingers. Darren rolled his eyes.

“You mean because I’m completely ineffective as a tutor?” Darren said, glaring at Jake’s unfinished, unstarted, math homework.

“Nah, you’re a great tutor, dude,” Jake said. “I totally understand this stuff thanks to you, and if I actually cared, you’d have gotten my grade up to an A ages ago.”

Darren snorted, turning back to his own homework with a shake of his head. Jake’s math grade was a lost cause, and everyone knew it.

“So! Arcade?” Jake asked, leaning forward again and slamming the front legs of his chair down. The librarian shot them a dirty look, and Darren gave her an apologetic smile.

“Jake, I’d love to, but my mom’s never gonna say yes,” Darren said, shaking his head in dismay. “Sorry man.”

“So don’t ask!” Jake said, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. “Just say you’re going to the library or something.”

“And what if someone sees me at the arcade? If it gets back to her that I lied, she’d never let me out again,” Darren said. “It’s too risky.”

“So then we’ll disguise you!” Jake said. “Look, tell your mom you want to spend the day studying, then I’ll meet you here with a killer disguise that no PTA mom would ever see through, and then we can sneak over to the arcade and actually have fun and be normal teenagers for once! Then we sneak back to the library, you change back into your boring regular clothes, and your mom is none the wiser! It’s genius.”

“It’s certainly something,” Darren said, giving his friend an eyeroll.

“But is it something that you’ll agree to?” Jake asked, looking at his friend imploringly. Darren knew that if he said no, Jake would respect his wishes and drop it. Jake was a good friend like that, always encouraging Darren to have fun without ever really pushing him out of his comfort zone. If he wanted to, Darren could end this conversation. But I don’t want to.

“Alright, I’ll meet you here on Saturday and if your disguise for me is convincing enough, we can go to the arcade,” Darren said. “But only if it really is convincing!”

Jake grinned, “Whoo!”

“Shhh!” the librarian practically hissed, and Jake at least had the decency to look ashamed.

“Sorry, Ma’am,” he said, “I’ll be quiet.” The librarian didn’t seem very convinced, but she left them be.

“Alright, well I’m gonna go get started on your disguise,” Jake said, shoveling his things into his backpack. All of his papers were going to be crushed, but Darren did his best not to be worried by that fact. It wasn’t like Jake was going to turn any of them in. “I’ll see you Saturday morning at nine, okay?”

“Okay,” Darren said, putting his own homework away, though much more carefully than his friend had. Saturday was three days away, and Darren couldn’t wait.

Child of Starlight: Issue 3 – Part 3: Cage of Freedom – Part 2

The two trekked in silence for a while until Aliene interrupted the quiet. “Where do you think we should go?”

Jacobus bit his lip as he thought. “To find a map, get supplies, or wait. Do you have any money or something we could trade?”

Aliene stopped walking her eyes widening a bit. “So, is it just me or is having so many choices just as annoying as having none?”

Jacobus smiled. “We assume freedom is a luxury, something so enjoyable, but structure gives us focus, and focus makes us better,”

Aliene laughed dryly. “Didn’t realize monks became so versed in the ways of life.” Aliene spread her arms dramatically, punctuating her statement with a smirk.

The monk mimicked her laugh. “They do not mostly. That was from my first commander.” Jacobus looked into the distance, caught in a provoked memory that smeared a thin smile on his face.

Aliene adjusted the straps on her shoulders, taking a moment to appreciate the plant life thriving around them. Small creatures scurried about, the pleasant smell a welcome relief after the Morbid Row had clouded the senses with smells of wet rot. She was pulled from her instinct to catalog her surroundings by an itching thought. “You said first commander. Did you have many others?”

“Three in total, all great leaders, but the first and third were good men as well.” Jacobus lost the subtle smile he had been wearing. “Did you have only one?”

Aliene hesitated to answer. It occurred to her that the world at large didn’t know a lot about the tribes; it was something Misten wanted apparently. Her stream of thoughts was brought to a halt when she realized she had thought the tribes, not her tribes. Aliene felt her stomach tighten. She had to blink rapidly as she processed her realization. She wasn’t a member; had she ever been? Was she bound to the rules still? Should she even care?

Jacobus looked over to her as she had been quiet for a few minutes. She looked back at him and cut him off before he could speak, “Yes, just one. The tribes prefer a one-to-one mentor system as it keeps the training focused.”

Jacobus nodded. “Sounds logical. We train in such large groups that much of what we learn must be uncomplicated and easy to build on quickly. Simply a difference in scale again.”

The two finally reached a small clearing as the sun began sagging on the horizon and made camp. Aliene left the fire to Jacobus and set out with her short sword to catch something to eat. She managed to catch a rabbit and returned to Jacobus weaving a cone of reeds by the fire.

“I’ll go and place this in the stream I found nearby,” Jacobus pointed, indicating the direction. “Should be able to trap some fish overnight.”

Aliene nodded and set to preparing her catch. “I’ve given it some thought, what we should do first.” Jacobus looked up but continued weaving, waiting for her to continue. “If we want to do anything, we will need money, but I don’t really know where we could go to earn anything quickly.”

Jacobus nodded. “I passed a small village that’s along the coast east of here; they should have some problem that we can solve.”

Aliene stared into the fire watching the flames dance, some jumping up to lick the meat of her rabbit. Is such a mundane path really all I have? The thought pressed to escape her mouth but she held it back by pursing her lips. She looked up to the stars as they glittered above, so detached from where she sat.

Child of Starlight: Issue 3 – Part 3: Cage of Freedom – Part 1

Songs from a dozen birds filled Aliene’s ears as she woke, and she nearly jumped from her bedroll, the quick movements causing the birds to flutter into the sky. Aliene let her mind run down its list of questions quickly – she was awake, sore but not injured; good start. The thought of her magic bow sent an alarm through Aliene until she slammed her hands down and found it by her side. Her pack was at the foot of her bedroll. She finally caught up with her instinctive thoughts as the fog of sleep left and she noticed Jacobus off to the edge of the small clearing. He was facing away from her, sitting cross-legged, his tunic gone, and Aliene had the answer to what happened at the end of their fight.

Jacobus’ back had numerous marks all over it, from small scrapes to deep ragged slashes. He had caught her; the bow had drained too much from her and knocked her out. The force of the bolt firing had sent her flying since she wasn’t on the ground. In a split-second, Jacobus had caught Aliene and shielded her as they both slammed through the wall of branches and thorns. Aliene was about to speak then noticed the monk had old scars along his back that outnumbered the fresh wounds; the thought twisted her mind from thanks, to concern, to questions.

“The scratches look worse than they are. How are you feeling?” Jacobus’ voice was calm, as if they hadn’t just faced a forest guardian and lived to tell.

“I’m fine, did the Leshii come after us?” Aliene asked, adjusting her shirt and trousers after sleeping in them for what must have been the whole night.

Jacobus turned just his head looking over his shoulder. “So, you did not see what happened?”

“No, it all went dark after I fired.”

The monk turned the rest of himself around. He looked ragged with darkened bags beneath his eyes. “All that was left of that beast was the two small stumps it had for feet.” He paused for a moment then finished speaking. “With that bow, you vaporized the Leshii. That shot was awe-inspiringly powerful.”

Aliene would have been shaken if she wasn’t so physically tired. She pulled the bow from her side and examined the blue, metal-like frame. She ran her fingers over the fins that extended out. “But it has a drawback.” Aliene smiled lightly from her vocalized thought, though Jacobus didn’t seem to catch her second meaning.

“Indeed, you were left basically comatose for nearly twelve hours.” Jacobus’ voice was calm but his eyes pierced her. The monk pulled his pack to him and began searching through it before pulling out a Misten Shirt made of silk. He rubbed the material, examining the dark green garment, putting it on he asked, “Are you feeling well enough to walk again?”

Before he pulled the garment down, Aliene caught a glimpse of a tattoo in blue ink, a lion head encircled by symbols. She decided against asking as many tattoos were for private matters in Misten. Aliene nodded and began rolling her bed up, lost in thought for a moment as she considered where to travel. Schillia was out but she did need to get supplies. As she lifted her pack she had another thought. “You still have the ingot, right?” Aliene asked as the two started walking along a small trail leading away from the campsite.

“I do. Centauri said the being that could use it was north, in the Thundering mountains I assume.” Jacobus winced a bit as he stepped down hard on the train as it dropped sharply.

“I guess.”

“Finding a specific place in them though is going to pose a problem. Without a map, we could wander the mountain range for a lifetime and never find anything.” The monk moved slower to stay by Aliene’s side as the path widened.

Rosy Revolver

Your Bolivian Rosewood grip fits and melds into my palm,
A custom-made extension of my limb that feels completely organic.
Your barrel stainless steel with intricate roses engraved on you,
Like beautiful wild roses covering the soft skin of a woman’s ribs.

I see the essence of you in your reflective mirror.
I envision a strong woman holding a red rose covered in briars
Cutting her palm, dripping blood as she refuses to let go.
When I hold you, I am reminded of the old days
When I didn’t need, but I desired you.
When I looked at you only admiring your beauty.

Your cylinder holds six .38 specials.
I pull your trigger and you push out the bullets
And kick up like a woman dancing choreography you know well.
Cock and pull back, explode out, push forward, kick up and repeat five times then reload.

I feel the reassuring icy touch of you digging into my side
Constantly reminding me you’re there.
You’re the type of woman often called a bitch
But truly you just have an ironclad heart
As you protect those who you hold dear.

Some may fear you because you are ‘dangerous,’
But you are as safe as a kitchen knife
So long as I am careful you won’t hurt anyone,
But if I am threatened
You’re a mama bear prepared to protect.

They try to ban you, take you away,
And, yes, not everyone deserves you.
But just because you can hurt
Doesn’t mean you should be taken away.
Most of us who love you
Use mama bear to protect us
Or just keep you to admire your beauty.
So why should you be taken away from us
When we never abused you?

Child of Starlight: Issue 3 – Part 2: Creeping Rot – Part 2

The bolt from her bow struck much harder than the monk had, causing the still airborne mass of monster to nearly land on top of Jacobus. The monk reacted by pulling back his fist, letting his magic fill him; as he punched the monster a loud crack preceded the leshii being planted into the ground. The monk leaped towards Aliene, making it halfway back until he spun around to see the leshii rising from the ground. The monster shifted on its legs, repeatedly snapping its body back and forth, resetting its limbs and head after the assault it endured.

With a hissing exhale of mist the leshii reached out its hand, splaying its long twiglike claws as a ragged moan filled the air. The sour scent of the leshii’s magic filled the air as the monster’s reach expanded over the ground and narrowed on the pools of black sludge. Foul air bubbled from the dark pools as the water boiled violently. Jacobus and Aliene stared as the waters calmed down; from the stillness bulged forms of flowing oily sludge, and they rose out of the different pools as a pack of grotesque wolves. Gurgling at the pair of stunned mages, the pack spread into a semi-circle and marched towards them as the leshii lumbered behind them.

Jacobus backed further towards Aliene then said, “Any changes to the plan?”

Aliene flexed her jaw, eyeing the wolven forms approaching. “Just one; don’t let the water get on your skin.”

Jacobus nodded, raising the point of the short sword he held towards the leshii. “Taking him out should dispel this, right?”

Aliene shrugged, aiming her bow again, and drawing another arrow of magic, the air close to her shimmered, then glittered as the arrow grew. Jacobus rushed away from her suddenly while flinging the sword at the wolves, getting their attention. Four of the oily beasts pursued the monk as two charged Aliene, but those stopped short at the crunching sound of Jacobus ripping up the remains of a tree half submerged in water and earth. The whole pack and leshii turned towards the monk; Aliene then figured out Jacobus’ plan and jumped up. Continue reading Child of Starlight: Issue 3 – Part 2: Creeping Rot – Part 2

Nostalgic Night

A woman sits on the bar stool next to him,
Sipping on a glass of Jim Beam whiskey and Sprite,
Smelling sweet like bittersweet honeysuckles
From that bush outside her childhood church.
A Marlboro slate cigarette in her mouth
That he lights with a match from her purse,
Smelling like a mini campfire.
She breathes in the menthol,
A bitterness like burnt mint leaves
Meant to garnish an extravagant meal
That she burnt in the kitchen
When she got distracted by him.
She breathes out a cloud of smoke
That rolls out like a storm
Smelling of nostalgia.

He remembers when she first tried one
At a bonfire when she was wine drunk and young.
She was angry, going to the bottle for numbness
After a fight with her mother.
She bummed a cigarette off him
And had to be taught how to smoke it.
She couldn’t even light it by herself
Without burning her fingers.
She breathed it in, a knot tight in her throat,
A nicotine high making the world spin,
A turntable of numbness from the feeling,
Breathing out apathy with no regret.

Now she smiles at him with dark red lips as if painted with blood,
A mischievous sparkle in her eyes like the diamonds on her left hand.
She orders a strawberry martini as he orders another pitcher of beer.
Revisiting the past in a bar both of them know well.
It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?

She grabs his hand and drags him after her,
Her long dress spinning to the music,
Daisies spun in the hand of a flower girl.
She sings all while he watches her.
She’s still ferociously adorable,
Even when she tries to be an adult.
She can’t hide it around him,
Giggling as they dance
Like they did on their wedding day.

Castle of Crows – Part 8

It turns out that magic is a little more difficult than it looks in the movies, but that mostly has to do with how finicky artifacts are. The first artifact Nixie gave me was a pocket watch that was supposed to be able to freeze objects and enemies in mid-air. The plan was for her and Baron to throw apples at me and see if I could stop them from hitting me. I didn’t like the plan, but I figured if I argued I wouldn’t get to help, so I agreed and moved away from the window.

“Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work for you right away,” Nixie said. “Artifacts have to be attuned to your energy before they’ll work properly, and some of them may not be able to do so right away, or at all, in some cases.”

“What cases are those?” Macey asked, eyeing the watch like it might bite her, and holding up the recipe book like a shield. I thought that was silly since nobody was going to throw fruit at her.

“Sometimes artifacts grow attached to their users, and then they won’t work correctly for anyone else,” Baron said. “Other times their energy just isn’t meant to match up with their would be user. There are ways to test for that other than just trying to use the artifacts, but we don’t really have time for that.”

“Okay, so how is this watch supposed to work then? Like is there a word, or—Ow! Hey!” Continue reading Castle of Crows – Part 8

Child of Starlight: Issue 3 – Part 2: Creeping Rot – Part 1

Under the falling rays of sunlight, the Morbid Row took on a surreal appearance. Such subtle tones of pastel reds and yellows in the sky were contrasted by the bleak ground of dying trees and smoking oily waters. Stepping lightly over the stray branches, Jacobus and Aliene moved as smoothly as they could over pools and brush.

When they were close enough to whisper, Jacobus waited for a moment before saying, “We are being watched.”

“Quiet,” Aliene whispered as she crouched beneath a large tree mostly fallen over. “I know, and we should avoid disturbing them.”

The pair had to resist activating their reach as invisible eyes cast chilling glances from every direction. Their pace was labored and tedious, and it took hours for the edge came into view, a wall of twisting gnarled branches from shortened trees. As the two travelers reached the wall, Jacobus breathed a sigh of relief as the hidden glares fell away. Aliene looked down one way and then the other, unable to see a clean path through the branches.

Jacobus turned to Aliene asking with a look, What now? She shrugged, eyeing the obstacle top to bottom. She stepped closer to the tangled branches before waving over Jacobus. The monk stepped silently towards her, his eyes still shifting to the sides. “Think you could leap over it?” Aliene asked, keeping her voice low. Continue reading Child of Starlight: Issue 3 – Part 2: Creeping Rot – Part 1

Ode to Hot Sauce

You burn my tongue
Yet your taste tempts me on
I twist and lift your top
And sniff your essence
My eyes water

You flavor my fries
You coat my wings
And drip onto my ramen
I crave you on all foods now
Is it an obsession or a phase?

Tabasco, Texas Pete, Taco Bell Fire
My forehead sweaty
My nose runny
Lips burning
I love the feeling of the burn

I savor your flavor and
Capture the rapture of the sensation
Every moment you’re in my mouth
I keep water at my side
Although not even H2O can stop the heat

I tried to hold back the tears
But one day I couldn’t fight it anymore
The burn, the thrill became part of me
One day it might backfire
But I like to Live Mas

The Adventures of Thalia and Friends: The Break-In

I didn’t know who or what decided the weather, but around here, when it got cold, it was cold, and I felt pity for anyone who didn’t have the option of retreating into the relative warmth of a dorm building.

Mostly, I felt bad for Polyhymnia, as her ongoing attempts to break into the building only got more desperate on days like today.  She’d spent the last hour or so attempting to climb the fire escape, and the windowsill I was sitting on gave me the perfect view. It wasn’t going well.

“She still at it?” Calliope asked. She had given up on watching  Polyhymnia fall and was now digging through the accumulated food in the small room. Why the humans piled up perfectly good food with random stuff and locked it all up in a small room was beyond my understanding, but I appreciated the ease of access.

“Yep. She’s trying to use a little tree to lean over onto the metal platform. It’s not really working,” I said.

“Poor Polly,” Calliope said. “I wish there was a way we could help her out.”

“How? She can’t fit through the holes we use to get in and out,” I said. I like Calliope, but sometimes I think she’s a little too nice for her own good. Maybe it’s a mouse thing?

“I know, Tals, but what if we could get the humans to open a door for her? Or maybe prop one open!” Calliope said. I sighed.

“Cali, I love you, but that’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard,” I said. “You know how the humans get when they spot us, we’d never pull something like that off. And even if we did, they’d spot Polly in an instant. What if she got hurt?”

Calliope sighed. “I know, but I hate seeing her struggle like this.”

Just as she spoke there was a crash outside, followed by a human screaming. I looked back out the window to see that the little tree Polyhymnia had been using had been uprooted, and had crashed into the building. There was now a human screaming and pointing at Polyhymnia while another human chased her away with a broom.

“I think she’s giving up now,” I said, watching her walk off.

“We should bring her something to cheer her up,” Calliope said. “I think I smell some pizza in here. The humans never try to stop us when we drag that around.”

“Sure, let’s do it,” I said, hopping down from the window to help Calliope look.

We the Brave

We ran as fast as possible between the trees and the moss and the long green plants brushing against our skin. The sound of bombs dropping all around us rang in our ears, as we bled and sweat in our uniforms. Each with an injury, causing us to slow our pace and let the enemy get closer so they could kill us easier. A bassist. An engineer. A drag racer. A barber. An accountant. All sons. We all had an identity somewhere. In a state, in a country where this was supposed to be our choice. Not our parent’s, not the president’s, not the government’s, ours. High pitched screams sounded as bullets pierced hot exposed flesh. Several tripped because of the jungle floor, some because of a lost limb, some because we were klutzy from fear. I looked back from my fear-ridden path and saw my friends being trampled on by marching soldiers and tanks. Johnny, Biff, Rick, Tommy and even Julian. All guys I had once seen smile when I told jokes to them. I slept in the same room countless times with these guys. I watched as they spit blood from their lips and their eyes rolled back in their head. This was the glory I heard my father speak of, when bragging of military service. Protecting the promise of the promised land was our duty. Protecting the lies of the “promised” land was what we did. I ran until my body felt completely depleted. The ground exploded from underneath me and I was almost killed several times. Sweat and blood poured down my arms and legs. I panted, hoping for the breath to come back to me, but it seemed as if it would never happen.

Continue reading We the Brave